Trelock LS 950 Ecopower Control Front Light   £129.99

9/10

Fantastic traffic friendly commuter light

Weight 252g   Contact  www.extra.co.uk

by rob_simmonds   November 14, 2011  

Trelock LS950.

The Trelock LS 950 may look like rather old fashioned but it's one of the best lights I've used. That clumpy body doesn't just contain state of the art optics and a monster battery, it's also extremely user-friendly.

The Trelock is a German light and this is reflected in the optics (see what I did there?). German law specifies that bike lights should have a beam that cuts off at the top, which stops the light from dazzling oncoming traffic. It's basically what car lights do (when they are dipped) but very few lights on the British market conform to this and most powerful bike lights certainly don't. I'll be honest, it's not something that I lose sleep over, but I do always ensure that my lights are focussed pretty close to the wheel. It would be nice to have a 1000 lumen light firing straight down the road and illuminating absolutely everything ahead but I don't want a blinded 4x4 driver heading towards me on a narrow lane, thankyouverymuch. More powerful lights, no matter how low you set them, can also get you more than a few grumpy comments on dark bike paths.

The Trelock is a chunky beast and that is due to two factors, the huge battery and a massive reflector lens on the front. I'll come to the battery in a bit, but first let's look at the lens. It's enormous, a great multi-faceted slab of polished silver with a powerful LED set into the roof. That LED fires down and slightly backwards, very similar in concept to the rear facing LED technology that Cateye have been using for a while now. That makes sure that all of the light produced is controlled, rather than just blasted out the front like pellets from a sawn-off shotgun. The tight focus of the lens gives you a square beam that doesn't take any prisoners, this is a light that has to be set at just the right angle. Too low and you end up with a small square of light surrounded by blackness darker than Simon Cowell's soul, too high and the light disperses in all directions. Set it just right and you'll get a neat spread of light at just the right distance down the road with plenty of side illumination. It isn't a ferociously powerful light, Trelock quote 1w and 70 lux, but it makes the best of what it has. On unlit roads that's enough for full speed ahead, but you'll have to slow down for twisty lanes and technical descents. That's not necessarily a criticism because this is primarily a commuter light and gnarly Devon lanes are a challenge for anything less than a full beam searchlight.

Ok, so the big lens gives you enough light for fast road riding. What about that huge battery? Well, it's a 4300 a/h li-ion. That's enormous for this kind of light, the usual size is 2600 a/h. Of course, having a huge battery should mean a healthy runtime and the 950 doesn't disappoint. You get a whopping 6hrs on full power and almost two full days on the lowest setting. What is even better is that the 950 has easily the best fuel gauge of any light out there. No mysterious coded flashes, power drops or sudden shutdowns, oh no. The 950 has a simple LCD display that tells you what power setting you are on and precisely how long you have left in hours and minutes. The only way if could be improved would be if it came with a butler who tapped you on the shoulder and murmured 'two hours and three minutes remaining sir'. Coupled with USB chargeability there really is no need to run out of light, ever. Oh and have I mentioned the buttons? One to increase power, another to decrease it. No buggering about flicking through a whole cycle of power levels. It's a small thing but deeply pleasing. I'm giving serious thought to LEL (that's London Edinburgh London for those non-audaxers among you - ed) in 2013 and this is the light I'll be taking.

If the 950 does have a flaw, it's the mount. It's a fiddly strap type that will cope with any size of handlebar, but is difficult to cinch up tight and places the considerable weight of the light out in front of the bars. On roads as smooth as Jean Luc Picard's head it's ok, but as soon as the going gets rough, the light slips down. I solved the problem by strapping a rubber shim (a section of old innertube would do) round the bars, but it's an annoying flaw in an otherwise superbly thought out light.

The 950 is never going to compete with the big boys for serious dark lane/off-road power, but as a commuter light that will happily cope with unlit roads it's a real winner.

Verdict

Fantastic traffic friendly commuter light.

 

road.cc test report

Make and model: Trelock LS 950 Ecopower Control Front Light

Size tested: Black

Tell us what the light 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?

Trelock are too modest for their own good - "This innovative lithium-ion rechargeable battery head light shines with up to 70 Lux, lighting up the road ahead brightly and perfectly - it can also be regulated in 5 levels from 10 to 70 lux. The light intensity, the battery capacity and the lighting duration are shown in hours and minutes on the integrated LCD display."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

Field of vision: 90 m

Visibility: 1500 m

iBeam-tec

TRELOCK light guid

Display for 5-level control of light and time

Tool-free battery exchange

integrated USB charger jack

integrated lithium-ion rechargeable battery

Display

1. Illumination intensity: 10-70 Lux

2. Illumination time: 6 - 45 h

3. Capacity of the rechargeable batteries

Luminous period: 6 - 45 h

Start-up protection: 1 sec.

Single snap closure

inclusive USB cable

inclusive Variotex bracket ZL 700, 22 - 32 mm

Aluminium surface

TRELOCK innovation for very easy handling

Colours: black

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Feels solid and well made.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
9/10

Loses a point for the annoying bracket, but otherwise it's an absolute pleasure to use.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
6/10

Strap mount is the only weakness of this light. Shimming with a piece of rubber solves the problem, but a rigid clamp that placed the light above the bars would be better.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
7/10

Survived the hose test but make sure you've properly closed the USB port on the back.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
10/10

Monster battery = monster runtime. USB chargeable, so you can easily top it up in between commutes.

Rate the light for performance:
 
9/10

Not massively powerful, but more than enough for unlit roads and won't dazzle oncoming traffic.

Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10

It's no lightweight, but I'd rather have the runtime than shave off a few grammes.

Rate the light for value:
 
9/10

A light this good is worth investing in and as ever you can find it cheaper if you shop around (cheapest I found it at was £93).

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Brilliant.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Runtime, sheer ease of use and that wonderful fuel guage.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

The mount isn't great, but that wouldn't put me off.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Definitely

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yup

Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?

Superb super commuter light and a pleasure to use.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 5' 8  Weight: er....85kg

I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE, Carlton Corsa  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, Audax and long distance solo rides

 

6 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Maybe the photo is a bit misleading, but to me the beam is to narrow. I'd rather have a lamp that illuminates an area at least 1,5 m wide - it's the minimal margin needed to safely swerve around potholes, branches etc.

Other than that, this one looks like a really hot deal.

blog rowerowy - my blog about bicycles (written in Polish, but feel free to visit me! Smile )

mikroos's picture

posted by mikroos [176 posts]
15th November 2011 - 14:24

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Hi mikroos. Yes, the beamshot is a bit misleading - my guess would be that all of the lights on test were shot at the same angle/point of focus. That doesn't flatter the Trelock, which needs to be angled quite precisely to get the best out of it. I have mine angled slightly further up the road, which gives a wide main spot and plenty of side spill.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
15th November 2011 - 15:32

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Thanks for the reply, Rob. That makes the Trelock an even better option.

blog rowerowy - my blog about bicycles (written in Polish, but feel free to visit me! Smile )

mikroos's picture

posted by mikroos [176 posts]
15th November 2011 - 15:51

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Another plus for this light is that it appears to have side windows, so you're more visible from the side.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1329 posts]
15th November 2011 - 18:42

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cat1commuter wrote:
Another plus for this light is that it appears to have side windows, so you're more visible from the side.

Not side windows as such - the reflector wraps round the sides - but there is plenty of side light.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
15th November 2011 - 22:32

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I bought one of these lights (partly after reading this review) and thought I should add my experiences after 3 months use.

The light itself is great - the battery life is just as advertised and the feedback on the display about the remaining battery life is accurate. The light levels are great and this light is great for long rides in dark lanes. I bought mine to cope with an overnight ride and the beam was great and the endurance was more than enough. My only initial concern was the build quality of the light - which feels plasticky and cheap.

As the review say the bracket is pretty rubbish - trelock used to make a much more sensible design which tightens with a screw. These are still available from some German ebay sellers (if you get google to tell you what the german for "Trelock front light bracket" is). I did this and those few euros for the new bracket made for a great system. For a while.

Unfortunately, after 3 months it all went wrong. Wanting to go out on my regular wednesday night ride I found the light totally dead. Plugging it in to charge, after writing off the ride, I noticed that the light came on when charging, and would not turn off. As the charge level increased, so did the brightness, and the light stated to get hot.

At this point it was obviously time for a warranty return. However, as the light was hot, and could not be turned offI felt I had to disconnect the internal battery to avoid a fire risk. On opening the unit my concerns about build quality were justified - once the screws near the front of the unit are undone it can be penned - but the rear is secured by two very thin, brittle plastic clips. These broke when I opened mine meaning the light would never close properly again. Not impressive.

Got a refund (in the end) for mine and back on the market. Maybe exposure are worth the extra cash after all?

posted by sponican [62 posts]
23rd January 2013 - 9:28

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