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.
Well priced handlebar or helmet light with a long run time and a beam that's intense enough for dark lanes.
The light comparator
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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
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.
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.
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.
So far so good.
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.
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.
It's tougher than it looks but it's built to be light and simple rather than overly rugged.
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.
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,
<p>Steve's passion for riding started around fifty years back with blatting about in the woods, closely followed by CTC rides, touring, schoolboy track league, a brief obsession with time trials then onto road racing, touring and cyclo cross... roughly in that order. Mountain biking and triathlon got a look in later. He tested and wrote about bikes for over 25 years and rode about 2000 of them. Steve also rode for the British team in three World Championships in the very early days of mountain bikes. He left us after <a href="http://road.cc/content/news/115389-cycling-journalist-steve-worland-dead... a heart attack at the Ashton Court Parkrun</a> in March 2014, and is fondly remembered and greatly missed.</p>