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For safe cycling on roads at night you need powerful bike lights so that other road users can spot you. Redshift Sports turns the dial up a notch with their new Arclight pedals that give 360-degree illumination and lights that move as you pedal to keep you safer.
On paper, these new light-up bike pedals promise a lot – powerful illumination that can make you 57% more visible than with standard bike lights.
But, do they deliver on that promise? Let’s take a look.
What are Arclight bike pedals?
The Arclight pedals are aluminum mountain bike-style flat pedals that fit most bikes (they have a 9/16” thread size which is the standard on the majority of crank arms).
Unlike a standard pedal, however, the Arclight come with LED light modules that slot into the pedals (two each per pedal).
As you pedal, the LED units light up to give a full circle of illumination around you and your bike.
Right off the bat, that’s a huge benefit vs traditional bike lights – where you have a light on your handlebar, a light on your seatpost, and a big pool of darkness in the middle where you are.
The light can sense which way up it is (something that I often fail to accomplish after coming off my bike) – this enables it to present a white light to the front and a red to the rear.
Flip the pedal over and you’ll see the lighting units switch over instantly from red to white and vice versa.
The multi-mount (available separately) can be used to fit an LED unit elsewhere on you or your bike – I’ve used this on either my seatpost or on a backpack.
Charging is done via the 4-way charging hub which you can then plug into any USB socket to top up your LED units. I’ve used this both on my laptop and also in a wall socket.
In a pinch, you can also plug single LED units into a female USB socket if you forget your charger or are trying to pare down your packing.
The lights come with an Auto-on and -off feature – as soon as you start to pedal they’ll light up and then drop into Standby mode if they don’t sense movement for 30 seconds (press and hold the power button and they’ll fully turn off, which can be useful if you’re looking to preserve the battery during the daytime).
Specification for the Arclight pedals is as follows:
3.7×3.8×1.0 inches or 95x97x25mm (excluding the axle, which adds 1”/25mm to the length)
9/16” (the standard on most bikes)
MTB-style flat pedal
Aluminum pedal body with steel axle and sealed bearings
Weight (per pair of pedals):
1 lb 9 oz or 701g with LED units fitted
1 lb 5 oz or 599g without the LED units
(This compares favorably with similar MTB-style platform pedals – for example, one of REI’s best-sellers, the Race Face Atlas pedal, weighs in at a claimed 14 oz or 386g)
Steady light (3hrs battery life)
Flash (11hrs battery life)
Eco Flash (36hrs battery life)
Red 20 lumens
White 50 lumens
How easy are the pedals to fit?
Simple – installation of the pedals is the same as with any other standard set of pedals (which is incredibly easy to do).
If you haven’t tackled this before then you’ll need a small tube of bike grease and either a 9/16” (15mm) torque pedal wrench or a 6mm hex key.
The installation instructions that come with the pedals are very clear and easy to follow.
Here’s what you do:
- Remove the old pedals with the wrench by turning clockwise (for the left pedal or counter-clockwise for the right pedal).
I’ve often found that for removing old pedals, the wrench can give more leverage than a hex key, which can be helpful if they’re stuck fast.
Important – identify the Left and Right Arclight pedals (Left has a ‘L’ sticker and ‘CR-L’ on the spindle).
2. Apply a little bike grease to the thread of your new pedals.
3. Screw the new pedals in – by hand to begin with, so that they don’t become cross-threaded, and then using the wrench or hex key to tighten them.
4. Install the LED units by sliding into the body of the pedal on each side – they’re firmly held in place by magnets and this grabs onto the units with a very satisfying ‘clunk’ when they hit home.
How securely do the magnets hold the LED units? Very. I’ve shaken the pedals vigorously and even taken them out on some technical single-track and there’s been no movement whatsoever in the units.
Are they waterproof?
Yes, they are. The pedals themselves are made from aluminum with a steel axle and sealed bearings – I’ve been testing these in some fairly gross conditions and the pedals still spin smoothly and there’s no rust on either.
Redshift told me that the LED units are rated to IP64 for resistance to rain and water splashes from all directions. They also believed that they are capable of far higher levels than this but hadn’t tested them.
So…I broke out the pressure washer and a bowl of water and tested the LED units with them fitted into the pedals.
With the pressure washer the units worked perfectly after direct, prolonged blasts on all sides. That was also the case after a 60-second dunk in the jug of water:
How powerful are the lights?
The pedals have 50 individual LEDs per pedal – that’s two LED units per pedal, each unit with 25 LEDs.
8 LEDs per pedal are facing out to the sides of the bike.
Bear in mind that this gives a huge advantage over most traditional bike lights which only project light straight ahead – so either straight in front or directly behind you.
For urban riding and bike commuting, in particular, you can often have traffic coming at you from side-on (think: any kind of intersection).
With standard bike lights you’re hoping to get a little bit of light spilling out to the sides.
With the Arclight pedals you’re getting direct illumination out to each side – plus, the front side lights are white and the rear are red, so it’s clear which direction you’re traveling.
Redshift have confirmed that the output of the LED units is 20 lumens (red light) and 50 lumens (white light).
They also said that this ratio was chosen so that they appeared to be a similar brightness to the human eye – from my own tests I can confirm that that’s the case and they do appear to be the same.
The lights are also very bright – even in full daylight conditions.
Redshift also said that the light level won’t vary according to battery level – so far, in my tests, I can also attest to this.
How do the competition measure up?
So, light-up bike pedals certainly aren’t a new idea. But, what Redshift have done is to take the good aspects of previous pedals, re-engineer them (just like they did with the ShockStop Suspension seatpost) and add a hefty dose of the latest lighting technology.
Previous light-up bike pedals that you can get have included:
This was a UK company which created a range of innovative self-powered lighting units for walking, cycling and horse riding back in the first decade of the 21st Century.
Sadly they no longer exist.
These pedals were great in that they never needed to be re-charged – they used the kinetic energy that was generated as you pedaled to power them – unfortunately, with (I believe) 3 LEDs per pedal they were unlikely to have given out anything more than a weak light.
LOOK Geo City Grip Vision
LOOK have developed a rubber-coated flat pedal that also has LEDs integrated and is USB-chargeable.
The rubber coating will likely give good slip-resistance in wet conditions but, unfortunately, with only 4 LEDs per pedal it’s unlikely to give out much light.
Also, LOOK’s pedals only give out an amber light (vs the red/white of Arclight), which feels like a major disadvantage.
What don’t I like
I’m a big fan of these new pedals, but there are a couple downsides that we need to look at.
1. High price
First up, these aren’t cheap (at around $140 per set). You can get a new set of bike pedals much cheaper than that (60 bucks will get you a great set of flat MTB pedals from REI, for example).
Unfortunately, these REI pedals won’t light up, so it’s not really a fair comparison.
LOOK’s Geo City Grip Vision are the same price, however. This is a much better comparison and, in this case, the Arclight pedals are SO much better in terms of both their power and also the red/white light combo.
2. One shape
The Arclight also only come in one style – MTB flat pedals.
That’s not great if you want to use them with SPD or LOOK clipless systems.
But, let’s cut the team at Redshift a little slack – the Arclight have only just launched and, with sufficient buyer demand, I have no doubt that they’ll be more than happy to extend the range.
Testing out the Arclight pedals has been, well, illuminating.
I thought I had my bike lighting covered with front and rear lights and maybe a couple blinkies on my helmet or backpack.
Sadly, though, you hear too many news reports of bike commuters who’ve been injured by drivers who “just didn’t see them till it was too late”.
Arclights pedals are a no-brainer for keeping you safe on the roads at night and a must have for urban riding.