I’ve had these lights since November 1999, so I suppose this qualifies as a long-term test. However, as far as I can tell this year’s models are basically identical to mine. Lumicycle only sell direct: their products can be viewed on their website: www.lumicycle.co.uk.
So, what do you get for your money? Good presales advice and suitably swift delivery (less than a week after my telephoned order) for a start. First impressions are that the system looks, er, a bit homemade. Don’t let that put you off though: the build quality is excellent throughout. Lumicycle will put together virtually any system you want from their range of components. The basic system I bought has 12W spot and 20W flood CNC’ed black anodised light units which fit on the bars using reusable zip ties, controlled by a robust switch on the back of each light. Side-to-side adjustment is by loosening a screw on the light mount. The lights each contain a removable lamp unit: you have a choice of 5,12,20, or 35W spot and 10,20 or 35W flood. Comprehensive instructions are provided, along with plenty of spare zip ties!
The lamps are powered by a 13.2V 4Ah NiMH battery in frame or
bottle-mounting form. The frame fit battery I ordered is in a tough Cordura
pouch with Velcro straps and hangs easily under bars or top tube. A choice
of “slow” overnight or “fast” 5hr charger (which I opted for) is provided.
The whole system weighs about 800g.
A couple of technical points make these lights stand out from the crowd. The
nickel metal hydride battery is lighter and more compact than an equivalent
NiCad or lead-acid one and lacks the “memory” effect of NiCads, a bonus for
frequent users who want to top up their charge often. Just don’t run it down
completely: this can damage the cells. The lights are 12V units but are run
at 13.2V so they give a brighter, white light at the expense of a slightly
How are they in use? My lights have performed faultlessly in daily use through the rain, hail and snow of last winter and are in daily use again now: they have survived several crashes and still look like new. Fitting of the system to the bike is quick and easy. The light these things give off has to be seen to be believed: the contrast from my previous Cateye halogens is incredible. To be honest on my daily commute (road/poorly lit cyclepath mixed) the 12W spot is enough alone. With both lights offroad you can ride almost as fast as in daylight. The 12W spot gives me about 4 1/2 hours burn time. When I use both lights I get about 1 1/2 hours burntime. The only (very minor) niggle is that I have found that the switches can be a bit fiddly with gloved hands when you’re moving offroad, but I suppose sensible people switch their lights on before they start off anyway.
Well, what’s the verdict? You’ve probably got the impression that I like these lights. Oh yes. I’d not hesitate to recommend them to anyone looking for a set of quality rechargeables. Equivalent NiMH-based systems like Vistalite’s Nightsticks are now appearing, but are less flexible in their lamp combinations than the Lumicycle ones. Sure, the Lumicycles cost a bit more than lead-acid or NiCad equivalents but I think the advantages of the NiMh battery are worth it and they’re a top quality product. Oh, and they do head-mounted and rear lights too if you’re interested. In conclusion, well-made, light, bright and reasonable burntime. Reclaim the night!
All the current models and buying information can be found on www.lumicycle.co.uk.
Email them directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01202 269863.