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Verdict: 
Well-made torch-type light with scope for darker commutes
Weight: 
78g
Oxford UltraTorch Pro 300
7 10

The Oxford UltraTorch Pro 300 is a compact, four-mode front light with a maximum output of – bet you can't guess – 300 lumens. Don't let the modest numbers deceive you, this could be the ideal front light for clutter-phobic riders wanting something as an accompaniment to a more powerful/dynamo system, in flashing modes, or for best bikes that still get a run on autumn/winter afternoons.

  • Pros: Compact size, torch-style versatility, screw-down base
  • Cons: A bit underpowered for the darkest lanes

It's pretty well made for the money. The shell is CNC machined aluminium with a hardy black finish and it meets IPX65 for water resistance, which is much higher than you'd expect from a road model, especially at this price point.

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A screw-down base/back protects the internals and lolly-stick charge plug (the sort that just slots straight into mains or USB ports). Charge time isn't rapid but at 2hrs 30mins, give or take, more than practical enough for most people.

Oxford UltraTorch Pro 300 - side.jpg

Oxford UltraTorch Pro 300 - side.jpg

Behind the collimator lens lives a single Cree diode and a decent reflector. A halo type window is different and in many respects more effective than the bead-type windows when it comes to being seem from the sides.

Switch

Continuing this clear theme, the centre-mounted switch incorporates a crude though effective charge indicator: blue for good levels, red when things are on the slide. There's a fair bit of leeway, so red doesn't signal impending doom. While the casing might look a tad rubbery, the mechanism is fairly positive, so straightforward in full-finger gloves. It shouldn't accidentally engage when bouncing around the bottom of a bag either.

Oxford UltraTorch Pro 300 - top.jpg

Oxford UltraTorch Pro 300 - top.jpg

Output

We have three steady modes and a single flash. Thanks to the very pure beam (rather than the genre typical spot/flood hybrid), 300 lumen steady has more than enough bite for suburban runs and is just about navigational grade on semi-rural stretches, giving advanced warning of holes and other hazards.

It did feel underpowered along pitch black stretches, but visible to around 200 metres on a clear night. That said, its compact dimensions mean it's a godsend should a higher power system unexpectedly run out of juice, or you need to tend a puncture/similar mechanical by the roadside. Oxford reckons it should be good for 2 hours, ours has returned 5 minutes or so shy of that, which is pretty faithful.

Oxford UltraTorch Pro 300 - 2.jpg

Oxford UltraTorch Pro 300 - 2.jpg

Medium looks to be half that – 150 lumens, which is borne out in the run-times: 4hrs official, 3hrs 55-57mins my real world experience. Despite the aluminum housing and relatively modest output, it does become quite warm to touch at this point but not in finger singeing territory.

This would be my suburban/urban go-to mode, striking the right pitch between power and economy. Helmet mounting is possible, with a very big rubber doughnut type strap, and that pure beam is fine for rummaging through panniers, reading road signs/maps, or locating the house keys.

> Buyer's Guide: The best 2017/2018 front lights for cycling

Low, 30 lumens, has frugality in its favour and, again, is a good pre-standlight dynamo companion or emergency option.

Flashing is, by my reckoning, 150-160 lumens and far more effective for being seen than the low mode, ours doubling up with a higher power system. It's just about bright enough as a 'daylight' mode, while on a clear night I've caught the eye of oncoming traffic from 350 metres, nearer 200/250m within city limits. This was particularly helpful for maintaining my presence when I experienced an intermittent fault (traced to loose wiring) with an 80 lux dynamo lamp.

Conclusion

Overall and for the money, the UltraTorch Pro 300 is a solid little light. A memory function would be handy, and maybe an SOS/strobe option would win some additional brownie points, but it meets the townie torch-type brief remarkably well, right down to the simple but vibration- and ejection-free mount. It compares well on price with other 300-lumen options too, such as Xeccon's Link 300 at £32.99, and Fabric's FL300 at £49.99, though that has the option of being a rear light too.

Verdict

Well-made torch-type light with scope for darker commutes

road.cc test report

Make and model: Oxford UltraTorch Pro 300

Size tested: 300 Lumens

Tell us what the light is for

Oxford cleary feels the UltraTorch requires no elaboration beyond its spec. My feelings are that it's a well made compact torch type light that has enough power for short bursts beyond the suburbs, or as a companion to a higher power battery/dynamo system.

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

Oxford lists:

Single LED 300 lumens output

USB rechargeable lithium battery

Full / dipped and flash modes

2 - 8hrs run time

IP65 water resistant

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
7/10
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
8/10
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
9/10

IPX65 is pretty good, especially at this end of the market. Very well sealed from the elements and seemingly resistant to accidental drops, like falling from a pocket.

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

Run-times have been faithful – within a few minutes of those cited from a full charge. Provided you're not straying from the suburbs for too long, the balance between output and economy should be practical.

Rate the light for performance:
 
7/10

Good, especially in the 'seen with' sense, although the 300 lumens gives a bit of scope for exploring semi-rural sections.

Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10

Seems pretty rugged – the screw-down base/back and lack of composites bodes well for longevity.

Rate the light for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

Good build, spec and performance for less than £30.

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

Overall, it's a compact design that has four sensible modes and decent run-times. Small enough for a best bike, it's also been a very welcome companion to dynamo and other higher power headlamps. Torch design means it comes in handy for rummaging through luggage, reading maps/road signs and when tackling roadside mechanicals.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Versatile, decent build for the money and good quality of output.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Nothing given the design brief and asking price.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Yes

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's a useful compact torch model for general riding or as a companion to higher power systems.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb 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)

8 comments

Avatar
Welsh boy [537 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

What is a "very pure beam" please?  A spot?  A flood?  Something inbetween?

 

Avatar
Tass Whitby [57 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Welsh boy wrote:

What is a "very pure beam" please?  A spot?  A flood?  Something inbetween?

 

Shaun says 'The whole beam shape is very pure i.e. without halos/similar imperfections.' So, more spot than flood.

Avatar
Welsh boy [537 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
Tass Whitby wrote:
Welsh boy wrote:

What is a "very pure beam" please?  A spot?  A flood?  Something inbetween?

 

Shaun says 'The whole beam shape is very pure i.e. without halos/similar imperfections.' So, more spot than flood.

Tass, are you sure?  You could have a flood without halos or imperfections making it very pure.

Avatar
Tass Whitby [57 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Welsh boy wrote:

Tass Whitby wrote:

Welsh boy wrote:

What is a "very pure beam" please?  A spot?  A flood?  Something inbetween?

 

Shaun says 'The whole beam shape is very pure i.e. without halos/similar imperfections.' So, more spot than flood.

Tass, are you sure?  You could have a flood without halos or imperfections making it very pure.

I'm not sure at all Welsh Boy, I didn't test it! But I'll ask the man who did...

Avatar
Tass Whitby [57 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Welsh boy wrote:

Tass Whitby wrote:

Welsh boy wrote:

What is a "very pure beam" please?  A spot?  A flood?  Something inbetween?

 

Shaun says 'The whole beam shape is very pure i.e. without halos/similar imperfections.' So, more spot than flood.

Tass, are you sure?  You could have a flood without halos or imperfections making it very pure.

 

Shaun says: "it casts a broad, seamless arc of light, for being seen by, yet the spot element is surprisingly useful, navigationally"

Avatar
Welsh boy [537 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Thanks Tass.  I am looking for a very focused spot to back up my existing light, any suggestions?  I am thinking of a torch with focus feature to put a small spot a long way up front without lighting up the whole night sky around me.

Avatar
Tass Whitby [57 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

Welsh boy wrote:

Thanks Tass.  I am looking for a very focused spot to back up my existing light, any suggestions?  I am thinking of a torch with focus feature to put a small spot a long way up front without lighting up the whole night sky around me.

Hello Welsh boy,

I've asked Shaun again, and he suggests you look at the Moon Comet C3, Cygolite 450 or  Ravemen CR500, all recently tested.

Avatar
Tass Whitby [57 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

Welsh boy wrote:

Thanks Tass.  I am looking for a very focused spot to back up my existing light, any suggestions?  I am thinking of a torch with focus feature to put a small spot a long way up front without lighting up the whole night sky around me.

Or maybe this one from Cateye? http://road.cc/content/review/232941-cateye-volt-200-xc