The Blackburn 2'Fer is a neat idea: a light that can act as either a front or a rear ('2'fer' the price of one, geddit?). As a stand-by, to keep in your pocket or pack in the event of one of your everyday lights failing (front or rear), it would be ideal – if you could attach it securely. Unfortunately, that's where the 2'Fer falls down.
I'm sorry to say that the light was let down by an insubstantial bracket. The plastic mount is held secure by a silicone band which hooks over it. This allows it to be attached either to the handlebar or seatpost, in the usual way, and is quick and easy to remove and transfer according to your needs. Unfortunately, the hook for the band broke off the first time I moved the light from front to rear.
This wouldn't be such a problem if the light's clip allowed it to be attached securely in other ways. The photographs on the Blackburn website suggest as much, with the light clipped to rucksack straps, carrier racks and so forth.
I tried a few of these combinations. Some worked – rucksack straps were most successful. Some didn't – using my belt and a tightening strap on the seatpack of my tourer both resulted in the light bouncing onto the road. I am pleased to say that at least the light survived the impacts.
But if you aren't riding with a rucksack, you might be stuck for somewhere to mount the light, especially at the front. In any case, I couldn't ride with any confidence that the light would still be with me at the end of the day.
Let's assume that I've been unlucky and that your bracket will give you many years of reliable service. In that case, you have a light which is bright, compact and generally easy to use, even with gloved hands. Depending on how often you press the button, you can have two solid or flashing white LEDs or two solid or flashing red LEDs. Although if you want two lights you'd have to buy two because you can't use it as a front and back light at the same time...
The button takes a decent push to operate, which limits the danger of it being turned on by accident. When you turn it off (by holding the button in), the light 'remembers' which setting it was on, so it comes on again in the same setting next time you press the button. This is useful, especially at the rear where you can't always see what's going on.
The on/off button, right in the middle of the lens, is exposed to spray and mud from your rear wheel and only time will tell whether the seal is sufficient to prevent failure due to water ingress – a common cause of trouble with the current generation of lights, I have found.
The same doubts surround the USB plug cover, which is small and very fiddly to push securely into the plug. It might not happen, but bitter experience with a GPS unit with a USB cover of this type suggests the silicone bit securing it to the light will break eventually. Then the cover will get lost and the USB tabs will corrode and disaster follows. At least the socket is at the back of the unit, which keeps it a bit more out of harm's way.
Running times were consistent with what Blackburn claims: up to 5 hours on flashing mode, which isn't all that fantastic but should see you through a few commutes. And you get another USB cable for your collection.
Bright light and a good two-for-one idea, but unfortunately the mounting lets it down
road.cc test report
Make and model: Blackburn 2Fer light
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product 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?
This is a combined front or rear light.
Blackburn says, "With the push of a button, the 2'Fer can switch between a white 60 lumen front light and a red 20 lumen rear light."
The simple clip system is supposed to make it quick and easy to move the light from front to back or to clip it to clothing, belts etc.
In reality the clip system is not secure enough to use without the bracket – which broke after two uses.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Charging cable included
Lithium Polymer battery
Waterproof to IP-65 standard
3 hour recharge time
Meets ANSI FL-1 Standard (a US durability standard for hand-held lights)
180 degree bezel allows for excellent side visibility.
A small built in LED light indicates the battery level. Green = >75%, Orange = 75-25%, Red = <25%
It comes with a bracket and mini USB cable.
Run times as claimed by Blackburn:
Front:High 1.5hrs, Flashing 5hrs
Rear: High 1.5hrs, Flashing 5hrs
I'll say "average" because a lot of lights don't seem to be up to the job. At least this one survived a wet ride, but the feeble bracket and the suspect USB cover mean you might be lucky to form a long relationship with this light.
It's bright, easy to turn on and off and light. Obviously you can't use it as a front and back light at the same time so you would still need two lights, but as an emergency backup it will come in handy, if you can find a way of fastening it securely. The battery life is only fair, especially on full-burn.
The light itself survived some wet rides with no mudguard protection, but the switch is exposed to the spray and the silicone USB cover is small and fiddly. If it comes off you are likely to lose it and it would only be a matter of time before it stopped taking a charge. The light survived being dropped without breaking or failing. The bracket is flimsy.
Hardly noticeable in a pocket or bag.
Quite expensive for a single light, even if it can do two jobs. And if you can't fasten it securely, everything else is by-the-way.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Bright, versatile with a run-time as advertised; quite quick to charge. Attempts to attach it on a belt or strap as shown on Blackburn's website resulted in the light hitting the tarmac, twice.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Light weight, bright, front or rear functions.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The poor clip and bracket, and the fiddly little USB cover.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
Blackburn has tried to come up with something different and it may be a very useful item as an emergency light, but only if you can clip it on securely.
About the tester
Age: 50 Height: 6'2 Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 Dura-Ace My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking