The Trelock LS 950 may look like rather old fashioned but it's one of the best lights I've used. That clumpy body doesn't just contain state of the art optics and a monster battery, it's also extremely user-friendly.
The Trelock is a German light and this is reflected in the optics (see what I did there?). German law specifies that bike lights should have a beam that cuts off at the top, which stops the light from dazzling oncoming traffic. It's basically what car lights do (when they are dipped) but very few lights on the British market conform to this and most powerful bike lights certainly don't. I'll be honest, it's not something that I lose sleep over, but I do always ensure that my lights are focussed pretty close to the wheel. It would be nice to have a 1000 lumen light firing straight down the road and illuminating absolutely everything ahead but I don't want a blinded 4x4 driver heading towards me on a narrow lane, thankyouverymuch. More powerful lights, no matter how low you set them, can also get you more than a few grumpy comments on dark bike paths.
The Trelock is a chunky beast and that is due to two factors, the huge battery and a massive reflector lens on the front. I'll come to the battery in a bit, but first let's look at the lens. It's enormous, a great multi-faceted slab of polished silver with a powerful LED set into the roof. That LED fires down and slightly backwards, very similar in concept to the rear facing LED technology that Cateye have been using for a while now. That makes sure that all of the light produced is controlled, rather than just blasted out the front like pellets from a sawn-off shotgun. The tight focus of the lens gives you a square beam that doesn't take any prisoners, this is a light that has to be set at just the right angle. Too low and you end up with a small square of light surrounded by blackness darker than Simon Cowell's soul, too high and the light disperses in all directions. Set it just right and you'll get a neat spread of light at just the right distance down the road with plenty of side illumination. It isn't a ferociously powerful light, Trelock quote 1w and 70 lux, but it makes the best of what it has. On unlit roads that's enough for full speed ahead, but you'll have to slow down for twisty lanes and technical descents. That's not necessarily a criticism because this is primarily a commuter light and gnarly Devon lanes are a challenge for anything less than a full beam searchlight.
Ok, so the big lens gives you enough light for fast road riding. What about that huge battery? Well, it's a 4300 a/h li-ion. That's enormous for this kind of light, the usual size is 2600 a/h. Of course, having a huge battery should mean a healthy runtime and the 950 doesn't disappoint. You get a whopping 6hrs on full power and almost two full days on the lowest setting. What is even better is that the 950 has easily the best fuel gauge of any light out there. No mysterious coded flashes, power drops or sudden shutdowns, oh no. The 950 has a simple LCD display that tells you what power setting you are on and precisely how long you have left in hours and minutes. The only way if could be improved would be if it came with a butler who tapped you on the shoulder and murmured 'two hours and three minutes remaining sir'. Coupled with USB chargeability there really is no need to run out of light, ever. Oh and have I mentioned the buttons? One to increase power, another to decrease it. No buggering about flicking through a whole cycle of power levels. It's a small thing but deeply pleasing. I'm giving serious thought to LEL (that's London Edinburgh London for those non-audaxers among you - ed) in 2013 and this is the light I'll be taking.
If the 950 does have a flaw, it's the mount. It's a fiddly strap type that will cope with any size of handlebar, but is difficult to cinch up tight and places the considerable weight of the light out in front of the bars. On roads as smooth as Jean Luc Picard's head it's ok, but as soon as the going gets rough, the light slips down. I solved the problem by strapping a rubber shim (a section of old innertube would do) round the bars, but it's an annoying flaw in an otherwise superbly thought out light.
The 950 is never going to compete with the big boys for serious dark lane/off-road power, but as a commuter light that will happily cope with unlit roads it's a real winner.
Fantastic traffic friendly commuter light.
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Make and model: Trelock LS 950 Ecopower Control Front Light
Size tested: Black
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?
Trelock are too modest for their own good - "This innovative lithium-ion rechargeable battery head light shines with up to 70 Lux, lighting up the road ahead brightly and perfectly - it can also be regulated in 5 levels from 10 to 70 lux. The light intensity, the battery capacity and the lighting duration are shown in hours and minutes on the integrated LCD display."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Field of vision: 90 m
Visibility: 1500 m
TRELOCK light guid
Display for 5-level control of light and time
Tool-free battery exchange
integrated USB charger jack
integrated lithium-ion rechargeable battery
1. Illumination intensity: 10-70 Lux
2. Illumination time: 6 - 45 h
3. Capacity of the rechargeable batteries
Luminous period: 6 - 45 h
Start-up protection: 1 sec.
Single snap closure
inclusive USB cable
inclusive Variotex bracket ZL 700, 22 - 32 mm
TRELOCK innovation for very easy handling
Feels solid and well made.
Loses a point for the annoying bracket, but otherwise it's an absolute pleasure to use.
Strap mount is the only weakness of this light. Shimming with a piece of rubber solves the problem, but a rigid clamp that placed the light above the bars would be better.
Survived the hose test but make sure you've properly closed the USB port on the back.
Monster battery = monster runtime. USB chargeable, so you can easily top it up in between commutes.
Not massively powerful, but more than enough for unlit roads and won't dazzle oncoming traffic.
It's no lightweight, but I'd rather have the runtime than shave off a few grammes.
A light this good is worth investing in and as ever you can find it cheaper if you shop around (cheapest I found it at was £93).
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Runtime, sheer ease of use and that wonderful fuel guage.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
The mount isn't great, but that wouldn't put me off.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Definitely
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yup
Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?
Superb super commuter light and a pleasure to use.
Age: 42 Height: 5' 8 Weight: er....85kg
I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE, Carlton Corsa My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium
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: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides