The time has come the Walrus said, to talk of many things… of shoes and ships and sealing wax, and cabbages and kings… and LED lights and stuff…. now Lewis Carroll wouldn’t have a had a clue about LED lighting but since it’s been a few days since I wrote something genuinely useful I thought I would give you a quick review of the Hope Vision 1 front light I’ve been using recently.
For the last few seasons I’ve been running a Light and Motion Solo Logic lamp with lithium-ion battery – it’s been brilliant and although only a halogen-based system it’s been plenty bright enough for pitch dark road training rides and some not-too-technical off-road excursions… it was fine.. until I started using it on my nice, clean-looking DeSalvo ti-fixie... being a bit of a bike tart that battery pack strapped to the top tube or under the saddle plus the cables just spoiled the nice clean lines of the bike (!) … and the cable rubbing on the top tube was polishing the brushed titanium in a particularly annoying fashion… so I sold it for £50 (the light, not the bike…). I’d like to be able to justify spending £300 on a 900-lumen retina destroying light.. mainly to get back at the motorists who refuse to dip their lights for cyclist but right now my riding profile doesn’t justify it… all my night riding is on road and bridleways, albeit very dark, unlit ones.
The Hope Vision 1 appealed because it’s a self-contained unit, bit like the Exposure lights but rather than costing £300 I paid £79… for sure it’s a lot less bright, 240 lumens, and you need to supply a set of 4 rechargeable AA NiMH cells (big deal, I bought a set of Uniross 2700mAh ones for less than £7 on fleabay) but for that money I figured I’d take a chance on it being bright enough to ride at a decent lick down a dark, wet Cornish lane on a very dark night… (did I mention it gets dark round here, especially at night?) Turns out it is bright enough… which is lucky :o) The useful light output I would put at roughly equivalent to the Light & Motion somewhere between mid and high setting, so plenty really. The light is very white but still gives adequate penetration which is a critiscm I’ve often seen of LED systems. There are 4 power settings plus a flashing mode, I’ve been running on full power continuously as I live in a rural area with sparse street lighting but in town the lower setting would be fine from a visibility point of view. Run time is quoted at around 3hrs on full power and that’s what I’ve been getting with the 2700mAH cells… so no complaints there.
The quick release bar clamp is good… easy to use and well made, makes it easy to declutter my bars for the weekend. It’s sized for oversize (31.8mm) bars but comes with rubber inserts for fitting to standard road and MTB bars (26mm and 25.4mm respectively). It also comes with a helmet mount but I think, given the size of it to accommodate the cells, if I was looking for a specific helmet light I’d be more inclined to fork out for an Exposure Joystick.
Here’s a picture of it looking nice in that crisp-CNC’d way that Hope do so well… interestingly not on my fixie, which would be it’s ‘spiritual home’ (?!) but rather on my Nomad which has been doing commuting duty the last couple of days due to the need to lug my laptop and portfolio around.
So there you go, recommended if you’re looking for a good road light, and even if you’re not it’s still recommended ‘cos it comes with a lanyard and would make a suitably techy flashlight… and it’s British of course.. and comes in various colours…. except pink… or purple… which is a shame, lol :o)
by the way, Hope aren’t giving me anything here…not that I wouldn’t turn ’em down if they wanted to :o)
I was going to wrap this post up there but I’m on a bit of a roll so here’s a bit extra (see, told you I was good value rather than cheap :o)… my rear light. Seems appropriate to say a few words… for the last gawd knows how long I’ve been using various flavours of Cateye rear lights but I recently swapped to a Smart 1/2 Watt LED job, catalogue pic below… this thing really will take the skin off your eyeballs if you look right at it, it’s brilliant, literally! The flashing mode is a bit flowery but will get you noticed if that’s your thing…. and only 12 quid :o)
Ok that’s it for now, see ya!