SIGMA MONO FRONT AND REAR LIGHT SET
Front 37g Rear 40g £49.49 (set) 27.49 (each)
The Sigma Mono light set consists of a pair of blinkies that offer a mixture of simplicity and power. As you’d expect from Sigma, these are well-made; less usually, they have outperformed much of the manufacturers blurb. I have quickly grown to like them.
Available in white or black casings, the Sigma Mono lights come with two pairs of silicone straps that allow fixture to bars, seat post and seat-stay. You may well find other secure locations. Steering stem was just too big for them.
Thought the two look similar, Sigma describe the white front light as a “safety light” and the red rear light as just that, a “rear light.” Legal eagles will point out that the rear light does not come up to scratch when compared to the outdated legislation affecting cycle lights. So, I have tended to put them on blinkie duty. Not that anyone seems unaware of my presence when the main rear light gave out one wet evening on the way home.
The bracket is fixed to the body by four little screws. These also allow the strap to be changed. A silicone pad allows elevation to be adjusted when fixed to seat-post or stay or other vertical perch.
A sturdy plastic housing and lens enclose a reflector and single 0.5 watt LED. A simple press button switches on, between the solid and flash modes, and off. Simplicity itself, and whilst accidental activation look like a hazard, it hasn’t happened, yet. The button also acts as a charge indicator.
Confusingly - at least for me - the front and rear Monos do not share the same charge indicators; front is green at 70%, resorting to red when 30% hits; rear turns green at 85% and red when diminished to 15%. In practice, my inability to remember which was which, did not turn out to be a problem.
A silicone flap covers the charging point. A USB cable was not included, but other Sigma lights use the same one or a one can be purchased separately for £6.99.
Giving the monos a full belly should take three hours, according to the blurb. Impressively, the mains got them to full power in two an a half hours (each). Even linking to the laptop saw max charge achieved in two and three-quarter hours. They should run for eight hundred charges to over 75%, but after that they’ll drop below that capacity. Batteries are not replaceable. Even so, that amounts to 5600 hours of burn.
Run time have been equally impressive. Front light is designated five hours on full and eight on flash. I managed five hours and twenty minutes on full and eight hours forty on flash. After that output quickly diminished, but if you stick to the manufacturers expectations you shouldn’t be plunged into darkness.
For the rear light, Sigma suggest seven solid hours and eight flashing ones. I got nearer eight hours out of solid, and on flash? Well it seemed to go on and on, though with diminished output, to nearly ten hours. Could be luck, but, once again, keeping the manufacturers stated times in mind should see you home with something to spare.
The lights do not resort to an SOS mode, which some might have hoped for from what are, fundamentally, safety lights.
0.5 watts offers a good deal of punch. There’s no reason to argue with 400 metres visibility quoted by Sigma, but that won’t be quite the case in busy urban scenarios. On the other hand, there’s no doubt that the rear light would suffice to keep you visible - practically if not legally - from behind on its own when heading into the suburbs or down country lanes. The front light would help you limp home, but I generally employ it in combination with a dynamo light or the Sigma Buster 200 or 600.
In daylight gloom, flashing mode seems to catch attention both front and rear, but some of the team have felt that a single LED blinkie lacks the intensity of twin LED models. There’s something to be said for that, but I’d not take it too far.
There’s decent side vision, too, when approaching junctions, roundabouts and dreamy pedestrians about to step off the pavement.
Intuitively, I have kept the button at the top and the silicone-covered charging port at the bottom. Seemed like common-sense to me, but even when leaving them out in the rain, there’s been no watery ingress under normal conditions. Neither has trail-splash been a problem.
Even blinkies need proper adjustment to maintain good relations with other road users. As simple as the two modes, the slotted pad that helps secure the bracket to the perch, has meant that on seat-post and seat-stay a sensible angle has been easy to find. Silicone strap and pad combine to absorb everything bump and thud road and trail have sent my way.
Continuing the theme of simplicity, a firm press on the diminutive and handily placed button activates and switches modes confidently - even with thick-gloved hands.
Charge times should enable a stealth re-load when prying eyes are turned elsewhere at work. Having said that, longer distance commuters may find the run times on the low side and need to dose up the power pretty much every other day. with commutes varying from one and a half hours to forty-five minutes, eight hours on flash for the front light has represented three days - although, in practice the Mono has lasted that bit longer than Sigma’s numbers gave me to expect.
Amongst the myriad of blinkies with four, five or six modes, the Mono stands out in its simplicity; fast to charge, straight-forward operation and just two modes. Having said that, run times may have been above those suggested by Sigma, but eight hours on flash does not, for many, cover a week of commuting, though it should manage an autumn all-nighter. Personally, I like simplicity, and I’ve come to like these because they are easy to use, but also because of their flexibility when it comes to finding spot to sit them on. Would I like a low power mode for longer rides and when a charge cannot be found at the office? Yes.