08 June, 2010


 I'm very impressed with Spanninga's latest lights. Since their acquisition of JOS and Hella, this Dutch company has been continually introducing new products and technologies.

The most interesting is their "Reverse-Beam Technology". They claim it's one of the most efficient LED systems available. The LED bulb is mounted just behind the lens and aimed rearward at a mirror that focuses and reflects the light. This  minimizes light loss and gives a strong focused and lateral beam. We just received a shipment of lights from from this Dutch manufacturer and two of the new models incorporating this system. The other Spanninga trend is that the new models are generally much lighter and smaller than the previous, while putting out more light.

 The first is the long awaited LED version of the Micro FF dynamo light. This light also has a safe stop feature that keeps the light on for about 4.5 minutes after you stop pedaling, very useful at traffic lights and stop signs. But what's most amazing, other than the brightness, is how tiny and lightweight (54g) this light is.

Though the Micro FF comes with a bracket and reflector, we usually remove them and use a VO light bracket to mount it on the front rack. This results in a lightweight and very compact, but powerful, headlight.

 The other new light with reverse beam technology is the Mega LED battery light. Again, this is a compact, light and very very bright unit.

The new rack mounted Plateo LED lights are available in dynamo and battery versions. The Plateo has a very bright steady light (not flashing) that can be activated automatically when it gets dark or turned on/off with the switch. It's very thin (22.4mm for the battery versions) and also very light (65g for the battery versions – incl. batteries). The dynamo version is even thinner and lighter. The mounting system allows it to be used on brackets with standard 50mm spaced holes (common in the USA) or on European racks with 80mm hole spacing. That dual spacing mounting is something we've been pushing for for years.

There is also a new and (excuse the repetition) lighter, smaller, and brighter fender mounted taillight, the Pixeo. Again it has the safe stop feature. A battery powered version is due in a few weeks.

Finally we have the new "Compact" taillight. It uses two AAA batteries that last about 140 hours in steady mode or 600 hours in flashing mode. With the "Light-Guide Technology" (patented by Spanninga), the Compact Rear offers an optimal rear and lateral visibility (220° visibility) since the light is also visible from the sides.

A Low-Battery-Indicator warns when the batteries need replacement. It's shock and water resistant. The housing is easy to open without any tools to replace the batteries. The Compact light offers various mounting options: it includes brackets to mount on a seat-posts or a seat-stay. It can also be clipped on a saddlebag or on your jersey pocket with the built-in clip. Not bad for $18.


Denny Yunk said...

Wow - these look like a great value.

Do the dynamo lights come with wires? Is the headlight switched?

Keith Hearn said...

Nice looking lights. It would be nice to have some photos of the beam patterns to compare them.

BTW, the "Mega LED battery light" link is pointing to the Micro FF page.

Rob E. said...

I picked up a set of Spanninga lights from Velo Orange about 6 months ago. They've been great and trouble-free. On the darkest, unlit MUPs at night, I sometimes wish for something brighter (and usually supplement those trips with a battery light), but even there they give enough light to make the way more clear. I still think about a brighter, more expensive light to shine on those dark trails, but for my daily commute and for most of my puttering around town, the Spanninga lights have been great. I had wanted to with a dynamo lighting set up for a while, but the costs were a little daunting when I looked at the better light sets, especially when that was going on top of the price of a dynamo wheel, but the Spanninga lights were affordable and had some of the most useful features of the higher priced stuff like light-sensitive on/off and a stand light. They've been great, and I thank you guys for carrying them. You're certainly right to spotlight (ahem) them on the blog.

fmackay said...

On seeing this I hoped the Micro FF might be the ideal dynamo light - obviously a B&M knock off, but at less than half the price of the Cyo. But these Germans don't seem very impressed - only 10 lux output vs 40-60 for the B&M IQ lights (note - thread also feat. some VO-style bike porn). The Spanninga light would no doubt be fine as a "be seen by" light but I have been spoiled by the Cyo and can't go back.

Rex said...

I purchased a Bell-branded taillight that is visually indistinguishable from the Compact Taillight. The housing, clip, switch, spider pattern in the lens are all identical to the best of my ability to determine from the images on the VO site. I'm not saying they are the same quality, or that they have the same output (no wattage indicated on the Bell one). It's just an observation. Maybe one company or the other has licensed the design?

The Bell only came with a seat-post mount, not a seat-stay mount.

Gary Young said...

"Reverse beam" looks interesting, but how do they dissipate the heat from the LED? Maybe that's why they're not as bright a B&M headlights.

Anonymous said...

Any way you can include light output and battery life for the available modes? In my opinion, light output varies considerably between lights, but there is often no way to logically compare them because the manufacturers or distributors fail to include this information. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Can anyone comment on the Spanninga LED light in comparison to the Planet Bike light in terms of output / beam pattern? There are obvious differences in terms of casing design and mounting options, but I'm curious about the optics specifically since they're in roughly the same price category.

Anonymous said...

yes +1 on what Timothy said, I am very curious as well since they are quite comparable. The amazon video review for the Planet bike light was quite impressive!