I picked up the new Blaze 2 watt Micro the other day when we stopped by Mountain Equipment Co-op, it sells for $30.00 here which puts in in line with many other lights that have similar lumen outputs and the M.S.R.P. everywhere else but M.E.C. is $40.00.
You cannot compete with the cheap Chinese clones that do sell for less and there are much brighter lights… I suggest to many people who are on a budget that the Planet Bike 2watt lights are a good minimum as they are solidly made and come with a very good warranty.
It has the same 139 lumen output as it’s larger brother, has an improved reflector, and from what I have been told it is a little thriftier with it’s battery life; 64 hours on strobe mode is impressive and has a stated run time of 10 hours on steady (low).
It throws a little tighter and longer beam and on winter roads it was fine running it on low power mode most of the time, I could see every irregularity on the road when there was a moderate amount ambient light. My old eyes actually prefer a halogen to LED lighting so I run one of those on my Moulton as a primary although LED lighting is seeing incredible improvements. This little light is nothing compared to the 500, 800, and 1000 plus lumen lights that are out there but it costs much less and has some very good run time.
I like the fact it uses AA batteries as I have a lot of them and can always carry a spare set… when you have an internal cell you are out of luck when your light dies.
Bottom line is that it works well enough and being smaller, it fits in my pocket more easily when I stop. I think it would serve one well as a daytime light in strobe mode (it is seizure inducing) and the light output falls between the 25 lux and 40 lux generator lights we run on our regular commuters.
Maybe I just have really good night vision compared to some people… I am not sure why anyone needs to run an 800 lumen headlight on a bicycle and really don’t like it when people mount these on their helmets as when they look your way it is like looking into the sun.
I talk to the folks at Planet Bike fairly often about products and how well they stand up to our brutal environment… they have some new (brighter) lights in the works and if they can bring them to market and be able to compete with the likes of Cygolite and Magicshine they could do very well.
I hope they don’t overdo it… 400 lumens or 40 lux should probably be more enough to satisfy most and would put less demands on the battery so run time would be extended.
It would also be nice if they came out with a higher output light that could be run from a dynohub like they did with the old 1 watt LED…
The Cygolite 500 (Made in the U.S.A.) seems to be the next best step up and comes in at a good price… $65.00 for a 500 lumen headlight is a nice deal… the 1.5 hour run time might not be enough for some commutes but a replacement / spare battery can be picked up for $35.00 so it is probably better described as a one hundred dollar light. 🙂
Disclaimer: I have no economic connection with Mountain Equipment Co-op, Planet Bike. or Cygolite.