Subject: Product Review & Field Test of the CycleBeam 930Z bicycle light and the Proton 700 bicycle light
Field Test Situation: The Equinox Traverse 48 hour Adventure Race
Background: From 23 -25 May 2015, Summit Adventure Racing and Team Commie Bar competed in the elite coed division at the Equinox Traverse 48hour Adventure Race in Ohiopyle, PA. Two of the athletes (Todd Copley and Jon Gamm) used and field tested the CycleBeam bicycle lights listed above. Here are the comments and report.
The 930Z-1 uses a 18650 lithium battery that is charged using the included charger that comes with the light. I like the fact the charger comes with an AC120 power cord as part of the charger and not a USB cord. The batteries do take a good long time to full charge. I don’t really like the blue color to green color combination to indicate charging status because I always mix them up. A red to green combo would be better. I have a spare charger that I bought online and it has 2 battery capacity so I used this as well. I’m glad I started charging all my batteries a day or so in advance because it does take a while. Another comment is that the light is not compatible with other 18650 batteries.
Could not be easier. The mount goes on the bars and you can snug it down with the included rubber tie downs. I do recommend using some bar tape or even regular duct tape on the bars so the mount doesn’t wobble. Jon had some problems with wobble but the two lights I used didn’t have a problem.
Ease of Operation
Easy enough! One comment however is that it takes two button pushes to accomplish a move thru the settings. One to turn the light off and the next push to advance the setting. A one button push would make this simpler. These lights are so light it’s incredible. I mounted two of them on my bars underneath my map board. I had planned on using one light for Night 1 and the other light (already mounted) for night 2. In the future I’m just going to go with one light and just have extra batteries that I’ll carry in my saddlebag
The light is advertised at 930 lumens and it’s crazy bright. I’ve had and used another light that advertises at 1200 lumen and it is just about the same as the CycleBeam. Generally speaking I ran my light on low setting the entire night and had plenty of light. Granted a lot of the riding was on roads but I felt that during the single track phases I could still see very well. Since I was the navigator I did need to crank up the brightness setting to medium or high on occasion when I was seeking to find a CP in the woods.
My light lasted all night (and more). The light was switched on to low setting as soon as it became dark (about 8:45pm) and was on until when the sun came up at 0555am. That is approximately 9 hours. I did turn the light off from time to time when we had to dismount and go on foot to seek a point. That was mixed with hitting the high settings from time to time as well. On night #2 the light were only used for a period of 40 minutes on the last segment of the race. During those 40 minutes I continued to use the initial light/battery from the night before and it got me to the finish line however by that time the light level had reduced greatly. Jon reported still having a high light level the entire time on night #2 but that was probably due to the fact that he was not using the medium or high setting as much as I was since I was navigating.
Proton 700 Helmet Light
The Proton 700 uses a 18650 x 2 battery pack that is charged using a USB cord. I added an USB to AC Adaptor so I could plug directly into the wall. Like the 930 it takes a long time to charge. One of the batteries was perpetually blinking green indicating not fully charged for something like 8 hours. After leaving it plugged in all night the green stopped blinking. One other comment is that the connection from the battery cable to the charger is not as solid as I’ve seen. The cord can basically disconnect fairly easy.
Helmet mounting is easy and conventional using a helmet mount and straps with locking clips. The mount is secure and stayed secure for the 2 day race without bouncing around. The light weight of both the light and the battery was appreciated. One comment I do have is that I would create a supplemental cord (or simply make the existing one longer) so the battery could be stored in the top part of a back pack or somewhere else other than the helmet. Even with the light weight, carrying this load on your head can stress your neck out over 2 days.
Ease of Operation
Great operation. Single button that’s easily accessible right on top. Cycles through with one push of the button and turns off quickly. This is important as a navigator because I’m using the light to spot check points in the distance in the woods and also to swing back to viewing my map that is only 12 inches away from my face. Again the low and medium settings worked great in this respect. Sometimes the light level is too high to read the maps as a close distance.
For multi day racing, I kept a spare battery in my saddlebag.
The website doesn’t list the lumen for this light but suffice it to say we operated this at primarily a low setting the entire night and it was more than adequate.
My light lasted all night (and more). The light was switched on to low setting as soon as it became dark (about 8:45pm) and was on until when the sun came up at 0555am. That is approximately 9 hours. I did turn the light off from time to time when we had to dismount and go on foot to seek a point. That was mixed with hitting the high settings from time to time as well. On night #2 the light were only used for a period of 40 minutes on the last segment of the race. During those 40 minutes I continued to use the initial light/battery from the night before and it got me to the finish line strong.
I think this light is a great value. Are there probably some better light systems out there. Maybe. But NONE at this price point. I’d like to see the 930Z in a model that could be mounted on the helmet. That way I’d go exclusively with the 930 for multi day racing because I can always carry more batteries since they are lightweight. All in all a solid, solid light. This will be on the bike during the World Series Raid in France.