As its name suggests, the RSP RX480 is a 480 lumen light aimed at commuters or chain gangers who want tuneable economy but with enough bite for semi rural stuff. On balance it largely succeeds but the claimed run times are a little optimistic, and the light output a little wanting on unlit roads. Zero to hero charging takes about seven hours.
Prised from the packaging, its cuboid design has a pleasantly familiar allure and feels reassuringly stocky given composite construction. This has weathered the usual everyday wear 'n' tear very stoically, though a nasty tangle with terra firma or submersion could well prove fatal. The internals are pretty standard: a lithium-ion battery, traffic light battery indicator built into the switch, four perky diodes, reflector and collimator lens.
Given oversized 31.8 diameters are increasingly default, its mounting bracket hasn't kept pace, showing obvious, almost comedic signs of indigestion and inducing unwelcome faff when locking in the street. Mercifully, the lamp clicks cleanly in situ and there's been no hint of impending ejection over inclement surfaces.
A positive centre mounted switch is easily engaged wearing winter weight gloves. Subsequent prods course sequentially through four modes: low, medium, high and flashing. Accidental power ups are a moot point but selection on the fly, when cruising into the sticks for example proved an acquired art.
Programming low as default makes sense since power to frugality ratios seem optimal in sub/urban contexts, casting sufficient navigational light for 17/18mph canters though favours blinking companions, especially around dusk given the side slits are distinctly mute.
Experience suggests a benchmark of 500-plus lumens when slipping outside of city limits. Unleashing the full 480 while crossing these borders casts a surprisingly effective, albeit bluish beam. The colour hinders rider perception, especially in the shadows and makes the light feel distinctly underpowered as conditions turn rural, not to mention wet.
Raleigh reckon you'll get six hours in full beam, so imagine my surprise when the battery indicator started winking within two hours on my first ride. The indicator gives plenty of warning but subsequent trips failed to improve on 4 hours 25 minutes. That's still pretty commendable, especially if you're toggling down through built up sections. Less impressive was the rubberised port cover that bailed between second and third outings, leaving internals vulnerable to ingress and mounting hardware that turns orange at the mere suggestion of drizzle.
Not a bad everyday lamp but a little underpowered for navigating the sticks at speed.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: RSP RX480 front 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?
"RX480 front light 480 lumen output, USB rechargeable, 6 hours full beam
480 Lumen output".
Quoted run times had passing affinity with reality
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Li Ion internal battery
7 hour USB charge time
Full beam 6 hours
Flashing & constant modes
Collimeter lens for maximum output
Low battery indicator
Quick release bracket
Generally sturdy though suffers obvious indigestion with increasingly standard "oversize" diameter handlebars.
Water resistance is good, though low-rent USB port cover left electrics vulnerable to ingress in stormy weather.
Good output/economy ratios but overnight charging won't suit everyone.
Good for everyday riding-especially urbanites who fancy occasional semi-rural blasts after work.
Reassuringly sturdy given composite construction.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The RX480 has been a pleasant surprise, fulfilling its design brief very well. However, beam quality isn't good enough for serious back road antics and run times aren't as generous as claimed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Compact, tunable design with wallet friendly price tag.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Let down by bracket and silly quality control issues (USB port cover bailed on the third outing, quick corrode fasteners).
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.
Would you consider buying the light? Possibly, although a little under-powered for my needs and quality control knob needs turning up a notch.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? With certain provisos.
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)