There’s a lot of new bike lights out there but with few radical innovations. That’s why we were extremely excited to try the new Philips SafeRide. This light is completely unique from the crop of available bike lights because it attempts to completely control the beam pattern. The beam pattern is not round like a flashlight. Rather, it is wide and rectangular like a car headlight.
The problem that it tries to solve is a lot of a traditional bike light’s beam pattern is pointed towards the eyes of oncoming drivers. In Europe, there are laws against this. In the US there is no law about this but common sense dictates that it is not ideal to shine bright lights on to oncoming drivers’ eyes. As LED lights become more, and more powerful (exceeding 2000 lumens), bike lights now can distract drivers and create dangerous conditions for the cyclist and other road users.
Philips SafeRide controls the beam pattern by carefully controlling its reflectors. One look at the light head and it is clear that the main trick is the LED emitters are not even visible from the front. This means that the light from the LED is reflected and directed only. It is not allowed to throw directly to the front. This design allows the SafeRide to have a very wide and flat beam pattern.
Does it work? Indeed it does. As you can see in the beam pattern photo below, there is a clear cut-off between light and no light. You can aim the light high enough to see far ahead but never hitting a motorists’s eyes.
The other bonus of such a design is more of the light is hitting the ground. Thus this light is more efficient at directing light and it appears brighter than it is. Typically, 20+% of a round beam pattern is wasted as it just goes to thin air. The SafeRide minimizes this waste.
The downside of this design is the light is not appropriate for mountain biking use on its own. If there is a canopy, low hanging obstacles on the trail, those objects will not be visible with this light and may strike the rider on the head if not seen. On wide open fire roads, this is not an issue. But when complemented with a helmet light, it actually is a great mountain biking setup. The Philips SafeRide can light up the trail and the sides while the helmet light can light up the upper area where low hanging obstacles may exist.
- Price: $199
- Claimed Lumens: 400 Lumens
- Light Head Weight: 306 grams
- Installed Weight: 334 grams
- Run Time: 2 Hours
- Measured MTBR Lux: 39 Lux
Light Meter Measurements:
This light measured 40 lux on our light meter setup. This puts it at around the range of a 550 lumen light compared to our other lights measured with this light meter. Last year, the Lupine Piko claimed 550 lumens and measured 45 lux on our light meter. The Exposure Strada claimed 600 lumens 40 lux.
- Groundbreaking light beam pattern puts the all available light to the ground
- Beam pattern will not blind/distract drivers
- Uses standard ‘AA’ batteries sot it’s easy to replace and carry spares
- Excellent materials and construction. The housing is all aluminum with a brushed surface. It looks good and dissipates heat
- USB charging
- Optimized for commuting
- Self-contained with no wires
- Excellent switch and fuel guage
- Created and backed by the Philips, the largest lighting company in the world.
- 2 High powered Luxeon Rebel LED
- Light says cool even at full power and low airflow
- Targeted for commuting so not ideal for mountain biking unless paired with a helmet light
- Form factor is a bit big and wide for a flashlight style
- There’s some artifacts at the periphery of the beam pattern.
- Uses standard ’4 AA 2,450ma NiMH rechargeable batteries so heavy and bulky compared to lithium batteries.
- No flash mode. This is key in the US and when running in daylight.
It’s about the beam pattern when it comes to this light. The ability to control the light output is what the SafeRide is all about. The light is directed low and wide to the ground and not to the eyes of oncoming drivers. In the end, this light seems brighter than it is since more of the light is directed to the ground. And because of the beam pattern that is cut off at the top, it is a safer light. It truly is the ideal commuter light.
Beam Pattern Photos:
4 out of 5 Stars
4.75 out of 5 Stars
For commuting, this is such an excellent light. Our only wish is it was a bit brighter and had more run time. For mountain biking. It works well when used with a helmet light.
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