Silva Singletrack Headlamp  £299.99

7/10

A fantastic beam pattern - very bright - but a couple of major niggles need sorting out

Weight 451g   Contact  www.silva.se

by Iwein Dekoninck   February 10, 2012  

Silva Singletrack

The Silva Singletrack light is designed as a do-it-all option for keen all-round cyclists and adventure runners; it has a separate battery pack and comes with a handlebar mount, a helmet mount for off-road riding and a head harness for trail running. At 1,030 lumens (claimed), it chucks out an enormous amount of light and those lumens are used to the maximum effect thanks to Silva's intelligent light technology giving focus both deep and wide. It's about as close as you'll get to riding in daylight when it's dark outside.

The Silva Singletrack clearly shows its heritage in its main difference from other lights: the light itself is hinged. That means you can change the beam angle on the move really easily. This is mainly an advantage for mountain biking and trail running and that's the main target audience for the Silva Singletrack.

While you might think that you wouldn't want to change the beam angle on the road, it does make it easy to be courteous to other cyclists on a cycle path. It's certainly easier than changing the beam setting with big gloves on. The downside is that the hinge is not stiff enough to withstand the effects of shock from uneven surfaces. At least, it wasn't on our pre-production samples although Silva tell us that they have added more resistance to the hinge on the production version.

The first pre-production sample I was sent had a tendency to drop the beam angle. When I got in touch with the distributor, they sent me a different sample with a slightly stiffer hinge. This did make a big difference and meant it was fine for most riding, except uneven descents. On the second sample, the beam angle had a tendency to start pointing up, to the point where it was blinding me. On one particularly bad descent I had to adjust the angle eight times - not good when I would have preferred to concentrate fully on traffic and staying on the road. As I say, Silva have been working on this and they reckon they've got it sorted now.

1,030 lumens is a whole lotta light; Silva claim it will reach up to 140m. In fact, for all but the grottiest, twistiest lanes, the max setting is overkill for road riding. Luckily you get three other settings: min, wide and strobe. On max you'll get 2.5hrs. On min this goes up to an impressive 20hrs. The battery pack recharges in around 6hrs.

The on/off switch takes care of changes between modes. Press it once and the lamp switches comes on max. Pressing again fades it to wide, then min, then strobe. Press and hold to switch the light off.

The one feature that is distinctly missing is any kind of indication or warning that the battery is nearly empty. After 2.5hrs on full, the lamp will just switch itself off. There's no 'get-me-home' time on low power so you'd better be careful.

The Silva Singletrack package includes the light, the battery pack, a handlebar bracket, a helmet mount with spare double-sided tape pad, a head harness, an extension lead and a battery charger.

While road.cc is aimed at road cyclists (obviously!), I'm sure I'm not the only one with a mountain bike in the garage and running shoes in the shoe rack.

Put simply, the light is over the top for trail running. While the head harness is very comfortable, it is pretty substantial, and the light feels a little heavier than other dedicated trail running lights I've tried. You can get smaller, lighter units that are plenty bright enough, and that is what I would go for.

Mountain biking, though, is where this light comes into its own. The hinge performs perfectly when the light is mounted on your bike helmet, and it's really easy to adjust the angle if you want to. On max, all those lumens light the trail up a treat, and there are no excuses to not give it your all in the dark.

The helmet mount comes with super-strong, double-sided tape attached and it stayed put. While this works fine, you might have a bit of trouble on your hands if you want to use the light on a different helmet (the package comes with a spare bit of double-sided tape). In use, the light feels a little on the heavy side initially but you soon forget because it just works so well.

At 441g all-in weight (133g for the lamp, 286g for the battery pack and 22g for the handlebar bracket) it comes in about 50g lighter than the Exposure Six Pack, itself not a heavyweight by any means.

Verdict

A fantastic beam pattern - very bright - but we'd prefer a battery-level indicator in order to avoid sudden darkness

road.cc test report

Make and model: Silva Singletrack Headlamp

Size tested: Black/Blue

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?

Silva say, "This is a premium sport bike light for advanced mountain biking. With an output of 1,030 true lumens combined with the Silva Intelligent Light System, Singletrack will never be the weak link in your exercise routine or mountain-bike race. Lithium battery technology and light distribution optimized for advanced high-speed sessions in complete darkness will deliver a truly unique feel for as long as you have the stamina. With an aggressive design that reflects the activities it's built for, Singletrack will complete your bike.

"Silva's high-performance Sprint and Sprint Plus headlamps are perfect for users involved in any action or highspeed adventure sports. Waterproof with four light modes (max, min, wide and blink), they also feature a powerful 6 Ah battery pack with multi-attachment options. These two very strong lamps project 1030 Lumens of light and can penetrate up to 140 metres and also feature Silva's Intelligent Light® technology of long distance + wide floodlight. In addition to the comfortable headband, Sprint Plus can be attached to a helmet or bike frame."

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

Max, min, wide and strobe light modes

Helmet and bike handlebar attachment

Silva Intelligent light technology

5 High power LEDs

6,6Ah 7,2V Li-ion batteries

Discharge time: 2h30min (max), 7h min, 20h wide

Charging time 6h

1030 lumens

Waterproof IPX6

Temperature operating range: -20 to +60C

Weight (excl batteries) 135g

Water resistant for use in the toughest conditions: IPX6

Ultra high power light performance up to 140m (claimed) based on latest LED technology 

2 very strong lamps

1030 Lumens

Discharge time Max 2.5hrs, Min 20hrs

Multisport mounting options included: head, bike and helmet

Li-Ion battery: for maximum power, endurance and recharging performance

Four usable lighting modes: Max, Min, Wide and Strobe

2 year warranty

Inc. 190g battery

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10

The light and all accessories are obviously very well put together and exude quality. Everything looks to be well thought out from a product design perspective, with lots of neat features like cable guides, padding where you want it, anti-slip on the inside of the battery pack to stop it sliding on the top tube etc.

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

Pretty straightforward really. You choose the mount of your choice, attach light, Velcro the battery pack around item of your choice, switch on and away you go.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
5/10

As road.cc is aimed at road cyclists, the score relates to the handlebar mount. While the mount itself works perfectly fine and stays put, the same can't be said for the hinge on the lamp itself. This is one of the two major downsides to this lamp. Going over uneven surfaces, the lamp will start pointing up or down. This is especially annoying on long descents as the lamp has a tendency to point up and shine in your eyes.

The helmet mount has a strip of super-strong double-sided tape to glue it to your helmet. While there wasn't much contact area between the tape and the helmet, there are no issues with it coming off. While the system works and the mount stays put, there might be an issue if you want to use the light on a different helmet. With the helmet mount I have found no issues with the hinge on the lamp, my theory is that by the time a shock goes through your body to the helmet, it will be softer and less sharp than it would be going through a road fork to the handlebars.

The head harness is pretty substantial but feels comfortable and stays put. There are no issues with the hinge on the lamp.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
9/10

I had absolutely no issues with water or dirt ingress. As the lamp is rated to IPX66, this is what you'd expect.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
6/10

While the light's battery life is pretty impressive at 2.5hrs on full and up to 20hrs on low, the reason I'm marking it down here is that when (on max) the battery decides it's had enough, it switches the lamp off without any warning. There's no extra half hour on low to get you home. I found this pretty disconcerting when it happened to me. It takes about 6hrs to recharge the battery.

It takes about 4hrs to recharge the battery.

Rate the light for performance:
 
10/10

The max setting is overkill for most road riding and trail running situations, but is absolutely awesome for mountain biking. Silva's intelligent light system giving a combination of depth and width works incredibly well. It's one bright light.

Rate the light for durability:
 
9/10

So far, the light has stood up to any abuse I've thrown at it. The handlebar bracket looks and feels pretty sturdy, and I'd expect the lamp to last a long time.

Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

At 133g for the light, 286g for the battery pack and 22g for the handlebar bracket, it's about 50g lighter than the Exposure Six Pack which is comparable in terms of runtime and lumen output.

Rate the light for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10

Mounted on the handlebar, nothing gets in the way and it's easy enough to change beam mode.

Helmet mounted it's a tad on the heavy side but not overly so. It's a price I'm more than willing to pay for the impressive lighting performance.

With the head harness again, there are lighter units out there. As you're not likely to need the light on max, I'd choose a lighter unit for trail running.

Rate the light for value:
 
8/10

At £299 it's a third cheaper than the Exposure Six Pack, and get three different mounting options. This is very good value for money, but you need to bear in mind the negatives too.

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

It works amazingly well with the helmet mount, but isn't so good mounted on handlebars due to the beam angle not staying put.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

It's awesome power and beam shape illuminating both deep and wide.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

The single worst thing about it is that it switches itself off without warning when the battery is empty. The other major drawback is that the beam angle doesn't stay put with the handlebar mount.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes I did.

Would you consider buying the light? I would for mountain biking.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? For mountain biking, not for road riding.

Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?

It is an awesome light, and it is only fair to say that we are testing a pre-production sample. Silva have been very keen to listen to our feedback and I look forward to what they come up with to fix the beam angle issue and the sudden darkness.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 32  Height: 1.78m  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: All of them!  My best bike is: Cervelo Dual

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, fixed/singlespeed, Audax

 

4 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I could do with 1k lumens illuminating the 3' in front of my wheel. Devil Devil

How come there's no beam pattern comparison? Nerd

posted by Matt_S [200 posts]
10th February 2012 - 10:02

0 Likes

I know it's boring but please compare to the new MJ880, almost a third of the price, 1600lm, 3hr burn time, very good construction, the only criticism after two months use is the light switches are to small to easily use whilst riding.

posted by surreyxc [48 posts]
10th February 2012 - 11:51

0 Likes

[I know it's futile to quibble about ratings, but] the overall score given here to a £300 bicycle headlamp that randomly hinges upwards to blind you in difficult sections is some way out of step with my perceptions of a dangerously ill-thought-out and utterly unnecessary feature.

Plain Face

posted by BigDummy [298 posts]
13th February 2012 - 11:26

0 Likes

Hi

Thanks for reviewing our product. Glad you liked it.

Just to clarify, the Singletrack is our MTB specific product and the production models won't come with a headband, just a helmet mount and bar bracket. The Sprint is our orienteering and adventure race product, which has a headband and bike mounting kit. The Velo is aimed at commuters and our trail running headtorch is called the Trail Runner Wink

Silva Shadow's picture

posted by Silva Shadow [3 posts]
13th February 2012 - 21:51

0 Likes

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