SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 25th
XECCON MARS 60 COB REAR LIGHT
The Xeccon Mars 60 rear LED light is a quirky, powerful rear blinkie with generous run times. However, despite some real charm, it’s not a 60 lumen light, in the commonly accepted sense.
The Xeccon Mars 60 is termed a “smart” model, which in this instance, refers to a brake light function. This automatically tweaks the diodes to produce a more intense, solid arc when you slow. I’ve to admit, it struck me as gimmicky to begin with.
I’ve not been convinced by other brake-lights, but get away from that label and this extrovert function seems to improve presence. This is particularly so when tethered to trailers/tagalongs-especially in slower moving, rush hour traffic.
As we’d expect, the Mars 60 uses chips on board (COB) technology (where the diodes are mounted directly on the circuit board). A thin aluminium heat sink is employed to displace heat and giver the diodes the best chance of living long and productive lives.
It’s fuelled by a 700mAh lithium polymer cell that charges via the usual android type USB cable. Xeccon cite charge times as 5 hours, zero to hero, which is pretty accurate, though in my experience, mains charging shaved a few minutes off.
The integrated charge light indicator turns red when charging, or when reserves are dwindling and green when fully juiced. A 300 charge cycle lifespan is pretty much what we’ve come to expect and means 2-3 years hard use. The casing and shape divided opinion, although the translucent red also serves a purpose, while the lens is packing collimator technology, for precision.
Personally, I like the slightly blocky styling and as I suggested earlier, mounted horizontally, it’s bold enough on its own for a low-slung trailer. Admittedly, vertical post mounting looks sharpest on solo bikes, provided you’ve sufficient post exposed and/or the Mars isn’t obscured by a crud type rear guard.
This is a low profile, though user friendly, triangular shaped rubberised model, easily located wearing full-finger gloves. The action is medium, although positive enough to prevent unwanted power ups when it’s holidaying in a pocket, or pannier.
Some folks will miss a memory function, given there’s five settings but, for me, and at this price point, it’s not a deal-breaker. Two seconds to power up, or down then single prods cruise through low, high, strobe, flash and day riding. To be frank, all bar low are very obvious during daylight.
However, the day riding mode is different to those found on Moon Gemini and actually refers to the brake light function. i.e. the light will remain off and only engage when you slow/stop.
Xeccon say it complies with IPX5 standard, heavy rain to you and me. Ours has passed my three minute, close range hose-pipe torture test without missing a beat and the charge port plug is also a very snug fit. Add a lick of silicone grease if its serving on a bike without mudguards and in the worst weathers but otherwise, I wouldn’t bother.
There’s no clothing clip, which is a shame but the big, beefy watch-strap type bracket offers limpet like tenure to most post diameters and there’s some scope for seat-stays, too.
Output & Run Times
Low is 20 lumens, high is 40 and braking mode, sees it unleash the cited 60. Interestingly, figures for flash and strobing aren’t cited but a straw poll suggests they’re closer to 40, than 20. Either way, there’s plenty of firepower here to cover most bases. Flashing or strobe settings are my defaults for general riding.
Even on fairly overcast evenings, other riders reckoned they spotted me from 300 metres, 270 in strobe. The translucent red casing seems to amplify this further and peripheral bite doesn’t suffer when mounted horizontally.
Now, the term braking light is also a little misleading, since an internal sensor registers when you’ve slowed, rather than engaged a lever. I first noticed this when climbing and it took a few moments, under acceleration to switch back to the flashing tempo.
This was particularly acute when riding fixed. Quirky, rather than problematic, since the “braking” light is very intense. In the cut ’n’ thrust of stop go town centre traffic, I was conscious of drivers holding back as I scrubbed off speed. That said, it’s just the right side of assertive and hasn’t induced hostility.
There is the option of running it independently, which is suitably extrovert. Some have suggested I registered on their radars sooner than riders using models in “daytime flash”.
Back to the flashing and strobing modes; I seemed to register on the average driver’s radar at 200 metres. Run times have been close to the 17 hour mark, too, which, all things being equal gives a fortnight’s middle distance commuting per charge.
Low (steady) is also very extrovert, with more than enough bite for suburban commutes. To be frank, it’s up to semi-rural work, too. Conservative estimates suggest 200 metres on a cloudy night, 250 clear. Since the system defaults to the more intense “braking” mode, peripheral presence seemed improved at roundabouts and junctions.
Describing the Mars 60 as a sixty lumen light will be seen as a bit sneaky by some. However, it’s intelligently employed. High and flashing settings have sufficient punch, even for unlit, open roads.
For suburban and semi-rural work, COB technology means 30 lumen units, such as Revolution Vision COB rear light, https://www.sevendaycyclist.com/revolution-cob-rear-light are more than adequate for solos.
Similarly, Moon Gemini come as a potent, compact pairing for just a few quid more. https://www.sevendaycyclist.com/moon-gemini-front-and-rear-lights Nonetheless, while this price point is extremely competitive, I’ve been impressed by the Mars 60.
Verdict 3.75/5 Quirky but a very practical rear light.
PUBLISHED OCTOBER 2017
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH