Light and Motion review
Light & Motion Bicycle Light Review

by Warren Beauchamp
December 2014

I have been using the inexpensive MagicShine bike lights for years and have been happy with their performance but I am always on the outlook for something better. I mostly ride during the daytime and taillights have to be super bright to be seen during the day. When I am out on the road I often see people riding with blinky tail lights that are so dim that you can't even tell they are on until you are right on top of the rider. I'm sure they look great at night but a driver coming up on the rider would not see the light. Also a bright headlight is good to help you stand out when riding during the day in areas where cars do not expect to find cyclists.

Light & Motion had a booth set up at the 2014 Recumbent Cycle-Con and I stopped by to check out the lights. The product at the Light & Motion that caught my eye was a lightweight USB rechargeable unit with a separate head and tail light that straps to your helmet. I chatted with the booth representative for a while and he also showed me a USB rechargeable tail light which seemed blindingly bright in the convention hall. After the show, the L&M rep gave me the VIS360 and VIS180 bicycle lights and said they would appreciate a review on the products. They seemed like great products and they are made in the USA so I agreed to review them.

L&M VIS180

The VIS180 is a 70 lumen USB rechargeable tail light.

It has a rubber strap which is designed to strap to an upright bike seat tube. Since a recumbent doesn't have a 1" diameter seat tube, a 2" long chunk of thick rubber hose with the same inside diameter as the outside diameter of your seat stay can be used to increase the diameter of your seat stay.  Slit the tube so it fits over the seat stay and strap the light onto it. This will allow this light to stay in place.

The light has several modes including full on and a pleasing pulse mode which is tons cooler than the "blinky" mode of normal bike lights. It also has a yellow LED that is highly visible from the sides, which should give the bike better night time visibility from the sides.

In this photo the VIS180 is mounted to a lexan clip that I made to allow the light to be easily mounted to my bike bag. That yellow thing on the left is a pencil for size reference.

Here's a visual comparison between the 70 lumen VIS180 and the 85 lumen MagicShine taillights in my dim garage. Not a great comparison as the lights easily overpower the camera. The L&M VIS180 is on the left and the MagicShine is on the right. The MagicShine taillight has an external battery which makes it more difficult to mount to the bike. The light output from the two lights is very similar.

This light has a retail price of $100.

I did another test to determine the daytime visibility. I clipped both lights to my bike bag with the bike outside during the daytime and walked across the street to check the difference between the lights during the daytime. Both lights appear to have the same intensity, but the L&M light (on the right) is more focused. This means that care needs to be taken to ensure that the L&M light is facing directly toward the rear and is level to ensure that the light is visible from a far distance during the daytime. The L&M light has a clever bracket which features a vertical angle adjustment to help with that.

Since this light is low weight, approximately the same brightness as the MagicShine, and easily rechargeable, I will be using it on my weight weenie training bike instead of the Magic Shine light.

L&M VIS360
The VIS360 is a taillight/headlight combo unit that is designed to be helmet mounted. It has a taillight unit that contains 3 red LEDs and the USB rechargeable battery. The 3 LEDs are not as bright as the VIS180 but they are not as directional, so they have about the same visibility over a wide range of viewing angles. The taillight is visible in the daytime but doesn't grab you attention like the VIS180. On a test ride with a friend during the daytime it was noted that the tail light was much less visible than the MagicShine tail light. The taillight attaches with a rubber strap that goes through holes in the helmet. I was able to attach it securely after some fiddling to figure out what holes in the helmet to mount the strap through. I added a small chunk of foam to keep the taillight angled in the right direction.
The taillight has a small wire that goes to the headlight. Both the headlight and the taillight have yellow LEDs on the sides to give good side visibility at night time. The headlight has a wide range of vertical  adjustment. The switch to turn the light on and off is on the headlight. The are several headlight modes including the pulse mode, dim, and bright. The taillight always pulses which is not bad because I like the pulse mode. The VIS360 has a 120 lumen headlight but they also offer a model with a 250 lumen headlight and a bigger battery. The 120 lumen light is fine for daytime visibility and low speed or emergency nighttime use.

The 120 lumen L&M VIS360 light set has a retail price of $100, and the 250 LM one is $80 more. This is a relatively lightweight, inexpensive and easy to use light set that I will leave on my helmet because you can always use more visibility.

In conclusion, the L&M VIS180 and VIS360 products are well designed and built. They have a high quality feel to them. Unlike most if not all other bike lights, they are designed and built in the USA. Lights that use AA or AAA batteries are cheaper but replacing the batteries nearly every time you ride is a real hassle.

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Copyright 2014