On the subject of tail lights for classic bikes, the most elegant tail light to my mind is the integrated dynamo powered light on the Gazelle Toer Populair, where the light body is brazed onto the guard – I just love to look at it … and it turns on and off from a switch on the back of the headlamp that is within easy reach while riding – superb!
The built in capacitor means that you have around 5 minutes of tail lighting grace after stopping.
Most bikes don’t come fitted with such luxuries though, and while there are many after-market battery varieties that are quite functional, they usually look as ugly as sin on a classic bike.
That can’t be said about the Portland Design Works “Fenderbot” because it is both functional and stylish, provided that your bike is fitted with mudguards – which to my mind is the proper “bike” word for fenders ( I mean, what does a bike fend off anyway?). “Mudguard-bot” however, is nowhere near as cute a name, I’ll grant you that!
Though I have been using a very bright Tioga “Dual Eyes” light on the rear of my Road King bike, I wanted something more integrated that wasn’t hanging off a cheap looking clunky bracket. The fenderbot fits that brief, looking good even when not in use, somehow seeming both traditional and modern in appearance. It combines a decent safety reflector (no batteries needed as it steals the light given off by cars!) with a neat little 2-mode battery LED.
While nowhere near as bright as the Tioga it’s said to run for up to 200 hours. The clear plastic upper shell both gives a modernist look at the “works” inside and allows good visibility of the light from the sides as well as the rear.
There is a simple little push button on the upper rear of the light, above the reflector to operate it while dismounted. Having the light right at the rear of the bike also means that it’s less likely to be obscured by luggage on a rack than (for example) when fitted onto a seat post.
You need to drill two holes in the mudguard to fit it, and PDW thoughtfully include a template for this on the backing card. If your mudguards are steel like mine, they can be difficult to drill.
The way around this might be to mark the holes through the template first then put a piece of cut thick dowel behind the guard going with the curve and on a firm surface, then using a hammer and a pointed punch make two small indents for the holes. These will provide a start point for the drill without having the bit sliding everywhere and marking the guards.
Other than that, it’s a simple job to fit.