Hokey Spokes are transparent computerized “blades” that attach to your bicycle spokes and spin as you ride to create an impressive array of design images and text. With a name like “Hokey Spokes” you might expect these little electronic “blades” to be nothing more than a children’s today. However, you’d be surprised to learn just how impressive these little lights really are.
For the past month I’ve been testing a set of three Rainbow Hokey Spokes in my home town of Park City, Utah and have garnished some impressive results. Based on the past month of riding with my Hokey Spokes in tow, I present to you my “likes” and “dislikes” for the Hokey Spoke product:
What I Like About Hokey Spokes
Eye-Catching And Unique
Right off the bat, it’s easy to see that the Hokey Spokes products are unique. On my very first ride around my neighborhood with the lights mounted on my front wheel, I got a number of comments and strange looks from people passing by. Few people have ever seen a bicycle light up the way that it does with the Hokey Spokes in use, and that alone, I believe, will have a few individuals rushing out to get these unique LED blades.
The Patterns Are Beautiful
Another great thing about Hokey Spokes is that the designs are pre-programmed into the device. While there are other/similar products on the marketplace that allow you to create customized designs, Hokey Spokes are beautiful and easy to use – without you having to do a thing.
Programming The Custom Text Is Easy
For those who do want to further customize their ride, Hokey Spokes give you the option of programming in your own custom text message. The directions for text customization come right on the back of the packaging and are incredibly easy to follow. You can program in any text you want as long as it is 16 characters of less and you are happy with the text displaying in all capital letters (and no, you can’t choose the font of your choice).
What I Dislike About Hokey Spokes
Sadly, Hokey Spokes are expensive. Really expensive! While it is recommended that you use at least 3 blades on each wheel in order to get the designs to display properly at low speeds, the blades are sold individually and cost between $29.95 and $39.95 USD depending on what color blade you select (Blue, White, and Rainbow colored blades cost the most, while green, yellow, red and orange cost the least). Nevertheless, some quick addition shows that even if you were to purchase the very cheapest of blades, you’d be looking at approximately $89.95 per wheel (or $179.70 in order to outfit a standard two-wheel bicycle). At that price, I’m afraid few people will jump on this particular product.
Lots Of Batteries
In addition to the cost of the product itself, you also have to consider the cost of batteries. Each blade requires 3 AA batteries and lasts for approximately 48 hours when the batteries are fully charged. That means for the a full set of 6 Hokey Spokes, you need to purchase an additional 18 batteries, which tacks on a likely $15 – $20. (Batteries are not included with the product)
Difficult To Install And Remove
While overall very easy to install, Hokey Spokes are a bit of a pain to take on and off the bike. You do need a screw driver in order to install or remove the product and this does take some time and practice. Unlike many front and rear bike lights that snap on or off with the flick of a button, Hokey Spokes take a bit more work.
The Tiny Rattle
On my first ride around the block with the Hokey Spokes in place, I noticed a small rattling noise coming from the blades and feared that the product might wiggle itself off the spokes and go flying out into the street and be destroyed. However, I quickly thereafter realized that this rattle was cased by the batteries inside the blades and not by some lose connection between the blades and the spokes of my wheel.
As Richard from Hokey Spokes informed me via email, “The sound of the rattling may be the batteries. We had to design the dimensions of the battery cavity to allow for variances in AA batteries around the world or else some of them (slightly over sized) might stick inside. If you are bothered by this you may do one of two things: 1) You can take a strip of Scotch tape and run in along one side of three AA batteries and slide them in together as one longer battery. This will quell the rattling. Or, 2) you can untwist the brass piece on the blue battery cap, put a metal washer on the stem and reassemble. This will have the effect of putting more pressure on the batteries and tighten their assembly in the battery chamber. Both of these comments are mentioned on our “Frequently Asked Questions” of our website.”.
You Can Only Use Them At Night
Finally, I have to mention the fact that Hokey Spokes can really only be used at night. During the day the lights just simply don’t show up. And because I usually do very little night riding (and because I suspect other bike riders try to avoid riding in the dark if they can), I believe some cyclists will find it difficult to find a time to actually use these products.
Despite the list of dislikes mentioned above, I believe that Hokey Spokes are a fun, unique and reliable product. If the price of the products were cut in half, so that you could outfit at least one wheel for about $40 – $45 USD, I think that would result in a huge increase in sales. In the meantime however, I find the price to be a bit restrictive.
My Rating: If I had to rate Hokey Spokes on a scale of 1 to 10 (without considering the price), with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, I’d give it a 7. There is nothing actually wrong with the product other than the fact that you can only use it during the night – a time of day most cyclists try to avoid if they can.