Skip

"All that is visible must grow beyond itself, and extend into the realm of the invisible."
August 13, 2010 6:21 AM   Subscribe

Cyglo Tires Will Help You Live Out Your Light Cycle Fantasy. Just in time for the release of Tron: Legacy, a British firm is gearing up to release a bicycle tire embedded with LED bulbs. While these lighted rubber tubes won’t lay down trails for your opponents to crash into, they may very well keep you safe. Cyglo tires are intended to create a highly visible ring of light to maximize cyclists’ visibility on busy roads. No pricing has been set yet, but we understand that the flying disc to destroy MCP will be sold separately. Watch Cyglo in motion.
posted by Fizz (58 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Waits for programming-related jokes to roll in.
posted by Fizz at 6:23 AM on August 13, 2010


Pepsi Blue for bikes, but I want.
posted by availablelight at 6:25 AM on August 13, 2010


It's pretty fucking cool.
posted by Fizz at 6:26 AM on August 13, 2010


I've got LEDs mounted to my bike's spokes. They work pretty well and only cost a couple bucks for a pair of wheels. I can't imagine the tires are going to be non-cheap, especially when the rider has to get separate front and back treads just because of the lights. And will still have to add a headlamp to see ahead. And might have to add a fender to keep from getting blinded by his own front wheel.

This arouses gear lust in my heart. It doesn't seem practical or cost-effective, though.
posted by ardgedee at 6:30 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is so much awesomer and I totally want it for my next bike. I wouldn't mind the Cyglo tires, but why should I have to buy specialty tires, if I can just add LEDs to the rims and wheels I actually want?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:31 AM on August 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


Want motorcycle version!
posted by Mike D at 6:32 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow. Much nicer than I was expecting.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:33 AM on August 13, 2010


I shouldn't have written all of those tank programs.
posted by Hoenikker at 6:36 AM on August 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Are you getting this, "Burners?"
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:36 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Looks kind of cool. Be interesting to see how long the electrical connections last when you pop in a tire lever and start bending the tirewall to get it on and off the rim. Personally, I wouldn't want to spend $75 on a LED-enabled tire only to break it when putting in a tube.

I'd say 3-4 flats during the life of a tire is about average.

How about the power supply? 10-12 LED's per side means a substantial power drain to run them. Where do the batteries go? To preserve the tire's rotational mass in a balanced way, the power supply would need to be distributed equally around the tire. Changing the batteries...don't get me started.

Don't see much in the the way of explanations or how this works on their site.
posted by diode at 6:39 AM on August 13, 2010


The lights are supposedly to be powered by the cyclic motion of the tire. But I'd wager this is vaporware.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 6:48 AM on August 13, 2010


Those look cool but for safety? Pffff. It's a ridiculous non-solution to a problem that already has a non-ridiculous solution: head and tail lights with maybe a reflective vest also.
posted by DU at 6:49 AM on August 13, 2010


I think they might actually be getting this from burners.
posted by mannequito at 6:51 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


This would be neat if it existed.
posted by swift at 6:56 AM on August 13, 2010


Is there some actually video of a working model? If all they have is computer-generated video, they might as well have a jerk unicorn riding it.
posted by pracowity at 6:56 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


[actual]
posted by pracowity at 6:57 AM on August 13, 2010


Flagged as 'vapourware'.
Maybe they're going to work like Reelights ?
Allegedly tyres are due out at Xmas, according to this article.
I'll stick to a hub dynamo and reflective sidewalls on my tyres in the meantime.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 6:59 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


An innovation like this will remain vaporwear or throw-away wear; until the day when tire manufacturers create a flatproof, wear proof tire and one that rolls as well as the standard pneumatic tire currently on the market.

It's a shame cuz I really want a bike like the one in that Gibson novel.
posted by Severian at 7:03 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


DU -- no, this will help. Reflectors are never as good as emitters, because of the distance. With an emitter, the light travels from the bike to the car. With a reflector, the light travels from the car to the bike to the car. The inverse square law is in play, that's a significant reduction in intensity.

Far worse, however -- a reflector does *nothing* if you don't hit it with a light! A bike, with nothing but reflectors, that is out of your headlight beams is emitting no light!

Reflectors aren't perfect, so a lot less of that light is going to come back. Head and tail lights emit very little to the sides. More importantly, the human eye is *much* more sensitive to moving objects than stationary ones (which is why pedal reflectors, when you see them, jump out -- the up-and-down motion makes them really jump out at you.)

So, a moving or blinking side marker would make a big difference in your visibility. However....


...my big question here is "How good are the *tires*?" Tires have a critical role -- they need to provide traction, or you fall over. I don't care how bright the light is, it's not any good if I can't turn the bike!

The lights are supposedly to be powered by the cyclic motion of the tire.

Easy enough to do -- put a couple of large AlNiCo magnets on the chainstays, and induction coils in the tire. LEDs need milliamps to light -- there is, in fact a hamster powered LED. Humans can put out much more power than a hamster, a bike wheel at speed is going to be rotating more than fast enough. The hard part, with only one set of magnets, will be getting the voltage high enough, but the trick there is to count on current -- strong magnets moving fast -- and step the voltage you get up to drive the LEDs, then have a capacitor in the circuit to hold enough charge until the next pulse of power.

Indeed, you could have two pulses per rotation per LED (assuming each has its own coil) on most bikes -- a magnet on the chainstay and seat stay. If you have a rack, there's one or two more places to mount them, with a fender, you could have several. This goes from easy to trivial, in power terms, if you have a dozen or so magnets scattered around.
posted by eriko at 7:04 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


"fashionable mountain bike enthusiasts"
posted by sciencegeek at 7:08 AM on August 13, 2010


eriko, I'm not cyclist in any sense of that word. I love the technical jargon you use. Who knew bikes were so complicated: chainstay, coil, magnets, capacitors. I'm waiting for a Mr. Fusion to be mentioned.
posted by Fizz at 7:10 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


enthusiastic mountain bike fashionistas
posted by pracowity at 7:13 AM on August 13, 2010


I think I am more highly alergic to ads than some people are. When I see a post like this, I think "viral marketing" and balk. It's not that I think that Fizz has been paid by Disney to promote their movie on Metafilter. It's just that Disney has put a lot of money into producing the kind of advertising that goes viral, and gets everybody thinking about - and linking to - their movie. And when we link to it here, the terrorists have already won.

Disney put a lot of money into advertising at the ComicCon. NYT responded by writing about all the advertising done there, thereby giving Disney a lot of extra value for all their advertising dollars. My reaction to people spending a lot of money on advertising is to not talk about it myself, under the theory that they've already had their chance to get the word out.
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 7:15 AM on August 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


these, on the other hand, are real.
posted by warbaby at 7:15 AM on August 13, 2010


If you're going to quote a blog post you read verbatim, it would be nice of you to at least include a link to it, dontcha think?
posted by cerebus19 at 7:18 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can get valve stem caps with LEDs for about $5.
posted by electroboy at 7:19 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting, but in the UK (where they appear to be based) it's illegal to show red lights forward or white lights backwards (unless you are reversing) so I'm guessing that these would be technically illegal.

I say technically, because I doubt any plod would give a rats arse...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 7:22 AM on August 13, 2010


When I see a post like this, I think "viral marketing" and balk.
Galaxor Nebulon

Relax, these tires aren't a viral ad, you're just being Space Paranoids.
posted by ecurtz at 7:22 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


DU -- no, this will help. Reflectors are never as good as emitters, because of the distance.

Fortunately, my suggestion was: head and tail lights with maybe a reflective vest also.
posted by DU at 7:23 AM on August 13, 2010


US Patent here, if anyone wants more technical details and less 3D animations.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 7:28 AM on August 13, 2010


I am not a tool for the man. I just thought it was cool because who wouldn't like to drive around the way they do in the new TRON film.
posted by Fizz at 7:30 AM on August 13, 2010


No love for the trend setting BMX riders?
posted by SyntacticSugar at 7:31 AM on August 13, 2010


electroboy, I saw some red valve stem caps in use a couple of nights ago. They were pretty neat, and seemed to be not just motion sensitive, but light sensitive, as they didn't seem to emit any light during the day or when in a lit area at night.

But they seem awfully easy to steal, so despite my love of pretty blinky things, I may not get my own.
posted by maudlin at 7:35 AM on August 13, 2010


If you're going to quote a blog post you read verbatim, it would be nice of you to at least include a link to it, dontcha think?

You're correct. I failed to do this, my apologies.
posted by Fizz at 7:41 AM on August 13, 2010


Sorry, I just freak out anytime somebody says "Tron" now. I stopped watching South Park - possibly forever - after they did a whole Tron-themed episode. In retrospect, I don't know why I've forgiven them for their numerous other product placements.

But look at me. Now I'm the one that keeps on saying "Tron". Please ignore me.
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 7:54 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't sweat it. It's a Swahili word. It means "dude".
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:55 AM on August 13, 2010


> They were pretty neat, and seemed to be not just motion sensitive, but light sensitive, as they didn't seem to emit any light during the day or when in a lit area at night

Nah. They're just not bright enough to be noticeable in daylight.

The battery consumption on wheel blinkies is pretty light - the drain is highest when the light is on, but the light is only on in sub-second intervals while the wheels are moving.

I ride somewhere between 50-100 miles a week and so far have gotten a couple months of use out of the watch battery powering each.
posted by ardgedee at 7:59 AM on August 13, 2010


Those are pretty keen, maudlin, and seem to accomplish the same thing as the tires at a tenth of the price. Plus you can always stick a pair of valve stem caps in your pocket, not so much a set of tires.
posted by electroboy at 8:01 AM on August 13, 2010


Looking forward to the nighttime Tour de France. The peloton will look so cool.
posted by grounded at 8:16 AM on August 13, 2010


That youtube of the phantom bike pedaling itself is super creepy, with the drivetrain on the wrong side and all.

I really like the idea of lighting up the tires. If you see two glowing circles you know exactly what physical space the bicycle is taking up. If all you of a cyclist is a red blinker, it could be attached to a rear fender, a seatpost, a handlebar plug, a recumbent rider's helmet, etc. But I have my doubts the LEDs will survive a ride down a crushed limestone trail or through a gravel parking lot.

Another problem is that they don't work when the bike isn't moving. This is a problem with dynamo lights too, but the better ones now have a battery backup to fire an LED, so you don't get rear-ended while waiting at a stoplight.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:22 AM on August 13, 2010


The drivetrain is on the wrong side of the bike in the pictures and video.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:28 AM on August 13, 2010


Trend setting BMX riders have left-hand drivetrains.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 8:34 AM on August 13, 2010


Okay, so I need one of these bikes.

But if I can ride it in a perpetual-neon-lit gloom while wearing this jacket and checking my new Wraparound IWrist. When it rains, I can pull this out so I don't get my glowing shoes wet
posted by The Whelk at 8:49 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The bike on the CYGLO website is a Specialized HRXC. They flipped the image a couple of times--maybe to obfuscate the logo? I find it really weird that a company that would market to cyclists would do this. We are a persnickety bunch. Before I noticed the Specialized logo was reversed on this page, I noticed that the quick-release lever was on the wrong side of the front wheel. (And where is it on the rear wheel? That's odd.)
posted by hydrophonic at 8:52 AM on August 13, 2010


They flipped the image a couple of times--maybe to obfuscate the logo?
More likely just clueless graphic designers.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 8:59 AM on August 13, 2010


Ditto on want motorcycle version. I have an all-black bike, perfect for a Tron lighting scheme.

Been trying to figure out how to do that anyway...
posted by zoogleplex at 9:02 AM on August 13, 2010


A less vaporware way of doing this would be to have a fluorescent glow-in-the-dark ring running around the edge of the tires just above the rim, and a UV LED mounted near the brake, right above the ring to keep it charged up and glowing.

The nice thing is that it wouldn't impact the functionality of the tire in any way as all the electronics would sit on the frame, and it would look like a solid ring of light at any speed.

Also, it could be done for about five buck's worth of materials and retrofitted onto any bike.
posted by quin at 9:03 AM on August 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


A constantly-recharging ring could be pretty bright. Nice idea, quin.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:09 AM on August 13, 2010


I don't believe unusual lights do a damn thing to make a cyclist safer, and go a long way to make them less so. Unusual lights, whether extremely bright, blinking too rapidly or arrhythmically, or in an unconventional shape or location, distract drivers, and a distracted driver is something no cyclist needs anywhere near them.

Phototaxis is a primal instinct that attracts or repels organisms from light. Humans are positive-phototactic, which means that people will be drawn towards blinky shiny thing, often without realizing it - and behind the wheel, that means they might clip you while staring at your glowing tires.

You need to be a predictable part of traffic, not a distraction.

A nice bright tail light or two - one on your bike, one on your bag or helmet - set to steady or slow blink, a bright but not blinding headlight set to steady, and cars can see you, note your presence, direction and speed, and go on about the business of driving without getting caught up in your little LED light-show.

Yes, I understand the irony of a Fred-to-the-bone gearhead advocating for fewer and simpler lights.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:15 AM on August 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


My rear blinky and halogen headlight and reflective vest provide great front and rear visibility, but I've been concerned that my bike doesn't have adequate side-visibility at night. I'm going to get something like this before daylight savings ends.

These tires seem like an awfully expensive and overcomplicated solution to a problem that already has a cheap and easy solution.
posted by Zed at 10:10 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I want a spoke-based Jacob's Ladder.
posted by zippy at 10:25 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want a spoke-based Jacob's Ladder.

If it can be left running, I can see this having theft deterrence value as well.

Or perhaps thief-killing value. Not that it matters - either one is win. :)
posted by -harlequin- at 10:36 AM on August 13, 2010


concerned that my bike doesn't have adequate side-visibility at night

This. I get the why Slap*Happy is advocating for simpler lights, but side visibility is useful, especially if you are one of those cyclists that rolls through four-way stops. Being seen *before* you are right in the headlights of cross-traffic is not a terrible idea. Maybe this solution is overkill, but I've seen too many cyclists rely on front and bad lights who seem unaware how invisible they are from the side.
posted by ambrosia at 11:27 AM on August 13, 2010


This would be great for polo!
posted by thylacine at 12:32 PM on August 13, 2010


Want motorcycle version!

They exist and were sold on EBay. You might be able to get ahold of the company and shell out a pretty penny for them to build you one.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:40 PM on August 13, 2010


they seem awfully easy to steal, so despite my love of pretty blinky things, I may not get my own.

Just pop em off and store 'em in your pockets or rucksack while you park.

Nah. They're just not bright enough to be noticeable in daylight.

Yeah, any sort of motion will set them off all day. Again, pop 'em off during the day.

These tires seem like an awfully expensive and overcomplicated solution to a problem that already has a cheap and easy solution.

It's not a solution to a problem; it's an aesthetic, like spinning rims. Then again, I think it's vaporware too.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:28 PM on August 13, 2010


People who have spinning rims on their vehicle should be shot dead on sight.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:42 PM on August 13, 2010


I'm all for bike, er, bicycle safety...but these just scream "seizure!" to me.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 1:20 AM on August 14, 2010


« Older Mind the gap   |   What a save! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post