Light & Motion developed the Vya product line (note, these were previously marketed as Vibe) as a revolutionary approach to cycling lights. The “Smart Vya” headlights and tail lights integrate light sensors and motion sensors to automatically adjust the lights to conditions and power them on/off. In this review, we’ll be looking at the newly released Vya Switch which takes many of the innovative features of the Smart lights but re-introduces a user operated button to control the power and output modes. This may seem like a step backwards, considering the goal of the Vya lights was to make cycling lights more automated, but the Vya Switch offers a more affordable and traditional taillight with the same innovative form factor and SafePulse flashing modes.
The Vya Switch is similar to the Vya Pro Smart Taillight in that it offers 100 lumens output and SafePulse mode but without the motion sensor to automatically turn the light on/off. Visually the Switch also uses the same compact form factor and unique quarter turn mounts. With the Switch, the user can also now alternate between three available modes: Constant, SafePulse high and SafePulse low. Light and Motion claims the taillight is visible up to 1.2 miles (2 km) away due to the custom optics and horizontal design. The Switch is also $20 cheaper than the equivalent Pro Taillight, and might be a better choice for those who do group rides or the “control freaks” per the Light and Motion’s tongue-and-cheek product description. Is the Vya Switch a bike light worth buying? Let’s take a detailed look.
|Category||Bicycle Tail Light|
|Likes||+ Unique form factor|
+ Integrated USB connector
+ Excellent visibility
|Dislikes||– Non-intuitive low battery indicator|
– Unclear mounting alignment marks
– Visible molding lines
|Where to Buy (US)||Light & Motion|
The Vya Switch is a unique and bright tail light. Although the Vya Switch doesn’t have the auto on/off feature the Vya Smart Tail light features, the 100 lumen output and distinctive SafePulse flash mode make this an excellent tail light. The compact form factor and integrated USB connector also make the Vya Switch standout in a crowded market.
In terms of packaging, Light & Motion has done a great job to minimize the environmental impact. The light is mounted on a simple cardboard mount, and small plastic receptacle to hold the light in place. Inside the packaging you’ll find:
- Vya Switch Taillight
- Seatpost Mount
- User manual
Note, there is no USB cable as the Vya Switch has a USB connector built directly into the light.
FIT AND FINISH
The Vya Switch shares the same unique form factor as the other Vya lights. The Switch has an elongated horizontal design punctuated by a single LED emitter with a slightly protruding lens. The body of the light is described as a bio-renewable material, and is opaque black with a rubber-like texture. On the top side of the light, the product name, ‘Vya Switch’, is engraved into the surface as well as a red button to set the output mode. The red button is easy to operate, with a long press to power it on/off while a short click cycles through the modes.
What also sets the Vya Switch apart from standard lights, is the fact that the USB port is integrated directly into the light, allowing for direct USB charging without the need for additional cables. The Vya Switch is light and has a small form factor making it easy to stash in a pocket on the go. One downside of the light is that the molding lines are visible, and there are some minor bumps and surface imperfections (imperfections were also found in a replacement light).
Note that this light is IP67 rated when in locked position providing dust and water resistance up to 1 meter. The Switch’s construction is also robust enough to survive multiple drops.
Included with the Vya Switch is a seat post mount that is shared between the other Vya lights. The seat post mount uses a standard rubber strap and plastic posts to secure the mount. The rubber strap feels well made and is thick enough that it should be robust with multiple uses. What makes the Vya lights unique is the fact that the USB port is directly integrated into the light itself. Light & Motion also utilizes the USB port to attach the light to the mount.
The Vya Switch uses the same quarter turn mounting style as the other Vya lights. This is described as ‘posi-lock’ and is a unique design compared to other lights on the market. Unfortunately, while we wanted to like this feature due to its novelty we found it to be frustrating to use. The light can only be inserted in a single direction, which can result in some confusion. There are half circle markers to aid in the alignment of the light, however these indicators are not obvious. Otherwise, the mount feels secure and well designed. Light & Motion also has optional GoPro and saddle rail mounts for an additional cost.
Note: With Vya Switch you can also leave the light in the locked position on the mount without draining the battery as there are no auto on/off modes.
The Vya Switch has a single LED emitter with vertical diffusers integrated into the lens. This results in a beam pattern that is horizontally diffused. This improves the visibility of the taillight from both the rear or the side. With the Vya Switch, you can now also manually select the output mode of the taillight. The Vya Switch has three output modes: SafePulse high ( 6 hours at 100 lumens ), SafePulse medium ( 12 hours at 50 lumens ) and a solid mode ( 4 hours at 25 lumens ). Interestingly, the solid mode has the worst run-time despite having the lowest lumen output.
According to Light & Motion, SafePulse is scientifically designed to improve cyclist safety by improving the ability of drivers to gauge the distance of a rider. Unlike typical flashing modes that repeat, SafePulse alternates between a pulsing mode and a bright flash. This results in a mode that is less visually jarring for both the rider and oncoming traffic. If you watch the video, you’ll see that SafePulse mode and solid mode do a good job even in daytime riding. One downside is that SafePulse medium and high are difficult to tell apart visually.
Additionally, the Vya Switch has a very convoluted low battery indicator. According to the manual, the low battery warning kicks in between 5-10 percent of remaining capacity. In this state, the Vya switches to a ‘low steady mode with SafePulse.’ This mode is supposedly unique from the SafePulse modes provided. During out testing, this was very difficult to discern from the normal SafePulse modes.
Overall we found the Vya Switch to be a unique and bright tail light. The compact form factor, integrated USB connector and 100 lumen output of the tail light makes it a great option for road cycling or commuters. We found that the elongated design and SafePulse modes made the light visible from both side angles and long distances. The Vya Switch lacks the automatic on/off feature of the Vya Pro, however the lower price and user controlled mode selection are great perks and allow the Switch to be more flexible. We’d definitely recommend the Vya Switch for anyone looking for a unique and bright tail light.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Light & Motion. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.