It's the end of the football season in Melbourne—the time of year when 'expert' pundits convenienty forget to return to their predictions from earlier in the year. As I'm made of sterner stuff than the footy gurus, I'm going to revisit and comment on my lighting rig from this winter.
The big change for me this year was the addition of an Ay Up intermediate beam headlight, and this proved to be a good choice. Everything else is gear that I've had in use for quite some time, and it all continues to function with the benefits and limitations covered in my earlier post. So at this point, I'll just add some remarks on the Ay Up.
Overall I've been very satisfied with it—the improved vision that you get from a light like this really has to be seen to be believed. And I'm damn sure it's more visible to others as well.
One oddity I found was when using the extension cable the connection sometimes shakes loose. I don't mean that the plug falls out but it just loosens enough to break the electrical connection and plunge me unexpectedly into darkness. The solution was simply to make doubly sure that there is no tension across the connection between the battery lead and the extension cable. Common sense, really.
For riding on urban off-road paths, I'd prefer it if I could douse the lights a bit quicker—the single switch requires a long press of a second or two to kill the light. To avoid dazzling oncoming pedestrians and cyclists I've taken to draping a hand over the light as I pass.
Other than that, the strap and pouch that hold the battery pack are showing early signs of wear, but nothing critical yet.
Speaking of the battery pack, I bought (what was then) the base model kit with the 'Half Epic' battery. This battery is fine for winter commuting, lasting me two days (morning and evening rides) running on low intensity. But three days (approaching about six hours all up) was a bit dicey and I found myself in darkness a couple of times when I tried to stretch my charge a bit long. When the charge runs out, the light intensity drops away quite rapidly. But I can't complain—a maximum of six hours is what it says on the box—and for my regular pattern of usage, it just requires recharging every two days. Common sense, again.
And speaking of charging, there's no problem there. I haven't really clocked how long the Half Epic battery takes to recharge but it's not much over an hour or two. I just plug it in when I get home and before too long it's done.
You'll love this last one. I think I chose the wrong colour light. I didn't really give much thought when I ordered it, but the silver one looked OK. (Umm, was that gun metal grey or titanium? I can't remember now!) But it turns out that the housing is too shiny! On one of my bikes, I have my flashing light (the BBB Alloyhead) mounted above and slightly behind the Ay Up, which causes a little bit of reflected glare. Nothing major but if I have my choice again, I reckon I'd go for the sleek black unit instead.
So overall, I'm very satisfied with the Ay Up. I'm not saying it's the brightest light or the best bang for your buck, just that it suits my purposes. That said, I have no doubt that there are other high-intensity lights out there that do the job just as well.