As we power through fall and into winter, my time on the bike has significantly reduced. I used to ride anywhere from 45 to 80 miles a week and this past Saturday was the first time I was on the bike in the last two months. One of the reasons my group of friends don’t ride anymore is that after work it’s simply too dark. There are long stretches on our route that are in complete darkness and that’s never a safe situation.
Light & Motion, a company from picturesque Monterey, CA has been tackling the issue of darkness by providing illumination solutions for cyclists and underwater videographers. I am really digging their Seca line of high performance lights. The number on each of their models refers to lumens rating, or simply how much light is put out the front. The Seca 700 Race outputs a staggering 700 lumens from its five LED’s. In comparison, a Mag 3D puts out a measly 76 lumens. It has has three brightness levels, as well as a fast-switching race mode, and is able to shine on high for an impressive 3.5 hours before needing a charge. It uses a 6-cell Li-ion battery pack that fills in just 2.5 hours making it perfect for long commutes and a favorite among 24-hour racers. The kit comes complete with full mounting accessories for your handlebar and helmet.
In use, I found that I rarely needed to go past the medium mode. The beam pattern is very wide, giving me light at nearly a 180 degree sweep. The beam shape is odd, not concentric like you might be used to from a flashlight. There is little artifacting, thanks to the parabolic reflector design. The whole body acts as a heatsink, with fins serving both design and practical purposes. I noticed inductor whine at the high level, but that was only in a perfectly quiet room, standing still. Mounted on a moving bike, I am certain the rider would not notice.
If you are looking for a high-output, rechargeable light system for your bike, and you’re willing to make an investment ($549 MSRP), I would recommend the Seca 700. And, if you need something to just jot down to the market and you are going to be mostly be riding under streetlamps, the company has wide range of products to help you there as well.