If you lock your bike outside with a typical quick-release bike light, you risk losing your light to theft. Way back in 2012, Slava Menn successfully funded his Gotham theft-resistant bike lights after a buddy lost his lights to theft. Since then, Menn started Fortified Bicycle Company to market theft-proof lights and other components to enhance bicycle security.
Menn sent me his two latest lights — the Fortified Boost Aviator headlight, and the Fortified Boost Afterburner tail light. Like his other lights, they attach to the bike using screws with uncommon heads that a typical component thief (hopefully) doesn’t carry.
Aviator and Afterburner are available in a standard and “boost” brightness level. The standard lights offer a claimed 150 lumens for the Aviator headlight, and 30 lumens of brightness from the tail light. 150 lumens is about the brightness from 2 watt lights such as the Planet Bike Blaze 2W or the Serfas TSL-S150. 30 lumens puts the tail light in about the same league as the Portland Design Works Radbot 1000.
The “Boost” version of these lights doubles the lumens for both — 300 lumens from the Aviator Boost, and 60 lumens from the Afterburner Boost. Fortified charges $40 more for the Boost combo pack of both lights. I think both levels of light are perfectly adequate for the kind of city riding I usually do.
Unlike most bicycle lights of similar brightness, Fortified lights are built with aluminum housings. Fortified claims these housings are shockproof and water-resistant to a foot of water.
When you open the packaging, you’re invited to visit a “secret” web page for install and operating instructions. The battery charging in particular is a little bit of a puzzle. It’s not unsolvable, but viewing the online instruction video makes the job easier. Installation involves using the provided wrench to turn the screws. It’s a little bit finicky, but this should be a one-time job. I believe Fortified’s claim that these lights are theft-proof. The lights and installation are very solid.
The batteries are removed for charging via a hidden release mechanism to open the battery compartment. You plug the battery into a micro-USB cable, and a charge status light changes from red to green when the battery is fully charged.
Although the light is still perfectly usable, as is battery removal and replacement, I managed to break the hinged battery opening during headlight installation.
The lights themselves have various steady-on and flashing modes, including a fast strobe for the headlight.
The only hesitation I have is water exposure. Although these lights will be fine for 90% of wet weather cycling, my bikes travel 20 miles on the front of a commuter express bus. Prolonged exposure to heavy rain at 60 MPH is a recipe to destroy even well designed bicycle electronics with Ingress Protection (IP) ratings. The very best bike lights are tested to IP67, which translates to three minutes of powerful water jets plus one meter under water for 30 minutes. During the rainy season, I’ve learned to remove all electronics from the bike during bus transportation.
I realize my mixed-mode commute is a little unusual. If you don’t need quick-release capability but require theft protection, I can recommend Fortified’s bike lights.
The standard brightness lights are available from Amazon, or buy directly from Fortified Bicycle.
need to get them and barry beam’s together