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Verdict: 
Surprisingly bright for such dinky lights, and sleek enough not to spoil the lines of your fast bike
Weight: 
85g
Electron Pod USB twinpack
8 10

The Electron Pod light set comprises two small rechargeable lights that give a useful amount of visibility both during the day and at night-time. Available in a range of colours, the Pods are also available singly, so you don't need to buy the set if you only need one or the other.

Modern battery tech, LEDs and optic design mean that lights just keep getting smaller, and these are among the smallest I've used, each a little cuboid that butts up to the seatpost and handlebar. They fix to your bike via simple silicone straps with a couple of holes at each end, giving some flexibility for different sized handlebars and seatposts.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The main light bodies are made from aluminium and ABS plastic and feel well made. Each has a silicone piece at the rear, which simply pushes onto the main unit, a little like a small square (rubbery) piece of Lego. Behind this is the micro-USB charging port, and the pressure that fixing the light to your bike creates between these two parts is what keeps the water at bay. I had no issus with water ingress.

At the front is a plastic lens that does a pretty decent job of directing the light available out. Electron claims 50 lumens at the front and 15 at the rear. The front light is primarily a "be seen" light for use in streetlit night-time riding or to help be sure you're seen in the daytime, rather than one that I'd want to use to see by for any significant amount of riding in the dark unless I was going at a sedate pace.

Electron Pod Rechargable Front and Rear Light Set - front.jpg

Electron Pod Rechargable Front and Rear Light Set - front.jpg

Operation is pretty simple – you just push the lens of each light. Double-click to turn it on, click to cycle through the modes and hold to switch off. It's a pretty familiar approach that we've seen on plenty of other lights. There's not a whole lot of tactile feedback when operating that switch, it must be said – it feels like the lens is just a bit loose. I'd like it better if there was a nice solid click. That said, it's perfectly easy to operate, even when you've got thick gloves on.

The Pods have lithium-ion batteries built in, and battery life is decent, especially when you consider how tiny they are. The front light will run for 2.5 hours on steady full power, and 50 hours on flashing, with the other modes falling between these extremes. At the rear, you get 4 and 70 hours respectively. I tested the full power modes and the claimed times are pretty accurate, although I'd expect a bit less in colder temperatures.

Micro-USB is pretty standard nowadays unless you're an iPhone user, but Electron includes a couple of short cables which will work in any USB port or charger. In order to charge, you simply pull the rubbery block off the back of the light to reveal the port. Unlike the small flaps that more commonly cover charger ports on bike lights, there's nothing to retain the backs of the lights, so you need to be careful not to lose these blocks; they're a little vulnerable to disappearing into the bottom of a rucksack never to be seen again, in my view, and without them the lights aren't much use.

There are concave indentations to fit the handlebar and seatpost, plus an additional block for the rear light with a V-shaped cutout to suit aero seatposts.

Electron Pod Rechargable Front and Rear Light Set - rear.jpg

Electron Pod Rechargable Front and Rear Light Set - rear.jpg

The beams from both lights are of a similar shape, which is to say a relatively tight circular shape, which is really quite bright for a light this size. I used them on a foggy day and my riding companions reported that the rear light made a real difference to rearward visibility.

Outside the central beam the lights are still pretty visible, and there are also small orange side ports that allow a little light out. Output through these ports isn't especially bright, but they're better than nothing, although 90-degree side visibility isn't as good as something like the Cateye Rapid X

The front light has quite a blueish hue. Out of curiosity I tried using it on the fast, dark Wiltshire roads I commute on. I was fairly comfortable at 20kph with just enough beam throw to avoid the potholes, but on the faster sections downhill I was more reliant on my memory of the road than the detail I could actually pick out from the light. For this sort of riding, I think that 300 lumens is around the minimum I'm comfortable with.

> Need more power? Check out our front light beam comparison engine

As well as a high and low constant mode, there are also flashing and pulsing modes. Flashing is pretty eye-catching, so works well as a daytime light, though it might not be popular if you're riding with others.

One area where the Pods aren't particularly great is in how they indicate battery charge levels, both in use and when charging. Lacking any separate charge indicator LED, it's all done with the main light. So, if you're running them on a constant setting, they'll flash twice every 5 seconds to warn you the battery is low (Electron doesn't give a percentage). And if you're on flashing mode then it does the opposite – staying constant for 2 seconds every 5 seconds. Once you've had the warning, you've got around 15 minutes on high power constant before they power off, so if you need to go further than that you'll want to switch to a lower power mode.

When you're charging them, it's arguably more opaque still. Connect the USB lead and the light flashes once to tell you it's charging. When you unplug it, it will flash once, twice or three times to tell you the state of charge (0-35%, 36-90% and 91-100% respectively). While charging there is no indicator to show the current status without disconnecting and reconnecting. It works, sure, but it's not nearly as intuitive as the red/green LED indicators that most other lights use.

> Read more road.cc reviews of light sets here

I like these lights because they're so small, unobtrusive and easy to fit. I wouldn't use them alone for my winter commuting, as I need more light for the unlit lanes, but unlike bulkier units I was quite happy leaving them on my best bike to improve my visibility to other road users day and night. At the front in particular, the fact that the light sits neatly in front of the bar rather than on top of it just makes it look a lot sleeker. Probably more aero too, y'know.

At £45 for the set, they are reasonable value given that they successfully combine a decent output with good build quality and the compact size. If you're riding in busy urban streets, you might want to consider lights with more all-around visibility, but for most folk these will do a good job of getting you seen.

Verdict

Surprisingly bright for such dinky lights, and sleek enough not to spoil the lines of your fast bike

road.cc test report

Make and model: Electron Pod Rechargable Front and Rear Light Set

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?

Electron says:

POD USB front and rear lightset

50 lumens front white LED, 15 lumen rear red LED

Rechargeable Lithium Ion battery

4 modes: Constant high, constant low, flashing and pulse

Black ABS body with 4 coloured heads available

Supplied with 2 seatpost adaptors for round or aero fitting, front bar mount is universal

Push-lens waterproof switch, easy to operate even with winter gloves

Amber side visibility lenses

Micro USB lead included

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

Size (each): 43x30x47mm

Bulb: 3W LED

Battery tech: lithium ion polymer (220mAh)

Run time: 4h to 70h (claimed - depends on mode used)

Charge time: 3h (via USB)

Rate the front light for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the rear light for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Nice solid construction and the rubber bits seem well made too. I'm not really enamoured of the lens click to switch it on and off – there's no tactile feedback. I'm also a little disappointed that the rubber back covers aren't attached in any way other than being pushed onto the lights – I can see these getting lost.

Rate the light set for design and ease of use. How simple were the lights to use?
 
8/10

Very easy to use, though I would have liked a more definitive click on the lens switch.

Rate the front light for the design and usability of the clamping system
 
8/10
Rate the rear light for the design and usability of the clamping system
 
8/10

Pretty simple to attach, including adaptor to suit aero seatposts. I would like the rubber back parts to be attached more permanently – if you lose them then you're stuck. And I think I'd lose them.

Rate the front light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
8/10
Rate the front light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
8/10

As long as you keep the rubber cover in place, there aren't any issues.

Rate the front light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10
Rate the rear light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10

Battery life is decent for such small lights. Recharging is quick too. The system for advising you that the battery is low (and for giving the status when charging) is confusing and not very well implemented.

Rate the front light for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the rear light for performance:
 
7/10

Both offer a bright, fairly focused beam. They are much better than the (cheaper, but similar looking) Lezyne Femto set, for instance. The rear light in particular is very eye-catching provided that you are within the beam cone. The front light is just about sufficient for steady riding in the dark, but is probably better suited to lit streets (or indeed daytime use). Both are visible at close to 90 degrees, but beyond that only the modest output from the side windows is visible.

Rate the front light for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the rear light for durability:
 
7/10

Main body of each light is pretty solid. My greater concern would be over losing the other parts (rubber block or strap).

Rate the front light for weight:
 
10/10
Rate the rear light for weight:
 
10/10

Yep, these don't weigh a lot.

Rate the light set for value:
 
7/10

You can get other sets where there's a bit more light for similar money (for instance from Lezyne), but here it's the tiny size with reasonable output that's the draw.

Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose

Pretty well. I wouldn't use them alone for my commute, which runs through some dark roads with fast cars, but for urban commuting and daylight riding purposes, they're a good option.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights

Small, unobtrusive but with a good level of output for the size.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights

I'd like a more definitive click when you operate the lens switch. Charging/discharge indicators aren't the easiest to understand.

Did you enjoy using the lights? Yes

Would you consider buying the lights? Yes

Would you recommend the lights to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

Generally small lights like this are not much more than blinkers but these kick out a surprising amount of light. They're nicely made and if you don't venture beyond streetlit roads then they might be all the light you need.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 188cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: On-one Bish Bash Bosh  My best bike is: Rose X-Lite CRS

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels.  His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding. 

3 comments

Avatar
guyrwood [828 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I'd be a bit careful with lights that use the lens as the switch. I've got a couple and it only takes a grain of road sand getting down the side of the lens and they tend to jam up and stop working properly.

Avatar
Dick Dastardly1 [6 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

Had a front version for over a year and proved very reliable. Well worth the investment.

Avatar
FatBoyW [211 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

Been using the rear one all this year, due to long run time I avoid issues with dirt in the lens switch by switching it on before starting out and just leave it on. Great light bright enough for daylight running use