November 20, 2009

Open letter to Planet Bike

By Elisa | 11 Comments »

Dear Planet Bike,
You guys are awesome, really. I love that you give 25% to bicycle advocacy. I love that your fenders are inexpensive and work like a charm. I like that you guys are accessible, affordable and give a damn. Your computers rock my world.

I don’t like that all of your lights get water in them and then quit working on me. This has now happened to 3 lights (Beamer, Blaze 1/2 watt and Blaze 1 watt), so I have given up on your lighting. Which sucks, because they are so very bright. However, brightness is of no good to me when 3 days after a storm it goes dark while riding University Blvd. I have tried drying it after a storm, I change the batteries whenever they need it (before even), I never leave them on when I go inside somewhere…yet it continues to happen.

rain FAIL

rain FAIL

My taillights tend to last longer and for that I am grateful. My superflash still has a tendency to turn on and off randomly for days after a rain, but I can deal with that a bit better. I have taken to keeping another back light as back up, something I should not have to do.

I read long ago that you were changing the gaskets to fix this…has it been done? Is this normal or just my bad luck? I would love to come back to you, but can’t risk it anymore.


*Thanks to my local bike shop for taking these lights back with no questions and helping me find something that will (hopefully) work.

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  1. On November 20th, 2009 ChipSeal said:

    My Cateye blinky has problems in the rain too. It is the predecessor model to the HL-EL135. I am interested in replacing it with the Cateye Uno, but it is unknown how it will do in the rain.

  2. On November 20th, 2009 Steve A said:

    My Cateye EL135 has been reliable in the rain. So has my PB Superflash. I use my EL135 together with an EL530 which is pretty bright when the batteries are fresh.

    I think affordable lights (and many that are far more expensive) are somewhat of a crap shoot.

  3. On November 20th, 2009 jdmitch said:

    Hmm… I’ve never had any issues with my PB lights… Blink Rack 5, Superflash, Blaze 1w… I have multiples of each one that have been in the rain and never had problems…

  4. On November 21st, 2009 Steve A said:

    BTW, I love the seasonal masthead photo change.

  5. On November 21st, 2009 Jason Kearney said:

    I have two words for you: Dinotte Lighting.

    People complain that they are too costly, but I’ve been rocking them for more than a year, and they are remarkably bright. I ride 100-300 miles a week, in all kinds of weather, and these lights just keep on going. I’ve had only one issue, with the charger. Dinotte replaced it without question. They are completely focused on quality, and customer service. Spend the money, you will not be disappointed. I’ve had drivers roll down their windows at stop lights, and thank me for the bright lights, which make me more visible, and safe. I’ve had other cyclists tell me they could see my tail light from over a mile away.
    I’ve tried Planet Bike, and I’ve tried Cateye. They really do pale in comparison, and when it comes to safety on the road, the Dinotte lights are second to none.

  6. On November 21st, 2009 Elisa M said:

    Thanks for the input everyone. I just got a Flea light, and am going to try it for a while. The usb charging appeals to me. will report back, of course!

    Steve-thanks! we winterized.

  7. On November 21st, 2009 Ghost Rider said:

    I’ve had the same problems with many of the PB lights…but I’ve had great success with them and their customer service department — replacement gaskets; even a replacement Superflash when my old one crapped out. It doesn’t hurt to ask them if they can help YOU, too.

    I should add that every light I’ve had has had some problems in the rain, even a very expensive “light system” that has been back for warranty service twice already. But, most companies are quite happy to stand behind their products if you give them a chance.

  8. On November 21st, 2009 Mike said:

    My wife and I use PB lights, no problems here(rain or shine).

  9. On November 21st, 2009 Elisam said:

    Ghost- yes, they have been really helpful each time. Honestly, I am just tired of having to keep sending them back or getting replacements. The nearest bike shop is over the mountain plus I hate getting caught without one. Maybe I will try again if the Blackburn doesn’t work.

  10. On November 24th, 2009 ksteinhoff said:

    Since you are a serious commuter, I highly recommend a generator hub.

    I have a SON, but you can get a Shimano for about half the price.

  11. On November 25th, 2009 jj said:

    Wow, I’ve been using the PB lights for a couple years now, here in rainy Portland, and haven’t had any trouble. Yet. Now I’ll be paranoid about it :)

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