Three of the best: Bike lights
With a single-strip-style LED, the Comet certainly doesn’t look like a regular front light. It’s lightweight at 51g, the rubber band and hook mounting is easy to use, but the button is a little small and stiff. It gives out a reasonably bright and even – albeit very close range – flood, but has no real darkness penetration. On a commute you could negotiate an unlit road but you’d have to do it at almost walking pace.
It’s visible from a long way off, shows up well from the side and would make a perfect complement to a higher power light, which lacks side visibility. Although burn times are relatively low at 7hrs for full beam and 3hrs on low, recharging is a simple case of plugging it into a USB socket for a couple of hours. It also has a low battery indicator. There’s a red rear version, too, which would be a great buy.
Lezyne Macro Drive
The design and finish of the Macro Drive oozes quality. The CNC-machined aluminium body, screw and O-ring protected micro USB port and the simple tubular shape are very pleasing to the eye and touch. Weighing in at 109g, it’s not a massive weight on your bars, and the silicon band and clasp bracket is easy to use and secure. At full whack it pumps out a very usable 300 lumens, combining a good powerful spot with a wide and even flood.
It’s not quite night-to-day but is enough for high-speed training on unlit roads, and has the bonus of side visibility. On this power you’ll get 3hrs of burn – plenty for winter training – and on medium power and lit-area flashing mode, you get 4.5 and 9hrs, respectively. The large top-mounted rubber button doubles as a power indicator. You can also get a helmet mount to increase its versatility.
Light & Motion Taz 800
The Taz is a big old unit, taking up a fair amount of bar space, and is the heaviest on test at 208g. It’s also a bit ugly. But when you switch it on, the 800 lumen rated full beam has you instantly forgiving its aesthetic faults. It has a wide, powerful and very usable beam with only a hint of halos at the very edge. There’s no especially penetrating spot but that’s not a problem as the incredibly even and wide flood it pumps out is far reaching.
Its independently operated orange side lights are a great idea. You can tackle country lanes at full speed and, in conjunction with a helmet-mounted light, it’s enough for mountain biking. At full whack you get 2hrs of burn time; the 400 lumen medium setting gives four. Fitting is easy with a secure rubber belt system and the big buttons double as charge indicators; charging is by micro USB.