My Planet Bike LED helmet lamp has served me very well for the last 8-10 years, but lately it has been letting me down. I was on my way home from a 100km loop on Friday that finished in the dark and my light didn’t quite make it home, despite its relatively new AAA batteries. Still no complaints, it owes me nothing after all these years. So I was out looking for a replacement. This time I had only a few criteria: Lightweight, bright and USB rechargeable (One of my old lights used “N” batteries that were hard to find and cost almost as much as the light itself, so I was not going to make that mistake again).
After a bit of online research and a visit to the local bike shop I decided on the Serfas USL-5 Raider headlight. It is USB rechargeable, produces 70 lumens of blinding light, has a flashing mode, 180deg of visibility and weighs in at just 37grams (according to their website). The burn time is a bit of a let down though at just 6.5hrs compared to nearly 100hrs on my old light (which was only 20 lumens, 100g and required 3 AAA batteries).
So I charged it up last night and tried it out my way to work this morning. It has a low-beam, a high-beam and the only mode that I’m likely to ever use, a flashing mode. This light is bright! Riding into the darkness that December brings to Toronto at 6am, I could see Stop signs flashing back at me that were two blocks away!
It mounts securely in seconds with a silicone strap. I attached mine to my helmet to be as visible as possible, although it will fit around a handlebar easily as well. Here it is (upper light) on my helmet compared to my old Planet Bike light (lower light):
I’m really amazed at how much light it casts to the sides. It really is visible at 180deg. At $40 I think is a great replacement to my old light. Let’s just hope that I don’t have to write about it again for 8-10 more years.