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.
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..."
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
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,