File this under “Why Didn’t I Think Of This?”
Rotating a conductor next to a magnet induces a current within the wheel. This current, in turn, creates its own magnetic field, which can be used to generate current to drive a light. Because the light is affixed to the brake caliper, when you tap the brakes you get a bonus feature: brighter light for an automatic brake light. Cool, huh?
The Magnic Bike Lights operate off of the eddy current generated by the rotating bicycle wheel. Unlike Reelight lights, there’s no need to add anything to the wheels — the lights get their juice from any metal bicycle rim. It’s a very slick idea.
I probably didn’t think of this because I didn’t believe eddy currents could provide enough power to drive LED lights, but if this video is any indication I guess it works.
You can get the back light for $85 via Kickstarter, where this project is already fully funded. $130 gets you the front light, and $199 gets you one of each. The Magnic Light guys also brought their invention to Taiwan for the Taipei Bike Show, where they say they got a lot of attention and interest from the bike industry.
More info at Magnic Light.
I’m a bit skeptical about these lights. The power output must be quite a bit less than a hub generator because of the physics of how they work. Their videos seem to show the light flickering too, and they are pointed fairly low in front of the bicycle to give the effect that they are bright. The Kickstarter comments indicate that this is a very basic LED, with no standlight, and no power unless the wheel is constantly spinning. They might be an easy to install light for city riding, but I can’t imagine that these would become popular for people that commute at night and are looking for more power.
As neat as generators are, and even though I have one, I generally don’t recommend them to most people. A decent dynamo system is ~$400 for a wheel, hub, set of lights, and labor to build the wheel. Even this Magnic system is $200. A PB Blaze 2W and PB Superflash Turbo is only ~$75 for the set, and run off typical batteries that can easily be recharged (the headlight maybe 1-2/wk, taillight can go weeks before recharging). The Magnic light is certainly not something you would leave on a bike either, so factor in the hassle of removing and installing the light when you park the bike.
Has no one else heard of Reelights? Been using a set on one bike for about a year and a half now. http://www.amazon.com/Reelight-Flashing-Compact-Generator-Headlight/dp/B0017GA09W/
@xx — read the post. I mention why these aren’t like Reelights.