Saturday, 6 October 2012

Gear Review - SERFAS TSL-500 Light

During the the summer, 80% of my riding was done after 7pm - once the kids had gone to bed.  Nice time to ride, when the sun was up.

Now that its autumn, Oromocto tends to get dark around 6:45.  Time to buy a light.  Thanks to Alex at Radical Edge ( I bought the Serfas TSL-500.

Suffice to say, I was very impressed.  500 lumens, USB charge, Li-ion battery...$100.

I tend to ride rail to trail type terrain.  No single track, so I don't need the crazy HID setups that tend to run 300-700 bucks (750-1000 lumens).  The Serfas LED was perfect.  Beam battern was wide enough to light the trail.  The reach was about 75ft - meaning that I could clip along at 33km/h and have reaction time to swerve around obstacles, or brake for barriers.

Features - not much, its a light.  One button.  Press to cycle thru the modes.  High-Medium-Low-Flash.  The button also features a cool light that indicates charge/health status.  Blue means good.  Red means you have 30 mins of full power left.  Once the status light turns red, you can power down to lower power modes to conserve battery life.  High power give you about 90 minutes, says the owners manual.  I tend to agree.  I rode for 1 hour, and the red light started to flash - meaning, according to the manual, you have 30 mins of high power left.  Cycle to the lower power settings, and the indicator turns blue again.

So, lets take about the specifics:

The Good:

1)  Bright for the size.  No external batteries that need to be strapped to the bike.
2)  USB charging.  Same USB cord as my Garmin 500.  Which means I only need to bring one cable to the races or when I'm traveling.
3)  The mount - adjustable and easy to use.  Clamps down nicely on my oversided CX bars.

The Bad:
1)  Battery Life.  After 60 mins on high power, it starts complaining that its running out of juice.
2)  The mount - yes, I said it was a "Good".  But its also difficult to release the light from the mount, so you might shift away from the ideal position as you try to get it off your bike to charge it.

So some pics:

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