Replacing the Brompton reflector with a rechargeable tail light

ExBrit

I don't do hills
Can anyone recommend a rechargeable tail light to replace the Brompton reflector? I've looked online and I can only find two and they are both over $40 which seems a bit excessive. I see Nightrider sells a $10 plastic rack adapter for their tail lights - again seems like a lot of money for a bit of plastic. And I'm not going back 30 years and using a light that takes disposable batteries.

Thoughts please?
 

rogerzilla

Legendary Member
B&M rack light with NiMH batteries? The Toplight View Plus looks good on a Brompton.

https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/taillights.php
 
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berlinonaut

Senior Member
Location
Berlin Germany
Can anyone recommend a rechargeable tail light to replace the Brompton reflector? I've looked online and I can only find two and they are both over $40 which seems a bit excessive.
Hmm, there should be dozends, just the combination of your desired mounting point and ability to directly recharge the light may be the issue. Depending from if we talk about a L or a R version Brommi the height dimensions of the light are more or less critical (with the L version some higher rear lights may hit the ground when rolling the folded bike) but in the end you are more or less locked in the classical rectangle shape which excludes most rechargeable rear lights. In general the various B&M battery lights are good and cost around 20€. In Terms of "rechargeable" I would with a rear liehgt rather go for rechargeable Batteries than USB (which may already help to solve your sourcing problem) as an ordinary battery powered rear light lasts several years before the batteries need replacement (at least with me) and it will open up your choices massively. You can also go for a Herrmans light - good bang for the buck ratio. Or you go for what Brompton sells from factory: Spanniga (Brompton themselves are using their "Solo" model).

And I'm not going back 30 years and using a light that takes disposable batteries.
You can use rechargeable batteries in the light instead of disposable batteries if the light is using standard sized AA or AAA cells. Or you go for a hub dynamo-setup which is even more stress free.
 

rogerzilla

Legendary Member
A lot of rechargeable rear lamps don't have enough capacity to run all night, and they lose charge quite fast when off. This is where hybrid NiMH AAAs, or the ability to use lithium AAA primary batteries, really helps.

Rechargeable lights are best for predictable commutes, where you don't want to risk breaking the light by opening it very frequently to access the batteries.
 

Kell

Über Member
As said above, it may be the fact that you want your light to be USB rechargeable which is causing the issue.

I doubled down. Replaced the reflector with a reflector light that takes batteries and fitted a USB one higher up on the seat tube. Can't comment on longevity yet, as not long after I fitted it we went into lock down and I've only used my Brompton once in a year and a half.

But I like the little USB one I have (I've actually got several now as I liked the first one I bought) as it gets brighter when you brake.

You can get seatpost versions or ones that fit on your saddle rails.

USB Rechargeable Bike Tail Light, Random Ultra Bright Rear Bike Light, USB Rechargeable, Auto On/Off, Brake Sensing, IPX6 Waterproof, Red High Intensity LED Bicycle Lights Fits to Any Road Bikes : AmazonSmile: Sports & Outdoors

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shingwell

Well-Known Member
I always have two rear lights on my bikes: if one fails while night cycling (due to flat battery or fault) you won't know about it. Until maybe a car goes into the back of you.
 

berlinonaut

Senior Member
Location
Berlin Germany
I always have two rear lights on my bikes: if one fails while night cycling (due to flat battery or fault) you won't know about it. Until maybe a car goes into the back of you.
Belt AND braces, as we say in Germany. ^_^ Wherever possible I do run a high quality hub dynamo setup - fire and forget. Pay once, never need to think about lights again. Never let me down in years.
 

shingwell

Well-Known Member
I helped a cyclist out of a ditch once down a very dark country lane. His front light had gone out and before he could stop he was in the ditch. I lent him the spare mini-usb light I always carry in my pocket in winter (belt, braces and a piece of string :laugh:), told him where I lived, and got it back a few days later ^_^. There is no such thing as too safe in my view.
 
OP
ExBrit

ExBrit

I don't do hills
Belt AND braces, as we say in Germany. ^_^ Wherever possible I do run a high quality hub dynamo setup - fire and forget. Pay once, never need to think about lights again. Never let me down in years.
I always have at least two front and rear lights. A dead light can kill you.
I'm using a Cygolite 200 lumen rear light tucked under the seat but there isn't enough room for another one when folded which is why I'm thinking of replacing the reflector with another light. Rechargable cells seem so 20th century. A regular light with a rack mount adapter causes fold problems (at least what I've found so far). Thanks for the input - I'm thinking I might have to go the whole dynamo route. I have a Schmidt SON on my road bike and love it.
 

berlinonaut

Senior Member
Location
Berlin Germany
Thanks for the input - I'm thinking I might have to go the whole dynamo route. I have a Schmidt SON on my road bike and love it.
Now we are talking! I do have SONs on most of my Brommis, along with the Edelux in most cases. Unbeatable if you ask me and well worth the price. Especially the Brommi as an utility bike massively profits from simple but reliable high quality solutions in my opinion. Today the stock SP8 Dynamo is not much worse in practice I'd say and its lighter sibling SP9 is even better. Both are way cheaper than the SON but lack the last 20% of perfection (and probably endurance as well) that makes the SON more expensive. I do have the SP9 running in a Moulton and cannot say anything against it - still I'd always go for the SON package on a intensively used bike if I can afford it.
 

rogerzilla

Legendary Member
I used to have the original "tin can" SON-XS. Did a few all-night rides with it. It was better value for money back then, even though there was no competition - it's become extremely expensive now. The SP hubs are very good but I've heard the odd report of a nasty failure where the hub becomes very stiff to turn, possibly due to a short circuit internally. Makes the bike unrideable.
 

berlinonaut

Senior Member
Location
Berlin Germany
Totally on the same page. I'm currently looking at https://www.perennialcycle.com/shutter-precision-upgrade-dynamo-package-for-brompton.html. The SON package costs another $280 which I can't justify as I'm never going to do all-night rides on my Brommie.
Oh wow! At the price for the SON at perennenialcycle seems pretty high at $480! I do only know the German prices and over here a Brompton SON wheel is 260€ (w/o lights) while the Brompton SP8 wheel is 175€ (bought solo, not together with a bike, it might be 25€ less, not totally sure currently) and the SP9, built into a wheel is 200€ish. So a recognizable but not overly massive difference in price. This difference becomes pretty irrelevant if you take into account how long you'll use the bike and the dynamo hub. Even if you calculate just 10 years of use the difference shrinks to 7,50€ per year - plus you can be sure that the SON will massively outlast this period, no matter how much or intensively you'll ride while with the SP it might or might not be. Also you get a 5 year warranty on the hub. So to me the SON is simply the better investment (if you can handle the initial price tag to buy it).

With the SP you can buy the SP8 and the SP9 solo w/o a wheel (and have to with the SP9 in Brompton size) which costs 80€-120€ for the SP8 and about 90-130€ for the SP9, depending from the market situation and from where you buy. You will have to build a wheel around it then, so you'll not end massively cheaper than buying a complete wheel if you don't built it yourself, given the price for spokes and rim plus the labor. And if you look closely you'll recognize that the extra that the SON makers charge to have the dynamo built into a wheel is just 50€ difference to the naked hub (209€ vs. 259€). A bit of a bargain, especially given the fact that those wheels are professionally hand built in the SON factory.

The lightening options are obviously identical with all dynamo hubs and influence the final price massively, depending from your choice. While a standard backlight is perfectly ok and around just 20€ (if you decide not to go for the shiny SON one for 60€) the front lights do have a broad range, with better BUMM lights starting around 40€ (EyeC) decent ones like the BUMM X or XS being 70-90€ and the SON Edelux being around 140€. Easy to start cheap here and to upgrade later - this could solve your financial issue.

Putting everything together the complete SON package with hub, front- and rear light adds to ~450€, with a standard rear light you end up a tad over 400€ and with a standard front light you might end up around 350€. With a SP hub the same packages are about 50-70€ cheaper - which for me is not enough of a difference to choose the SP instead of the SON hub.

Now the choice is up to you! :whistle:
 
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berlinonaut

Senior Member
Location
Berlin Germany
I used to have the original "tin can" SON-XS. Did a few all-night rides with it. It was better value for money back then, even though there was no competition - it's become extremely expensive now.
Today, the complete SON Brompton wheel is 259€. In 2005, so 16 years ago, it was 169€. Clearly a massive difference but on the other hand: Look what an Shimano or SP wheel for a Brompton costs. The world does not stand still and neither do prices nor wages. I would not call the price for the SON wheel "extremely expensive", especially not when you look at the quality, the warranty, the service, the culture of the company and the price of the manual labour in Germany involved in building one. Rather I'd call the price in 2005 a total and extraordinary bargain.
 
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