01 April, 2008

The VO Taillight

The VO Taillight can be mounted on a seat tube braze-on, on a seat stay using the clamp, or on a chain stay.

They are hand machined from a solid aluminum billet by a small shop here in the US. We are having them made because I had the prototype on the blue bike in the photo and got a bunch of e-mails requesting that we make them. So far as I know, this is the only seat post boss taillight made today.

Many people have French constructuer bikes with a mount for one, but the price of an original JOS light is over $600

The price for our version will be about $48 (sorry). It should be available next week.

28 comments:

xjoex said...

Is that a bar end blinky stuck on a short length of tube? Either way its neat.

-Joe

David said...

I'm sure it's a little more techie than that, for $48. Ouch. What kind of LED is it? What kinda battery does it take?

C said...

Yep, it's a bar end blinky. Bruce Gordon sells something similar. The $48 is probably a reflection of
1) US labor costs
2) Cost of small production runs.

Anonymous said...

Hmm... I have the bar end blinkies as backup lighting on my road bike. I have to say:

1) They're really not very bright -- certainly not something you'd want as a main taillight.

2) They take an annoying, proprietary battery size (a watch/hearing aid kind of thing).

Maybe this is an aesthetic improvement over, say, a Planet Bike Superblinky, but proper lighting seems like a poor place to make that kind of compromise.

bonechilling said...

"Maybe this is an aesthetic improvement over, say, a Planet Bike Superblinky, but proper lighting seems like a poor place to make that kind of compromise."

Exactly what I came here to say. If it doesn't perform better than the Planet Bike Super Flash, then I don't see any reason to buy it. No aesthetic improvement is worth getting him from behind over.

Anonymous said...

The light appears to be awfully long to be supported by a single screw on the end. I would be concerned about fatigue from road vibration if the housing is aluminum. And one would need to be very careful lifting the bike so as not to pull on the housing.

Mounting to a chainstay or seatstay should be fine.

Anonymous said...

That looks absolutely IDENTICAL to the light I have on my bike! I hacked off a piece of old handlebar, stuck a bar end blinky in one end, and a bar-tape plug in the other end and bolted it to my seatstay! My buddies are impressed by it's brightness and it hasn't come loose yet despite the single bolt. The little "watch" batteries are the only downside. Hopefully the VO model will use AA or AAA batteries.

reverend dick said...

BRUCE GORDON!!!!!!

Cody said...

Chris,

I think youve made alot of awesome products, but along with the other posters I dont see how this is an improvement, other than aesthetically over something like a Knog Frog. I like the Knog as a secondary light, but I do not trust it as a primary light.

Are you going to do another run with a brighter light so it could be run as a primary light?

Ari said...

It must take small batteries #LR44 readily available in must drug stores.
ari

Chris Kulczycki said...

I just added the following to the post to clear up some misconceptions.

"The light are hand machined from a solid aluminum billet by a small shop here in the US. We are having them made because I had the prototype on the blue bike in the photo and got a bunch of e-mails requesting that we make them. So far as I know, this is the only seat post boss taillight made today. Many people have French constructuer bike with a mount for one, but the price of an original JOS light is over $600"

johnson said...

compare to the jp weigle light.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/49353569@N00/1396842073/
tiny urls arnt working, sorry.
you can also google weigle tail light and get to the same picture in weigle's picture cue.

Anonymous said...

The Weigle light is actually an old light re-fitted with an LED bulb. It is only available with a frame after a wait of a couple of years.

Adam said...

I'm one of the people who requested one for their VO Randonneurs -- I certainly would prefer something that looked like the Weigle light. But I gather it's prohibitively expensive to make.

Anonymous said...

Any plans to manufactuer one that is powered by a generator?

David said...

I did a little interwebery last night, and found several sites with DIY led conversions/ constructions, a few were dynamo-powered.

Anyone reading here have experience with this?

David said...

Oops, I meant to include this link:

http://www.pilom.com/BicycleElectronics/BicycleElectronics.htm

dr2chase said...

Anyone reading here have experience with this?

I resemble that remark. You can do a lot by yourself if you can tell plus from minus, and know how to solder.

The parts cost for a DIY bright LED is in the ballpark of $10-20 for the regulator, $5-8 for the LED itself, $2 for the lens, and then you need to figure how how to house the batteries and heat-sink the light.

The hardest part for me has always been getting the batteries appropriately packaged (because I am a lapsed EE, not a lapsed MechE).

I don't think that VO could manufacture lights in small runs with these electronics inside them and profitably sell them for $48, though who knows, I could be wrong. There's a bit of a problem with making everybody happy, because good lights (even LEDs) pull enough power that many people prefer to run them from generators so as not to worry about swapping out batteries. I use a generator, but if I did use batteries, I would probably house them separately from the lights, probably in a long tube lashed to the frame (perhaps in a repurposed Silca frame pump, with the electrical connection at the old pump head).

It is also possible to get replacement LED "bulbs" for handheld batteries that would probably work with old bicycle lights, but those are $40 apiece. I bought one out of curiousity, and it was completely, delightfully, bright, yet also ran longer than the bulb it replaced.

Michael S said...

I've built a battery-powered 1 watt tail light similar to the DiNotte for my commuting. I need to recharge the 4 AA batteries every 3 hours or so, so obviously this is not ideal for a Randonneur. But, for commuting it's really bright. If you have some soldering ability and access to a lathe, it's no problem... :)

I think this light is much more suitable for a chainstay or seatstay mount than the seattube mount, IMHO. Kind of like the BG light.

elvisVelo said...

I for one, like the new light, and I will buy two. I will put it on my Rando frame when it is built, and on my old chrome Follis.

As for whether it is outperformed by some other light that one could buy, my thought is that I like it for what it is, and how it looks while it is and is not doing what it does.

It is "aesthetics united with utility" on a frame and bike that will be a proud combination of those things. I will have additional lights anyway--as should we all, so no worries. If you are quibbling about the cost, you ought not to spend so much on a Randonneur bike when an old Trek tourer does really well on its own.

keithwwalker said...

When speaking of generator tail lights (somewhat different subject). I have always been in favor of somehow taking the lens and reflector of the Union tail light, modifying the socket to accept an LED array, then a nice spun aluminum body to hold it all together...
union tail light

Anonymous said...

I'm in.

--sfp

dr2chase said...

Do note, for the Union generator retrofit, a bicycle "generator" is really an alternator. All the interesting circuits at pilom.com take this into account. At least one diode, somewhere, is required, probably two.

gunnar berg said...

Don't you have to buy a frame from Peter Weigle or Curt Goodrich to get one of the Weigle lights? That would make them about $2500 give or take. Still a good value if you need a frame too.

penumbra kid said...

Since we're still talking about lights here, and since I have had no response from CK yet, I will ask again: Does the Spanninga Vesta dynamo you are selling come with a voltage regulator or not? Their website says they make them with and without regulators. Thanks.

Chris Kulczycki said...

I think the dynamo does have a regulator, but I can't seem to get hold of my contact at Jos right now to double check.

Anonymous said...

Chris, I like the concept but the design leaves much to be desired. Pay Peter Weigle a royalty and use his design.

The design of this light leaves much to be desired.

La conception de cette lumière laisse beaucoup à désirer.

Que puis-je dire?

Why are the instructions for using this page in French?

Mike Schmidt

Anonymous said...

As a generalization, if there's one component that's not up to par it's lighting. There are a some of near-miss products, some too-expensive products, and lots of inadequate products. This would be a great area for V-O to focus its innovativeness on if it's so inclined.