SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
SIGMA BUSTER 200 FRONT LIGHT
Light 80g, Bracket 30g, adaptor for action camera mount 4g, Charging cable 9g £47.29
The littlest-but-one sibling in Sigma’s Power Light range, the Sigma Buster 200 packs a lot of punch for its size. That, though, is not the only reason to like it.
As its name suggests, the Sigma Buster 200 is a 200 lumen front light with road/commuting use in mind. A light meter reading suggests it’s nearer 235, which explains the superior navigational punch when pitted against similar competition.
A silicone wrap is designed to keep the elements out and protect against accidental drops onto a hard surface. Inside, we have CNC machined aluminium shell, housing a single Cree LED, projected through typically high quality optics, and a rechargeable lithium ion cell. There’s a careful cutaway offering some welcome peripheral bleed.
This is a simple silicone affair, easily operated in gloved fingers but requires a definite, double prod before springing to life and 3 second sustained prod before powering down.
Given there are six modes - three steady, three flashing, a memory function seemed like a missed opportunity. However, it defaults to the full 200, with subsequent nudges staircasing to standard (100 lumens), eco (50 lumens) and their strobing counterparts.
These include SOS, although there’s no auto kick down, when battery reserves reach a certain point. Frankly, the battery/charge indicator gives ample warning, clear denoting a full to 75% charge, green 75-25%, at which point it slips to red. The battery is good for 300 charge cycles - a good couple of years’ service and refuels via the ubiquitous android pattern cable.
Sigma cites a fairly pedestrian 3 hours, in the real world, ours has been ready to go after two and a half, a bit longer when suckling from the PC/tablet port. The inbuilt batteries should be good for 300 charges.
The OEM quick release bar mounted bracket comes complete with shims, so decent tenure with all diameters from 31.8 to 25.4, but there’s the option of a silicone strap mounting - sold separately - too, great if mounting away from the bars or with unusual girths.
There’s much more to a light than lumens and the Sigma Buster 200 is a case in point. The Buster beam is another hybrid of spot and are wider than a purely road light, but give a mix of a strong core beam - effective both at distance and close up.
There seems no reason to argue with the manufacturer’s claims of 50 metre (164 feet) beam length.Yep, you can see that far on straight canal towpath. I’d go for the 600 model for unlit country-lane ventures and the 2000 for full-tilt off-roading, but the 200 still offers enough to navigate safely, if a more gently, in either context. You’ll certainly see the road pot-holes on full beam; on standard - which was my preferred urban setting - you’ll need to be a bit more watchful.
In suburban setting attention seems to be grabbed around 80 metres on Eco, over 100 metres on full; sooner in countryside contexts. Flashing modes, likewise at night, but offer strong presence on gloomy daylight rides. Coupled with a blinkie - such as the Oxford UT Cube - I’ve felt more than comfortable on evening runs into the city, and got home when overstaying at a rural pub.
There’ll be those who will lament the lack of an automatic kick down to Eco or SOS modes. The charge indicator is clear and seems accurate, so keep an eye on it to avoid sudden, nasty surprises. For me, this is barely a deal-breaker.
Flashing modes all deliver, with both flash and fast flash giving obvious presence on gloomy afternoons. Paired as an auxiliary light to the tourers hub dynamo, either mode - even SOS - functions nicely in urban and busier unlit rush hour roads.
Taking the Buster 200 into the woods for a night ride confined expeditions to forest tracks at a gentle pace and cut out rapid descents. On the other hand, tow path work at 12 mph was fine on full beam. I’d tend to shove the 200 in my jersey pocket for full-fledged night off-roading with the Sigma 2000, and use it on the road home.
Actual run times have maintained the theme of beating the manufacturers claims. Full beam max has managed around three hours - I have heard of even higher - compared to two hours thirty.
Standard beam at 100 lumens offers three and a half according to Sigma, but I got around four hours. Eco mode (50 lumens) offers seven hours on steady beam, but, again, I ours managed an extra forty minutes. Unexceptional even for a blinkie, the Eco beam’s 50 lumens has proved surprisingly useful on urban roads. Run times have also been a pleasant surprise, exceeding those quoted. The full 200+ lumens has returned 3hours (2hrs 30) from a full charge, standard 4 hrs (3hrs 30 minutes) eco 7hrs 40 (7hours).
Our light’s flashing modes run above Sigma’s suggested run times, as well. SOS flash … yep, dit, dit, dit, dah, dah, dah, dit, dit, dit ….. should get you home unless your riding LeJoG in the dark, officially at eight hours. Flash come in at 6 hours, fast flash 5.5 hour - officially. Our flashed on for around thirty minutes more.
The Sigma 200 is more virile than name and size suggest. Really for urban and semi-urban riding, it comes into its own on short unlit stretches and serves well as an auxiliary or back-up light.
Verdict 4/5 A surprisingly bright and versatile commuter/contingency light.
PUBLISHED OCTOBER 2017
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH