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Topeak Headlux 100 USB

6
£19.99

VERDICT:

6
10
Tidy, powerful and well-sealed safety light, but a weird mounting method
Simple to use
Cableless charging
IPX6 waterproofing is good
Rubber USB cover is asking to get lost...
Weight: 
39g

The Topeak Headlux 100 USB is a be-seen headlight with a maximum of 100 lumens. That's enough to get you seen in most conditions, while an integrated USB stick means it can be charged without the hassle of cables – ideal for commuters. One large button and just three modes means it's easy to use, although the mounting system looks clumsy.

The Headlux 100 USB weighs 39g on our scales and measures just 69 x 43 x 22 mm. That's small enough to pop in a pocket or dump in a pack without noticing. With 100 lumens of power, you're not going to be using this to see with, but it is enough to get you noticed. It was ideal for my streetlit commute along a cycle path and crossing at road junctions.

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There seems to be a trend for treating lights like 1980s video recorders and cramming as many confusing functions in as possible, so there's something to be said for the Headlux offering just three. A single flashing mode and two constants with differing brightness means you can quickly navigate to the one you want.

2020 Topeak Headlux 100USB 2.jpg

The large button stands proud on top of the unit so is easy to find without looking – even with thick winter gloves on. A single press turns on the light and each subsequent press scrolls through the modes. To turn off the light, you either give a long press or scroll past the flashing mode to off.

Modes

The high, medium and blinking modes have a battery life of 1.5 hrs, 3.3hrs and 40hrs respectively. I feel this should be enough for most commuters especially if, like me, you use this kind of light in flashing mode the majority of the time. The two LEDs sit slightly proud of the casing to provide some side-visibility which is particularly useful at junctions.

Yet, despite being a fan of the simple mode choice, I didn't find them quite to my taste... for a start, the flashing mode is a bit manic, eye catching verging on irritating, while the high setting is an odd one with the wide beam pattern – it's not bright enough to see with, yet not as noticeable as flashing mode. I barely used it.

> The best 2020 front lights for cycling: Our big beam comparison engine plus how-to-choose guide

Topeak says that for 'ultimate safety this light should be used in combination with a specific night-riding light,' and I absolutely agree.

Charging

The 2hr charging claim is accurate when using a wall charger, but it takes up to twice as long from most computer USB ports. Not having to remember a cable is ideal, though, if you're commuting with it.

2020 Topeak Headlux 100USB 3.jpg

The rubber cap on the rear takes a bit of force to pull off, but it keeps the USB sealed through some grim conditions – the IPX6 rating means its safe under heavy rain and splashing.

You know the light is low when the indicator just behind the button illuminates red. Topeak doesn't reveal the charge percentage at this point, but I'd guess about 20% – you've got about 15 minutes on high mode once it comes on.

The mount

Attaching a front light is not something I usually struggle with, but at first glance this one had me a little stumped. The silicone strap goes around the body of the light, over the handlebar and then back around the body... okay, it's secure, but I've only ever had one front flasher fall off anyway, and that was when the strap snapped.

There is an additional attachment for fixing underneath a multi-mount (usually a Garmin or Wahoo mount) and leaving your handlebar free of lights, and I think this is a pretty neat feature for a light of this price.

The Headlux has a rubber pad at the mounting point ensuring the light doesn't slip or scratch the bar, and an additional shim for aero bars.

Value

At £19.99 the Headlux 100 is pretty cheap for a rechargeable light with an IPX6 rating. The Bookman Block Light Front is also £20, for instance, but only 50 lumens – though it's also smaller and lighter too.

For me the toughest competition comes from lights such as the Lezyne KTV Drive 200 at £25. It offers increased visibility with a 200-lumen flash, the same benefits of cableless charging, and a tidier mount.

Overall

The Headlux 100 is a tidy little light with simple modes, charging and operation that will (mostly) suit commuters. The mounting is a bit odd, it's true, but it works just fine.

Verdict

Tidy, powerful and well-sealed safety light at a good price

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Topeak Headlux 100 USB

Size tested: 100 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?

Topeak says: "Take charge of the night! The HeadLux 100 USB features convenient cable-free charging with a direct USB port plug. Two super bright 0.5W white LEDs provide up to 100 lumens with three light modes so you can see even on the darkest nights. Bi-directional tool-free mounting and removal is accomplished by a single silicone strap making it simple to use and a great value."

Cable-free charging and just three modes make it simple to use, but this is definitely a be-seen light rather than to see with.

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

MAX LUMINOUS INTENSITY100 Lumens

LAMP2 super bright 0.5 W white LED's

BATTERY3.7V 500mAh Lithium Ion (integrated)

CONTROL / BURN TIME (APPROX)3 Modes: 1.5 hr (High) / 3.3 hr (Middle) / 40 hr (Blinking)

CHARGE / CHARGE TIME APPROXUSB port / 2 hr

INPUT5V 500mA

LAMP HOUSINGEngineering grade polymer

STRAP MOUNTFits integrated bar/stem combo, and aero / round handlebars

WATERPROOFIPX 6

WEIGHT32 g / 1.13 oz

SIZE6.9 x 4.3 x 2.2 cm / 2.7' x 1.7' x 0.9'

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?
 
9/10
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
5/10

Far more complex than it needs to be, but works... once you figure it out.

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

IPX6 rating; survived plenty of grim commutes.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
6/10

Accurate to claimed times, but constant modes don't last very long. Recharges in two hours from the wall or 3-4 hours from a computer.

Rate the light for performance:
 
6/10

Gets you seen.

Rate the light for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the light for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the light for value:
 
6/10

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

Fine – it got me seen both head on and from the side – but the mounting is not as good as competitors.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Simple to operate.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

That mounting strap going round the light twice.

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

It has more lumens than most for the price, but a little more money can get you a fair bit more performance.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? No

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Some

Use this box to explain your overall score

This is a good value light with cable-free charging, simple operation and an IPX6 waterproof rating. With a neater mount and more usable modes it would score higher, but it's still above average and a six.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 22  Height: 6ft  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

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