That’s right, I said Monkey Lights! If you aren’t already familiar with the company MonkeyLectric, the onset of winter and early sunsets is the perfect time to become so. Founded in 2008 just outside of San Francisco, CA, the company focuses on making bike lights fun. Not intended to replace the front and back lights of bicycles, their “cutting edge digital art platform” has fancy electronic components with designs and patterns created by their designers to make bikes more visible, and to put a smile on everyone’s face. The lights are made in California, and were thoroughly tested by the company themselves, who are all avid bike riders and involved in the Bay Area bike community.
When I was offered the chance to review the MonkeyLectric M204 Monkey Light, I jumped at the chance. Adding a touch more visibility in creative and colorful ways?! Yes please! I’ve seen these lights before, and love all the fun designs you can create in lights on your bike wheel. I’m not sure I’d go for pink elephants, eyeballs, flames, or skull-and-crossbones, but I still think they are really fun.
Okay, I admit it – I was a bit intimidated when the set arrived and I unpacked everything. The key piece, the light board, looks much more high tech than anything I normally deal with, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to figure it out on my own. I read the instructions and watched the installation video a few times, but had The Mechanic on stand-by, just in case.
Turns out, I managed fine on my own. It was a bit tricky trying to get my pliers between the spokes, and I did need The Mechanic to help me cut the zip ties, but other than that, I did it on my own!
I really can’t tell when I’m on the bike how well it reads, but during one evening commute, a gentleman rolled up next to me on his bike and said, “Love your lamp! That makes you really visible!” The Mechanic also said how bright the light is from the side (he was taking video, so he’d know!), so I guess it works better than I can see. I have used it during my morning commutes, especially if it is overcast, but at night it is obviously more visible – and the most useful. I have been testing all the different light combinations, to see which I like best, but haven’t quite decided. I think it would be fun to color-coordinate the light to whatever I’m wearing. Be sure to watch to the end of the video below, because that’s when the lights start to do some crazy things!
I haven’t installed the metal “anti-theft strap” yet, because I was waiting to see if the light would slide on the spokes, but it hasn’t. I now feel pretty confident that I won’t need to adjust the placement of either the light or the batter pack, so I’ll probably add that strap soon. I’ve biked in the rain and light snow so far, with no negative impact, which is good, since the company says it is waterproof and can be used in all weather.
Overall, I am pretty happy with this light. The potential is there for this to be a gateway light to the bigger, fancier set up, but I will see how we get through the winter first, then decide. Bunnies on my bike wheels would make me pretty happy…