£100 front lights

Six high-lu­men units to brighten your ride

Cycling Weekly - - TECH GROUPTEST -

WHAT

In this test we’re re­view­ing six ‘see­ing’ front lights — units that al­low you to see the road in front as well as to be seen by other road users. Since the tech of the Li-ion pow­ered LED is im­prov­ing all the time, for un­der £100 you can ex­pect a lu­men count of around 1,000. A lu­men is a unit of vis­i­ble light and is more use­ful than ex­press­ing a bulb’s power in watts, which sim­ply tells you how much en­ergy it con­sumes. Mod­ern LEDS con­sume far less en­ergy for the amount of light they pro­duce than old-style in­can­des­cent bulbs. For com­par­i­son, a 100W in­can­des­cent bulb emits 1,600 lu­mens. Al­though mod­ern LEDS are far more en­ergy ef­fi­cient, it’s still true that if you want to run a pow­er­ful light for a long pe­riod of time it will need a big bat­tery and that will make it too un­wieldy for road rid­ing. For the road 1,000 lu­mens can be pro­duced by a com­pact light that weighs un­der 200g and is less than 10cm long.

WHY

If you want to train out­side this win­ter, you’ll need lights. We reckon 250 lu­mens is a min­i­mum for road rid­ing — now that you can get more power for fewer pounds it doesn’t do any harm to get one with a higher lu­men count.

HOW

All six lights in this test are bright enough for train­ing and com­mut­ing on un­lit roads. We’ve also looked at what they of­fer in terms of modes, how user friendly they are, how easy it is to keep a han­dle on bat­tery level and how it mounts to the han­dle­bar.

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