by Matthew Worm, PCI #946/EMSCI #256
Omaha (NE) Police Department
One evening I was thinking “how can I further improve bicycle patrol and make life easier for my brothers and sisters on the beat?” That’s when I got a text from James Englert, our IPMBA Industry Liaison. James asked me to product test the JET Lites FU-2 and let him know what I thought. I said, “Sure! I think I know a thing or two about bicycle lights.” After all, I have previously evaluated various models and designs in order to make recommendations to my department command about product purchasing.
James said that he was going to have JET Lites send me a sample and instructed me to give the light a thorough testing. I will start by honestly saying that I had not heard of JET Lites and I did not know what to expect from their product. JET Lites sent me the F-U2, which retails for $179.00. When I opened package, I thought they sent me the wrong product.
I was looking at a normal, everyday, duty-style light, similar to the light that I carry on my duty belt every day. I took note of the simple battery charger, the small mounting bracket, and a single removable Li-Ion battery. I put the battery into the lightweight aluminum housing and was happy to see the battery was charged and ready to go.
The light is operated the same way as my duty light, with a push button tail switch and an option to switch between high, medium and low power. According to the JET Lites website, the light will provide one hour and forty minutes of run time at 825 lumens. The battery charger will accommodate two batteries, and extra batteries can be purchased through JET Lites ($20.00 per). In other words, if the battery runs down or goes bad, it can be replaced rather than having the whole light system go down.
I attached the mounting bracket to my bicycle. I was surprised at the simplicity of the product and impressed that the bracket has the light sitting offset so it actually sits above the bicycle head tube. In the past I have worked with lights that take up too much room on the handlebars or that have a “rubber band” style mounting systems. The last thing I want to see is a hundred plus dollar lighting system that relies on a thick rubber band to keep it in place. The light also easily attaches to the bracket and can be just as easily removed and used as a back-up flashlight.
So now it is time for the field test and I can’t think of a better way to give the light its first test run than on the local club ride with my buddy and fellow IPMBA instructor Nate Keenan. The ride starts at dusk and follows a wooded rail-trail that has no illumination except for the bike-mounted lights. Not only was it pitch black that night, but the rain started to fall and soon turned into a torrential downpour. I was impressed that the JET Lites F-U2 illuminated the trail and was not at all affected by the rain and mucky gravel sludge that was coating the light, bike and rider.
While field testing the light, I was impressed at the ability of the light to hold a charge and perform as expected. I took the light off the bracket and used it several times in low-light indoor conditions. I then completed basic IPMBA standard testing with the light to ensure the stability of the product. I started with curbs and finished off by ascending and descending stairs. The light stayed steady and did not move out of adjustment. The only complaint I have about the mounting system/bracket is that the light cannot be swiveled at all right or left independently of the handlebars.
I can safely say that I would have no reservations in recommending the JET Lites F-U2 for my department to purchase and that I would consider purchasing one myself. The F-U2 is at an affordable price point, and is both sturdy and dependable for everyday use on and off the roads.
In closing, I have come to the conclusion that I can help to improve an aspect of bicycle patrol for my brothers and sisters by recommending they consider the JET Lites products when making an investment in a bicycle lighting system.
JET Lites does not yet participate in the IPMBA Product Purchase Program. For more information, visit www.jetlites.com.
Matthew has been with the Omaha Police Department for 13 years. He has been a certified IPMBA Police Cyclist since 2001 and a certified IPMBA Instructor since 2006. He is also a certified firearms and patrol rifle instructor. Matthew currently works beat patrol in the Northeast precinct and is coordinating administrative issues involving the Omaha Police Bicycle Patrol program. In his free time, Matthew loves to ride his mountain bike on any available singletrack and his Salsa Veya on the gravel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This review appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of IPMBA News.