Front LED - flashing & steady light modes
This is a terrific gadget which may well help to keep you alive. Don't just use it on your bike, though. Its small enough to slip into your pocket when you're out in the car or walking. It would be great for lighting the way back from the pub or from the toilet block back to the tent and will give enough light to help you find your socks at the bottom of your sleeping bag in the middle of a cold night!
The Basta X-Lite will attach to your handlebars in seconds and comes off just as easily. You can even fix it to the top of your helmet. The limits really are boundless.
There are 3 modes - slow flash (approx 1 flash per second), fast flash (approx 3 flashes per second) and steady light. The slow flash pulsates rather than flashes and is definitely easily seen. So too, in fact are the fast flash and steady mode - excellent light all round.. The beam is strong and white and although there is a small protective 'lip' at the top of the light to protect the protruding LED (and the user's eyes), the breadth of light provided is good too.
The light is powered by 2 CR2016 batteries (small coin-sized watch batteries) and in steady mode, the makers claim will give about 20 hours of light and around 200 in flashing mode. The switch is easy to use, even when wearing gloves.
This light is not quite strong enough to light your way home in the dark, but will provide a bright warning to other road users that you are there. Two X-Lites were used as an emergency get-home measure on steady light, when caught out after dusk a couple of months ago and were adequate under street lamps and okay (with a bit of eye strain) on unlit sections, although this is not recommended and it did get a bit hairy towards the end of the ride! Use the light as an additional safety / warning light, the beam is not really strong enough to get you home after sunset and is not recommended as such anyway.
Fixing the light to your 'bars, stem or wherever could not be easier - simply put it in place (the underside is slightly concave and sits easily on a curved surface) and then pull the elastic strap around the 'bars and over the front of the light, to fit / sit in the recessed groove at the front of the light body. This light will not move - it does not slide around or gradually slip downwards - the elastic is tight enough to prevent this.
Waterproofing is good and a seal between the 2 halves keeps everything inside dry. There are 4 small screws to remove when changing the batteries and this is easy enough too.
A rear light, with a red LED is also available and well worth the investment - fix it to your seatpin, seat tube, or even around the back of your helmet.
Use both the front light and the rear light in flashing modes - with a 'proper' light to get a beam to ride by / be legal with. These really are excellent warning / awareness raising gadgets when flashing. The beam really is bright - take care not to distract any riding partners whilst using these lights - make sure that the beam doesn't flash into their eyes unnecessarily - angle the rear one down a little if riding in a group.
Do not buy imitations - the BASTA X-Lite is the mini-sized leader. Others (they do exist and have been tried by WomensCycling.net) are just not as bright as the BASTA version.
Overall rating? - Go out and get yourself one today - unreserved recommendation for the X-Lite. Small enough to fit into a pocket when the bike is left unattended, but also small enough to leave on your bike for an evening club race which you're going to ride home from in dwindling light. Battery life is good and changing them is easy.
One potential problem - they're small enough to lose easily and cannot be dropped that often without bits chipping off. A small inconvenience and no worse than any other light on the market with respect to being dropped.
Available worldwide from bikeshops. Prices vary, typically, you'll be able to get one for around £10-£15, $15-$25aus, NZ$25-NZ$30, $15-$25US.
WomensCycling.net purchased the front X-Lite from iBike in New Zealand, run by Del Woodford.
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