Headlight Review –
I’ve bought several headlights over the last few years. I’ve always been happy enough with my ability to be seen. Lately I’ve been going on night rides and been more concerned with my ability to see the trail so I plunked down for a new headlight claiming 5000 lumens.
The reviews were fair enough. The price seemed good. And here we are.
Everything pictured came packed neatly in a pretty small box…without instructions. It’s pretty obvious how it is supposed to be installed so I went with my instinct and everything worked out just fine.
My initial thoughts were as follows: low is pretty good, on par with prior purchases. Medium is pretty dang bright. When I clicked the power button a third time I realized I had purchased A PORTABLE SUN OH DANG WOW. Holding the power button gives access to a flashing mode.
I have no idea what brand this light is as it came in a plain brown cardboard box. Mine says “Solarstorm” on the top of the light and was advertised to contain 2x Cree XML U2 LED lamps. There were/are many variations on the headlight some specifically say Cree, some just say 2x5000Lm led, some with a brand, others without.
My daily commute is usually 20minutes or so of after sunset riding. If I forget to disconnect the battery when I get home I can usually get 4 or 5 trips home before the battery discharges completely. We’ll just call it an hour and a half.
Friday night I put the battery on the charger in preparation for a night ride on Saturday. The light was on for about 3 hours continuously, on low, that night, with moments of medium and high to figure out what the crashing noises in the woods were.
Worth noting: this light does throw off some heat so be mindful of where you mount it. When charging plan on 10+ hours for a complete charge. The highest setting is probably as bright as the high beams on a car, adjust power and aim accordingly.
The battery is the weak link in this package. The pack is made up of 4 – 18650 Li ion batteries, a very small circuit board and the cable. If you are not careful about placement moisture can get inside the pack and there isn’t really a good way to get it out. My pack died what I can only imagine to be a slow death. It wasn’t holding a charge and then one day it didn’t charge at all. I did what any curious person would do: I took it apart to find out why.
The pack is only held together with heat shrink and a small piece of plastic to act as an insulator for the bottom. As mud/muck/moisture worked its way inside it didn’t find a way out. Everything was corroded. The going rate for 18650 batteries is about $40 for four. The total price for the package was about $20 shipped to my door. At that price I’ll just buy another light/battery set and call it a day. This time I will mount the battery in a different location and either wax seal the leak points or put it in a balloon.
For the price it is the best light I’ve found. The potential for wet battery failure is a concern. Knowing what I know now I will purchase another.