Radical Lights’ Podda

Radical Lights are an Australian company whose bright, sleekly designed lights have been making their mark (and taking their fair share of podiums) on the endurance mountain biking scene.  Initially attracted to the beautiful product shots (seriously, check them out!), then curious to find out what all the hype is about, I was pretty excited to have the chance to use the “Podda” medium beam model this past month.

While the video above doesn’t show the full throw of the light, it gives a good indication of the quality of the light, the lack of glare it produces on super fun trails, and makes me want to return to Rotorua right away!

There are so many good things that can be said about this unit.  Even after a couple of short rides, I felt like someone had sat down and brainstormed all the things they liked and disliked about other types of bike lights, then came up with an alternative that only included the features they rated best.  These include easy, one button, glove friendly operation, a light weight design that sits comfortably and centred on the top of the helmet (or attaches securely and simply to the bars, with a battery small enough to fit under the stem), a built-in system to let you know when the battery level reaches 50% (and when it only has a few minutes left), another built-in system which reduces the beam strength if the light is in danger of overheating and secure feeling cables.

My favourite feature is the quality of light the Podda provides.  With five levels of brightness to choose from, even on the brightest setting the beam does not appear to have any edges or create glare (which dulls your perception of the trails).  I later learned that much work had gone into selecting the colour of the beam to make it as easy as possible for the eyes to see the trail – something that really stands out when you’re moving at speed, or if – like me – your eyesight is not the best even in daylight.  Riding with the Podda, my eyes felt relaxed and comfortable, and I was instantly aware of the effortlessness with which I was watching the trail unfold before my tyres.  With a light like this, I can now understand how some riders punch out night laps that are only just shy of their day laps in terms of race time.

The making of “Radical Nights”!  Photo: Gaye Camm

Thank you to Radical Lights for loaning me the Podda to use during the Scott 24 Hour race and over the month following the event.  This is clearly a high end product for riders, designed by riders, and worth checking out if you’re in the market for some top quality beams.