Riding a great city bike through town on your way home from work or on your way out for a night on the town is one of the best feelings in the world. In those situations, no one wants to spend a bunch of time getting ready. That’s the whole point of a city bike, it’s ready to go whenever and it’s comfortable to cruise around town. Visibility isn’t any less important though so that means either making sure your bike has integrated lights or grabbing something from our list of the best bike lights.
One way to add even more visibility is to add lighting beyond just a front and rear light. We included a couple of options in that list of lights and one of those is a pedal set. The Redshift Arclight pedals don’t take anything away from front and rear bike lights but they add another dimension. In general, pedal lights make a lot of sense but the Redshift product does the job better than the competition. If you are looking to make yourself as visible as possible then keep reading to see what we like about the Arclight pedals and see if that sounds good for your riding.
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Design and aesthetics
Every chance I get, I talk about the importance of fashion for different types of riding. Most people tend to like their equipment to match the type of riding they are doing. It would make no sense to jump on a bike like my beloved Priority Continuum Onyx hybrid bike, then suit up in a full lycra kit and aero helmet. Instead, you’d do better to pick from one of the best commuter bike helmets – like the Giro Escape MIPS – and clothes that feel comfortable. That’s maybe extreme but I think it makes the point and it’s not limited to fashion like helmets and clothes.
We have a list of the best flat road bike pedals but you’ll notice that almost all of the options are either double-sided commuter-focused pedals or repurposed mountain bike pedals. Given that I wrote that article, I certainly don’t disagree with the choices, but if you are looking for an urban look there’s just not much out there. The Redshift Arclight pedals are one of only two options on the market and they really nail the style.
The main pedal body is a big flat metal frame that’s almost exactly square. It stretches out to 9.5cm in each direction at the widest points but there’s an angle across the corners that cuts about 25mm off as the pedals jut out from the side of the bike. On the top and bottom, where your foot interfaces, you’ll find no mountain bike style pins ready to shred your shins. Instead, a series of five ridges sit proud of the base at the front and back of each pedal on each side.
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As you look down at the pedals, you’ll also see a pair of plastic-filled depressions front and rear. It looks like this is extra grip but the plastic that’s visible is what makes the Arclight pedals what they are. Grab it top and bottom and a gentle tug will release the magnet holding a light module into the pedal body.
There are two light modules per pedal and each of the four included pieces is exactly the same as the others. They are visible through the pedal bodies front and rear as well as on the outside edge and along the visible edge, there is a strip of LEDs. A single press turns each light module on and rotates through solid, flashing, or eco-flashing modes with battery life changing from three hours to 11 and as much as 36 hours in the last mode.
These details of the aesthetic aren’t actually the most unique part of the design though. For that, you’ve got to look at how the light modules react to movement. When turned on, each light will detect its orientation in space. The two facing forward will shine white at 50 lumens while the two facing backwards will switch to a 20-lumen red light. Flip the light over as you pedal and the colours will switch and they also understand if you are riding or not. Thirty seconds with no movement will put them into standby mode while 150 seconds will see them enter sleep mode and after 24 hours, they will turn off completely.
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There’s another trick that comes from each of the four light modules being an exact copy of the others. At the base of each module is a standard USB connection. The connector stays hidden inside the pedal, and with an IP64 weather resistance rating there’s no reason to fear weather, but pull each module out and they charge via any USB port. It means that when you are actually using the pedals, the biggest point of pain completely disappears.
Redshift includes a four-port USB hub and the hub isn’t anything special. You might find it in a promotional bag at a conference with the name of some sponsor company printed on it. If you ever lose it, there’s an endless number of options available on Amazon for bargain basement prices. Bottom line, it’s not a complicated solution but it’s genius because instead of dealing with USB ports and cables to each pedal, or each light module, you just need to plug all four modules into an off-the-shelf product. The hub, with all four light modules, plus into a port on a computer, or any of the many USB chargers we all have, and all the lights charge at once.
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It’s simple and it works and that’s how the Redshift Arclights pedals work no matter what you are looking at. Pulling the light modules out is just as easy as charging them. There’s no need to think about it, just give them a tug. There’s no chance that they will come loose but there’s also no trick to remember to get them out. You don’t have to remember where they go when putting them back in either. Drivers understand red rear and white front, and Redshift accomplishes that visual cue in a way that just works.
In terms of brightness, they also get the job done. The lumen numbers might seem low, but for one thing they are only meant to make sure other road users see you. They aren’t bright enough to show you where to go but that’s not the point. Instead, they will make sure you are visible front and back, and even to the side, and they are plenty bright enough for that use. The movement also helps as even with the lights on the constant setting they will be in motion as you pedal. It’s a clever way to add visibility and Redshift makes it work really well.
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Right now, if you want to add integrated lights to your pedals there is the Redshift Arclight and the Look Geo City Grip Vision. Of the two, Redshift offers a much easier-to-use product overall. The Look lights are more difficult to get out of the pedal, they lack the clever charging solution, and they are only orange, not red and white. They do offer one advantage though and it relates to the biggest area where the Arclight pedals struggle, grip. The metal top with no pins looks great but it can be slick depending on your shoe. The Look pedals are just as stylish but have way more grip.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Redshift Arclight light modules will also work as front and rear lights. You’ll need the multi-mount accessory then a vertically mounted light module will glow red while a horizontal module will shine in white. It works well but the price of an extra module and the mount puts it in close competition with a wide range of dedicated front and rear lights.
The Redshift Arclight pedals are a simple way to add visibility to any flat pedal bike. They are bright and noticeable, easy to charge, and they help drivers understand your position on the road through the use of colour. You can even leave the lights on and the auto-off features will handle the end-of-ride switch-off process.
|Design and aesthetics||One of the best parts of these pedals is that they look the part. Perfect match for the right city or commuter bike||10/10|
|Battery life and charging||Another high point. The batteries last a long time without any user input and when it’s time to charge it’s easy to do so.||10/10|
|Performance||The lack of pins is generally a good thing but it does make for a slick surface if there’s even a little moisture.||7/10|
|Durability and construction||Built like a tank with everything protected inside of solid metal. It loses some points because it’s only available in black which will come off quickly and because the pedals are heavy.||8/10|
|Value||Although priced competitively compared to other pedal light systems, it’s still a lot of money for the concept.||9/10|
Tech Specs: Redshift Arclight LED pedals
- Price: £129.99 / $139.99
- Lumens: 50 front / 20 rear
- Charging connection: direct USB
- Battery life: 3 hours solid, 11+hrs standard flash, 36+hrs eco flash
- Battery size: 530 mAh
- Weight: Set of two pedals 610 grams