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This Onethelight 900-lumen headlight from Spokeshirts is a very bright light, and not an expensive one either. If you're just looking for bangs per buck, then it should be up there on your wishlist. It's not perfect and there are little niggles, but overall it's a good performer for the money.
Open the box and you'll see the head unit (made from ribbed aluminium), battery, helmet mount, extra long lead, and charger. The handlebar mount is an L-shaped affair with a clamp that'll handle both standard and oversized bars with no problems. On the road it clamps down fine and stays put; off the beaten track I'd worry that the longish bracket would be susceptible in an after-dark stack, although mine survived one such incident with no damage. The light has a quick release so you can leave the bracket in place. The battery mounts to your stem or frame with a Velcro strap, which is simple and hasn't failed me so far. If you run the extension cord you can fit the light to your helmet and stash the battery in your back pocket.
Turn it on and you can't help but be impressed by the output. It's a fairly wide beam, which makes it good for off-roading, but it pumps out masses of light for road work too. This is the kind of light that makes drivers think twice about cutting across you, because you might be a motorbike; there's no doubt in my mind that a powerful light is a valuable safety aid on the nighttime roads. The light has two settings, full beam and 30%, which the big illuminated switch on the back of the head unit toggles between. You have to go through 'off' to get back to full beam, which is okay on the roads but a pain in the woods, as you end up switching the lights out at the very point you've decided things need to be a bit brighter. The simplest way to remedy that would be to have the settings the other way round, but better still would be a hold-for-off type logic that many more expensive lights use. But hey, that's one of the reasons they're more expensive.
Run times are just over two-and-a-half hours on full and six-and-a-half on low, so plenty for an after-dark excursion or a few days of commuting. The charger is simple but works just fine; it's fairly slow, so best left overnight in my experience. The illuminated button on the rear of the lamp cycles through a series of colours to let you know the battery status. This is mildly annoying because: a) your eye is always drawn to it in the dark; and b) it's always on when the light is connected, meaning you have to disconnect it every time so as not to drain the power. That said, the battery will run the LEDs in the button for over a week. Yes, I tried.
The MkII will be available imminently on the Spokeshirts website, with a few minor amendments and (I expect) a similar price. It's definitely worth a look.
More than a cheap-and-cheerful after-dark companion, this Spokeshirts light is nicely built and offers big hitting performance. A few niggles but you can't fault the value.
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Make and model: Onethelight 900 lumen headlight
Size tested: n/a
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.