by Sergeant Jeff Britton, PCI #1205
Central Point (OR) Police Department
While attending the 2010 Interbike trade show in Las Vegas, I visited the Cycle Force Group booth and found a light system that I thought was worth trying. Cycle Force Group is a distributor for Smith and Wesson Police bikes, and they also offer bike patrol accessories through their web site, www.cyclefg.com. Cycle Force Group is also a Corporate Member of IPMBA.
The light I found is the Akslen “Nightstalker”, which sells for $44.95. If you have priced lighting systems for bike patrol, you know that they can run several hundred dollars. I decided to try it out so that departments on a tight budget would have access to a tool they need to get their bike patrol program going.
The Nightstalker runs on four AA batteries, which were included in the package. The lights are a white LED system. The light features a handlebar mounting bracket, low power indicator, high and low beam settings, dual strobes, and flip-up lenses. The lenses are offered in red, blue, clear, amber, and green. Replacement lenses are available for $3 each through Cycle Force Group. The light output is listed as 1000+ candlepower, but it does not have a lumen rating. Battery life is listed as 12 hours on steady high output, 18 hours on steady low output, and 80 hours on flashing. The company lists the weight at 131 grams, without batteries.
I noticed that the high output white lights on steady power were brighter than some of the more expensive 1- to 2-watt lights. With the flip-down red and blue lenses, the flashing mode was a definite attention-getter during the night. It was still visible during the day, although it was harder to get attention. I used it to make traffic stops and subject stops on both day and night patrol.
The light has a water-resistant housing, which is important for those who patrol in the rain. It is operated via a rubber button on the top of the unit. Pushing the button once activates the flashing mode, the second push of the button brings the light to low output, and the third push puts the light in high output mode. While the light was attached to my handlebars, the bracket had quite a bit of flex. When I pushed down on the top button to activate the light, the light housing would flex down and felt like it might break. Therefore, I had to be very careful while riding and activating any change in the lighting. I had to use one hand to steady the light and the other to push the button to avoid any chance of breaking the handlebar bracket. Although the light housing has not broken, it feels like it might at any time, so Akslen may want to modify the bracket set up for greater stability.
On night patrol, the visibility was good, especially for a light that takes four AA batteries. I have another light that is rated at 60 lumens, and the Nightstalker appears to be brighter and offers better visibility. That said, I would use it more to be seen than for visibility. I am going to use it primarily for the emergency lights with a second helmet mount light for visibility.
The Nightstalker is only available at this time through Cycle Force Group. The direct website address for the light is: http://www.cyclefg. com/shop/product.php?productid=714000058&cat=346&page=1.
Jeff Britton is a sergeant with the Central Point (OR) Police Department. He has been a member of the bike patrol team since 2004. He was a LEBA instructor since 2005 and completed the IPMBA Instructor Course in Tacoma, Washington, in August 2010. He can be reached at email@example.com.
© 2011 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Winter 2011 issue of IPMBA News.