Taillamps

More information on separate pages


Links to the summaries on this page, and direct to the full reviews

The summaries of all taillamps are further on this page. Here are links direct to the summaries on this page, and direct to the reviews:

Rear rack mounted:

Fender mounted:

Mounted on other position such as seat post:


All beamshots


Where to buy

I recommend buying from knowledgeable bike shops, or from me to support my site.



Small, fender mounted taillamps

Summary: Except for the Secula, The LED based fender mounted taillamps I tested so far are bad, and those I didn't test yet but that I have seen pictures of, I know are bad because of no proper optics. The only other good fender mounted taillamp that I've tested is the Spanninga SP 15 (incandescent, original version, no longer available).

2.a.s.1 Spanninga 15, version from ca. 1988 (fender mounted, for incandescent bulb, tested with 0.3W & 0.6W bulbs)

Tested: From 17 Jan. 2011

This lamp is not in production any more. Very little light with a 0.3 W bulb (those were used as well), with 0.6W it's not bad at all, better than the Basta Ray. I was not impressed at first from indoor testing, but after the long distance visibility test it was clear that the classic taillamps with incandescent bulbs SP 15 and Basta Ray, are still quite good, better than most LED taillamps, and can thus be recommended. They are also the most pleasant of all taillamps I tested for following traffic... This old version of the SP 15 gives a view of what 1980s rear lamps were like and shows that LED taillamps started off as much worse than the incandescent taillamps they were supposed to replace or improve upon. A newer version of this taillamp is still available, but they messed around with it without changing its name... See further on. It's still usable for modern bicycles but no longer available new, and I would recommend instead the Secula, or the rack mounted taillamps Solo, Lineo, Line plus.

Review

2.a.s.1.1 Spanninga 15, later version bought in 2013 (fender mounted, for incandescent bulb, tested with 0.6W bulb)

Tested: From 6 Feb. 2013

When I started my taillamp reviews in 2011 I already thought the current version might be different from the one I have, as I had seen a product image which shows a difference in the red housing. I finally bought one just to satisfy my curiosity in 2013. It turns out that not just the housing is different, the reflector too. It's not surprising then that it has a different German approval number (K 30 019). Spanninga should have renamed this lamp as its beam pattern is quite different from the original version. When did this version get approved? Visibility at medium range (up to ca. 35m) is comparable to the old version, but the light colour is a diluted red, far too white. This is bad. For this reason alone I already don't recommend this lamp.

Review

2.a.s.2 Spanninga SPX (fender mounted)

Tested: From Feb. 2012

Available as a dynamo lamp, but I only tested the battery version as I replaced it on the bike of a family member: It lights up very weakly, it has no real optic that distributes the light from the LED in a proper way. Visibility is therefore poor (at long range) and it annoys following traffic (at short range). I wouldn't buy this lamp. Whether the dynamo version is brighter doesn't really matter as visibility will be poor at long distance with such point sources and because of the annoyance it gives others at shorter distance.

Review

2.a.s.3 Spanninga Pixeo (fender mounted)

Tested: From 4 Apr. 2012

Small, light, looks nice and puts out a lot of light, but it is yet another taillamp with blinding point source. Spanninga should be using real optics (such as in the Lineo) and not this rubbish that they use in most of their taillamps. So I don't recommend this lamp.

Review

2.a.s.4 Axa Go steady (fender mounted)

Tested: From 6 Feb. 2013

Yet another blinding taillamp. Doesn't look as nice on a bike as loose in my opinion. The connectors are crappy clamp connectors. I don't recommend it, and I'm still searching for a good fender mounted LED taillamp...

As a friend of mine commented: "The Axa Go is a no go". He was only referring to the looks which already killed his interest :)

Review

2.a.s.5 B&M Secula (fender mounted)

Tested: From 4 Jul. 2013.

Finally available since July 2013, and as I expected this is the first good LED based taillamp for mounting on the fender. However: the mounting bolt is galvanised steel which is really bad, esp. for a fender mounted taillamp. My taillamp's bolt was loose in the lamp since trying to get off the nut so I will need to cut open the lamp and see what to do.

Review.

2.a.s.6 Spanninga Vena (fender mounted)

Tested from: 16-1-2015

This taillamp looks to have some proper light distribution from the product shots but there is always doubt about what happens at the end or in the middle where the optics are different in most lamps (intentionally!), and in this case, it's an annoying point source again! They could have made this lamp's optics a lot better! Spanninga make 2 of the best taillamps available these days, namely the Lineo and the Solo (both are better than B&M's Line plus), but this is another poor taillamp. Why? Further details and pictures to come but already the conclusion is clear: Not recommended. (buy the Secula instead)

Review in progress

2.a.s.7 Spanninga Nr.9 (fender mounted)

Tested from: 16-1-2015

This is a lamp in the style of old fender mounted taillamps, but such taillamps with bulb did not have crap optics like this lamp! This is complete rubbish, LED with no proper optics and so it has a very annoying point source, I couldn't take out the clamp connector without damaging the plastic insert, for some reason. Further details and pictures to come but already the conclusion is clear: Not recommended.

Review in progress

2.a.s.8 Union 4470 for battery (fender mounted) (the dynamo version is called 4375)

Tested: From 17-1-2017, Price: €10,-, (with rechargeable batteries)

Too bright, fairly poor optics with point source. Build quality is very good, but not recommended because of the optics.

Review in progress.


Wide, rear rack mounted taillamps

Summary: Most LED based taillamps that I tested are bad. The good ones so far are: Philips Lumiring (no longer available), B&M Line plus (dark compared to the others), Spanninga Lineo (slightly too bright), Spanninga Solo, Axa Blueline, Spanninga Elips (light colour a bit too much towards orange), Spanninga Vivo (also light colour a little too much towards orange). Perhaps also the Union 4365 (though that is far too bright).

2.a.1 Basta Ray (for incandescent bulb, tested with 0.6W bulb)

Tested: From 17 Jan. 2011

This lamp is not in production any more. I was not impressed at first after making beamshot images, but after the long distance visibility test it was clear that the classic taillamps with incandescent bulbs SP 15 and Basta Ray, despite giving apparently far less light than LED taillamps, are still quite good, better than most LED taillamps, and can thus be recommended. They are also the most pleasant of all taillamps I tested for following traffic... The Ray is less visible than the SP15 though (from some angles from the side).

Review

2.a.2 Busch & Müller D-Toplight plus

Tested: From 17 Jan. 2011

Small emitting surface, almost a point source, giving only a reasonable visibility, and causes annoyance to following cyclists, therefore not recommended.

Review

2.a.3 Busch & Müller Toplight flat plus

Tested: From 2008

This lamp gives a bright dot of light in the middle from the light coming almost directly from the LED, it's very annoying for people riding behind you. Visibility is no more than reasonable as just a small dot (almost a point source) is lit up. The H-track, line plus, flat S plus are all much better straight on and at 45°. A poor rear lamp because of the small emitting area which also causes the annoyance to other road users, therefore not recommended.

Review

2.a.4 Busch & Müller Toplight flat S plus (linetec)

Tested: From 17 Jan. 2011

Wide light with a bright dot in the middle from the LED as some of its light goes straight on. The latter is almost a point source and quite annoying for people riding behind you. Better than the Flat plus, but long distance visibility is suprisingly poor and it's a poor rear lamp already because of its annoyance to other road users, therefore not recommended.

Review

2.a.5 Busch & Müller Toplight line plus (linetec)

Tested: From 17 Jan. 2011

Wide light, whether that's through an actual surface or bars doesn't seem too interesting to me (but tests yet to be done on the precise difference). What is noticeable is that the Toplight line plus is not annoying, no sparkling effects in your eyes at a short distance from the lamp, in contrast to the Toplight flat plus and the Toplight flat S plus. Sideways visibility is fine, but could be better. Some people have problems with the standlight not working after a while, but I have no idea how common this defect is. In any event, this is my favourite of the B&M rear lamps. Recommended.

Review

2.a.6 Herrmans' H-track

Tested: From 4 May 2011

Ring of light similar in style to B&M's Toplight line plus. Nicer than the Toplight flat plus for traffic following you, but not as good as the Toplight flat S plus. Sideways visibility is good. The direct light from the LED is far too intense (coming from a near point source) which is very annoying to following traffic (esp. cyclists at short distance) and spoils this lamp which would otherwise be very good. Not recommended.

Review

2.a.7 Basta Riff steady

Tested: From 1 June 2011

Stripe of lines of light similar in style to B&M's Toplight line plus. Nicer than the Toplight flat plus for traffic following you but not that much, the direct light from the LED is pretty annoying for cyclists following you up to a large distance. Also slightly better than Herrmans' H-track in that respect but not as good as the flat S plus and definitely not as good as the Toplight line plus. Sideways visibility is poor. Not recommended.

Review

2.a.8 Spanninga Plateo xds

Tested: From 1 June 2011

The whole reflector lights up which is good (a large illuminated surface is better than a bright point source), but the LED shines also directly towards following traffic at a ridiculous intensity, not diffusely spread over a larger area, which is goddamn annoying for anyone following you (this is a problem because on narrow cycle paths you can be stuck behind someone for a while). Sideways visibility is poor. All in all not recommended.

I experimented by making the direct light from the LED more diffuse and make it a bit less bright and that made this lamp pretty good. More to be added including pictures of these experiments.

Review

2.a.9 Busch & Müller Toplight mini plus

Tested: From 13 Sep. 2011

This is another bad LED taillamp which lets the light of one of its LEDs go out directly in a cone which is very annoying to following traffic and makes estimating distance impossible. Not recommended.

Review

2.a.10 Philips Saferide Lumiring

Tested: From 28 Nov. 2011

My favourite taillamp: Very well visible while not being too bright. Compared to the Toplight Line plus: side visibility is better, medium to short distance visibility is better because of the larger illuminating area and very long distance visibility (>100 m) is comparable. On the wallshot the light output does not look impressive, but it puts the light where it's needed, better than any other taillamp I tested so far. So the light it puts out is used very efficiently... Recommended.

Review

No longer made since early 2014...

2.a.11 Basta Ray (LED)

Tested: From 5 Nov. 2011

Single LED as a point source, the LEDs output is diffused but not spread out over a larger re-emitting area. So it stays a point source and gets too bright at close range for following traffic. Distance estimation is also impossible because of the point source.

Review

2.a.12 Axa Spark steady

Tested: From 5 Jan. 2012

The lamp has a single LED. The light is not made diffuse and a large part of the light shines as a point source as I already expected a while back when looking a bit closer at the picture on Axa's website. The illumination of the entire lamp that Axa names as a feature, is very weak, far dimmer than the Plateo. The point source is too bright at short distance and makes estimating distance impossible. The connectors are crappy clamp connectors, Axa needs to improve on this (and on the optics)!

Review

2.a.13 Busch & Müller Toplight line brake plus

Tested: From 24 Feb. 2012

B&M Line brake plus with brake function. This does not use an accelerometer as I thought it might, but dynamo pulses (not a new idea btw.). A brakelamp seems to me rather pointless on a bicycle, see here. As the brakelight functionality is activated depending on the speed of the pulses from the dynamo, this function doesn't work on a DC dynamo such as the Sunup Eco...

Summary to come

Review in progress

2.a.14 Spanninga Brasa

Tested: From 24 Feb. 2012

I bought the battery version as my supplier still didn't have the dynamo version in stock in Feb. 2012, but that shouldn't matter to determine whether it's a good taillamp. At medium range (up to ca. 35 m) it's not so bad, but nowhere near as good as the Lumiring or Lightring. I'm not going to do a long distance test, as there's no real point and there's nothing in this lamp (designwise, size, weight) that appeals to me. This taillamp is not as bad as most LED taillamps with a point source, but also not as good as the Lumiring, Line plus and Lineo. Conclusion: Not interesting.

Review

2.a.15 Spanninga Lineo

Tested: From 11 Jan. 2013

Though Spanninga looks to focus more on fashion than functionality, this lamp is actually pretty good in visibility while not having annoying point sources of light. Sideways visibility doesn't look very good, though not really worse than others except the Philips Lumiring which is probably the best one in this respect. The beam has a fair amount of almost-collimated light (so I mean, a tight beam to the rear), this could be the best visible (StVZO approved) taillamp available... But for places like the Netherlands, with fairly orderly traffic and not so much light pollution, the intensity seems too high, like the brakelamps on a car. The 2 separate sections left/right that light up could actually be useful for other traffic to estimate their distance to you, but after an outdoor test it's clear that that doesn't work because of the too high intensity of the light... but the lamp is very well visible.

Review

2.a.16 Spanninga Solo

Tested: Since 6 May 2014

A competitor to B&M mini plus. A minimalist type taillamp, even lighter but far cheaper than the Mini plus (ca. 13 euro vs. 19 euro RRP) and the optics are far superior. None of this "we can't make cheap taillamps with proper light distributing optics" BS that B&M gives... I still don't like screws rather than hexnuts to fasten a taillamp as it can be quite difficult to get a screw driver into the available space. Then again, hexnuts should really be locknuts which they are often not, and with this system there is no need to switch over the bolts for 50 or 80mm. Recommended

Review (and battery version)

2.a.17 Trelock LS820

Tested: From 19-2-2015

I wrote originally:

To come soon I don't expect much, but I'm going to test this, just to see whether my view is right ;-))

This taillamp is the 2nd standard taillamp to have brakelamp functionality, but I was right, this is complete rubbish, it has 3 LEDs, the middle one with no proper optics which is incredibly annoying to look at riding behind it. Further details and pictures to come but already the conclusion is clear: Not recommended.

Review.

2.a.18 Axa slim (steady)

Tested: From 16-1-2015

I wrote before testing:

To come soon I don't expect much here either, but I'm going to test this, just to see whether my view is right ;-))

And it turns out my expectations were correct. This is complete rubbish, LED with no proper optics, crappy clamp connectors from Axa again. Further details and pictures to come but already the conclusion is clear: Not recommended.

Review.

2.a.19 Axa Blueline

Tested: From 13-8-2015, Price: Blueline €6,-, Blueline steady (standlight) €7,- (OEM, no packaging)

Indoor test: It has 2 not quite point sources. I feel that they are too bright (covering them up gives a pleasant taillamp), however the diffuser has been made matte so there is not a real point source in your eyes. This lamp is in most aspects very good. The whole reflector lights up, but not sure how noticeable it is from far away, this will come in my real test (from further tests I think it's not bright enough to really matter that it lights up). It has 2 x 2.8mm connectors with small plugs for bare wires. Not bad, though you can lose the plugs. Philips and B&M's solutions are better, but for the price of this lamp it just doesn't matter. This is the cheapest good taillamp for on the rear rack... Axa has improved enormously in their taillamps with this, one of the best taillamps you can buy now...

After much more testing at night: It's a bit too bright in the 2 spots of the LEDs for (closely) tailing cyclists, which is an issue for places with lots of cyclists (like NL, Germany), though it's acceptable, just. For countries where you would feel you need to make yourself visible as opposed to motorists, I suppose it is better than the Solo. And it's brighter than the Line plus...

Review

2.a.20 Herrmans H-trace (1.5W StVZO/DIN standard)

Tested: From 2-12-2015, Price: €13,- (with standlight)

Indoor test: It has 2 point sources despite the LEDs that have matted domes. But the optic itself does not distribute the light in that point and it doesn't diffuse the light there further by being matte (see the Lineo, Blueline, which do do this) which would prevent a too high brightness in any particular (tiny) spots. These point sources are far too bright and the distributing optic is made pointless by it, as in reality you don't see anything except the 2 dots of the LEDs... (the huge brightness difference means that you don't see the other lit-up areas because in comparison they are not lit up enough, so you will only notice the brightest 2 points, the direct light from the 2 LEDs).

For countries where you would feel you need to make yourself visible as opposed to motorists, perhaps this an option, for anywhere else I do not recommend this. Look at the Spanninga Solo, Spanninga Lineo, Axa Blueline, B&M line plus first...

Review.

2.a.21 B&M Line small

Tested: From 10-2-2016, Price: €20,- (with standlight)

Hmmmmm, No reflector and small is not better! So only reasonable.

Review

2.a.22 Union 4365

Tested: From 17-1-2017, Price: €14,- (with standlight)

Too bright, fairly good optics but not as good as the Lineo, Solo, Blueline.

Review in progress.

2.a.23 Spanninga Elips

Tested: From 26-1-2017, Price: €15,- (with standlight)

Good, same optics as the Lumiring. Better than in the Lumiring is that the stray light from the LEDs is used to light up the retro reflector which from some angles can be clearly seen, and could help in getting noticed. The light colour, as with the Vivo, is a bit too much towards orange for my taste (The Lumiring was more red, the Spanninga Solo and Lineo are more red too). I will analyse this more the coming days and compare with other lamps.

Review to come

2.a.24 Spanninga Vivo

Tested: From 26-1-2017, Price: €13,- (with standlight)

Good but not better than other lamps by Spanninga. The light colour, as with the Elips, is a bit too much towards orange to my taste. The bottom transparent section is not lit up, contrary to what I half expected, and thus this is more a lamp made for a fashion, than for practical (new) qualities. The choice of which of the good taillamps is best for you is mostly about which design you prefer...

Review in progress


Taillamps to be mounted elsewhere than on the rear rack or rear fender, for example on the seat post

Long ago I used a Specialized Flashback on a cross/hybrid bike. I used a self-made mount from aluminium and glass-fibre as I didn't like the included mount which had a clamp that didn't properly tighten the lamp on the seatpost. This works well if the lamp is far enough from your legs so you won't hit it while pedalling, and you must take care not to obstruct the taillamp if you transport stuff on the rear rack. Mounting a taillamp behind/underneath the saddle would be better. There are a few good ones, dynamo and battery, but be careful about transporting stuff on the rear rack, the taillamp will get obscured...

2.a.z.1 Philips Lightring (dynamo & battery)

Tested: From 23 Jan. 2013

I'm disappointed in these (both the dynamo and battery versions). The design and size don't appeal to me for a seatpost mounted lamp and the optics is not as impressive technically as the Lumiring, though it does give very good visibility. But that comes with a high power consumption and a lack of standlight for the dynamo version which shows that these lamps are technically nothing special. Still, visibility is very good. The battery version is supplied with non-rechargeable batteries but works with NiMHs too.

Review

No longer made since early 2014...

2.a.z.2 Sigma Stereo, rechargeable battery (there is no dynamo version)

Tested: Since 8 Oct. 2013

This lamp is not available as a dynamo taillamp. It could be a good dynamo lamp! I like how it looks and the optics look quite good as well, no blinding of trailing cyclists, the light is distributed very well over a larger area which is the ring around the LEDs but the LEDs light up a bit in the middle too (and not as a point source!). The light at close range can be annoying to some (I asked someone else to judge it too), so better distribution over a bigger surface is still what we need. There is a section of light in the beam that is nearly collimated (so a tight beam) which will give good long distance visibility. The rubber cap on micro-USB port is a bit hard to get off but even more difficult to get back in, but I suppose that means it will be waterproof there :) The mounting method is by rubber band which Sigma thinks is cool for bike computers and lamps, but which in reality sucks harder than a black hole. The on-off switch is not as good as on the Lightring, in particular because of key-bounce (result: light going off immediately after pressing on, or not going off when it's on) and you need to press it too hard.

The included batteries are of the low self discharge type, charged and ready to use when you buy the lamp.

Verdict: Fairly good, in optics it trails the Philips lamps, total package with rechargeable batteries is nicer.

Review.

2.a.z.3 B&M Secula for seatpost/rear fork mounting (dynamo)

Tested: Since 8 Oct. 2013

This version of the Secula is also for dynamo and differs only in the mount for on the seatpost. Pictures to follow.

Review.

2.a.z.4 Spanninga O (battery, non-rechargeable normally)

Tested: Since 6 May 2014

Ring of light, good light distribution, works on 2x AAA non-rechareable batteries, I will test AAA NiMH (Sanyo Eneloop) to see how long it lasts on that. Button is hard going and doesn't always register key presses (despite audible click). More to come soon.

Review.

2.a.z.5 Sigma Mono, rechargeable battery

Tested: Since 22 May 2014

Battery is rechargable with micro-USB input. The battery is not easily replaceable. The optics is almost the same as with the Stereo, but for 1 LED. It is small and light. The mounting method with rubber band around the seat post is not so bad in this case as with the Stereo.

Review

2.a.z.6 Sigma Nugget, rechargeable battery

Tested: Since 2 Dec. 2015

Battery is rechargable with micro-USB input. The battery is not easily replaceable. The optics are fairly good except for a too high brightness in the centre. It is small and light, similar to the Mono. The mounting method with rubber band around the seat post is not so bad in this case as with the Stereo and there is an adapter to mount on clothes etc.

Review.


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