The Moon Meteor C3 is a compact, eight-mode front light capable of delivering 300 lumens in constant and an equally impressive 400-lumen daylight flash. Build quality is superb throughout. The diminutive dimensions, comprehensive mounting options and generally usable run-times ensure it can play a wealth of roles, from a single commuter/contingency light to powerful main system support act.
- Pros: Compact, bright, versatile and well made
- Cons: Relatively short run-times in the highest steady setting
Inside the beautifully sculpted, CNC machined shell we have a single XPG2 Cree LED amplified by a 'high precision optical' lens and fed by a 3.7 V 1200mAh lithium polymer battery. I was slightly surprised, given the standard of detailing, that it only met IPX4 for weather-proofing. However, the charge port and plug are well engineered and I've had no problems leaving it in-situ during sudsy bucket bike washing sessions let alone heavy October showers.
Overall, it's a real belter of a light, although I wasn't surprised by some minor trade-offs.
Of the light's eight modes, four are constant, four flashing. I was pleased the Meteor C3 has a memory function.
The highest constant pumps out 300 lumens, which has sufficient navigational bite for short stretches of semi-rural work; the 200-lumen mode is arguably optimal for suburban work, although the 100 might be sufficient through better lit sections, especially if you're looking to conserve juice, and 50 lumens is your bailout.
Unlike many commuter-targeted models, the Meteor C3 uses a very pure, unbroken arc of light with greater precision in the centre for picking out the detail, while the less potent peripheries ensure you're seen and from a decent distance too. It reminded me of Oxford's UltraTorch Pro 300.
As well as being able to navigate semi-rural sections in the highest steady setting, at least on less challenging roads, I seemed to register at around 80 metres, although any dipping of the headlights happened around 30 metres, if at all. When fully charged, it's given nigh-on the 90 minutes cited.
The full 300 isn't overkill through the suburbs, but like most of this genre, getting the best balance of performance and economy requires dipping down to the lower settings. I've tended to staircase down between 200 and 100 lumens, depending on conditions. Both are good enough for town and suburban navigation and promise another 45 minutes and 3 hours, actually delivering 43 and 2:56.
Aside from being useful in an emergency, for limping home or shared path scenarios, the 50-lumen setting only has frugality to write home about (a claimed 9 hours).
So to the flashing/intermittent options. Arguably, the 400-lumen daylight option is the biggest selling point, but all these modes – 20 and 100-lumen options and a hybrid setting – have some genuine merit. Hybrid settings are becoming more popular and combine a low(er) constant beam with an extrovert flash/pulse, in this instance 20/400 lumens. I'm warming to them, though not sure they're necessarily superior to a 300/400-lumen flash in the safety/be-seen-with sense.
The day flash is extremely obvious, even in relatively tricky – i.e. very bright – conditions. Cars and other vehicles seemed to pick it up around 100 metres or so, further when overcast. Despite the lack of windows, the pace and quality of light is sufficiently potent to avoid any stealth moments when entering the flow of traffic. Moon reckons it's good for 30 hours.
At the other extreme, the 20-lumen flash is pretty tame by contemporary standards but arguably still good enough in town, especially paired with a dynamo and/or where sheer frugality is a must. Flash 2 (100 lumens) is a much better bet all-round, and in real terms, loses nothing operationally. It also comes within 7 minutes of the 15 hours quoted from a full 2.5-hour charge, allowing for some mode changing in between. This sort of output could (almost) pass as a day mode, but at dusk and dawn other riders reckoned they could spot me at a good 250 metres, while friends in cars reckoned around 300m, albeit on dark, open roads.
By the same token there's a fine line between assertion and aggression – it's a touch too bright at close quarters; stop-go rush hour/congested traffic calls for something lower.
Last of the flashers is the constant/steady hybrid pairing. Strictly speaking it's an alternating strobe, a pure white arc for a few moments, then assumes the familiar pulsing sequence, and so on. Visibility is good to around 300 metres along unlit backroads and relatively clear nights, dipping to around 180m when conditions are murky, or negotiating the pre-Christmas high street.
The switch is tiny but easily found and operated. It's less convenient than some, when you're wearing winter weight gloves, but hardly a challenge. Two definite presses bring the unit to life and in the last setting you selected. Subsequent prods cruise through the others. I've had no unwanted power-ups while carrying it in pockets or luggage.
There's an optional remote trigger too – I might be tempted at the right price, but that's just an added layer of convenience, not a criticism of the existing switch.
The battery life indicator works to the traffic-light principle, albeit blue, green and red. During the charging phases, it flicks from red to blue when fully fuelled. Nothing out of the ordinary.
The OEM watch strap pattern is both simple and works well with all diameters of bars/extension brackets. However, Moon offers aftermarket alternatives, including a Go-Pro adaptor and helmet option.
Aside from the moderate run-times in the highest settings, I've loved testing the C3. A penny shy of £30, it knocks most price-point rivals into a cocked hat (though the Oxford UltraTorch, mentioned above, comes close). True, 300 lumens isn't enough for the sort of late night lane antics that characterises my winter riding diet, but the excellent build quality and diminutive size mean it excels as a tuneable dynamo/high power battery companion.
These qualities also mean it lends itself to best bikes used during the drier, salt-free spells typical of late autumn/early winter. The sort that requires a flashing mode or two and some proper navigational punch to get you the remaining 5-10 miles home by.
Impressive compact commuter light with sensible choice of settings
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Moon Meteor C3 front light
Size tested: 71x43x25
Tell us what the light is for
Moon limits information to the specification, box contents and aftermarket accessories.
I would describe the Moon Meteor C3 as a very tuneable compact commuter light, cable enough in the higher settings for suburban navigation, small and cheap enough enough to share bar space with a more powerful system.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
* 1 XPG2 high brightness LED
* Rechargeable lithium polymer battery (3.7V 1200mAh)
* Mode memory function
* Day flash mode
* 4 steady modes, 4 flashing modes
* Quick release unversal bracket fits all round and AERO style bars
* Mode indicator
* Battery capacity and charging indicator
* Low battery, charging and fully charged indicator
* Automatic fully charged cut-off system
* High precision optical lens
* Recharge time 2.5hrs
* Water Resistance (IPX 4)
* Weight: 0.140Kg / Packing & Package: 0.1Kg
* RB-25 (Universal handlebar bracket)
* USB-WP (Water resistant USB cable)
* RB- 26 (Handlebar bracket)
* RB-16 (Helmet bracket)
* RB- 28 (GoPro mount adapter)
* XP-USC (Wall charger)
* USB-RM-350 (USB remtoe control 350mm)
Mode Lumen Runtime
MODE 1 300 1:30
MODE 2 200 2:15
MODE 3 100 4:30
MODE 4 50 9:00
FL 1 20 48:00
FL 2 100 15:00
FL 3 *20/400 12:00
DAY FL 400 30:00
* FL 3 is a steady-flashing mode. High Lumen flashing plus low lumen steady beam for safety purpose
Looks and feels well made.
There is the option of a remote trigger, which could be useful, especially when wearing densely padded winter gloves, but otherwise the main is pretty straightforward. Small size means the switch-cum-selector is trickier to operate than some, when changing modes on the move, but it becomes easier with practice.
Simple and secure tenure across the full zodiac of handlebar diameters.
Efficient charge times. A little short on run-time in the highest steady setting. Battery life indicator slipped to red faster than I was expecting, though run-times have been faithful to those cited.
Well made and no obvious weak spots.
Very competitive, given the specification and output.
Seriously good, compared with other, worthy lights in this price range.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Moon Meteor C3 is a real pocket-rocket. In the higher settings it's adequate, navigationally, in semi-rural contexts, and the other modes, though specifically daylight, really pack a punch. In common with others of this genre, there's some trade-off in terms of run-times in the highest setting but there are a wealth of frugal options catering for most situations when used as a safety rather than navigational tool.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Pretty much everything given the design brief and price tag. I would happily pay a few quid more if the remote switch was included in the kit.
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
Competitively priced, versatile compact light, with enough bite on its own for suburban riding, and small enough to pair with higher power/dynamo system for longer night rides.
About the tester
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)