The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

Product Geek: PDW’s Daybot is a locally designed, consciously crafted tail light

Posted by on December 27th, 2017 at 10:01 am

The new Daybot from Portland Design Works.
(Photos by James Buckroyd)

— JBucky (James Buckroyd) is an avid cyclist and “product geek,” — he blogs at buckyrides.com which he set up to document interesting routes, but also houses product tech reviews. Read his past BikePortland contributions here.

Jbucky in his element.

Portland Design Works designs, engineers, markets and ships a growing assortment of bicycle accessories from their headquarters in southeast Portland. You might remember a while back I reviewed their Full Metal Fenders. The fenders are still going strong and I’ved used them on an almost daily basis for 13 months now. It’s a bomber setup.

But could they repeat that success with a light? Is a locally designed, consciously crafted bike light a fallacy?

I picked up one of their latest tail light models, the Daybot. I was impressed by the Daybot as a product, but also because it’s a local company. With a peak behind the scenes, I saw they had some some good ethical practices in place as well. The Daybot is a $35 rear light specifically designed so it’s effective during daylight hours, this means a switchable light mode where the output is higher so you go noticed during the day. 100 Lumens is the benchmark nowadays for daylight flashers.

Dual LED’s – a high power above and a low power below the weatherproof on /off button

Easy to use silicone band for quick mounting to seatpost & sealed USB charging port.

Thick silicone with pull tab.

Ample brightness for daytime riding.

Summary: The Daybot rear flasher by PDW is a great experience overall: the packaging, instructions, installation and use of the product are all excellent. It’s well-designed, rechargeable, features five flash modes, has easy-to-use controls, comes with great seatpost and seatstay mounting options that are durable and easy to use (which is more than can be said for most) and is backed up by a two-year warranty. Thus the Daybot offers great value at $35.

Read my in-depth review of the PDW Daybot over at at Buckyrides.com

— JBucky

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31 Comments
  • Matthew in Portsmouth December 27, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    My problem with this tail light, like quite a lot of tail lights, is that it is designed to attach to the seat post. That’s all well and good, however, on the back of my road bike I have a luggage rack, and unless I am out for a two-hour leisure ride, I will have a bag on my rack that will obscure the light. I have had several tail lights that attach to the back of the rack, and have had them come off and smash when hitting one of the many, many bumps in Portland’s multi-user paths.

    What would be really nice is a tail light that can stand up to the MUP’s bumps and ridges that attaches to the back of a luggage rack. In my dreams I would like a functioning brake light and turn signals that are highly visible to other road users and easy to use.

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    • K'Tesh December 27, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      As much as I love the silicone mounts for their lack of slipping… I’m in the same kind of situation as Matthew.

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    • James Buckroyd (Contributor) December 27, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      Thats a great opportunity for someone to develop specifically a Rack oriented light, that could have some other cool features not normally found in seatpost varieties.

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    • El Biciclero December 28, 2017 at 11:26 am

      I’ve made a few homemade brackets to support taillights on my rear rack. I use cheapo Topeak racks that have a little bent-over flange at the rear designed to take their own proprietary light mounting systems, but I’ve cut up, ground down, and bent over all kinds of shelf brackets to create the right mounting angles for different light brackets, but only the slide-‘n’-lock mounting style.

      I have the same trouble with my cargo bike, only in front. If I put anything in the front basket, it would block my handlebar-mounted headlight. I used conduit hangers to attach a piece of PVC pipe under the cargo basket. It sticks out to the side a little bit and works like a faux handlebar for mounting my headlight. I haven’t tried doing anything similar to create a faux seatpost on the back of a rack yet. It would be tricky to create something like that that wouldn’t just get rattled out of whack after crossing a couple of rail tracks.

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    • wsbob December 28, 2017 at 11:59 am

      A tail light you have some interest in, and no easy, quick way to mount it for the situation presented by your bike with panniers. That’s got to be frustrating. Can’t offer a specific idea for your situation, but if you got the time and imagination, improvise.

      Which is what I did with my cygolite hotshot, which has a plastic clip on the back, designed to click into a quick release hard plastic seat post mount. I attached the seat post mount to the top of my seat post/saddle mounted small bag, which had inside its zippered top, a hard plastic sheet liner. Some low key plastic bottle caps and a stainless screw stacked together, worked well, didn’t look too odd.

      Then, I moved to a different, slightly bigger bag. It had a simple nylon loop attached to the top, back edge of the bag. Slipped a small caribiner throuth the loop, and clipped the hotshot to it. A small strip of bike inner tube gives the hotshot clip a little greater security from escaping from the caribiner when hitting rough pavement.

      For turn signals and brake lights, I’m encouraged by what designer-manufacturers of smart helmets are doing. Lumos is the brand I’m most familiar with, though I don’t have, or have used one of their helmets. There are at least a couple other brands with helmets based on this idea.

      Don’t have the link right off hand, but last week, found a vid about ten minutes in length, on youtube of a ride in SF. Maybe 20-30 people all using the Lumos. Starting out in afternoon daylight, going into dusk and nighttime. Filming was from the rear, and most people had on just the rear flashing red display. Seemed to be very visible even in daylight. Midway into the vid, some people used the helmets’ turn signals. I thought they seemed quite visible. For me, this vid was much better verification of the helmet’s capability on the street, than was the company website’s photos and short vids.

      The helmet’s designers have a brake light using an accellerometer, in beta, but I would say that part of the design has yet to evolve to the point of being very effective in conveying the fact that a cyclist is slowing and coming to a stop. The helmet’s rear display and turn signals, to me seem to be its greatest, most effective strength at this time. It has a front light display too, but basically for visibility only, not for seeing the road.

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    • Jason Skelton December 28, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      I had a similar issue. I lost a tail light over some rough Portland cobble (i.e. lots of potholes). I moved to a front handlebar bag to clear up the seat post real estate. I have a North Street bag on the front and I am loving it. So much more convenient to place stuff inside it mid ride.

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  • K'Tesh December 27, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Ok… found PDW’s youtube presentation of it…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=80&v=B9jOQhAAGYM

    I see it comes with a seat stay bracket. However my rack and pannier bags prevent that location for my bike. I need something that clicks into my tail light mount.

    https://ridepdw.com/collections/lights/products/tail-light-rack-bracket?variant=24830355649

    I called them, and was told that there is an adapter, but it’s not included in the stock.

    Now I just need to get the scratch together to score one.

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  • Pat Lowell December 27, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    My Cygolite Hotshot has a rack mount that works great.

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    • Doug Rosser December 28, 2017 at 9:03 am

      Yeap, the Cygolite Hotshot is a fantastic light and the rack mount is sturdy and convenient. Love mine.

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  • Pat Lowell December 27, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Forgot to post the link: https://cygolite.com/product/hotshot-100-usb-2/

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  • Will December 27, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    I have a PDW Danger Zone on my bike rack and it’s great. Their lights last way longer than all others I’ve tried (still on my first set after years of daily use). Highly recommended.

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  • Glenn December 27, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    is it fully recyclable/fixable/compostable? Or is it going to be just another electronic device in our landfill after it is broke/etc…

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    • James Buckroyd (Contributor) December 27, 2017 at 5:47 pm

      Well it’s not made from a bio degradable / bio renewable material, but the owner of PDW does speak specifically on recycling. I captured it at the full review on buckyrides.com

      if you are interested in a light from bio renewable material, you should check out my review of the L&M Vibe – note that light is a whole different ball of wax than the pdw.

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    • Alan Love December 29, 2017 at 11:00 am

      I suppose PDW will need to switch to bioluminescent algae…

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      • James Buckroyd (Contributor) December 29, 2017 at 1:42 pm

        well there is OLED, but Im not so sure really how green OLED is. prolly not as much as the name makes out.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy December 29, 2017 at 5:12 pm

      not if your burn it!

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  • Todd Boulanger December 27, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    I concur…nice that PDW offers a secure bracket option, as commuter bikes really need lights that either avoid the silicon strap or offer a secure bracket. Silicon / rubber type straps may be 100% convenient…but all too easy to lose a light and thus generate a “re-purchase condition”.

    The daytime run feature sounds like a great idea…for a front lamp (clear white) but not so sure about the need (based on collision frequency) for a rear lamp (red) daytime flasher… perhaps someone can pick up this thread question…

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    • James Buckroyd (Contributor) December 27, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      I seem to remember some statistic that stated rear impact accidents were a lot more common than front, I will try find it.

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      • John Lascurettes December 31, 2017 at 2:43 pm

        Being hit from behind is the number one deadly collision type for riders, but not the most common type of collision.

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    • James Buckroyd (Contributor) December 27, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      Looks like I was kinda wrong.
      http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/50/3/3
      Scroll to the bottom to see diagrams

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      • El Biciclero December 28, 2017 at 11:33 am

        Appears rear-end collisions are the least likely, yet the most deadly; would still be good to avoid. I also recall hearing (can’t find any studies to back up at the moment) that as distracted driving increases, so do rear-end collisions. Would be interesting to see numbers more recent than 2015.

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  • Pat Franz December 27, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    We make adapters to allow you to put regular seatpost lights on small diameter things. We sell them to go on flagpoles, but we have other IDs. We’ve used them to attach lights to racks many times.

    t-cycle.com/RubberLightMounts

    They are dead simple as you can see. They work well with lights that use a bolt to tighten the clamp. Not sure about rubber strap lights- they might not develop as much tension.

    As soon as I get a chance to update the website, we also are coming out with a rear light mount that is configurable to clamp to anything from 1/4 inch to 1-1/4 inch and has a adjustable angle tube for the light to attach to. It’s made to allow vertically oriented lights to mount to tubes that aren’t vertical enough- like racks and seatstays. We developed it for recumbents, because they have all sorts of unusual mounting points, but they work on all kinds of bikes.

    So, there’s at least one commercially available option out there to solve the “can’t attach my light, tube’s too small!” problem.

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    • James Buckroyd (Contributor) December 27, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      Ohhh, you have been on my list to contact for a while! good range of stuff. Im going to drop you an e mail. cheers Jbucky

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    • James Buckroyd (Contributor) December 27, 2017 at 10:29 pm

      Also to note, the Daybot comes with an adaptor (seat stay) that goes down to fit 0.6″ OD – but nothing as small as your adaptors go down to.

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  • Organic Brian December 28, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    What makes the light “consciously crafted”? I mean what makes it any more than a light that has a brighter LED for daytime? Probably these are made in China as PDW’s other lights? I noticed there’s a link to a video, but I’m commenting on the title of this article not the video and I have limited i-net bandwidth where I am right now.

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    • James Buckroyd (Contributor) December 28, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      I think if you click through and read the full article, you will get it. There are some insights from the owner.

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    • James Buckroyd (Contributor) December 28, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      They do manufacture in China, but with “a conscious” to material usage, recyclability and vendor selection.

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  • Rivelo
    Rivelo December 29, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Daylight flashing TAIL lights are good. Tail lights at night –the super bright flashing ones, that is–are a drag to ride behind on the Eastbank Esplanade and up N. Williams.

    And bright flashing HEADlights? The worst! They blind everyone, and they’re super disorienting when they’re coming at you. Others must agree because this was our most popular Instagram post for the second year in a row. #solidbeam2018

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BZq0mkZgigs/?taken-by=rivelo_pdx

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    • James Buckroyd (Contributor) December 29, 2017 at 6:44 pm

      So I think you would like the Daybot, they chose to make the night mode 20Lumens vs a massive flash. The Daymode is 60 or 100 lumens. They say at night you don’t actually need high power as it leads to the Moth Effect from drivers.

      Overly bright headlights at night, yeah i agree with you. I try be courteous for on coming riders and shield my headlight with hand if im running a high power one.

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