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Verdict: 
Slightly quaint but nonetheless very capable pairing for commuting and less demanding nocturnal riding
Weight: 
126g
Contact: 
www.fisheroutdoor.co.uk
Smart Lunar 35 front & rear light set
7 10

The Smart Lunar 35 front and rear lights pack a far greater punch than I was expecting and make a surprisingly useful package for general road duties. They put out more than enough light for round-town riding and they're better than many tyre-driven dynamos too.

The front light puts out enough light for country lane riding up to moderate speeds, 15-16mph or so, thanks to a decent centre spot, but halos round the beam make details harder to see.

Having previously run Smart's blinkies and old school ten watt lead-acid systems with excellent results, I'm pleased to report build, mounting hardware and weather seals are generally to the same high standards.

The lunar has a two-piece, screw fit construction with a crude, though extremely effective rubber band sandwich seal. Diode, reflector, circuitry, switchgear and battery contacts occupy the nose cone, while its tail end hosts their AA fuel source.

They've passed my submersion and seven minutes of high pressure hose tests without flinching, so there's little risk of being plunged into darkness even in heavy rain. Better still, Smart offers a limited lifetime warranty should something go pop under normal use.

The triangular rubberised switch feels slightly squidgy, but could be easily pressed in gloved hands and on the fly.

The low beam is default but ample for built up areas, thanks to the aggressive barracuda style cutaway providing a decent eye-catching arc that'll attract attention to around 125 metres and manages a run time of around 13 hours 45 minutes.

Subsequent presses unleash high or flashing modes which are equally impressive. Leaving the city limits, I found myself adjusting the beam downwards to improve hazard perception but remained surprisingly conspicuous to approaching traffic.

The bracket is a remarkably solid and user friendly model that manages oversized bars comfortably so long as you remember to adjust the top mounted screw first. Failure to do so sees it strain before catapulting the thumbscrew's eyebolt into oblivion.

Although it doesn't have enough power to provoke SUV pilots into dipping their beams, the high mode's centre-spot is sufficient for a steady 18-20mph where's there a bit of light, dipping to 14 mph through unlit lanes.

I opted for the super frugal strobe through murky mornings; it sung a really helpful duet with my Univega's 800 lumen hub dynamo.

The half watt rear light is another old-as-the-hills design but one that has well and truly kept pace. I recall using similar designs either side of my original Yak trailer back in 2000.

It's a real retina tickler, easily on par with more prestige brands and boasting visibility to 750 metres or so. You can get simple AAA cells pretty much anywhere and they're a cinch to swap by the roadside, which makes the Lunar 35 rear light an obvious choice for Audax, touring and club runs.

While very adaptable, its bracket seems comparatively flimsy, so I stuck with its clip, alternating between clothing and luggage. The steady mode is more convincing than most without having a severely adverse effect on battery consumption. It's visible from 500 metres along pitch black lanes, dipping nearer 300 in town. While super charged versions offer a bigger arc, this little beauty is arguably more prominent in the flashing settings.

Verdict

Slightly quaint but nonetheless very capable pairing for commuting and less demanding nocturnal riding.

The light comparator

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Smart Lunar 35 front and rear light set

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?

Intuitive mounting bracket, installs without tools

Rear Light:

2 x AAA batteries

Visible from up to 1 mile with a single � Watt LED & 2 further LEDs

Up to 50 or 100 hours run time in constant or flashing modes using 2AAA batteries

Mounts to belt clip, seat post or seat stay

General features

Tough construction withstands extreme weather conditions

Limited lifetime warranty

Batteries included

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

"2 x AA batteries

35 Lux output from a single high-power LED

Up to 8, 15 or 30 hours run time in high, low or flashing modes using 2AA batteries

2 x AAA batteries

Visible from up to 1 mile with a single � Watt LED & 2 further LEDs

Up to 50 or 100 hours run time in constant or flashing modes using 2AAA batteries"

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
8/10

Very simple to use, rubberised switches perfect in gloved hands and no evidence of accidental "bottom of bag" engagements to date.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
7/10
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
8/10

Excellent. Passed hosepipe testing hands down.

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

Managed 6hrs 48, 13hrs 45 and 27 hrs 42mins (High, low & flashing respectively). Rear half watt still going strong after 75hrs in flashing!

Rate the light for performance:
 
7/10

While the rear is definitely the brightest by far, both have been surprisingly effective outside city limits and saved face when main system unexpectedly discharged.

Rate the light for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the light for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

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

These have been a real surprise, offering a decent pool of light that's just good enough for semi rural navigation. Both are commendable in the sense of remaining conspicuous in all contexts; the rear half watt literally brilliant for a good 225 metres.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Rugged build quality and relatively impressive output.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Nothing given the design brief.

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)

13 comments

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I have Smart light on the front and rear and have found them to be pretty tough items and have a 3 year old Smart Lunar 2 being used all year round in all weathers. Battery usage is good. The front is a little more battery heavy (rechargeables) with a good spread of light but not powerful enough for fast truly dark lanes. A good town light though.

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eurotrash [88 posts] 3 years ago
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Can you review the Exposure Blaze?

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deblemund [263 posts] 3 years ago
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I have 2 sets, partly because you can get them for about £20 inc batteries. Pretty amazing really. If I commuted daily in pitch black, they might not be the right choice though.

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Rob Simmonds [251 posts] 3 years ago
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I don't think I've ever come across a better rear light than the Smart 1/2w Superflash. All the power you need, sensibly spread through a translucent casing and a decent runtime.

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drfabulous0 [408 posts] 3 years ago
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I must have at least half a dozen Smart rear lights, none of which will switch off anymore.

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Dr_Lex [407 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

I opted for the super frugal strobe through murky mornings; it sung a really helpful duet with my Univega's 800 lumen hub dynamo.

I likewise run one in blinky mode alongside a stronger & shaped beam front lamp on my bikes, and the rear as a back-up lamp. As deblemund noted, my set was under £20 and thus a good deal; over £50 seems too strong.

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

quaint?

They work well for me - i pair a genuine Smart front light, with a Planet X "Phaart" lookalike (/knockoff - looks like it uses the same moulds, but cheaper plastics).

For oncoming idiots who won't dip their lights, nothing beats a helmet-mounted torch (that you can turn on only when needed).

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MrGear [86 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I have this light set, and it's generally very good. The rear especially is fantastically bright. That said, in London's rush-hour deluge that took place last night, my rear light was directly exposed to water off my rear tyre and it eventually conked out with water sloshing around in it. Luckily I was close to home by this point, but they are not 100% waterproof.

This hasn't happened before, and a couple of hours on the radiator with the batteries out fixed the problem. But it's something to be aware of if you don't run with mudguards.

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MrGear [86 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Oh, and if you like Smart lights, check out this deal-io: http://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/ZXROADBIKEP/road-bike-pack

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hoski [89 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
MrGear wrote:

I have this light set, and it's generally very good. The rear especially is fantastically bright. That said, in London's rush-hour deluge that took place last night, my rear light was directly exposed to water off my rear tyre and it eventually conked out with water sloshing around in it. Luckily I was close to home by this point, but they are not 100% waterproof.

This hasn't happened before, and a couple of hours on the radiator with the batteries out fixed the problem. But it's something to be aware of if you don't run with mudguards.

I guess no light can really be 100% waterproof, I've had a few problems like this with all lights I've tried - from rain but also from condensation/damp weather making the lights behave... unpredictably. I've found that adding some silicon grease round the seals of both the front and rear lights seems to prevent any water ingress even when I was caught out in a downpour without mudguards.

Having added the grease to my set of Smart lights I've had zero problems. A tube of silicon grease is only a few quid on Amazon.

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jamtartman [58 posts] 3 years ago
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Had one of these front lights last year. It lasted a couple of weeks before falling apart. The front fell off and smashed on the road. They may be cheap, but if you only get a couple of weeks out of it, that works out very expensive.

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nbrus [337 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

+1 for the silicone grease (aka plumbers grease/ o-ring grease).

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Henz [53 posts] 1 year ago
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Bringing this comments section back from the dead.

I've had this set of lights for a few years now, they still work fine, if a little underpowered compared with other lights I see out on the road. I use rechargable NiMH cells with both the front and rear light and rarely have to recharge more than once a week when the output drops.

They have been very robust as well. About a year ago the front light fell out of my bag and was run over by a bus's front wheel. After I had picked up all the pieces and put it back together it worked fine, and has continuted to do so ever since.

The main problem that has developed now is the front bracket no longer reliably holds the light (rear bracket is still fine through). Lot of shops have stopped selling these and discontinued the replacement brackets, so it's requiring a hunt on ebay.