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  1. #1
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    Spoke LEDs using persistence of vision (Monkeylectrik, hokeyspokes, etc)

    There are a handful of spoke LED devices out there which use persistence of vision (POV) to show designs. The Monkeylectric monkey light is perhaps the best marketed and looks like it's actually pretty decent, but the price is prohibitively expensive for those looking to just experiment.



    Hokey Spokes are cheaper, but more.. hokey.. lol.. not nearly as cool, and with some of the *really* cheap ones on the market today, almost seem like they are outdated.



    Then there are the cheap chinese ones all over ebay for ~$10.. or some even cheaper that go on the valve stem. Those $10 ones dont look like they would stand up to much use.



    or these



    I've been interested in trying out some of these devices, but it seems like you need at least 2 or more to get a full wheel, and it seems like they only display on one side, so you'd have to have a lot to get a full wheel on both sides. the cheaper ones seem to be only one color (or static multicolor, ie not changing colors)

    Anybody have any of these devices and care to offer a review? Mostly would be using them for social rides, not continuous use
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  2. #2
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frantik View Post
    I've been interested in trying out some of these devices, but it seems like you need at least 2 or more to get a full wheel, and it seems like they only display on one side, so you'd have to have a lot to get a full wheel on both sides. the cheaper ones seem to be only one color (or static multicolor, ie not changing colors)

    Anybody have any of these devices and care to offer a review? Mostly would be using them for social rides, not continuous use
    You generally want two or more not just because it works better but because you'll unbalance your wheel if you use only one, and some of them are pretty heavy.

    The good quality ones -- Monkeyletric, Hokeyspokes -- are visible from both sides. Some of the cheap ones are indeed only visible from one side.

    The good quality ones are great. They're highly visible and quite colorful and pretty. They're pretty rugged. If you're going slower, you might want three of them per wheel, but two will work. And yes, they are expensive, and being expensive and not easy to remove means you'll not want to lock up your bike anywhere for any length of time.

    The cheap ones are hit and miss. They tend to look pretty good -- some do patterns, some don't, but they certainly make your bike stand out -- but they can be fragile, and some are only visible from one side (and they often don't make that clear.)

  3. #3
    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    That thing looks like it would be dangerous at any kind of speed. I usually get up to 30 MPH or so on my commute, I would think that anything with that kind of weight on it at 30 MPH would make the bike a bit unstable.
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    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    Thanks Doug for the info.. i didn't know the hokey spokes were double sided. I read elsewhere that they communicate with each other to have the same patterns so that is cool

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    That thing looks like it would be dangerous at any kind of speed. I usually get up to 30 MPH or so on my commute, I would think that anything with that kind of weight on it at 30 MPH would make the bike a bit unstable.
    yeah i wouldnt want to use them for anything besides slow social rides..
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  5. #5
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    That thing looks like it would be dangerous at any kind of speed. I usually get up to 30 MPH or so on my commute, I would think that anything with that kind of weight on it at 30 MPH would make the bike a bit unstable.
    I've seen the Monkeyletric and Hokeyspokes ones on bicycles doing 35 mph down a hill and they didn't seem to be a problem.

    The key is to get two or three and make sure they're all at the same distance from the center and arranged as evenly as possible across the wheel. If you do that, you won't have any problems with balancing.

    If you try and do it with just one, yes, it'll cause balance problems and your tire will vibrate as you ride.

    Note that the forces involved become pretty significant at speed. If you've got a bicycle that's going 35 mph and the tires are 26" in diameter, that corresponds to a centrifugal force of 75 g's at the outside of the tire. The acceleration gets smaller as you get closer to the center, but now that I've done the math, I think I might have to agree with you that I wouldn't want one of these on a wheel that goes that fast. I've seen them on bicycles going that fast and nothing bad happened, but that's a lot of force (well, mass * acceleration = force), and if something did break, all sorts of exciting things could happen. (And in this case, I mean exciting in a bad way.)

  6. #6
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    unless i'm going down an overpass there's no way i'm getting up to 35mph

    knowing the hokey spokes communicate with each other and are double sided, they seem like a better deal. For 3 per wheel they would cost around $100/wheel.. at that price i'm thinking a bike stereo might be more fun for the money.. i've already got a trailer too.. hmm
    Last edited by frantik; 04-12-13 at 03:30 PM.
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    Senior Member sk0tt's Avatar
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    There is also one you make yourself- http://www.ladyada.net/make/spokepov/
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  8. #8
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    I was considering buying some of the fancy wheel lights last year then saw how much they weigh and how much it cost to get it set up right. Basically I decided against it and instead tried my luck with the cheap LED valve stem lights you see being sold on all the Chinese web sites. Unfortunately the cheap valve stem lights fail to light ( or go out prematurely ) on a regular basis. They also have no disconnect switch so even when off they still draw power from the batteries. Not good.

    While surfing on ebay I found a product called Rimfire®. Not as fancy as the others and use only three LED's for each wheel. I got mine for about $12 a wheel but they might be more now. Actually not a bad deal for the money. The LED's are red, green and blue and have a ten mode UI. The LED's extend by wire to a central hub ( made out of plastic ) that hooks up very close to the hub of the wheel. Each hub requires three AA batteries. The hubs are available in different colors. Mine is clear. I've used them at least a dozen or so times now and have yet to have a problem. If you really want people to see you without spending a lot these just might be what you are looking for. I've already gotten comments a couple times now. ( young people tend to think they are cool )

    The only downside as I see it is that they are not real easy to attach to the wheel. Once you've done it a couple times it get's easier though. I'm not sure but I think you can buy extra LED's ( if you've rather have just one color for each wheel. ) I've thought about going all green or all yellow but I'm good with the current set-up. When you have a setup like this going, side visibility is no longer an issue.

  9. #9
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    I've been running Monkeylights on my commuter since the product came out, like at least three years. I tried 1 per wheel initially, but found the flashing up front to be annoying, and could feel a slight imbalance at high speed, so I moved both units to the rear wheel, which is where they've remained.

    I will point out the new model Monkelights, including the Minis, have hub mounted battery packs that eliminate the need to worry about balance. Even my original model Monkeys, however, are unnoticeable at high speeds, and I regularly see mid 20mhp.

    Mine stay on the bike all year, through snow, rain, and across Michigan's notoriously crappy roads, and they're as good today as when new.

    Monkeylights are awesome; super bright and great patterns, and lots of user control. They are the best spoke lights available by a wide margin.

    I also own HokeySpokes, which I purchased for the wife's and kid's bikes after being impressed with the ultra high visibility and safety of the Monkeylights, but frankly, they suck in comparison. The brightness is low and the patterns lame. Two of four Hokeyspokes purchased developed quirks soon after purchase, too. None remain in use because they were just not worth running, IMO.

    I didn't check to be sure, but I doubt HokeySpokes communicate between units. They did not in the past, anyway, and I've not heard of any product development.

    So I'm a huge Monkeylight fan, and recommend them without reservations for riders looking for fun and enhanced safety.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  10. #10
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    Here's a pic of Monkeylights on the bike:

    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  11. #11
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    Thanks chaadster for the reviews basically confirmed my suspicion that the monkey lights are the only ones with messing with. The hokey spokes supposedly communicate via IR but I don't know how well it works in practice.

    I ended up just getting a strand of LED lights for $5 and putting them on the frame for the ride i was hoping to use these POV spoke lights on... still got plenty of compliments
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  12. #12
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    Hmm, I didn't recall the IR comm thing; I'll have to pull mine out and see if they're so equipped. It's a good idea that should ensure the best graphic presentation, and something that would be nice for MonkeyLights to have. Right now, I just keep each ML on the same pattern, and try to push On simultaneously. Crude, but I think it works ok!

    Another LED display option that I use for my trailer and side car are automotive wheel well ilumination kits. They come in various lengths, and with a central CPU int which you plug each of the strands (up to 4). I use a series battery holder for 8 AAs to get the requisite 12v, and the kit includes a keychain remote that lets you select flash modes, speed, pattern. The kids love it, and it's a lot of fun to take around town during fairs and the like.

    I suppose that for a bike application, you could zip tie the light bars to the frame and route the wires into a saddlebag where the batteries and CPU would be kept. Not the slickest hookup, but it'd work.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  13. #13
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    Here are a couple vids of the setupmI was describing above:



    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  14. #14
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    Theres lot of good info here, thanks people. I'm still debating between MonkeyLectic and Rimfire, mainly because of the price. Because the MonkeyLectric Mini are only $50 on Amazon, thats my first choice right now. Will report back on what I get and the results.

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