Supernova Airstream light  £169.99

8/10

Well made, very bright, high quality road light

Weight 174g   Contact  www.amba-marketing.com

by Dave Atkinson   October 22, 2010  

No doubt about it, the Supernova Airstream is a classy looking light with a great beam pattern for road riding. The mount has its upsides and downsides, and side illumination isn't the best, but the overall impression is of a light that's superbly made and very useful. You pay for that quality though.

German outfit Supernova have been making high-end lights for years and are best known for their powerful off road units and smart dynamo systems. The Airstream is their first real go at a full-power road light, and it's an integrated torch design with an internal 2500mAh Lithium Ion battery. The Cree XPG R5 LED is focused through Supernova's own Terraflux lens; claimed output is 370 lumens and we measured the strength of the beam as 67 lux at 10m. The machined Aluminium housing has cooling fins to channel away the heat, or possibly to look cool. It certainly does look cool.

The lens is designed to comply with German lighting regulations, which in practice means that 96% of the beam is directed towards the ground. This is immediately obvious from the first nighttime excursion; riding along the towpath it was surreal to see people's feet well illuminated but not be able to make out their faces. On the road the main benefit is obvious: more light on the tarmac, where you want it. The only slight negative is that it makes those nice reflective road signs a bit harder to make out.

The light fits to your bars (or stem) via a curved bracket and it's held in place with an O-ring. This makes it easy to swap between bikes but wasn't the most secure in use, transmitting a lot of road vibration to the beam. On top of that we had to take the mount apart to tighten up the bolts that allow you to tilt and sweep the beam, it wasn't a hard job though.

Side illumination is via lit-up Supernova logos on the barrel of the torch: better than nothing, but not massively bright. The beam, on the other hand, is plenty bright, enough light to go tearing down the lanes at night and a nigh-on-perfect beam pattern for the road. It's not really a light for taking off road though, as the very low spill and focused beam make picking out off-road lines pretty difficult.

The Airstream comes with a charger but you can also top it up from a USB port on your computer with an optional cable, or even from a bike-mounted system like the Tout Terrain Plug, making it a viable option for touring if you've gone down that route. The claimed battery life of 2.5 hours in high beam was more or less spot on; you get 7 hours on the lowest setting and coloured LEDs around the switch to let you know how much juice is left.

Verdict

All things considered, the Airstream is a top quality road light for those looking for something powerful and good-looking. There's no doubt that £170 is a lot of money for a light and there's plenty of choice for this kind of money but the Airstream's great beam pattern and quality construction go a long way to justifying the hefty price tag.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Supernova Airstream 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?

Apologies for the Google translation, but here goes:

Maximum brightness of 370 lumens in a compact, robust and excellently cooled housing! The new Super Nova Airstream is thanks to its integrated, sealed lithium-ion battery, and universal quick mounting an absolute carefree lamp. Whether on the way to work in heavy city traffic, the road bike or mountain bike training on fast tracks, the Airstream has always been a faithful companion.

Since the handlebar holder is removable, you can use the Airstream as a very powerful flashlight. Who has kept this precious little radiation launcher in hand, will never want to part with it.

You get the gist, anyway Smile

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Assuming it was payday, yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 190cm  Weight: 96kg

I usually ride: whatever I\\\'m testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with Ultegra 6700

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

3 user comments

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UPDATE: since I wrote this review we've found out that we got the price wrong: it's £169.99, not £199.99 (that was the Euro price) and we've amended it accordingly. So apologies for that. It's still an expensive light, though we've upped the value score since it's more on a par with comparable units from other manufacturers at that price. The overall mark stays the same, and we've amended our counclusion slightly to reflect the lower price.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7042 posts]
22nd October 2010 - 12:46

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Great design but a bit pricey but I guess it doesn't damp or fall to bits liek a magicshine battery.

There you go - watering can test for rain!

I like my bike but it needs a hidden 25cc motor Smile

Fish_n_Chips's picture

posted by Fish_n_Chips [325 posts]
22nd October 2010 - 17:15

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Like (5)

Would love to try one of these. From what I have read and seen this is the first genuine competitor for the Expsoure lights design classic - the Joystick.

Would be a good comparison test between the two

Trev Allen's picture

posted by Trev Allen [162 posts]
23rd October 2010 - 12:09

like this
Like (2)

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