Planet Bike Superflash USB Rear Light Review

March 6, 2015

Posted in: Bike Blog

There comes a time in every bicycle commuters life when riding after dark becomes

unavoidable. This is a very stark reality in the midst of a cold Minnesota winter, when it gets

dark at about four in the afternoon. While it is understandable for folks to be nervous about

being in traffic after dark on snowy roads, there are lots of ways to take some of the edge off.

Obviously caution and defensive riding are your two best options, having a solid means of

illumination not only improves your safety but will often go a long way towards bolstering

confidence on those dark nights. Recently I’ve been using the new Planet Bike Superflash USB

Rechargeable, and I have been very impressed. The standard superflash has long been my go

to for a consistent bright rear light with a longer than average lifespan. As a daily commuter I am

using my lights on average 5-7 days a week all year long, so I have used every version of the

superflash thats been released in the last ten years. In terms of visibility I havent come across

too many lights that can compete for the price. All the super flash lights come with 3 super

bright LEDs and a compact but highly efficient reflector to get the most out of the lights

themselves. The mounting bracket is standard across all of the Planet bike rear lights and while

it isnt the cleverest option for mounting, the basic plastic is durable and replaceable. The USB

rechargeable option is the newest in the line and shares most of the features of the other lights

with a couple of obvious improvements. While the standard super flash have always managed

a pretty substantial lifespan with double A batteries, the choice to go rechargable has become

more common and often more desirable. Planet bike advertises a 24 to 36 hour runtime per 4-6

hour charge which I have found to be true if not a little ungenerous. I have been using mine for

about 6 months on a daily basis and I have had to give it one total charge. That fact alone for a

rechargeable light is very, very impressive. Planet bike has also changed the power switch

from the original. My only complaint with any of these lights has been the fact the the switch to

turn the light on has always been a hard, almost flat button on the bottom. This made the light

difficult to turn on in the best of circumstances much less with heavy winter gloves. The

rechargeable option has a rubberized and slightly more raised button making it easier to locate

and much easier to activate the LEDS. This may seem like a small thing to be picking at but

when you use the lights everyday it’s the little things you notice. I always got the feeling that the

old design was mostly for weatherproofing the light but I haven’t seen anything to suggest this

new light isnt proof against even the harshest winter conditions. Which is possibly the best

thing I can say about all of these lights, they just keep kickin. I have put many superflash lights

through the ringer and have even been able to repair a couple of them when they finally couldn’t

take any more damage. Not only do they put up with a ton of abuse but they don’t lose any

effectiveness even when they’re a little beat up. My overall impression of the Superflash lights

has only improved with the release of this option and I see no reason to not use at least one of

these on each bike I take into the black night.