Back in the summer of 2019 I was researching front cycle lights to come up with a suitable solution for all night riding. Realistically, I needed a light that would last about 8 hours and be bright enough to illuminate far enough ahead in pitch black, so that I could spot potholes and other potential dangers and take evasive action.
I will state right now that the perfect solution for my longer-distance audaxes (400km and above) would have been a dynamo hub in the front wheel. However, at £200 for the hub and a suitable front light in the same ball park, £400 seemed a little excessive, as I wasn’t sure if I was going to take to long-distance audaxes.
Looking for alternatives, I discovered a lot of ordinary battery-powered lights weren’t powerful enough (I consider 300 lumens to be a minimum brightness) and, of course, there was the cost of replacing spent batteries.
Another option and in much more plentiful supply were USB rechargeable lights, but the problem here was that once the light died that was it. I could have carried more lights but these lights were usually in excess of £60, which put me off.
Enter the Ryder Concept 1000
Having drawn a blank with USB and ordinary battery-powered front lights I happened to stumble across the Ryder Concept 1000, a re-chargeable, battery-powered light from Ryder – sold by Cycle Republic.
The light uses a Cree-XP LED, housed in a “durable, heat- dissipating, CNC machined aircraft grade” metal body, which feels very solid and weighs 118 grams, so it’s no feather-weight.
It also has a “red light for added safety”. This glows dimly and for the life of me I can’t see how it ‘adds’ safety, but what do I know?
The light comes with two 2600mAh rechargeable batteries and a USB lead for charging, but no power source – so you’re going to need either a charger that plugs into the mains or a power bank.
There are four modes: 950lm, 400lm, 180lm & 90lm (Flashing). For riding in pitch black I found the 400lm setting more than adequate. In fact, when I used it for the first time on a 400km audax last August I rode behind two friends who were riding two abreast and it lit up the road for them much better than their own lights!
I found on the 400lm setting each battery lasted 3 hours, more than adequate for a commuter. Also, it gave between 30mins to an hour of low-battery warning by means of a blue flashing light.
The light comes with a rubber-mounted attachment, so no tools are required to mount it on the handlebars. And the attachment mechanism has a swivel head so that the light beam can be aimed where you want it to point.
Changing batteries was a doddle – without removing the light from it’s bike attachment mechanism it was a simple job to unscrew the lid holding the battery in, slide out the dead battery and insert a new one.
To switch the light on and off hold the power switch down. To alter the power setting click the power switch – that’s it.
You’ll have worked out that with a total battery run-time of 6 hours I was still short 2 hours of my 8 hour requirement.
The final solution
In order to have enough juice to last the night I bought two lights which gave me 12 hours of power (spread between the four batteries) on the 400lm setting. And just to do a belt and braces job I also bought a power bank, which I carried in my Apidura top tube bag, which is waterproof; this enabled me to charge batteries as I used them, for even longer run-time on the bike.
And I’ve saved the best part ’til last. Each front light cost only £20! In my case, as a long-distance audaxer the total cost for 2 front lights and a power bank was just over £60 (postage extra). A saving of over £340 on a dynamo system.
You can buy the Ryder Concept 1000 front cycle light from Cycle Republic.