What makes a good road bike light?

CORE PRINCIPLES

In designing the Focal Series Road Edition   we thought long and hard about what makes for a great Road bike light, and determined it came down to a few core principles.

  1. Cutoff Beam Pattern
  2. Reliable
  3. Lightweight
  4. Long Lasting Battery Life
  5. Simple

CUTOFF BEAM PATTERN

The strong cutoff beam pattern, along with the wide field of view and the carpet of light in front of the bike is the number one core principle of the Road Edition. It is one of the reasons we went into this business! It was very hard to find a properly designed cutoff bike light with a wide beam angle that didn’t cost a fortune. In fact, there was not a single one! That’s where we stepped in.

The cutoff beam pattern refers to the sharp transition from light to dark on the top of the beam pattern. This means that you can aim the light down the road without blinding oncoming traffic, pedestrians, or fellow riders. It is essentially what the low beam on your vehicle headlights are, except we have tailored this specifically to road bike riding.

This is such a core principle, that it is actually governed by law in several European countries that bike lights used on the road must adhere to StVZO standards for minimum light and cutoff. The Road Edition far exceeds the minimum standards set out by StVZO.

RELIABILITY

We think this speaks for itself, however it seems to be a function not everyone always thinks about. There is nothing worse, or more dangerous, than finding yourself with a dead light in the middle of nowhere at night or a light suddenly turning off on a fast downhill descent. It is common issue plagued with cheap overseas lights. LED drivers overheat, solder joints break, cheap components fail, or battery connections become loose. Road biking is unique in that it is an unforgiving environment for electronics. High frequency vibrations, big impulse forces from pot holes, dust, dirt, water, heat and cold all put major stress on electronics.

This is why the Focal Series put the reliability of the product as the number one goal. There are no soldered joints from the power input to fail. Electrical components with tight tolerances that were selected not for cost, but for reliability. Large thermal mass for the heat of the LED to sink directly into with the help of thermal interface material (TIM) to enhance the heat dissipation. Lastly there is always a reserve amount of power to get you back home safely in the event your ride goes on longer than planned.

LIGHTWEIGHT

LONG LASTING BATTERY LIFE

Long lasting rides was the key from the get-go, and the properly design optics allows for a lower lumen level than competitors, yet still be brighter with a wider field of vision. This is achieved because of how optically efficient the light is. It utilizes 96% of the available light from the chip and puts it right on target thanks to the incredibly well designed reflector.

Typical bike lights have an off-the-shelf optic or a bowl type reflector that just creates the standard circular beam pattern that everyone knows very well.  This pattern leaves points that are too bright, and others that are throwing light where it isn’t needed. All of this adds up to wasted energy, and shorter battery life.

The Focal Series also uses genuine high capacity LG battery cells, not cheap knockoffs that have overstated amp hour claims. This results in a more expensive battery compared to cheap eBay or Amazon listings, but a stable, reliable, safe, and high performing pack that we stand behind.

DEAD SIMPLE

We know there are lots of nifty features out there on todays lights. Bluetooth, LCD screens with readouts, motion control, iPhone and Android apps, programable user modes, dozens of buttons, and many more. While those features are cool to use occasionally, they detract from the core mission of a great light. Light up the night. We focused strongly on a single large button for operation, a high quality  LED chip, reliable electronics, and most importantly an incredibly well designed beam pattern which is the result of hundreds of hours of simulation and analysis.

Dead simple operation means less things to go wrong, less things to worry about on the road, and more time to focus on the ride ahead.

High Quality, Long Lasting.

The Focal Series lights are designed using the same reflector technology found in high end automotive headlights (Audi, Porsche, Mercedes Benz, McLaren, and many more.) An automotive-grade high intensity LED chip, aluminized precision reflectors, magnesium die casting, and an optical grade silicone lens are used to deliver a high performance product.