It's that time of year again when the night's draw in and it gets harder and harder to cycle in daylight. It's time to get the bike lights on!
Up till now my trusty Lezyne Micro Drive Lights (which I reviewed a couple of years ago) have been perfect. They're great for letting other road users know you're there on city streets, but when it comes to actually seeing where you're going when the street lights run out, they're not really up to the job.
Since I've moved out to the edge of the countryside and my regular cycling route is now down unlit pothole-strewn lanes, the Lezyne's maximum of 200 lumens is not enough to spot upcoming bear traps, plus their limited battery light when on full beam means you need to recharge every day!
So I faced a quandary and the only solution was to do some research (one of favourite leisure activities!). After several wasted hours, from what I can see the choices boil down to two options:
Option 1: Exposure Equinox Mk2
If you're a Premiership footballer and have £200+ spare you can go for something like the Exposure Equinox Mk2, which are fantastically well made, high tech pieces of kit which offer loads of features and up to 2,000 lumens of light.
It's a thing of undeniable beauty...
Option 2: Nestling Cree Lights
If you're anyone else, you can buy a Cree Light - I chose a Nestling Cree XML T6, but there were loads of others to choose from.
It's nowhere near as beautifully-made as the Exposure Equinox Mk2 and it comes with an ungainly separate battery pack, but the light output is also claimed to be 2,000 lumens. It even comes with fittings to transform it into a headlamp, plus there's a rear light thrown in!
Oh, and the price? £14.99....yes, seriously!
Guess which one I bought...
I will update with a full review later, but after using the Nestling Cree Light a couple of times I would say it's fantastic for the job in hand. It provides an astonishing amount of light, which made me feel far safer on the road and also made riding less tiring as I wasn't having to strain to see ahead.
Other road users were clearly very well aware of me and, while bright, the central beam was easy to direct low enough not to dazzle people.
Yes the light is obviously not up to the build standards of the Exposure Equinox Mk2. It's ugly and flimsy and the battery pack is a bit of a faff and the wire connecting it is too long and rather awkward.
But then you think - it costs £14.99!!!
Why did no-one tell me about Cree Lights before...?