The BBB Scope 1500 is a high-quality, high-power front light whose performance on pitch black lanes and trails goes a long way to justifying its eye-watering £220 price tag.
With the clocks having changed and the UK winter rolling in, it's time to hunt down that long lost light you stashed away last spring. If, like me, you can't find it again or it's time for an upgrade for your winter commute, you won't have any problems lighting your way with the Scope.
This two-part unit, with double-barrelled LED headlight and external lithium-ion battery pack, has a 'super beam' brightness of 1500 lumens – as you might have guessed from the name. To put that into perspective, that's roughly the same as a 100-watt incandescent light bulb in your home.
With its four modes, from this 1500 lumens down to 300 lumens, it can be used in all conditions from a pitch black bike path to an early evening haze to ensure you get seen by other road users. Naturally, battery life varies from 1.5 hours at super beam to 7.5 hours at low beam (further details in test report at the bottom).
The light pack comes with both a handlebar and helmet mount to suit your preferences. The plastic centre position mount fits a bar of 25.4-33mm diameter with added rubber inserts to pad it out. BBB has opted for a stainless steel bolt for Allen key tightening, which makes a for a secure position but is a pain if you plan to change between bikes frequently, especially as the bolt has to come clean out to remove the mount and the circular nut then falls out easily. A hand-tightened screw can be used instead of the Allen key to adjust the angle.
Once the clamp is on, a simple slide and lock mechanism with a small push tab to release makes for easy attachment and removal of the light. No need to worry about fiddly clips with freezing cold hands.
One problem with the centre position mount comes if you ride with an out-front bike computer. The 'normal' position for the mount is to the left of the stem so the light is positioned in front of your stem. With a computer mount there, you either have to position the mount much further to the left, which gets in the way of your hands, or to the right of the stem which looks terrible. After some frustrating pulling of cables, I eventually managed to bodge it upside down on the right side of the stem so it sat under my Garmin, but even then it wasn't perfect, with cable shadows being a problem. If you were to have this problem, the helmet mount might be the better option.
The helmet mount is similar to that used by GoPro, but with a Velcro strap to feed through helmet vents to secure it. For any of you sporting an aero helmet for those all-important commuter gains, you might struggle here I'm afraid. Again, it has the same hand-tightened screw for angle adjustment and the same locking mechanism, which work well.
Minor point, but the rubber on/off switch has a firm and definitive click, making it easy to use even with gloves on or while it's on your head. It also changes to a clear red light when the battery dips to half full.
Heat and light
The 100g aluminium-cased and water resistant light unit is nicely made with an 'Air Cooling System' to help prevent it from overheating. Having said that, it does get hot especially when used on super beam for a lengthy period, which wasn't ideal when trying to remove it on arrival.
To prevent damage through overheating, it automatically dims if it reaches 85°C, which I only managed when using the light during late night bike building in my unlit man cave. You could say I was testing the product to extremes, but it most certainly lit the room up! It shouldn't be a problem while riding as the airflow should help keep it cool, but might be worth noting if you stop during your ride.
The 145g battery pack is pretty hefty, but narrow enough to fit on your top tube without getting in the way. You have numerous options for placement, whether you prefer the top tube, below your stem, seatpost or just in your rucksack. The Velcro strap has a protective rubber layer so no worries about scratching your paint job if you secure it to your frame.
A nice touch is the inclusion of an extension cord. If you prefer mounting the battery up front on the bike then you can use the normal 35cm cables without excess cable to wind up. If you stash it in your saddle bag or rucksack, then you can use the 110cm extension cable.
Charging comes via a mains plug, so no USB charging annoyingly if you were wanting to charge it up easily at work. Charging times from flat is three hours and when fully charged it automatically switches off, preventing the worry of a hot lithium battery pack next to your bed all night.
Other than a few of the small niggles highlighted, this light is excellent. It's incredibly bright, perfect for night 'cross rides through the woods or on dark and quiet B roads. You will have no worries of drivers seeing you on larger, busier roads either.
Even so, the price is tough to swallow. You'll need to have a good think about what kind of riding you will be doing before throwing down that kind of money. If your only riding at night is a commute through town or on well-lit roads, there's little need to go to this extreme. But if you ride long dark roads through the winter months, whether training or commuting, and a good view of the road and traffic is critical, then the BBB Scope 1500 should be a strong contender.
An exceptional light but it comes at an exceptional price
road.cc test report
Make and model: BBB Scope 1500
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?
The BBB Scope 1500 is aimed at riding in particularly dark conditions with the aim of keeping you safe and aware of your surroundings. It certainly has the biggest benefits on poorly lit and unfamiliar roads or trails where you would otherwise feel particular unconfident.
BBB distributor Windwave says: "The Scope 1500 is the light to use when going out for night rides on a mountainbike."
I'd say it's for road bikes too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
SCOPE 1500BLS-69 LIGHTS - HIGH POWER
1500 Lumen XML CREE LED.
4 Modes: super beam, high beam, standard beam and low beam.
Panasonic lithium ion external battery pack (3200mAh, 7.2V) (BLS-97).
CenterMount handlebar bracket included (BLS-98).
HelmetMount included. (BLS-70).
Charger with power plug included (1.5A, 8.4V).
110 cm extension cable included.
Weight light: 110 grams, battery: 145 grams.
Size light: 44 x 34 x 52 mm, battery: 86 x 46 x 27 mm.
Light strength and Battery Life:
1500 Lumen – 1.5hrs
830 Lumen – 2.5hrs
550 Lumen – 3.5hrs
300 Lumen – 7.5hrs
Very well made, with a nice aluminium casing for the light unit. The battery pack is well protected with rubber ends to prevent damage if dropped and preventing damage to your frame.
Very well designed and good looking light. The rubber covered switch is easy to operate even with gloves on. Attaching and removing the battery pack is a slight pain, but that is the same for all external battery packs.
Great mechanism for sliding and locking in place as well as the push tab for removal, which was incredibly easy. Similarly, the angle adjustment screw was useful to be able to tighten by hand. Helmet mount is great, making it easy to see exactly where you want rather than just directly in front of you. The clamps are an area of slight annoyance though, because of the centre mount position if you have an out-front bike computer. There were work-arounds in the end, but took some fiddling which I would have preferred not to do. Plus the use of an Allen key to tighten the clamp is an added pain if you plan to swap the clamp between bikes often.
Technically, BBB doesn't claim that it's waterproof, merely water resistant, but it stood up well to the wet rides I put it through. It gets fairly steamy from the heat causing the water to evaporate but nothing to worry about. The cable junctions are well made and overlap to make a strong seal.
The battery life matches what is claimed by the manufacturer with about 1.5 hours on super beam. Ideally I would like slightly longer than that, if you have a long ride in mind or a long commute and don't have the option to charge it during the day. The other modes give better life including 3.5 hours on standard beam and 7.5 hours on low beam. Recharge times are longer than I'd hope, with 3 hours from flat, but rarely would it get to that point.
Does what it should really well. Variety of brightness settings for your needs, although oddly no flashing modes (I tend not to use them anyway).
No noticeable problems during testing. The cable ends connect securely keeping the poor weather out. The Velcro strap for the battery pack started to wear slightly from plenty of removing, but nothing to cause distress.
At just under 250g, the light unit and battery pack combination certainly isn't light (pun intended). Having said that, the benefits of its performance massively outweigh the hardship of riding with an extra 1/4kg, especially through the winter when you will probably already be adding mudguards and fatter tyres to your winter steeds.
The value of this light is very much dependent on what you use it for. If used on frequent dark rides, on morning and evening commutes or late night training rides and so on, then you could argue that it's worth it. But if it's only going to be an occasional use or you ride in well lit areas, there are cheaper and better value options for you.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Did the job very well. Good range of modes for different light conditions. Made night riding seem easy and safe, which is the most important thing. An external battery pack is always a bit frustrating, but worth the extra hassle of attaching it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
It was incredibly bright which was perfect for my late night 'cross or road rides. The extension cord is a nice little extra, meaning you don't have loads of excess cable wound up around your frame if you attach the battery pack up front.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
The price tag is always going to be a contentious issue. It also gets particularly hot which is annoying if you have to remove the light when you arrive at your destination. Also, having to use an Allen key to remove the mount may seem a minor issue, but becomes very annoying when swapping between bikes all the time.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Yes, if I remortgage my house...
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Bar a few small points, the Scope 1500 is well designed and works incredibly well; you just need to consider what and how much you will be using it for to warrant the price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Cadx My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
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, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives