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.
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
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
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
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.