Tuesday, 22 September 2015

[Review] LifeLine USB LED Single Beam 40 Lumen Front Bike Light

A quality light is the staple of any cyclists winter equipment, with the most important factors probably including; being seen, battery life and cost. The LifeLine USB 40 lumen front light is a fantastic little product which punches well above it's price of just over £10. For that sort of money you can't go wrong. Or can you? Read the full review to find out.

The good The bad 
  • Very bright for the money
  • Good visibility angle
  • Versatile clamp
  • Excellent battery life
  • USB charging
  • Clamp design (read below) 

Any self respecting cyclist would think twice about bolting an ugly lump of plastic to the front of their carefully crafted steed. So we might as well admit it, even lights have to look good. LifeLine win points in this department with a simple no-nonsense design which will fit in with any colour scheme. I went with black but they are also available in silver if you like that sort of thing.

I would say the overall build quality is excellent, and considering the low price this is even more impressive. The body is machined from aluminium alloy and has a bombproof feel to it.

Performance & Usability
The light has three modes; high continuous, low continuous and flashing. The whole lens acts as a button to switch between modes which is very easy to do even with gloves/cold hands/whilst riding.

One of the problems I have faced with other cycling lights is that the lenses are sometimes enclosed by the body of the light which restricts the angle which the light can be seen at. Luckily, with the LifeLine, the lens protrudes from the end of the light which creates a huge angle of visibility.

The LifeLine front light is my first USB chargeable cycling light and I don't think I would go back to anything else. The convenience of being able to charge up at work is great for commuting and let's face it you are never more than 5m away from a micro-USB cable and a computer nowadays. The micro-USB slot is accessed by unscrewing the rear of the light, a simple solution which is not going to wear out with use.

On the subject of charging, I used this light in flashing mode (reported 50 hours battery life) over the winter and I think I only had to charge it once. Baring in mind there's not many people who embark on 100km rides on the weekdays after work, 50 hours last a surprising number of rides.

The light is mounted via rubber straps which are secured by a plastic double-ended hook. The rear of the light is covered with grippy rubber which firmly holds the light in place, if you've ever experienced badly designed handlebar lights which end up drooping down every time you go over a pothole, this is good to see.

The other benefit of this light is that the mount is part of the light, meaning you aren't left with an ugly mount once the light is removed.

Now, on to the fated clamp design, which is my ONLY criticism of these lights. The plastic hook which links the rubber strap to the other side of the light can detach at both ends, meaning it is free to fall on the floor and bounce under the nearest car/table/sofa. Trying to handle the light without the hook falling off can be quite fiddly, and due to the small size and black colour, can be a real pain to find if it does bounce off somewhere.

I have ridden with this through all weathers for all of last winter and did not have any issues with water or dirt ingress. Another reviewer reported that he put the light through the washing machine and it came out the other end in perfect working order. If you are ever riding through that much water then you've got bigger thing's to worry about.

Can't get much tougher than that.

The LifeLine USB LED 40 Lumen light is unbeatable for the money and offers a great combination of performance and durability. The clamp design is a slight annoyance but it would not stop me buying this light again. The light is currently available on Wiggle for £10.45 with free delivery.

LifeLine USB LED Light Photos

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