Our M204 versus other bicycle wheel lights

Our M204 versus other bicycle wheel lights

We took a look at our M204 Monkey Light against other wheel-lighting options on the market.   Some of these lights mount in between spokes, some mount on the tire valve ("valve cap lights").  We mounted all lights on the exact same motorized wheel and photographed the results. We wanted to be as impartial as possible, so each light was photographed under the exact same conditions and camera settings. (f/22, 1/3sec 800 ISO, 18mm focal length).  Then we turned those photos into an animated gif.  You can see a little bit of the tire in each image, in the upper right hand corner.

Using M204 as a baseline, I tried to choose camera settings that gave the clearest image of the lights while shadowing out anything in the background. This had the unintended result of making all the lights tested appear much dimmer than they would to the human eye. We brightened all the images by exactly the same amount (2 stops) in Lightroom. For all of the comparisons, The M204 is on the left, and other lights are on the right.

Our M204 is fully waterproof, emits 40 lumens of light.  You can press a button to cycle between color combinations, and they last for up to 60 hours on a single charge.  With 4 full-color LEDs, it provides 360-degree visibility for your bike.

-
John

 

 

MonkeyLectric M204

 

MonkeyLectric M204

Animated M204

Niteize Spokelit

niteize spokelit

Niteize Spokelit

These are single LED lights, housed in translucent plastic so that the entire casing glows when the light is on, but are brighter on the side with the LED.   This fits between the spokes of your bicycle wheel.  They progress between different colors over time. Installing these was probably the easiest of all the lights.  They run for 20 to 25 hours and use 2 CR2016 button-cell batteries, just under half the run-time of a M204.


 

MonkeyLectric M204

Animated M204

Cateye Orbit

Cateye Orbit

Cateye Orbit

These are very similar to Nightize, same easy to install design, with a single LED, so the light is stronger on one side than the other. The Cateye only shows light in one color..  They use 2 CR2032 button-cell batteries and claim a 30 hour or 50 hour battery life, almost as much as our M204.


 

MonkeyLectric M204

Animated M204

Sunlite Wheel Flash Sabers

Sunlite wheel flash saber

Sunlite Wheel Flash Saber

The Sunlite consists of 3 LEDs, blue, red & green. They connect to Schrader style valve stems, but can be attached to Presta valves with a Schrader adapter. They do not have an on or off switch, but use light and motion sensors. They are supposed to only turn on when it's dark and your bike is in motion. On the test wheel they kept shutting off and I had to give them a flick to turn them on again. It's possible that a stationary wheel doesn't jostle them enough to set them off even when it's spinning. Personally I found this to be the best after our own. A caveat: they only have lights on one side, but are designed so that you can twist them to face whatever direction you prefer. I shot images of them facing towards the camera.  Battery life is unknown but they use 3 tiny button-cell batteries.  All of our lights are visible on both sides, and provide 360-degree visibility.


 

MonkeyLectric M204

Animated M204

NiteIze See'em

Niteize See'em

NiteIze See'em

These seemed to weigh the least of all. The installation was mildly difficult, but it was probably the most original attachment mechanism I've seen and it seemed to work well. To turn them on, you twist the same cap that screws on to hold the batteries, only you turn it past a point that feels like it's fully tightened. They're small, and you have to use a lot of force to do this, which made it difficult to tell if I was just turning them too far and might break the casing.  The light is only one side, but you can face them either way. One light was brighter than the other, but I checked all batteries prior to the test with a multimeter and they all had a full charges.  They take one 927 button-cell battery and the batteries last 24 hours.


 

MonkeyLectric M204

Animated M204

Tire Sparx

Tire Sparx

Tire Sparx

Single flashing LED, same installation as the Sunlite and like the Sunlite they have motion sensors, but they do not have light sensors. This should mean that they will be on whenever the wheel is in motion, even in daytime. Like the Sunlite, I found that they tended to shut off if I didn't flick them now and then to get them to stay on. These come 2 to a pack, so you can put one on each wheel.  No word on battery life, but they take small button-cell batteries.