Riding on busy roads can be a bit of an adventure at the best of times, but in the darker winter months improving your visibility can’t be a bad thing. FHOSS has a unique solution in its illuminated and indicating saddle bag that could reinforce your hand signals on the road.
FHOSS Illuminated Bicycle Tail Bag highlights
- Rear panel with integrated LEDs can signal where you’re going on the road
- Enough space to store tools, tubes and spares
- Rechargeable battery
- £39.99 (currently only available in the UK)
The bag’s rear opening has an integrated LED panel that slots into a pocket, allowing the light to shine through the face fabric. A clearly marked button on the inside turns the light on.
The supplied remote changes the light mode. You have five signals to choose from: a general cycling mode with circular illumination; indicators that flash orange arrows in the corresponding directions to go straight ahead, left and right; and an exclamation mark that flashes red.
No specs are given about the brightness of the LEDs, and while they appear relatively bright at a cursory glance, I'm concerned that they have no lenses and that the light won't be very directional — this will of course need testing.
I don’t have any information on battery life either, so will have to do some testing on this front too, but the battery can be charged with the integrated USB cable.
The remote control is a key-fob sized item with five small buttons. You’re going to have to familiarise yourself with what each of them do before taking this bag out on the road.
And there’s no way of telling which mode you are in. Of course, you can always press the central button to revert back, but if you happen to forget that you are indicating it would be nice to have some visual reminder that this is the case.
The remote can be mounted to handlebars or there's a supplied wrist strap if you don’t want to clutter your bars. Personally, I would like to see larger, clearer buttons to make using the remote a little bit clearer to use out on the road.
It’ll be interesting to see how the bag stands up to heavy rain. The LED panel is simply a PCB with LEDs and electronics soldered on, and it’s covered in foam, presumably to protect the electronics.
You can definitely fit a decent amount in the pack. Tools, tubes and spares should go in without any problem and you may even be able to fit a packable jacket. There’s no internal zippered pocket for your keys or cards though.
Unfortunately, it’s possible to get behind the reinforcing plastic strip that gives the bag its shape, so I'd predict items will inevitably get lost or stuck behind this — I’d prefer to see a liner fabric.
The bag is held securely in place, but at first glance the positioning of the saddle rail straps seems like an odd choice. The straps run the whole side of the bag, so cinching them down tightly is likely to compress it and make the pack difficult to get into.
I do wonder how likely you are to remember to signal when in a potentially stressful urban cycling environment, and even though it doesn’t replace a rear light, if you want to improve your visibility even further and add some storage this may be the seat pack for you.