That would be night riding then. C and B Seen v. Nuke Proof Reactor

Unusually I've been doing work stuff during the days of late - and that has unfortunately included the weekends. OK part it is for my own business start up, but it takes its toll when planning day time rides. So, no time to ride in the day, leaves what exactly? Gosh, those jolly night rides in the muddy woods. Dusted off the old Nuke Proof Reactor light; still holds charge, goodness abounds. Helmet light is a slightly temperamental 200 lumen AP torch from Maplin that I got for £20; funny but was fine the last two winters. Turns out to be duff rechargeable batteries that can't hold a charge, but more of that later. Found out half way through a ride with no spare batteries in my pack..... Note to Benny; take spares. Or just use proper gear.

Oh, the night rides. So I'm out, alone up in the hills. All is well with the world on my first November 2012 outing; cold with a hint of rain but all is fun. Plan on heading over to Headley. Ah, just getting to Colley Hill and the torch batteries die a miserable death, so no light from my helmet. Tried riding with just the handlebar unit but it's just not on off road that. Fine for the straight and level bits; you can get away with that, just like riding on the road isn't it? But downhill over tree roots is a faff - too much shadow meaning you can't judge the little drops or rocks. And turns prove interesting. Handlebar mounted light pointing forward whilst the trail goes off somewhere else into the unknown? So I cut it short.

Home, looked on the web, cheapest light is from C and B Seen so I order that. Arrives two days later, so out I go for a Saturday evening spin. I wanted to test the light against my Nuke Proof, so mounted it onto the handlebar leaving the torch on my head. With what I thought were freshly charged batteries, no need for spares. Top of the hill, head torch goes out, deep joy. So now I'm in a worse position than before; maximum glare of over 2,000 lumens on my handlebars is worse for shadows and turns as I have zero night vision. Cut it short again and pop over to AD to show off the new light. He's tardy in being impressed. Not helped by myself being underwhelmed by the supplied charger [crappy thing] and batteries being from an R/C car. The light itself puts out a half decent whack though, so I bin the supplied charger and use one I have already. It is a cracking little light, but let down by the charger and batteries. But then if it had decent bits it would be double the cost, and competing against MTBBatteries and the like. For £40 it's good enough for the job at hand but does leave one thinking of upping the ante and splashing out on better build units. Not that I would you understand; I'm not about to spend £40 then promptly go out and buy a more expensive light just because I've thrown a hissy fit over a charger. Nope, no way.

The C and B Seen unit comes in a rather nice box - certainly I expected it to come in a plastic bag all lose, but it was very nicely presented. If it had come as a Christmas present and you didn't know better, you'd think £90 worth of gear. You get the light unit, battery, UK charger and some mounting bits. These all look Magicshine compatable. The light unit itself appears well built and solid, and fits nicely onto the handlebars. The battery and charger are quite cheap units, and I threw the charger away. Not for any reason than I already have a better unit so didn't see any reason to use the supplied one. The battery appears to be the same as used in R/C cars, but works well enough so who cares where it came from? I don't. In use I'm not convinced by the 1,200 lumen claim; it's bright but not that bright. Use the light indoors and normal downlighters completely swamp it. It's perhaps some theoretical maximum but as there do not seem to be any standards, it's just a guide really so no downer on C and B here. In use it lights the trail up better than my older Reactor light. Consider that that unit was £250 not so long ago, and now it fails miserably against a £40 version? I suspect it's more of an helmet light than to be bar mounted as the beam is a pronounced spot, but it's bright enough to be used as either. It's a no brainer really; if you're starting out and just want to give night riding a go, then the C and B Seen unit is brilliant. I'm betting I'll still be using it for a few years yet. And really if it fails miserably within six months, it's still good value. And even then I doubt the ligt unit would be the issue, so a new £20 battery would get it going again. I like it.