The Blackburn Scorch front light is Blackburn's most expensive and most powerful front light, with a claimed maximum output of 140 lumen. Producing those lumens is a white Cree XP-G LED (the de facto LED for higher end lights) which is housed inside a solid CNC machined aluminium housing. Light modes (high, standard and flashing) are toggled through using a single rear mounted push button which also acts as the on/off switch.
The perfect light would be insanely bright, last forever and weigh nothing. Physics intervenes - but this Magicshine MJ-880 LED front light ticks the first box in spades, with necessary compromises on the other two.
Battery life is pretty decent and the good range of power levels allows you to prioritise duration or brightness depending on whether you're pulling an all-nighter or not.
Knog's Blinder 1 is essentially a slimmed-down single LED version of the Blinder 4, weighing in at a mere 15g and cutting a very low profile. It may be small in size, but it certainly makes a style statement, with the anodised aluminium fascia available in 4 colours – black, red, white, and the rather fetching blue tested here. The light forms a completely sealed unit, and the build quality is excellent - far superior to Knog's other silicon-bodied lights.
The Moon X-Power 300 is a compact, easy-to-use light that cranks out a good amount of light for the price.
The X-Power 300 uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery (3.7V 2300mAh) and a single Cree XP-G high brightness LED. The lamp body looks aluminium but it's actually plastic, although the light cap – the front end – is aluminium.
The Exposure Strada Mk4 might not be cheap but it's an exceptional light for riding unlit roads.
I reviewed the Strada Mk3 last year and got on really well with it. This time around, Exposure have increased the battery capacity and the brightness, and they've also added a new program selector (more on that in a mo).
At just under a tenner you'd expect the Lifeline LED safety light to be a cheap blinky for being seen around town. It's much more than that: it's a well built and genuinely capable standalone light for city riding. It's even bright enough - just - to venture beyond the streetlights.
The body of the Lifeline is a two-piece alloy affair with a tight thread and an o-ring seal holding two 2032 button cells, and the LED is housed in a proper reflector behind a good quality lens.
The Light & Motion Taz 800 front light is an intriguing blend of high power and commuter friendly features. Although it has great potential, I don't think it quite succeeds.
Kicking out a hefty 800 lumens the Taz 800 sits in their Crossover range, occupying the middle ground between Performance and Commuter. It's certainly powerful, although 800 lumens is less of a standout than it was a few years ago, but it also comes with a pair of flashing side lights for extra safety.
At a claimed 1000 lumen output, the Magicshine MJ-808E easily trumps most of the established competition in terms of power to price ratio. Reliability, often a cause for concern with cheaper Eastern lights, has improved in recent times with UK distributors offering a 12 month warranty on all parts. From a numbers point of view, the MJ-808E really has a lot going for it.
Cateye's Nano Shot Plus front light is the bigger, brighter sibling of the Nano Shot we reviewed, and liked, last year. Amazingly, it manages to kick out more than twice as many lumens for the same price the Nano Shot was then (it's around £60 now).