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The idea behind the Spycombo USB LED Headlight and Rear Light set from BBB is versatility. It's true the lights can be used in a variety of ways, but as a bicycle light set it's too compromised to be more than a get-you-home option – and at that price it doesn't look particularly attractive.
It's the mounting system that gives this lightset its do-it-all virtues. The two units twist-fit into shallow mounts, which in turn are held onto the handlebar or seatpost by the supplied rubber bands.
While the mounts themselves are reasonably robust, and have rubber back pads to provide grip, none of the bands seemed quite tight enough to keep the front light stationary on the handlebar and it would gradually tilt upwards over the course of a ride. The rear light, on the other hand, having no compensation for the angle of the seatpost, pointed mostly at my back tyre.
There's a third mount provided into which both lights can be set, one pointing forward and one pointing back. This can be attached with a Velcro strap, either to a helmet or as an arm-band for all-round illumination on dark lanes.
Operation is simple: press the lens to turn the light on and scroll through the menu of full, half-power or flashing. At 15 lumens, the rear light is perfectly adequate for both town and country riding. The front, at 40, is a good get-you-seen option, but doesn't throw enough light for out-of-town wayfinding. The lens projects alternating light and dark concentric rings onto the road.
Battery life is very good – at full power, the front light gave 3 hours 50 minutes, well over BBB's claimed 3 hours, though it may be shorter in the winter. The flashing mode claims to offer 25 hours which should be plenty for a week's commute. BBB helpfully provides two short USB charging cables so you can charge both while you work.
Overall, if the Spycombo USB set was £20 cheaper I would say this would make a good auxiliary lightset to use in addition to your main setup or good summer running lights, but given the compromises, £50 seems steep.
If you like the idea but not the price, and can live without the USB charging, it's available with CR2032 batteries for £29.95.
Decent enough day-running or back-up lights, with uses away from the bike, but quite expensive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: BBB SpyCombo USB Front and Rear Light Set
Size tested: Black
Tell us what the light set is for
BBB says: "Multifunctional light for use in the city. Also a good light to use on outdoor activities where visibility is key, such as running or walking your dog."
Watch BBB's video for more:
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light set?
40 Lumens, 3 hours
20 Lumens, 6 hours
40 lumens flashing, 25 hours.
15 lumens, 3 hours
7.5 lumens, 6 hours
15 lumens flashing, 25 hours
Includes 2x usb cables, assoreted rubber bands, two bar/seatpost mounts, one combined front/rear mount with velcro strap.
Seems reasonably tough.
Simple push-the-lens operation and scrolling through limited but useful modes. Easy twist-in fitting.
The shaping of the rubber back-pad is not ideal. On the handlebar the light tended to move upwards (not helped by the rather slack rubber bands provided). On the back there's no account taken of the seatpost angle so the light points too far down. However, they are secure.
BBB advises against leaving the lights on your bike when you wash it, which suggests a lack of confidence in waterproofing. There is a seal between the light and mount, and at the lens end there is a rubber seal behind the head unit.
The test period was dry and benign. We shall see what winter brings!
Better battery life than forecast by about 20%. Recharge time around 2 hours.
The front light is fine as a day-running light or a get-you-seen urban night light but did have a tendency to point upwards. The concentric light-and-dark circles are not wonderful on dark roads.
The rear light is plenty bright enough for town and country but doesn't point back towards the traffic properly.
The test period's been pretty benign so this hasn't been a demanding test for the long-term durability of these lights. If the water stays out of the electronics they should be okay as they are simple and quite tough.
BBB might argue that the lightset's versatility makes it good value – one set of lights to do it all. For me, though, they just didn't deliver enough performance on the bike to justify this fairly substantial outlay. If you want to dress up like the guy in the video, with four sets of lights and one set for the dog, it'll set you back nearly £300!
Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose
The lights themselves are adequate, if unexceptional. The mounts are secure but not really bike-friendly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights
Good battery life, simple to use.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights
Difficult to direct them at the traffic. Price.
Did you enjoy using the lights? Functional, not enjoyable.
Would you consider buying the lights? No
Would you recommend the lights to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a crowded market out there with good lights available at all kinds of budgets. I thought these lights delivered modest-budget performance at a rather high price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking