The Oxford BrightSpot USB LEDs are easy-to-use emergency backup lights. They're not bright enough for use on their own, day or night, but they're handy to have in your commuting backpack, or to have on your summer road bike in case you're kept out later than expected.
You can pick up little blinky lights for a few quid these days from pretty much any supermarket in the land, so why pay more for the BrightSpots? Well, first up, they are rechargeable so you lose that expense of buying button batteries every few weeks, plus you've got the knowledge that they aren't going to run out of juice on you mid-ride. They'll also stand up to the elements too, resisting pretty much anything the weather can throw at them.
In the pack you get a front and rear which attaches to the seatpost or handlebar with a simple rubber strap and catch, including various positions to allow a tight fit on different diameter components.
Turning them on and off is easy: you just press and hold the lens for a couple of seconds, and a quick press when on allows you to change the mode. There are four of these: a high and low steady, plus a rapid and slow flash.
Taking the front light first, with the steady low setting you'll get just shy of five hours burn time, but to be honest the power output is that low that this mode is of limited use. Even the 40-lumen high setting isn't that bright; my preference would be for the flashing modes.
Both of these use the same 40-lumen output, and the rapid flash is the best one for getting you noticed, although it isn't quite bright enough to stand out in daylight should you need to filter through traffic. I found city centre traffic didn't notice me in their mirrors as quickly as they did with the Moon Mizar I was also testing.
The rear follows the same theme, with 40 lumens being replaced with 15. Again, though, for me it falls short of the output I feel comfortable with. Car lights are getting brighter with many now taking to LEDs for rear lights and indicators, which means lights like the Oxfords can easily become swamped in a sea of glare from surrounding traffic and streetlighting.
I'm not completely down on the BrightSpots, though. They have their place as secondary lighting or maybe being left on the best summer bike should you get caught out and arrive home in the setting sun, or maybe kept in your commuting bag in case you come across some unexpected fog.
Being USB rechargeable means they can be kept topped up too. Charging is simple, you literally unscrew the rear half of the aluminium body and plug in the USB cable. A full charge from flat takes two and a half hours.
At £19.99 the lights are a pretty minimal investment, plus the longevity is there. I gave them a good soaking with the power shower plus they've been used on many wet rides, and while a tiny amount of water did make it inside the body where you'll find the charger mount, there were no issues with them not working.
On the whole, as a set of emergency lights I'd say the Oxford BrightSpots are a worthwhile investment, but you'll need something brighter if you do a lot of riding in the dark.
Decent enough emergency backup for low light conditions, but need to be brighter for day or night use on their own
road.cc test report
Make and model: Oxford Bright Spot USB LED Lightset
Size tested: 40 Lumens (front), 15 Lumens (rear)
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?
The Oxford BrightSpot USB lights are a neat little set of 'be seen' lights as backup to your main set, but they lack the brightness to stand out in city traffic.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light set?
Brightspot USB Light Set
Alloy rechargeable single LED lights
16 hours (flash)
5 Hours (constant)
40 Lumens (front)
15 Lumens (rear)
USB Rechargeable (cable included)
2.5 hour recharge time
High, low, rapid flash, slow flash
Light drizzle and heavy rain have done nothing to affect the lights' perfromance.
Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose
They are decent enough 'bobby dodgers' for the money.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights
They need to be brighter to compete out on the road.
Did you enjoy using the lights? They were okay.
Would you consider buying the lights? Yes
Would you recommend the lights to a friend? As backups, yes.
Use this box to explain your score
They are cheap enough to be chucked in your bag as commuting spares or make a great 'get you home' set if you get caught out on a late summer ride, but for daily use I'd want something brighter for both day and night use.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.