Lights - front
The Cateye EL020 hybrid lamp certainly isn’t the most powerful in its class but sophisticated solar technology backed by a single AA contingency cell signals an end to sudden, unexpected and potentially fatal blackouts.
However, the small, uncharacteristically fiddly switch was poorly positioned and particularly difficult to engage on the fly, let alone wearing winter gloves.
No doubt about it, the Supernova Airstream is a classy looking light with a great beam pattern for road riding. The mount has its upsides and downsides, and side illumination isn't the best, but the overall impression is of a light that's superbly made and very useful. You pay for that quality though.
Blackburn’s Voyager front LED combines bold stylish design, brilliant optics and generous burn times in a package perfect for mile eaters needing a compact, capable companion nestling next to the dynamo. Sure, desk jockeys might prefer the convenience of USB charging and two modes won’t win bragging contests down at the clubhouse but the quality of light is adequate for tackling town centre traffic, mending roadside punctures and nursed us safely home when my old school Lead-Acid system unexpectedly ran out of juice.
A bit of a mixed bag, the Boomer. On the one hand it's a super bright little light that's simple to fit and gives good all round visibility. On the other it's hampered by a fiddly switch which is also prone to turning the lights on in your bag, and you have to be careful with the mount to keep them properly weather sealed.
Moon Gem’s imaginatively monikered 2.0 is a very capable emergency light, perfect for getting home safely from late summer/early autumn evening’s race meets/training runs. Reasonable output means it’s a great complement to dynamo and high power rechargeable systems too. However, while the power to weight ratio is impressive, burn times between charges are likely to frustrate tourists and long-haul audax aficionados.
Little bigger than a memory stick Moon’s Gem 1.0 might be the baby of the of the Moon Gem family but has a mightier output than its size would ever suggest.
There’s a constant struggle going on to develop a bike light with enough illumination power to rival Blackpool, a run time long enough for the longest of nocturnal enduros, and all in a package sufficiently small and light that it won’t weigh you down. Usually, there’s a trade-off of some sort, but increasingly, as improving LED technology couples together with new lighter, higher capacity batteries, it’s a tough call for the cyclist looking to choose a new light. There are some really great ones out there now.
A very well made light with a great run time, the Asteri 3 is an excellent choice if your commute takes you beyond the city limits. It's a pity there's no side visibility but apart from that there's plenty to like.
One of the newer generation of LED lights from the USE Exposure brand, a name already well known in the mountain-biking world, the Toro promises an outstanding mix of car-dazzling illumination, small size and long battery life.
Something a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the Nuke Light enjoys neat, albeit slightly boxy styling and a small lens suggesting very meagre output. However, clever optics and several settings ensure you can see and be seen-even on pitch-black rural roads. Convenient run times, a choice of either mains or USB charging coupled with keen pricing means its one of the best compact designs I’ve used in a very long time.