review

Lifeline USB LED Single Beam front & rear light

9
£19.99

VERDICT:

9
10
Brilliant - in many senses of the word - at a reasonable price
Weight: 
35g
Contact: 
www.wiggle.co.uk/

At a penny under 20 quid, LifeLine's USB rechargeable lights seem pretty decent value and quality before you even get round to the business of turning them on.

The lights turn on and off by depressing the entire lens, which couldn't be easier to do even with the heaviest of winter gloves on.

The front light provides a claimed 40 lumens and the rear 15. I can't verify these values but at no point have I felt that they aren't bright enough for early morning or dusk rides.

There are three separate lighting modes, high power, low power and flashing. In terms of the rear unit, all three settings are as bright as the Exposure rear light I have been using as a go-to for many years - and thats no mean feat. The front might just be powerful enough to use as a 'seeing' light, rather than a 'be seen' light, again pretty darn impressive.

I couldn't tell the difference between low and high power, so if the battery life claims are right, you might as well spend all the time on low power. The flashing setting is also good, but lacks the constant backlight that some lights provide. For really top notch visibility I tended to use two rear lights in tandem. One solidly on, and then the Lifeline on flash on the back of my helmet.

If you are planning on using these lights in the UK with no form of mudguard, you'll need them to be very, very waterproof. I put the rear light through at least two washing machine test cycles in the pockets of a gilet (this may or may not have been intentional) and it turned back on straight away once I found it again. This was hugely impressive.

Attaching the lights to your bike and/or person are little rubber straps with a hard plastic hook to hold them in place. The light units themselves slip into a circular hole in the straps. There's no chance of losing a light on rough roads if they are attached to a circular tube such as handlebars and seat posts. However, on a helmet, where the attaching surface is less round, there may be a slight chance of the light squeezing itself out of its hole. That said, I used the rear on my helmet extensively and never had any problems.

Charging by USB just makes sense. It really does. It couldn't be simpler to do with access to a computer - which if you are reading this review I assume you have - and saves having to spend more of your hard earned on batteries down the line.

There are no complaints on battery life either. I haven't had these lights on a proper 'full charge to drain' cycle, but I took them on a nine-hour-plus ride after a week's worth of commuting duty and they still got me home, so I can't bring up any faults at all battery wise.

Verdict

Brilliant - in many senses of the word - at a reasonable price.

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Lifeline USB LED Single Beam front and rear light

Size tested: Black, front light, 40 lumen

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?

Bright lights to get you home in the dark and dusky light.

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10

A nicely machined metal body with a tough plastic lens, and a threaded backplate to allow access to the USB charging port.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
9/10

Using the lens as an on/off button is simple and easy.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
8/10

The only downside is the plastic hook on the strap might scuff your lovely seatpost/bars a little.

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

If it goes through the washing machine and still works perfectly you cant really give it anything other than a ten.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
9/10

Loved the USB recharging and despite no real charging discipline I never got caught short.

Rate the light for performance:
 
9/10

All I can fault them for is that lack of backlight in the flashing mode.

Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10

They seem pretty tough to me, I dropped both lights on more than one occasion and had no issues.

Rate the light for value:
 
9/10

Twenty quid for two bright and easily chargeable lights is pretty good to me.

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

Excellently.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

They survived my washing machine. And are easy to turn on. And are easy to charge.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

They would be getting a ten if there was a "constantly on backlight" setting for the flashing mode.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.

Would you consider buying the light? Yes.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? I already have.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 21  Height: 182cm  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: On-One Carbon Whippet Single Speed MTB/Kinesis Pro6  My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro

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: cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

 

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