Tacx Lumos Bike Lights:
Like most people I work regular hours for a living and that means I have to do most of my serious training at night.
Taiwan can be a frustrating and dangerous place to ride during the day, and at night you have to be even more careful. Good lighting and visibility is essential to surviving each ride unscathed.
For the past several years I had been using a Cat Eye bar top mounted light with strobe and solid beams pairs with a couple of blinkeys on the back.
The worst thing about the Cat Eye was that several times during a ride, I would have to slow down and re adjust the strap to keep it from dangling or dropping off the bar completely. No matter how tight I would fasten the damned light, a little rough pavement or bump on a bridge, would send it illuminating my shoes.
I went into T-Mosaic and saw the Tacx bar end mounted lights and was intrigued. I finally broke down and bought them. After a few nights out with them, I think I like them pretty okay.
They are bright. They are solidly mounted to the bar ends and run on AA batteries. Each side shines front and rear with a blinker if you ever remember to use it. These are all good points.
I don't like the lack of a strobe. It is easy for me to imagine a vehicle misjudging my distance if they aren't sure way type of vehicle I am. I remember one foggy night I was driving through Sun Valley, Idaho. The road was covered in a dusting of snow and the highway covered in fog. I saw a bunch of lights up ahead and wondered what all those cars were doing up there. I suddenly realized that I was about to ram the back end of a semi trailer. The point is: Lights can be deceiving in the dark. A strobe is a good clue that you are a bike.
I am also trying to get used to having something beyond my normal bar ends. A couple times I have turned off the lights by resting my hands on the very ends of the bars.
The last quibble is that the AA batteries rattle when you hit any type of bump and it makes the ride a bit noisy.
My left light has quit working after maybe three night rides. It will turn on if I remove the light and jiggle the contacts, but that only lasts for a moment.
Overall, this COULD BE is a very good product for night owls. I still see lots of room for improvement. Better engineering would be a start. Remounting the button to the outside might be better. Adding a strobe function would make this product a easy choice if it can be robust enough to handle real world riding.
It feels like a beta product, but it is not ready for the consumer.
About 6 weeks ago I brought these lights back to my LBS. The owner was kind enough to send them in to have the engineers look at the problems. Nobody has heard back from Tacx. I was issued a new set on the LBS owner's dime.
When they break... I will be looking elsewhere.
Continental Force Tire:
I am still, and have been for a long time, a huge fan of the Continental 4000 GP tire. It is an excellent performance tire for racing and fast training.
Sadly, when my tire died, I had to face the fact that Taiwan is always in short supply of my trusty 4000 GP. The superior 25c model is even more scarce.
I needed a tire and went with the Continental Force. I chose the force for its performance profile, and for the fact that it is 24c. I thought this would be a good replacement when paired with the 23c 4000 GP on the front.
The tire feels very firm. At first it made my bike feel like one of those old alloy Cannondale biked of the 90s. After a while the tire felt very smooth and a very good roller with plenty of tack on the road.
I have not had it long enough to rate the wear, but so far, this is a very nice performance tire. Very racy.