XECCON SPEAR 900 FRONT LIGHT

147g (inc bracket) £59.99

The Xeccon Spear 900 front light is a surprisingly capable torch type with decent output and reasonable run times. Generally a really cheerful option for those on a modest budget, wanting to enjoy a bit of backroad scratching after work. However a better bracket would be welcomed.

Specification

Superficially, its shape reminded me of the Moon LX760, reviewed by Steve last year.   A penny shy of £60 (we’ve seen it a tenner cheaper, online) buys a sturdy resin body with zinc alloy cowling.

This trims cost a few grams, while keeping the Cree XM2-LED and circuitry temperate. It’s weatherproof to IPX6, which is excellent for this price point and means it will withstand everything bar full-blown immersion. Not that you’d go trail riding with this sort of light in any case.

Rechargeable 2600mAh cells deliver decent run times, but we were pleased to note replacements are readily available. Aside from the obvious, it allows a spare to be carried, extending ride times at high power.

 

The polycarbonate lens (as we’d expect at this price point) doesn’t feature collimator technology but still projects a reasonably precise arc of light. In keeping with other lights of this genre, it combines spot for detailed hazard perception and a flood for general, overview.

Switch/Modes

The switch is a teardrop shaped, rubberised model with integrated battery life indicator. The latter’s a bit crude in that it’s either green, or red. Thankfully, when it does slip into red, you can toggle down to conserve the remaining 15%, which should be enough to get home, or stop and change cells.

 

The switch itself is trickier than some to locate in the dark, especially wearing full-finger winter gloves. On the flip side, accidental engagement has been a moot point and I’ve had no problems, staircasing up, or down to suit my environment. There are four modes in total.

High is the full 900, medium seems to be closer to 450 and low 230.  This caters for rural backwaters, semi-rural and suburban cruising. I’ve sympathy with the argument that 230 is overkill for well-lit town centres but by the same token, and unlike uber lumen, auction site specials, you’re not going to dazzle anyone, or drain the battery for that matter.

 

There is also a strobe mode, this is reached by depressing the switch for three seconds. Cited as lasting 35 hours (from a full charge) it could potentially save the day, when the battery’s fading fast, or remaining conspicuous on murky winter afternoons.

It’s referred to as a “step-up” light, which means it defaults to the lowest setting, rather than employing a memory function. To some, this might be a clever way of marketing a cost-cutting measure.

Maybe so, but low is a good starting point for built up areas, or dusk, when other vehicles are running dipped headlights. Toggling up/down becomes intuitive after a few rides.

 

Regardless of mode, the unit emits an audible hum - quite obvious, in a garage, or similar building but I barely noticed it out on the road.

Mount

This also looks suspiciously similar to several; others, although most notably, those belonging to Moon LX 760 and its bigger Meteor Storm Pro.

I wasn’t surprised to discover the Meteor Storm Pro’s proved fully compatible. By contrast, the Xeccon’s is a bit flimsy in the wrong places.

 

Though ours showed some obvious signs of indigestion with oversized bars and extension brackets, it’s suitably secure. The rubberised shim means it’s easily ported to and equally secure with 26.0, 25.4 bulge diameters. My problem was with the quick release mount. 

This swivels for more convenient removal/beam adjustment. However, ours wasn’t the most secure union. Anything other than buttock smooth tarmac caused it and ultimately the spot light to oscillate - the last thing you’d want when hustling along at 30mph. Thankfully, this improved with use, but it’s one of those detail things that really bug me.

 

Performance

The hybrid spot and flood isn’t as pure as say, Moon’s Meteor Storm Pro but then, the Xeccon is considerably cheaper, so direct comparison is unfair. That said, it casts a wide arc and the relatively large spot makes it easy to blast along. 900 has been my default in the sticks and, bracket tamed, it’s pretty effective. 

Suffice to say, I could maintain a 25mph tempo, with plenty of advanced warning of holes, glass and similar debris. I’ve been happy enough to push things to 35mph along clear 1in4 descents but as expected, the odd forest, or towpath cut through are its limits off road. I’ve consistently returned 93 minutes from a full charge.

 

The battery indicator flicked to red 20 minutes beforehand and there’s no loss of output either. Xeccon says the beam is visible to 190 metres and in this mode and I’d agree.

 

Angled correctly, there’s been no need to dip down for oncoming traffic and most dipped their lights at 60-80 metres. Heat dispersal is pretty good, too - it never became uncomfortable to touch in the higher settings.

Medium is roughly half this - 450 lumens, which proved adequate for navigating better lit, semi-rural locales to 17mph and again, oncoming traffic acknowledged me at a similar distance.

Staircasing downward, from 900 on pitch black roads didn’t dent prowess and it’s a great way of conserving power - if you’ve taken a few detours, had a flat, or generally been out longer than planned. I’ve returned 3hrs 40 minutes per full charge, which could be great for urban riders looking to let of some steam beyond city limits.

Low is approximately 230 lumens, more than enough bite for sub/urban stuff, or around dusk in semi/rural contexts. The “fish mouth” cowling theoretically prevents stealth moments, when negotiating roundabouts, or otherwise entering the flow of traffic. 

Usual precautions aside, I’ve had no problems when passing concealed junctions but I always pair my fronts with a blinkie in flashing mode and I felt more comfortable with this set up, especially in slow moving, rush hour contexts. Other traffic typically took notice at 100 metres.

On some very murky mornings, I’ve alternated between medium and high for more impact, i.e. when I’ve needed to cut through the gloom, but otherwise the strobing certainly gets you noticed and is proving ridiculously frugal. Xeccon cite 35 hours and while I’ve not put this to the test, since the other modes took precedence, it’s crossed the 28 hour mark with no hint of slipping into red.

Conclusion

Compact torch types are great for general riding and where you want to keep clutter minimal. Something like their Zeta 1300 is a much better option if you’re looking to ride all-nighters along unlit roads, let alone go off road. That said, the Spear certainly raises the bar when it comes to budget torch types. Modes give enough punch and when used intelligently, plenty of scope for riding further afield.

Verdict: 3.75/5 Capable compact light for general riding but mounting bracket could be improved.

Michael Stenning

www.todayscyclist.co.uk 

PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2017

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