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Verdict: 
Well-made high-power light and battery pack, let down by poor beam design, control options and mount
Weight: 
118g

At 1000 Lumens for £75.99 the One23 Extreme Bright 1000 Lumen is clearly marking its territory as a premium performer for a not-quite-premium price. It's bright, sure, but is let down by some fundamentals of bike light design: beam pattern and button control.

One23 is a house brand of Moore Large, one of the UK's largest industry distributors. The Extreme Bright 1000 is the bottom of three 'separate battery' lights, the others being 1600 and 2000 lumens respectively.

In the box you get the single Cree XM-L T6 LED housed in a sturdy machined aluminium case with a single lit rubber button on the back. It has an eight-inch cable permanently attached and a simple curved rubberised mount to go over handlebars, fixed down by a thick rubber O-ring (two sizes supplied). The curve of the mount is ideal for 25mm bars, not so great for 31.8mm. It will stay put but at high speed you'll notice vertical juddering movement when riding over uneven surfaces. This is no different to many eBay designs, and can be improved with a bit of inner tube or the bike light hacker's best friend, the moldable air-drying polymer rubber Sugru. The package of light and battery weighs 400g.

The 4400mAh battery pack is a real step above the ubiquitous eBay fare, the case being made from very well-put-together neoprene. It sits in the palm of your hand with a solid feel, the four rechargeable cells inside protected by yet another layer of rubber. At a shade over three inches long it should fit under all but the shortest of stems. To attach the case, the strap has two areas of velcro, one where the first loop is made over tube or stem and through the plastic buckle, and then again as the strap wraps around the entire battery pack. This is very handy for tucking away excess cable, especially when stem-mounting close to the bars. There's a nine-inch cable coming from the battery ending in a very secure weatherproof connector. When connected to the light there's simply no way water's getting in or the cable is coming loose. If your stem is short or you have Di2 kit hanging about that makes under-stem mounting not possible, the combined 17in of cable gives you mounting options on the frame.

There's also a four-foot-long battery extension cable, should you want to mount the battery somewhere way back on your frame. The dedicated charger comes with a generous cable length and simple red or green LED indication for charging status. Lastly in the box is a borderline-unusable helmet/headband mount. The backing plate is simply too small in area and the light too heavy, so when held secure it presses into the forehead and still bounces around. Mounting on to a helmet is likewise impracticable, as the elastic bands and small plate slip around over the smooth plastic. You probably want to look elsewhere for a helmet- or head-mounted light, or invest in gaffa tape.

Out in the dark there's no getting away from it: this is one damn bright light and the run time is eyebrow-raising at over four hours on full beam. However, and this is a big however, the beam is simply too narrow. The Magicshine MJ858 is the closest match for price in this year's road.cc light comparison, and the difference in beam width is stark. The One23 looks to be almost setting fire to the road immediately in front while the MJ858 spreads evenly. The result of this focus by One23 means when riding around even minor bends it's hard to pick out the road surface ahead, due to the lack of light cast outside the centre beam. Switching to high beam doesn't fix the problem, as the increased contrast makes picking out the unlit sides even harder.

Let's be fair here: this light is good for 40+mph descents in pitch darkness. If you are on a straight, smooth road, that is.

As mentioned run time is very good, with battery level indicated by the glowing button on the back of the light. Using high power we got over 2.5 hours on green, then another 1.5 hours on blue, then 1 hour on red. That's five hours on high beam, exceeding the advertised maximum runtime by half an hour. At the five-hour mark the red button started flashing, and there was a double flash of the main beam that you'd miss if you blinked. Just five minutes later the light shut down. Unlike others that gracefully ramp brightness down in the bottom 10% of the tank giving you a natural impetus to slow down, the One23 is an all-or-nothing show. Be warned, and keep an eye on that button if you plan to go out for over 4 hours on high.

In low power the advertised runtime is 18 hours, but several tests from fully-charged (using a fan to ensure no overheating) showed runtime was considerably less at just over 11 hours. The red LED came on at around 9:45, with the red flashing LED lasting just the final 10 minutes. If you are looking for a light to see you through a 12hr+ adventure ride in one go, this isn't it.

Disappointingly for a light of this price the controls are straight out of eBay. On is always straight to high beam, then a press for low, then flashing (on high) again, then off. So if you want to go from a long climb in economy mode to bombing a descent, you have to go into flashing mode then turn the light off briefly. This is frankly unacceptable, and with the likes of Lezyne and others offering high-low-high switching options at similar price points there's no excuse. As mentioned the flashing mode is in high power, which is almost guaranteed to make you deeply unpopular with every other road user within 500 yards unless you point it at the ground.

The One23 could be greatly improved with a simple filter lens that spreads the beam wide and low, readily available for a fiver for the eBay special lights. However adding one of these isn't an option as the front lens ring isn't removable.

Basically what you get with the One23 Extreme Bright 1000 is a better battery pack/cables and twice the run time over the £20 eBay option. The actual light and control experience is exactly the same, with no option to change the lens. You can't help but feel that 10 minutes talking to the manufacturer about button options, some smarter glass and a bit more clarity around run times would have yielded One23 a market-leading product for the price. Maybe for 2015.

Verdict: Well-made high-power light and long-lasting battery pack, let down by poor beam design, control options and mount.

Verdict

Well-made high-power light and battery pack, let down by poor beam design, control options and mount

The light comparator

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road.cc test report

Make and model: One23 Extreme Bright 1000

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?

Handlebar-mounted LED light for riding on unlit roads, fast. Aimed at riders wanting a quality lighting product. Personally I feel it fails to deliver. My own £25 twin-LED eBay Special does a much better job of lighting the road, albeit with a poorer battery experience.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Single Cree XM-L T6 LED, 4400mAh Li-Ion battery. Claimed output 1000 Lumens. Listed as 'shower resistant' but definitely not waterproof.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

It's a well-made setup. Looks professional. Feels solid.

Rate the product for performance:
 
4/10

Beam pattern and mount movement makes this light not let you ride as fast as you otherwise might.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The solidity of the cables, connectors and battery case makes me think it would last a lot of use for a long time.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
5/10

It's actually 400g including battery - which is fair enough.

Rate the product for value:
 
3/10

At £75 RRP, this isn't really good value due to the fundamental issues with beam and buttons.

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

Workable. I was able to see the road, but nowhere near as well as I'd like or expect at this price.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Battery life and the industrial design of the battery and cables - excellent.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Beam pattern, button control modes and the mount diameter. Also the low-power runtime is misleading, as tested.

Did you enjoy using the product? Not really. The fundamental issue of not being able to see around corners properly made me nervous.

Would you consider buying the product? Not at RRP.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not if I wanted to stay friends with them.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

One23 should fix the button controls, beam pattern and mount. Then it'd be a cracking light even at £100.

Overall rating: 4/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 183cm  Weight: 73KG

I usually ride: Charge Juicer  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: club rides, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, MTB, singlespeed and Dutch bike pootling

 

14 comments

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BighugeMonkeysuit [19 posts] 5 years ago
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Re-badged ebay special and not even trying to hide it.  29

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BighugeMonkeysuit [19 posts] 5 years ago
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Re-badged ebay special and not even trying to hide it.  29

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HoldTheWheel [29 posts] 5 years ago
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You can get an 3x XML U2 (brighter LED than the T6) light for £20!

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EarsoftheWolf [75 posts] 5 years ago
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Can anyone link me to a place to get the aforementioned filter lens for the eBay special for focusing/spreading the beam? I have the CREE XML T6 light which looks just like this, but can't seem to find a filter lens.

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KiwiMike [1431 posts] 5 years ago
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EarsoftheWolf wrote:

Can anyone link me to a place to get the aforementioned filter lens for the eBay special for focusing/spreading the beam? I have the CREE XML T6 light which looks just like this, but can't seem to find a filter lens.

Here you go: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Wide-Angle-Lens-for-MagicShine-808-all-ver-CRE... - note the advice that the replacement lens is a bit thinner, so you may have to bodge some heat-proof packing in there.

There used to be a UK eBay seller called http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/magiclightuk but they don't have anything for sale right now.

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jacknorell [1068 posts] 5 years ago
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£15 eBay special with an extra £5 spent on insulating the bog standard battery pack.

Why even bother reviewing as it's about £55 too much...

I have pretty much the same light, including well-insulated battery pack, except it also has a ring of small LEDs around the main light that can be set to flash while main light is solid on. Paid £21 for that on eBay.

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KiwiMike [1431 posts] 5 years ago
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jacknorell wrote:

£15 eBay special with an extra £5 spent on insulating the bog standard battery pack.

Why even bother reviewing as it's about £55 too much...

I have pretty much the same light, including well-insulated battery pack, except it also has a ring of small LEDs around the main light that can be set to flash while main light is solid on. Paid £21 for that on eBay.

In fairness (and as in the review), the battery does stand out as better than the normal eBay fare - I have two sets of eBay lights (the single LED Magicshine copy and the double LED SolarStormX2), and neither battery pack lasts more than about 2hrs - and that's being conservative with the Hi-Lo beam use.

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joules1975 [610 posts] 5 years ago
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And the eBay lights generally aren't built to meet eu/uk standards for batteries or chargers, indeed some have come with an explicit instruction to place battery in a metal box when charging, due to the heat build up (and therefore presumably) risk if fire. The one23 light meets the required standards, has better connections and is not going to burn your house down (or at least if it does, the insurance company will pay out).

However, still wouldn't own one as having to go through flashing and off to change beam strength is a pain in arse, beam pattern is crap and the mounts are rubbish. Yes they are twice as much but the Hope and exposure lights are in a different league (easily as bright but the light is much more usable in terms of spread), the niterider lights aren't as bright but mush better made for similar money, and there are a number of others that I would also consider over the one23 and eBay junk.

And finally, can people get over the stated lumen count. The eBay and one23 are rarely actually as bright as they suggest - the led may pump out x lumens but actual usable light is normally a lot less. Decent companies like those I've already mentioned measure usable lumens. Also, she'd load of lumens is useless if the spread is crap and you'll just be wasting most of the power.

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KiwiMike [1431 posts] 5 years ago
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joules1975 wrote:

And the eBay lights generally aren't built to meet eu/uk standards for batteries or chargers, indeed some have come with an explicit instruction to place battery in a metal box when charging, due to the heat build up (and therefore presumably) risk if fire. The one23 light meets the required standards, has better connections and is not going to burn your house down (or at least if it does, the insurance company will pay out).

However, still wouldn't own one as having to go through flashing and off to change beam strength is a pain in arse, beam pattern is crap and the mounts are rubbish. Yes they are twice as much but the Hope and exposure lights are in a different league (easily as bright but the light is much more usable in terms of spread), the niterider lights aren't as bright but mush better made for similar money, and there are a number of others that I would also consider over the one23 and eBay junk.

And finally, can people get over the stated lumen count. The eBay and one23 are rarely actually as bright as they suggest - the led may pump out x lumens but actual usable light is normally a lot less. Decent companies like those I've already mentioned measure usable lumens. Also, she'd load of lumens is useless if the spread is crap and you'll just be wasting most of the power.

Checking the box and the charger itself, the One23 charger does not carry any GS, UL or CE kitemark. In fairness to the eBay chargers/batteries, in our club self-selected sample of about 15 eBay lightsets not one has caught fire or exploded in the last two years, despite weekly use. YMMV. Noting that CE/UL-rated mobile chargers from reputable brands have a rich history of exploding/causing fires. Just because a design is 'approved' doesn't mean the actual £1-cost mains-powered component is milspec.

I agree 100% regarding button faff, and also headline Lumens. What actually matters is ability to see round corners at low speed, and ability to pick out hazards at high speed. In this regard, the £5 filter in front of an eBay Magicshine clone does an adequate job in balancing spread vs. throw.

Whilst I applaud firms like Exposure et al and wish them every bit of high-end power to their elbows, you cannot argue these are products for people with the ability to earn/justify spend that could equip you with an OK winter bike. Had our club members had to shell out £200 a pop for a useable lightset our Thursday night pub runs would be non-existent. £15-20 eBay sets (some with with £5 filters) have done everyone fine for years. You learn to live with sub-optimal, and get another round in.

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Welsh boy [727 posts] 5 years ago
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EarsoftheWolf wrote:

Can anyone link me to a place to get the aforementioned filter lens for the eBay special for focusing/spreading the beam? I have the CREE XML T6 light which looks just like this, but can't seem to find a filter lens.

Or here, scroll about half way down:

http://www.candb-seen.co.uk/accessories/cables-o-rings-and-helmet.html

Off topic slightly, i bought one of their handlebar mounts to replace the rubber band on my light, it is the best £10 i have spent in a long time, it allows me to point the light slightly towards the side of the road rather than just straight ahead.

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KiwiMike [1431 posts] 5 years ago
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Welsh boy wrote:

Or here, scroll about half way down:

http://www.candb-seen.co.uk/accessories/cables-o-rings-and-helmet.html

Off topic slightly, i bought one of their handlebar mounts to replace the rubber band on my light, it is the best £10 i have spent in a long time, it allows me to point the light slightly towards the side of the road rather than just straight ahead.

Thanks Welsh Boy, wasn't aware of that outfit. Great find. The eBay lights come in various permutations, and it's always hit-and-miss as to which set you'll get and how the button will work. Looks like CABS are providing a degree of quality control between the Chinese manufacturers and UK consumers, for about a £20 premium.

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daccordimark [91 posts] 5 years ago
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For the sake of accuracy I have this light and you can remove the lens. The silver ring unscrews (anti-clockwise as normal) so having found out about those replacement lenses I'm going to give one of those a try.

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KiwiMike [1431 posts] 5 years ago
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daccordimark wrote:

For the sake of accuracy I have this light and you can remove the lens. The silver ring unscrews (anti-clockwise as normal) so having found out about those replacement lenses I'm going to give one of those a try.

Thanks Daccordimark - OK, after applying *considerable* force I managed to unscrew the silver front. Certainly a lot more than I was prepared to apply when doing the review! I can confirm that a replacement wide-angle plastic one fits right in and works just as expected.

[edit] Took it out for 2hrs last night. The side visibility is greatly improved, but at the expense of throw. It's now no better than a Lezyne Power Drive XL (side-by-side comparison, your eyes may vary).[/edit]

On that basis, you could say the light is now a 3, maybe 3.5-star. It still suffers the button control and mount vibration issues, the latter of which can be addressed by aftermarket bodges or mounts from the likes of CABS. I'd stand by my original rating however - for the money, you shouldn't have to hack the product and be left with turning it off when switching from low back to high.

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daccordimark [91 posts] 5 years ago
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Thanks for the update KiwiMike, I'll still try the aftermarket lens as throw is not so important for my commute. Totally agree about the mount issues, I used a piece of inner tube round the 'bars with the original O-ring mount but now I use a proper clamp-on one which is rock solid. The mode cycle issue doesn't bother me but I certainly wouldn't buy another one of these - lesson learned! B&M next for me.