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review

BBB Spot Rear Light

5
£14.95

VERDICT:

5
10
Although the little BBB Spot has its talents, compared to the competition it's found wanting
Weight: 
19g

The BBB Spot is a very simple rear light that forgoes any tricks to give simple but reasonably effective service. Even at this end of the market, build quality is a little cheap and there's a distinct dearth of run modes, but it's quick to charge and actually works OK.

  • Pros: Very short charge time, easy belt clip or bracket mounting
  • Cons: Plasticky build, only three modes, not as cheap as it could be

On the face of it, a rear light that boasts a decidedly plasticky construction and only three run modes (well, four if you include 'off') would be on a hiding to nothing. But the BBB Spot isn't actually as much of a lost cause as you'd imagine.

> Find your nearest dealer here

For example, although it is plastic, it does come with the option of using an integrated belt clip for attaching to bags and rear pockets. Or you can clip it into the included clamp, which, with the help of the two shims, should fit around almost any seatpost.

BBB Spot Rear Light - clamp.jpg

It's easy to live with, with a micro-USB charging point located on the bottom of the unit protected by the ubiquitous rubber bung, and a rubber button on top to cycle through settings.

BBB Spot Rear Light - USB port.jpg

There is only a limited number of functions – constant low (2 lumens), constant high (4 lumens) or flash (also 4 lumens) – although, you could argue: how many modes do you need? Those modes come with fairly average run-times. Constant high will go for three hours before it reaches 30% of battery remaining, when it'll automatically change to flash mode (and go for another four hours). This function is particularly useful to let you know it's time to recharge.

According to BBB's official figures, flash mode will run for 10 hours. But in my experience, you should get a little longer out of a full charge. And BBB says it'll take an hour from empty to fully rejuvenate the integrated battery, but I recharged my test model in just 45 minutes.

> Buyer's Guide: 17 of the best rear lights for cycling

And as for output, while 4 lumens is not going to win any awards, the single LED used by the BBB Spot is surprisingly effective at piercing through gloom – it's certainly good enough for urban roads. The surrounding lens does little to spread the light, though, so it has a strong albeit small presence (which is probably where it derived its 'Spot' from).

Value and conclusion

Although the BBB Spot is one of the cheapest rear lights we've tested, it still seems a little pricey. For example, the far more advanced and downright funkier ETC Mira costs just £1 more at £16 and, with a full 20 lumens, it also outguns the Spot on pure output, too. Meanwhile, the £15.99 Moon Alcor has a far better battery life, mode choice and output.

But I've come to quite like the plucky little BBB Spot. My only significant concern is, in the long-term, how well the plastic body will stand up to robust daily use. It's been fine and certainly dealt well with rain-soaked roads and unpleasant conditions so far – its waterproofing is excellent. But I worry that an ill-fated drop or impact might damage it fatally.

That said, this is an unpretentious little light that will act as a good second rear defence or back-up. It's not big, or clever, or smart but it is quick to charge, easy to use, quite effective on the road, and a fairly cheap (although, perhaps not cheap enough) way to make you more visible.

Verdict

Although the little BBB Spot has its talents, compared to the competition it's found wanting

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road.cc test report

Make and model: BBB Spot Rear Light

Size tested: 52x29x20mm

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?

It's a simple rear light aimed at urban riders. BBB doesn't say much about it, other than: "Compact city lights to be seen on the road. Flash turns on when battery is lower then 30%. Strap bracket that fits on diameters: 12-38mm. With handlebar bracket and belt clip."

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

At 30% battery capacity, the light switches to flash mode only for maximum burn time.

Lithium polymer internal battery pack (300mAh, 4.2V).

Belt clip.

Fixed seatpost bracket.

Micro-USB cable included.

USB rechargable.

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
5/10

It's built like a fairly cheap, plastic-bodied rear light. Waterproofing is good, though.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
8/10

With only three modes, things couldn't get much simpler.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
6/10

It's a fairly bog-standard seatpost clamp. However, the integrated belt clip is handy.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
9/10

Really well. Easily handled the worst I could throw at it.

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

With a run-time of more than 10 hours on flash – or 3 hours constant high and then a further 4 hours flash – battery life isn't bad. Charging time for me was about 45 minutes, so that's pretty good.

Rate the light for performance:
 
5/10

It only puts out 4 lumens in its brightest setting, so this is no blinder. But its practical performance on the road is better than that number perhaps suggests.

Rate the light for durability:
 
5/10

I have some concerns that the plastic body is going to come a cropper somewhere, but it's survived with me so far.

Rate the light for weight:
 
8/10

Can't get much lighter than 19g.

Rate the light for value:
 
3/10

My opinion is that almost £15 is too much for this light. The far more advanced and downright funkier ETC Mira costs just £1 more at £16 and – with a full 20 lumens – also outguns the Spot on pure output, too. Meanwhile, the £15.99 Moon Alcor has a far better battery life, wider mode choice and brighter output.

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Perhaps surprisingly, considering all my criticism thus far, I actually quite liked using this light and felt it did a decent job of adding to my on-road visibility.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Quick charging time is handy.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Lack of modes – another couple of flash patterns would be nice.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yup

Would you consider buying the light? Maybe

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Nope

Use this box to explain your overall score

The BBB Spot is a straightforward cheap rear light that does the job fairly well. The seatpost clamp and belt clip help to open up all potential uses, while the short charge time is a bonus. However, the relatively low brightness, few modes and plasticky build bring the overall score back to below average.

Overall rating: 5/10

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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