My son finally took up an interest in learning to ride a bike, so I’ve been looking into ways to increase visibility. Bright clothing and reflectors are important, but a wild array of LED lights on the wheel? This could be hard to ignore!
(All images can be clicked for a full size image)
What started out as a KickStarter is now a series of different products you can buy today. Monkeylectric furnished me with the M210 and M232 sets.
Open up the baggies and you’ll find a cylindrical battery pack (3 AA not included), the LED board, zip ties, and instructions.
What’s the difference, besides the number of LEDs (10 vs 32)? The M210 features 19 different themes and color combinations, while the larger M232 boasts 42 themes and color combinations.
The M210 (top) features 5 surface-mount RGB LEDs on each side, for a total of 10. The M232 (bottom) has 16 on each side, for a total of 32.
These are the zip-tie mounting slots on the M210.
Close-up of the M210 user controls: Theme, Color and Power.
Here you can see the M210 surface-mount LEDs.
The others side of the M210. Yes, made in USA.
The M232 is pretty much the same as the M210, but with a different, larger layout.
The larger M232, as seen from the edge.
The battery pack itself has two pigtails. Why two? Well, the capped one lets you connect a second Monkey Light to your wheel. Why would I want a second Monkey Light? (Keep reading to the end.)
A rubbery pad keeps the battery pack from slipping around the hub of your wheel when secured properly.
Feeding time! Each battery pack takes 3 AA batteries. Runtime is listed at 40 hours for the M210, and 20 hours for the M232.
There’s about a foot of wire between the battery pack and light module.
I decided to try the Monkey Lights on my admittedly ridiculous-looking (but ridiculously fun) Cannondale Hooligan bike. The wheels are 20″. Installation is pretty straightforward; the light board zip-ties to the spokes…
And the battery pack zip ties around the hub.
Here’s the M232 assembly, both light board and battery installed.
Here’s how it looks like… by the pros at Monkeylectric.
…And then there’s me. That’s my comical self, trying not to fall off, riding in the garage. Due to the slow speed, you really don’t get the “persistence of vision” effect. Just looks like a bunch of colored lights twirling about.
Here’s the front wheel with the M232.
And, with the M210 (rear wheel).
Neat? Yes! But like the photos? Not at all. These tests aren’t really fair due to my poor photography skills. It’s hard to capture the effect. However, the whole thing looks better the faster you go (hard to capture in a garage). Adding a second light would most likely make things look way cooler as well. But do you want to look “cool” or be seen?
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Monkeylectric. Visit their site for more info.