I have two main weapons of choice. One is a 4 x AA battery powered Hope Vision I bought back in April. This is an excellent light in every way and more than enough to take on some of the all night rides I have been on. (I have a link to my original review at the bottom of of this post).
The other is a light simply called a Cree. This is a very inexpensive light to say the least. You can get it from a variety of places but eBay is possibly your best bet. They cost about £20 including postage and for what you get they are a total bargain.
The Cree light is a simple affair. You have a light powered by a rechargeable battery pack. (You get this and the charger as well and the light itself). The light is advertised as being 1800 lumen. People in the know say that it is more like 800 - 1000 lumen but all I can say is that it is VERY bright!! On full power it lasts a good 3-4 hours. More on the lower setting and even more on the flashing mode - which is great for commuting and being noticed but incredibly annoying so dipping it towards the road is a must.
For Christmas I was given another Cree light which I was very pleased about! You can never have enough lights. There are a few subtle differences between my old light and the new one.
Cosmetically there is not a huge difference and they are almost identical.
|The new Cree|
|Mt old Cree with the diffusing lens fitted (optional extra)|
One the subject of waterproofness, the Cree is advertised as boing waterproof. Having used it quite happily in heavy rain (London to Brighton for the second time last year) I can say it is still working!
|The new light has a much better connector for the battery pack|
|The old light. Works well but not as secure as the new light|
|The old light|
|The new light|
The last difference between the lights is the length of the wire from the light itself. The old light has a very short wire, whereas that of the new one is much longer and perhaps more user friendly as a result.
|The old light on the left with a shorter wire and the new one on the right with a much longer one|
When I opened this particular present from my daughters on Christmas morning I was extremely happy!! It really is a great light and for the price you cannot go wrong. Do I expect it to last as long as my Hope Vision? No. Does it have the build quality of my Hope Vision? No, but it is pretty good. The proof of a light like this is whether is works well.
Having the Cree on a night ride is now a forgone conclusion - it is simply part of my kit and always will be. The power it emits is quite amazing for something costing so little. Perhaps the best compliment I can pay it is that if it gave up the ghost and stopped working after six months I'd be looking on eBay for a replacement exactly the same.
Hope Vision Front Light Review