Thursday, February 28, 2013

Busch & Muller 4D Toplight

The Busch & Muller 4D Toplight is a good, bright, reliable tail light that mounts to a rear rack. They make a fancier one with a sensor so the light turns on when it's dark and off when it's light, but I've got the basic one with a good, simple switch. The light doesn't blink and the switch is a simple on/off toggle.

The light it bright with 2 very bright LEDs in the center and a couple of smaller ones on the outer edges. It bolts solidly onto the holes in the rack of my Allant or other European-styled racks like the Tubus. If your rack doesn't have such holes, you'll need an adapter.

The light is powered by 2 AA cells, which power it for a hell of a long time. I haven't kept precise track but I run rechargeable NiMH batteries in mine and it can easily handle all night brevets or weeks of dark commuting. You will need a Philips screwdriver to change the batteries, which some folks find to be a hassle but I find to be much better than some of the cheap lights which just snap together & then snap apart when you hit a big bump. 

As you can see from the above flash picture, the bulk of the body of the light is a big, effective reflector.

Peter White stocks the B&M lights and you can order direct or your local bike shop can get them from him. And like damn near everything these days, you can get it from Amazon. But speaking of Peter White, he's probably the best source of lights & light info in the bike world these days. Check out this page, for example.

BTW, I get no kickback or deal from Peter White. I've had the B&M light for a couple of years now (I had it on my Dahon for a while) and to tell you the truth I can't recall if I bought it from Peter or got it at a swap meet or what. But it's a good light.

One other thing, various lights with electronic switches that toggle thru blinkie modes have an annoying tendency to freak out if they get water inside. Maybe the light turns on by itself or switches modes or won't turn off. I've never had that problem with my B&M Toplight. It's got a simple switch that is either on or off. It just works. And keeps working. I like that.

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA


Scott Loveless said...

Thanks for the review, Kent. I really like the B&M taillights and used to have a Toplight Line Plus, which I think is quite possibly the very best taillight ever. I stupidly sold it in favor of a fender mounted light. Another one is on my short list.

Jeff said...

I have an older version which is the same but with only the center LEDs and it runs on a generator. The big reflector is great. I think the various flavors of the lights are the best option for any bike that has a rack.

One thing you didn't make explicit is that there is no flashing mode. Personally I like this but most people seem to prefer a flashing mode.

adventure! said...

I'm a big fan of the fender (mudguard) mounted lights, battery or dynamo. I have a Portland Design Works Fenderbot on my Raleigh MTB, and it's quite good. Even has a basic blinking mode. Spanninga, a Dutch company, makes another version of a fender mounted LED light, and Rivendell has 'em pretty cheap ($13.)

Anonymous said...

Peter White has spent time to compile the best source on dynamo lights. I have ordered from him many times before and the service was excellent - they get my business whenever possible.

Vik said...

+1 for solid red taillights! :)

Allan Folz said...

If your rack doesn't have such holes, you'll need an adapter.

Oh, oh, I have to show off my adapter! :-)

Unfortunately I can't claim the idea as my own. Credit is due to the eBike Store guy.

Johann Rissik said...

"...much better than some of the cheap lights which just snap together & then snap apart when you hit a big bump."
Exactly ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review and pictures. The Dutch Bicycle shop in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood has a great selection of B&M lights, including this one.