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review

XLC Comp Francisco/Pan Light Set

5
£62.99

VERDICT:

5
10
Well constructed lights that are okay for urban use
Easy to use
Enough light to see by
No side visibility at the front
Only just bright enough
Expensive compared with the competition
Weight: 
131g
Contact: 
www.raleigh.co.uk

XLC's Comp light set consists of its Francisco front light and Pan rear, and it's an okay set for general urban riding, with a German-style beam to make the best use of the Francisco's limited output. You'll want more power for longer, darker excursions though.

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The front light comes with four AAA batteries, which makes you feel a bit like it's 2010 before you realise they're rechargeable, and once you've shoved them in the aluminium body you can recharge them via a micro-USB socket, so it's no different to any other rechargeable light.

2020 XLC Comp Light Set - USB port.jpg

The bracket is decent enough – a reasonably solid plastic affair that has a rubber insert for grip and closes with a cam lever. It's a bit fiddly to set up first time around but it stays put provided you fit it to a bit of the bar where there's no taper; it tends to work its way down a taper and end up rattling around.

2020 XLC Comp Light Set - front light clamp.jpg

The front light has a high mode and a low mode. Neither is going to have you hurtling down pitch-black lanes in the middle of the night but it's enough to see by at a gentle pace.

2020 XLC Comp Light Set - front top.jpg

The beam is a German-style one; the StVZO regulations stipulate that 95% of the light from the beam has to go onto the road to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers. What that means in practice is that the XLC makes decent use of its limited lumens by directing them to the tarmac. The limited light up top sometimes means it's not as easy to see turnings, and signs don't get illuminated anything like as much, so you have to pay attention a bit more if you're looking for your turn in the dark.

2020 XLC Comp Light Set - front.jpg

My main issue with the front light is the lack of side visibility, which is useful around town as an extra bit of light for cars approaching from side roads to see.

The rear light will also be a fillip to anyone who gets bored cycling through endless modes. It has two, and that's only if you count off as a mode. One of the other stipulations of the StVZO regulations is that the rear light has to be continuous and not flashing, so there's just on, basically. You might prefer a flasher, or to pair this light with another one that flashes, but it's a decent enough light for all that.

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

The rear clip means you can attach it to a bag or a pocket, and the seatpost mount is easy to fit and solid enough for the job. You're not going to be using it as a daylight running light, but after dark it's just about bright enough. Again, it's rechargeable and the run-time is decent.

2020 XLC Comp Light Set - rear.jpg

Both lights have proven to be well waterproofed through some filthy weather, and I've been happy enough knocking round town with them as my only light source. If you're looking for something to light your way well beyond the city limits then they're not the best choice: they're a bit underpowered for going anywhere really dark at any kind of speed, and the rear doesn't have the kind of punch you'd want on faster roads after dark.

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

At over £60, these don't offer particularly good value. Given their limited output you're only really likely to be considering them if you're cycling after dark in areas that are already predominantly lit, and for that something like the Fabric Lumacell set or the Infini Super Lava/Sword set offer better value: the former is much better for getting you seen, the latter if you need to light your path as well. The XLC set is nicely made, but hard to recommend against the competition.

Verdict

Well constructed lights that are okay for urban use

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road.cc test report

Make and model: XLC Comp Francisco/Pan Light Set

Size tested: 40 lux front

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

XLC lists:

- XLC Comp Francisco 40 Lux

- 40 Lux

- incl. USB charging cable

- aluminum casing

- 1 High-Power LED

- High Power mode / energy saving mode

- burning time: 3 / 9,5 hrs

- incl. bracket Ø 22 - 31,8mm

- incl. 4 x LR 03 (AAA) batteries and XLC rear light Pan 3 LEDs 3 ultra-light red LEDs

- incl. USB charging cable

- 3 light modes

- incl. indicator

- waterproof

- burning time steady mode: approx. 4 hrs

- universal mounting options

- battery: Lithium ion poylmere

- StVZO conformable

Rate the front light for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the rear light for quality of construction:
 
7/10

They're nicely made lights.

Rate the light set for design and ease of use. How simple were the lights to use?
 
8/10

Not many modes to get lost in. Mounts are good.

Rate the front light for the design and usability of the clamping system
 
8/10
Rate the rear light for the design and usability of the clamping system
 
7/10

Both good, rear feels a bit flimsy.

Rate the front light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
9/10
Rate the front light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
9/10

No issues during testing.

Rate the front light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
7/10
Rate the rear light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
7/10

I was getting about 3 hours out of front and rear. Charging takes a couple of hours.

Rate the front light for performance:
 
5/10
Rate the rear light for performance:
 
6/10

They're decent rather than great.

Rate the front light for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the rear light for durability:
 
6/10

Front feels solid, rear less so.

Rate the front light for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the rear light for weight:
 
9/10
Rate the light set for value:
 
4/10

There are better value sets out there.

Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose

They're okay.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights

They're straightforward to use and well made.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights

They're only just bright enough for urban riding and underpowered for unlit stuff.

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

They're quite expensive when compared with sets from the likes of Infini and Fabric.

Did you enjoy using the lights? Not especially: they're okay.

Would you consider buying the lights? No

Would you recommend the lights to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your overall score

They're okay. You can get better light sets for less money.

Overall rating: 5/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 189cm  Weight: 94kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura, Dward Design fixed

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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