Hope Vision 1 LED front light  £90.00

7/10

Versatile light with hefty beam and respectable runtime. Watch out for the sharp cutoff though

Weight 235g   Contact  www.hopetech.com

by rob_simmonds   March 9, 2011  

Hope's Vision 1 LED has been around for a while now. Running off four AA batteries the whole thing is contained in a beautifully machined aluminium can. It looks lovely and quite frankly, anyone who doesn't automatically pick it up and enjoy the way their fingers fit the grooves isn't worth knowing (crikey! - ed). It's a bit hefty though, despite coming with a helmet mount, so perching it on top of your magic hat isn't ideal.

What makes this light practically unique, and explains its enduring popularity, is that it runs off ordinary AA batteries, rather than a separate battery pack or internal rechargable cell. That makes it considerably more versatile if you're about to embark on a long night ride as you just need to carry a spare set of batteries to keep yourself going. If you're the kind of weirdo who hangs out at audax controls you'll probably spot a few of these on events like PBP and LEL. The batteries slot into a standard cartridge, the kind you can buy for 99p at Maplins, so a spare set in a spare cartridge will see you sorted.

Controlled by a single top-mounted button the light switches on in Low requiring a single press to cycle through each of the settings (Low, Medium, Max, Flash) and then back round to Low. Sensibly, Off is removed from the cycle, requiring a long hold on the button, so you won't plunge yourself into darkness in between settings.

Hope claim a pretty hefty 240 lumens on Max, which is a mighty whack of light. Our beam tests confirm that the Hope is kicking out plenty of light – more than many more similarly priced lights – and the beam pattern is about average: not too narrow, not too wide.  Of course it's easy to be confused, bothered and bewildered by the numbers but the light that this wee chap throws out is quite impressive. On Max it's plenty enough for dark Devon lanes, although I'd be as cautious as a giraffe on an ice-rink down the steeper hills. Lower settings are ok for decent roads and give longer runtimes to boot. There's no side illumination to be had - not the end of the world, although under street lights it can be hard to tell if the light is on at all.

Run time is dependent on what batteries you use. I used 2500 mAh rechargeables from B&Q which gave me just over three hours on Max. Batteries can be as variable as the weather in March, so don't take this as gospel. One thing I did discover was that larger capacity rechargeables, like the 2500 B&Qs, are considerably fatter than ordinary disposables, which means that wedging the bulging battery cartridge into the can is more fiddly than you'd hope as you have to line up the contacts just so. Personally I can imagine that trying this on a sleet-black winters night with frozen fingers would entail much swearing. Caveat emptor...

The mount is the sturdy cam-lock type, adjustment to varying bar size being achieved with interchangeable rubber noggins that fit to the inside of the mount. Personally I found these to be an utter pain to fit and if I was looking to swap between bars of different sizes I'd be inclined to fit the narrower of the noggins and simply wrap the skinnier bars with a bit of old inner-tube and electrical tape as a shim. Otherwise the mount works well. I have heard people grumble about it not being true QR but really, whipping the light off the bars isn't exactly hard.

The biggest issue I have with the light is that you need to either have a spare set of batteries with you at all times or follow a very disciplined recharging routine. For a lazy commuter like me, who likes to plug his lights in to charge every night or two, it's not ideal. As the light cuts out abruptly, with no battery indicator or tell-tale dimming, that can be a worry.

Overall it's easy to see why this light has been such a favourite since it was introduced, but you do need to be aware of the limitations that running off AAs entails.

Verdict

Versatile light with hefty beam and respectable runtime. Watch out for the sharp cutoff though.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Hope Vision 1 LED front light

Size tested: Red

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?

Brace yourself, Hope blurb:

"Description : Say hello to the NEW! 1 LED light. This fantastic

little light may just be the best addition to your night

riding you can make.

The 1 high powered LED pushes out 240 lumens on max

power! This is the sort of output a lot of lights with many

more LED's, bigger batteries and a greater cost can offer.

The CNC machined lamp body mounts to the NEW!

reinforced nylon handlebar bracket, which fit's

both standard and OS bars with the clever use of

removable rubber plugs. The bracket also allows for lateral

adjustment of the lamp whilst riding.

The power is provided by 4 AA size batteries. These can

be of your choice, and we leave that upto you. As an

example though, you can expect to get an average of 3

hours run time on max power from a typical rechargeable

battery. The light has a simple on/off/mode switch on the

back. This has a new cycle programme which turns the light

on in 'low' mode and cycles through to the higher settings.

This gives better control of the light in tricky situations

when more light is needed quickly.

As well as the universal handlebar clamp, a NEW! reinforced

nylon helmet mount is also included, along with a wrist

lanyard as well as ample velcro fastenings. This makes

the light truly adaptable. Perfect for bikers, outdoor

enthusiasts and people looking for a high quality, high

powered light for other nocturnal activities!

USE: When it goes dark! At home, in the car, on the bike,

walking the dog..."

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

Did you enjoy using the product? Mostly - sharp cut off and battery discipline are negatives

Would you consider buying the product? Possibly, see above

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Perhaps, ditto

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 5' 8"  Weight: er....86kg

I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop  My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium

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: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,

 

5 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I have used this light for nearly 3 years and it is excellent. I use rechargeable batteries in it and I will agree the higher power ones are more of a squeeze - really not a problem at all, though. Yes, the cut-out is sudden, but as I always carry a spare set with me, that is not a great burden. The other thing to bear in mind is that if you have the light on setting 2 or above and it cuts out, it will still run on the lowest setting for 15-20 minutes. I have a Knog Gecko on my backpack, so I put that on solid instead of flashing if the Hope cuts out. One minor gripe, however, is that as the flashing mode is bright but uses the least power, it would be good if THAT mode was the FIRST one in the sequence, because when the cut-out kicks in, you would want to go to flashing. Sequencing through 1, 2, 3 cuts out before flashing mode can be activated ... I need to suggest to Hope that they try and switch it. I cycle in lanes every midweek morning. Setting 1 is fine normally, but setting 2 is my preferred one as you can see tons of potholes ; setting 3 is brilliant in misty conditions. Recommend it - definitely - every hope should have one ... a gentleman's hope is his castle ... hope springs eternal - need I go further ?! Oh, and the red matches my Fulcrum Racing 7s perfectly Smile

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

timbola's picture

posted by timbola [207 posts]
9th March 2011 - 12:12

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I've owned one of these for 18 months and never realised you could get spare battery cartridges. Thanks for pointing that out!! Medium setting is more than enough for commuting on lit roads.

I also find the cut-out is very sudden. On one occasion, whilst cycling on a well lit road, I didn't notice for several minutes Surprise Now I never travel without a back-up light. Unlike Timbola, I find that with re-chargeables, once the light cuts out that's it.

The rubber 'noggins' are truly a pain in the bum. I cut the ends off mine and tacked them in with a bit of rubber solution.

Overall though, a good little light which will even stretch to a bit of easy night-time mtb-ing. I like mine.

posted by don_don [149 posts]
9th March 2011 - 22:06

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Agree with the review and comments way to hefty for a helmet light but the mount has been fettled for my lighter smart lunar to sit uo there in winter. Thanks for the tip on the battery carrier too. Always carry spares for the instant cut out - barely any run on lower time with mine - but they always seem to go in the pitch dark bit of my rides and even standard batteries are a snug fit to get in & out on the go. Yes the rubber grommits are hateful little beasts to fit. Bradawl & stabbed finger worked for me!

Minor gripes tho, its a great light for sub £100 it serves me in total darkness. I'd suggest you shop around tho, they're out there for a bit less than £90

posted by Shouldbeinbed [27 posts]
12th March 2011 - 0:45

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Love this light myself. I have one as a back up incase my Exposure Race has problems, or I'm going anywhere that needs more light.

The only downsides I found were:
- yes the light cuts out, I always ride with atleast 2 front during the main winter darkness
- the mount is a little "cheap" and can undo after a few rougher rides, so keep you're eye on that
- the beam pattern isnt ideal for road use as there is no cut off at the top of the beam. Great for offroading, when you need to see low branches on trails and bridleways etc though. The beam can dazzle other road users if set too high.

downfader's picture

posted by downfader [196 posts]
13th March 2011 - 11:40

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Hi, Just wondering if you plan to review the 2013 version in the near future as I'd be very interested in seeing what you make of it now it has a low battery warning.

posted by royeggy [2 posts]
11th October 2012 - 15:10

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