Product Review: Vomlite 1600 Lumen Bike Light
I recently had the opportunity to get a hugely discounted bike light in exchange for an honest review. Having been in the market for a secondary light that I could mount on my bars, I quickly snatched up the Vomlite 1600 Lumen light. I've never heard of Vomlite, and expect it's one of seemingly dozens of somewhat generic lights that have delivered consistently inconsistent results.
At $60 on Amazon, I wouldn't have taken the risk, knowing that it's close in price to Nite Rider products, which I've had nothing but good experiences with. However, at a few bucks, I was willing to take the plunge in exchange for a review. Plus, it had the added benefit of telling my wife that "I have to go riding after dark one night this week" .. you know, for field testing.
Keep in mind this is a review on initial quality, and I'll have to revisit as a long-term item because I know so many people who've purchased lights with high Lumen to Dollar ratios, only to find their Bat Signal went completely dead after a year, or sometimes a month.
Out of the box, I was impressed with the packaging. Contents include the light, battery, charger, battery sleeve, light mounting hardware for handlebar or head mount setups (note, I didn't say "helmet mount"). My initial take on the bar mounting equipment was 'skeptical, at best.' There are three different sizes of O-rings - basically, very heavy duty elastic bands that mount to the light bracket and wrap around the bar. The three sizes accommodate different diameter handlebars. You kind of have to wrestle the things on there, and I'll have to see how the elasticity of the rings holds up over the long term.
As alluded to above, this light has a separate battery, as compared to my Nite Rider light which has the battery built in to the light itself. This is one of the reasons I'll be using this as a bar-mounted light. I don't want to have a cord running off my head to reach the separately mounted battery. I should note that I do ride with a lot of people who do this. The advantage, I suppose, is the reduced weight on top of your head when the battery is separate. To each their own, but I wanted to make that distinction. I mentioned the light comes with head mounting hardware, though I haven't yet figured it out. The strap seems more like it's intended as a headlamp, as opposed to a helmet light. I'm not sure how you'd mount the strap to your helmet, or if you're even supposed to. Maybe it's just intended for hikers, or other non-helmeted people who play in the dark. For me this is a non-issue because I already have my helmet light, and I'm only using this as a bar light.
Next order of business was a proper field testing, which included an initial comparison to my Nite Rider light, followed by a mix of road riding and trail riding. Although the Nite Rider has less than half the claimed lumens of the Vomlite, it seems to have a higher point-specific illumination. This light, however, casts a broader and more nicely distributed light - I think it actually makes for better visibility than my trusty Nite Rider.
On the road, it was so bright, I actually tilted the light slightly downward as an oncoming car approached, so as not to give him the bicycle equivalent of high beams. I felt very comfortable on the road, though I should say that this light, unlike my Nite Rider does not have an integrated tail light. If you're planning on road riding with it, you'll want to make sure you get a little tail light... not that I condone riding on that crazy asphalt stuff for any prolonged period of time. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but cars can swerve and hit me. Not to mention the inherent risk of getting bored to death.
When I got onto the trails, I was again impressed with the clarity of the light. Even though it was bar-mounted, I still had a reasonably good field of vision - again, in regular use I always have a helmet-mounted light because your head turns the corners before your handlebars do. I still don't particularly care for the mounting hardware, but I'll say that it mounted properly to my bars, and it held it's position even during a good shake up in the woods. This was my biggest concern when looking at the hardware, but it seems to perform just fine.
Overall, I'm pretty happy to add this light to my night riding kit. It really does cast a nice glow on the trails. The helmet mountability is still up for debate but maybe I'm just being a monkey who hasn't figure it out yet. Stay tuned for the long-term update to find out how the battery and mounting elastics hold up.
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