Lucas King of the Road front light  £85.00

7/10

Remarkably capable lamp for commuting and training but deserves a better bracket

Weight 157g   Contact  www.elta.co.uk

by Shaun Audane   May 2, 2014  

The Lucas King Of The Road 500 is a very neatly engineered lamp-cum-torch with some delightful touches and a quintessentially English feel. However, before we all start going misty-eyed and reminiscing about those halcyon days of Coventry Eagle and Standard Triumph, there's one minor but frustrating glitch reminiscent of this era too.

Cutting to the chase, we have another five-mode commuter-plus light boasting an output of 565 lumens and, on paper, clear similarities with Lezyne's Super Drive XL. But despite similar outputs, single Cree diode, switchgear, resin brackets and rechargeable 18650 lithium-ion cells, these are very different beasts.

Externally, the Lucas sports an extremely seductive CNC-machined alloy body. Durability aside, an aluminium disperses heat more efficiently than one made of composites, extending the life of the internal components while avoiding singed digits during post ride removals.

Two sizes of bracket (standard and oversize) are included and accommodate the full zodiac of diameters very securely. However, the knurled bolt that unites the lamp body and the bracket is fiddly to use, making fitting the light unnecessarily faffy.

The King of the Road charges in five to eight hours, depending on whether you're plugging into a mains charger or a computer's USB port. The rechargeable cell is easy to find from the likes of Maplin so you can carry a spare as insurance against mid-week forgetfulness.

Powering up is simply a question of depressing the top mounted, current shaped switch for two seconds and toggling from highest to flashing sequentially to suit. This easily done in gloves and the long press time stops it from being switched on accidentally if it's in a bag.

The Top mode casts an extremely broad, pure arc of light that's more than a match for murky blasts through sticksville to around 25/26mph with ample warning of potholes and similar hazards. There's just enough oomph for moderate forest fun here to around 15mph. I managed a consistent 2hr 27min run time.

The lower settings - 280 and 140 lumens respectively - are well judged for street stuff at a decent lick, delivering sufficient clout without dazzling oncoming traffic. They run for a very impressive 4hrs 12min and 7hrs 45min respectively. The flash and SOS modes are really handy around dusk or in overcast conditions, snaring driver attention at 200 metres, and a little less through neon saturated sections. Peripherally, they're all excellent, inspiring confidence at unlit junctions and roundabouts.

Verdict

Remarkably capable lamp for commuting and training but deserves a better bracket

road.cc test report

Make and model: Lucas King of the Road

Size tested: 565 Lumen

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?

'With a powerful full beam output of 565 Lumens the 'King of the Road 500' LED bike light is market leading in it's class. The KOTR500 bike light has been designed and developed with road cyclists in mind but is equally at home for off road use. For longer journeys two lower power levels are available to increase battery life whilst still producing a powerful 280LM or 140LM beam. Plus, two flashing modes increase the battery life even further, making this an ideal bike light for daily commuters.'

Lives up to its hype.

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

LED Type: CREE LED creating 565LM output

Power Source: Li-ion battery 18650

Light Modes: 5 functions (high, medium, low, flash and SOS)

Run Time: Peak run time of 2.5hrs

Charge Time: Charge time 5-8hrs

Weight: 122g

Extra Features: Water resistant and can be used as a torch

Mounting: CNC'd location bracket for quick release

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Generally very nicely made.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
7/10
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
5/10

Sturdy enough but unnecessarily fiddly.

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

To the standards I've come to expect from USB rechargeables.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
6/10

Frugal run times tempered by pedestrian charging, so may require more forethought unless carrying spare cells.

Rate the light for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
7/10

Nicely made using high quality materials.

Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the light for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the light for value:
 
6/10

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

Overall, I've been extremely impressed by the power to weight ratio, which blew some competitors into the weeds along unlit rural backwaters. It's remarkably frugal in the lower settings too.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Nice, tidy design, low weight, excellent output and very frugal run times in lower modes.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Long charge times and an underdeveloped bracket.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.

Would you consider buying the light? Quite possibly.

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,

 

5 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Sorry, but having experienced Lucas' reliability through previous decades that accorded with their nickname as the "Prince of Darkness", it's no longer a name I trust, even if it's merely a logo on a foreign-sourced unit. Still waiting for more manufacturers to follow the German requirements of a road-shaped beam, rather than just uber-torches.

posted by Dr_Lex [130 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 8:21

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I just bought one of these through SportsPursuit for £42 which I consider a bargain. I feels extremely well made and produces a brilliant light. The fiddly mount should only be a problem you face once so not really an issue.

posted by rcdavies [9 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 9:18

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Dr_Lex wrote:
Sorry, but having experienced Lucas' reliability through previous decades that accorded with their nickname as the "Prince of Darkness", it's no longer a name I trust, even if it's merely a logo on a foreign-sourced unit. Still waiting for more manufacturers to follow the German requirements of a road-shaped beam, rather than just uber-torches.

I was going to post something along similar lines but you beat me to it.

My old Triumph 500 had electrics from Lucas. Sometimes when I turned on the headlight, the engine would cut out. I never managed to resolve that issue and sold it on to another starry-eyed dreamer wanting to relive the so-called golden days of the British motorcycle.

I've two different types of German lights that work very well for bicycle use.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2166 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 10:01

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Dr_Lex wrote:
Sorry, but having experienced Lucas' reliability through previous decades that accorded with their nickname as the "Prince of Darkness", it's no longer a name I trust, even if it's merely a logo on a foreign-sourced unit. Still waiting for more manufacturers to follow the German requirements of a road-shaped beam, rather than just uber-torches.

I've just past an original Lucas 'King of the Road' dynamo on to a mate who is a collector. I acquired it second-hand in 1965/6. It never let me down and was still going strong when I tested it last week.

Grizzerly

posted by Grizzerly [119 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 8:52

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Always keep your Light-Sabre close for an emergency.


Leviathan of Riderstate

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1238 posts]
4th May 2014 - 22:42

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