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The Blackburn Dayblazer 550 is a compact, wallet-friendly front light boasting, as the name suggests, a maximum of 550 lumens. The output quality is surprisingly good, but run-times are relatively short in the higher modes, limiting its horizons beyond the suburbs.
Despite weighing 61g, the Dayblazer 550 feels reassuringly solid. The black anodised aluminium alloy body serves as a heat sink and protects the internals from accidental knocks. It's also well sealed from the elements, conforming to IP67, meaning it can survive in a metre of water for 30 minutes. The anodising is also of a decent standard, so should keep its looks.
Optics-wise, it sports a similarly tough lens with collimators to make the very most of the single diode (Osram 3737, for those who need to know).
There are five modes in total: Blitz is the full 550 lumens, High (275lm), Low (75lm), Pulse (100lm) and Strobe (65lm).
In common with a lot of lights these days, the output is brighter than the numbers might have traditionally implied.
The full 550 is good enough for picking out hazards, signs and generic detail in semi-rural contexts at around 17 or 18mph. On clearer mornings, before dawn, I've been able to tackle unlit lanes to around 15mph, and in terms of being seen, I seemed to register on drivers' radars at around 100 metres on the open road.
This setting isn't offensive through built-up areas either, so, economy aside, there's no urgency for stepping down. Other traffic seemed to take notice at 50-60 metres, and its output was welcome when negotiating roundabouts and junctions into the flow of traffic.
High is arguably the sweet spot for suburban riding. The lens projects a reasonable amount of peripheral bleed, although when mounted conventionally on drop bars, it can be obscured. If you tend to cruise on the hoods, I'd be inclined to mount it beneath, since the beam pattern seems unaffected.
Low sounds rather paltry at 75 lumens, and unless I was running low on juice, around town I'd stick with High, and where being seen is the primary aim I'd opt for Pulse or Strobe.
The latter's 65 lumens also sounds a little impotent, but thanks to the extrovert tempo it's visible from around 120 metres in the dark, 80 metres during the day. Pulse is a little easier on the eye yet still distinctive enough to announce its presence at similar distances.
The raised switch is easy to operate, even in winter-weight gloves. It requires a single, definite prod to engage, whereupon you'll have the last mode selected thanks to the memory function. Subsequent prods cycle through the other modes and a sustained, half-second hold powers down. No issues with unwanted engagement.
It also works as the battery indicator and is intuitive to read: green is fully juiced, orange 50-25%, below which it will turn red.
There are two options, a bar mount and helmet mount, though the latter is an aftermarket option. The light is designed to swivel around, giving unhindered access to the strap and clasp, for speedy fitment and removal.
Blackburn says it's compatible with diameters between 22 and 34mm and I've had no problems with a variety of bars within this range. The only minor consideration is that it secures to the light body via a 3mm hex screw, and this can work loose, so keep an eye on it.
As I said earlier, I have hung it both beneath and atop bars, with no obvious impact upon beam pattern or quality.
Run-times have been within a few minutes of those cited when used in temperatures between 3 and 10°C, though they're not the longest (they're listed in the Test Report, below), ranging from just an hour in Blitz mode to 12 hours in Strobe. If you think you'll be spending much of your time in the 550lm or even the 275lm mode (1.5hr), you might be better off with a more powerful light that lasts longer.
It's taken the quoted three hours to charge the lithium-ion cell from the mains, slightly longer via a laptop or tablet USB port.
The USB port cover fits snugly, with no hint of ingress after subjecting it to heavy rain and the garden hose.
As the whole light is rated IP67 for weather resistance, I took it one stage further and left it in a bucket of water for 20 minutes, and that had no negative consequence either. The limited lifetime warranty adds further peace of mind.
Its £39.99 rrp is pretty competitive (and it's available for as little as £25 online).
BBB's Strike 500 has a slightly lower max output and is also £15 more than the Blackburn; its mount merits improvement, too.
The Ravemen LR500S is the same price as the Blackburn but, like the BBB, also 50 lumens down on max output. That said, it's an impressive option and offers better run-times than the Dayblazer – nearly double in the highest mode.
Overall, the Blackburn Day Blazer is a competent compact light and worth a look if you are wanting a proper light but aren't looking to stray far beyond the suburbs. The flashing and pulsing modes are suitably extrovert, which is a plus for winter mornings, pre-dusk saunters home on the best bike, or just a dynamo backup/companion. Run-times in the higher modes aren't great, though, if that's where you plan to spend your time.
Competitively priced compact light with nice touches, but short run-times in higher modes limit its appeal
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Blackburn Dayblazer 550 Front Light
Size tested: 550 Lumens
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?
Blackburn says: "Not too long ago a 550-lumen headlight for this price would have been a pipe dream, but now the Dayblazer 550 is a dream come true!"
It's a compact light with sensible modes, though this is tempered by short run-times in the higher settings.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Blackburn lists this extra information:
Lithium Battery Packaged
Micro-USB rechargeable - Charges via any standard USB port (charging cable included)
Number of Batteries
Up to 550 lumens
Lithium Battery Energy Content Watt Hours
Country of Origin
Swivel mount - A rotating mount allows the light to be adjusted to center on the road! This versatile silicone mount fits handlebars from 22–35mm and can be used to strap to some helmets.
Universal Light Mount action-camera-style mount sold separately
Blitz mode: 1 hour at 550 lumens
High mode: 1.5 hours at 275 lumens
Low mode: 5 hours at 75 lumens
Pulse mode: 5.5 hours at 100 lumens
Strobe mode: 12 hours at 65 lumens
IP-67 submersible - Ingress protection rating, or "IP Rating", is a techy way to describe the level of water- and dust-proofness of a product. This light meets the IP-67 Standard, which means it is totally protected against dust/grit and fully protected against the effects of immersion between 15cm and 1 meter for 30 minutes.
Feels solid and the lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects inspires confidence.
Intuitive to use, and though relatively small, the switch is easily operated wearing full-finger, winter-weight gloves.
A simple, reliable system that seems compatible with most handlebar diameters. However, keep an eye on the 3mm hex screw, which can work loose.
Has taken the elements and deliberate submersion in its stride.
Relatively long charge and, in keeping with a lot of compact lights, run-times in the higher settings are relatively short.
Good output and more potent than the lumens suggest. A good option for suburban commuting or extended playtimes, but look elsewhere if you're tackling unlit roads with any frequency.
Seems well made and the limited lifetime warranty adds confidence.
Close to that cited, and 61g shouldn't be a problem for most riders.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
If you are primarily looking to be seen and do shorter runs along unlit roads, the Dayblazer 550 is a credible choice. It's compact, easy to use, and feels solid. However, the run-times and three hours to charge limit its horizons somewhat, especially if you are using the higher constant settings with any regularity.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Compact, solid, and simple to use. Pure arc of light and useful flashing/pulsing modes.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Short run-times in the higher constant modes.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's well priced. BBB's Strike 500 has a slightly lower max output and is £15 more than the Blackburn; its mount merits improvement, too.
The Ravemen LR500S is the same price as the Blackburn but, like the BBB, also 50 lumens down on max output. It does offer better run-times than the Dayblazer, though.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Probably not.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Maybe, though there are others I'd steer them towards first.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a good light, well made and competitively priced. However, the run-times in the higher settings are quite short, which limits its horizons beyond the suburbs.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
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: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)