SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
XECCON ZETA 5000R WIRELESS FRONT LIGHT
Battery Pack 295g Lamp 122g Remote Control 17g £169.99
The Xeccon Zeta 5000R Wireless front light is a six LED floodlight model packing, a claimed retina ruining 5000 lumens in top, which on the one hand, sounds perfect for blasting along deserted trails at warp speed and seriously anti-social on the other.
In practice, there are some very definite limitations but it’s a still a surprisingly capable light that is tuneable enough to cope with trail and town alike. Xeccon has managed to cram in 6 Cree XML2 diodes inside the neatly machined and well finished 6063T5 aluminium housing, which according to Xeccon meets IPX8 for weatherproofing-basically full on submersion. Not so, the battery. In the everyday sense, I’ve had no problems with water or ingress and didn’t feel the need for a lick of silicone grease on the contacts.
Most high power units, even those of the 1000lumen mark feature some form of heat sink to protect diodes and switchgear from living fast and dying young. Though the fins are designed to disperse heat, with air cooled assistance, in common with its less powerful counterparts, there’s an auto safe mode, which chooses a lower output should the lamp become too warm.
Perhaps it’s a price point thing but the temperature regulating kick down seemed a little overzealous on our sample. Despite a fair bit of speed and, cool breeze, it could often dial down unexpectedly, usually to medium for a few seconds. Annoying on a country lane; seriously unwelcome along sweeping single track.
Just like the 1300, its external 8.4v 5200mAh lithium ion Samsung battery pack requires an overnight mains charge before you can get going. Six to seven hours is typical. Even though it’s not particularly brick like, it’s a bit conspicuous for workplace charging. I’d be inclined to buy a spare and alternate between them.
While the bracket and rubber ‘O’ ring set up is a little crude, replacements are easy to come by and ours seemed very secure. The lamp stayed exactly where I’d put it, even when subjected to some seriously spirited shenanigans through Dalbeattie Forest. The same was true of the frame mounted, paint friendly neoprene battery pouch.
There are five modes in total; Ultra, high, mid, low and of course, strobe. Depressing the switch for two seconds, defaults to high which is claimed to produce 1675 lumens, prod again and you’ll get mid (700) which is suitable for most semi-rural contexts. Surprisingly, it has been useable enough for gentler forest sections and unlit backwaters, though this has often been of the light’s choosing, not mine.
Low translates as a town-friendly 280 lumens, which is enough for being seen with, although it doesn’t give the same presence as the Moon LX760 but has returned the full 32 hours from a full charge, which is pretty frugal. Strobe is helpful in emergencies, or on dull, overcast days.
Hang on what about the 5000? I hear you cry. Well, I felt a bit cheated having read the instructions, which warned against using it for longer than 30 seconds - tops, or you’ll deplete the battery with alarming haste. In practice, 10 seconds or so is all I’ve needed along the darkest forest runs. A quick blast coupled with a friendly greeting gave walkers warning of my approach from behind.
Other riders, let alone drivers will not appreciate being dazzled. Singletrack speed freaks might call for more but I’ve found 1675 perfect. I’ve managed four hours, more with intelligent use, which is easily achieved using the remote trigger and pretty competitive time-wise. For this reason, it’s well worth reading the instructions and familiarizing yourself with the settings from the comfort of home.
The trigger also features a crude, though useful traffic light style indicator. Green denotes full to 50%, whereupon it turns blue and when reserves dip below 15%, red. Personally, 20% would give more leeway and an SOS failsafe would’ve been welcomed, so remember that spare battery (XLA090 RRP43.99) or, at least, some other contingency lighting.
Ultimately, the bigger Zeta might earn bragging rights among your mates, until you all go out for a night time blast. Bigger, is not necessarily better and you get what you pay for. The tendency to drop down due to excessive heat rendered the extra lumens a little academic at times and while welcome, in practice, the 5000 lumen ultra mode felt like a bit of gimmick. On the plus side, generally sensible settings and run times ensures it doubles as a decent training/commuter light - assuming you can stomach an external battery pack.
Verdict: 2.75/5 Decent enough budget light let down by 5000 lumen ultra setting.
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2016
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH