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,
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!