Lookie-likie stuff is one of my guilty pleasures, so it should come as little surprise that I got quite excited by the Electron Mili USB Rechargable LED lights set twin pack. However, while a pretty good marriage of form and function, in my opinion their quirky looking Pico cousins make better choices when negotiating unlit roads.
Ripping open the packet revealed two cutesy homages to a certain designer brand encased in supple silicone jackets. Ours were lime green but there are plenty of other options (black, blue, orange, red or white). Internally we've a single diode projected through 'focused magnified lens' technology, which supposedly optimises output, although lumens aren't specified, making direct comparison tricky for virtual consumers. Two diddy cables allow simultaneous, speedy fuel-ups - 2.25 hours apiece on average.
We're not supposed to access the internals, meaning they're bin fodder once the diodes/lithium ion cells finally cash in their chips. Aside from some initial teething troubles trying to persuade the USB bung to stay put, this keeps them pretty well insulated from Mother Nature.
The front features a strap with male/female interfaces designed to slip anaconda fashion around the handlebar's centre bulge. Sleek and arguably more secure than most, it precludes split second fitting/removal, especially wearing winter weight gloves. By contrast, intentional engagement's considerably easier thanks to a centrally mounted switch that's just stubborn enough to avoid unwanted power ups when lolling around in pockets.
There are three modes, 'constant hi', 'constant low' and our old friend flashing, which all looked decidedly impotent alongside an eighty lumen competitor. However their usefulness improved considerably after sunset, delivering a very pure white beam capable of pricking consciousnesses to around two hundred and fifty metres, nearer two hundred in steady. Less pronounced than my premium comparator, they were still very reasonable peripherally when perched atop bar saver type extension brackets.
The rear light is a curious barrel shape with a seatpost hugging indent and hook n' clasp closure. Again, this works very harmoniously with most diameters, round or slightly ovalised but can only be mounted horizontally. It was prone to occasional brushes with my inner thigh when positioned just atop the seat collar. However, the webbed click fix closure on a rack bag proved the ideal resting point, positioning the warm red beacon at eye level and amplifying to around three hundred and seventy metres in flashing on clear nights, dropping by fifty or so when skies turned murky.
Perky urban/back-up lights with reasonable output and run times but vertical rear mounting would be more practical
road.cc test report
Make and model: Electron Mili USB Rechargable LED lights set
Size tested: n/a
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?
"Ultra flexible usb rechargeable silicon lights
A funky and stylish silicon encased set of bike lights
One super-bright, high lithium LED, using focused magnified lens technology front and rear to be seen and to see afar
Lithium-ion USB rechargeable battery with a quick 2.5 hour charge time
Incredible runtime - up to 11 hours
Pocket size compact, sleek design with multiple modes
Push button switch operation, is easy to operate even with winter gloves
Completely flexible water-resistant silicone design that can be mounted virtually anywhere on the bike
Low battery indicator
Red charging indicator, which will change to green upon full charge"
Generally agree, although not for seeing with.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
One super-bright, high lithium LED, using focused magnified lens technology front and rear Lithium-ion USB rechargeable battery.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
There's no doubt the milli grew on me over successive rides. The output is reasonable in all modes, albeit a little tame compared with others in rush hour gloom and has reliably returned 10hrs 23 (flashing)5hrs 15 lo constant and 2hrs 47 in hi constant from a full charge.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Funky styling, reasonable output & run times.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Rear could ocasionally brush against the rider's thigh when positioned low on the seatpost.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly, although I've used similar and slightly cheaper homages with comparable performance.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Overall, yes but with the above priviso in mind.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Borderline seven since the market is awash with similar designs offering better output or smaller price tags.
About the tester
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
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: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)