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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Philips Saferide dynamo lamp

I briefly mentioned this lamp at the end of the recent post about dynamo lighting, having read universal praise of it online. I continued to look for more information on the lamp and I found an online shop selling it at a price which seemed too good to pass up. Wanting to find out more, I bit the bullet and ordered the lamp.

After a few days, the lamp arrived. The Philips Saferide has a rated light output of 60 lux, the same as the B&M Cyo (although this number alone actually tells us very little). Also like the Cyo, the housing is aluminium to facilitate LED cooling (however, only a portion of the Cyo housing is aluminium). Like most dynamo lights, the beam is dipped so that the majority of the light ends up illuminating the road rather than blinding oncoming traffic.

I was most intrigued by this; it appears that in some jurisdictions this lamp is sufficiently bright for use on 50 cc motorcycles too.

The light comes with a bracket and integrated reflector. The reflector also houses the wire after it leaves the lamp, which would have to be dismantled ion order to change the bracket. At the lamp end. whilst similar to the B&M mounting the Saferide mount is wider at this point, use of B&M mountings would require some bracket modification in order to work. 

The light source of this lamp is indirect; the beam is formed by a pair of LEDs which sit at the top of the lamp. The optics then direct the light provided by these LEDs into an even beam.

The cables leaving the back of the lamp include a pair for connecting to the dynamo and a second pair which terminate in spade connectors, for hooking-up a rear light.

The only criticism I have seen of this lamp is that the bracket is weak at the fork crown end, due to the scoring pictured above. In order to mitigate this, I used large washers when the light was mounted in order to spread the load over a wider area of the bracket.

The Saferide on the DL-1 (which I should clean). Whilst the Brompton is more in need of a new front lamp, the bracket of the Saferide would not be compatible with the luggage block. The Saferide is less aesthetically appropriate than the Lumotec Retro which was previously fitted to the DL-1, but the DL-1 is a working bike, not a museum piece.

Unlike the Lumotec Retro, the Saferide does not have the automatic on/off via light sensor feature which I came to appreciate. The Saferide is controlled by an on/off switch on the top of the unit, which also turns off the stand-light when switched off. The capacitor holds the charge for at least a day even when switched off, so the stand-light can be turned back on when unlocking the bike.

Now, onto the performance of the light itself. This thing is bright, I mean seriously bright. The first ride I did with it was Halloween Critical Mass, which took place as it was starting to get dark. By the end of the ride it was completely dark and the mass was heading to Platt Fields park (which lacks lighting in many parts). By this point I was towards the back and the Saferide was illuminating the lower half of all the bikes in front of me and completely outshining the lights on the 15 or so bikes in front of me. 

The best light I have to compare the Saferide to is the Lumotec Lyt. The Lyt provides enough light to ride quite comfortably on unlit country roads, producing a bright, slightly narrow beam with a halo of light thrown wide to provide visibility of the sides of the road, overhanging vegetation, visibility for oncoming traffic and illuminate road signs. In comparison, the Saferide has a taller, notably brighter beam which is about twice the width. The whole width of a country road is illuminated easily, and the beam stretches up to around 50 metres in front of the bike. The 'halo' of the Lyt is replaced by a slightly odd 'broken halo,' similar to the stylised rays surrounding a child's drawing of the sun. These 'rays' provide visibility of the sides of the road nearer to the bike and do an excellent job of lighting up road signs and the reflectors on parked cars. When I took the DL-1 on a ride along some unlit country roads in the dark using the Saferide, after a while I wasn't sure how dark it had been when I set off. Switching the Saferide off for a moment confirmed that it was indeed completely dark at the time.

I would like to compare the Saferide to similarly-rated lights such as the Edelux and the Cyo. If Mr MiddleAgeCyclist would like to go for a spin somewhere at night, I'd be happy to see how the Saferide and Edelux compare.

For urban utility riding, the Saferide is complete and total overkill. For rural utility riding, the Saferide represents a worthwhile purchase, especially considering the battery requirements (and conical beam-shape) of a typical similarly bright battery light. Thanks to good (dynamo) lighting, I enjoy riding at night, both for utility and just for fun. For the most part of my riding the Saferide will be overkill, but it will come into its own when I'm riding for fun.

The Lumotec Retro is currently for sale on eBay, although I'd be willing to sell privately to a local instead.

UPDATE (6/11/11)

Yesterday I was able to meet up with Mr Middle Age Cyclist for a ride down the Floop after dark, to compare the Saferide with his Schmidt Edelux. The Floop is completely unlit, providing a good proving ground for the lights. Whilst the comparison is highly subjective, we both agreed that the lights are effectively equivalent in performance. The Edelux casts a slightly taller, more narrow beam whilst the Saferide casts a slightly shorter, more wide beam. The Edelux is effectively a super version of the B&M Cyo, possessing the same optics and LED, but housed in a more thermally-efficient aluminium housing with a glass lens. This set-up is designed to get that little bit more output from the same core light, suggesting that the Saferide is likely an equal, or perhaps marginally superior light to the Cyo. One day I will do another direct comparison with a Cyo


  1. Happy to go for a spin MrC, even it it was not to compare lights. Any night good for you? Saturday evening is doable for me for me. Maybe LC or Ian might join us to video the comparison? Speak soon.

  2. I need to get one of these on my bike, I don't have a dynamo hub or anything yet. I think I'll need your advice on all this sort of thing.

  3. @MiddleAgeCyclist,

    I could probably do very early evening on Saturday, just after it gets dark. It all depends on where though (have to be in city centre afterwards).


    Do you run disc brakes, and if so are they 6 bolt or centre lock? Could probably do a disk wheel (using old rim) for about 50 or so, less if rim brakes.

  4. Yep. Early Sat PM fine for me. City centre is equidistant for both I suppose but not sure where to meet that is really dark. Suggestions?

  5. The Floop is dark and quite near to the centre

  6. FLOOP good. Give me time and place and I'll be there!

  7. Hello! But it's bonfirenight!!!! I am off to Withenshaw park with friends for a bonfire bonanza :D (it's my favourite time of the year!)

    Have fun! :D x

  8. "For urban utility riding, the Saferide is complete and total overkill."

    You forget the poorly lit Irwell river path where avoiding the dog shit is an important part of navigating the path...

  9. Man, now you got me intrigued. The look of that light looks very 70's retro. I would love to have an "overkill" light for night riding in rural locations. I'll have to check and see if this thing is available States-side.

  10. LC

    But we can give you a bicycle driven light show of your very own! Just you, me and MrC. Maybe there is somehwere dark we could meet you near Wythenshawe Park?

    LOL. I just read that bit back and it sounds kind of naughty but you know what I mean. You do trust me right?...LC?

  11. Are we on for Saturday them MrC? Diary pressures are mounting!

  12. Sure thing. How about meeting at about half five at the front of Sainsbury's in Fallowfield?

  13. 5.30 Fallowfield Sainsburys. Check.

  14. @Mike,

    I've got mudguards for that.


    In looks, it reminds me of the crappy incandescent lights I had as a kid which took loads of C or D batteries and lasted about an hour or so. In performance, it reminds me of the cars of that era. I'll add some more detail on it as I spend more time with it. Should be available in the US

  15. Mr. C--
    I remember those lights. My first bike light when I became "serious" about cycling was a cheapo Cateye that took 2 C cells. The thing was already dim by the second night. But it was cheap and I was cheap. Even the cheapest LED lights now offer better visibility and performance than those pieces of crap!

    Also, FLOOP! I have no idea what y'all are talking about, but I just like the sound of the word Floop.


  16. Thanks for the night ride on the FLOOP MrC. It was certainly illuminating. Look forward to your light comparison. The pub thingy sounds good too!

  17. @Adventure,

    The Floop is short for the Fallowfield Loop, a non-loop cycleway which forms a smile shape a few miles south of Manchester city centre, built upon the trackbed of a disused railway line.


    Added the update, the ride certainly was illuminating (and illuminated). It'll be nice to see lights of this calibre become cheaper (and more accessible) over the next few years. Plus they'll probably squeeze another bump in brightness at the top end of the product range too.

  18. The switch doesn't turn off the standlight on mine. Is there something I missed ?

  19. @anonymous,

    Perhaps you have an earlier version than me? The stand-light is supposed to be able to be switched off to avoid attracting the attention of thieves when parked.

  20. On mine the switch does turn off the stand-light, however it does not turn off the rear light which is connected to the extra pair of connectors. Has anyone else seen this?


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