“At least: politicians put a rising value on cycling.“
Of all bicycle components, bicycle lights have been the most innovative in recent years. What is the reason for this? What does the future of cycling lighting look like? Interview with Supernova CEO Marcus Wallmeyer.
Why has lighting been the most innovative bicycle component in recent years?
In the last few years, bicycle lighting has gone through revolutionary changes, especially for e-bikes. Lighting changes have increased the safety of riders considerably, both at night and during the day.
These days, daytime running lights have become standard. The ultimate innovation, however, is the high beam. Everyone who drives a car uses a high beam and wouldn’t want to miss it. But for bicycles, a controllable high and low beam is a leap of innovation as significant as adding the first suspension forks on mountain bikes was.
Why is society putting a higher value on cycling?
In recent years, road safety legislation has permitted numerous innovations that enhance safety. It seems that politicians are finally affording cycling an increasing value because it is the most environmentally friendly means of transport. These changes have given lighting manufacturers completely new options, which has created enormous innovative power. But there is still a lot to be done, especially for bicycles without electric power. It would be essential to work on legislation for dynamos because there is not enough power for a high beam. This limitation is not due to technology, but due to the regulations. That is why I would like the legislators to continue implementing the ideas we propose through the Bicycle Industry Association.
Another reason for the higher value of cycling is that it has taken on a completely different significance in society. Years ago, talented light designers were simply swallowed up by the car industry. Nowadays, it’s ‘cool’ to work for the bicycle industry. You can find talented developers who are also bicycle enthusiasts. An excellent basis for innovation is working with people who are passionate about developing products that enhance their rides in their leisure time or on their way to work. The technology for developing new products is also now very advanced, which significantly shortens development cycles.
What about innovations related to cooling measures and more LEDs?
The phenomenal increase in brightness is due to the use of better cooling strategies as well as the use of more LEDs. It’s also possible to increase brightness due to complex light calculations and by optimizing the surface quality of the reflectors and lenses. Here at Supernova, we have been able to increase the brightness of headlights by 700% in the last three years.
What is the latest trend in tail lights?
The new trend is moving toward homogenous light with high luminance. Wafer-thin luminous lines make the tail light a styling element for bicycle designers. In the future, the tail light will become a light signature that makes a bike look stylish and makes it safer. Brake lights are also becoming increasingly popular.
What does the future hold for bicycle lights?
I think the integration of lights into the overall design of a bike will develop rapidly, as will the technical integration into the drive system. Bicycle manufacturers will use lighting as a design element to stand out from the crowd.
In particular, the e-mountain bike will probably come with lights ex-works in the future with bright power headlights integrated into a design that matches the brand’s corporate identity.
Click here for the interview at www.radfahren.de