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Planet Bike Beamer 3 bike headlight
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- 3 Nichia 5mm LEDs provide steady and flashing modes
- FL1 Tested - Run times: 46 hrs (steady – 12 lm) and up to 100 hrs (flashing - 12 lm)
- Side cut outs provide 220° of visibility
- Water resistance rated to IPX6 standard
- 2 AA batteries (included)
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The Beamer 3 is a classic that’s been keeping cyclists visible for 20 years. This affordable headlight delivers excellent run time and ample light so other cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers will always know where you are no matter how dark it gets.
Whether you're a 24-hour racer or a super commuter, the Planet Bike Beamer 3 bicycle light will keep your path well lit. The Beamer 3 is equipped with three white Nichia eXtreme v2.0 LEDs, which not only illuminate your way after the sun has gone down, but also make you visible to passing cars or pedestrians. In addition, the light attaches securely to your bike thanks to the Quick Cam bracket mounts, which adjust or remove in seconds without tools. The Beamer 3--which offers up to 100 hours of runtime on two AA batteries (included)--boasts both flashing and steady modes and carries a limited lifetime warranty.
About Planet Bike
In November of 1996, Planet Bike was founded in Madison, Wisconsin. In many ways, Planet Bike began as a social experiment that dedicated itself to doing business in a different way. Instead of being just another company that develops and sells products with profit as its end goal, Planet Bike wanted to help bring about positive change for people, their communities, and the environment.
Despite being a simple machine, the people at Planet Bike have always believed that the bicycle has great potential to help improve the world and the lives of the people in it. From the start, they have embraced an alternative corporate purpose which seeks to help get more people on bicycles by making communities friendlier places for the self-propelled. By donating 25% of company profits to causes that promote and facilitate bicycle usage, Planet Bike hopes to make an impact.
Social experiments aside, Planet Bike was born from the heart of a cyclist with a goal of making innovative, high quality, and practical bicycle accessories. Simply put, they strive to design and develop the best bicycle products in the world. In the company's short ten year history, they have made important product innovations within the bicycle industry. Advancements include the 4-line computer which is now a standard in the industry and the world's first self-contained HID light. Not bad for a company that ten years ago started as a one man operation. Today, while still a small company, Planet Bike continues to evolve and improve their product line with the goal of always striving to build accessories that make it easier for people to ride their bikes. Since 1996, Planet Bike's financial support of the grassroots bicycle movement has totaled $500,000. By 2010, they have made a goal to donate $1 million to organizations that are dedicated to making America a friendlier place for cyclists.
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My main complaint is the handlebar bracket. To tighten the bracket on the handlebar you have to advance a strip with raised notches through a slot (a common method for bike lights). On the Beamer 3 the notches are spaced out a bit too far, making it impossible to tighten the bracket in small increments; so it might be too loose or too tight depending on the thickness of the handlebar. It was frustrating to have the light droop down whenever I hit a bump and not be able to really tighten it. This was resolved with a few layers of masking tape around the handlebar to reach the correct level of thickness. I had a couple of Bell iPulse front lights which could be securely attached to pretty much any standard handlebar.
Secondly, the opaque housing shields the light source in such a way that you cannot tell if the light is on/off/blinking unless you hold your hand in front of the unit. So when I'm riding in fading light but not truly dark conditions, I have to periodically reach in front of the light to make sure it's on. I admit that this is very nitpicky of me, and might actually be seen as a positive for cyclists who don't like the distraction of seeing the hint of light in their peripheral vision. I personally like to know that the light has gone off unexpectedly, which does happen.
On the whole, this bike light does the job. Hopefully Planet Bike will make a few tweaks in future models to address these issues.
1. They aren't waterproof. I had two of them mounted on the turn blinker stalks of my motorcycle for about a year, before really needing them when the low beam on my headlight went out. Neither light would work, because the battery compartments were flooded with water (it was pouring rain at the time).
2. During the next year, both lights disappeared. I suspect they fell off due to failure of the plastic lock. but maybe someone thought they needed them more than I did. One lasted months longer than the other, and I had turned them upside down so any water that got into them would run back out, so who knows what caused their loss.
CONCLUSION Don't leave this light on the handlebars. Carry it in a water resistant container, and only mount it when you need it.
RECOMMENDATION: Also consider the more powerful, and less expensive, alternative,
I just got one of those, too, and am very happy with it, so far.
The installation design is not very good. What makes it worse for me, is that I have my brake cords attached to my handlebar so it can go under my handlebar tape. I do this to keep it neat, even if it isn't practical or the "right way" to do it according to cycle geeks. But hear me out. Since i have to go over the brake cord, it makes it a little tricky. Even on a clean bar, which I also tried, it takes time to find the right setting... but even then, there is a twisting mechanism you must use to tighten the strap, and then it has to fit into this groove and then fastened tight. If it is too tight, you have to undo it and twist again. I've spent too much time just getting the damn light on, and there really isn't a logic to it. Lefty loosey, but which was is left? It's very hard to explain, but it's far from a quick release. You could in fact just take the light portion off and leave the strap on... but then there is always the possibility some jerk will take it. Might be worth more research for one with a better attachment method.
It helps make your presence on the road more apparent to on coming traffic. The light is bright enough from even a few hundred feet that a driver would have to be extremely oblivious and distracted not to see it.
Perhaps more importantly, the light will illuminate street signs and signals that are made with a reflective material at distances of over 450 feet away (I measured using google maps). When I first used the light (in flashing mode), I was genuinely shocked to see how the street signs up to two blocks ahead of me were pulsating. I say that this is important because it helps you spot stop signs in the distance - assuming you're being a safe cyclist, biking in a lane, with traffic, abiding by traffic laws, you're probably most likely to get killed by accidently running a stop sign. When I bike home from work at night, I take streets that have no traffic lights and only stop signs, so being able to spot them is very important for me.
The light attaches to your handle bar through via a mount; the light can easily slid off the mount so you don't have to bike around with it during the day, nor leave it on the bike when it's parked outside.
The light does what it needs to do for a reasonable price. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.