March 22, 2018

By Bernie Kowalski

The Vibe Pro Tail Light from Light & Motion is a real Mighty Mouse. It has many excellent features, yet comes in a small, efficient package.

When you buy this light, you’re going to want to familiarize yourself with it before putting it on your bike. First off, in order to turn the light on you simply twist it 90 degrees while it’s in the base and it’s activated. Pro Tip: Don’t look directly at the light -- 50 lumens are too bright at arm’s length.

Twisting it back to its original position, the light goes out. Once it’s off, pull the light out of the base. What you’ll find is a flat appendage. This is the charger base.

To charge the light, simply plug the light into your computer’s USB port. No cords to lose, no little rubber trapdoors to worry about.

Total charge time is two hours. Run time is listed at 12 hours on a full charge. The light itself has no moving parts and is water resistant.  Rain won’t hurt it, but avoid riding in water deeper than one meter.

The Vibe also has an auto-off/auto-on feature that actually works the way it’s supposed to. My light turned off after 30 seconds of inactivity, and came back on with the lightest tap. If you’re the type who always forgets to turn their tail light off, this feature alone is worth the price.

The base is basic yet offers a couple of mounting options. The Vibe can be mounted on your seatpost or on a chainstay. When mounted on your seatpost, the light will be hanging upside down. I hesitated to do this at first, but then discovered that the light can’t fall out as long as it’s in the ON position. When mounted on a chainstay, you need to tilt it outward a bit so that it’s peeking around your seatstay. The mount for the Vibe Pro allows for a few more options.

As far as the light’s performance goes, I was surprised by how effective it is despite its diminutive size. To test the light, I found a volunteer and a straight stretch of road a half mile long. In all honesty, the light has no practical use at a half mile. Tail lights that are effective at that distance are larger and more expensive. The Vibe will likely catch a driver’s attention at a distance of about an eighth of a mile (660 feet,) and will most definitely grab their attention at half that distance. As a point of reference, a car traveling 30 miles per hour will cover 330 feet in 7.5 seconds, which strikes me as being plenty of time to react.

In a Good/Better/Best lineup, this is a good light. This is not the best choice if you’re heading out for a brevet or a randonneur. However, if you frequently find yourself in an urban/suburban setting and you’re out a little early or a little late, this light is an excellent choice.

Given the features, price, and size, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

BONUS: It's even suitable for parlor tricks in the style of Fester Addams, but you don't have to put it in your mouth: