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Bookman Block Light Front



Small, lightweight and very easy to use – though it could be cheaper
Quick recharge
Simple to mount and use
Decent run times
Lateral beam not as good as some
Slightly expensive

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Bookman Block Front Light is a basic, simple and incredibly lightweight light for getting yourself seen. It's easy to operate and quick to recharge, its size makes it ideal for cluttered bars, and it even does well resisting rain despite Bookman making no claims of showerproofing. You can get more powerful lights for the money, though.

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With many people now opting for bikes over public transport, the Bookman Block Front Light is a great option – even with its (few) shortcomings. All modes make a huge difference to your visibility during the day and at dusk.

That said, it isn't just for commuters. It will appeal to serious roadies and triathletes too – its size makes it exceptionally discreet, and at 13g it's hardly going to slow you down. There are white and black-cased versions for those keen to get everything matching.

Modes, Operation and Recharging

The four modes are navigated via the large button, and it's easy to operate even in gloves.

2020 Bookman Urban Visibility Block front light - on bars 2.jpg

A prolonged press switches the light on or off, and quick clicks cycle through 100% (power) steady, 100% flashing, 25% steady and 25% flashing. There's no memory mode – it always starts at 100% steady.

At 100% it fires out 50 lumens, which is much brighter than many be-seen lights. At 25% it's 14 lumens. I rarely opt for the steady states; with such a small light, I find flashing more eye catching.

Actual run times have all exceeded Bookman's claims, by a good way in some cases. I got just over the claimed 1.5 hours in 100% steady, and four hours in 100% flashing against a claimed three.

> The best 2020 front lights for cycling — 40-light beam comparison plus how-to-choose guide

At 25% output I got 6.5 hours steady (claimed five) and 27 hours (claimed 25) flashing. These times stayed consistent throughout the test period, too. The options are ideal and so easy to flick between.

2020 Bookman Urban Visibility Block front light.jpg

The lens distributes the light evenly, and while there are no claims on Bookman's site regarding the angle, when contacted they told me it's 180 degrees. Light is certainly visible from the side, but I'd say it's not as effective as some, such as the Vel 100 Lumen, for example.

The low battery warning could be better. Turn the light off or on as it nears empty and you get a flashing orange warning, but in order to see it (it's very small), you have to look directly into the light.

2020 Bookman Urban Visibility Block front light - usb port.jpg

The plug on the rear does a good job of protecting the USB port – it's a well-sealed unit that can handle rain – but you do have to ensure it's fully secured, and its size makes this fiddly. I found it consistently recharges from flat in under two hours, either directly or via a computer, which is ideal for commuters and easy for everyone.

Mounting and practicalities

Mounting is via a silicon band, and the Block sits snugly on the handlebar without marking anything. The whole thing is exceptionally minimalist and idiot proof in terms of functionality.

I was initially sceptical about the mount – the channel isn't that deep and it feels like the band could jump out, but I tested it on a variety of bars and it never shifted. It also remains secure when you adjust its position, and while the band looks thin and can't be replaced, silicon is impressively hardy: I'm still using similar bands that are seven years old!

> 17 best rear bike lights for 2020 — boost your day & night visibility

The Bookman's minimalism has advantages – it can squeeze into small gaps on cluttered bars very easily, and it's very discreet. The disadvantage is that its beam may get overshadowed by other stuff on your bar.

There's obviously plenty of choice in these kind of running lights, and unfortunately the Bookman Block doesn't stack up so well here. The £20 Vel 100 Lumen Front Light is also small, light and simple, yet it's twice as bright. Meanwhile the Moon Meteor is a bit bigger and £5 more expensive, but shoves out ten times the power at 500 lumens.

However, the Bookman Block does offer that tiny form and extremely low weight, so if that's your priority then the value looks better.

As a 'be-seen' front light for anything bar full nighttime running, the Bookman Block Front Light is simple and effective. Its long run times and quick recharges make it very easy to use, and the tiny size and weight suits anything, from a commuter hack, to your regular road machine, right up to a full-on carbon race bike.


Simple, small and surprisingly powerful – though it could be cheaper

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Make and model: Bookman Block Light Front

Size tested: 50 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?

Bookman says the Block Light is "a strong, compact, rechargeable bicycle light. The design is based on the now classic, well-known Bookman Light – with the addition of a sleek lens to distribute the light perfectly."

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

Super bright

-50 lumens


-Up to 25 hours

Charging time

-2 hours from flat

Package contents

– Block Light Front

– Micro USB cable

Rate the light for quality of construction:
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?

Couldn't be simpler.

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

The mounting band can't be replaced if it breaks, but as it is it works well without issues.

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

No claims, but well sealed and has stood up to some very heavy showers.

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

Matches or exceeds the claims, and charges from empty in under two hours.

Rate the light for performance:

It's bright, but lateral visibility isn't as good as some. It will get you seen by oncoming road users during the day or twilight.

Rate the light for durability:

Unreplaceable mounting band would render the light useless should it snap.

Rate the light for weight:

13g – you'll struggle to beat this.

Rate the light for value:

You can get brighter options for the same money, but for its simplicity, output and run times, I think it's well priced.

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

As a visibility light during the day and dusk, it does a brilliant job of getting you seen.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Easy to use, bright for its size.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light


Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Yes

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Possibly

Use this box to explain your overall score

It packs a punch for its size and is not just limited to commuting – it's a useful safety light. It would get an eight, but the limited side visibility, non-replaceable mount and price hold it back.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 173cm  Weight: 64kg

I usually ride: Road  My best bike is: Carbon road.

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!

Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling. 

After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing. 

Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…

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