The new ETC Alcor 2000 certainly looks good on paper: 2,000 lumens for £140 and pretty decent burn times. But while I like its shape and relative ease of use, the light spread leaves a lot to be desired for road riding.
The ETC light range is designed by Magicshine. I know this because when I turned on the Alcor, Magicshine's logo comes up on the digital display situated in the top of the light. It looks pretty similar to the Allty 2000 light, although the specifications are slightly different.
I like its shape. The way that that it narrows from the business end to the battery end means that it sits close to the handlebar. I'm not a fan of lights that are perched high above.
The clamp is easy to set up too, and holds the light securely, and the fact that it uses a Garmin style attachment means it's quick and easy to attach and remove.
However, that is about as far as my love goes for the Alcor.
First up is that 2,000 lumen claim. The ETC may have two LEDs that each come with a 1,000-lumen output, but the lens and other gubbins just aren't doing anything with that available firepower.
Compare it to something like the Ravemen PR1600. The flat, road-specific beam of the PR1600 gives plenty of controlled light spread to the sides while delivering plenty of depth down the road, without wasting any of it.
The Alcor, though, is chucking light everywhere. Riding through the lanes you could literally hear the birds start chirping at 9pm because they thought they'd been caught out by the sunrise.
It is slightly brighter right at the centre of the spot beam than the Ravemen, but the rest of the light is just wasted, so doesn't feel as bright as those lumen claims would make you think.
I had a much better experience out in the lanes with the Cateye AMPP 1100 with its wide, flat OptiCube lens.
The Alcor's lenses are slightly different for both LEDs, with one delivering a beam angle of 25 degrees for more of a flood and the other a more focused 18 degrees. I say focused but in the loosest possible term. It's a shame really, as the spread out to the sides is very good, picking up the verges and edges where you are most likely to find potholes and the like.
Off-road it works really well, too.
The ETC has five modes, with four settings for each. It works like this:
The full monty is the DRL (daytime running light, the rectangular LED along the top) and both LEDs which, on max, bungs out the claimed 2,000 lumens for an hour and a half. Press the only button once and you can have 50%, 25% or 10% of that power.
Double click the button and you move on to the next modes, two of which use a single LED and the DRL, and then you have a flash mode and DRL, although the DRL remains static.
Finally, you get the DRL on its own, which puts out about 60 lumens, and each of these modes gets the four power settings mentioned above.
A DRL is great for getting you noticed during the day. I've been using the pulse function on an Exposure Sirius for years to carve my way through the traffic, and it's that flashing that gets you noticed; it's what motorists pick up in their mirrors. So I don't really understand why the Alcor has a static one.
For most of the riding I was doing I tended to choose the twin LED mode, as you can scroll through the lower outputs when dealing with oncoming traffic and then up to higher powers when the road is clear ahead without ever having to scroll through flashing, something you don't want to be doing while riding.
If you want to change between the double and single LED modes you will need to go through flashing mode though.
If you spend a lot of time riding in the dark, you'll know all about the calculations that are going on in your head to work out how much battery life you have left. The ETC's display helps out here, giving you a percentage of battery life and the time you have left, but doesn't tell you what mode you are in or what setting. In the early stages of the ride it was a little sporadic, too, with the numbers dropping like a stone, though they soon sorted themselves out.
The instructions you get in the box resemble that of a Kinder Egg, as in it's a tiny piece of paper with a few words and illustrations on it. It doesn't go into details about how long the battery will last in each mode or things like that. The only mode that ETC mentions is the most powerful one using both LEDs which it says will last 1.5hrs, and that was pretty accurate.
Another thing to note is just how hot the ETC gets in use.
Recharging takes nearly 7hrs from the mains, and slightly longer if you are using the USB on your PC or laptop, via a micro-USB port on the underside of the light.
It's sealed by a rubber cover which does the job of keeping water out. The usual task of riding in the rain and giving a blast with the bathroom shower did little to dampen its spirits.
Value-wise it doesn't bring a whole lot to the table for its £140 price tag, even if it does look and feel to be well screwed together.
The Ravemen PR1600 I mentioned above chucks out a much better beam pattern, pretty much the same amount of light, has longer run-times and costs £129.99.
The Cateye AMPP1100 is £109.99, and I considered that a little bit pricey, but it performs way better than the ETC.
And you can go cheaper still: the Moon Meteor Storm Dual Front Light is just £89.99. It has a decent beam pattern, adjustable outputs and modes, and very good burn times compared with the ETC.
Overall, the ETC Alcor just doesn't deliver, and that is mostly down to the poor lens design which just throws that light all over the place, making it a poor choice for using on the road.
Looks good on paper but let down by poor lens design and it's expensive for what it is
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: ETC Alcor 2000 Lumen Front Light
Size tested: 2000 lumen
Tell us what the light 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 use of a daytime running light aims this light at the road riding market but its beam pattern isn't focused enough for it to work well on the road.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
2000 LUMEN FRONT LIGHT
Max Lumens:2000/ Working Mode:17
OLED Screen(displays remaining burn time)
Flashing Mode: Yes
Day Running Light (DRL): Yes
Beam Angle: 18° Beam / 25° Flood
Battery: 7.2V 3400mAh
USB rechargeable / Charge Time: 6.5 hours
Burntime: 1.5 hours at max ouput
Garmin Mount Bracket
No issues with water ingree in real world testing.
Battery life for the quoted 2,000 lumen looks pretty good, but it isn't chucking out that much light in real terms.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's only really suitable for off-road use when you look at the beam pattern.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
It feels to be well made.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
The beam pattern is very poor.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
For what you are getting it is quite pricey compared to all of the lights I've tested over the last few months like the Cateye, Raveman and Moon.
Did you enjoy using the light? No
Would you consider buying the light? No
Would you recommend the light to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
The biggest issue is the way it doesn't control the light available, but it is really not suitable for road use. There are also a lot of other quirks about it that just don't make sense.
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
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!