Electron Terra Mini front light  £49.99

8/10

Well priced handlebar or helmet light with a long run time and a beam that's intense enough for dark lanes

Weight 132g   Contact  www.madison.co.uk

by Steve Worland   April 11, 2014  

Electron Terra 1 Mini

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The Electron Terra Mini LED front light is a reasonably priced rechargeable handlebar or helmet light with a good run time and a beam that's focused and intense enough for dark country lanes. It's easy to mount, easy to use and you can recharge via a USB port or via a mains supply.

Electron's marketing spiel describes the Terra Mini as "the perfect helmet light for the serious off-road cyclist, or the perfect commuter's all in-one handlebar light".

Opinions about its suitability for trail use varied. It's fine for easy-going, low speed trails but the beam isn't really wide enough or bright enough to be suitable for properly illuminated high speed mountain bike use. To be fair, we wouldn't expect a £50 light to be powerful enough for full-on off-road use.

It's essentially a tough and fairly lightweight all-in-one torch with simple but functional bar and helmet clamps and a selection of rubber O-rings for handlebar or helmet mounting.

It sits tight and secure on the bars. Helmet use is a little more fiddly but possible on most helmet designs, and it's easy to tilt or swivel sideways while riding.

The lens has tiny windows offering only minimal side-on visibility and the beam has a very obvious central spot for picking out obstacles and a reasonable spread around the edges.

There are high and low constant beam modes plus a flash mode.

The small green lit single button on the back, a bit fiddly for gloved hands, switches between modes and the light starts flashing to warn you when battery power is low.

A rubber bunged charger port sits next to that button and charging is easy either on or off the bike.

The many rubber rings supplied allow fast fitting and removal on any bar or stem and so far the unit has remained waterproof during a fair few wet rides.

The light output is based on a 165 lumen spot and the Sanyo lithium-ion battery is said to give run times of up to four hours on full power, but I was only getting about two and a half hours hours on full beam after a full charge during cold March evenings.

Using low beam or flashing mode extends this considerably.

Built in USB smart-charge and protection circuitry should maximise battery life and allows you to charge direct from your computer or via the supplied mains plug.

Verdict

Well priced handlebar or helmet light with a long run time and a beam that's intense enough for dark lanes.

The light comparator

If you have a nice big screen you can click here for the widescreen version (1400x1000px)

road.cc test report

Make and model: Electron Terra Mini (2014)

Size tested: black, led

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?

Sales spiel says "The perfect helmet light for the serious off-road cyclist, or the perfect commuters all in-one handlebar light". We'd say it's a reasonable compromise between those two ideals. Not really powerful enough for high speeed off road use, but OK for dark country lanes and around town.

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

One powerful LED in a handlebar mounted unit

165 lumen spot output. Tiny power consumption for great power to runtime ratio

Same reflector as the more costly Terra Evo

Compact, light-weight and water resistant

3 modes - high, low and strobe

Sanyo Li-Ion battery with runtimes of up to 4 hours on full power

Li-Ion batteries are lighter, more reliable and more compact than lead-acid or Ni-Cad alternatives

Built in USB smart-charge and protection circuit to maximise battery life

Low battery indicator warning to make sure you're not caught out in the dark

Fully integrated design, no batteries or wires

Quick release O-ring designed bracket

Small side window visibility for on-road use

UK mains USB fast charger included

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Toughly built for a £50 light. Fixing bracket seems flimsy but stays put, and there's a good selection of fixing O loops for different bar sizes.

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

Light weight and pocket size means it's very convenient. O loops for fixing it tight are straight forward and stay put. Great for use as a simple powerful torch when not on the bike. USB or main charging options are useful.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
7/10

Takes a couple of goes to find the best way of using the O loops, but secure once you get the hang of it and the bracket is tougher than it looks.

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

So far so good.

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

Four hours run time claimed on full beam. I was only getting 2.5 hours, but much longer on lower beam settings. A full from empty recharge took about 3.5 hours but regular top ups are encouraged.

Rate the light for performance:
 
7/10

Easy to use and an impressive beam intensity and spread for such a small light. Great for country lanes and round town but not quite up to high speed rough off road use.

Rate the light for durability:
 
7/10

It's tougher than it looks but it's built to be light and simple rather than overly rugged.

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

Very light.

Rate the light for value:
 
8/10

Good price for such good beam intensity.

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

Overall performance was good.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Small size, light weight.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Fiddly button if using thick gloves.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.

Would you consider buying the light? Yes.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?

As a single light for easy off road and regular road use, it's a good option if your budget is limited and you like lights that are easy to fit and remove.

Overall rating: 8/10

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,

 

4 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

That looks suspiciously like the Cree light I paid a fiver for on ebay...

Nick0's picture

posted by Nick0 [20 posts]
11th April 2014 - 16:02

32 Likes

seriously need to get these lights cut off above the horizontal... there's a load of drivers and other cyclists who are not impressed at being blinded by these super bright lights coming at them. Would not be legal in Germany, so why the bleep are they being sold in this country and being pushed as being suitable for comuters? They are only suitable for those riding off road in the dark.

posted by Paul_C [186 posts]
11th April 2014 - 16:29

22 Likes

You really need to lighten up a bit about this "wouldn't be legal in Germany" thing Paul. We are not in Germany and if you feel so strongly about it just mask the top of the lens with a piece of tape or do as I have done and fit a small reflective cowl which throws the uplight back down onto the road in front of you. Lets throw some light around, I would rather a driver see me and tut and sigh about my light for a few seconds than have him pull out in front of me because he didn't see my light which was shining down on the road when he was looking up to see if anything was coming.

posted by Welsh boy [114 posts]
11th April 2014 - 20:32

14 Likes

Paul_C wrote:
Would not be legal in Germany, so why the bleep are they being sold in this country and being pushed as being suitable for comuters? They are only suitable for those riding off road in the dark.

Possibly because many of the British Standards relating to cycling are so antiquated, you would have to use a paraffin lamp or something to conform. They are widely and universally ignored, both by the Police and retail.

Even the German regulations are a bit silly with their dynamo requirements (which are also widely ignored).

Manufacturers aren't interested in tailoring their products for a dozen different national regulations, they should all be updated at the European level.

posted by bikebot [556 posts]
13th April 2014 - 9:15

17 Likes

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