by Christopher Denshuick, PCI #1232
University of Pennsylvania Police Department
I had the opportunity and privilege to demo a headlight system from Trail Rail after meeting the owners Vince and Jennifer Basile at the Police and Security Expo held in Atlantic City in June 2012. I mentioned to them that we (the U.P.P.D) were looking for a durable and practical bike light that was not bulky on the handlebars, was easy to set up, had a self-contained battery system, and was not expensive. Vince nodded his head, smiled, and said “Here it is.” He then began to describe and demonstrate their single light handlebar mount system, stating it was available in several lumens options: 400, 800, and 1200. Since I had my bike with me at the Expo, I asked if I could borrow it to make sure it would fit on my handlebars. Because my bike has one of the largest diameter handlebars and that we have had problems mounting lights on them in the past, I was a little skeptical that it would fit perfectly, without any modifications, right out of the box.
Vince agreed, handing me a box containing a 400 lumen light and assuring me that it would fit without any problems. I opened the box and immediately thought “high-quality material” just from holding it in my hand. He explained that it is made from solid 6061-T6 aluminum billet…WHAT!?! “This translates into a product that is nearly indestructible”, he stated as he laughed. My next thought was “high ticket price” due to the apparent quality, but the 400-lumen light retails for $200, which is a great price for this high-quality light system. Much to my surprise, it also fit my bike right out of the box; I installed it in under five minutes without any modifications and/or problems.
I was then asked to demo the product for a few weeks and really put it to the test. I nodded my head, smiled back at him, and said, “No problem.” I expected the light to behave the same way our past and current ones; that is, to dip down or fall off from time to time as you go off a curb or down a set of steps. So I set off one summer evening and started slowly, going down a curb here and a curb there, but it stayed right in place. “All right”, I thought, “I’ll step it up a notch and go down some steps – three or four at first.” Nothing! “Ok, let’s see how it handles 10-15 steps!” Still nothing. It seemed to almost laugh at my feeble attempt to break it.
“That’s it! Show’s over, buddy! No more mister nice guy!” I started jumping off the steps, 8-10 steps, going down 20-30 steps, jumping off walls four feet high! But nothing! Nothing but my lieutenant, John Washington, calling me from home, asking why he is getting phone calls about me being seen jumping off walls and the broken button sculpture (officially titled “Split Button”) in Levy Park and otherwise treating our campus like a X-Game obstacle course. I calmly explained to him that I was testing out a new light system … scientifically, of course.”
And they think I am nuts”, he muttered as he hung up the phone on me.
After all that and riding single track in the parks in Philadelphia and New Jersey, the light and mount system and the battery life held up! This is truly a bike light to have while working and/or playing. I give it “two thumbs-up” and a 4.5 out of 5 for being built to last and also being made right here in the good old U.S. of A.
If I could make one change, I would add a quick release system so you can bring it with you, as it could double as a backup flash light system in the event your light goes dead. Other than that I am sold, and am currently looking into the other products they sell for bikes.
[Manufacturer’s Note: a quick release system is currently under development and is in the prototype stage. It is expected to be ready by the IPMBA Conference in Baton Rouge.]
Trail-Rail is an IPMBA Corporate Member and participates in the Product Purchase Program, offering 10% off retail to IPMBA members. Contact Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.trail-rail.com for information and to purchase.
Christopher Denshuick, aka “THE BLUE BULLET”, is a police officer with the University of Pennsylvania Police Department. He has been assigned to the bike unit for the last 11 years and is the lead bike mechanic for the department’s in-house bike shop. He was certified as IPMBA Police Cyclist Instructor in 2011. He rides a custom V-9 VOLCANIC bike made by Eric Kackley from VOLCANIC bicycles. He can be reached at email@example.com.
(c) 2013 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of IPMBA News.