SSC P7 900-Lumen 2-Mode LED Flashlight £25 from Dealextreme in Hong Kong. You will also need:
Li-Ion Batteries £6 Twin pack
Plug Adapter £1.30
Optional helmet mount use two £1.75 eachTotal Cost including postage at time of review £38 (Exchange rate will vary). Weight 121g without battery. Battery weight 50g. Complete weight 170g.
It's Really, seriously Bright!
bright lights for riding off road are expensive, most useful lights are
over £100 which is serious money in anyone’s book, with some costing as
much as a half decent starter bike! New LED technology and mass
production have driven the price of bright lights down but mountain
bike lights have not been sold in sufficient numbers to get the real
price drop benefit. So we’re stuck with high price boutique brand
specials, with admittedly impressive performance but many riders simply
that’s how it was but this year sees the introduction of an even more
powerful single LED the Seoul P7 LED C-Bin emitter (catchy little name
huh?). To give you an idea of how bright this light is it’s brighter
than a £160 Joystick Maxx. It’s on a par with the £300 Niterider
Trinewt which weighs 606g. So it’s cheap, light and bright but there’s
a lot more to lights than just these facts, here are some more:
Burn time: Short, at one hour per battery on max.
Longevity: Too soon to tell, LEDs traditionally last a very long time but this one is being driven hard!
Size: It’s on the long side but at 14cms it’s not enormous.
Robustness: Should be good with all alloy construction.
Mounting options: Needs a separate handlebar mount or helmet mount e.g. zip ties.
Beam spread: It’s around a 90 degree flood with a brighter central spot and no dark rings.
Colour of light: It’s pretty white.
Regulation: (Does it dim or stay bright until the end?) It’s unregulated but stays fairly bright due to the battery type.
It’s not a true underwater lamp but these kind of flashlights have a
good reputation in the rain and mine certainly survives a downpour.
Heat build up: Indoors, it gets hot! All bright lights do though and once moving it’s fine.
Lighting modes: Two modes, one fairly low, the other really high!
Power gauge: None.
Remote switch: No.
At 170g it’s certainly heavier than the Joystick Maxx (102g). It’s not
too heavy for helmet mounting though. It’s appreciably lighter than the
Hope Vision 1 (264g) which is a bit on the heavy side for helmet
So what's the catch?
the headline downsides are you have to mount it yourself and the run
time is only an hour. The Fenix bar mount works well enough though
(even though I modified mine to make it rattle less) which just leaves the run time as a deal
breaker. So how much are you prepared to pay for a long run? Before we
try and deal with that question I should point out some battery issues.
Perhaps the main contender for this light is the Exposure Joystick
Maxx, it’s not as bright but it does have a handy helmet/bar mount
(just make sure to attach the lanyard and tie it too as they sometimes
fall off, if the light is switched off you may lose it!). It does have a
killer run time of 3 hours 45 Minutes though which is longer than most riders
can of course carry as many spare batteries as you like with the P7 and
a second lamp is only £25 offering the opportunity of one on the bar
and one on your helmet for only £65 with a total run of two hours. The
combined light from these would challenge any single light on the
market and much has been written about the advantages of a bar and
helmet light pairing. So how much of your night ride is off road and do
you really need full beam the whole time? If your rides are longer than
two hours in darkness, are you thinking of going 24 hour racing? The
Joystick Maxx may last your night laps but I wouldn’t count on it,
preferring a backup light. There’s no way to transfer the power from
the Joystick Maxx, it’s built in. With the P7 of course you can have as
many fully charged batteries as you like. A pack of two costs around £6
so no worries there.
Using those brightness modes:
I do with my lights is run the bar mounted lamp on its low setting on
the road, l then go to max for the singletrack. Forest road climbs are
fine with both lamps on low and they run for hours.
Some more on the light:
an all aluminium construction, with a screw tail cap and end mounted,
rubber push button operation. First press gives the high mode, second
the low mode and third is off. It utilises a textured 'orange peel' reflector to
avoid dark rings in the beam which mar the output of many lamps. More
expensive units have clever lenses which capture more of the available
light into the useful beam. The theoretical light output of the P7 is
700 Lumens but I estimate this lamps actual output is around 400-500
(visually comparing it to the output of more expensive lamps).
Why should I buy one?
- It's cheap for the quality
- It's really bright
- Has no competitors at the price
- Great beam on helmet and bars
Why should you not buy one?
- You hate changing batteries
- You're rich
like you're on comission?
Cynical lot... we're not.
To get the best out of your Li-Ion batteries see our article Extend the life of your Li-Ion Battery.
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