Our hours of daylight may be lengthening, but I still find myself doing plenty of night riding in the city. Melissa over at MonkeyLectric asked if I’d be interested in trying out a set of their M204 Monkey Lights, a multi-colored battery-operated light that attaches to one’s wheel spokes.
Generally, I’m not much for doing product reviews, but the Monkey Light intrigued me so I said sure. I’ve now been using the Monkey Light on my Surly Long Haul Trucker for three months and my short summary of this light is:
Both mood and safety enhancing, the M204 Monkeylectric Monkey Light 204 is a reasonably priced (around $25.00), relatively easy-to-install supplemental light with a slightly clunky hub-affixed battery pack that provides colorful peripheral lighting for bike commuters.
For night riding and dreary days, the Monkey Light M204 has been a pleasant addition. It’s like having my own little front wheel rainbow.
It was fairly simple to install, key for someone like me who does not like to futz with things. Total time to put the light on my bike was less than 30 minutes, and I took pictures along the way.
The instructions explaining how to attach the light to my hub were easy to follow. The light affixes to the spokes with two zipties, and the battery pack fits to the hub through zip ties as well.
MonkeyLectric sends a few extra zip ties with the light in the event you need to replace one, as well as a couple of metal ties to make the light more theft-proof (which I am not using).
I wound the wire that attaches the light to the battery pack around a spoke. I’m not a huge fan of how it looks, but it’s not too intrusive, and in the dark you can’t even tell it’s there, ha!
The battery pack requires four AA batteries and MonkeyLectric sends you a set to get you started. I’m still using those initial batteries, but my nighttime commute generally runs between three and five miles.
Over the three months I’ve used the Monkey Light the battery pack has shifted, but I could not have attached the zip ties any tighter to the hub. I imagine I will need to reinstall the pack at some point to hopefully tighten the pack down more snugly, but for now it’s working without issue.
I don’t understand the run time indicators or pattern instructions included on the Monkey Light instructions. There are two possibilities for this:
1. I’m not good at reading pictures; or
2. I’m impatient and don’t take the time to decipher the pictures.
In any event, I know where “off” and “on” is located (the red button!) and I then push the black button until I find a pattern that suits my mood.
I like using this light in the city. It is eye-catching and gives good additional peripheral light. Unfortunately, I don’t have any good images of me riding this bike in the dark so please accept the couple of still photos I took in my house with the lights off as a substitute.
The colors are fun, brighten my mood, but do not distract from my main job of pedaling. Monkey Light says that the light is waterproof, and it has held up to several commutes in steady rain.
While this is no substitute for front or rear lights, if you are in the market for a bit of extra visibility on the bike at a reasonable cost, I’d recommend you check out the M204 Monkey Light. Thanks again to Melissa and MonkeyLectric for the opportunity to try it.
I have an older model of the Monkey Light on my Surly Cross Check commuter. It is a larger one piece unit so the weight of the batteries can be felt at higher speeds. Relocating them to the hub should be an improvement for wheel balancing.
For night riding it provides a fun way to increase my visibility considerably.
I haven’t tried dangling a GoPro off my bike but I do find myself wishing I could see what pattern is showing as I ride!
we’ve had monkey lights and hokey spokes for a few years now. they’re fun but not practical and they are the devil to put on and off. we only use them for critical mass or when we do charity rides, pre ride [they look great at 6 am!] i wish they would make them with camera batteries instead of AA.