There are four main considerations when buying a light, in my opinion: performance, price, ease of use and build quality. So how did the Sigma Buster 200 LED front light fare? In a nutshell, it's very good as an urban light to be seen by and is solidly constructed while being nice and light, but it's slightly fiddly to use and you can buy similar lights with an RRP about £20 cheaper. However, if you look online you can currently find it discounted by about £15.
It has six modes: three steady (200, 100 and 50 lumens) and three flashing (normal, strobe and SOS). Burn times compare well to those claimed by Sigma. On full power it lasted 1hr 50mins (claimed 2hrs) with the battery indicator showing red for the last 30mins, but then it died suddenly and without warning. On normal flash it lasted an excellent 9:50 (claimed 6hrs) with the last 50mins on the red indicator. It charged in 2:30, faster than the stated 3 hours.
The beam from the single LED is very bright – you don't want to look straight at it from close up, that's for sure. This makes it perfect for using to alert other road users when cycling around town. The light has a tiny window each side for side visibility, but you can barely see them under streetlights.
> Buyer's Guide: The best 2017/2018 front lights for cycling
Despite Sigma's claims, I didn't rate the Buster 200's performance on unlit roads. Using it on the towpath portion of my commute in steady mode, it throws its beam quite far ahead but it's so narrow and focused there's little peripheral illumination. Also you have to choose between either seeing a way ahead, or pointing it down to see what's closer in front of you. I much prefer a wider-spread beam pattern, like that of the similarly priced Knog PWR Commuter 450 and Ravemen CR300, for example, or the £10 cheaper Niterider Swift 450.
My initial impression of the light was that it looked a bit cheap, with its removable rubber casing, but I mistook the lightweight aluminium body for plastic. In fact, build quality is good, as you might expect for a German-engineered unit, and the case protects it if you drop it, which I did. It's a good size and weight for commuting, fitting easily in a jacket or jersey pocket.
However, the plastic screw-bracket handlebar mount is a bit disappointing. It stays put fine with rubber shims and you don't need a screwdriver to attach it; instead, the long screw tightens by hand, but a disconcerting amount of it protrudes just where your thumb goes while sliding the light on or off. It's a bit fiddly aligning the light body with the mount too, but on the plus side this swivels so you can adjust the direction of the beam. You can buy a rubber strap mount separately – it's a shame Sigma didn't supply this instead of the screw bracket because they're so much quicker and simpler to fit. Also in the box is an action camera mount adapter, for attaching the Buster to your helmet.
The power button serves triple duty as a mode selector and battery indicator, showing green and red. To switch the light on you need to do a fast double-press, to turn it off press and hold. This means it's virtually impossible to switch it on accidentally when it's in your bag, which is a good thing. However, you have to get the timing right to turn it on – once I thought it had died but I just wasn't pressing it fast enough, lesson learnt! Also, the button can be a bit fiddly to operate because you have to press it quite hard, and when wearing gloves it's hard to feel it because it's almost flush with the light body. Toggling through modes takes a single press of the button.
Overall, there's a lot of good features in the Buster 200, but it doesn't add up to a great light for the money, mostly down to the narrow beam pattern, which makes it unsuitable for using on unlit roads.
Decent construction and power but it's pricey and let down by the narrow beam pattern
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Make and model: Sigma Buster 200 LED Front Light
Size tested: Light output 200 lumen
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?
Sigma says: "The BUSTER 200 impresses with a bright 200 lumen output, an integrated lithium ion USB rechargable battery, and a 50 meter beam range. A silicone cover protects the aluminium housing on night rides while the powerful LED lights the way. Great burn time, great battery capacity, charge indicator and six light modes make this light a must-have!
SIGMA SPORT represents German technology at its highest level, combining innovative design with precision engineering. We test all our products in our in-house laboratories to withstand the harshest conditions, ensuring quality continually through our production.
All SIGMA SPORT standard lights conform to the stringent German traffic standard, and all SIGMA SPORT products are CE-approved. No SIGMA SPORT product is shipped until it passes our thorough inspection."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Light output 200 lumen
1 high power LED
6 modes: power- (200 lm), standard (100 lm), eco (50 lm ), flashing, quick-flashing, SOS flashing mode
Claimed burn time: 2 hours (power), 3.5 hours (standard), 7 hours (eco), 6 hours (flashing), 5.5 hours (fast-flashing) and 8 hours (SOS flashing mode)
Recharges in 3 hours
Integrated lithium-ion rechargeable battery
Tool-free screw-bracket mount
Klick-Power button with tactile ON/OFF
2-stage battery/charging status indicator
High-quality aluminium body for optimal thermal management
Side visibility windows
Protective silicone case
Integrated USB port
Weight: 108g inc mount (light 80g)
In the box: light, screw-bracket bar mount, action camera mount adapter, micro USB charging cable
Rate the light for quality of construction:
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
To turn it on you need to press the button twice in quick succession; too slow and it doesn't work. Also it's tricky to feel the button through thick gloves as it's almost flush with the light body.
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
Bracket is a bit fiddly to fit/remove quickly, the screw protrudes a fair way so you could potentially catch a finger on it, and there's no swivel head. I would prefer a rubber strap mount.
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
It's described as water resistant, not submersible, so I wouldn't rely on it in prolonged downpours.
Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
Performed in line with the claimed times, which are pretty good.
Rate the light for performance:
It works very well as a light to be seen by, but for a similar RRP you can buy lights with a better beam for riding on unlit roads, such as the Knog PWR Commuter 450.
Rate the light for durability:
The screw-bracket is inferior to the light.
Rate the light for weight:
Rate the light for value:
There are cheaper lights that are better (eg Niterider 450 Swift) and much cheaper lights that are similar (eg Cateye Volt 200XC and Moon Meteor).
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It didn't impress me nor light my way particularly well, as promised by Sigma, but the bright, focused beam certainly catches motorists' attention.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Good burn times especially on flash mode, brightness and its light weight.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
The bracket with screw sticking out; too narrow and dim a beam in steady mode; limited side visibility.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes – as an extra flashing light to be seen by.
Would you consider buying the light? No
Would you recommend the light to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
It's an okay light, let down by a narrow beam pattern, bracket and price for what you get.
Age: 45 Height: 170cm Weight: 62kg
I usually ride: Marin Point Reyes 29er My best bike is: Whyte T-130 RS
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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