“All bets are off” is one of my favorite lines from a favorite movie of mine, “Snatch.” The same can be said for our safety every time we head out for a ride. The thing is, I’m not a betting man. In fact, I prefer to hedge my bets and stack the odds in my favor. This is why I am pleased to have been able to review the Wing Lights by CYCL. The Wing Lights are turn signals for your bike. They mount to the ends of your bars and are used to indicate which direction you will be turning.
Wing Lights install using a bar plug with a hollow socket. This is a direct replacement for the bar plugs on drop style handlebars and install easily in flat or riser bars by either pulling out the rubber part of the handgrip or cutting the rubber away to install the Wing Lights bar plug. Once the plug is installed, the Wing Lights simply snap in to the bar plugs and stay in place using a very strong magnet. The Wing Lights are activated by a momentary push button – simply push the button and the Wing Light will flash for approximately 45 seconds. At the end of the 45 seconds, the Wing Light turns off to prevent the annoying “turn signal is on but the person isn’t turning” syndrome that seems to plague inattentive motorists. This is a boon for your safety as the Wing Light will not be left on and possibly confuse a motorist into passing you at the wrong time.
When you reach your destination, you can simply pop out each Wing Light and snap them in to place on to a carabiner-equipped ring. They cannot be stolen if they are not left with your bike, right? You now have your Wing Lights and a key chain all together for safe keeping!
The Wing Lights are very well made with a lightweight machined aluminum body that is smooth to the touch but with enough heft to help quell handlebar vibrations. Each Wing Light operates off of two CR2032 batteries, so replacements can be had at your local corner store, supermarket or pharmacy. Note that they come shipped with batteries already installed, but make sure you read the directions to remove the paper that is preventing the batteries from making contact with the switch. This prevents the Wing Lights from being turned on in shipping, but unless you remove that piece of paper, the Wing Lights will not turn on. Battery life is advertised as 2 months, and I can say that this estimate is pretty much spot on with my usage. I have used the Wing Lights on a riser bar hybrid, a flat bar mountain bike, a drop bar cyclocross bike and on a recumbent trike and the Wing Lights are still operating on the set of batteries that came with them.
Now, many products brag about being shockproof and durable. Just to test the Wing Lights out, I decided to leave them in for a night of cyclocross team practice. Four laps of terrain that included water, mud, sand, gnarly singletrack, gravel, pavement, and grass failed to dislodge the Wing Lights or stop them from working. All in the interest of testing the Wing Lights and their shockproof claim, I even managed to fail a dismount on my approach to a barrier, and cartwheeled myself and my bike through the air. Despite being knocked out cold, the Wing Lights stayed in place and still work. I am confident in that they are shockproof and more than capable of handling what the mean streets of commuting and casual riding can dish out.
With all of this greatness there must be something not to like, right? Well, in my riding with the Wing Lights, I can say that this Wing Light review was tough to come up with negatives. The only thing I can find as a negative (and this is not the Wing Lights’ fault, but rather as the user) is that even though they are visible, durable and very bright, I would still recommend using hand signals in addition to the Wing Lights. I was able to make more than a few lane merges and left turns using only the Wing Lights without incident but I still feel supplementing the Wing Lights with an arm signal will help shore those safety bets up a bit more. I have no doubt in my mind that during my 4:00AM commute in the dark that the Wing Lights make much more of a presence for turning that my arm does, even with a reflective wrist band. There is a bit of a learning curve to remember to push the button before you turn, but it is an easy habit to become accustomed to.
If you no longer want to play a game of roulette with your safety, do yourself a favor and shore up your bets by picking up a set of Wing Lights by CYCL.
For more information, please visit www.cycl.bike
– Alex (Dos)