BatterySpace: HID Lights

3 10 2007

Following my recent posts on the forum with a link to buying bike lights from the USA now is a timely moment to post a review.

U$280.00 including shipping (approximately £150.00) the equivalent set would cost of the order £400-00 from one of the major brands if sourced in the UK.

The order was placed including the expedited airmail delivery option and paid for using PayPal. I received an automatically generated e-mail confirming the order followed a couple of hours later by a ‘real-person’ e-mail confirming a dispatch date. E-mails with shipping numbers etc were received when the goods were shipped. UPS delivered them to my door 12 days after the order had been placed.

The lamp is a Trail-Tech 13W HID in a stainless steel housing that has been machined from a solid billet, the housing has been designed to maximise heat dissipation. The lamp size is approximately 3cm wide and 7.5 cm long. For mtb riding you need to specify the 12 degree ‘flood’ option not the ‘spot’ light. The lamp and housing are common for both flood and spot, a different reflector is used to control light spread. I have the 14.8 volt, 5.2 Ah Li-ion battery that is approximately 10cm square and 2cm deep with a claimed burn time of about 6 hours. I have run this for three evening rides between recharges without any problems.

The supplied battery charger switches itself off when the battery is fully charged, the manual states that a full recharge takes about 5 hours, I am not interested in how long it takes as I always leave it to recharge overnight. A nylon bag is supplied for the battery together with all the necessary cables. The terminals are all a snug ‘push-fit’ with overlapping rubbery seals and we have never had a problem with water ingress in approximately 1 years use. I am not sure if it is rated waterproof but it is certainly much more ‘rain friendly’ than Lumicycle systems. The unit is switched on and off with a dimple switch on the cable. One of the most useful features is that the cable connecting the lamp to the battery is a ‘spring’ type which enables the battery to be carried in your backpack without having yards of connecting cable hanging around. The kit is supplied with both a handlebar and helmet mount for the lamp.

After all this gumpf what does it perform like? It is a HID lamp so comparing it to either a halogen or LED system is like comparing a torch to a WW2 searchlight. It gives a very bright white light that turns night into day for about 30 metres. Because the light is so bright and directional it does tend to create shadows after any obstacle but this isn’t really a problem. The 12 degree flood is perfect, illuminating both the main and peripheral vision targets stunningly well. There is a very slight concentric circle only just visible at the very edge of the flood but this totally irrelevant when you are out riding in the real world. I use mine on the handlebar but my buddy prefers his on the helmet mount – its personal preference. Those who have come along to our night rides can vouch for the power, brightness and battery life of these systems.

If you haven’t tried a HID lamp then you don’t know what you are missing. If you are thinking of buying lights for the first time or replacing/upgrading existing ones don’t faff about just buy these.

£150-00 an absolute bargain.




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