I’ve been drawn to taillights for many years, which is one of the reasons I started Velo Lumino, on a whim. I wanted a dynamo-driven taillight (among other things) for my bike, with a particular look that did not exist.
Since then, I’ve continued to be fascinated by taillights. One particular application of them that I’ve been admiring for awhile is the custom work by Mitch Pryor of MAP Bicycles (sadly defunct, fallen victim to the 2018 California fires) and Brian Chapman of Chapman Cycles in mounting small taillights to the saddle. Both these builders have custom-mounted a tiny B&M taillight (or its more high-brow fraternal twin, the SON Rear Light) to the saddle. I love these lights for their tiny size and light weight. They are also inexpensive, at less than $30 (the more upscale SON Rear Light has the same lens and circuitry, but packaged in a bespoke CNC milled and anodized alloy shell, and is heavier and costs three times as much). These lights, and also the Supernova E3 2 taillight, are made for mounting to rear racks via standard 50mm bolt spacing. I bought the tiny B&M simply because I like the look of them (that sounds silly and a little bit on-the-spectrum, I get it), even though I knew I wouldn’t be using it since my bikes were already well-equipped, taillight-wise. Holding it in my hands and marveling at its diminutive size and near weightlessness got me thinking… this is such a cool light… could I design a widget that would allow one to mount this little gem (or any of the other similar 50mm spaced tiny taillights) to any bike without custom braze-ons or one-off fabrication?
I started with a couple of 3D printed prototypes. Both were centered around the idea of having standard 50mm-spaced mounting holes for the tiny B&M light (it’s full name is the B&M Toplight Line Small), which is the Euro-standard for mounting taillights to rear racks.
I quickly centered on having the mount attach to the saddle rails, since they are the most standardized part of any saddle– I wanted this mount to work on any saddle. And I wanted to be so small that it’s barely noticeable. I wanted it to appear as though it were “one with the light and bike”. My first prototype used two lobes that hook onto the rails, with a set-screw in one lobe to create compression between the rails, to keep the mount secure (since the distance between the rails varies slightly between saddles, and the rails also flex somewhat):
I liked this prototype for its small size and for the way it kept the light very close to the rails– the mount itself is barely visible. Plus, depending on the height of the saddle leather, it also could be mounted upside-down, with the light above the rails, to make it look really stealthy:
Definitely headed in the right direction. But I wasn’t happy with the set-screw tightening setup. Even though I never experienced any movement while testing this prototype (I rode my bike with it this way for several weeks on some rough roads), if it were yanked hard enough, it could be ripped from the rails. I wanted it to be rock-solid and theft-proof.
My next prototype was a two-piece system that clamps onto the rails, in the same manner that saddle rails clamp to a seat post, but miniaturized. This worked great–SUPER strong! I ended up making some minor tweaks and took the plunge with the CNC mill work.
So I introduce the Velo Lumino AT Saddlelite (get it?) taillight mount:
The mount is hollowed out in the center to save weight and to allow the B&M wire to be routed through the mount– the wire is invisible this way.
This little mount is rock-solid, lightweight (13g) and unobtrusive. I have added it to the Velo Lumino webstore, at a price of $42. I am ALSO selling the B&M taillights, in your choice of red or clear lenses (both illuminate red), for $26. You can purchase both together for $62, and save $6. What’s really great about this combo is that it’s a tiny yet bright taillight with standlight capacitor, that mounts to any saddle without modification, and the combo weigh only 30g including all mounting bolts– lighter than any fender taillight I know of.
I chose not to offer the mount in a high-polish finish, unlike my other components. In this case, the mount is designed not to be seen, so I didn’t feel a polished finish was necessary, and it just adds cost. So it’s only offered in its raw milled finish, shown in the photo above. It is a smooth, bright finish, and if you wanted, you could buff it up easily with some metal polish, or paint it black. But really, it’s barely visible when mounted!
Of course, if you want a totally integrated lighting solution, this means internal frame wiring– as is the case with the any integrated dynamo lighting system. In this case, you will want to drill a small hole in the top of your seat post to route the wire into the frame.
What’s next on the horizon? A variation of the Saddlelite that will mount a Velo Lumino seat tube taillight via a single centered M6 threaded hole. The prototyping is already done:
The seat tube taillight variant of the Saddlelite will be available late summer / early fall… stay tuned!