A good front light should have a decent battery, be easy to fit and provide a good spread of light. The Gemini XERA delivers.
The XERA LED light system has been upgraded from 800 to 950 lumens and this is definitely a bonus. What was clearly a competent light in terms of output has just got better. It's easy to attach to your bars and and even easier to use, with a two-hour run-time on its brightest mode. The use of an external batter may be a downside, but I didn't find this an issue.
In the box you get the compact XERA LED head unit, attached to a mounting plate with hooks for the rubber O-rings that mount it to your bars or the head strap. The two cell Samsung lithium-ion battery is less than 8 cm in length and half that in width. The head unit and battery are connected using cables that fit together securely. You get a couple of different size O-rings and a smart charger. There is no USB charger but again that's not a massive inconvenience. You get an extension charging cable and a helmet strap. Pretty versatile.
Fitting the head unit to your bars is just a matter of selecting the right size O-ring. The battery has a Velcro strap attached to make it easy to mount on the frame, stem or wherever you choose. It's difficult to fit the Gemini oval bars to as even the biggest O-ring won't go round them. Make sure the cable from the head unit and the battery fit together with a satisfying click and away you go. The cables on the head unit and the battery aren't the longest so if you want to avoid clutter on the stem area with your computer you may have to use the cable extender. A bit of a faff and could lead to excess cable then getting in the way.
Using the light is as straight forward as the fitting. You have a flash mode or three pre-determined settings: high, medium and low with run times of 2, 4 and 17 hours respectively or the choice of extending that to 23 hours on flash mode. Gemini says these modes give 100%, 60% and 20% of maximum brightness or 950, 570 and 190 lumens.
You switch between modes with a large rubber button on the rear of the head unit. Even in the dark this is easy to find as it glows a very visible green and is a good size even if you're wearing gloves. The light itself is provided by a CREE XM-L2 U2 emitter.
The light output has now been increased to 950 lumens. That's quite a punch. Most journeys can be done safely using the medium setting as the high really is high, even for unlit roads. If you really aren't satisfied with the factory settings you can use the reset and programe your own with intensities between 10 and 100% of full power. That is a rare but useful option option. To do so you hold in the button for ten seconds then select the brightness for each of the three modes.
Charging doesn't take long, three and a half hours will see you back up to full power. The beam has a good spread and in the centre of this is a solid core that offers a bright, direct pattern. Switching between the three modes you have some serious power at your disposal. On high the beam is significant enough that you won't have any trouble illuminating your way, no matter how dark it is. Dropping down through the options you still get a plenty of light and the flash mode is bright enough to be seen in any conditions.
The head unit can get very hot if you're travelling at lower speeds as it uses the air flow over it to assist with cooling.
Given many light manufacturers are producing lights that have the battery built in, it is something of a rarity to find a top end light with a separate battery, but the battery can be secured sufficiently well to the frame that you forget about that aspect and it does give you the option of swapping the battery for the four-cell version if you're planning an all-night trip.
That aside, the performance from the Gemini is excellent as is the spread from the beam. You might have to take a little longer setting up before you head off but this is a small price to pay for a top performer.
Quality illumination that will light up any trip with the minimum of fuss
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Make and model: Gemini Lights Xera 800 Lumen - Front Light
Size tested: Black, Front light
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?
If you're worried about travelling on badly lit or worse still completely dark roads then the Gemini Xera will do an excellent job of banishing the shadows. With three main settings backed up by a flash mode you have a great spread of light for all situations. The head unit is straight forward enough to attach to your bars with the O-ring options provided. The battery is attached using a secure velcro strap. All of this is done with a minimal of fuss. It has performed well in all conditions and the light is able to light up the road even in very wet weather.
Small size. Incredible power.
At 950 lumens, the XERA LED Light means serious business in the high-power light category. Driving this powerhouse is a single CREE XM-L2 U2 LED emitter - the most efficient, high power LED on the market.
The XERA LED Light is both lean and mean, weighing in at just 52g - fit for racing and fit for you. The XERA scored 71 Lux in the 2012 MTBR Light Shootout, beating out the competition in the same power category.
Choose your own ten different levels. 10-100% Brightness.
Pick from 10 different steps between 10-100% brightness and save it. With your own three modes at your disposal, you can personalize your settings to Low-Med-High or High-Med-Low. You may even set the brightness in flash mode so you don't blind oncoming traffic. Getting what you want has never been easier.
By default, the XERA comes with Low (20%), Medium (60%) and High (100%) settings built-in. To reset, just hold the button down for 10 seconds.
Wide and narrow beam patterns.
The XERA LED Light offers unprecedented versatility with interchangeable optic lenses. Select from a wide 16-degree flare or a narrow 14-degree spot. Both standard and narrow optic lenses are included in the bundle for your choosing. Take a look at the different beam shots below.
One light for any activity.
We've bundled a bar mount, helmet mount, head belt and extension cable with the XERA LED Light. Explore night fishing, skiing, running, longboarding or mountain biking all in the dark. No longer will darkness stop you from doing the things you love.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Brightness 950 Lumens *NEW UPGRADE*
Size and Weight 52g Light Head. 122g 2-cell battery or 229g 4-cell battery.
Beam Angle 16° Standard Optic / 14° Narrow Optic. See beam shots.
Battery and Run Time Samsung 2600mAh / 5200mAh Lithium Ion Battery. See runtimes.
Modes Low / Med / High. Flash. User programmable between 10-100%.
Material Hard Anodized Aluminum
Safety LED Overheat Protection and Battery Overcharge Protection.
In the Box
XERA LED Light
High Capacity Samsung 2-cell / 4-cell Battery
Lithium Ion Smart Charger
Helmet Mount and Bar Mount
Pro Head Belt
Standard and Narrow Optics
The machined head unit is solid and well made. The battery pack has a tough case and the cable joins which could be a possible weakness in the link over lap to provide an effect seal.
Using the factory settings the light is very simple to use. The switch on the back of the head unit is big and illuminated. Joining the cables is simple, give them a firm shove and they secure nicely. Despite being exposed to all conditions the light has continued to perform as well as the first time it was setup.
The trick of the Gemini Xera is making life simple for the user. Attaching the light and battery to the bike is easy, as is operating the light. By using an O ring there is no fiddling around with clamps and this is the same for the battery, albeit using a velcro strap this time.
The Xera has been exposed to some heavy downpours but continued to work normally with showing any ill effects.
Two hours on top whack is pretty good for 950 lumens, enough for most dark or night time journeys. You would have to be travelling in some very dark places to need the top setting the whole way. The drop down between the three main settings offers decent options. Re-charging is pretty quick, three to four hours depending on how drained the battery is will see it fully restored.
I liked the beam pattern, it offers a direct central beam with enough periphery light to illuminate the edges of your vision.
The head unit and battery have proven to be durable. The materials used are solid and long lasting and the cables have withstood plenty of connecting and dis-connecting.
At 302g the light and battery are not heavyweight so you won't notice any penalty in this area.
The flash mode might be a little too 'flashy' for other road users.
£130 is a reasonable amount to stump up for a light but you get an easy to setup, use unit and it's rechargeable.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The light came up to scratch, offering two hours on the top setting and backed up by two lower settings. This is good value and the light beam, pattern is set to offer a great spread of light. On the bars or helmet the light is straight forward to set up.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
The ease of fitting and use. One large O ring and the head unit is attached to your bars.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
A USB charger would be quite useful.
Did you enjoy using the light? It was illuminating.
Would you consider buying the light? Yes.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?
The Gemini Xera is a great little light, and the external battery pack doesn't detract from its performance. It does what you would like it too and does it well.
Age: 45 Height: 178cm Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Currently riding a Pinnacle Evaporite Three My best bike is: As above
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, sportives, mtb, Not yet but looking to dip my toe in the world of TT