The Topeak Mini USB pair is a small but relatively mighty set of rechargeable lights ideally suited to TT missiles and early morning/evening playtimes on pared-to-the-essentials best bikes.
How small? Well, the front measures 49x28x24mm and the rear 48x35x24mm. They're dinky.
Both weigh a paltry 22g each and attach via a comprehensive range of wrap over straps to grab handlebars between 22.2mm and 31.8mm and seatposts or stays between 12mm and 34.9mm wide. Aero shapes required some careful adjustment, but otherwise they hang on firmly even on pencil-thin seat stays. Topeak seem quite keen on integrated systems, so I wasn't surprised to discover the rear's integral clip is designed to cadge a lift on their wedge packs; I've had some success with other brands too.
The shells are made from injection-moulded plastic, which seems durable enough, although I'd expect aluminium bodies at this price point as you find on Moon lights and the Blackburn Flea. Inside there's a lithium-ion cell, switch gear and two or three 0.3 and 0.2 watt LEDs, projected through resin collimator lenses. As might be expected, peripheral bleed is good, relative to their size.
The lumens race seems to have cooled a little bit over the past couple of years. These are a sensible 60 and 11 respectively. Charge time from a main unit is four hours from zero to fully charged, 4:12 from a PC.
The centre-mounted rubberised switches are positive enough; easily operated in all but the thickest winter-weight gloves. They need a firm enough press that accidental power-ups in pockets and segregated compartments have not been a problem.
Arguably two modes are all we ever need but three gives a bit more variety, to suit the situation and conserve juice. The initial 'on' key press activates the potent blinking mode, another click makes things steady, and the final click is brings up the rapid blink mode, which also happens to be the most frugal. That was my choice for overcast afternoons and to accompany a hub dynamo system on some all-nighters.
Casual chat with passing riders suggests visibility between 200 and 325 metres. This dipped to 150 on early spring morning escapes before the sun had burned through the mist. The standard flash seems more potent and much brighter than its 11-lumen rating would suggest, although other compact pairings are substantially brighter.
Peripheral visibility is pretty good, especially when it's seat-post mounted thanks to the relatively generous wraparound lens. I seemed to stay on other traffic's radar when negotiating roundabouts and otherwise camouflaged in grey/black.
Generally speaking, the front is more potent. Standard blink is good to around 350 metres along pitch black country lanes, 250 through built up sections. However, it needs to be since otherwise, that comparatively shallow lens limited peripheral punch. In steady mode there's arguably enough presence for quick scoots around town and the frugal run times are certainly enticing.
Talking of which, ours returned 6:56, 2:54 and a whopping 34:52, while the rear hit 5:56, 2:26 and 14:56 (in blinking, constant and fast blinking modes respectively). Forgetful types and those prone to gassing will be pleased to note there's a reserve and indicator light that buys another 30 minutes before those little cells are completely depleted. That said, the front became progressively weaker fifteen minutes after the red light engaged.
Despite their charms, compared with other bijous blasters, such as Moon's Ring £59.99 feels a little steep.
There are some things I wouldn't expect from this price point, specifically fiddly squidgy port covers. Admittedly, ours have behaved impeccably despite hail and heavy rain but they weren't the most precise fits, potentially allowing water to sneak inside, shortening their life span.
Cute, compact lights with decent output and run times but price is a big turn off
road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Mini USB Combo
Size tested: Whitelite Mini USB Redlite Mini USB,Redlite Mini USB4.8x3.5x2.4cm
Tell us what the light set 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?
"Compact and super bright LED front (2 x 0.3W)/ rear (3 x 0.2W) lights to illuminate you way home after dark. RedLite™ Mini USB with Integrated mount clip attaches to any Topeak bag with ease".
I'd describe them as a small but relatively powerful contingency light-set ideally suited to clutter-phobic best or TT bikes.
Compact, convenient with relatively strong output and run times.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light set?
Lamp 2 super bright 0.3W white LED's (WhiteLite)
3 super bright 0.2W red LED's (RedLite)
Battery 3.7V 330mAh Lithiumn Ion (integrated)
Control 3 modes
Burn Time (approx) WhiteLite:
7 hr Blinking
3 hr 0.5W Constant
35 hr Rapid Blink
6 hr Blinking /
2.5 hr 0.5W Constant /
15 hr Blink Sequence
Luminous Intensity 60 Lumens (WhiteLite)
11 Lumens /100 cd (RedLite)
Reserve Time (approx) 0.5 hr
Charge Time (approx) 3-4 hr
Lamp Housing Injection molded plastic
Rubber straps fits handlebar
(ø22.2 - ø31.8 mm)
Rubber straps fits seatpost & seatstay (ø12 - ø34.9 mm)
Added Features Blinking mode
Low battery indicator
Size (L x W x H) 4.9 x 2.8 x 2.4 cm /
1.9' x 1.1' x 0.9'
4.8 x 3.5 x 2.4 cm /
1.9' x 1.4' x 0.9'
Weight 22 g / 0.78 oz (WhiteLite)
22 g / 0.78 oz (RedLite)
Good in the main but USB port plugs weren't the snug fits I've come to expect, especially at this end of the market.
Compact, though easy to command, even in winter-weight gloves.
Simple, reliable system, though ours benefited from a little pre-stretching first.
Good in the everyday sense and have shrugged at persistent heavy rain.
Charging is pedestrian but rewards with decent run-times, so a fair trade off by my reckoning.
Both are quite potent in the flashing modes, frugal too but this is relative to their size. There are cheaper and more powerful pairings though.
USB port covers weren't the snuggest of fits, which could lead to water ingress if used a lot in the rain. Otherwise, fairly solid construction.
Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose
Overall, it's horses for courses. Those seeking a tiny set of frugal lights for pared-to-the essentials TT or best bikes are most likely to appreciate their charms. Output in the seen-with sense is pretty good but we are talking contingency, rather than regular commuting. In this and touring/training contexts, there is a tsunami of relatively small but mightier units commanding half the cash.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights
Ultra compact design, simple switches, good run times and decent output-proportionally.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights
Price and USB port covers could've been a better fit on our samples.
Did you enjoy using the lights? Yes
Would you consider buying the lights? Possibly but not at full rrp
Would you recommend the lights to a friend? Not at full rrp
Use this box to explain your score
Good lights relative to their design brief. However, there are plenty of cheaper, more powerful options if you didn't mind sacrificing some additional handlebar/post space.
About the tester
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)