It’s been a busy spring around here. Lots of activities going on and not a lot of documentation, as one would note from the lack of activity and the prevalent chirping sounds here.
My friend Alan got a taillight from this place called jitensha studio. It’s a cute japanese bicycle parts and accessories company that specializes in prominent french aesthetics. The taillight is dynamo powered, and is designed to mount on the seat tube and be visible through the seat stays. Peter Weigle does this pretty commonly with his custom builds.
My initial impression of the Kimura taillight was one of quality. It is very nicely machined, the joint where the two parts of the housing thread together barely visible. The threads are tight and there is a thoughtfully placed o-ring for weather sealing. Getting the two pieces apart is a little tricky, as the o-ring creates quite a bit of friction, and the curved smooth surfaces provide a dearth of options for grip. I find that gripping the small side with a tacky surface (bicycle inner tube, for example) creates enough friction to easily separate the two pieces. Inside is a little epoxy-encased combined LED and driver in a slick black cylinder. Compact, weather sealed, and unable to be tampered with. The top side, near the LED emitter, has an electrical contact, making the housing/bike frame one conductor, and then the little screw in the back is for conductor #2. It is all held in place snuggly when the back piece threads into the main housing. The lens itself is internally ringed for diffusion and similar to the Luxor models we like so much around here.
I hooked it up to a little dynamo tester I have (actually an ancient un-built sturmey archer dynamo hub) to assess brightness and beam shape. This light has no stand-light, and adding one is not a possibility due to size constraints. It is not as bright as I would like it to be. It produces a comfortable glow which you can look directly into without any discomfort. The lens does a good job at distributing the light from the emitter without any major hotspots. It has fairly good side visibility too, thanks to the concave lens shape.
Over all, it’s a very pretty light and one of the only commercially available options for seat-tube mount dynamo powered taillights. Its lack of a stand-light and brightness, however, limit its utility pretty severely.