Moon Nebula

7
£45.99

VERDICT:

7
10
Powerful contingency/safety light with decent range of settings
Weight: 
63g

The Moon Nebula is another super-potent and extremely versatile front light that will give similar competition a seriously good run for the money. However, while it's a great partner to dynamos or higher power systems, there are better options if you're looking for a one-does-all commuter lamp.

The Nebula pumps out a commendable 240 lumens in top and uses the same COB (Chips on Board) technology as the Moon Ring, tested in November, although in this instance it crams in a whopping 30 diodes, and an oval rubberised on/off mode switch.

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The CNC machined aluminium back serves to protect the internals from shock and regulates heat, so diodes stand the best chance of reaching a ripe old age. It's also fuelled by an 800mah rechargeable lithium polymer cell and meets IPX4 standards for weather proofing (heavy rain, to you and me).

Full charging took 4 hours from fully depleted, which is about the going rate for this genre, but I'd be inclined to charge it regularly rather than be committed to this.

Measuring a whopping 93x22x17mm, the strip-light profile consumes a fair bit of bar space when positioned horizontally, so I've tended to mount it vertically, often on the head tube. The mount accommodates standard and aero tubing of all diameters.

Moon Nebula head tube mounted.jpg

The rubberised switch (see below) isn't the easiest to locate, but pressing that region for two seconds brings the unit to life. There are eight modes in total, which stirs conflicting feelings. On the plus side, there's no danger of fading into the background and a memory function avoids the frustration of having to surf through and find your favourite, but on the flip side, I've stuck to three, four tops.

Moon nebula switch.jpg

Unleashing the full 240 lumens produces a surprisingly pure arc of light, which, given the 60-degree spot, is more than adequate for navigating better lit districts and highly visible to oncoming traffic; 200m seemed typical round town, 300 in the sticks on a clear night. However, on this setting it'll blitz battery reserves in 1hr 7mins.

High is 120 lumens – a much better bet, still snaring attention at 200m and returning 2hrs 21mins from a full charge.

Two lower settings of 70 and 35 lumens are similarly useful round town, producing a crisp white arc that trumped some budget LED torch types in terms of brightness, and with this sort of surface area there should be no need to worry about dropping off the radar when entering the flow of traffic.

> Check out our guide to the best front lights and our beam comparison engine

A faint red light glow indicates reserves are dwindling – around 25% – which gives ample warning, although output remains razor sharp, right until shut down.

These are accompanied by four flashing modes, which are of much greater intensity: 100% packs the full 240-lumen punch, which some friends reckoned was too intense for all but the darkest nights; 50% flash is a much better all-rounder, although the 10% 35-lumen flash and strobe modes are by far the most sensible companions to dynamo/high-power setups.

While burn times have been consistently faithful throughout, 10% and strobe were the most accurate and returned an impressive 20hrs 44mins and 10hrs 38mins respectively. This sort of output and frugality is more than adequate for weekend touring, audax and potentially two weeks' middle-distance commuting when nestling beside 'proper' front lights.

Ultimately, the Nebula is competitively priced relative to performance, although £45 is hardly small beer for a secondary/safety light and I suspect few riders will make best use of all eight modes.

Verdict

Powerful contingency/safety light with decent range of settings

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Moon Nebula

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?

Moon says: "The Nebula front light provides 240 lumens of light from a compact and lightweight design."

Powerful and tuneable contingency/safety light.

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

* 1 pce 30 chip rectangular ring COB high brightness LD

* Rechargeable lithium polymer battery 3.7c / 800 mAh

* CNC aluminium heat sink

* Micro USB remote switch

* Over hating protection system

* 8 modes

* Quick release patented universal bracket - Fits all round and Aero style bars

* 2 x O rings - 20-35mm & 25-52mm

* Low battery, charging & fully charged indicator

* Automatic fully charged cut off system

* Side visibility

* IPX4

* Water resistant USB port

* Comes with Belt clip bracket for clothing, backpacks and pannier bags

* 270 degrees total light angle

* 100% flashing 240 lumens - 2 hours 10 mins

* 50% flashinhg 120 lumens - 4 hours 20 mins

* 10% flashing 25 lumens - 20 hours 45 mins

* Strobe 45 lumens - 10 hours 40 mins

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
6/10

Intuitive enough, although switch can be a bit fiddly in densely padded winter weight gloves.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
7/10

Simple to use and fits a wide range of tubing diameters very convincingly.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
7/10

Not waterproof in the literal sense but well sealed against the elements in the everyday sense.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
6/10

Very good in the economy settings and competitive alongside similarly potent "super blinkies".

Rate the light for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the light for value:
 
6/10

Reasonable given the specification but relatively expensive for a safety/contingency light.

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

Overall, the Moon is an extremely bright and versatile contingency light with enough functions to satisfy pretty much everyone. Large surface areas mean it delivers a mightier punch than lumens alone would suggest and the flashing settings are particularly effective on dark, overcast afternoons or as backing singer to a dynamo. Run times also lend themselves to longer night rides. However, I'm not sure many riders will make full use of the eight modes.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Output, presence and economy in the lower (flashing) settings.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Nothing in particular given the design brief.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Possibly but this end of the market is very competitive.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Worth considering alongside several others.

Use this box to explain your score

It's a good light that does the job it's designed for well.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike 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, mountain biking

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)

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