If you ride on the road at night, you may have experienced ‘invisible cyclist syndrome’ more than once. While a new set of lights won’t solve the problem completely, they certainly help. After browsing the Australian Cycling Forums, I decided to give Ay Up Lights a try. I have two handlebar mounts and share them between my Giant CRX2 and my Surly Long Haul Trucker.
I chose British racing green, and I bought these before Ay Up did some upgrades to their lighting systems – so they are not as bright as the new versions. They still make my bike look like a motorbike though, and provide more than enough light to see in suburban situations.
These suckers are bright. I use them on low-beam most of the time as low-beam throws plenty of light for me to see by. I use high beam in dark situations (like the shared pathways near the river). The number of cars who fail to give way, either at roundabouts, or by pulling out of side streets in front of me, is reduced when I have the Ay Ups on my bars, as opposed to the Cateye Opticube that I had before.
The handlebar mount is secure and there is no danger of the lights coming detached and bouncing down the road at an inopportune moment (this is what ultimately killed my Cateye). The battery mount is versatile, so you can mount it wherever you have space. They are very waterproof and reliable in all weather.
They are an Australian company, if that kind of thing influences your purchasing decisions.
I also think they look really nice!
You need to make sure the battery is always charged. These lights do not warn you when the battery is getting low by running dim – they just turn off when they don’t have enough juice. I have been caught out once, fortunately it wasn’t far from home.
The beam pattern does seem to waste light, as it has no vertical cut off – which means if you don’t point them downwards enough they can blind oncoming cyclists in low light situations. This is in contrast to my Lumotech Cyo IQ dynamo light which has a vertical cut off and a wider light spread – while it is not as bright as the Ay Ups, it provides a more useful light pattern.
The cost is obviously a serious consideration for some cyclists – especially when you can buy bright, cheap lights from Chinese manufacturers at places like Deal Extreme. I have seen many people go for different options because the cost of the Ay Ups turned them off.
The other issue is taking them off if you are parked outside the pub or something – the last thing you want is some passerby to swipe the lights as they walk past, and they are easy to remove, but a bit bulky in the pocket.
Reliable, bright lights are an important part of a cyclists kit. With advances in LED and battery technology, the choices are many and varied. You can go for cheap DX lights – but they may not be as reliable in the rain. You can go for a dynamo light conforming to German design standards like my Lumotech IQ Cyo, but most bikes sold in Australia don’t come standard with hub dynamos, so that is a bit of a hassle. I love my Ay Ups and I am glad that I forked out the money for them. They are reliable and will last for many years to come.