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Thread: The full length Sparse review

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    Default The full length Sparse review

    So I'm shameless and will do or deal with most anything to keep the lines on my bike clean. I also ride on some pretty narrow handlebars. I'm pretty narrow chested so my current bullhorns are 38 cm and my drop bars are 40 cm models. This also means that real estate on the cockpit is precious. Enter Sparse Bike Lights.

    My commute / riding / lighting experience: My commute is 100% on the road and is lit most of the way. My previous headlight was the Knog Blinder Arc 1.7. I didn't love the battery life of it. I had to charge it at least every day and sometimes twice a day. It was easy to take off and put on and I still hated going through the process of doing it every time I locked up my bike. In addition to front and back lights I have a timbuk2 backpack with reflective hits on it and I also use a Nathan blinkie light attached to the backpack.

    My opinion: The Sparse lights look awesome on your bike. They are easy to use and have great battery life (this is likely my opinion because the Knog's battery was so poor). They aren't really "theft proof". The only way this would be true is if you used special propriety screws. Otherwise you're still talking about someone's willingness to use an allen wrench or two to take apart your headset / seat post. My bike is kept inside when home and is in a parking deck when at work. Given the locations I'm at I feel secure knowing my lights aren't going anywhere. The lights come with two 6' USB cables for charging. One of which is bent at a 90 degree angle to make charging the front light easier.

    They light my immediate front path slightly less than my Knog. These lights are about a lot of wide light. I'm fine with this. My route is already mostly lit. What I want is to stand out to cars. To me, they work. Cars have seemed to notice me faster, easier and I feel safer. Your riding conditions will make or break these lights. But enough of my opinions. To the photos! (Photos were taken indoors with all lights off - My neighborhood has street lights everywhere and I wanted people to see what kind of light they produce in darkness).

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  3. #2
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    More taillight photos

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    These have definitely moved up to the top of my Covet List. Thanks for the review.

    Do you think they're enough for, say, riding back to DC from the BAFS kickoff happy hour? It gets DARK along 4MR and MVT. It looks like it would be from the photos.

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    Oh, one more request - can we see a well-lit picture, too? I don't mind silly-looking functional things on my commuter, but the Pinarello needs pretty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    These have definitely moved up to the top of my Covet List. Thanks for the review.

    Do you think they're enough for, say, riding back to DC from the BAFS kickoff happy hour? It gets DARK along 4MR and MVT. It looks like it would be from the photos.
    I think you would be fine if you were to keep to the 15mph "speed limit" i hear people talk about. I think if you were to go faster than that you'd be out running their light. I have a short mup I ride on to get to downtown Vienna and it has no lights and I've never had an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    Oh, one more request - can we see a well-lit picture, too? I don't mind silly-looking functional things on my commuter, but the Pinarello needs pretty.
    Lets go easy on the handlebars ok? Its a work in progress... I have new stuff on the way. Yes - in the winter I have broken down and added an sks s-blade fender. I had to tape it on.. when I wear shorts I've had my shorts flap back far enough to grab the quick release and dump my fender on the road on me. I'm still waffling on if it is worth it.

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    No worries, my bars aren't there yet either. Thanks for the pictures. I'm not sure on the rear one - I'd like something that kind of fades into the lines of the seat a little better. In front my stem slopes down so it would be a snugger fit.

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    These look great and are super bright.


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    Hozn, what is that rear light?

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    Questions:

    How accessible are the controls, especially on the rear light, to switch modes on the fly?

    Can the headlight be easily swiveled on the stem? Alternatively, how easy is it to reach to cover so you don't blind oncoming traffic on the MUT?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Powerful Pete View Post
    Hozn, what is that rear light?
    Thats my old tail light actually Knog Blinder R. Nope, I went with the slightly cheaper model... so its the classier version of my old tail light.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drewdane View Post
    Questions:

    How accessible are the controls, especially on the rear light, to switch modes on the fly?

    Can the headlight be easily swiveled on the stem? Alternatively, how easy is it to reach to cover so you don't blind oncoming traffic on the MUT?

    Theres only one big button on the underside of each light. Pretty tough to miss and it only has three options:
    Off
    Blink
    On
    I'd think you'd be able to change on the fly pretty easy. Where you mount it on your seatpost (height wise) could make it easier or harder to reach.

    I have a threadless stem. I have heard reviews of people with threaded stems sometimes having the light move slightly off line on them. Otherwise by default it will point to where you mount it to point then swivel/turn as you turn your handlebars. You can physically make it turn by hand but it would be tough to do depending on how tight your headset is setup. I wouldn't attempt to rotate mine without loosening the headset.

    I wouldn't worry a huge huge amount about blinding people (220 Lumens I think?). The light points down (the angle at which it points down is dependant on your headtube angle) and can't be adjusted short of you bending the actual light frame (which sounds like a bad idea). How close to your bars you mount it would also have something to do with this. If you look at the last image I posted, I have two spacers underneath it which means it is actually just below my bars. It wouldn't be too hard at all to cover. Much more feasible than the lights that are mounted around the brake area. Assuming you have drop bars or bars that make the flats there available to you, you'd basically just have to drape one of your hands over top of the bar to block light that had a chance to really get in incoming cyclists eyes.
    Last edited by dplasters; 01-02-2015 at 08:11 AM.

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