- Fireball All Terrain lights
- Fireball Lights
If there’s one thing the market isn’t short of, it’s bike lights. But that hasn’t stopped Fireball Lights leaping in with the All Terrain system. And we’re glad they did, ‘cos it’s rather good.
Fireball’l probably hate us for saying it, but pretty much everyone who saw the system for the first time assumed that they were Lumicycles. It’s not all that surprising – once you’ve taken the industry-standard MR11 bulb and put it in a CNCed aluminium housing there’s not a great deal that you can do to make it different. Fireball has tried, though – the units come to a point at the back with the switch on, which is rather tidy. They also come as standard with a cam-locking bar clamp. These work excellently on most bars, but if you’ve got bulgey risers or 31.8mm oversize jobbers you might have problems. You can adjust the angle of the lamps so if you end up having them a long way apart you can aim them inwards to compensate. The lamp units are available in a choice of anodised colours – black, silver, blue or red – and have a Fireball logo screened on to them so you know what you’ve bought.
The main points of difference from Lumicycle’s offering, though, are the connectors and the battery. The connectors have neat mini-bayonet plugs, with a locking collar that ensures that the plugs can’t fall out over bumpy ground – a welcome feature. You get a choice of holder for the 13.2V, 4Ah NiMH battery. There’s a seatpack, or a spun aluminium holder that fits in a bottle cage. As standard it’s somewhat shorter than a bottle and it’s rigid, so it doesn’t fit in some cages all that snugly – you might want to invoke an old toestrap just to be sure. That said, we didn’t and it never fell out. It did get a bit scratched up, though…
The battery holder is threaded, so you can open it up, unplug the battery from inside and charge it without having to unthread all the wiring to the lamp units, which is useful. You can also get an extender to make room for a second battery that connects to the first and doubles the run time, just the job for those night-time enduros.
Run time is of course dictated by bulb choice, and you certainly get a choice. The test set arrived with a 10W flood and 20W spot. They’re 12V bulbs, so in this system they’re slightly over-volted to give extra brightness at the expense of a bit of bulb life. Even so, we found the 10W flood to be of limited use – it’s spreading itself over quite a wide area. Fine at low speeds, but we found ourselves switching the spot on quite early. The 10’d be a good commuting light on its own, though.
Fortunately Fireball had included the £19.95 Multi Bulb Pack in the box, containing five of the most popular bulbs – 10W spot, 20W spot, 20W flood, 35W spot and 35W flood. We dropped in the 20W flood and found it to be a fine all-rounder. Running both 20W lamps together clearly has run-time implications but with careful lamp selection we were finishing two-hour rides with light to spare. The 10W spot is quite useful and a good option if you need the run time. The 35W units are quite impressive. Fireball recommend using one in conjunction with a 10 or 20W, but we found the difference between 10 and 35 was a bit large – a bit like only having a granny gear and 44/11 on your bike. The 20/35 combo was highly effective, and if you turn off the 20 when you turn on the 35, and use it sparingly, you’re OK for a good hour and a half. It’s horses for courses, really, and it’s good to have the choice.
Once you’re back, the two-stage charger will charge the battery fairly briskly until it’s full (it detects the voltage drop at full charge) and then trickles to keep it topped up. You can leave it on the trickle for as long as you like.
Positives: Versatile, robust, beautifully made
Negatives: Battery pack could be a more secure fit
Verdict: Comparisons with Lumicycle are inevitable. Fireball’s secure connections are a boon, and we like the versatility of the extendible battery and wide range of bulbs. Once you’ve found a bulb combination that you like, it’s a great performer. It’s slightly more expensive than a Lumicycle, though.