The bike light is a fairly hideous invention. Traditionally, it’s a bulbous chunk of glass that distracts from the lines of the bike–some retro chic imagined before color television and never updated all that well alongside the evolving transportation platform. There are all sorts of plastic clip-on alternatives, of course, but are those any better?
The Magnetic Bike Light, designed by Goodmorning Technology for Copenhagen Parts, may be the first truly wonderfully designed bike light in history. It’s a curved LED puck loaded with powerful (neodymium) magnets. When the light is placed on a steel bike frame, it sticks and turns on automatically. When it’s removed, it turns off.
“They were actually inspired by a magnetic pin board in our office kitchen,” Copenhagen Parts’ Line Jessen explains. “We got the idea that maybe a very strong magnet might be able to hold onto a bike with a steel frame. An idea that needed to be investigated and tested…”
The result took 18 months to make its way to Kickstarter, and every problem you could imagine had to be ironed out. “We wanted to create a simple, no-bullshit product but were challenged to actually make it fit all tube sizes so the user would feel confident that it would stay on the frame,” Jessen writes. That meant the exact curvature had to be honed, the overall angle of the light had to be perfected so the LEDs projected straight ahead (the chosen angle was 17 degrees), and just the right amount of magnetic stickiness had to be decided. Because if you’ve never used neodymium magnets before, realize that once they’ve been stuck onto something, they can actually be ridiculously hard to unstick.
There was also the obvious issue of scratching a bike’s surface. The entire back of the light was covered in rubber, so it can affix to odd shapes like a suction cup, supported by the additional pull of magnetism. Hiding in the rubber appears to be a button, which is likely what automatically turns on the light whenever it sticks to a bike.
As of now, the Magnetic Bike Light is still chasing its $50,000 Kickstarter goal. The lower tier preorders are mostly filled up by now, but you might still be able to score your own with some extras for about $40.
[Hat tip: Core77]