The Bike List

Light and Motion Urban 180 £100

Tested by Claire Maxted, tester for The Bike List

This light is not only bright, we'll come to that in a minute, but it's extremely handy if you regularly swap bikes. The easily operable adjustable strap means you can quickly take it off one set of handlebars and secure to another. So if you ride a road bike to work but want to use an old I-don't-care-if-you-steal-this bike to town for some bike shop gazing at the weekend, it's no trouble to change the Urban 180 over.

However, I did notice that in wet weather and with gloves on, the adjustable strap is a little harder to hook on and off, so it would be much improved with a more defined or grippier 'pull' area - the end of the strap that you pinch with your thumb and forefinger to pull the strap over or off the hook.

Once on the handlebars, the beam this lightweight 108g lamp kicks out is very bright for its size and it's ample for lighting up both sides of the road and about 25+m in front. You can scroll through the light settings very easily with the press of the large, glove-friendly button on top. Holding it down for two seconds turns it off or on. On high it shines at 180 lumens (a measure of brightness) for 2.5hours in a solid, long beam that lights up dark roads without streetlamps; on medium it goes at 90 lumens for 5hours, so that covers areas with street lighting; and on low power it gives you 45 lumens for 10 hours, which is useful for times when you don't need light to see ahead but just want to be seen by traffic. Continuing the commuter friendly theme, another great feature of the Urban 180 is the orange side lights for extra visibility from the side for any cars that might be thinking of getting a shade too close.

The Lithium-ion battery works well, and as I use this light for commuting it's great that I can charge it up for free at work on my computer via the micro USB port. No more buying batteries and therefore a lot better for the environment too - which apart from fitness, is the whole point of biking to work in the first place. The battery power indicator light on the back shows you when you need to recharge, so you shouldn't run out of power. It takes 5hours to completely recharge - perfect for a day at work. But if you don't have time, a quick 30minute recharge is enough to get you home from work on a 30minute commute. When the battery is running low, the light does a series of flashes about three times, to give you a chance to put it on a lower light setting. If you ignore this however, and keep it on high it shines as bright as usual until the power goes and then you are left in pitch black, which if you don't have a back up light, is very dangerous, not to mention annoying on roads with no street lighting. It would be better if the light just dwindled slowly as the power went.

You might be thinking £100 is a fair bit of cash to splash on a bike light, but if you do a lot of riding on roads without street lighting, a lightweight, rechargeable option like the Urban 180 is a solid choice. There are brighter, lighter models out there that only cost slightly more. For example the Exposure Sirius Mk1 Front Light £115, throws out a massive 360 lumens for 2hours, and is even lighter at 84g. However this model doesn't have amber side lights, so the Light and Motion Urban 180 does have clear advantages for regular commuters, it does cost less, and gives plenty of light for longer. The only downside to this light is that you have to pay attention to it when it signals low power and turn it to a lower light setting, otherwise it will simply shut down on you and leave you in the dark.

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At a glance

Verdict A lightweight, rechargeable and powerful front light with amber side windows, good for regular commuting on roads without street lights.

Light and Motion says:

This Light and Motion Urban 180 Rechargeable Light System is bright enough to enable confident after-dark road riding.

  • The amber side windows are a genius touch which helps ensure you're seen by fellow road users, approaching from the sides.
  • We would also recommend the Light and Motion Urban 180 for entry-level mountain bike, especially if matched up with a good head torch.
  • Self-contained design - the Li-Ion battery is stored inside the body of the torch - no external battery pack required.
  • Convenient 5-hour USB-rechargeable Li-Ion Battery.
  • The charger plugs into the lamp - no need to take lamp apart to access battery to recharge it.
  • The lamp can be charged from most mobile phone chargers, or any USB port.
  • Unlike more bulky chargers, it's a cinch to carry this wee USB cable charger, say between home and workplace.
  • Battery charge status indicator helps ensure your never left wondering if you'll make it home.
  • Handlebar mount supplied.
  • Run times: 2.5 hours (180 lumens). 5 hours (90 lumens), 10 hours (45 lumens - even on this 'low beam' setting, this is still much brighter than the majority of bicycle front lights).
  • Manufacturer's published weight: 108g inc battery and handlebar bracket.
  • Light and Motion Urban Series

Supplier: Madison, +44 (0)870 034 7226,