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review

ETC Sarin 30 Lumen Lightset

6
£40.00

VERDICT:

6
10
Effective and easy-to-live with rear light plus an adequate front, but available elsewhere for substantially less
Easy to use
Good run-times
Bright
Weather resistant
Design ill-suited to front use
Cheaper from other brands
Weight: 
45g

At road.cc 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 ETC Sarin 30 Lumen Lightset is a simple, bright and easy to use pair of lights for getting noticed on the roads. They're effective and last well. The design works far better on the rear than the front, though, and the price is high compared with seemingly identical units.

While this is a generally good set of lights with useful modes, very easy operation and decent battery life – all perfect for commuters or road riders wanting to be seen, night or day – it has a couple of major flaws.

Firstly, the two units are identical, but the design is clearly optimised for seatposts. Aligned vertically it spreads a good amount of light to the sides for visibility around junctions and so on, and the long strip of light stands out well in a sea of round or horizontal lamps.

2021 ETC Sarin 30 Lumen Lightset - rear light.jpg

Sitting horizontally on your bar, however, the long body is more of an issue. It can easily run from bare bar to your tape, which tweaks its angle, and I was forced to mount it on the left because I run an out-front mount, which pushes it too far towards my hand.

I like it less on the left as it makes me look closer to the kerb, and the beam is potentially obscured by my computer.

Also, that great side lighting is now wasted as it's shining down at the road and up into your eyes, which can be very distracting – especially if you're running a flash mode. Both units are, at least, extremely easy to fit and remove.

2021 ETC Sarin 30 Lumen Lightset - front light 2.jpg

The silicone straps are stretchy and robust and, combined with the thick, concave silicone pads on the lights, keep everything very secure and vibe-free on anything from seatstay-width tubes to taped 31.8mm bars. The straps even have angled tabs to help you hook them on.

> Buyer’s Guide: The best 2021 front lights for cycling

Those pads peel off easily to reveal the USB charging port (short cable supplied), and the two-hour charge from flat is very usable for commuters.

2021 ETC Sarin 30 Lumen Lightset - USB port.jpg

While the pads do a good job of waterproofing these units (I had no issues with prolonged rain and heavy spray), and certainly aren't going anywhere when the light is strapped on, they're separate and only loosely attached. Lose one while these are knocking about in a bag or pocket and you not only lose the waterproofing, but the mount as well. The instruction sheet actually implies they should be fixed so just the end peels up like a door, and you could glue the main section on without causing an issue. But then, you shouldn't have to.

The 300mAh lipo batteries give decent run-times – just over three hours on the highest setting for the front, and around two hours for the rear. Claimed times on the lowest (Flash) setting are 55 and 40 hours respectively, which seem accurate. In normal use it's easy to find effectively bright settings that give multiple rides between charges.

Modes

Each has three solid modes (low, medium and high) and three flash settings. Breathe mode fades slowly up to full brightness and down again, Comet starts at full power and fades to nothing, and Flash (are you sitting down?) flashes.

The unlit gaps in Breathe and Comet are just a little too long, for my liking – I found the fairly frantic Flash the most useful for visibility versus burn time (55hrs!). You can also switch to either the Intelligent Day or Intelligent Night modes, which use a light sensor to add (if necessary) a constant light between pulses, but this obviously lowers run-times. It's worth noting the instructions are completely wrong about how to switch these on: it takes a double press, not a long press (which simply turns the light back off).

Value

Compared with other light sets we've tested, these are on the expensive side. The Lezyne Femto Drive USB set is £29, and usefully bright (if not nearly as bright as these), while the excellent Knog Plus Twinpack is £31.99 and, like the Lezyne, a far better fit at the front. The rear is less powerful at 20 lumens, but the front is brighter at 40 lumens.

But the biggest issue is the existence of the Magicshine Seemee 30 Combo at £24.99, because if those lights are not the exact same units with different branding, I certainly can't spot the difference. An extra £15 for a different word on the side is an unimpressive offer. Okay, there could be some (very well) hidden differences, but damningly, the rubber straps of this ETC set still say Magicshine on them...

> Buyer’s Guide: 19 of the best rear lights for cycling

I like the Sarin 30 a lot as a rear light, but find it a lot less compelling as a front. Given that imbalance, and the £40 price, it's a lot harder to recommend this ETC set than it is to recommend its competitors.

Verdict

Effective and easy-to-live with rear light plus an adequate front, but available elsewhere for substantially less

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road.cc test report

Make and model: ETC Sarin 30 Lumen Lightset

Size tested: 30 lumens max

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?

ETC doesn't say anything about these lights, instead just listing the specs. But they're simple, 30-lumen lights for getting seen on the roads.

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

ETC lists:

COB LED

Auto Light adjustment

Auto Brake Sensor

Remaining Battery Display

Low Battery Safety Mode

Multiple Modes plus Memory Mode

Functions: High 30Lm, Mid 15Lm, low 5Lm, Flash 30Lm, Breathe Flash, Comet Flash, Intelligent Night, Intelligent Day

Battery: Lithium polymer 3.7v 300mAh

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

One button does everything.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
8/10

Simple and effective.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
8/10

No issues with prolonged rain or spray.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10

The 300mAh lipo batteries give good run-times – just over three hours on the highest setting for the front, and around two hours for the rear. Claimed times on the lowest (Flash) settings are 55 and 40 hours respectively. In normal use it's easy to find effectively bright settings that give multiple rides between charges.

Rate the light for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10

No issues, and while the identical-seeming Magicshine-branded version suffered a failure during its test, the light that broke was stamped 'sample' and the (production) replacement performed perfectly. Both these units were perfect too.

Rate the light for weight:
 
8/10

52g all in.

Rate the light for value:
 
3/10

Magicshine's Seemee 30 Combo is indistinguishable from this light set, and costs £24.

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

Very well on the rear, not so well on the front.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Easy use, good battery life, useful battery indicator, long lens.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

The design is clearly optimised for seatposts and is far less effective on handlebars.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

They're on the expensive side. The Lezyne Femto Drive USB Pair is £29, and usefully bright (if not nearly as bright as these), while the excellent Knog Plus Twinpack is £31.99 and, like the Lezyne, a far better fit at the front. The rear is less powerful at 20 lumens, but the front is brighter at 40 lumens.

The most damning issue, however, is the existence of the Magicshine Seemee 30 Combo at £24.99. If those lights are not the exact same units as these with different branding on the side, I certainly can't spot the difference – and as it happens, the rubber straps of this ETC set still say Magicshine on them...

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? No (maybe from Magicshine though, preferably as a rear lamp only).

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Not with ETC pricing, no.

Use this box to explain your overall score

As a rear light this gives a usefully bright signal from its long lens, has good side visibility and takes seconds to attach, use or remove. But this is a set, and the same design on a handlebar wastes the side visibility on the ground and sky and is long enough to (potentially) interfere with cables, bar tape, computer mounts and hands. To score higher it needs a dedicated front design, and a price that's competitive against seemingly identical units with alternate branding.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

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