The Cycle Torch Night Owl 200 rechargeable bike light is a low cost entry into the USB rechargeable bicycle light market. The light has an MSRP of $29.99, which also includes a “bonus” battery powered tail light.
The light features 2 LED bulbs with 4 operational modes. There are 3 brightness levels (low, medium and high) plus flashing. Modes are changes by a press of a single button on the top of the housing, while the light is turned off by pressing and holding the same button.
Mounting is via a rubber strap with 4 size adjustment locations.
Per the manufacture the 1500mAh Li-pol battery will power the brightest setting for 2 hours, medium for 4 and low for 10, with over 20 hours of flashing time. In our own testing, a fully charged unit fell just a little short of the 2 hour time for the brightest setting – shutting itself off somewhere between 1 hour 45 minutes and 1 hour 50 minutes. However, medium brightness stayed on for 4 hours and 20 minutes (low and flashing were not tested.) In all cases, the light went from dead to fully charged – as indicated by the built in charging lights – in round 2 hours on a 2.4A USB wall charger.
First impressions of the product were good before even opening the box. The unit arrived in a quality box, carefully packed in custom-cut styrofoam. This quality carried over into the product itself – with everything feeling really well constructed. Small details like the rubber weatherproofing cover on the USB charging port on the bottom of the light seem well made. Many other USB lights we’ve looked at have issues with the charging port covers breaking, coming off or simply not keeping water out. While we’ve not seen the performance of the Cycle Torch USB cover over extended hours yet, it seems to address this potential issue quite well. And of course the placement on the bottom of the unit mitigates the risk of water getting into the light as well.
The bonus battery powered tail light utilized the same (but smaller) rubber strap mounting system. The aluminum body of the round light seemed to carry the same quality as the headlight, but was not significantly evaluated and tested at the time of this article.
The brightest setting did indeed fair well in our very untechnical “point it in our eyes and see if it blinds us” test. The 200 in “Night Owl 200” refers to the lumens rating of the light. 200 lumens is middle range for lights on the market, but more than enough to light your path. On the “see or be seen” scale, this light will clearly help you see what is coming. However, stronger cyclists will be able to reach speeds that result in you outriding the field of vision of this light.
The IP65 water resistance rating should meet even the most stormy riding needs. As mentioned above, the potential weak point of the USB charging port seems to have bee addressed adequately.
Over all, I feel like I would have been satisfied with this product at twice the current product cost. It is a perfect fit for most daily commuters spending 30-60 minutes a day riding in the dark at moderate speeds. The light provides ample visibility to traffic in front of the rider. However, faster riders may want to look for a brighter alternative to allow enough reaction time as hazards appear inside the reach of the light beam.
|Quality||The light’s quality is on par with units twice this price|
|Price||$29.99 MSRP. We would expect to pay twice as much for this light|
|General Usability||The light is simple to use overall. While the rubber mounting strap works, it isn’t our favorite methods of attaching a light to the handlebars|
|Style||Meh… It is a handlebar bike light. Ultimately they all look like lights.|
|Overall||Hard to find better in this price range|