Canadian brand Gemini Lights arrived in the UK earlier this year through distributor i-ride, and the Olympia 1700 is their most powerful offering. It’s a smartly designed light with programmable brightness and a battery life and beam pattern that makes it perfect for trail riding.
The Olympia 1700 has three Cree XM-L LEDs housed inside a very smartly designed aluminium lamp unit. It’s a very compact and lightweight design. It uses a curved bracket with a rubber band securing it to handlebars and offers a useful range of rotational adjustment. We’ve criticised lights with similar brackets but the Gemini manages to be more stable out on the trail, though we’d still like to see the bracket improved.
You also get the choice of a helmet mount and, with the light weighing so little (just 78g), we’d almost consider just running it on the helmet on its own. That goes against traditional wisdom that dictates you have your most powerful light on the bars and a smaller helmet mounted light for seeing around corners. The Olympia on the helmet is good enough on its own, or it can make a seriously impressive partner to a handlebar mounted light.
The Gemini is proof that a well designed lens and reflector is as important to a light as how many lumens it kicks out. The beam is excellent for fast trail riding, with enough throw to make really fast riding a joy; consistent spread of light out to the perimeter gives it a broadness for negotiating slower technical trails littered with roots and ruts. We never found the beam lacking.
A really neat trick offered by the Olympia is programmable beam brightness modes. By default you get high, medium and low, plus a flashing mode accessed with a press and hold of the power button. If you want to increase the brightness of the medium mode, for example, you simply press and hold the button for three seconds, and then increase the brightness in 10% rises. You can always reset to factory settings by holding the button for 10 seconds. In reality we found the default modes just fine.
With the 4-cell 5200 mah battery, which is contained within a tough fabric bag strapped to the top tube with a single strip of velcro, you can expect a burn time of a little over 2 hours on the brightest mode. They also offer a 6 cell 8400 mah battery pack which should extend that figure to over 3.5 hours. The power button acts as a fuel gauge, changing colour to indicate the health of the battery.
Gemini say the light unit is IP65 weatherproof (IP is the Ingress Rating and rates a product for the degree of protection against water) which means it’ll stand up to ‘low pressure water jets from any direction’. In real world terms that means it is weatherproof and in practise it stood up to one particularly heavy downpour. Short of dunking it in a stream, it should cope with a manky British winter just fine.
(Note: We tested the Olympia 1700 but it appears from the website the light has been upgraded to 1800 lumens.)
A very nicely designed light that works well on the trail. We like the programmable brightness.
Good beam pattern, nice balance of broadness and reach
The bracket isn’t as secure as we’d like still
Price: £189.99 (we found it cheaper shopping around)
More information: Gemini Lights
What Gemini says:
"Our most powerful light yet. The Gemini Olympia LED Light System throws a massive 1700 lumens of light via 3 x CREE XM-L U2 LED Emitters. Completely user customizable with three mode settings, set your brightness from 10-100% and save it.
The OLYMPIA LED Light System is bundled with a bar / helmet / head belt mount, so the possibilities are endless. Take your Gemini Light with you to go night fishing, skiing, long-boarding, trail-shredding.. anywhere you like."