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Tiny Bike Light ‘Bright As Car’

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City riders and anyone who commutes on two wheels can now mount a tiny light that will rival automobile headlights.

We have used Light & Motion’s (and other brands’) similar LED “light cannons” for years. But the upgrades continue with each season. The latest, the Urban 800 FC, fits in your palm but can pump out a blinding 800 lumens of light.

Caveat: Don’t employ this max brightness mode in busy urban areas — it’s too much light and you will annoy drivers. But I like having the “blast mode” option available when it’s hard to see on darker stretches of road.

It also is perfect for singletrack trails I detour on through parks on my way through the city.

When you don’t need the high beams on, click the light down to 350 lumens and it is still impressively bright.

Lightweight and easy to attach with a rubber cinch strap

Overall, the Urban 800 has three brightness settings and a “pulse mode” that fades the light instead of flashing.

Made in the USA, the light is built with an aluminum case and is certified waterproof. It is light enough at 121 grams to mount on a helmet.

Features such as amber side marker lights (for side visibility) and a beam pattern that’s designed to increase depth perception make the light stand out.

About the name… the “FC” in the model stands for “fast charge” — it goes from empty to powered up in about 2.5 hours, which is significantly faster than past models. A nice upgrade.

On the author's mtb handlebars
On the author’s mtb handlebars

Look to Light & Motion if you need a quality “headlight” on your bike. The company’s urban line includes models that start at $70. The top-line Urban 800 that I tested costs a premium $180 — worth it if you need a helmet-mounted light that can compete for brightness with a car.

–Randall Dietel is a contributing writer and on-off bike messenger based in San Francisco and Minneapolis.

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