Moon X Power 500 Cycling Headlight
The winter days are very short in my current location so I asked the guys at Stonehenge Cycles for a recommendation on lights for night riding. I don’t generally ride more than 90 minutes at night so a hub generator would be overkill, but I do need bright lights for the narrow country lanes around Salisbury. And I’m tired of cheap lights that corrode into uselessness because they aren’t watertight. They recommended the Moon X Power 500. The price was £80 at time of purchase, but this has now dropped to the £60 range.
It’s a compact light that easily fits in my hand; looks well-engineered; and has a reassuringly solid and chunky feel.
Installation on the handlebar turns out to be easy via the standard method of turning the lever around to tighten it up, then flipping it to lock the clamp. The light clicks securely into the mount but is easily removed. A helmet mount is provided but I don’t use them so I can’t comment on how well it works.
Observations in Use
This light is astonishingly bright! To get anything with this sort of power used to involve dragging a large battery around in the bottle cage and parting with $500. The high power setting easily illuminates reflective signs that are 100m+ away.
I brought it to use as a hand-held flashlight on a trip to see the pink-footed geese in Norfolk. We approached the hide at Snettisham along a footpath on a pitch black early morning. Each person in the line was lighting their way with the pale amber lights of traditional incandescent flashlights. When I switched on the Moon it lit up the whole group of 20 or so people – I had to step it down to low power just to avoid dazzling everyone.
The beam is fairly directional but there is enough scatter that the road directly ahead and to the sides is clearly visible. It is easy to adjust the angle of the beam while riding.
The biggest advantage from my perspective is that the light is utterly unfazed by water. I have ridden through a number of downpours and there has not a trace of moisture has gotten into the battery compartment or USB port.
One minor complaint is that the rubber cover on the USB port is a bit fiddly. While trying to pry it open from the wrong side I ended up breaking the rubber hinge so I now hold it on with a rubber band. This has not impacted at all on the effectiveness of its seal.
The other issue I experienced is that occasionally the light won’t turn on after it has been on the charger. This mainly happens after I top up the battery when it is already near a full charge. The fix is to open the battery compartment, slide the battery out a bit, then re-position it and close the cover. The easiest way to open the battery compartment is to use a 20p or 50p coin as a screwdriver.
The light has five settings: overdrive, high, medium, low and flashing. When you start it up you will be in overdrive; pressing the large illuminated button on the top cycles through the settings. This only works in one direction, so if you are in flashing mode and want to go to high you need to cycle through off and overdrive to get there.
I tend to use the flashing mode in the city and the high setting when I’m riding along country lanes. My night rides are rarely over 90 minutes so there is plenty of reserve available. On a moonless night there are a few spots on my standard ride where the road runs down a dark tunnel of hedgerows and overhead foliage and I tend to be carrying a fair amount of speed. This is where overdrive is useful. I once forgot to switch back to high and after about 40 minutes the blue light around the button turned red. This was to tell me I was running low, but once I switched down to high it ran happily all the way home. I haven’t tested how long it will run but I suspect that the high setting will run for a good couple of hours.
The light comes with a wall charger which recharges the battery in an hour or so. It can also be charged from a USB port but this takes a lot longer.
The Moon X Power 500 is a great light at a very reasonable price. I would highly recommend it to anyone.