Xenon strobe bike lights review – Sparky vs Lightman

It’s that time of year again when I start digging through my boxes of bike stuff to find my lights…

For the past several years I’ve tried a number of lights and light combinations to make sure I’m nicely visible. Two of the lights I’ve tried are xenon strobe lights, which are much brighter than traditional LED lights.

The two I’ve tried are the Sparky (left) and the Lightman (right).

Sparky

These xenon strobe lights are available in several different colour configurations and are quite compact.

Pros

  • Small size
  • Decent seal keeps out water
  • Multiple light pattern settings
  • Multiple blink speed settings
  • Decent battery life (several hours at slower speed settings)

Cons

  • Terrible mounting bracket — the little wire clamp comes off easily and is too wide to fit into any blinky tabs on ever backpack I tried it on. I ended up using some velcro to attach the light, which works much better.
  • Buttons aren’t labeled (although they are different colours) so I can never remember which one is for blink speed and which one is for flash pattern.)

Site
Hmmm — disappeared? I ordered these online, so I know the site existed at one point. If I find it, I’ll update the posting, but check with your local bike store to see if they have them in stock.

Lightman

I didn’t realize how big these were until they arrived!

Pros

  • Very bright
  • Angled lens helps make the light more visible from the sides
  • Multiple mounting methods — very, very flexible system for attaching these to pretty much anything. I now keep one in the truck with both the magnetic mount and the suction cup mount.

Cons

  • Poor battery life. I was replacing the batteries about every three days.
  • The size of these lights makes them very visible, but on a backpack it also means they tend to hang down because they are so large. When attaching these to a pack, try and make sure they’re attached securely so they don’t “droop”.

Site
http://www.lightmanstrobes.com/xenon.htm

Overall…

Either one of these lights is going to help increase your visibility in low light situations.

If a smaller size is important, go with a Sparky.

If sheer brightness and ease of mounting is important, the Lightman is a better choice.

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