Thursday, 17 January 2013

Buying a good bike light

There's nothing worse than getting caught out in the dark with your pants down, not being able to see what you are doing.  I'm not talking about the latest fling with the farmer girl down the road, I'm talking about being on your bike and suddenly becoming the one thing on the road that has more gravitational pull than the sun.  Add a rubbish set of lights into the mix and you tend to feel just a wee bit exposed.

So, off to the shop you go and check out a new light and WTF!?!.... look at the price of that!  Looks like it's going to have to be another 'sneak into the house without the wife seeing' moment.

Well, I wasn't satisfied with this, so I had a hunt around. Here's my criteria: small(ish), sturdy and bright (damned bright).  Here's a few initial finds:

Lezyne LED Micro Drive 150 Lumen RRP £69.99. (Perfect for commuting apparently. Really? In a well lit London street perhaps.)
Gemini Lights XERA LED 850 Lumen RRP £80.00.
Cateye Nano RRP £99.
Lumicyle Elite RRP £200.
Exposure Reflex 2200 Lumen at a whopping RRP £449.00.

Just as I was resigning myself to spending more, a chap a few doors down from me with a slightly scary fetish for torches, told me about Cree LEDs.  'Brightest things you'll ever get' he grinned, shining his latest 3 inch long model directly into my retina. 'Yes, I can see that' as I reeled backwards down the driveway.

I marched through my front door and fired up the Internet, or as most kids call it now, Google.  'Cree' 'Lights' '1600 lumen'. And there it was, £27 for a front and back light - with a battery, head torch and attachments too. Ordered. Delivered.

And this is it, unbranded and very well made.


On the bike it looks like this:












NB. Battery pack slots nicely under the handlebar but could easily go behind stem.

Does it work? You bet it does. Boooooom - the whole road lit up. I felt empowered again. Visible to everyone else on the road for a change. The front light has 3 settings, of which I use the flashing one, not only at night but daytime too.  The back light is good and has multiple settings. Add a Knog Frog on the back of your helmet for added strobing and you're in business.  Do the maths; 2 of these equal 3200 lumen for 50 odd quid (as opposed to 449 for 2200 lum for the Exposure Reflex).

Where do you get it?
Amazon sell them. Here it is  Why pay more for a hell of alot less I ask?

By the way, I'm not associated to the seller of this kit in any way at all. It's just a similar example and it's good kit.  If you search, you can find alot of similar bundles/offers. I'm just merely opening your eyes to the cheaper options. Hope it worked.

By Darren Roberts

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