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Verdict: 
Surprisingly effective tertiary lighting that's delightfully frugal to run
Weight: 
31g
Contact: 
www.extrauk.co.uk
Topeak Headlux front/rear light
7 10

Strictly a tertiary visibility aid, the Topeak Headlux is a helmet-mounted splicing of front and rear blinkies. It's not quite a universal fit and the Velcro mounting straps need pulling really tight to avoid the unit drumming against your helmet when negotiating poorly surfaced roads. The high position and intelligently-designed lenses lock those perky diodes squarely at driver eye-level and they seem ultra effective to 50 metres.

Weighing 25g including CR2032 cells, the Topeak Headlux's wraparound design doesn't boast any laser guiding credentials but nonetheless, the plastics are of a decent quality and show no signs of scuffs/scratching despite everyday service. Their see-through nature reveals elementary diodes, board and switchgear but the soldering is meticulous.

The batteries live in the mid section, away from winter's wrath, though silicone grease and a homemade doughnut seal improved connectivity while ruling out any potential problems later on. Mounting it or swapping it between lids takes all of thirty seconds.

Depressing its low profile, centre mounted switch engages steady, flashing or hybrid modes. Some suggested theirs quickly became erratic or unreliable but ours became more compliant with use. Bringing it alive mid-flight proved comical, though, especially wearing winter gloves.

The steady mode is polite and best reserved for riding well-maintained cycle paths, map reading and pannier rummaging. Drivers tended to acknowledge it fleetingly, whereas the flashing mode's impatient chorus grabbed and retained attention from around fifty metres, further on clear nights.

Weather resistance is good, as distinct from great. It's no substitute for mainstay lighting, and with lateral thought and simple attachment it translates nicely to tagalongs, trailers and recumbents, so often overlooked at junctions by unwary drivers.

Strapped to my low-slung Yak pattern trailer, ours remains in remarkably rude health despite wet roads, drenching from passing artics with the odd stone thrown in for good measure. Subsequent cell replacements returned run times of 44 and 66 hours in steady and hybrid modes, respectively which isn't far removed from the 50 and 70 hours claimed by Topeak.

Verdict

Surprisingly effective tertiary lighting that's delightfully frugal to run.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Topeak Headlux front/rear light

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the light 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?

"Ride safe and be seen at night with the helmet light. Innovative double sided helmet mounted light shines white facing forward and red towards the rear and features 4 LEDs with wrap around lenses for visibility from all angles. Top mounted button controls constant and blinking modes." No quibble here.

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

Lamp 2 White LEDs and 2 Red LEDs

Battery CR2032 (2) (Included)

Control 3 Modes

White Constant / Red Blinking

White Blinking / Red Blinking

White Constant / Red Constant

Burn Time (approx) 70 hrs / 100 hrs / 50 hrs

Luminous Intensity 6 Candle Power/10M

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
6/10
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
7/10

Very pleasant to use, though switch tricky to engage on the fly.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
8/10

Pull really taut to avoid it drumming atop the lid woodpecker fashion.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
7/10

Generally good but a quick lick of silicone grease on their battery contacts certainly helps.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
7/10

Very frugal (Managed 89hrs 57mins from original cells in flashing) and CR2032s are available pretty much anywhere.

Rate the light for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
6/10
Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10
Rate the light for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10

Literally goes unnoticed atop a lid.

Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

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

Topeak Headlux is an incredibly effective tertiary lighting system that is simple to use and frugal to run. Output isn't anything to write home about but positioning and perky diodes are very distinctive, especially through slow-moving neon saturated town centres.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Pretty much everything.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Nothing given the design brief, although switch tricky in full-finger winter gloves.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.

Would you consider buying the light? Yes.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 1m 81  Weight: 70 kilos

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

 

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

10 comments

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stealfwayne [128 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I use this very item as an extra light adding to my current front and rear set, and a bag mounted light. As it sits on the top of the helmet you are able to 'point' in the direction you are turning which is great as it awakens drivers to your presence but also you are able to acknowledge drivers with a nod which they seem to appreciate.
Its a basic nod, but i can honestly say that just being nice has got me the space required to get through, rather than forcing it which can upset drivers.
All told a great little back up light - you can't have too many can you.

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jasecd [473 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I had one of these but it stopped working - I sent it back and the replacement developed an inexplicable fault a few weeks later, where it only works at random, turning itself on and off.

It's useful when it works but from my experience reliability is a huge issue.

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mikroos [257 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I had one (until I lost it... 100% of my fault) and I loved it. Bright enough to make you noticable, but not that power-hungry. Easy to install, too, thanks to a long velcro and two available ways of mounting (parallel to the velcro or perpendicular).

Strongly recommended, as long as you remember it's not a primary light.

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bohrhead [82 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
jasecd wrote:

I had one of these but it stopped working - I sent it back and the replacement developed an inexplicable fault a few weeks later, where it only works at random, turning itself on and off.

It's useful when it works but from my experience reliability is a huge issue.

This is my experience too. I've given up using mine now because I got sick of buying batteries to see if I could get it to work consistently for a few days.

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shmooster [24 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

Mine still works, but the battery life is weird. By the end of a one hour commute the front LEDs are almost off. After it's been off for a while it recovers. Certainly nowhere near the stated battery life, not sure if it's a duff one-off or a common issue.

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workhard [400 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

CR2032's, and the lights they power, don't work too well at low temperatures in my experience. Fine on leaving the office but dying badly once they get cold only to miraculously recover overnight indoors, and so-on and so-on.

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McVittees [65 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I used one of these lights last winter and found it unreliable. In cold weather, below 5c, it's output would quickly dim (10mins) regardless of the age of the batteries. Obviously I didn't always notice (I mounted it on my helmet) so effectively I was riding around thinking I was far more visible than I was. A light u can't rely on is not a light I'd recommend anyone use so...do not buy!

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Sheepy1209 [2 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Another unreliable one here - it did seem to be temperature-related as I was using it during a cold snap and there was no rain. The thing was so hopeless I ended up throwing it away after a few weeks, couldn't be bothered taking it back to the shop. That doesn't help Topeak recognise a pattern of faults of course!

Nice idea, but in just the circumstances where it's most useful it lets you down.

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Sheen wheels [26 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Is this an updated version? I had one a couple of years ago and loved the idea but second all the comments above about lack of reliability. A simplified and more reliable version would be a perfect commuter extra. It only needs flash (output will never be enough for constant to be much use). If reduced to that it could have a simple on/off button that you could use with helmet and gloves on.

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gunswick [109 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I got one from Evans in mid 2015 and it has all the faults and erratic behaviour as above. It even turns itself on in the house by itself!

When it works though it is really good, I just wish Topeak would fix it as their stuff is usually always very high quality.