Review: Reelight SL 150 battery free bike light

The light on the right, magnets on the left - Induction magic!
The light on the right, magnets on the left - Induction magic!

This summer has been awesome. Even though it seems to continue quite a long time, eventually the dark will set (in Finland summer nights are bright as day) and then you need to see and more importantly, you need to be seen. In the olden days, nearly all commuter style bicycles had some kind of dynamo attached to the front wheel, grinding some light for you to stumble forward in the middle of the night, but they were always a hassle.

Since then batteries have evolved and LED lighting has made it possible to use battery powered lights for extended periods, but even they would eventually run out of juice – usually at the time you needed to be seen the most.

Well, if it’s bikes and stuff for them, the people of Denmark have been in the forefront for a long time as they are crazy with their bikes. Reelight is a product from a company aptly named after their technology and it has the killer selling point – you don’t need batteries or dynamos for these babies.

They work with magic.

The rear light is exactly the same, but red. Surprisingly.

The magic science of electromagnetism, that is! The compact series (that’s the SL 100, 120 and 150) comes with two lights and four magnets. The compact lights are attached to your wheel axles and are rather simple to install. The magnets are attached to your spokes, and you can buy extra magnets as well if you want even more light from your Reelights.

The purpose of the Reelight system is not to see, but to be seen. The models differ in small ways, the SL 100 is a blinking version that stops blinking when you stop. The SL 120 is also a blinking version, but it has a built-in capacitor for the induction energy and it will keep blinking for a while after you stop. The SL 150 is a constantly lit version of the same light, and doesn’t have a capacitor. They all cost at around 45 euros.

Reelight has also applied the same principle in other lights that can be attached to your pannier, seat post, handle bar or fork crown – but they are nearly double the price. Even with the compacts you can see large shapes (like paths) in your way, but I wouldn’t (and you shouldn’t) use these as your only light source.

I went for the compact ones so they are out of the way and there wouldn’t be any wires or cables going around. I also selected the steady light version, because I don’t personally like the blinkers and I think they are less efficient compared to the steady version.

Our verdict: ★★★★☆

Not too expensive at 45 euros, battery and hassle free, ecological and quite good looking. A solid choice for people wanting to be seen.

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By Markus Sandelin

Markus is a bike commuter gadget freak who is learning the ropes of the bike world, you can find him all around the web - but you can start with his twitter at @banton.