Planet Bike Rojo 100 Tail Light First Look

Planet Bike is synonymous with bike lights. If you live in the Midwest and ride, you’ve very likely owned at least one Planet Bike (PB) product, if not several like myself.

In all honesty I had moved away from using many of their products due to the changes in the landscape when it came to light offerings. Companies like Light & Motion and NiteRider were coming out with USB rechargeable lights that could handle extreme weather. You could also drop them and not have them explode into a mash up of plastic and batteries on the bike path.

My experience with PB had primarily been with their inexpensive, battery powered lights that were often very disposable due to the fact that most didn’t last a season. They either ate through batteries like crazy, broke if dropped, would die if the weather got too cold, or succumb to some other awful fate. (Usually getting nicked off my bike when parked downtown.)

To be fair, they had other products that weren’t as disposable. Their full coverage fenders and their ECO racks can still be seen on many bikes commuting across Madison.

At some point I noticed Planet Bike was playing catch up. They started coming out with newly designed lights that competed with some of the other light players in the industry. They had a line up of USB rechargeable head an tail lights.

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Rated for day and night time use.

Many of their lights use the same name, but have been upgraded with better casings and more power. The Blaze, Beamer, Spok, and Superflash have existed in multiple iterations.

It’s been a number of years since I have used a Planet Bike light, so I was happy when I showed up to work and saw the Rojo 100 sitting on my desk. Per my perusing on social media, I had seen that Planet Bike was sending samples of this light to lots of bikey influencers and shops alike to try them out.

I think Planet Bike is trying to regain their space in the lighting world by sharing new product and showing that they can compete on price/lumens and features.

My initial thoughts on the Rojo is that it looks like a Planet Bike light. It has a full plastic casing around it, with it’s traditional rear clip on the back. The nice thing is that I didn’t feel like I could pop the top cover off. I have not done a drop test with it yet to see how it survives. I’d like to ride with it for a bit before beating up too much.

There were a few things I noticed that I think gives PB an edge over the competition. The first being the amount of mounting brackets included in the packaging. There’s the traditional seat-post mount, a rear rack bracket to slide on the light, and a rear chain stay mount as well. Many brands often include one mount option and you have to purchase additional mounts, that is if there even is one. They also offer two additional stretchy strap style mounts that are sold separately. If you can’t find a way to mount this light to your bike, then I don’t know what to tell you!

The second thing I noticed is they ditched the micro USB charging for a USB-C! Yes! U-S-B-C. Why is it taking so many companies so long to adopt USB-C? Honestly I love it and had an Android phone that used USB-C before I made the switch back to iPhone and it was one of the best features. The plug is beefier, the hole is uniform so no having to squint and flip the cable over and over to make sure it’s positioned the right way, the charging is much faster, and it’s just oh so awesome. Kudos Planet Bike, whoever on your team got on board with USB-C is my new friend.

The third thing that I really like about the light is it has a TON of different mode options. I particularly like the courtesy mode, for those who want to have a blinking light option in a group ride or bike path setting. It’s not seizure inducing flicker that blinds you. It’s a very slow pulse with the light getting slowly brighter before blinking to the smaller under light. Here’s a video the company did to showcase the modes:

Now it’s not all butterflies and rainbows. I do have some reservations about the longevity of the light. For one it is made fully out of plastic, casing and all. Traditionally that usually signifies inexpensive and disposable in the world of bike lights. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on this though as I have other lights that also have full plastic casings that have lasted a fairly long time.

Another reservation is that while it’s listed as the Rojo 100, the steady lumen listing on this light is only 25 lumens. It’s only when you use the Pulse or Turbo modes that you actually make use of all 100 lumens. As a fan of using just a steady red rear light on my bike, I’d prefer to have a brighter steady lumen output. Particularly for when I’m riding on the road with cars. If I’m riding on a protected path, it’s not that big of a deal to me. I just prefer steady light as it can be distracting to drivers and riders around me to have something flashing. Personal preference, everyone is different.

The lumen count is also questionable on many bike lights. The brightness and directional visual output can vary greatly from brand to brand. Some brands actually get their lights tested and certified to a standard like ANSI (look it up if you aren’t familiar) in order to ensure their lumen count is accurate. I wasn’t able to see anything listed on the product page for the Rojo 100 on Planet Bike’s website, but I see they use CREE LED’s, which are a trusted leader in LED lighting.

The light is rated IP66 which is better than some of the competing lights on the market and worse than others. The $35 price point tail light is a tough market to compete in. You can purchase an 80 Lumen NiteRider Sabre, so a brighter light offering which offers a full 80 lumens on steady. You can also purchase the Blackburn Dayblazer 65 which offers a 50 lumen steady, 65 max lumen on high flash, has ANSI certification, and is IP67 rated. The difference between IP66 and IP67 is the ability of submerge the actual item that is rated vs. being able to withstand a jet of water.

The Rojo 100 has a lot of competition, but I think for folks who have liked and used Planet Bike’s lights and other products in the past that this would be a great upgrade to a more modernized light.

Planet Bike’s headquarters is based here in Madison, WI and they participate in 1% for the Planet. They donate a lot of time, energy, money, and product to our local cycling community. So there’s something to supporting the homegrown company.

While I have not run this light through testing as of yet, I’d still say that it’s a good contender if you need to upgrade to a USB rechargeable option or need a spare for a 2nd or 3rd bike. The mounting options alone are a killer bargain for the $35 price point. I can confirm that most lights in that price bracket don’t offer that many accessories.

If you’d like to purchase the Planet Bike Rojo 100 please hit up your local bike shop OR you can order directly from Planet Bike’s website.

Thanks for reading as always and I look forward to putting the Rojo 100 to the test!
Thank you to Jereme and the crew over at Planet Bike for continuing to evolve their products and being such a driving force for our local cycling community.

Disclosure:
I received this product free of charge, but was not contacted by anyone at Planet Bike to write a review for this product, nor did my employer ask me to write this for any sort of financial game. Currently my home shop does not actively stock Planet Bike’s lights, but we do stock other products from their line.

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Madison Bike Winter and Women & Bicycles Madison Want to Teach You How to Ride in the Cold!

There’s not one, but TWO fantastic opportunities for Madison area cyclists to learn about cold weather riding. The first is Madison Bike Winter’s Annual Fashion Show. The fashion show is open to the public and is being hosted at Machinery Row Bicycles.

The show starts at 5pm this Sunday and is BYOB!
Fashions covered in the show will include everything form high-tech, top notch new items from a variety of manufacturers to great D.I.Y style outfits and finds from your local thrift store.

Click the photo for more info!

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The second event is being hosted by the Wisconsin Bike Fed, Women & Bicycles, and Spoke Haven.

Join us November 12th (Wednesday)
7pm at the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Madison Office

There’s a Women’s Winter Bike Panel consisting of ladies who work in the local cycling industry or have extensive experience with year round bike riding.

Topics covered will include clothing choices, accessories for on the bike, what types of bikes work best for winter riding, and any other topics attendees care to talk about. There will be a short introduction and overview from each of the panel members, then the rest will be open discussion time to allow for a range of questions.

Beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for all attendees. There’s also a small raffle package that each attendee will automatically be entered to win with some bike related goodies to get you on your way to riding through the winter!

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Women & Bicycles makes Progress- Repost

Women & Bicycles

Women & Bicycles is a new  program coordinated through the Wisconsin Bike Fed and supported by Mayo Clinic Health System, in an effort to bring more women to bicycling as riders, leaders, and advocates.

We’ve reached out to our network of women and ask for volunteers to serve as Roll Models to encourage women to try riding who may not be riding for one reason or another. Women across Wisconsin are volunteering as Roll Models, offering gatherings in the formats of meetups, workshops, and group rides.

In La Crosse, rides, social conversations, and workshops have been successful. We have focused on new riders, creating events that will encourage everyone  to feel welcome. Women enjoy learning from each other. The Fix a Flat Clinics have been very fruitful.  We look forward to offering a basic maintenance clinic soon.

Cassandra Habel shares her enthusiasm in Madison and talks about her adventures.

The Women & Bicycles program has been off to a wonderful start in Madison! When approached to be a representative, I wanted to develop a cohesive way to bring together all of these fabulous resources we have in our city for women to get involved with cycling. Team Luna Chix have been around for roughly 6 years hosting no drop bike rides, clinics, and special events for women in Madison. I of course wanted to enlist their help and as well as the help of the existing Bike Fed staffers in the Madison office. My website/company, Spoke Haven, has also been a big part of promoting the program.

Together we have put together a monthly, hands on fix a flat clinic that is hosted at the Bike Fed’s office here in town. We’ve also promoted a monthly Taco Tuesday ride that happens the first Tuesday of the month. It’s a wonderful social ride for all levels of riders and allows us to not only get to know each other, but we also discuss ways for us to branch out, reach new riders, and talk about issues such as infrastructure projects that affect us as local cyclists.

We’ve recently launched a Facebook page dedicated to the Madison division of Women & Bicycles that allows us to share upcoming events, photos, and allows for women to openly discuss all aspects of cycling.

For our rides and events, we utilize the website Meetup.com. This allows us to keep track of event attendance, announce upcoming events that get automatically e-mail blasted to members, and allows us to have more control over who is attending rides. Our job is to great a safe, healthy, and positive riding experience for women. Having the ability to control who gains ride info for our events is key in making sure we can maintain that environment. Not that we don’t love the special men in our lives, we just want to make sure all women identified individuals know they can be a part of this unique group and just be themselves.

Another added benefit to the Women & Bicycles program is offering ride buddies for ladies who have interest in events such as charity rides or special ride events. So far this year we’ve had a group at the Bike for Boys & Girls Club ride, Ride 2 Recovery, Bike MS, the ACT Ride, Ride the Drive, and we’ll also have some ladies at the upcoming Chocolate Chase as well as the famed Tyranena Oktoberfest bike ride. So many women have said they would participate in these events more if they actually had a friend to ride with!

So far my work with the program has been really fun and fulfilling. I can’t wait to offer more workshops, training clinics, and special events for the ladies this winter. We’re also looking to continue to grow next year reaching more riders and offering up more ride options and opportunities for women to get on bikes!

In Oceola,The St. Croix Valley Region, Wendi Lindenmuth has enjoyed the network of women she has created. She has inspired women to ride together on mountain bikes, road bikes, share social conversations, join workshops, and inspired women to work on advocacy efforts.  Wendi  is overwhelmed by the number of women who appreciate been connected to other women who ride bicycles.

If you are looking for a group to join, check and see if there is a group close to you.  Stay tuned, we will be expanding our program next year.

Women & Bicycles is a statewide program from the Wisconsin Bike Fed, empowering women across the state to ride.
Read more about the program »

 

Bicycling in Wisconsin Presentation

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Next Tuesday May 13th there will be a briefing at the Capitol on the economic and health benefits of bicycling in Wisconsin. Due to the loss of funding, many bicycle infrastructure projects will not be funded. We have lost support for vital programs like Safe Routes to School, which directly effects the health of our youth. Bicycling is a $1.5 billion dollar industry in Wisconsin bringing over 13,200 jobs to our state and $535 million in tourism dollars come from out-of-state visitors here for bicycling. It is essential for us to re-educate our legislators on the importance of cycling to Wisconsin’s health and economy.

Take a few minutes today to call and email your legislator and tell them bicycling is important to you and your district and you want them to attend this briefing on May 13th. You can look up your legislator and find their phone number here: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/pages/waml.aspx.

Please forward this on to your friends and family. The more voters our legislators hear from the more likely they are to attend this important event for Wisconsin cycling.

Wisconsin Bike Fed Launches Strength in Numbers Campaign

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Bicycle Advocacy groups are popping up all across the United States. It seems to be the new trend in alternative transport initiatives. Most of you should know that the Wisconsin Bike Fed is one advocacy group that has been around the longest. For almost 26 years, the Wisconsin Bike Fed has worked to lobby for cyclists rights, help create the Safe Routes to School program here in Wisconsin, and have hosted a plethora of outreach events to communities throughout Wisconsin. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. We could spend hours talking about all the work that the Fed has done for this state, but we’ll spare you.

The Wisconsin Bike Fed wants to continue to grow. They want to offer more to their members and they want to continue to improve upon all their years of hard work and dedication to the state of Wisconsin. That’s where the Strength in Numbers Campaign comes in. The campaign is a way for current Bike Fed members to take to the streets and encourage other cyclists and non-cyclists alike to join the organization.

The incentive based program allows members to share sign up information online. In the applications there is a referral area where new members can give credit to the member who encouraged them to sign up. For each member you sign up, you get an entry to win either a brand new Trek FX 7.1 flat bar road bike or a Trek X Caliber mountain bike. Get 5 new members and you not only get 5 chances at winning that sweet new bike, but you also get a limited edition pint glass!

The person who signs up the most new members wins an awesome Door County getaway package including dinner at the famous goat topped restaurant, Al Johnson’s! Not to mention a one night’s stay at the Scandinavian Lodge and TWO entries to the Door County Century.

If all of that isn’t incentive enough to join the Bike Fed, we don’t know what is!
Head on over to the following link and let them know Cassandra at Spoke Haven sent you 🙂
http://wisconsinbikefed.org/join/individual-members/