Before lockdown, I bought a spin bike and got into online spin classes (perfect timing). I then borrowed my father’s bike for those sunny day rides, which lead me to buy my own mountain bike as it’s quite cross country where I live and now, I’m looking to buy a road bike too. So I’ve gone all-in on cycling, probably at the worst time as stock and prices of bikes have gone crazy but I enjoy it and it keeps me fit. Now though, whenever I get an email about anything bike & tech-related, I’m there, which leads me nicely into Bookman. Bookman has created a number of visibility products, specifically for cyclists and runners. Their range includes a number of lights and reflectors, with their top tier product being the Curve Light. I got sent two, both front and back and I’ve been using them on my recent rides.
The Curve light is exactly that, a curved light for your bike, to fix around your handlebars and seat. There are two lights available, both front and rear, and they look the same but the internals is slightly different. Both lights include a Cree LED(s), with the front offering a total lumen output of 220, while the rear has two additional but smaller LEDs (3 total) but the lumen output is reduced to 37 lumens.
The lights are very small and discrete, they come in a variety of colours, they’re water-resistant and will fit bar diameters from 22 to 42mm thick. They feel fairly robust and once in place, won’t move an inch. There is a single button, which also has a small indicator light and a micro USB port for charging. A charging cable is provided, it just needs to be plugged in at a power source.
Attaching the lights to the bike was very simple. The power button unclips and you’ll see there is a metal pin that holds the button in place. Unclip it and you can run the rubber band around your handlebar or seat and re-clip into place. The band is rubber, it’s stretchy, so there is some flexibility on where you can install the lights but it’s limited. I wasn’t able to install a light to my front suspension arm, as it was too thick, so had to fix it to the handlebars vertically instead of horizontal, which is as per the instructions.
To use the lights, just push the button in to turn it on and mode one will start. There are five different modes on both lights but they do differ depending on front or rear. Press the button in to move onto the next mode, hold the button down to turn off. For the front, steady high which is the brightest output, flashing high, steady mid, flashing low, steady low. At it’s brightest, its 220lumen, dimmest is 15 lumen. Likewise, with the rear light, steady 100%, flashing 100%, steady 30%, flashing 30% and pulse 100%. 100% being 37lumens, 30% at 15 lumens. With the differing lumen outputs, come differing battery runtimes. With the front varying from 1hour to 70hour, while the rear is 2.5hour to 32hour and that variance comes from the mode you select.
As for performance, the front light does an excellent job of illuminating the area in front of your bike for several meters. As you can position the light yourself, you can get the right angle, to get the best balance of illuminating the road directly below or and out in front. The front light, at full brightness, is more than capable of making oncoming traffic-aware you’re there from at least 20 odd meters away, maybe more. The front light has a very cool colour temperature of circa 5000-6000k.
As for the rear light, it’s got a red casing, giving off that distant red light we all associate with a car brake or stop. The rear light is dimmer, the output is lower but as it’s red, it’s dramatic and powerful in appearance, which is what you want. Again, a car should be able to see the red light from at least 20 meters away, if not more, which should give them enough time to see you and move into the right lane to overtake.
As for the various settings on the lights, you can adapt to your surroundings. On a bright day, I just had the rear light on but come dusk, I’d turn the front light on but at a lower brightness. Pitch black outside, front on full brightness, likewise with the rear. I kept the front as always on, the rear I had flashing but there’s flexibility to suit you.
Battery life was good but really varies depending on the output you choose. Go mid level, you should get a couple of rides in before they need charging. The front light uses alot more juice and will most likely run out before the rear does.
The only thing I had a concern over was interfacing with my saddlebag. Ideally, the light would go above the bag but then it was blocked, move it underneath the bag and it was pointing down and partly covered by my rear wheel. Neither ideal for me but that all comes down to your seat height, type of bike and whether you have a bag or not.
I was really impressed with how easy it was to use & install the Curve lights, how bright they were and the differing modes on offer. You can pick up a pair for £75, or individually if you just wanted one. To find out more and to purchase, head over to the official Bookman website.