October 25, 2013
Daylight savings ends in a little over a week, and that's a sad day indeed for cyclists hoping snag a few hours in the saddle after the 9-5 grind. If you're looking for a light to extend your ride time, or perhaps keep yourself visible for those dark commutes to and from the office, the Solite 250EX from Light & Motion is a solid option worth checking out.
This light runs off a portable battery pack that is micro USB rechargeable. It takes a good eight hours to top it off, and at full charge, the Solite 250EX puts out 250 lumens for up to four hours. If you want to burn through the battery at a slower pace, there are some more economical runtime options of 8 hours at 125 lumens and 30 hours at 50 lumens. If you take this along on a camping trip, there is also a 7-lumen setting for reading or milling around the campsite. For in town commuting, the pulse setting is a great way to go to grab the attention of motorists.
Out of the box, this light comes with three different mounting options. There's a handlebar mount, helmet mount for vented helmets, and headstrap for either hiking or non-vented helmets. The light also clips into the portable battery pack, which makes it easy to use as a handheld flashlight. My light came ready to ride with a partial charge, but I would recommend topping the battery off before you take it for a spin.
For a light with a portable battery pack, they don't come much more compact than this. The battery measures out to be 3 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 1 inch tall. The light itself is more or less 1 inch in length, width, and height. Total weight of the battery, light, and handlebar mount comes in at 4.5 ounces. You probably won't care about the weight too much if you're mounting the light to your bike, but you'll appreciate it if you're using the helmet mount option.
The Solite 250EX retails for $179, however, members of Adventure Cycling Association get a 15% discount off this light using the coupon code found in their My Adventure Cycling account. This is a great light that fills a lot of needs. I'll be putting it to use for commuting, night riding, camping, and cross-country skiing.
Photo by Josh Tack
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh's "Fine Tuned" column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.
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The thing I dislike about micro usb charging type lights is that if you're camping you don't always have access to electricity to charge it, And if you have to run it and can't charge you can end up being without a light when you need it. So then you have to carry two. Personally, I think replaceable or rechargeable batteries are still the way to go. You can get AAs at any convenience store. You can't get them to let you charge your light for 8 hours....