The bicycle lighting market has never been as diverse or as dynamic as it is today. Progressive designs, the introduction and rise of Chinese mass-produced lights, rapidly accelerating battery technology – they’re all factors that have led to a flood of new companies jumping into the rechargeable bike light game, whilst the established players scramble to compete. It might be a tumultuous time for those brands and manufacturers, but it’s certainly a great time if you’re in the market for a new light, as there’s never been so much choice. Naturally with that choice, however, comes confusion. Are those cheapie lights going to last? Do you believe the manufacturers claim of ‘2000 Lumens’ of power? Will your new lightset be superseded in 6 months?

We can’t quite answer all of those questions, though it’s fair to say that for the most part, you do get what you pay for. Fortunately you don’t have to pay $1000 for a high quality set of lights like you did only a few years ago though, and ever progressing LED and Lithium Ion technology means you’re getting more power for less buck, and in a nicely compact package. Here we take a preliminary look at some of the latest lights from Kiwi brand, Gloworm.

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Hailing from over the ditch in New Zealand, Gloworm is a relatively new company that’s specialising in high-powered night lights for mountain biking. While many new companies that have sprung up at the same time as Gloworm have been simply re-stickering their name onto generic Chinese lights such as those from Magicshine, Gloworm proudly states that while their product is manufactured in Asia, they use a unique Kiwi design. The company itself is located in Mt Wellington in Auckland, and was established on the basis of making high performance lighting technology more accessible to more riders. They currently offer just two lightsets: the single-LED X1 light, and the dual-LED X2 light.

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The Gloworm X2 Lightset features:

  • Power: 1200 Lumens
  • 2 x Cree U2 XML LED Globes
  • Panasonic 4-Cell 5.8 AH Lithium Ion Rechargeable Battery
  • CNC Machined from 6061 T-6Alloy
  • Dual optic lens (spot/flood)
  • IMT Programme settings
  • Waterproof
  • 2.5 hour Run Time on maximum power
  • 4 hour charge time
  • Remote switch
  • Handlebar & Helmet mounting options
  • Included in the box: AC charger, extension cord, mounting hardware
  • Weight:
  • RRP: $299.95

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As it’s name suggests, the X2 light uses two LED’s to punch out a claimed 1200 Lumens of power. It comes with both a helmet and handlebar mount in the box, so you can choose the best application for your riding. Given the amount of punch and it’s compact size, you could certainly get away with the X2 as a stand alone light for mountain biking, in which case we’d be slapping it on the lid. However, being the lucky buggers we are, we’ll be mounting the X1 on the helmet, and fitting the X2 to handlebar duties.

Both lightsets utilise a tough alloy case that is CNC machined from 6061-T6 stock. Aside from creating a more durable package, the alloy construction also dissipates heat better than a cheaper plastic bodied light, which can often be the bane of hot LED globes – especially in our Aussie climate. As soon as an LED begins to heat up, it drastically loses efficiency, so keeping that globe running cool is essential to ensuring consistent power all the way through your ride.

X2 Programme Chart-scale_600

Both the Gloworm lights come stock with a remote switch instead of having a button directly on the head unit or battery as other brands do. This should make for a much easier-to-reach position for the bar-mounted light, though we’re intrigued to see how the setup will go on the helmet…

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The Gloworm X1 Lightset features:

  • Power: 850 Lumens
  • 1 x Cree XML U3 LED Globe
  • Panasonic 2-Cell, 5.8 AH Lithium Ion Rechargeable Battery
  • CNC Machined from 6061 T-6Alloy
  • Interchangeable lens system (Superspot, spot & flood lenses included)
  • IMT Programme settings
  • Waterproof
  • 2.5 hour Run Time on maximum power
  • 4 hour charge time
  • Remote switch
  • Mounting: Handlebar & Helmet options (handlebar mount sold separately)
  • Included in the box: AC charger, extension cord, helmet mount
  • RRP: $249.95

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The power output isn’t the only thing to change between the X1 and X2 lights, as there is a difference in battery size too. The X2 light comes with the bigger 4-cell Lithium Ion battery (left) and the X1 comes with a smaller 2-cell unit. Both are manufactured by Panasonic and come with integrated gauges on top to indicate how much juice is left. Because of the change in battery size, both lights have about the same run time on full power, despite the difference in Lumens. We see this as being a good thing for 12/24 hour racing, where you need run times and charge cycles to be as simple as possible. What’s also cool about Gloworm lights is that you can mix and match the batteries, and you can purchase additional ones aftermarket if you need some extra backup.

ProgrammesChartX1-scale_600

With a number of endurance races coming up over the next few months as well as making the most of the improved Spring-time weather, we’ll be putting the Gloworm lights through their paces to see if the Kiwi’s have been able to strike that magic balance between value, durability, power and efficiency. On paper they certainly seem competitive, and if you’re keen to check them out for yourself, get in touch with The Bicycle Peddler, who distribute Gloworm in Australia.

The Bicycle Peddler
Phone: +61 3 9763 1007
Website: www.BicyclePeddler.com.au
Email: orders@bicyclepeddler.com.au