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The Blackburn Mars click is very hard to beat in terms of build quality, burn times, output relative to size and good old fashioned value for money.
Models with greater LEDs and larger surface areas are better choices for tag-alongs/trailers but prodigious peripheral visibility, brilliantly executed switch and universal bracket mean the Mars is a delight to use and won’t spoil the clean lines of sporty audax/winter training bikes.
Build quality is to Blackburn’s traditionally superior standards-well sealed in the weatherproof yet accessible sense. A good dousing from the garden hose made no impression but I resisted the urge to immerse ours for long periods and a slither of Vaseline on and around the contacts is good insurance for those riding in the worst weathers.
Cubes don’t sound synonymous with chic styling but in my opinion the Mars manages to pull it off, helped in no small part by the clever monocoque shroud and rubberised brackets that slip securely around seatposts, seatstays and clothing tabs-it’s one of very few that has proved compatible with the Univega’s volumous rack bag.
Powered by two CR2032 watch batteries, two tiny LEDs blink or glow at the press of the integrated lens/switch. Others come very close but Blackburn’s is the easiest to operate in heavily padded winter gloves and it won’t readily engage in a pocket or bag.
The more pronounced lens produces a one hundred and eighty degree beacon of light, visible from around four hundred metres on a clear night, falling to three-fifty in murky conditions. Flashing seems the most effective at signalling road presence, greatly reducing the likelihood of a SMIDSY when tackling poorly lit roundabouts or emerging from concealed entrances but I’m fond of running at least one static light with a couple of blinky friends.
Real world run times are refreshingly long and broadly accurate (we’ve managed sixty-seven and one hundred and thirty-three compared with 70 and 133 hours respectively) but this could fluctuate n warmer/freezing conditions. Battery changes are pretty intuitive so long as you keep a coin handy for opening the case and a couple of dry runs in the comfort of the kitchen are advisable before performing dead of night roadside changes in a howling gale.
Really well conceived-a design classic.
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Make and model: Blackburn Mars Click tail light
Size tested: Black
Tell us what the product 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?
"The new Click technology offers modern styling, great features and the perfect price
Simple strap the light on your bars and with a quick 'Click' you're ready to go".
Simple, effective and a delight to use.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
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, mtb,
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)