Light & Motion Urban 200 front light  £69.99

9/10

One of the best 'commuter' lights available. Very hard to fault.

Weight 111g   Contact  www.madison.co.uk

by Steve Worland   December 12, 2013  

Light and Motion Urban 200

With a claimed 200 lumen light output, the Urban 200 is the cheapest of Light & Motion's round-town lights but pumps out plenty of light for road and path use.

It's also the least expensive and least bright of their 25 front light options. Don't think 'least bright' means dim though. This is a light that's more than adequate for regular town and country road use. The beam has good central focus and a good high to low spread, if not as wide as some, and a bright amber light in side slots boosts visibility from side on.

The brightest of the three beam intensities is bright enough and well directed enough to see and be clearly seen on the very darkest roads and is adequate for occasional trail use.

Claimed burn times vary according to whether you're reading the packaging or the web site. On full beam we were getting about 75 minutes in cold conditions when split between a couple of rides.

But you don't need to use full beam all the time. Running half beam, 100 lumens, gave us a good 140 minutes and the 50 lumen option gave just under 5 hours. The flash mode, at 50 lumens, gives a claimed 18 hours.

Real world use in different conditions will mean you're likely to be switching between the beams and charging up again before you think you're likely to run low on power. You simply press the button on top of the light to move between beam modes, and hold it for longer when you're ready to switch off.

A regular recharge between rides is recommended as a recharge from empty can take 5 hours. A flashing light on the casing changes colour to tell you how much charge is in the battery (green means fully charged) and if you allow the charge to get very low while riding the beam will start flashing to warn you. To charge up you use a USB cable, not great if you need to recharge somewhere with no computer access or wall/phone charge adaptor but totally fuss-free in any other situation. The battery is a Li-ion.

Light & Motion's handlebar strap-mounted Urban lights all use a similar body design and include 400, 550 and 700 lumen offerings, topping out at £129.99. The tough stretchy mounting strap is easy to use, adjustable to all bar shapes and incredibly quick to fit and release, so there's minimum temptation to leave the light on the bike when you're parked up.

The light can swivel on the mount so you can set the beam up to point wherever you want it to point, very useful if you're mounting it on a curved part of a handlebar. The only thing we found less than ideal was that the light's USB port is so close to the strap mounting base that care was needed to avoid damaging the USB plug when attaching it for recharges. Otherwise, a near perfect light for most uses.

Verdict

One of the best 'commuter' lights available. Very hard to fault.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Light & Motion Urban 200 (2014)

Size tested: led

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

It's is 200 Lumen front light that's small, very well made, very easy to use and rechargeable via any powered USB port.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

200 lumen with 100/50 Lumen + flash options. Well sealed from the weather. USB lead supplied for recharges.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Well sealed from the elements. Tough body, robust easy to use mounting strap that fits any handlebar. Swivel attachment for beam direction.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Good beam spread, although not as wide as some. Ideal for urban and all but the most demanding dark rural use.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Light and Motion products have a good long term durability reputation.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

Very light for its power output.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

There are plenty cheaper lights around but few that we'd trust as much as this in the long term.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Perfect.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Low weight. Excellent power output. East to attach & remove.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The USB lead is a bit fiddly to plug into the light.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes, but only in the spicier versions.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 58  Height: 181  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Merlin Ti  My best bike is: Ibis Silk SL

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

 

6 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Firstly, it doesn't look like this light would be particularly easy to see from the side.

Secondly - and this is an issue I take with all USB charging lights with one integrated battery - if I'm about to go out and I discover the battery is dying, what do I do? Sit there waiting with my light plugged into a USB port for five hours?

I really don't want to take my lights off every time I get home from a trip to the shops, or to work, just-in-case. That's when I end up going out (in daylight) and leaving my light behind. With normal AA battery lights I leave them on the bike for weeks, carry spare new batteries on any longer rides, and then just pop those in when I need them. Maybe I could buy two of these lights and alternate them to ensure I always have a charged backup? (yes, I'm kidding)

For £70 - ouch - this doesn't seem quite as appealing (to me) for commuting in town as you suggest.

posted by pmanc [112 posts]
12th December 2013 - 11:01

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pmanc wrote:
Firstly, it doesn't look like this light would be particularly easy to see from the side.

Secondly - and this is an issue I take with all USB charging lights with one integrated battery - if I'm about to go out and I discover the battery is dying, what do I do? Sit there waiting with my light plugged into a USB port for five hours?

I really don't want to take my lights off every time I get home from a trip to the shops, or to work, just-in-case. That's when I end up going out (in daylight) and leaving my light behind. With normal AA battery lights I leave them on the bike for weeks, carry spare new batteries on any longer rides, and then just pop those in when I need them. Maybe I could buy two of these lights and alternate them to ensure I always have a charged backup? (yes, I'm kidding)

For £70 - ouch - this doesn't seem quite as appealing (to me) for commuting in town as you suggest.

I think these types of lights are really targeted at people doing longer commutes with some part of the commute in darkness or low light conditions, not people riding exclusively in town who could get away with flashing lights that will last longer. For that type of commuter riding charging the light overnight every night or when you get to work is a reasonable compromise to have a light that doesn't weigh too much. A lot of lights have some sort of indication of the battery level too.

tom_w's picture

posted by tom_w [72 posts]
12th December 2013 - 12:16

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"Hard to fault" until it starts misbehaving as my identical looking Urban 500 did after a few months of use. Turns out there was a known fault with them and in the USA they were the subject of a recall. Eventually got a replacement via the UK importer (US customers got a free 180 rear light as a good will gesture too, but I didn't!). Several months later and the replacement started playing up, but was now out of warranty.

The Urban 500 cost around £120 IIRC a couple of years ago, and when it worked it was great. I've since managed fine with a £20 Cateye with disposable batteries. I certainly won't be troubling L&M with any more of my trade.

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posted by Gasman Jim [50 posts]
12th December 2013 - 21:05

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Agree with Jim, I have a Light and Motion Urban 500 purchased a couple of years ago that was faulty. However the replacement light that I still have today is no better and is totally unreliable - when I am out in the dark I need to bring a back up light as the Urban 500 can switch itself off randomly. I expect more from a light that cost £120.

posted by CBLondon [2 posts]
13th December 2013 - 9:59

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tom_w wrote:
I think these types of lights are really targeted at people doing longer commutes with some part of the commute in darkness or low light conditions...

This is a fair point.

I live and work in Manchester, and I can get the twelve miles to the Peak District and beyond without leaving street-light coverage so perhaps the kind of users you describe will not be the majority. Personally I find that a less expensive £20 light means I can afford a spare light, as they do get lost, broken, etc occasionally.

And again, for that money I'd prefer my front light to be visible from the side, for waiting to turn right etc.

posted by pmanc [112 posts]
13th December 2013 - 11:16

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Except what's the point of a commuter light that packs up in the rain? I have the urban 550, great for commuting, great for fast night time club rides on country lanes, as long as it's dry. The sealing is so awful though that 10 mins into a wet ride and it will pack up.

Not recommended.

posted by jamesv [5 posts]
14th December 2013 - 10:06

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