Reelight Neo Promises World’s Brightest Battery Free, Magnet Powered Bike Light

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Bike lights have come a long way not only in how bright and compact they are, but also how efficiently they run with new LED technology. Reelight is a company based in Denmark where people ride for more than just fun and exercise, so simplicity and convenience is key. Reelight’s new no-friction Neo light uses no batteries, separate generators, or external magnets to power up. Just needs any rotating aluminum rim.

Beam past the break to see the magic behind the magnets and find out what Eddy has to do with it…..

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A common struggle among many light users over the years has been the desire to replace disposable battery powered lights with rechargeable ones, however the ritual of charging your lights every or every other ride can be a nuisance. The old school sidewall grinding wheel generators did the job, though the price you paid was a mess of wires and increased rolling resistance along with premature tire wear for little in return as far as light output goes. The newer hub generator systems are nice and do the trick, but still require additional lights and can be expensive.

We first saw Reelight magnet driven lights back in 2008 so their experience with magnet technology is nothing new. A similar concept we saw this past Summer was the Cydekick frictionless light system that uses magnets on both the sensor and the wheel, however, this works a little different. The Neo light doesn’t use a second set of magnets, but works by receiving magnetic resistance from the rim itself…. from non-ferrous aluminum (and only aluminum according to their FAQ)! This is where Eddy currents come in. What are Eddy currents? In short Eddy currents are generated when the north pole of a magnet passes by any conductive material creating a resistance that charges electrons thus creating energy. (Go watch this then do like me and grab a roll of aluminum and some rare earth magnets and geek out a little). To get the Neo into production, Reelight has started a Kickstarter campaign that has already exceeded its funding goal.

 

Reelight graph

The Neo light system is a simple design that simply mounts to your front fork and rear seatstay. Once you line up the generator’s housing with the rim, you’ll never have to touch it again.

Reelight stopped

Reelight claims the Neo puts out 118 lumens which is adequate for being seen and probably just good enough to see with, but for actual night riding it might be preferable to have something more substantial depending on your circumstances. Pictured above, the Neo has a back up reserve that lights up a separate low-power LED when stopped so that there is always a light on so that traffic can still see you.

Reelight exploded

The Neo comes in front and rear versions and each version will retail for $60 each, (though if you hurry, there are still a few purchasing options on their Kickstarter for up to 40% off). Looks overall to be a pretty neat concept that is a huge improvement over the old tire to generator light systems of years’ past while being less complicated and brighter. I am however boggled on how they didn’t call it the “Light Pop”.

Reelight Neo Kickstarter Page

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Axel
Axel
6 years ago

Wow that’s really cool

Henrik
Henrik
6 years ago

My very first foray into Kickstarter was backing a product using the exact same technology. It was a disaster – producing the actual production model took forever, and it looked nothing like the slick and clean lights promised on the kickstarter campaign. In use, the set up was extra fiddly – the magnets had to be very close to the rim – and just a millimeter of wiggle away from the wheel (say if you hit a pothole and the system shifted out a bit) would drastically dim the lights. I can only hope these guys solved a lot of the mount/quality issues that burned me on magnetic energy lights – but I’m gonna wait till they have production models to review before plunking down money.

quickgeezer
quickgeezer
6 years ago

A light that’s down among my spokes would never be what I’m looking for.

Matthew
Matthew
6 years ago

Cool idea, but this is a gateway drug to most cyclists having dynamo lighting on most bikes. (This is a very good thing!)

Before I got the dynamo on my touring bike, I thought generator hubs were mediocre at best, and draggy at worst. Now, I won’t own any non-racing bike that doesn’t have a generator hub on it. The newest generation of dynamo hubs coming out of Germany and the Netherlands power lights far brighter than 118 lumens, and you can’t feel any drag at all while you’re riding at normal speeds.

randall
randall
6 years ago

Friction Free is nice, but it almost implies that there is no resistance to the unit’s operation. Sadly, this can’t be true (damn you, physics!)

Moreover, I’d prefer to see things advertised with their efficiency. In this case, a device which has “No Friction” but is only 80% efficient is still worse than a 90% efficient dynamo which has 5% of the inefficiency coming from friction.

Henry C
Henry C
6 years ago

No need to re-invent something that’s already invented:
http://www.magniclight.com/

Erik
Erik
6 years ago

Wheel shadow would get pretty annoying after a couple seconds riding in the dark. I wonder how they get around the Magnic Light from Dirk Strothman?

ascarlarkinyar
6 years ago

I was all excited until I read 118 lumes. Thats the same as one match stick. Maybe bright enough for a backlight. But not enough to see for a front light I will stay with my 1000 lumes dynohub light

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago

Why no mention of Magnics? BR has done articles on them before, and this is more or less just a copy with different impkementation.

Gunnstein
Gunnstein
6 years ago

“no-friction” – Nope. The magnets in the lollipop rotate on a shaft, there is mechanical friction there. Same as the Magnic Light, it also has rotating magnets inside. Each magnet tries to slow down the rim passing next to it, this instead causes the magnet to move, which rotates the shaft, which has a generator to produce power. Erik, I also thought Strothman had a patent on this, perhaps he’s selling licences?

drosser
drosser
6 years ago

I have a set of MagnicLight ICs. They are impossible to mount on bikes with disc brakes and from my experience the mounting system Reelight is proposing is completely unworkable. The paramagnetic forces will pull the generator towards the rim of the wheel. If the mounting solution isn’t super-rigid, the generator will be rubbing on the wheel rim.

-Rizza
-Rizza
6 years ago

…more importantly, what’s up with the model dudes shoes? I guess they we chosen to distract your eyes from the fugly little light stalks.

Sully
Sully
6 years ago

I use fenders. These lollipops look like they hang out in the fender area.

Obviously, these are designed as “be seen” lights and not “see far ahead” lights. So dont toss out your Mega-lumen primary light. (and thanks in advance for blinding me on the bike path).

Anyway, I love my ORP. Light and horn in one unit, and up high on my handlebar where it can actually be seen.

alex
6 years ago

Eddy currents may be friction free, but they still drag on the wheel. Energy is never free. You still have to pay for it in watts. I agree with the poster above efficiency is what matters.

FreeBeer
FreeBeer
6 years ago

Since magnetic fields decay as a function of distance cubed, the proximity to the rib is extemely important. I don’t know why they didn’t develop this into the form factor of a set of brakes, it would allow a more secure mounting mechanism. Heck, they could have designed it into a set of pad holders.

Also, consodering the standard size of rims, they could have made a large strip that was integrated into a fender. The larger the surface area, the more power output.

goridebikes
goridebikes
6 years ago

Just stopped in to say I don’t own any bikes with Al rims sooooooo….
When they come out with magnets that work on carbon, let me know.

/troll

chris
chris
6 years ago

What are you guys complaining about. Look at that top picture. The lights on that bike are so bright it’s like daylight!!! sweet…

Allan
Allan
6 years ago

I don’t understand the comment “however the ritual of charging your lights every or every other ride can be a nuisance.” Do we not charge our phones everyday? Tablets, music players, etc…I don’t get how this is a nuisance. Plus the 118 lumens is pretty weak. I’d rather have a reliable rechargeable light that puts out way more than 118 lumens…I dunno, this does not appeal to me in any way.

benh
benh
6 years ago

There’s something about the way you call them ‘Eddy currents’ that makes me want to believe the lights are picking up disturbances in the force left by the passage of the Cannibal…

TheBear
TheBear
6 years ago

Keep in mind, that these are developed to function in urban areas for everyday cyclists. The roads are lid up by city lights and therefore 100 lumens are plenty. Reelights is a well established brand in Denmark and I would guess that around 70% of the 600.000 cyclists in Copenhagen uses Reelight for their everyday commute. I’m excited for this, however I’m concerned by the wheel-shadow as well.

Dolan Halbrook
Dolan Halbrook
6 years ago

I’ve also owned the original Magnic Lights and now a pair of the ICs. I can’t say I’ve measured their exact output, but I’d put them somewhere between “seeing” and “to be seen” lights. About half as bright as an B&M IQ Cyo. Their mounting mechanisms are definitely fiddly, and best suited to very laterally strong wheels where there is little chance of the rim hitting the light. As for Reel Light effectively copying the design.. I have mixed feelings. The world should have more battery free lights, but there is definitely prior art here and that should be acknowledged.

Dolan Halbrook
Dolan Halbrook
6 years ago

@Allan

If you forget to charge your phone it doesn’t put your life in danger getting home. Here in Portland I see inadvertent bike ninjas nearly every day, sometimes in terrible conditions where visibility is paramount to safety.

On my rain bike I run both USB battery lights with a set of Magnics as a backup just in case. Overkill, maybe, but there’s never a case where I don’t have at least some kind of light.

Droid
Droid
6 years ago

It may keep you from getting a ticket, but if you regard a bicycle as transportation, get a dynamo and real lights. It’s unfortunate that most bike companies are more than happy to sell you a bike that becomes a huge issue when the sun goes down, and then leave it up to you to bolt this nonsense to it.

ObligatedToSay
ObligatedToSay
6 years ago

* Too low on the bike for visibility in traffic
* Being on one side of the wheel means additional obstruction

I would have used the rear light watching the promotional video to confirm.

AbelF
AbelF
6 years ago

180 lumens from eddy currents derived from a rotating Alu rim seems pretty impressive to me!

iperov
iperov
6 years ago

no thx kickstarter
too many scams last time

Kevin Hodgson
Kevin Hodgson
6 years ago

I’ve been running my magnic IC lights for a couple of months now.
The rear is absolutely fantastic. Incredibly bright, same as any other 1 watt red LED. I now use this as a permanent daylight running rear. Drag is almost imperceptible even on a work stand, never mind when riding.
Magnics are much lighter than Reelights (65g each versus 300g).
I use 2 front magnics which eliminate wheel shadow and provide a great angle for highlighting road defects much better than a bar mounted light. The side visibility is also helped because of the way they shine down the rims. When used on a rim brake rim, 2 fronts are bright enough to ride on completely unlit country roads. …just. I use a battery lamp only for extra lighting on downhills.
I even use these on my racing bike with mavic kysriums wheels.
Disadvantages.
As others have said, very fiddly to set up close to the rim, but still allowing for wheel and fork flex when you stand up uphill. It is like setting up rim brakes. Set up and performance of the front is harder on a disc brake rim with no brake track. The rears are so bright that this isn’t really an issue.
However if you have several bikes the magnics swap between bikes and the brackets stay put. Another advantage over Reelights.

My advice would be that the magnic rear light is an absolute solid gold product that I’d recommend to anyone.
The fronts are ideal for regular commuters, but much better if you have rims with braking tracks. And even even better if you still have your canti mounts.

Kevin Hodgson
Kevin Hodgson
6 years ago

Oh, and magnic did send an email saying that they’re looking at patent infringement. Apparently the only thing allowing these onto the market is that the European patent is still in progress.

CeNavarro
CeNavarro
6 years ago

That is not fair!
In Kickstarter reelight pretend that they are the inventors.
Without Dirk Strothmann’s invention reelight never would have achieved.

travis
6 years ago

I don’t want it it’s just too much money for it