It’s been knocked off its perch as our favourite front light by the latest Lupine Wilma 5 but, Hope’s four-LED unit is still one of the best no-nonsense trail lamps. The four-LED head gives a great spread that puts everything into clear context on even the most technical trails. The warmer-than-usual colour temperature is easier on fried eyes too.
Regulated output run time is more than three hours in the ‘high’ setting (Max isn’t very efﬁcient) and the two lower settings add cruise time. The rubber-coated battery sits neatly under stems and the head unit can be bar or stem mounted. However, there’s no indicator for remaining run time or which power setting you’re in.
The Vision 4 offers all the subtly detailed light you need for technical riding, along with excellent reliability and real-world performance for the price. It’s not as powerful as the Lupine Betty (it’s nowhere near as expensive either) but its 930 lumen output thrashes just about everything else out there. It lacks an external low power indicator, and while that was a small niggle last year, it’s now such a common feature that it bumps the Vision 4 down the wish-list.
The four-LED spread gives enough light throw to let you know what happens next, plus masses of peripheral for dealing with what’s happening now. Gap-free spread helps you see down drops or up the next sudden climb, and we never had to nudge the light around for different situations.
What really helps in typical UK dusk/dawn damp or ‘fried eyes late at night’ use is Hope’s decision to use a warmer, yellower LED. It means illumination isn’t as stark as lights with a more blue beam, but there’s less bleaching of the trail and less glare. This makes it easier to judge the ﬁne detail that sometimes makes the difference between clean or crash.
Of its four power setting, the ‘Max’ output is inefﬁcient in terms of power use. Hope openly admits that it’s more about shop demonstration firepower, though. The ‘High’ setting certainly didn’t slow us down any, and it extends run time into the three-hour zone. Even the lowest-power setting is perfectly adequate for gentle cruising. There’s also an emergency flash mode.
The LEDs are regulated for constant output during use, too, and while there’s no external low light, it automatically dims to get you home if the battery is drained.
The ‘Endurance’ option adds a second battery for £60 if you’re an epic specialist, and the intelligent charger needs only six hours to recharge from flat for 24-hour-racing addicts.
The rubber-coated battery sits securely under stems or frame tubes with a single stretch strap, and it comes with a helmet mount and extension lead – but at 150g for the head unit you’ll need a thick neck. The Vision 2 LED is lighter and more focused for lid use.
The lamp is handmade in Hope’s Lancashire factory and the heavy-duty, heat-ribbed head sits on a secure but simple to use carbon-reinforced nylon quick-release clamp. There’s built-in swivel in the clamp to cope with bar sweep, plus inserts to handle either standard or oversize bars. The light comes with changeable mount sections to work with Hope’s unique stem front mount.
The head is plenty tough and LEDs are much more robust than HID or halogen bulbs. The whole lamp is temperature monitored so it’ll lower power output rather than cook itself.
The lens has been custom-made to diffuse the light evenly to avoid any sudden sharp edges or fluctuations in intensity. The top LED sits behind a wide-angled lens to give really good vision sideways, downwards and upwards. In other words, you can aim the main body of light way down the trail, while still seeing enough of what’s happening right under your front wheel, round the next corner or up the next climb.
As a result, it’s the first bar light we’ve felt properly comfortable using on fast-paced technical terrain night rides without the addition of a helmet light to add the essential ‘what happens next’ element.
The new leads are totally waterproof, which solved the only niggle with early samples, and handbuilt reliability is excellent.
The single strap-sealed PVC lithium ion battery (7.4V, 5200mAh) is small enough to strap under most stems/top tubes or drop in a pocket. Despite the metal head, the whole system is surprisingly light at 442g, so you won’t suddenly be feeling sluggish when you’re doing your night laps.
Verdict: great trail light
Considering the power, performance and toughness of the light, the price is excellent, making this a great all-round trail lamp.
There’s absolutely loads of amp-related arithmetic and in-depth scientific knowledge going into lights these days, and it’s undoubtedly essential. What really matters to us, though, is a light that manages to give full, distortion and glare-free illumination. Not just straight ahead, but everywhere I might want to go next.
The Hope’s lack of a life meter is a bit of a bummer, but stay within its ample lifespan and this is still a very good trail light.