Gemini's Xera flashlight uses an updated version of the LED and optics in the Xera 2-part system that did so well last year. It's even brighter now, and comes with a choice of lenses to focus the Cree XM-L U2 emitter. The light itself is a gem; it's let down by the mounting options though.
Gemini rate this light at 850 lumens and certainly you'll struggle to find a situation where full beam isn't enough light. I've taken this light offroad and along pitch dark lanes and never felt under-illuminated. The beam pattern is wide and round; enough so that I wouldn't use it full beam on roads or shared use paths, unless I was on my own. The big clicky button on the back turns the light on and off and also cycles through the power modes (low, medium, high, flashing); it's simple enough to hit the back to change down if you don't want to blind oncoming traffic, which I felt that I did need to do. You do have to go through flashing – which is very much a daylight running mode and not recommended for night use – to get back to low power. There's no side illumination for visibility around town, which is a pity as it's such an easy thing to add.
As I mentioned before the light comes with two optics for 16° and 14° spread but to be honest there's not enough difference to really warrant switching one for the other. If Gemini supplied it with the standard wide beam and a German-style road collator that focuses more light downwards, then that'd be much more helpful. Maybe next year...
Run times are broadly in line with what Gemini claim. We didn't quite get to an hour and a half on full, the light giving up after 1h17m; the lower settings were a similar story. 60% is plenty enough light for most night riding and at 20% the Xera will go all night, but the low setting is a bit too low. 30% would be better. There's no battery level indication, although the Gemini does at least knock itself down to flashing when the battery is nearly dead, rather than just cutting out.
One of the real benefits of this light is that it takes a standard 18650 Lithium Ion cell, so if you need more runtime you can just pack another cell in your seatpack, or as many as you need. Lezyne ones can be had for about £12 and they come in a neat waterproof case; you can pick up the cells a lot cheaper than that unbranded. The battery you get bundled with the Gemini is a high-capacity 3100mAh Panasonic one, so you'll need to adjust run times for lower capacity batteries. I got an hour on full beam out of a Lezyne one. You get a mains battery charger with the light, a full charge takes six hours or so.
All sounds good? Well, it is, until you want to actually attach the light to your bars, which is kind of an important part of the process.
There's two options for mounting in the box. the first is a neat looking o-ring clamp with a thumbscrew that you screw directly into the bottom of the light itself. All well and good, but no amount of tightening from me would make the light stay on the bracket, and I'm the go-to guy for jar opening round here. There's a rubber o-ring that holds the screw in that seems to be the issue. Take that out and it's better behaved, but then the screw falls out when you remove the bracket. Gemini are aware that the bracket has issues and they're working on an updated version.
The second clamp is a c-shaped clip that the light clips into, and an o-ring for attaching to the bars. That all works fine, but there's a mechanism for adjusting the left-right position of the beam and it's held together by a tiny self-tapping screw, tapping into the plastic clamp base. It was too loose, and a single attempt to tighten it stripped the thread out, rendering it useless. Well, until I stuck it back together with a healthy dollop of Araldite. There's no side-to-side adjustment now, but it works just fine; I was worried that the light would ping out over potholes but it's stayed put. If you'd just shelled out £105 of your own money, though, you'd be understandably annoyed at having to hack it back together again. The O-ring holds it in place fairly firmly but the light still wobbles over the rough stuff; I'd have preferred a proper quick release clamp. It's another case of a manufacturer majoring on the design of the light at the expense of time sorting the clamp out; not the first time we've seen it and we doubt it'll be the last.
The Xera flashlight is a very likeable light in spite of all the issues with mounting it; get those sorted and Gemini will have a real winner here. One last thing: it's a super-handy torch to have around the house. And all your friends will have torch envy.
Robust design, great beam, usable run-time and good value but mounting options let the flashlight down
road.cc test report
Make and model: Gemini Xera LED 800 Lumen Flashlight
Size tested: n/a
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?
The power of 850 lumens. Now available in your pocket.
Fit your XERA Flashlight into your pocket to take anywhere with you. With 850 lumens at your disposal, you may find yourself powering through wooded trails at night, or uncovering the labyrinth of caves.
The stunning white color emanates from a top-of-the-line CREE XM-L U2 LED emitter, which is currently the most sought-after, efficient, high-power LED on the market.
From dusk till dawn. A ten hour curfew.
Using a top-tier Panasonic 3100mAh rechargeable cell, you can have up to ten hours of play from dusk, till dawn. The Panasonic lithium ion battery is packed with leading-edge capacity, giving you the power you need for cordless enjoyment.
Select and choose your beam patterns.
The XERA Flashlight allows unprecedented versatility with interchangeable optic lenses. Select from a wide 16-degree flare, a narrow 14-degree spot or the pick the best of both with a reflector option. Both standard and narrow optic lenses are included in the XERA Flashlight bundle for your choosing. See the different beam shots below.
Handlebar mountable. Tool-free release.
Transform your flashlight into a high performance bike light. Take it with you and ride your local trails - get acquainted with the addiction of night riding. Use the XERA Flashlight to pick the best line down a rock garden, or as a safety road light as you commute from work - flash mode on.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Brightness 850 Lumens
Size and Weight 120g XERA Flashlight. 162g with Panasonic rechargeable battery.
Beam Angle 16° Standard Optic / 14° Narrow Optic. See beam shots.
Battery and Run Time Panasonic 3100mAh Lithium Ion Battery. See run times.
Modes Low / Med / High / Flash.
Material Hard Anodized Aluminum
Safety LED Overheat Protection and Battery Overcharge Protection.
The light is very nicely made, the clamp less so
big click for on and off, push to cycle modes. Easy
Clamping options really let this light down
well made and well sealed with long threads and tight o-rings
Battery life on full power isn't huge but you can carry as many batteries as you need
Super bright light for all kinds of riding
The light itself is great but it's let down by the clamp
£105 isn't much for a light this bright, and the torch itself is very nicely made.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Well thanks to a decent helping of Araldite
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Quality light unit, bright beam
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes, in the end
Would you consider buying the light? Yes
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes, with the clamping caveat
About the tester
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: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track