Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Bookman Curve: Eye Candy You Can See In the Dark



Of all the fetishes one might develop for bicycles and their accoutrements, thankfully I never had a thing for lights. Living in the countryside these days, I mainly want my bicycle lights to be bright. If, at the same time they manage to be fairly lightweight, easy to recharge, visually inoffensive, and reasonably priced, I am happy enough to give them no further thought.

Unfortunately, the Swedish designers at Bookman seem intent to change this sane state of affairs. While I've always found their tiny LED concoctions visually compelling, their latest iteration of the Curve takes it one step too far. When I see these lights, I want to touch them, sniff them, eat them, decorate my body with them... And yes, I know this isn't a normal reaction! Or is it exactly the reaction they want?.. Well, we'll have to ask them. But their confectionary aesthetics aside, are these objects more than just eye candy? Read on and decide for yourself. Or better yet, take one and find out firsthand. Because the samples are free to a good home.



Now in its second generation of production, the Bookman Curve is pretty much what the name suggests: a curved bicycle light. The overall design minimises the size of the unit itself, while maximizing the area of the glass - which is shaped so as to 'spill light over the sides' for 180° visibility coverage around the cyclist.

I've had an ongoing relationship with Bookman for some time now, and I have tested a few iteration of the original Bookman lights. Their products always impressed me with their durability and simple, fool-proof functionality. But the problem for me was, that the overall luminosity in these tiny beautiful units just wasn't enough for my use case scenario once I moved to the countryside. The Curve model began to change that. With its 80 lumen output, the Curve 1 was noticeably brighter than the manufacturer's previous offerings. And the peripheral light output produced by its design was indeed quite striking.

The new Curve 2 model takes it up another notch, with an output of 100 lumens. For the city and suburbs, that amount of illumination is actually quite respectable, and on par with much bulkier headlights. It is even beginning to approach acceptable range for the country roads. I still can't use it as my only light along the backroads on moonless nights (for reference, the headlight I normally use puts out 900 lumens at its highest setting). But along the main roads, peppered with reflective 'cat eyes' and luminous road markings, it is sufficient.



This lumen output is particularly impressive, considering the tiny size, light weight, and no-fuss  attachment method of these lights. You can fit both tail light and headlight in the palm of one hand, or stash both in your coat or cycling jersey pocket. On the handlebars, the headlight sits unobtrusively, and will fit no matter how cluttered your cockpit.



The elastic silicone band is easy to open and close, but impossible to lose as the other end remains attached to the unit. It fits handlebars (or seat posts, for the tail light) from 22mm to 42 mm in diameter.

The on switch, integrated into the clasp, is large and obvious, and responds to the blunt push of even a heavily-gloved finger. Holding the button for just under a second turns the light on and off, and a quick click switches between 4 modes, including flash. The battery life indicator flashes here as well.



At its highest setting, the Curve 2 has a run time of two and a half hours, and can last up to 35 hours in flashing or power-save modes. It takes two hours to charge via USB, and a USB cable is included with the product.

And while the Curve might bring to mind colourful casein jewelry, unlike casein it is, thankfully, weatherproof - resistant to humidity, rain, hail and snow.



While the Bookman Curve lights are certainly bits of eye candy, to dismiss them as decor over function would be unjustified. The compact, durable, intuitive to use headlight puts out 100 lumens of light, provides 180° visibility coverage, and charges via USB, with a pice tag of €39.

Here in the booneys, I may have to wait a few more iterations for the Bookman engineers to figure out how to stuff yet more lumens into those tiny shells. But for city and suburb dwellers these beautiful, minimalist lights could be just the thing.

If you would like to get your hands on one of these darlings: I have one coral and blue Curve 2 headlight, and one light gray and yellow Curve 2 headlight, as shown. They have been gently tested, but will come in their original packaging with USB cord and whatever else is in there.

I am willing to post anywhere in the world, if you don't mind cheap and very slow postage. So entries from Mongolia and Paraguay are fine.

And for those interested in other products from this manufacturer: The fellows at Bookman have asked me to convey, that signing up for their newsletter (see: 'subscribe' at the bottom of the page) will result in a 10% discount on your first purchase. However, this is not necessary to enter the give-away.

Now, if you'd like one of the lights, please leave a comment by the end of the month (i.e. Tuesday 31st January) which includes some method of contacting you (OR send me an email with your contact information) {entries now closed - thank you everyone!} In the comment, please respond to the following:

Imagine you work in the purchasing department of a faux Scandi-chic shop. What name would you give a bicycle light to make it sound extra sexy-minimalist-Scandinavian? I ask, because to me the name "Curve" is disappointingly straightforward, for what a foreigner has come to expect from a Swedish product! Perhaps for their next design the manufacturer might think of something more romantically unpronounceable?

Two recipients will be chosen, one for each light.

And with anticipation of your replies, I wish you a very Happy Weekend!



40 comments:

  1. ..."Uma's Wedge" Don't need light I'm, "Brilliant", enough...Cheer's!

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  2. I'd call it Lampa. That's Swedish for lamp. It's also Irish for lamp, so both Swedish and Irish markets are covered!

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  3. Maybe the "LYST Light" or the "PUKA!" Thanks for the review, these lights look great. I've been thinking of getting a secondary light for when my primary starts dimming, and I'd love to try one of these and see how I like it! And they are unusually attractive for a bike light. :-) (gilgalad8002 at Gmail.com)

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  4. Iskra!

    John T, email sent

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    Replies
    1. For what it's worth, iskra means spark or sparkle in Russian.

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    2. you do not even want to know what "curve" reminds of in Polish!

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    3. Oh I am pretty sure I know!

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  5. "CIRKEL" referring to the shape (a portion of a circle) and the English phrase "circle of light." These look very cool. Love the USB rechargeable feature.

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  6. How about "Drømlys" ("Dreamlight", in Danish)? Nothing says Scandi-sexy like an Ø. ( brian dot d dot glover at gmail dot com )

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  7. Have long noticed that lights which are very very easy to attach to bars can be positioned by the cash register and sell briskly. They also get used. My own bikes use stronger lights, I've made converts by giving away easy to use lights. Most of the lights I'm thinking of are squarely in the "beats nothing" category. A genuinely good light that gets riders to use lights has to be applauded.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is what every bike shop owner I know tells me. Ease of attachment trumps lumen output, at least with urban customers.

      Overall, I think it's great that over the past couple of years even the hard-core light manufacturers (see my earlier Lezyne review, for example) have re-designed their mounts to be easier and more versatile. It does make a difference.

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  8. Am I at the other end of the spectrum here, thinking these are just about the ugliest lights ever? ;)

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    Replies
    1. With you on that. Not my cup of tea.

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    2. Agree,they look like something from a certain low-price department store, once again we do all see things differently.

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    3. I don't so much find them pretty as yummy.

      Now, PRETTY would be something like this here. Do you think it goes with my ugly green DIY bike? : )

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    4. yes, these look like gummy bears! ever seen the end of ferris bueller's day off?

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    5. The Victorian era light would perk up your DIY bike nicely.

      Kendall Reid

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    6. Possibly but there may not be sufficient space for it among all the other fittings on that bike.

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    7. Oh, now THAT is full on steampunk gorgeous! Yes, do put that on your DIY Lovely Bicycle.

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    8. So long as you are in Ireland I should think a Lucas King of The Road headlamp like the one shown in the link is the only correct headlamp. Any bike resident in the isles should have one.

      Powered by calcium carbide is a bit off putting for some. OTOH for years I used a Justrite not nearly so well made as that Lucas and am still alive. They are subject to little hiccups that become amusing rather than terrifying over time.

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  9. I'm going to go with Fyre - an anglicisation of Fyr which is Swedish for beacon, with the e to turn if from the original 'fir-like'pronunciation to a more 'fire-like' pronunciation, whilst also having an affinity to tyre. And I'd probably get the marketing lasses to make the branding on the box look like there's a å over the e-, perhaps as a little light. After all. you said faux-scandi, right?

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  10. If exotic or cute is your thing, what about "Querubines"? (In english that would be Cherubs). I came out with that after seeing how their curves are similar to a colorful wing being moved up & down.

    If you need to contact me, reach me via alxndrlopez(at)gmail.com

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  11. I,m not sure they would be a good alternative to my cygolight, however, as for a name my thoughts llean towards " Lite Ears".
    Guy

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  12. How about Lysa? Swedish for Glow, gleam or twinkle.

    I'd happily have them on the counter of my imaginary bike shop!

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  13. låsavalo. Loosely translated from Finnish and Swedish as clasp light. They remind me of jewelry. May or may not evoke potentially sympathetic words such as lasso, velo, halo, salve, save, valor, and of course, lhasa apso. (Puppies are good!)

    Or szad-negaäh. Which,loosely translated, means nothing, only backwards.

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  14. Replies
    1. Oh, forgot contact info... email sent.

      Delete
  15. Hmmm... need an ø in there for overall Scandinavian-ness. Need something that sounds like it's related to light. Need a word that "feels" round.

    Aøra.

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  16. I've converted most of my bikes to Dynamo lighting, but the other evening I was riding a new bike home; one with no lights and it really brought home to me just how much difference there is between a bike with no lights, a bike with reflectors, and a bike with a light! I can't really put my finger on how to quantify the difference in how I was treated by people in cars; I did not really notice the difference much when I went to using lights, but I noticed the difference of suddenly not having them rather a lot! - masmojo

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  17. Ett Ättio, which I believe is Swedish for "one eighty."

    Kendall Reid
    kreid at tampabay dot rr dot com

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  18. Well, IF unpronounceable is what your looking for I give you

    Ögla

    Translation: loop.

    Beautiful lights anyway. I have sofar never managed to find any lights that last for more than an season, ranging from cheap to mid price segment. If they pass that test I would be thrilled. My husband just bought himself his first new bicycle in adult life so the search for nice additional gear is on!

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    Replies
    1. Into 3rd season on same set of B&M lights. No sign yet they will get old and give up. If buying up means longevity, then it is economical to use better products. Also, shop. Prices on small accessories such as lights vary enormously.

      For strong lights at cheapskate prices go to the hardware store and get a military/police flashlight. They are built seriously for reliability. Remember to aim them down, they are intended to be blinding.

      Delete
  19. I don't like the neon colors in the pictures either, but the Bookman site shows they have it in black with a black band. Two of those on the handlebars wouldn't be obtrusive and would look like a pair of headlights to oncoming vehicles.

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  20. If that light was sold by IKEA they would call it BÅGE, Swedish similar to curve.

    bm

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  21. eldfluga - firefly

    lysa - gleam, lighten, shine

    I was thinking of glöd, but most English speakers would miss-pronounce it (like they do with Björk).

    Cheers,
    Bill in Roswell, GA
    roadscrape88 via gmail.com

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  22. Steve from WestchesterJanuary 31, 2017 at 6:14 PM

    Sorry, but 100 lumens is too low to be safe, especially on any road that's unlit. Even on well lit city streets, with all the distracting lights, you want to stand out, not blend in. It's as much about being seen as it is to see where you're going. Five or six times this output should be a minimum standard for a bike light's highest setting. Granted this is a low price point, but real lights start at only about $15-25 more. Buying a light like this is the same decision process as buying a cheap helmet.

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    1. Not sure about your helmet analogy. A £15 Tesco helmet will have to conform to the same safety standards as the latest Giro Synth, so both will offer exactly the same protection. And I'm sure a moving hundred lumen light in flashing mode would be adequate on urban streets. Better than nothing at least!

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  23. I would name them fjärde which means fourth in Swedish. In your first picture, they look like they each form one fourth of a pie. Or maybe skiva which means slice. Or paj for pie.

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  24. Hello everyone and thank you for taking part!
    Entries are now closed and I will announce the recipients by tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete