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This page was last updated on: 11/27/10.
I have a new tail-light, which I call the BRL-2010. It uses 2 Osram Golden Dragon Plus red-orange LEDs and produces about 290 lumens. I can also make a BRL using Diamond Dragon red-orange LEDs to produce a 360 lumen tail-light. If they are available, I can make a BRL using Luxeon III red-orange LEDs to produce a 380 lumen tail-light. The Diamond dragon BRLs are about $25 more expensive than the Golden dragon version. The extra light is not that noticeable, but I offer this option for folks who want the brightest tail-light they can get.
The tail-light uses 8 watts if run in the light mode on high. It's pretty bright. There are newer LEDs coming down the pike that will probably let me do a 750 lumen rear light before the end of 2010, though I am beginning to think that around 300 lumens is enough for a tail light. I'm working adding a few holes to the side of the light housing so you'll be visible for over 180 degrees
Here's a couple of pictures.
The BRL-2010 lighting up my garage from about 50 feet.
The BRL-2010 attached to my seatpost. It's also pretty easy to attach to a rear rack.
If your's doesn't have a hole to mount a reflector, you'll need a drill.
The fun part about the BRL-2010 is the way motorists slow down and pull way over into the oncoming traffic lane before passing, even during the daytime. I usually run the tail light in beacon mode at the brightest light level, when riding at night. I once had my one of my town's police cars pull me over while I was running the tail light in this mode. Oh, great I thought here comes a ticket because I violated some arcane traffic law. The officer just wanted to comment that I had the brightest bike light he'd ever seen. He added it was a good idea to be extra visible on the windy hilly roads in the area I live in and wished me a pleasant ride.
The 3 quick flashes looks kind of like the blink from an ambulance or police car, and at night you can see it from over a mile away. I didn't add one of the annoying quickly flashing strobe modes that many tail lights use. Bright lights (especially red ones for some reason) that flash more than 5 times a second can induce seizures in some people. Most people finding bright rapidly blinking lights really annoying. I modeled my beacon mode after the flashers used on emergency vehicles, figuring they were probably designed not to bother people too much.
During daytime or dusk rides, I usually run the BRL-2010 in one of the blink or hi-lo mode. I think the hi-lo is just a bit more noticeable.
I've taken the BRL-2010 out on a couple of group rides. The ability to adjust the brightness is nice if you are in the middle of the pack. At night, I'll typically ride at the back of the pack, because I know drivers will notice my lights.