review

ETC Mizar Combo Lightset

4
£120.00

VERDICT:

4
10
Disappointing lightset, down on stated lighting power and generally feels old-fashioned
Weight: 
98g

The ETC Mizar is a slightly old-fashioned front and rear lightset with battery-pack boasting good run-times and remote control. Ultimately, though, its output is disappointing, its charging system is far from convenient, and the whole setup feels old fashioned.

  • Pros: Run-times are OK, remote is easy to use, good waterproofing
  • Cons: All-out power isn't staggering, quite a cumbersome setup, charging requires an AC adapter 'brick', no charge indicator

ETC is cycle distributor Moore Large's own brand of lighting and the range features a pretty diverse selection of kit. I'm fresh off the back of testing the very impressive ETC Kochab front light, where I was pleasantly surprised by its no-frills but very competent performance.

> Buy this online here

This Mizar lightset, though, is a completely different kettle of fish. First of all, it features a 2,000-lumen front light and a 15-lumen rear, both with the potential to be controlled by the included handlebar-mounted remote (or by buttons on the light bodies themselves). Secondly, both lights are powered by a single battery pack, which contains four Li-Ion batteries.

The lights connect to the pack via a splitter and some very sturdy waterproof ports.

The setup seems a bit old-school and it doesn't help that you have to attach the battery pack to your frame using included Velcro straps, while the lights and remote are mounted using that old favourite: silicone bands.

That said, the design of the lights is quite cute, with the rear being a bijou little thing and the front light body following the retro theme somewhat by evoking the style of a grill from a 1930s American sedan. (It's probably more designed with heat dissipation in mind, but that's what it looks like to me.)

Run-times and charging

In terms of run modes, the front light can operate at full power (theoretically 2,000 lumen, but we'll get to that later) for about 3 hours; 50% power for about 5 hours; 30% power for 15 hours, or 'flash' mode for 7 hours. The rear light has three flash modes and one constant.

Using the remote is super-easy, with a simple push of the big top button to change between the modes of the front light, and a poke of the smaller button changing modes at the rear. That does mean you have to cycle through modes, including flash, to get the one you want, which I know can irritate some people.

Officially charging time is 4 hours, but it was nearer to 4.5 in my experience. And a big, big thing to consider is that charging isn't done by the ubiquitous USB cable but by a hefty AC adapter 'brick' that plugs into the battery pack. This adapter has an LED that changes from red to green to signal charging complete. If you can see where we're going here, that also means there's no way to see how much charge is remaining with the lightset itself.

Performance

We won't talk too much about the rear light, because that does pretty much what you'd expect from a small 15-lumen rear light, which means it signals your position on the road. To be fair, it's actually rather effective and possibly the best bit of the whole Mizar setup.

The front, though, is a little disappointing. In isolation, outright power from the front light is decent and on its highest setting it lights the way ahead for a good 100ft. For fast road riding, you wouldn't need anything more. However, I am very dubious about its stated 2,000 lumen power: tested next to ETC's own 1,000-lumen Kochab, the results look identical. In fact, I'd say the Kochab is a tad brighter.

The other settings follow the same trend – the Mizar's 50% (theoretically 1,000 lumens) is very, very similar to the Kochab's 50% (500 lumen) setting. That means it's good for urban cycling. Meanwhile, the flash will get you noticed at any time of day.

Part of the Mizar's problem can be attributed to the lens and beam shape. While the Kochab has almost all of its light focused on a nice central circle, the Mizar front light beam has only some of its light directed to a central spot, then a lot of light is also lost to form a less bright outer square shape. It might give a tad more light at the peripheries of where you point the beam, but it's not effective.

Value and conclusion

There aren't a whole lot of 2,000-lumen lights out there, but Stu recently tested and loved the Ravemen PR1600 with 1,600 lumens of power and a fair bit of other tech for £129.99.

In terms of lightsets, it's probably fairer to compare it to the Lezyne Connect Drive Pair, which only has an 800-lumen front light, but similar actual performance and a remote for £135.

The only lightset we've tested with a similar ultra-high front output is the Magicshine MJ-906 with a whopping claimed 5,000 lumens for £119.94. However, that suffered from the exact same problems we have here – albeit with a higher headline output. There is a good reason for that, though: Magicshine is the same brand that makes these ETC lights.

> Read more road.cc reviews of front lights here

That Magicshine setup did have some good points, such as its weatherproofing for trail riding, the price and decent run-times. The same could be said for the Mizar, but at a lower 2,000 lumen (or effective 1,000 lumen) it's not as suitable for off-road riding, and it's also not such good value. Indeed, only the relatively long run-times remain as a positive, and when you factor in all the gubbins needed to charge the battery pack and then reattach it, you may wonder if it's really worth it.

Having tested this and ETC's Kochab self-contained single front light back-to-back, I certainly know what I'd prefer. Save £40, buy the Kochab, get yourself a separate rear light and avoid a little bit of lightset Mizar-y.

Verdict

Disappointing lightset, down on stated lighting power and generally feels old-fashioned

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road.cc test report

Make and model: ETC Mizar Combo Lightset

Size tested: L45xW33xH38mm

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?

The Mizar is a lightset with a high-powered front light.

ETC/Moore Large doesn't say much, just: "2000 Lumen Combo set with separate battery, handlebar bracket and helmet mount."

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

ETC/Moore Large lists:

OVERVIEW

2000 Lumen Combo set with seperate battery, handlebar bracket and helmet mount.

Light source: 2 x CREE XM-L2 LEDs

Luminous Flux: 2000 Lumen (Theoretical Maximum)

Working Modes: Front 100%-50%-30%-Strobe / Rear 100%-Pulse Flash-Flash-Strobe

Battery: 4x18650 Li-ion batteries (7.4V 5.2Ah)

Runtime: 3.1 hours-100% / 5.2 hours-50% / 15.2 hours-30% / 7.2 hours-Flash

Product Size: L45xW33xH38mm

Weight: 647g

And under Specification:

Bulbs: 2 x CREE LED

Battery pack: 4x18650 Li-ion batteries (7.4V 5.2Ah)

Fitment: Silicon bands

Output (front): 2000 lumens

Output (rear): 15 lumens

Rechargeable: Yes

Weight: 647g

Remote included

Rate the front light for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the rear light for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Light bodies are quite nicely designed and rather small.

Rate the light set for design and ease of use. How simple were the lights to use?
 
7/10

Very straightforward, although charging is a hassle.

Rate the front light for the design and usability of the clamping system
 
5/10
Rate the rear light for the design and usability of the clamping system
 
5/10

Simple silicone straps.

Rate the front light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
10/10
Rate the front light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
10/10

Weatherproofing is one of the Mizar's strong points.

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

Run-times aren't bad, but with a battery pack this big, you'd hope so.

Rate the front light for performance:
 
4/10
Rate the rear light for performance:
 
8/10

It seems to me that the front light gives out about half the effective stated lumens. Rear light is much better.

Rate the front light for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the rear light for durability:
 
7/10

Seems sturdy, but there's a lot of unplugging and plugging of parts involved in every recharge which may affect durability.

Rate the front light for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the rear light for weight:
 
8/10

There's nothing to them. Factor in the battery pack, though...

Rate the light set for value:
 
6/10

It's not bad value in all-out terms. If this was marketed as a 1,000-lumen front light it would be fine. For example, if we compare if to the Lezyne Connect Drive Pair, which only has an 800-lumen front light, there's similar actual performance for £135.

Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose

Rear light was good. Front light way down on stated effective lighting power compared to modern lights.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights

Run-times are OK.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights

Front light performance was nowhere near as good as expected. Convoluted setup. No charge indicator. Heavy system.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Lezyne Connect Drive Pair only has an 800-lumen front light, but similar actual performance and a remote for £135. The only lightset we've tested with a similar ultra-high front output is the Magicshine MJ-906 with a whopping claimed 5,000 lumens for £119.94. However, that suffered from the exact same problems we have here – albeit with a higher headline output. There is a good reason for that: Magicshine is the same brand that makes these ETC lights.

Did you enjoy using the lights? Nope

Would you consider buying the lights? No

Would you recommend the lights to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your overall score

The Mizar is a fairly heavy and overly-complex system that doesn't give out as much effective light as it claims. It is cheap, waterproof and still quite bright, though.

Overall rating: 4/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'0  Weight: 16 stone

I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29  My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy

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: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking, leisure

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