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Thread: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

  1. #1
    Flashaholic CGD08's Avatar
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    Popcorn REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    (Best viewed in Full Screen F11)


    Hello fellow CPF cyclists! What's that!? That is the Planet Bike Superflash Stealth. I purchased the stealth version a month ago at a decent price, $22.99. This light is hands-down, the best tail light in its class... in the industry...

    Light: Superflash Stealth
    Class: AAA lights
    Company: Planet Bike
    MSRP: $29.99 USD
    Warranty: Limited Lifetime
    Ownership: 1 month




    Packing. Note: This product was purchased.













    Planet Bike is THE bike company. They donate 25% of their profits to funding bicycle advocacy, offer instant tech support, and are greening up their business practices.



    Warranty! On a side note, Planet Bike offers FREE SHIPPING on spare parts, small parts. "Why?" you ask. Well, for one they want to help fix your product for a cost that isn't half or more of the purchase price. They'd also rather help you fix your product, than see you throw it away.



    Since I have been using it, the seat post mount is already on the bike.



    Here it is. The Stealth version is aesthetically the same as the original Superflash, only the plastic casing is black and the reflector is clear. Hence the name Stealth.





    What you're looking down at is what truly sets the Superflash apart from other tail lights; the 1/2 watt BLAZE LED. No word on what supplier made the emitter. Why not 1 watt? Half watt is more than enough, trust me. Note the optics that magnify and intensify the already powerful red LED.



    Here we see the 2 eXtreme LEDs. These are also magnified via optics, two circles in the clear reflector. All LEDs are red, and the 3 together provide visibility for "up to 1 mile". Although, as some users will note, the light can be seen for even greater than 1 mile.



    You open the light using a coin... which is just about the only complaint I have for this light. Every time you open the light, the inset area in which you twist your coin gets damaged. The plastic is a little soft there, although the body is made of ABS plastic.



    ABS Plastic.



    Opening up.



    The black plastic case clad with the Superflash trademark. Many cyclists go with the Stealth because white colored bike accessories are very susceptible to getting dirty and also rare.



    The clear housing of the components. This half of the light is the the more heavier of the two... we'll get to this later.



    This photo lets you see the inner workings of the BLAZE. Note the optics.



    Although still restrained by the sealed shut housing, here we get a clear view of the eXtreme LEDs. We'll get to modes in a little.





    I usually use rechargeables, but this does not change the light's performance in this review much. The Superflash does however drain batteries fast, rechargeable and alkaline alike. You can see that the button assembly on the light is a small push button.





    Some more shots of the button mechanism. It's a clicky switch.



    And here we have the rubber gasket. The gasket has been improved from the original version after riders gave feedback to the company, stating that water could get in. No dunk test here, I trust it's rain proof, because you're not going to ride in the ocean.



    The clicky button is protected and fully waterproof, as it is inside the light's case. Thus you push on this thin yet sturdy plastic to activate the light, cycle through modes, and turn it off.



    Mounting is key. The light comes with 2 gaskets to choose from. I'm using the bigger of the two. The mount is nut free! No seriously, it doesn't require any nuts to hold the scew. You still need a screwdriver though Sorry for those who still can't eat nuts





    The mount outside. The Superflash mount is the top one.



    The Superflash Stealth mounted.



    As with most mounts, you can change the pitch/angle. Mine is directly visible to drivers.



    As vertical as can be.



    If your seat post is high enough, your Superflash Stealth can work in conjuction with other tail lights! Although, Superflash alone really should be enough.

    Now for the outdoor shots. These shots were taken in the following settings:

    f 2.8
    ISO 200
    Exposure compensation +2.0
    Shutter speed varies

    These shots were taken about 10 steps away from the bike.



    Camera flash to let you know what the setup looks like. What you're seeing is the light from the flash bouncing off of reflectors and back into the camera. In fact take a look closer and you'll see that the Superflash Stealth is reflecting light as well. Taken at 1/15.

    Note: the the Superflash Stealth is shown mounted with another tail light, the NiteRider TL 5.0. The tests below were conducted light independent. Thus the other light was taken off as to prevent any disparities in light. Simply put, these tests were conducted without the other tail light mounted.

    Modes:
    The Superflash Stealth has two modes; "Superflash" mode, and steady.

    In Superflash mode, the 1/2 watt BLAZE LED blinks fast 2 times, then the 2 eXtreme LEDs blink faster 3 times, alternating on.

    In steady mode, the 1/2 watt BLAZE LED is steady, while the 2 eXtreme LEDs are off. This shows that they are really there as support, and the BLAZE LED can do well alone. I prefer Superflash mode.



    Superflash mode. Taken at 0.5".



    Steady mode. A beautiful flower corona. Superflash mode is still equally bright, and this may just appear to be brighter due to the longer exposure. Taken at 0.5".

    Now for some indoor shots of the light in action at a closer viewpoint. These were taken in Superflash mode.



    The 2 eXtreme LEDs. Taken at f 2.8, ISO 200, EC 0.0, 1/8.



    The picture of review! The 1/2 watt BLAZE LED. Taken at f 2.8, ISO 200, EC 0.0, 1/8.


    Well we're almost done. The next small segment is important for Superflash owners.

    IMPORTANT:

    Listen guys, about the problems with Superflash.

    A few customers were having problems with the original Superflash and early Stealth models which included literally dismounting or having a bad seal.

    What happened was that when a cyclist would hit a heavy bump, the two halves of the light would literally seperate. I call it Spontaneous Dismount. Thus since it's a tail light people can't see if they lost it or not. The logical explanation I give everybody: The half that is the lightest is also the half securely mounted the the bike. The heavy half that has the components, LEDs, batteries, is all on this other side. Thus you can understand how this might be possible. Rest assured! Planetbike says they've improved the gasket, so I'm guessing that was it. This also fixes the dew/water seeping into the light. Thus a better water tight seal.

    They've fixed these problems. So how do you know if your light is okay?
    I contacted tech support via email a month ago, before my unit arrived:


    This is what you do (for both the original and stealth)

    1. Open your superflash.
    2. Look at the inside of the plastic casing which is either white or black depending on your model.
    3. Look for a clock in the casting which will have numbers 1-12 going around it.
    4. In the center there will be a number.
    5. If your number is 08, YOU'RE FINE!


    Here's a photo:



    Mine says 08

    So if your's says 08 in the middle of the clock, no worries. It's a year stamp. The previous version is 07. Again, this is what Planet Bike told me via email. Good luck!


    Thanks for reading. Show me those thumbs! This review took forever! Your cookies and views are appreciated. But please reply and too!
    Last edited by CGD08; 08-27-2009 at 07:34 AM. Reason: (Best viewed in Full Screen F11) and Optics
    Fight the Order! Avatar, watermark, and reviews are © Roshal W. 2009
    Upcoming: LumaForce LF1 MC-E 3 mode, EagleTac T20C2, EagleTac M2SC4, Fenix Mount, EZ Mount

  2. #2

    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Great review
    Thank you.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* csshih's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    thanks for the review.

    interesting. I see 2 5mms, and I'll guess some sort of surface mount 1/2 watter, like the ncihias in an E1.

  4. #4
    LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Thank you for the heads-up via PM; what a great review! I'm glad that you put the information on how to distinguish the old vs. new models. Other cyclists on the net googling around may be able to pull this up, even if they aren't [yet] Flashoholics.
    "...and the diode multiplied and grew in brightness. And God saw that it was good."

  5. #5
    Flashaholic CGD08's Avatar
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    Smile Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    No problem guys. Thank YOU for reading it!
    Fight the Order! Avatar, watermark, and reviews are © Roshal W. 2009
    Upcoming: LumaForce LF1 MC-E 3 mode, EagleTac T20C2, EagleTac M2SC4, Fenix Mount, EZ Mount

  6. #6
    Flashaholic CGD08's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Fixed Optics: lens has been corrected to optics. Outdoor beamshots will be updated in a few, if possible.
    Fight the Order! Avatar, watermark, and reviews are © Roshal W. 2009
    Upcoming: LumaForce LF1 MC-E 3 mode, EagleTac T20C2, EagleTac M2SC4, Fenix Mount, EZ Mount

  7. #7
    Flashaholic CGD08's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    By the way, I'm using TinyPic image hosting... let me know if there are any problems. Tell me how it performs. Supposedly it's "unlimited" bandwidth. Thanks.
    Fight the Order! Avatar, watermark, and reviews are © Roshal W. 2009
    Upcoming: LumaForce LF1 MC-E 3 mode, EagleTac T20C2, EagleTac M2SC4, Fenix Mount, EZ Mount

  8. #8
    Flashaholic CGD08's Avatar
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    Exclamation Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Please note,
    if you're having any image problems, please clear your cache. If that doesn't work, and problems persist, PM me. Thanks.
    Fight the Order! Avatar, watermark, and reviews are © Roshal W. 2009
    Upcoming: LumaForce LF1 MC-E 3 mode, EagleTac T20C2, EagleTac M2SC4, Fenix Mount, EZ Mount

  9. #9

    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    very nice review with great information. thanks

  10. #10
    gunga's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Just curious, other than the casing colour, how is the stealth different from the standard superflash?

  11. #11
    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Quote Originally Posted by gunga View Post
    Just curious, other than the casing colour, how is the stealth different from the standard superflash?
    AFAIK, nothing.

  12. #12

    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Seriously, I cannot emphasize enough how great these lights are. The flashing pattern is what makes this light. So much better than any other tail light.

    I have one on each bike in the garage and all my friends have bought at least one since seeing mine.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBFjzcSotzw

  13. #13
    Flashaholic CGD08's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Sorry guys. What an epic fail, I forgot runtimes.... PB says it runs up to 100 hours on superflash mode.
    Fight the Order! Avatar, watermark, and reviews are © Roshal W. 2009
    Upcoming: LumaForce LF1 MC-E 3 mode, EagleTac T20C2, EagleTac M2SC4, Fenix Mount, EZ Mount

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* rayman's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Great review. Just ordered the light because of this review. I was always watching for a good taillight for my moutainbike and I think I found it.

    rayman
    My Lights (current EDC: Lumintop Tool Ti with Nichia 219BT)

  15. #15
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Here is an alternative that performs as well for $10 (probalby made by the same mfg.)

    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/193...fety-Light.htm

    There is a Youtube comparing these to the PBSF and he says it a little brighter and has a slightly different flash pattern.

    I bought 4 of them but haven't personally compared them to either of the PBSF's yet, if they don't measure up I'll modify the post, there are some other PBSF clones out there that don't perform nearly as well
    Last edited by ncaudio; 11-10-2009 at 07:31 AM. Reason: clarification on pricing

  16. #16
    Flashaholic CGD08's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Quote Originally Posted by rayman View Post
    Great review. Just ordered the light because of this review. I was always watching for a good taillight for my moutainbike and I think I found it.

    rayman
    Thanks rayman! Hope you enjoy it! I'm behind on reviews, I hope to get back in soon.

    ncaudio:
    Yeah there's a few [competitors] out there. Here's another.

    Thanks for reading.
    Fight the Order! Avatar, watermark, and reviews are © Roshal W. 2009
    Upcoming: LumaForce LF1 MC-E 3 mode, EagleTac T20C2, EagleTac M2SC4, Fenix Mount, EZ Mount

  17. #17

    Str Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Thanks for the review. Didn't think anyone else here would care. I concur.

    Reader for awhile. Registered so I could respond to this, got sidetracked on a battery issue.

    Disclaimer: I have no stock in Planet Bike.
    Warning: I can be verbose.

    I always rode broad daylight so though I have a decades-long cycling history, my light use first started last fall and on through winter. I was tired of almost being run-over in broad daylight though wearing bright colored cycling clothing. Motorists here in South East Indiana are at least as distracted as elsewhere, and since very few adults ride bikes as serious transportation, bike awareness is just almost non-existent. A wake up call was in order.

    I asked my not-so-local bicycle shop (NSLBS) for affordable obnoxious attention-getting rear lights. We tried the Princeton Swerve, then the SuperFlash. I now have three non-Stealth versions of the Super Flash, after two Princeton Swerves.

    The Supers are Super. I run two on my seat stays or on the rack of the errand bike, the right one "On" as a steady light to help people judge distance and the one on the left in flash mode. These are swapped side to side each ride to even out the battery discharge. The snap in mounts are well, a snap to use. After a couple of weeks, I recharge the AAA NiMH's. I carry spare AAA's in my seat bag, too in case I forget. Battery swapping is easy, just like the Swerve but unlike my Xenon flasher which wants to drop battery contacts every time.

    I did try to do a runtime on my first SuperFlash in flash mode with new NIMH Everready AAA's and it was weeks: somewhere in the 90 hour range. I did not record it, but YMMV, so let's just call it 'a long time' and be done. The Princeton Swerves were maybe 1/3 the run time, a week to ten days to recharging. (Riding 100-150+ miles a week).

    Thanks for the tip on reading production date. Two of mine are 2008's and the other is a December 2007, judging by the "clock hand" mark. I have had no drop outs, but checking with my NSLBS, the later ones are definitely less prone to suicidal jumping to the pavement in a supposed bid for freedom. This is much less likely if the SuperFlash is worn (they are less lonely or there's a little less vibration), so the oldest one is now nestled on my helmet.

    I have also had more issues with "not being seen" so my Xenon yellow flash joins the SuperFlash on the opposite (front) end of the helmet where it also no longer interferes with my other electronics.

    The Swerve appeared to be the ticket to getting attention as its flash mode is even more grating than the SuperFlash's. Almost a visual "nails on the blackboard" kind of annoying. Maybe a hair brighter but not enough to be notable. The nice-feeling rotary switch on the original Swerve and its replacement disliked road vibrations from Day 1 well maybe Day 2 for the replacement. Neither the original nor its replacement would stay on (vertical orientation). Both first went off only over railroad tracks, then progressively lesser road irregularities shut them down. I tried to use gravity so the mode I wanted was in the down position,: nope. Rubber band: nope. The replacement is now on my Son's college bike on the rear rack in a horizontal position where it is hoped it will stay on if he ever turns it on. His Superflash still had the original batteries, so I suspect the Swerve will work just as well for him as the SuperFlash did, or should I say didn't?

    To their credit, Princeton and the NSLBS were good about my not shipping a $40 non-functioning light back to them and took my word for it all, so I am happy with Princeton's and as ever, the NSLBS service. The Swerve's abilities when it worked were just that bit over the top I'd have liked. It was almost as bright as the Xenon but I won't be fussed if it is stolen. Kinda sad, really.

    So after testing (for personal use, I was not thinking of writing it up, then)only two bright flashing lights recommended by my NSLBS, I am betting my life with three Planet Bike lights. I can't think of a stronger endorsement that doesn't include my becoming poorer.

    If my DIY headlight goes well, I might try a matching supernova LED tailight to augment the Super Flashes.

    Instead of "I didn't see you" I'll likely get: "I didn't see you because of a blinding red light!"

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Dioni's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Wow... that is a huge review! Thank you!

  19. #19

    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    These lights are the reason I haven't given a second thought to building a rear light. Why bother when someone's already dropped modern efficiency into an efficiently manufactured package? I don't have a "stealth" version, but I like the concept. The light source is red, so why add opacity by tinting the optic and "diffuser" portion of the body?

    Not to mention, being a semi-active bike advocate and burdened with low-impact retentiveness, this just clinches the deal:
    Quote Originally Posted by CGD08 View Post
    Planet Bike is THE bike company. They donate 25% of their profits to funding bicycle advocacy, offer instant tech support, and are greening up their business practices.

    Warranty! On a side note, Planet Bike offers FREE SHIPPING on spare parts, small parts. "Why?" you ask. Well, for one they want to help fix your product for a cost that isn't half or more of the purchase price. They'd also rather help you fix your product, than see you throw it away.

  20. #20
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    My very old cateye rear died, this looks great, thanks for the review.

  21. #21

    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    I love mine - I've had it for six months and it is nice and bright. I clip it to my dog's collar for night walks more often than I use it on my bike, and for that it works great as well!

  22. #22
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Great review! Thanks!

    I have been using the white-based 2008 Superflash for bike commuting in the winter here in Canada's NW---have experienced some switch problems where the unit would spontaneously turn itself off. From what I can see, the Stealth version has a much beefier switch, so maybe this has resolved that issue....a bike inner tube rubber band holds the 2 halves together to avoid any LED bike light ejection dramas---I do that with all my LED winkies, including the pair on my mittens as turn signals....!

    vélorution!

  23. #23
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Have this light on 2 bikes.

    Works for jogging too; just unclip one from a bike, clip it on the back of my Fuel Belt and away we go!

    Anybody 'hotrod' one of these yet?

  24. #24

    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Quote Originally Posted by swimbikerun View Post
    ...

    Anybody 'hotrod' one of these yet?
    I'm awaiting parts from DX to mod one now.

  25. #25

    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Quote Originally Posted by MMACH 5 View Post
    I'm awaiting parts from DX to mod one now.
    A Tim Allen mod: More power?

    I thought 3 Super Flashes were enough: I get more respect with the ANSI vest. Love the K-lite red tailight.

  26. #26

    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    I thought I would chime in that I picked up 2 of these Sette ST-316's for a project light mounted on my son's Burley trailer. The electronics on the Sette may have the same specs for brightness, but the quality of the plastic and the optics are not in the same league as the Planet Bike. I just picked up another SuperFlash for myself instead of getting another Sette.

    Quote Originally Posted by ncaudio View Post
    Here is an alternative that performs as well for $10 (probalby made by the same mfg.)

    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/193...fety-Light.htm

    There is a Youtube comparing these to the PBSF and he says it a little brighter and has a slightly different flash pattern.

    I bought 4 of them but haven't personally compared them to either of the PBSF's yet, if they don't measure up I'll modify the post, there are some other PBSF clones out there that don't perform nearly as well

  27. #27
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    How is the side view of the SuperFlash? Is it more noticeable for side viability than other lights i.e. Blackburn 3.0?

  28. #28

    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Can't speak for the Blackburn 3.0, but the Smart Super flash clone (1/2W etc) has not got as good sideways output as the Cateye TL-LD1100.

    Bobbl@

  29. #29

    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    Great review... btw where can i get one of that? Shipping international is posibble?

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* rayman's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW! Planet Bike Superflash Stealth

    I think he is nto selling them, he just made a good review. Bought mine on eBay from a US seller. International shipping was quite cheap.

    rayman
    My Lights (current EDC: Lumintop Tool Ti with Nichia 219BT)

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