The Vis 180 is a nice one piece unit, that houses the lights and Lithium-ion polymer (LiPo) battery, and it has a seatpost attachment, with a pivot point that allows for pitch adjustment. The Vis 180 has three main lights, which include a red rear and two amber side LED’s, and all combine to give 180 degrees of visibility to a passing vehicle. To adjust the light’s angle to be near vertical for proper functionality, just push the red pivot button, and the unit will rotate from its top axis, and it has eight engagement indention’s. The seatpost mount is easily attached, by placing the pad in the desired location on the post, and looping the strap around, feeding it back through the mount’s slot, and locking it down snugly. To install the Vis 180, just insert its rear prong into the top of the mount’s slot until it clicks, which locks it in place. To remove, press the pivot button, and put it into its closed position, and give a firm push towards the post, and pull up to release it. It can be detached from the post attachment when it’s not in use or when it’s being used on the back of a hydration pack (clipped to a webbing loop), or on a belt loop. The light is fairly bright for a small rear light, and it blinded me more than a number of times during the testing!
The Vis 180 switch is located on the right side of the unit, and it’s a rubberized unit, that has a soft click. The rear light has an interesting feature, as it doesn’t have a distinctive flashing like the sides, and it pulses like a heartbeat, never quite shutting down completely between its cycles. The switch has four modes (plus Off), Pulse High (high with rear pulse/side flash), Pulse Low (low with rear pulse/side flash), Steady On (high with rear steady/side flash), and Pace Line ( High side flash/rear off), and they are easy to engage following a simple pattern. From the Off mode, click once for Pulse High, and then through Pulse Low, Steady On, and Pace Line, and you can cycle between the modes if needed, and hold the switch for two seconds to turn Off.
At the very bottom of the Vis 180 is a small light for the battery level indicator, which changes color depending on the current reserves. The LED is green when full, amber for medium, red in low, and blinking red when close to discharge. To recharge the unit, remove it from the bike or pack, and open up the rubber covered port on the left side, and connect the kits micro USB cable to a computer.
Holding the Vis 180 in your hand gives a wonderful look and feel, as the one piece unit has everything situated in the proper place, for both form and function. Plopping the mount on any seatpost is easy, and it can be swapped around to any bike required, and it fit on any post in my vast array of test equipment. The pivot button was a nice feature, and it was simple to tilt the light to an angle required, so it could be used on steep or slack posts, and always remain near vertical (best for driver visibility). After you got used to the system, it was quite easy to close the unit, push it in and pull the light off the mount for recharging purposes. Although it could be used on a pack or belt loop, I always had it attached to the seatpost, where seemed the most useful to me. I only used the light in Pulse High mode for the best vehicle visibility, though if I was riding with groups the Pace Line might come in handy, so I wouldn’t blind my co-riders. The bright rear red light and amber side light, make the bike pretty noticeable to the back and side viewpoint, greatly helping with visibility.
Light & Motion performed extensive studies into accidents, and what helps you to be seen, and they found that 72% of bike accidents occur at intersections with the driver turning into the bike’s path. It turns out one of the most important things is having lights who are placed high, so they can be seen by a driver (consider tall SUV doors), especially as the vehicle goes by or turns in towards the biker, when they become invisible (into a blind spot) along the sides, and the addition of the side LED’s greatly aids visibility. The lights provide a 360 degree cushion of visibility, and draw attention to the motorist that a biker is next to them. The side LED’s are unique to this company’s Vis 180 and Vis 360 commuter lights, and the bright, blinking and very noticeable rear red, and amber side lights make you more obvious to the cager. With a flick of the head, the Vis 360 signals your intention for lane changes or turns, and the amber side emitters remind them you are there. You can refer to some additional information of safety at http://www.bikelights.com/safetyinfo.pdf