Supernova E3 Pro dynamo front light  £160.00

8/10

High quality four-season light with a great beam pattern and no battery to worry about

Weight 134g   Contact  www.amba-marketing.com

by Dave Atkinson   April 6, 2012  

Supernova E3 Pro dynamo front light

Want to ride all night on a regular basis, or commute all year round? A dynamo means you never have to worry about battery levels, and fitting an E3 Pro will mean you don't have to worry about not having enough light either. It's a very well built unit with a great beam pattern that's more or less perfect for road cycling.

The E3 Pro is the same size as the head unit from a standard 2-pack system, but at 134g it's reassuringly weighty. It's an all-Aluminium construction and the light is completely rebuildable, so if you bend it in a spill you can just replace the bent bits. Everything's anodised to repel salt water, and the light is fully waterproof. Inside there's a single CREE LED capable of pushing out 370 lumens; our light came with the asymetric Terraflux lens that complies with German road lighting regulations, directing over 90% of the beam on to the tarmac. Another lens, the Iris, is available for mixed use and off-road.

Plug the E3 Pro into your dynamo of choice (we used Supernova's Infinity 8 for the testing) and roll off into the night, and it's immediately apparent that it's going to kick out more than enough light for nearly any road-based situation. unfortunately the fact that you need a spinning wheel means we can't put it in our beam shot rig, but the beam is well focused and directed predominantly at the ground, making best use of the output (see http://www.supernova-lights.com/en/products/e3pro3.html for a beam shot). Once you're moving at more than about 5mph the flicker from the dynamo resolves itself into a steady beam, so even on steep climbs there's plenty of light. If you stop there's a standlight circuit that'll keep the light glowing on a very low output for a few minutes. There's plenty enough light for clipping along on the flat, and only the very quickest of descents had me reaching for the brakes.

Our test light came with a bar mount that secures with an O-ring and allows movement in horizontal and vertical planes. There's a range of other mounts too for different types of bike. The O-ring mount was plenty secure and kept the E3 Pro pointing in the right direction, with just a bit of beam chatter over rough surfaces.

Obviously this is a dynamo light, and that means cables. Supernova use a high-quality 2-core wiring system that looks pretty hardy, and the lights are supplied with a range of heatshrink sleeves to make sure connections are waterproof. The E3 Pro can run an E3 tail light, and will also provide it with standlight power too. Obviously that means running a cable the length of your bike, which is a bit more obvious than the wire from the dynamo which you can run up the inside of your fork leg (and the inside of your fork too, depending on your fork) more or less out of sight.

Anyway, all told the E3 puts in a great performance that goes a long way toward justifying its salty £160 price tag. That's a lot for a light, especially when you have to factor in the cost of a dynamo hub too. But it's a great all night, four season light if you're prepared to spend the money. And you can get it in seven different colours too.

Verdict

High quality four-season light with a great beam pattern and no battery to worry about.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Supernova E3 Pro dynamo front light

Size tested: black quick mount

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?

Rugged, repairable aluminium housing

The rugged aluminium housing does not only look good, but also withstands even serious crashes onto hard ground. In the worst case, every single part of the housing can be replaced.

Salt water resistant housing

The aluminium housing and the mounting brackets of the E3 are anodized to make them corrosion-resistant. Since scratches cannot be avoided during the long lifetime of an E3, we have also used a corrosion-resistant 6061 aluminium alloy.

Optimized cooling surface

Cooling the LED emitter is one of the most important functions of the lamp housing. Only a well-cooled LED works with optimal efficiency and reaches its full brightness. The 65 x 40 x 40 mm housing of the E3 is very small, but the cooling fins increase the surface area by 20% to 8500 mm. Even the small airstream when riding slowly greatly increases the cooling. A smooth surface profits far less from this effect.

Full-length two-core wiring

The rugged two-core wiring all the way ensures a safe, loss-free power transfer and top performance. Additionally, the entire two-core wire is protected by a shrink tube.

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very well put together and completely rebuildable

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
9/10
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
8/10

O-ring clamp was plenty secure, there's more permanent options available too

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

plenty of rain, no water got in

Rate the light for performance:
 
8/10

Super road light that'll run all night. not as bright as some of the more nuclear options out there but enough for road riding in most conditions

Rate the light for durability:
 
9/10

very well built

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

reassuringly weighty

Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

It ain't cheap but you're getting a quality bit of kit

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

Very well

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Beam pattern, construction

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

cables can make the bike look a bit messy

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Yes

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 190cm  Weight: 98kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex

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

 

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