Bookman Curve Lights, bringing a little Scandinavian to your commute
The Bookman Curve Lights are USB rechargeable bike lights. The front has a maximum brightness of 220 lumens for the front, while the rear has 37. Both lights claim long run times; of up to 70 hours for the front light and 32 hours for the rear light.
Earlier this year I tried out Bookman’s Block Lights and was impressed with how bright those tiny lights were. They were great as commuter lights in town, or as back ups. Now I’ve been trying out the bigger Bookman Curve lights.
While the Block Lights worked well in urban areas – which are generally well lit – the Bookman Curve boast a lot more lumens. This should make them more useful when riding in less well lit situations.
Bookman Curve specs
First off let’s take a look at the Curve’s specs. The front and rear both have 1 watt Cree LEDs, while the rear also has two extra 0.1W LEDs. The batteries are 650mAh Lithium ion and measurements are; Height: 57 mm, Width: 30 mm, Depth: 35 mm and Weight: 46 g. A silicone covered port takes a USB charger.
The Bookman Curve lights have been designed with lenses that spread their light. The idea being that light spills out around the sides of the lenses. So while you get plenty of light to the front and rear, you should be visible from the sides as well.
The Curve has a very distinctive, blocky wedge design. At the rear is a silicone band that is attached to one end of the light, with a plastic tab on the other. You wrap the band around the handlebars/seat post and click the tab into notches on the other side. This is also where the on/off switch is. Once the tab is in place a long press on the tab turns the light on. Clicking the tab again cycles you through the lighting options.
On the front this is bright, brighter and flashing. On the rear it cycles between steady and flashing. A long press turns the lights off; all very simple.
Switching the front light on indoors and straight away it’s power is impressive. Taking it out on a day-time ride will get you noticed. The same goes for the rear. If you like the added security of running a daytime light then the Bookman Curve ticks that box. And with it’s long run time, you won’t have to worry about it cutting out mid-ride.
Out on the trail
For it’s first evening out I took the Bookman Curve out as a backup for a little off-road commute. However the understudy became the main act when the star turn decided to cut out after only ten minutes. However the Bookman stood up and really….shone.
While conditions under tyre didn’t allow anything too fast, I was able to confidently navigate the trails. The Curve’s lens design throws light out in a wide flood; there is no main bright spot. So while a tighter, focused beam would go further, you can see everything on and off the trail. This means you get a good view of what’s coming, rather than just what’s dead ahead.
For the short time my main beam worked, this combination worked well. The Curve lights up the whole trail, the beam picking out the details. The downside to that flood of light is that the brightness drops off pretty quick. On unlit roads you can see that there is an obstacle, but maybe not what it is exactly. So as long as you’re not hammering along head down, you’ll have plenty of time to react.
On the road
Heading back home on my coastal route on a misty night, the Bookman Curve throws out a massive dome of light. It’s like being in your own snowdome! Once the road rises and the mist clears the Curve floods the road. Again it’s not an eye-searing brightness, but it gives enough light.
During my little off-road jaunt, the rear light suffered. With no protection from a mudguard it was blasted with mud and water and after an hour it showed. Hitting a short section of road it stopped flashing. It was difficult to see what the issue was; it was dark and the light was covered in mud. Whether it was water getting past the seals or mud gumming up the switch I couldn’t tell. However after some fiddling and cleaning, it switched on again.
Once I got back and cleaned it up, it did look like water had got past the seals. Leaving it to dry in the house for a couple of days and it was good to go again and since then has behaved impeccably. A case of bad luck? I’m not sure, but now it sits on my road bike, protected by a mudguard!
Run times have been very good. I charge them up at the beginning of the week and get three or four commutes (that’s 50 minutes each way) and a longer, three hour ride in on one charge. When the charge is starting to get low the on-off switch will start to glow. I had this at the beginning of a three hour ride, but it was still lit by the end; so no need to panic when it happens!
Charging is via a USB cable and the port has an easy to access silicone cover. The days of hunting around for batteries are, thankfully, long gone. It also means fewer batteries going into landfill, which is another plus.
So, in conclusion – apart from the rear light’s aversion to mud – the Bookman Curve lights have impressed. They’re bright, light and long lasting. They’re easy to attach and charge and the amount of light they emit is impressive.