If you aren't a fan of lights spoiling the sleek look of your best race machine then the Fabric Lumacell lightset is a good choice. Their minimal size and cool oval design mean they are barely noticeable when they're switched off, but turn them on and they are surprisingly illuminating.
- Pros: Subtle design, rubber band clamp means they'll fit anywhere, great waterproofing
- Cons: Low battery warning light can only be seen on low modes
For their size, the Lumacells really kick out some decent light, the front 30 lumens, the rear 20. Fabric has used COB technology, that's 'chip on board' – or in basic terms a strip of LEDs which are housed behind a nylon cover to spread the light. Fabric claims they offer 180-degree visibility, which is technically true but so little light is actually sent out to the sides that, unless you are in complete darkness, you won't be seen.
The LEDs are bright in the middle, with the rest of the light offering a healthy glow, so you should be easy to see from the front or rear. Neither light is bright enough for sunny daytime use to really make a difference, but if things are overcast or you're out at dawn or dusk they are surprisingly noticeable, especially on the high mode or flash.
Claimed burn-times are pretty good, with high at 2.5hrs, medium at 4hrs, and low and flash coming in at 8hrs. Each of those is easily achievable as well.
The only downside I found was that the red LED on the front light to show battery life isn't visible unless the light is in low or flashing mode, so it can be easy to miss that you've only got a few minutes left.
To charge the lights you simply remove the rubber cover to expose the USB and plug each light directly to a power source – ideal if you are a commuter and have access to a PC. A full charge is achieved in two and a half hours.
Clamping is dealt with by a rubber strap, and the great thing is it'll wrap around anything. Aero seatpost? No problem. My main road bike has an aero, flat topped handlebar/stem setup which means nothing fits when it comes to light brackets, but the Lumacell bracket stretched round and I could position the light horizontally in front of the stem.
The rear light doesn't take into account the angle of the seatpost, so it points down towards the wheel rather than straight out, but as long as you position it high enough towards the saddle it's not really an issue. When it's dark it casts a nice glow over your rear wheel and the ground behind.
When it comes to waterproofing, the lights are IPX5 rated which means they can stand up to water jets from any direction.
We've had some decent days of rain lately and I've been using the lights on bikes without mudguards with little issue, but just to make sure I've given them a blast of the power shower, again without suffering any kind of ingress.
Fabric suggests a price of £36.99 (a saving of three quid over buying them separately) for the set, which isn't bad. BBB's Spy Combo is nearly £50, and while they're about six quid more expensive than the Xeccon Geinea lightset, you are getting double the power output with the Lumacells without sacrificing battery life. I think they offer pretty decent value for money, especially as they seem to be well made and are easy to use.
Smart looking, discreet 'be seen' lights with decent brightness and burn-times
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Fabric Lumacell Light Set
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the light set 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?
Fabric says, "Keep yourself visible even in low light conditions, with a compact back light that's perfect for on the go. Powered by COB technology the Lumacell 'be seen' light provides vital 180° visibility, housed in a compact, tough nylon case. Direct USB charging means it's portable and simple to reboot for the ride home."
I found the Lumacells easy to fit, simple to charge and great 'be seen' lights.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light set?
Fabric lists these features:
30 / 20 lumens (F / R)
Direct USB charging
IPX5 water proofing
Water tight seal
The lights have a simple button on top to scroll through each mode.
Stood up to everything the rating says it should.
Both burn and charge times were easily within Fabric's claims.
Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose
Surprisingly bright for their size and ideal emergency lights.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights
Their simple and sleek design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights
Little warning that the battery is going flat in higher modes.
Did you enjoy using the lights? Yes
Would you consider buying the lights? Yes
Would you recommend the lights to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A really well designed set of lights that'll fit any bike. Decent brightness and burn-times for a sensible price.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.