Guest Review by Dillon Hayes.
After an awesome summer of biking, autumn was approaching and as the daylight shrank, my waistline grew. A couple of my friends had started Night Biking the previous year, and it seemed like the next step. I’d also been volunteered for the StrathPuffer, so I figured that some lights and some practice of riding in the dark were becoming essential.
But what lights to buy? Like everything else, you can find an enormous amount of bamboozling information out there. Most people have very strong opinions about Lumens, weight, money etc. I just wanted something that was good. You can get really caught in circles researching this biking topic (or any other, don’t ever Google “Biking Best Tyre Pressures” for instance…), so I shopped around a bit, read some reviews… But one little company caught my eye. There was only one review out there, but it was glowing and seemed sincere. The company was called Four4th, a UK company, and the promises on their website sounded great. 2100 Lumens! Impressive. I have a degree in physics, and I still don’t really know what a Lumen is, and every manufacturer measures them differently anyway… so it’s only really a rough guide. One of the other things that really interested me was the range of spares for the light. Nearly everything can be replaced without having to buy a whole new light, right down to the circuit board. The lenses can also be changed, with narrow, medium and wide beams. This all sounded very appealing as one of my friends had just had to buy a new light after the cable broke.
I took the bold step (I didn’t have much money at the time), and I was not disappointed.
The battery unit is bottle shaped, so no need to find somewhere to strap it to, just slide it into your carrier. No bother. The charger works well, though it has some settings on it that you don’t need, and I accidentally put it on the wrong setting once, and the battery didn’t charge. That was definitely my fault though, the correct settings are clearly marked! Charge time seems to be around 3hrs, though I know Four4th were working on a fast charger that might be available now. You also detach the battery from the light to charge it, so you just leave the light in place on your bars.
The light itself was amazing… Like I say, I don’t trust Lumens very much, but it was brighter than all my friends lights, as bright as my car headlights. With 2 settings, low and high, I found the low setting to be more than enough for climbing, and it was actually fine for descending too… but why use it when there’s an even brighter setting!! My only gripe was that the mount for the light didn’t fit very tightly on my bars… but more on that in a moment.
The light is really small for all you weight conscious types out there, fraid I don’t know the exact weight though.
So, the battery is good, lasts ages, the light is really small, easy to fit, and is crazy bright… But the real strength of this company is it’s customer service. I ordered my light online. I didn’t really know what lens I wanted, so I went with the wide one. The next day I got a call from Derek at Four4th, to ask if that was really what I wanted. A quick chat about my riding (singletrack, Glentress type stuff) and Derek recommended that I go with the medium lens. What other company would do that for you? Like I say, when I got the light (Derek was spot on about the lens, it’s perfect), I didn’t think that the mount on the handlebar was a bit loose. I told Derek this in an email… Lo and behold, new O-rings
arrived in the post, as well as an adapter for the mount. Amazing, and it worked well. Then, when I said that I was doing the StarthPuffer… Derek sent me a prototype fast charger through the post to ensure that the light managed to last the 6 or so hours that I would be using it for. In the end I didn’t need it, by using the low setting uphill and the High setting sparingly downhill, the battery lasted right through the night. I honestly don’t know how long it lasts… I’ve never drained it!
So, in summary, the light from Four4th is megabright, lasts for ages, lightweight, great value for money… and comes with the best customer service I’ve ever had from any company.
Best light ever? Probably.