View Full Version : WS' Review of Both Headlight and Taillight - 4 Gen.

04-06-2015, 04:14 AM
Please forgive the rambling nature of this review.

So, a bit of background. A lot of my riding is done in the predawn hours or after dusk and it’s normally done for distances of between 24-120+ kms. 75% solo riding. Conditions range from well-lit streets to more rural areas with less lighting.

Before the DS lights, my setup was this:

Helmet – 1 Dinotte 400
Handlebar – 1 Dinotte 400, 1 Cateye flashy, 1 Ixon IQ Premium battery light
Front fork – 1 Supernova E3 Pro dynohub powered light
Seatpost – 1 Cygolite Hotshot
Rear rack – 1 Supernova taillight (first generation)

As you can probably tell, I take bicycle lighting seriously.

I was very happy with the above setup with the exception of the fact that I felt that sidelighting was being neglected. I read the same study that Stephen quoted somewhere that 40% (or thereabouts) of bicyclists are hit from behind. Well, that leaves 60% being hit elsewhere!

I believe in being in a bubble of light. That means that from almost any angle a driver should see some sort of light coming from me.

When I came across the DS lights I really liked the possibility that they would expand my light bubble. The Dinotte 400s have no sidelighting although having one on my helmet helped a lot. That is, if I remember to recharge it for the ride. The Cygolite has very poor side angle lighting and the Supernova rear lights had none.

I was about to replace all of the Supernova lights this year because their new generation is brighter and the Supernova rear light now has sidelighting. But, going with battery powered lights might be an easier if not cheaper option.

So, I ordered both the front and rear DS lights. Stephen is very responsive with his emails and he takes a lot of time to craft a full answer. This probably explains his low output of lights. Hehehe

The lights are really solid bits of kit with a very well-thought feature set. About twice the size of the Dinotte lights and heavier. I scanned the included instruction manual and plugged in the Dinotte batteries. What I did not comprehend is that the DS lights need a light touch and not the deliberate mash them down action of my thumb. Again, light touch!!!

Unfortunately, I wasted Stephen’s time by shooting off an email about how I could not turn on the lights, etc.

I did figure it out after a couple of hours and was back in business. BTW, I am only going to post about the headlight for now. I am going to install the rear light in a couple of months due to the fact that I do not have enough batteries to run both lights for any length of time.

The DS-1300 installed quickly with no fuss on the extension bar and the battery went into the Ortlieb handlebar bag. The extension bar raises the light about six inches above the handlebar. I feel that having the light so high makes it that much more visible to drivers and enhances the sidelighting that I wanted this light for.

The light output is great. It’s a nice, warmish white circle. It is brighter than the Dinottes but that’s no surprise since those lights are now six years old. The modes cover the basics but you can program your own if you wish. With a bit of onboard memory and a USB port, it’s almost like riding with your own Raspberry pi!

As an aside, pg. 1 of the manual states that the headlight’s steady mode is configured to use Levels 2/3/5 but on pg. 5 it goes on to talk about Power Levels 1 through 5. I am going to assume that you can change the configuration that the light is shipped with.

Extremely happy with the sidelighting that the DS light provides. You can see the shadow cast by the light. Also, the DS provides enough light to read a map if you have a map holder beneath it. Battery life is pretty much spot on with what is in the manual. I’ve ridden about 8-9 hrs with the lights so far. Unfortunately, there is probably no getting around the fact that I will have to carry a total of three batteries if I am going to run both DS lights on a long ride. Maybe even four just to be on the safe side.

The only other downside so far is that the weight of the DS along with its long slider arm means that it may be pulled down a bit over time as you ride along on particular bumpy rides. I guess I will have to tighten it just a bit more so this is probably another case of user error.

So, so far, am really happy with the headlight purchase. Seeing it in action when compared to the Dinottes removes any doubts that I could have saved some $$$ by simply sticking with the taillight.

Will be back in a couple of months with a review of the taillight once I pony up the cash for more Dinotte batteries. BTW, the Dinotte batteries have been great for me. Six years of riding with no problems. Highly recommended.

P.S. Stephen has the forum registration locked down tight against spammers so just contact him if you want to post!