Friday, November 07, 2008

Got some new lights

I got a new set of lights this week. It's funded by good old VZdubya. They had given me a nice award for my volunteering to help with Hurricane Ike, redeemable as cash or as gift cards. So gave myself a $30 budget at Amazon and I wanted a new set of lights. $30 doesn't go too far, I wasn't expecting to get a new Minewt or anything. I just wanted either a decent headlight (I was hoping someone was moving something nice cheap) or a really nice taillight, or a half-decent safety headlight and a taillight. I almost got another Planet Bike Super Flash, but I thought I might be able to get something close to it and a decent safety headlight. I looked at a bunch of the combo packs. Most of the headlights are not really high-power, but they wouldn't hurt along with my existing headlights. I wanted something that would blink, or maybe something that would attach to my helmet.
Well, in the end, I fell for this set. The MSRP lists for $54 but Amazon had it for less than $40. Yeah, MSRP was probably too steep, but the taillight looked OK and the headlight was potentially a nice light. It's hard to tell what 180 lux is but it seems to be what their other lights do on a low setting. Again, comparing lights is hard to do from manufacturer, expecially without picures. I saw another manufacturer with a significantly stronger light bragging about 14 lux. There weren't any reviews of this item anywhere, but I decided to try it anyway. Incidently, you can find some rather unbiased reviews of lights here and here. Of course, neither really reviews the Vetta. So, how did it do?

1st, I was only really looking forward to the headlight, figuring that taillights are pretty much all the same, unless you get a Dinotte. But the taillight was nicer than I expected. This thing is pretty sizeable, taller than my Super Flash. It's set up to attach to my seat post like most others. That's another thing I like about my Super Flash. You can attach it to your seat stay or clip it on a saddle bag or a messenger bag. The Vetta taillight looks like it will be OK. It's not as bright as the Super Flash, but it has a steady beam, a blinking one, and a running one, where the three LED's blink sequentially. That's the one I think I'll use the most, I think it will catch someone's eye a bit more with the movement.

2nd, the headlight isn't set up like a headlight. It's a triangular flashlight with a handlebar base. You can pull it off and use it like a flashlight. There are others like this out there, but I didn't expect it out of this one.

3rd, when I first turned it on, I was a bit disappointed at how bright it wasn't. It's a one-watt bulb, so it's right on the border of being something that will let you ride fast with it down a busy street. It's not going to throw out light farther than what I already have. But then I noticed that it is noticeably brighter than some other safety headlights I've seen and used. It looks to be on par with the Niterider Ultrafazer Max or the Cateye EL 530. So for the cash, it's not bad at all. It's NOT a $450 HID or even a $50 LED. I would not recommend this as a first light, or an only light for someone commuting. If you are riding only suburban streets or slowly on a paved trail in a park though, it might do the trick.

4th, it doesn't come with a helmet mount. Bummer. It kind of looked like a helmet mount in the pictures on Amazon. No such luck. Another $14 and I can order one from Vetta but I may get a helmet mount for one of my other lights.

5th, it only has one setting, on. No low, no flash. Another bummer. I would have liked to have something that flashes to go along with my Minewt.

The Eddy's site is a bit misleading. Check out how bright the MiNewt looks there, and then check out how dim it looks on the trail at the second review site. I think I may just have to save my pennies for something spectacularly priced if I ever get into riding trails at night. All in all, I was a bit more impressed than I expected, but I was also holding out hope that it would be special. It is what it is.

No comments: