Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Smart Polaris II light set gear review update

A lot of people have shown interest in the light set I reviewed back in January. I got the lights because I needed a bright flashing light at the front to better warn road users of my presence riding along on my bike. My immediate reaction after a few days was that they worked really well and immediately improved other people's awareness of an approaching bike. I also found the seven LED rear light to be superior to my previous three LED flasher at the rear.

In January the mornings and evenings were very dark and the lights were very noticeable. The front three-LED unit has been great for alerting people at distance that a bike is coming towards them. The rear also seems to do the trick as it is also bright and I have felt conscious of approaching cars slowing down behind me sooner than before. Smart do have an even brighter rear and a five-LED front so it would be nice to do a comparison.

Now we've changed to British Summer Time, the lights are not really necessary, although I have found myself using them most days. Whilst I don't see the reflection of the front beam off signs and number plates hundreds of metres away, I still think it helps alert motorists to my presence. I also got to try out their portability the other morning when I swapped bikes because of a puncture. The front fitted to my mountain bike in about a minute and the rear clipped to the back of my cycling jacket - couldn't be easier.

In use, the units have been very reliable and have posed no problems. I had a comment from someone who's experience was the opposite, which is surprising because the set I'm using have endured some very wet and cold weather in the last three months. I have only changed the batteries twice so have been impressed with the battery life. With NiMh rechargeables the battery duration has been excellent and the tail-off when becoming discharged is sufficiently slow that I haven't need to carry spare batteries, as I can usually get home with enough brightness before a change would be needed.

The lights are light enough to carry even when it is lighter and I foresee continuing to use them
to go on evening rides rather than wait for much lighter evenings. For travelling into the countryside, where there is less ambient light, I don't think the front will provide a sufficient beam for serious night riding. It is excellent as a light to be seen by in towns, but for seeing into the distance on dark country lanes, something more sophisticated should be considered.

Overall I give these lights 9/10 as they fulfilled exactly what I needed and have performed well. They have proved to be value for money (on offer at £15) and I would recommend them to anyone looking for a good set of lights for urban cycling.

Likes: Brightness, battery life, price.
Dislikes: None
Rating: 4.5/5
Price: RRP £25

No comments: