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Blinkies in blankets have been de rigeur for several seasons now but don't be fooled by its understated looks, the RSP Spectral front light's build quality and output casts more fashionable brands into the shadows.
Zero to hero refuelling takes 2 1/2 hours, less using a mains adaptor. Either way the lens emits a ghostly green signal when fully loaded, and the battery is rated for 500 charge cycles. Inside the lamp there's a sealed lithium polymer cell, piercing single diode and decent reflector.
Silicone has several purposes, primarily insulating these from low-level vibration and similarly destructive elements. However, this has traditionally resulted in mushy, imprecise switches. RSP have opted for a low fat variant, enabling fitment/removal and operation wearing winter gloves.
A definite press triggers low beam while a subsequent press unleashes the full 35 lumens and the next a similarly brash strobe. All produce a decent arc with relatively few impurities although the centre spot is cooler, slightly bluish in tone.
The strobe is visible to 150 metres and was my preferred setting for overcast days or paired with a bright main system like a dynamo or 1000+ lumen battery light. It lets other traffic know you're a cyclist, and doubles as a superb get-you-home should the big guns fail unexpectedly.
The RSP Spectral's optical quality allows easy suburban navigation to around 15mph in full beam, faster through some well surfaced cycle lanes. Road presence is reasonably good in these contexts, low too when cantering through town.
We've consistently enjoyed run times of 8 hours 53 minutes in top and 12:47 in flashing mode.
Understated design that packs a much bigger punch than some designer names.
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Make and model: RSP Spectral front light
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?
"This compact single LED front light generates 35 lumens and is USB rechargeable". Does exactly what it says on the tin with surprising finesse.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
* 1 High grade LED
* 35 Lumen output
* Constant & flashing modes
* 9 hour run time
* Lithium polymer battery
* Tool free mounting
* Direct USB charging
* Low battery indicator
* Silicone housing
* Water resistant
Good fit across the full zodiac of handlebar diameters.
Good economy and relatively quick (2hrs 30 min) charging.
Better than 35 lumens would suggest.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall the Spectral has impressed with its balance of power, economy and build quality. Ideally suited to dynamo companionship, there's enough bite for well lit suburban sprints but it left me feeling distinctly vulnerable when limping home along winding, unlit lanes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Decent output, solid build quality and user friendly switch.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Nothing given the design brief.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.
Would you consider buying the light? Yes.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes, as a secondary system/dynamo companion.
Age: 40 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)