For many a biker, adequate lighting for dusk or night time riding is often overlooked. For the serious MTB enthusiast, having good, powerful, directional lighting with the right type of beam is essential. Dedicated bike lights start at very cheap and not that effective, right up to £500 for a pro set-up. There is another option though and it is one that could please many a gadget lover this Christmas. Personally, I really like LED torches. Don't ask me why, but my fascination over how such a vast amount of light can be produced by some of these torches amazes me. I keep one in my car and another under my sink. Then I stumbled across the Fenix range of torches and the kind guys at The Photon Shop kindly sent us a Fenix L2D Q5 plus a little gadget called a LockBlock for attaching the torch to my mountain bike.
So, let's take a look at the LockBlock first. This little device costs just under £9. It is very simple, but works very well indeed. It comprises of a double-sided U-shaped rubber mount, with two velcro loops threaded through. You attach the LockBlocks to your handlebar, tighten the velcro. Then get your torch, tighten the second velcro loop and voila, your torch is rock solid on your bike. On my rides with this set-up attached things stayed firmly in place. The torch bounced around with the bike of course, but did not budge from the LockBlock mount. Very impressed with this product, simplicity in design paid of and at £9 it is a bargain.
Onto the Fenix torch. This is the first LED flashlight I have reviewed, so my comparisons are made against a £30 Cateye bike specific light. The Fenix L2D Q5 is a lot longer than a regular light, measuring just under 15cm. Even though this is quite long, it does not get in your way when riding. The diameter is 2.1cm, so as mentioned before, it fits nicely in the LockBlock, but if you do use it off the bike, then it is very pocketable. On the bike on night time trails it is awesome. At its highest output you get 180 lumens of output. Running on two AA batteries I was also amazed that it kept going for almost two hours. The beam is very concentrated too, with little spill, so seeing ground hazards was very easy. When I ventured onto the road, cars and other vehicles gave me plenty of room, so I must have been very visible. You can also soft touch the rubber on/off button which changes the brightness, plus you can turn the bezel very slightly to change modes from general to turbo mode. In general mode you get three different brightness levels and an SOS mode. In turbo mode, you get the full 180 lumens plus a fast flashing strobe mode.
Wow, what a torch... lifetime warranty on the LED, waterproof to IPX-8 standard and a toughened optical glass lens. The build is superb and the body of the torch is a hard anodized finish. Dropping it (although not recommended) had not effect and it remained unmarked throughout reviewing it.
The Fenix L2D Q5 is so solidly built and such a useful tool that I just hope that it does not have to go back. This is really a great deal. You get two presents in one. A nice solid torch with awesome light output for the ultimate gadget lover. Plus, you have the ability to use it an a very effective bike light. For this sort of money, what more could you ask? If you buy this particular Fenix torch and a LockBlock it comes to just under £50... highly recommended.
**More photos to follow**