With daylight savings a thing of the past for 2012, we are all faced with darker rides. Here are a few words from those on the team who have taken full advantage of the awesome support provided to us by Light & Motion.
Jason Harris – Master Mechanic at FreshBikes, Cat 2 MTB, Bike Commuter:
I’ve had a good bit of experience with L&M products. I first fell in love with the Seca 700 a few years back when [fellow FreshBikes mechanic] ‘The Greg’ lent me his. Back then nothing came close to the output and performance of this unit. That was because they were one of the first companies to do their homework on LED capability. Many lights have been clipped on my handlebar over the years. To this day, the beam pattern of the Seca is king and cannot be beaten. A very wide projection with a strong sweet spot, nothing wasted trying to light up the sky. And now that models are offered in 800, 1400, and 1700 lumen, I can only imagine how deep your vision can penetrate the night.
That being said, the majority of my personal L&M experience is with their Stella model. I copped the Stella 120 model with my winnings from the Cranky Monkey series. This unit had an extremely small battery, which allowed me to mount the lamp to the front and the battery to the back of my helmet. Two of my other buddies also have Stella 200s, which came with very long cords. This allows them to have the very small lamp mounted on the helmet with the battery in a jersey pocket. These units don’t just find use on the bike. From lighting up the grill at night or just walking around the campsite, the compact size and powerful spot beam make it a joy to use.
I also want to mention one of the best features of L&M product, the battery interface. I don’t know how other manufactures fail so badly in this category. Almost all L&M lights use the same plug to connect to the battery. That means you can use your Seca battery pack with your Stella lamp for crazy run-time! Gives you options for backup power and configuration without having to buy costly proprietary batteries.
I want to add that I played with one of the newer models with the light and battery integrated together: the TAZ. Kinda looks like a flashlight, but that is where the similarities end. Very thought out beam pattern with a softer diffused glow downward in front of you. Also has a mode where it fades back and forth like a slow pulse between full on and off. This is a pleasant and welcome change from the seizure inducing strobe found on every other light. Models are offered in both 800 and 1200 lumen, plenty for any type of riding and condition. An excellent Christmas gift for the cyclist you know (especially a year round commuter), and with the built in lithium ion battery that charges with USB, you can keep the Duracells out of the stocking.
Jared Janowiak – Cat 1 Mountain, Cat 2 Cross, Cat 3 Road, Bike Commuter:
In my opinion and experience, Light & Motion lights are the highest quality bike light on the market. I am not merely asserting this; I’ve experimented a lot (i.e. bought a lot of crappy lights before I discovered L&M). I’ve used the Commuter 400 headlight and Vis 180 tail light for bike commuting for over a year now. The Commuter 400 head light is perfect for my needs. This includes pitch black unlit bike paths through the Northern Virginia suburbs. Heading home with a tailwind down a false flat at 20+ mph? Not a problem. The big beam casts far, and the angle of the light is easily adjustable on the handlebars. I can turn down the brightness in well-lit areas or at dawn/dusk to save juice. The best part is that this light is rechargable via micro USB. I can park my bike in the garage, sit down at the computer and plug it in, and in no time it is fully charged ready for the ride home.
Rather than tell you my opinion on the Vis 180, I’ll relate what a fellow cyclist said to me on the bike path after I passed him by: “That thing is like a friggin’ car tail light!” Exactly. Every other bike tail light I’ve tried pales in comparison. They aren’t waterproof. They eat batteries. Their small blinkers seem more suited as a rave accessory than keeping you alive when sharing dark roads with cars. The Vis 180, however, is bright. Very bright. Indeed like a car tail light. Riding with it gives me the confidence that I will be visible to those with whom I share the road. To boot, it holds a charge for a long time. I use this thing for days on end before it needs to be recharged. Like the Commuter 400, it is also rechargeable via micro USB.
The best part is that these lights are sturdy. They are sealed up tight with no easy places (such as battery mount openings or wires) for moisture to sneak in. Wet winter riding is not a problem. Both the Commuter 400 and Vis 180 have easy strap mount setups that are very strong and easy to use – I can mount and unmount them easily while wearing winter gloves. I will trust my safety this winter to these lights, and will be a lifelong customer. My appreciation of their quality has only increased as I was researching their new models, and came across this cool story showing their factory:
Bike Rumor Factory Tour
These are great lights, and I recommend them to everyone. I’m looking forward to trying out one of their beefier Seca models for night mountain biking soon. Thanks L&M for sponsoring our team!