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Lupine Piko 4 and Rotlicht

Perhaps you think my introduction is somewhat exaggerated. Perhaps you think there's a tad too much pathos in it. Well, there are bikes and there are bikes; there are brakes and there are brakes; and there are lamps and there are lamps. I hope you can see the point I'm trying to make.

I usually don't go out riding in the woods at night out of respect for mothernature. But it might happen - especially in the dark winter months - the darkness falls while I'm still on the road. That's why I wanted a lamp that is both compact and decent but at the same time powerful enough to guarantee a safe descent in the dark...

... adding to which it should be reliable and easily mountable on both handlebar and helmet, so it can be used for bike tours as well as climbs.

  • Lupine Piko 2015Lupine Piko 2015
    Lupine Piko 2015
    Lupine Piko 2015
  • Lupine Wilma 7 BJ 2009 with DIY upgradeLupine Wilma 7 BJ 2009 with DIY upgrade
    Lupine Wilma 7 BJ 2009 with DIY upgrade
    Lupine Wilma 7 BJ 2009 with DIY upgrade

Lupine Piko 4

When I first saw the Piko a couple of years ago, I was mostly impressed by its design. There's no way one could create a more elegant case around two high performance LED bulbs. On my first night ride, all remaining doubts about the ultra compact shape dissolved. This tiny lamp has about as much power as my 6 year old Lupine Wilma (which I enhanced with a DIY upgrade kit) - which is more than enough for swift down hills or fast road passages.

Tech Specs Piko 4

Dimming levels6 steps from 0,3 W to 13 W
Special modesSOS, Alpine emergency signal, RVLR
MaterialCNC-machined, Aluminum 6061-T6, shot-peened, hard-anodized
Weight55 g
Dimensions (LxWxH)32 x 40 x 24 mm
Lens22° optics
Illuminant2 Cree XM-L2 U3
Temperature controlactive
LED indicatorone red and one blue LED
ElectronicsPCS - Power Control System, voltage count, electronic capacity control, deep discharge protection, reserve-tank
BatterySmartCore 3.3 Ah
Battery dimensions (LxWxH)79 x 41 x 30 mm
Battery weight135 g
Additional function of battery5 red LED lights (can function as rear light)
Runtime at 13W / 1200 lumens2:00 hours
Runtime at 6W / 650 lumens4:00 hours
Runtime at 1W / 120 lumens21:00 hours
Charge time2:45 hours
Retail Price€ 300,- (+ € 29,- quick release mount for the handlebar)

The LED lamp market has been highly competitive for years. Thus, it is even more important for companies like Lupine to stand out and continue to offer innovative, high-quality products. Features like the aluminum handlebar mount show the love of detail that is part of Lupine's engineering. The screw is surrounded by two rubber bands; after tightening, the quick release firmly holds the lamp head between the rubber bands, which in turn makes sure that the head is able to move. I could not think of a neater way to solve this.

  • Tidy cockpitTidy cockpit
    Tidy cockpit
    Tidy cockpit
  • Battery capacity visible by pushing buttonBattery capacity visible by pushing button
    Battery capacity visible by pushing button
    Battery capacity visible by pushing button
  • Setup on the Liteville 301Setup on the Liteville 301
    Setup on the Liteville 301
    Setup on the Liteville 301

Scope of delivery

A 3.3 Ah SmartCore battery is part of the set. Due to its low weight, the battery can easily be attached to the head tube using the Velcro battery strap. A rubber protector ensures that the battery stays in place and won't scratch the frame. The capacity indicator works with 5 red LED lights, which can function as a rear light if the battery is mounted on the seat tube. A charger is also included in the set, as well as a helmet mount to guarantee for perfect illumination of your field of vision. The optional handlebar mount's advantage on the other hand is that the extra weight is carried by the bike, not by your head; however, it also means that your field of view won't always be illuminated in turns.

Tech Specs Rotlicht

Light modesSteady light, flash light, wave pulse light, pulse light
MaterialCNC-machined, aluminum housing, polycarbonate front cover
Weight60 g (with rubber strap)
Dimensions (LxWxH)20 x 32 x 60 mm
Protection classIP 68 (waterproofness), IK 09 (impact strength)
ConnectionMicro-B USB
BatteryLi-Po 830 mAh
IlluminantCree XP-E2
Runtime at 2W / 160 lumens1:30 hours
Runtime at 1W / 80 lumens3:00 hours
Runtime at 0,3W / 20 lumens12:00 hours
Charge time6:00 hours
Retail price€ 85,-

Lupine Rotlicht

Lupine's Rotlicht (which is German for "red light") has two special functions. Firstly, there's the accelerometer, transforming the red light into a brake light; secondly, there's a brightness sensor, adjusting luminosity depending on the surrounding light. The little thing can be mounted to all tubes between 22 and 55 mm in diameter, easily and without tools by simply using a rubber attachment strap. It's somewhat disturbing that, when mounted on a very thin tube, the protruding part of the strap can't be fastened anywhere and will end up hanging loose. However, if need be, the rubber strap can be shortened by screwing off the base and removing a few "joints".

Besides that, the red light is one of the brightest rear lights I have ever used. This is especially helpful to calm your nerves when you're on the road at night - or even worse, on a Canary coastal road in the darkness.

Check out this video with Harald Philipp for a demonstration:

 For the rest of my life I will reflect on what light is 

Albert Einstein

Fazit

Lupine Piko 4 and Rotlicht
model year:2015
test duration:3 months
+workmanship and quality
+design
+elaborate details
+minimalistic, yet powerful
+battery lifespan
+brake light function
-price
BB's opinion:Couldn't be better - but this kind of quality does have its price.
To ride there so late through the dark night and drear, or to overcome darkness and fatigue on icy climbs with crampons, requires appropriate lighting. Lupine has long been renowned for its high end products, produced with high quality standards and with elaborate details - Piko 4 and Rotlicht are no exceptions to that.

What makes a lamp is more than just a few light diodes in an aluminum case: it's a sum of all parts, of the know-how that guarantees enough Lumen as well as longevity and reliability. Details like the perfectly crafted handlebar strap, the cooling of the lamp head, or the battery control result in a product that seems to have been crafted for eternity.

The Piko 4 is an all-rounder. It's small enough to fit snugly on a helmet, no matter whether you're on a bike or elsewhere; at the same time it's powerful enough to provide more than adequate illumination even as I went downhill at 40 km/h speed over roots and rocks.

Lupine's Rotlicht is of no less quality. It comes with a brightness sensor that will automatically increase the Rotlicht's brightness as soon as a car's headlights shine on the lamp. The acceleration sensor grants extra safety - especially for rides in town - by transforming the tail light into a brake light.

Lupine has always been one of the more select manufacturers of lighting systems. Their lamps however are durable and reliable, and suitable for many fields of use. Lupine also sometimes offers upgrade kits or new accessories and lenses for older lamps, making sure their customers are well supplied even long after the purchase.

 NYX 

Greek goddess of night, daughter of Chaos