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ohuhu smart bicycle taillight

If you have paid attention to bicycle taillights in recent years, you’ve probably heard about some cool stuff. There are lights that turn on automatically at night, ones that light up extra bright if you’re braking, and even some that include integrated turn signals and video cameras.

They’re collectively referred to as “smart” tail lights.

The problem is, you have to spend over $150, or you might just get a light that causes more problems than it solves. That’s why I was very intrigued by this Ohuhu Auto On/Off Bicycle Taillight that sells for a mere $11.99 at Amazon.com.

Not only does it look like a nice taillight, it’s all automatic! Just put the batteries in, attach it to your bike, and forget about it. Then when you hop on your bike for a ride at night, it starts flashing automatically!

Sounds great! But how does it work?

how to open ohuhu smart bicycle taillight

The light uses two built-in sensors – one detects light and one detects vibration. The light sensor determines if it’s dark enough for the light to turn on, and the vibration sensor detects if you’re in motion. Both need to be triggered for the light to turn on. It has to be dark and you have to be moving for this light to be on.

So if you’re riding in bright sunlight, it will not turn on. If it’s totally dark, but the bike is motionless, it will not turn on.

If you’re riding at sunrise, the light will turn off once the sun comes up. If you put the bike away, and it sits still for a couple minutes, it will shut off.

Pretty darn cool! If it works as promised, I’ll be really happy! So let’s get this thing mounted up!

Installation was a breeze.

The hardest part is installing the batteries. This requires a coin or a key to flip open the light (there are two halves.) Then just pop in two AAA batteries and close it back up.

ohuhu bicycle taillight battery compartment

Then you need to apply the rubber pad to the back of the light, where it sits against the seat post. (This is to ensure the light doesn’t slip out of place.) Apply it just like a sticker. It’s easy, just make sure you take your time and line it up properly the first time.

Now the light is ready to use! Installing it on the bike is extremely simple and requires no tools. Just place the rubber o-ring in one side of the mounting bracket, line up the light on the seatpost (make sure the logo is up and the photosensitive hole is facing down,) then wrap the o-ring around the seat post and clip it to the opposite side of the bracket.

ohuhu bicycle taillight o-ring attachment

Since it’s based entirely on that rubber o-ring, you can install and remove the light whenever you want. It takes about 5 seconds!

Go for a ride at night, it lights up!

As promised, if it’s dark out, and you start moving, the light starts flashing!

The question is, how dark does it have to be? Does it have to be night? Or can it just be cloudy? What if a storm rolls through?

I don’t have an exact answer. I’ve ridden on some cloudy mornings where the light comes on and stays on. But there were also cloudy afternoons where the light never turned on. I would hope that if a dark storm cloud rolls through, it will trigger the light, but you just don’t know for sure. There’s no way to tell exactly what light conditions will trigger it to turn on.

The vibration sensor is easier to figure out. If you’re moving at all, that’s enough to trigger it! As soon as you grab your bike off the rack, the light will start flashing. You don’t have to be riding very fast; in fact, you don’t have to be riding at all! Rock the bike back and forth and that will be enough motion.

You might be worried that since the light turns off automatically when it’s not moving, that the light might shut off if you’re stopped at a red light. I can assure you, that’s not going to happen! If you’re straddling the bike, you’re going to be rocking the bike enough to keep the vibration sensor going. The light will NOT turn off unexpectedly in that sort of situation.

The bike has to be perfectly still for about two minutes before the light turns off.

It’s not without its quirks, though!

There’s nothing wrong with the light itself, but there are certain things to consider before you buy one (that you probably wouldn’t think of until after you buy it!)

It won’t flash during direct sunlight. It’s hard to say how dim it has to be, but we know for sure that it’s not going to flash on a bright, sunny day. But what if you want it flashing all the time? That’s the safest way to do it if you want drivers to see you. But it’s not an option!

Similarly, it doesn’t flash as rapidly as other lights I’ve used. It gives three quick flashes, but then delays for a full one second before flashing again. This is probably less annoying to fellow cyclists nearby, but possibly less visible to drivers.

It’s going to flash when you don’t want it to. Remember how I said it doesn’t take much vibration to get it flashing? That applies even when you’re not riding.

If your bike is parked on a rack, someone else jiggling the rack will turn the light on. (That might be a blessing in disguise though, as it could deter some would-be bike thieves!)

Speaking of parking your bike, when you first lock it up, the light is going to stay on for a couple minutes after you walk away. Expect some Good Samaritans to yell to you that you forgot to turn it off. “Hey buddy you forgot to turn off your taillight!” Or they’ll try to turn it off for you, as a favor, but get confused.

I expected this to happen, and it happened even sooner than I expected! I was locking up my bike in the Home Depot parking lot at 7am, when you’d think no one is around, but as I walked away from my bike, a Home Depot employee came over to alert me that my light was still blinking! We ended up having an interesting conversation about how the technology worked.

Even worse, if you happen to carry the bike on a rack on your car, it’s going to flash the entire drive! Even if you take the light off and put it in the back seat of your car, it will still light up from the driving! To prevent this, you have to open it up and take the batteries completely out.

What it boils down to is that you don’t have control over it! That’s a big factor in the purchasing decision. The “set it and forget it” idea sounds good, but some people want more control.

Can you override the light sensor?

For as sensitive as this is to vibrations, it’s not super sensitive to light. Unless…

What if you could trick the light sensor?

I tried placing some electrical tape over the sensor so it thinks that it’s night, 24 hours a day. Then you just rely on the vibration sensor, so any time you’re riding, the light should flash.

It was very simple. I just placed a very small strip on the outside of the light. On the bottom, right over that little red button.

I had high hopes, but I was let down. That wasn’t enough. So I ended up placing three strips of electrical tape on the light. Two on the outside, and then one inside, in an attempt to completely disable the sensor.

With that modification, it seems to light up any time of day! (Most of the time, at least.)

I’m more worried about safety than I am about draining the batteries. This thing has a claimed 200 hour battery life!

That’s impressive. The similar CatEye Reflex Auto taillight claims a 100 hour battery life (running the same two AAA batteries,) which is great, but still only half the life of this one from Ohuhu!

That could be a full year of fair weather bike commuting!

I don’t know the real battery life, as I’ve only used it about 20 hours thus far.

But it still flashes bright. And it sits outside in the rain frequently, and that hasn’t bothered it.

My final verdict is…

This light is simple to install, extremely easy to use, and affordable. It lacks the refinement of the name brands, but for the price, you can’t beat it. You also need to be aware of its quirks before you buy it, but if you’re the type of person who forgets to turn on their taillight, it might be just what you need!

Official website: www.Ohuhu.com

Product Review Details
Company: Ohuhu
Product: Ohuhu Auto On/Off Bicycle Taillight
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 3.7 out of 5
Date last updated: 2015-07-21
Obtained Product: Free sample from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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  1. Could I mount this against my seatstay instead? I have a saddle bag against the seatpost…

  2. @Mike

    Probably not. Maybe if you have a large diameter seatstay it could work, but it’s designed to fit a seatpost. For anything else, you’d probably have to alter it.

    As much as I like the light, what it lacks is versatility. You might like a Nite Ize Saddle Lite to replace your seatbag or a Nite Ize TwistLit which can be mounted nearly anywhere.

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