Monday, February 20, 2023

Review: Bookman Lights

The Bookman Curve model.
 I mentioned that I had received a set of Bookman lights to review recently  and so here is my thoughts on these new-to-me lights. Keep in mind the Standard Disclaimer applies here. 

Up front, when I heard about these lights, I wasn't all that interested. In fact, I ignored the first request I received on these because these were lights for "urban areas" and I try to stay in my lane, so to speak. But the offer was made again, and in an almost insistent way, so I acquiesced to the request to have me review these lights. 

Of course, just getting the Monocle in was worth the trouble as it is such a useful light for anyone that commutes, of course, or is a runner, or even for bikepacking, setting up camp, or reading cues at night while riding. And I already gave a pretty detailed look at that light. So, what about the other two?

The "Curve" model is available as a front or rear light with four modes for the front light, three for the rear light. The lights have a cam lock/rubber strap attachment system which will work with most handlebar sizes. The clasp doubles as a switch activation to toggle you through the modes and turn the light on or off with a long press. 

Both lights charge via an included USB cable.

The unique shape of the 220 Lumen (on highest setting) Curve allows for the light to be seen better from more angles. The light housing is all plastic, but it seems well built and I could not see any ill-fitting parts or misalignment issues in either example of the Curve light I had. 

Charging duties are accomplished via the ubiquitous USB cable method and charging time from dead flat to full charge is a claimed two hours. Run time on high for the front light is one hour, or it can go to 70 hours in flashing mode. The rear light is rated at 37 Lumen and on steady lasts for two and a half hours or up to 32 hours in flashing mode. 

The lights both were easy to attach to my handle bar and seat post. It seems a bit unfortunate that the front light can only be attached in a vertical orientation, since a side spill of light would seem to be advantageous for commuting. In the vertical position, you are losing a lot of that light as it is aimed up into the air. Fortunately, it seems to "throw" the light frontwards, for the most part, but not being able to orient the light horizontally seems like a miss to me. 

The rear light attachment also does not account for seat post angling which points the rear light slightly downward. However; this may or may not be an issue depending upon the bike used. Another nit I had was that clasping the cam lock over can easily turn the light on, which resulted in one occurrence of myself receiving the full 220 lumen blast to the face. Random? Not really, I had the light come on in both rear and front applications while attaching them several times. 

The Bookman Curve on the front to the Left of my Schmidt Edulux II light.

The Curve on steady at 220 Lumen is bright enough to see by all by itself, but it could not compete with my Schmidt Edulux II with its wider, longer throw of light. Would the Curve get you by in a pinch as a light for maybe an hour? Let's say that your main light runs out just short of your destination, or before Sunrise. I'd say that this would be an okay "bail-out" light, and it would pack small and it is lightweight. 

But in my estimation, where this light really works best is in its flashing mode which I would run alongside a steady torch at night. That flashing light doesn't seem to compete with my main light, and it isn't distracting to ride with it. 

The Curve on the seat post here. The Schmidt tail light is on the rack.

Out on the back end, I felt that the Curve light worked really well. In one of the flashing modes, it almost reminds me of a police/emergency vehicle flashing light. The rear Curve throws light well, has side visibility due to its shape, and despite it being tucked under my Topeak rear seat bag, it shined forth with more authority than the rack mounted Schmidt light. 

Conclusions: I've already spoken to the Monocle, it's a winner in case you didn't check the link, and I won't go back over that one. How about the Curve lights? They retail at $45.00 a piece and come in several colors for the cases. Fashionable. I suppose that is somewhat important. The overall design is pretty clever and has that certain "European" feel and look to it. On these merits the Bookman lights are very much winners.

But in terms of how they work? I like them, but that clasp/power switch combination is somewhat annoying and I wish I could orient the front light horizontally. The rear light would be better if there were an accommodation for seat post angle, and try attaching this light to anything with a light-loop. Like on my Topeak bag, for instance, this light won't work. 

The lights by themselves are great for their intended purposes. I have no beef at all and I especially really like the rear light. The front would be my "bail-out" for long night rides and will be my flasher for commutes. So, in terms of the lights themselves, they are great, it's just the lack of attention to attachment scenarios that brings this light back to being "just okay". 

Get these if you swoon at the sight of them because the design just gets you. Otherwise there are a lot of very good, very well priced alternatives that have a bit better attention to details than the Bookman lights do.

NOTE: As A reminder: Standard Disclaimer

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