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Nathan LightSpur



A bright light that's easy to use but not that well suited to cyclists

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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We've passed the longest day so the nights must be drawing in... and when they do, Nathan's LightSpur could help you be seen on your travels in the dark. It's a simple idea and it works, but it's primarily designed for runners (part of American company Nathan's Run Longer Light Series) and I'm not convinced it's that suited to cyclists.

It's a solidly constructed one-piece plastic heel clamp with a bright green or red LED band. It's super-easy to use: just slide it onto the heel of your shoe and press the button to activate steady or flashing mode. It weighs next to nothing and stays firmly in place via mini gripper pins, so you forget you're wearing it. It claims to fit up to a size 15 shoe, and there's no reason to doubt this as you simply pull it open before popping it on.

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It's also weatherproof, as you'd expect, so can withstand rain and puddles, and I rinsed mine off gently under the tap. The box advertises an unconditional guarantee for all Nathan products, but the returns address is in America.

So far so good, but then there are the batteries. It runs on two CR2032 watch batteries, which aren't rechargeable and are rather fiddly to change. Also battery life isn't that great – if you're using the LightSpur to commute two hours a day, you'll only get about two weeks on steady mode out of a set of batteries.

The other issue is that because it's worn on the foot, in busy traffic it's not in a position where motorists can see it that easily. It'd be fine out on the open road in sparse traffic, as it's visible from about 700m away – and because it's moving it'll draw attention. Also, I tested the green version of the LED, which could be confusing to motorists – the red would be more useful.

At £20 for a single spur it's expensive, but you can get it cheaper if you shop around. I'd still rather use cheaper fluorescent cycle clips, or simple pedal reflectors, and put the money towards some proper bike lights that use rechargeable batteries.


A bright light that's easy to use but not that well suited to cyclists

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Make and model: Nathan Light Spur

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?

Designed for runners, but the website says "Ideal for cycling too - secure and lightweight LED spur will help you stay seen and safe."

It does this.

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

LED: 5 lumens

Visibility: 2400 feet

Weather Resistance: IPX4

Burn Time: Steady On - 21 hours, Strobe - 41 hours

Battery: 2x CR2032 watch batteries

Rate the light for quality of construction:

It is designed in America so the power button is on the left-hand side - ie our inside in the UK - of the shoe. Not a big problem but means it's slightly harder to reach while you're riding if you want to turn it on or change modes.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?

The website says it's waterproof, the box 'water-resistant'. I didn't get to test it in heavy rain but did run it under the tap on several occasions, to no detrimental effect.

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

About 20 hours on steady mode and 40 on flashing means you'll get through a fair few watch batteries come the winter - it's not rechargeable.

Also, changing the two batteries is fiddly - you need a mini Phillips screwdriver to undo the four screws on each side, and they're tricky to access because of the spur's shape. A third hand to hold it open is helpful.

Rate the light for performance:

It does its job well but marked down for the battery issues above.

Rate the light for durability:
Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
Rate the light for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the light for value:

Expensive considering you just get one, not a pair.

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

Did its intended job - the LED light is bright and the spur was comfy and stayed in place.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

The brightness and visibility of the light at distance.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Changing the batteries is a fiddle; being worn on your foot, it won't be visible to motorists in heavy traffic when commuting. The light on test was green - red would be better to indicate to motorists they're approaching you from behind.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Not at RRP

Would you recommend the light to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your score

It does what it sets out to do, but I would rather spend my money on a bike-specific rear LED that is rechargeable and more visible to motorists, positioned higher up on the bike, or even helmet, where it won't be obscured by traffic.

Overall rating: 5/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 170cm  Weight: 60kg

I usually ride: Marin Point Reyes 29er  My best bike is: Giant Anthem X1

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mountain biking, audax


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