The BBB ScoutCombo is a slightly quirky front and rear helmet light, which in its highest setting pumps out 200 lumens up front, 10 at the rear.
The Combo is encased in a sleek, well finished and very sturdy aluminium casing. Much bigger than some at 31x32x86mm, it tips the scales at 100g, which I noticed for all of about 10 minutes. Lens and body have survived regular, unintentional whacks from low-hanging tree branches, washing lines and other fixtures with only a few minor swirls in the finish.
Up front we have an XPG Cree diode and a COB (Chips on Board) unit at the rear. These are fuelled by a 3.7-volt 1000mAh lithium polymer cell, which charges from mains or tablet/PC and the charge indicator usually flips from red to blue in around 100 minutes, using that familiar, almost universal USB cable.
The kit includes a GoPro-esque adjustable bracket and similarly dependable 23mm wide Velcro strap – no hint of annoying wobble here, even when blasting across churned bridlepath. This also seems as universally compatible as you'll find. I've had no problems attaching it to standard trail, touring, commuting or race lids.
The rear lens doubles as a very positive switch, a cinch to locate on-the-fly and wearing full-finger gloves, but requires a two-second press to engage – no risk of unwanted power-ups.
There are four front settings: low, standard, high and flash; double prods then bring on three flashing 'combos'. Thankfully, a memory function defaults to your last choice, aiding quick getaways.
Standard is the default and I don't have the figures, but compared with the Moon Aerolite I'd say it's around the 60-lumen mark.
The front produces a surprisingly pure and, moreover, useful pool of light, free of halos and similar imperfections, which, when angled correctly, gives a decent view of conditions ahead.
Standard is good enough for suburban riding to around 15mph; high for semi-rural bits at similar pace. It's hardly jaw-dropping, but reassuring should your main system pack up unexpectedly, or you are still running a pre-standlight dynamo (ones that don't hold a charge, and go off when you stop).
The wide beam and exposed cutout sections on the side of the lens also provides some welcome additional presence, especially along unlit roads, or when entering the flow of traffic.
Helmet-mounting points the light where you are looking – whether reinforcing a hand signal or just reading road signs. It also ensured I registered on most drivers' radars much faster, I felt, than a comparable commuter light run in constant – visibility was around 90 metres on a clear night along unlit roads, dipping to 40-50 around town.
High is also perfect for tackling roadside mechanicals miles from anywhere. Standard and low are fine for pannier rummaging, map reading, locating keys or those moments when you've returned from a ride, flicked the garage light on, only for the fluorescent tube to blow....
Run as steady only and in top returned 1hr 30mins from a full charge, though thankfully it flashes intermittently to indicate when reserves are running low.
The rear is also far more powerful than numbers suggest, helped in no small part by the COB technology. It has just two modes, constant and flashing. Constant produces an assertive red spot, which, because of its location, seemed to prick most people's consciousness from 80 metres or so.
I've tended to leave this on flashing, which is extrovert and on par with better quality standalone blinkies packing approximately 20 lumens. It's an assertive pulsing rather than a rabid retina tickler, and did seem to encourage people to back off in slow moving traffic.
The double flashing mode is a decent daylight option, especially on darker afternoons. At dusk and beyond we're talking visibility to 200m in semi-rural contexts, 110m or so through town. It sips reserves too – 8 hours before the low battery indicator chimed in, whereupon it took another 25 before shutting down completely.
Peripheral bleed is good regardless of mode, thanks in part to the lens, but it also projects extremely accurately, so no dazzling issues. That said, it can be a little intense at close quarters.
Ultimately, I like the ScoutCombo and was extremely grateful to it while tending a flat on a particularly dark and blustery night. Quality of output is surprisingly practical, too. The only thing I struggle with is the price... While not outlandish, and it is more powerful than Moon's compact Aerolite, it's twice the price, which may alienate some looking for a secondary/safety light.
Good output and well made, but pricey for a secondary light compared with others
road.cc test report
Make and model: BBB ScoutCombo Light
Size tested: n/a
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?
BBB says: "The ScoutCombo has an internal rear light and is ideal as a helmet light. With 4 modes on the front and 2 rear light modes, this light is as versatile as it gets. Best suited for use on a city or trekking bike."
I say it's a decent secondary backup lightset with good output but a little pricey by genre standards.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light set?
200 Lumen XPG CREE and 10 lumen rear COB (Chips on board) LED.
* USB rechargeable.
* Battery indicator.
* Water resistant.
* Aluminum casing.
* 4 Front modes: low beam, standard beam, high beam and flash beam.
* 3 Combo modes: flash/ flash, steady/ flash and steady/ steady.
* Lithium polymer internal battery pack (1000mAh, 3.7V).
* Helmetmount included (BLS-70).
* Micro-USB cable included.
* Weight: 100 grams (bracket included).
* Size: 31 x 32 x 86 mm.
* Color: black/blue.
Decent build quality.
Plug n' play – very intuitive.
Simple snug, wobble-free fit on most types of helmet.
Has resisted heavy rain and the occasional blast from my garden hose with flying colours.
Good relative to output. Charging takes 100 minutes from a laptop.
Save for a few minor swirls in the finish, holding up very nicely so far.
Not bad relative to overall performance, but quite pricey compared with higher power bike-mounted commuter light combos.
Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose
Overall, the Scout's optical quality and output are much better than I've come to expect from commuter lights boasting these numbers. The 200-lumen steady setting casts a surprisingly pure arc of light, with a decent spot for picking up potholes and other debris on suburban stretches. Though less potent than many, the rear is still reassuringly useful in both steady and flashing modes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights
Good build, settings and beam quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights
Nothing specific, but price could be a deal-breaker for some.
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? Yes, as contingency lighting or for town commuting when paired with a flashing unit.
Use this box to explain your score
It's a very useful secondary/contingency light but it's quite pricey, and that for me stops it getting a 7. Though not strictly comparing like with like, critics will point out that more powerful bike-mounted commuter packages can be had for similar money.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike 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, mountain biking
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)