Ugoe 1000 Lumen Headlight

257g £79.99

The Ugoe 1000 lumen headlight, is distributed by Oxford products, in a variety of forms. It’s a four-mode, compact lamp with relatively slimline lithium ion battery. Output is comparable and run times more practical than some torch types, for longer rides along unlit roads.

The “Go-Pro” helmet mount means it can also play backing singer to a more powerful bar mounted light, for high speed trail shenanigans. Being picky, an SOS, limp home mode, would be welcomed and the battery life indicator crude. Otherwise, it offers a decent amount of bang for modest buck.

Pros: Compact design, decent build, sensible modes for road biased riding.

Cons: No “Limp home” SOS mode, bar mounted strap could be improved. 

Materials/Specifications

 

The lamp is super compact- 4x3x3cm. A far cry from the auction site specials boasting similar outputs. Conserving as much bar space as possible for computers, cameras and those other mod cons we’re so very attached to. 

The shell is also very nicely machined, from anodised aircraft grade aluminium alloy. A great combination of looks and durability, it ensures diodes and switch gear are well-sealed from the elements (Compliant with IP65) and will resist torrential rain and exposure to low pressure hoses. Appropriate for winter road riding. 

The polycarbonate lens employs collimator technology. This technology ensures a very pure, focused beam of light from a single CREE XM-L L2 LED. This is cited as having a 50,000hour lifespan.  An internal thermostat will automatically kick the power down, to prevent over-heating, or battery damage, resultant from complete exhaustion. Neither has been an issue, during our four week- test period. 

Battery

The external battery pack comes complete with a neoprene case cum frame mount. One that binds securely around most diameters of frame tubing and doesn’t sway, like some can. Measuring 9x4cm, it also slips conveniently into most jersey/jacket pockets, without bouncing about, like the proverbial playful Labrador.

Cabling is generous enough, so you can either mount beneath the top tube, or even along the seat tube. The battery is a-typical of this breed. It’s a 3.7v 5200mAH lithium ion unit.

Charge times are cited as 3.5-4hours, although the latter is only required, if its reserves have seriously depleted. Charging is intuitive. Pop it on and it glows red, fully juiced-green. However, getting the very best from these cells, requires a bit of care. 

Charge to 50% before storing - if you’re not going to be using it, say through summer. At present, consumers cannot buy replacements from Oxford. However, cells of this kind are readily available from electronics wholesalers and online auction sites. 

These are also starting to show their age, compared with some powering the latest generation of high-powered torch type models. Including Moon Meteor Storm Pro, which can produce 1100lumens for almost 90 minutes longer. 

Switchgear

Since we’re on the subject, this is a positive, rubber design that features the familiar “traffic light” battery life indicator. Blue for full power and red when reserves dip below 20%. A little crude perhaps, but functional.  Beyond this point, that “intelligent” system will switch off to protect the battery from damage, caused by complete depletion.

Despite the slightly rubbery texture, its easily operated, in full finger winter gloves, even at 20mph.  There’s no memory function, so when setting off, it defaults to low, which is a sensible one but potentially annoying, if you’re in a hurry.

Cabling

There’s 78 cm, which should be ample for most contexts and riders, whether helmet, or bike mounted. A bit more creativity is required, to get it running tidily along the top tube - if that’s important to you. Either way, I’ve never had any issues with it catching, or snagging. In addition to the conventional male/female plug ins, there’s a threaded sleeve, for a belt 'n’ braces connectivity. 

These are sensible for road biased contexts, from country lanes, through to town centre and murky days. High (1,000 lumens) Medium (500 lumens) low (250 lumens) and flashing (500 lumens) Provided you’re not thundering through town with the full 1000lumens unleashed, medium and flashing are assertive, rather than anti-social.

Mounts

These are very reliable, although the rubberised bar strap was less intuitive than the beefy “doughnut” variety. Credit where its due, it entertained 25.4, 26.0 and oversized diameters without slippage, or struggle. Nonetheless, I had a rummage through the spares bin and tethered ours, via a 31.8 “doughnut”.

    

Performance

Unleashing the full 1000 lumens, beam quality is pure enough for navigating country lanes to around 23mph. Faster and its limitations become apparent. Picking out glass, thorns and similar hazards requires greater concentration. However, tested in the same contexts, quality seems superior to auction-site specials, boasting bigger numbers. Take a look at the video on our Facebook page.

 

Moon Meteor Storm Pro  trumps it at similar settings. I’d expect that, given the price differential, The Ugoe is still good, slightly better than Xeccon Spear 900

There’s a reasonable amount of flood too, giving overview and presence. The spot beam doesn’t pick out detail, to the same standards as the Moon (in its closest comparator-mode 2)

I’ve still married ours with a blinkey but oncoming traffic has typically dipped their beams at 40 metres. Provided you’ve angled the lamp correctly, along unlit roads, there’s no call to reciprocate. I managed the full 2.5 hours quoted.

After 2 hrs 5 minutes, the battery indicator has turned red, but I’ve only been 7 miles and 20 odd minutes from home. Made it back with ease. The lamp casing became slightly warm but never hot, let alone digit tingling territory. Suggests the casing performs its heat-sink duties admirably and bodes well for diode/switchgear life.

Forget yourself when you’ve crossed into city limits and yep, you’ll tickle some retinas (and get some irate flashes from other traffic). However, 500 is only a prod away. Again, overpowered for town and most suburban contexts but you’re not going to inflame tensions at close quarters, or succumb to stealth.

500 lumens proved potent enough for navigating semi-rural sections and moderate towpath, to around 16/17mph. Handy, when reserves start waning a bit and you’re a few miles from base. Other, larger vehicles seemed to register at around 25/30 metres, although this kind of firepower, didn’t induce dipped beams from oncoming SUVs.

Run times, from a fully juiced battery has consistently been a few minutes shy of 5 hours, which is good enough for a week’s middle-distance commuting. On many levels we’d expect this. Lithium ion cells are less susceptible to temperature variance. However, it’s worth noting the mercury has wandered between +6 and -18 degrees. A cold snap may have more impact.

Low is 250 lumens. Personally, this struck the perfect balance between output and economy in built up areas, at least when you need a steady beam.

I’ve not had much call for it but returned 9 hours 54 from a full charge. Potentially enough, for two weeks’ middle-distance suburban commuting. In emergency, it has just enough presence, along rural backwaters, although there’s only enough navigational punch for 10mph.

Flashing

A lot of riders (myself included) run lights) if only secondary systems during the day. I err toward them, in overcast conditions. Even on relatively bright days, flashing has oscillated at a captivating pace. 

Drivers typically took notice at 30 metres, or so. This was perfect for remaining conspicuous at roundabouts, junctions, or just cruising along open roads. At night round town, this song remained unchanged and should need arise, its similarly effective along unlit sections. I’ve come within sniffing distance of the 10 hours cited. Useful but distinctly average, compared with the Xeccon Spear’s strobe function.

 

Conclusion

Overall, the Ugoe 100 mini does exactly what it says on the tin and is a reliable choice, for general riding and darker roads. However, it’s up against some very capable designs. Ones rivalling its output and run times, some with smaller price-tags.

Verdict: 3.25/5 Competent and likeable light but not markedly better, than others in this price bracket.

Michael Stenning

www.oxfordproducts.com

PUBLISHED OCTOBER 2018

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