SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MARCH 18th
THE SIGMA BUSTER HL 2000
637g (including charger) £229.00
The Sigma Sport Buster HL2000 is the biggest light in the buster family, aimed primarily at MTB audiences. The sensible choice of settings and mounting systems mean it’s a practical option, for those seeking a single powerful light for most riding contexts. Some folks reckon it’s beginning to show its age, but I reckon it's still very relevant.
Pros: Superb build quality, excellent output, sensible modes & run time, effective wireless remote.
Cons: IPX4 Waterproofing, need to cycle through flashing modes to reach highest steady, long charge times.
So, what do you get for £229 then? Well, a main lamp, a remote, three mounts (bar, helmet and Go-Pro) extension cabling and a beefy 6400mAh lithium ion, brick shaped battery with silicone mounting straps, not forgetting the mains charger.
Staying with the battery a moment, this comprises of two Panasonic cells and features both a charge/life indicator and a plug-in USB port, so it can double as a charger for refuelling a phone, or similar tech. Including cabling, it weighs 364g.
The silicone straps are another small but significant feature, ensuring leach-like tenure to frame tubing and with the extension cable, it was possible to park the battery in a bottle cage, say when running frame mounted luggage. As a precaution, I’d still pop a strip of helicopter, electrical tape or inner tube offcut to protect painted, or lacquered finishes from unsightly “tan lines”.
Build quality is, dare I say stereotypically Teutonic throughout. The lamp housing is made from CNC machined, anodised aluminium with cooling vents to well, dissipate heat, give the three Cree diodes and switchgear a sporting chance of long and productive lives. These are projected through a collimator lens for pin-point accuracy.
Now, I was surprised, given the trail brief, to find the unit only complies with IPX44, which is technically, light rain and resistant to impacts from projectiles up to 1mm in diameter. The extension cable is designed for helmet mounting and 114cm total length should be ample, even for taller riders. It means the battery can either fit inside a rucksack/hydration pack and in my case, a jersey pocket. The battery is reckoned good for 450-500 charge cycles before dropping to 80% capacity. Replacements are also readily available. Though hardly feathery and while conscious of its presence, it hasn’t been obtrusive.
There are 7 modes in total, catering for pretty much every riding context. High power is the full 2000, power is 1300, standard 600lumens, eco is 300lumens and then there’s a fast flash, pulsing and SOS. The latter we’d hope never to need, but good to have, nonetheless. Quoted run times are 2.5, 5, 10, 20, 9, 11 and 10 hours respectively, which might be expected from a battery of that capacity but also very practical for everyday riding. The sturdy cabling presses together snugly, so no risk of it coming adrift, or permitting water and ingress inside-under normal contexts, although I’d go steady if you were doing a bit of river crossing.
Mounts are where a lot of manufacturers save some pennies and though I wasn’t excited about the Velcro helmet mount, it’s certainly fit for purpose. I had a suspicion the Sigma Buster 700 bar mount (which is compatible with some helmets) would also accommodate its bigger sibling- it did. The bar mount is another CNC machined, hinged clamp design, which has proven a winner across various round diameters, from 22-31.8, including the Soma Condor and Genetic D-Riser family of drops.
The main switch is behind the lamp, nicely aligned and in thumb prodding distance. The firm, rubbery texture nice to touch and requires a definite double prod to engage-no issues with unwanted engagement, or indeed, mode changes. The bar mount is a remote, powered by CR2032 cell that communicates at 2.4ghz and has a subtle, some might say, ghostly green glow for easy reference.
The upper button tuns the lamp on, the lower toggles downward, which I found very intuitive, given a couple of dry runs. In terms of distance, ours has communicated with the lamp from 8-10 feet. However, unlike the Xeccon Zeta1300R I couldn’t switch the light on/off through solid, brick walls. Party tricks aside, it makes dipping up/down considerably easier, so genuinely practical on the road. My one minor point and I stress, minor, is the need to cycle through the flashing modes to return to a high, constant beam. This came as a culture shock, having got accustomed to some lights avoiding this quirk.
There is still seemingly, a lumens race, a clamoring for bigger and bigger numbers, with some models boasting 8,000lumens However, the Buster’s combination of flood and spot are impressive and very useable. On the bars, the full 2,000 lumens enabled me to tackle pitch back, unmade roads at 25-30mph and still have ample warning of upcoming hazards.
Rabbits can be tricky customers, most just held back but I was still able to work around those that dared to dance, without coming unstuck. Continuing this theme, its arguably overkill for unlit roads, but on foggy mornings, the extra power was welcome and on clear nights, Sigma’s claims of 200metre beam range is no idle boast either.
Helmet mounted and combined with the mighty K-lite dynamos the ability to cast light directly where I was looking was a serious boon and optical clarity was vastly superior to budget models and gave an old Lupine model of a mine a good run for its money.
In fairness, the 1300 lumen also copes very well as a companion in these contexts and has the advantage of better run times. 1300lumens is very much the sweet spot for pitch black roads- I could cruise along at 18-20 with ample warning of upcoming holes, mud, muntjac deer and anything else.
Provided you’ve angled the lamp correctly, in these contexts, no issues with dazzling oncoming traffic. Other drivers took notice at 100 metres-even some larger HGV and agricultural drivers dipped at 60 metres, or so. Lens quality means the standard (600lumens) has a surprising amount of bite, used as a solo light.
Not ideal for hossing along the lanes but enough navigational prowess for 15mph and no issues with being seen, which is good news if you’ve been out longer than planned and reserves are beginning to dip a bit. I’ve found ours stair-cased down from the 1300lumen, to conserve power, which was a welcome surprise. More than adequate for semi-rural contexts and though overkill in the suburbs, if you’ve forgotten to nudge down, it shouldn’t tickle retinas at close quarters.
ECO is 300 lumens and a nice blend of power and economy. Plenty of oomph for suburban and town riding, while still being useful on the open road/trails, when helmet mounted for reading signs, rummaging through luggage or tackling punctures and similar mechanicals. That said, through the concrete jungle, where being seen is a bigger priority, the fast flash and pulsing were my go-tos- depending on the competing illuminations.
Run/Charge Times 3.75/5
These have been a pleasant surprise and crucially, accurate. In milder weather, I’ve exceeded the cited times by 10-20minutes. When temperatures tumbled to 3 degrees and lower, faithful to the official figures. To be frank, the charge indicator is similarly intuitive and save for malfunction, you’d be going some to get plunged into darkness. Charging phones and indeed my ORP Smart Horn made negligible impression upon these. Long charge times are tempered by the relatively generous run times, but should you drain the battery, it’ll be 5 hours at the mains and not a minute earlier.
Six weeks and 600 mixed terrain miles down the line, ours still looks packet fresh. Exposed to heavy, driving rain, muddy spatter and the usual everyday carelessness without missing a beat. The anodising looks great and there’s not so much as a nick in the cabling. Unlike some budget models, the lamp dissipates heat very efficiently and hasn’t become overly warm, used for two hours plus, at any given time. No singed digits when powering the lamp down either. The lens has taken a couple of direct hits but no swirling, or similar calling cards. The availability of spare cabling and batteries bode well for longer term service too.
Following on from my last point, £229 is a sizeable investment and the market has got very busy in recent years. Leaving aside the auction site specials, Magicshine Monteer 3500MTB Headlight pumps out a maximum of 3500 lumens, offers six modes, meets IPX65 for weatherproofing and replacement batteries are also available. £179.99 rrp. Glowworm X2 Lightset (G2.0) is designed and engineered in New Zealand, delivers a maximum of 2000lumens and reckoned to run for four hours. It also offers a customisable beam pattern, mobile app compatibility and a universal mount. £269.99. Knog PWR Mountain kit Light comes in at £200, offers a maximum of 2000lumens, a 10,000mAh PWR bank battery, assorted mounts and six modes.
The Sigma Buster HL2000 has been around a while now but despite fierce competition, remains very relevant. Impressive output, long run times, decent mounts and sensible modes keep it practical beyond the trail. That said, the need to cycle through the flashing modes to hit top may prove annoying to some.
Verdict: 4/5 Pricey but sturdy, powerful light with scope beyond the trails.
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2021
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH