BR Lights Initial Impression

| August 30, 2007 9:36 pm

Yesterday my new BR Light arrived by FedEx, just in time to give it 45 minutes on the charger before I jumped on the bike and headed north to Morgan Hill for a ride up Henry Coe with the Nightriders. I waited until dark before I started the ride back home from Morgan Hill so I could test out the new light. I had purchased the C2-H model, which is a handle bar version and the model with the higher lumen (and shorter run time).

The light has three power settings, high, medium and stealth. I had them program my light so the stealth mode was at 5% instead of the normal 2% because when I tested it last Friday during the mountain bike ride, I didn’t feel the 2% would be adequate. I am glad I made that change.

Before I get into how the light performed on the road, in the dark, here are some interesting comparisons between my new light and an older 20/10 watt dual light system I have used in the past.

BR Light compared with Older Light

On the left is the new BR Light, which is all self contained in one unit. That means the mount, the light, the battery, the controller switch are all together. Compare that with my old light with a separate battery, a bag for the battery, cables to connect the battery to the light, a light mount, and a control switch I had to attach to the handle bar.

I weighed both setups (san chargers). The BR light weighed 14.2 oz (408 grams) while my old light came in at 2 lbs, 2.5 oz (992 grams) or more than twice the weight. My old light has two lights, a 10 watt and a 20 watt, for a total of 30 watts, but with both lights I can only get a couple hours of run time, even with that heavy battery.

The BR light is small enough and light enough to mount on the handlebar with no need for cords (note I have small hands).

BR Light in hand BR Lilght in hand

I then did a very unscientific test and shined both lights in a dark room against the wall.

BR Light vs. Old Light

The BR light is on the left, the old light on the right. It should be obvious to even the most casual observer that the BR light is much brighter and the light is whiter, which is easier to use on the road.

The mount for the light is attached to it. It is a clever all metal mounting system that I believe is very solid, even fully adequate for mountain biking. Once mounted, it is easy to move the light left or right as you are riding, to aim the beam. The light does not come off as quick as those lights that have a mount that stays on the bike such as my Cateye HL530, but then those mounts are often flimsy. The BR light is relatively easy to attach and remove and certainly faster and easier than setting up a light that has an external battery that you need to attach to the bike somewhere then wire it to the light on the handlebar.

BR Light Mounting System

Now back to my ride in the dark. I rode 13 miles in the dark, part through the city streets and about 10 miles on a road that had no street lights and enough times with no cars to test things out. I found that on high power the BR light has plenty enough light for me to go as fast as I wanted. I took my speed up to 30 mph on a short descent and felt fully comfortable.

On the medium setting the light is adequate for 20 mph, what I would usually do on a flat road. If the route was short enough I would still opt for the higher light setting, but the medium setting was fine, especially if the road has a white line to gauge off and is in reasonably good shape.

I had a short climb where I tested out the stealth mode (my light was set at 5%). I found it adequate, but barely, for climbing at up to 7-8 mph. I am glad I had them change the setting and maybe a slightly higher setting would be useful. In any case it is about as bright in the stealth mode as my Cateye HL530, which has a claim of 1,500 candlepower (a useless measurement in my opinion).

I feel that with this particular light, I could basically go all night on a single charge by using the medium setting for flats, the high power for descents and the stealth mode for climbing. The light has a 6 stage battery indicator. A colored LED goes from green (full power) to blinking green, then to orange, then blinking orange, then red, then blinking red. It is a clever system and very easy to see how much battery life left.

I found using the single control button on the light to work very well. It was very responsive.

If I owned a HID light I would make a direct comparison. When we did the night mountain bike ride last Friday we did an informal comparision with some HID lights on the ride and found the BR Light similar in terms of illumination. The BR light has the big advantage of using the new CRED LEDs which are very reliable and much more shock resistant than a HID light. The LED light turns on immediately and it is no problem to shut it off and back on as you wish.

I have a sophisticated light meter back from the early days of photography that will measure LUX, but I have to find some batteries first. They don’t make the mercury button batteries anymore for this device that is 25 years old. When I get it to work, I can do more testing.

In summary, I am very glad I bought the BR light.

7 Responses to “BR Lights Initial Impression”

Fred May wrote a comment on August 31, 2007

Franz, great report, where can you purchase this? I’ve been looking and almost purchased the “other” good self contained setup; this looks much better!!

Franz wrote a comment on August 31, 2007

Fred, I purchased my BR Light online at their website: http://www.brlights.com/

David Hoag wrote a comment on August 31, 2007

Hi Franz,
How was the quality of the handlebar mount? Given that all the weight is on that mount (no separate battery), are you confident that it will hold firm and will last? It it easy to take on and off the bike (don’t want to leave it on the bike while at work or shopping)?
Thanks!

Franz wrote a comment on August 31, 2007

David, good question. I added a section to the above blog to describe the mounting including a photo. It takes me less than 30 seconds to put it on my bike.

Todd Munk wrote a comment on September 5, 2007

Franz, how does that mount hold up during mountain bike riding? Seems like it might rotate on the handlebar after enough bumps?

Franz wrote a comment on September 5, 2007

Todd, I used the very same light on a 3 hour mountain bike night ride that had both fire roads and single track. The light did not rotate on the mount. You can rotate it by hand as you ride (which I have done) but there is enough friction so it does not rotate on it’s own.

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