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.

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.

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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Product Reviews

Spoke Haven HQ wanted to take a minute to chat about product reviews.

We tend to really enjoy reading blogs and websites that review products. The majority of sites, similar to ours, tend to give an honest portrayal of products and list the pro’s and con’s of each item. That being said, we tend to shy away from reading about products in media sites or in magazines. There are many companies who use sponsored articles on media sites/magazines to help get a positive portrayal of their product. We understand it’s to help get a leg up on competition, but it doesn’t really paint an accurate picture of the quality of a product.

Spoke Haven is something we started to be honest and helpful. We do it for fun and enjoyment. The products we review are ones we’ve either purchased with our own hard earned money, received as gifts, or happened to receive as industry perks.

If any companies out there have a product they want us to review, let us know and we’ll give you honest feedback. We will also actually USE the product. We have product previews on the site that we haven’t written full reviews on yet, because we want to give the product a real test of time before recommending it.

We also wanted to note that our industry partners listed over there —–>
They are companies we believe in and products we actually use. All of them are based in the USA and have been good to us, so we wanted to return the favor by featuring them.


45NRTH Polara- First Impression

QBP santa showed up today with goodies in tow. The box practically filled my office cube when it was dropped off. I opened up the box and took a look at our new 45NRTH Polara tires.

Tires rarely look pretty straight out of the box. This set was pretty dirty looking, but that’s just cosmetic.

The first thing I noticed was the tread. 45NRTH boasts that the tread creates lower rolling resistance while also shedding snow/ice. We shall see how accurate those claims are! The tires have 110studs which seemed like a good middle of the road number without going overboard. There were some options that had up to 240 and some as low as 74. The bike path gets cleaned fairly regularly so I didn’t want to ride on something so extreme.

If we were country/small town folks with back roads to travel, the 240 would have been a good option, but we’re spoiled here in Madison. The bike paths are usually cleared before the roads are!


The next item I looked at was the listed size (I couldn’t seem to remember if they were 35 or 38c) they are 700×35 as you see here:tiresizeI don’t have a digital caliper on hand to measure that, but they look around that size. Actual contact on the ground varies by rim width/depth anyway.

I also checked the pressure recommendation. The 60-65psi range tends to be favored in our camp, but again it will depend on how the tire seats and rides. tirepsiThe one thing that kind of shocked me, but probably shouldn’t have, was I found the Innova logo on the side of the tire. I had assumed 45NRTH had actually designed a specific tire of their own, but it turns out the Polara is basically Innova’s Tundra Wolf tire. Slightly disappointing, but it’s not much different than Planet Bike sourcing LED lights and slapping their logo on them, even if they had little or no actual product development. That’s not to say they don’t develop ANY products, but there are some standard designs that pretty much anyone can put a logo on and call it their own. innova

It’s a pretty common practice in the cycling industry, so no hard feelings 45NRTH. If I had seen that in store rather than online I probably would have opted to try something else that seemed more of THEIR design, but maybe Innova manufactures all of their tires? If anyone has any insight on that it would be appreciated.

Not working in a shop every day means little exposure to some of these newer products/companies. Note to us: go visit a crap load of new shops in 2013!

Overall I still think the tires are nice. Studded tires don’t come cheap, even when you get the opportunity to purchase through distribution and we highly believe in, you get what you pay for. It’ll be fun testing them out the next few weeks. We’ll report back and let you all know how they work out!