BikeBeamer Adds POV Display To Bicycle Wheels

Unless you’re living in a bicycle paradise like the Netherlands, most people will choose to add some sort of illumination to their bicycle to help drivers take note that there’s something other than a car using the road. Generally, simple flashing LEDs for both the front and the rear is a pretty good start, but it doesn’t hurt to add a few more lights to the bicycle or increase their brightness. On the other hand, if you want to add some style to your bicycle lighting system then this persistence of vision (POV) display called the BikeBeamer from [locxter] might be just the thing.

The display uses four LED strips, each housed in their own 3D printed case which are installed at 90-degree angles from one another in between the spokes of a standard bicycle wheel. An ESP32 sits at the base of one of the strips and is responsible for storing the image and directing the four displays. This is a little more complex than a standard POV display as it’s also capable of keeping up with the changing rotational speeds of the bicycle wheels when in use. The design also incorporates batteries so that no wires need to route from the bike frame to the spinning wheels.

This is an ongoing project for [locxter] as well, meaning that there are some planned upgrades even to this model that should be in the pipe for the future. Improving the efficiency of the code will hopefully allow for more complex images and even animations to be displayed in the future, and there are also some plans to improve the PCB as well with all surface-mount components. There are a few other ways to upgrade your bike’s lighting as well, and we could recommend this heads-up headlight display to get started.

15 thoughts on “BikeBeamer Adds POV Display To Bicycle Wheels

  1. I know this isn’t BuyADay, but ~20 years ago, I bought at Goodwill an LED POV that clamps to bicycle spokes for about $2.
    But it took so many AAA batteries I never bothered to use it.

  2. Anyone remember monkeylectric spoke pov systems??? I wanted one then the company went totally silent and basically died before I could buy one
    They sold pov units that did gif or animations

  3. Nice.

    For visibility ahead and behind it’d be useful to have a pair of LEDs hanging out beyond the tyre’s width facing radially outward. From ahead of a solid-on an observer would see a sort of dripping icicle and from behind sort of a fountain. Of course variations in flashes could make pretty creative effects.

    It could be powered by a sort of reversed DynaHub where the wheel receives the power instead of the frame.

  4. here in the Netherlands, flashing bike lights is frowned upon as some sparse type of flashing indicates that you are there, but not exactly where, so for another road users, its impossible to pinpoint you. that is a safety concern. That’s the reasonaA continuous light is mandatory by law.

    1. I was going to say that surely even in a bicycle centric culture lights must be required, as it doesn’t matter how much the other road users expect to see and will treat bicycles with respect if they can’t actually spot them to do so.

      That said the eye is drawn to movement so something like this could be useful, especially in the less enlightened places where cyclist are apparently never visible even with the high vis jacket and light – its a weird movement that might actually get the driver to wake up enough to notice the smaller road user.

      1. Except that lights like this will dazzle and confuse others from the side but might not show that well when seen from the rear.
        Here in the Netherlands, we don’t just “put lights on a bike”, we have a fairly good idea, backed up by science and inscribed in law, of what constitutes good lighting: A white front light, preferably also visible from the side, a red rear light coupled with a retroreflector, amber retroreflectors in the tires and either a white reflective band on the tires or white or amber reflectors (two per wheel) in the spokes. The lights may not flash.
        Those make you plenty visible in the dark, no need for hi-viz clothing.

        There is a lot of research going into cycling infrastructure and safety in the Netherlands, and I always cringe when I see other countries slapping some rules and or lines of paint together and think “this looks like a bike path, we’re done” while it does nothing or is even counterproductive to bicycle safety and flow.

        Youtube channel Not Just Bikes ( has a lot of videos on bicycle infrastructure and rules internationally (from the perspective of a Canadian living in Amsterdam)

        1. I do agree its not perfect, but having been a cyclist here what works for your nation of cyclists where every driver has learned to expect and look for the cyclist rather than as seemingly happens here rather often actively filter them out and (at least seemingly) genuinely not notice (though there is also a depressingly large portion of car users here who will notice and deliberately squeeze the cyclist often while hurling verbal abuse).

          So “Those make you plenty visible in the dark, no need for hi-viz clothing” really doesn’t hold true here.

          1. In the netherlands the law says that if a car hits a bicycle the car is presumed the guilty party by default I’m told.
            Also, since the dutch all ride bikes all the time, and not just as kids but as adults,; and including car owners, it’s not exactly ‘them v me’ like it seems to often be the view in the US.

    1. Hi,

      locxter (the developer) here. Due to the 4 blade design, you actually don’t have to cycle all thst fast. Everything over 10 km/h (don’t know what that is in mp/h) works really well and even slightly below that the image is still seeable.

  5. Here in Germany no amount of light makes, in some roads, riding a bike safe, even daylight. You can see it for instance in the channel fahrnunftig. Some drivers are very agressive against bikes, not that bikes drivers do it right all the time. Roads, even with bike lanes are not properly layed out. More education and better infrastuture are needed, lots of education…

    1. Yeah, the Netherlands is really exceptional in that. Under the “durable safety” moniker, they made a categorization of roads and how they should look like.
      All roads are either a “flow road” (no slow traffic like bikes and bicycles allowed on these roads), a “distribution road” (preferably separate traffic, and no direct connections to houses or businesses creating conflicts, 50 km/h in built up areas, 80 outside) or “local access roads” (direct connections to houses or businesses, 30 km/h in built up areas, 60 outside, preferably mixed traffic inside built up areas but bicycle paths are allowed outside built up areas).

      The system isn’t complete, but 33 years after the start of the programme, most streets and roads adhere to the programme. Especially outside built-up areas, there is a strong contrast with other countries, even in Germany a lot of villages are only accessible by bike by quite narrow roads that allow 90 or 100 km/h with no cycling infrastructure to speak of.

  6. Nobody else? Me: SpokePOV from Adafruit Ind., bought as kit almost 20 years ago.
    Actually bought multiples and populated different coloursLEDs, then manually composed RGB logos.

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