DStar Altair MC-E front light review£300.00

Singletrack-friendly lighting

BikeRadar score3.5/5

We first used UK ‘shed-made’ DStar lights last year and were impressed with their high power, singletrack-friendly lighting. The company will build the three-LED lamp unit with whatever optic combination you choose in a raw alloy, black or red anodised finish.

Our soft spot/real spot mix spread the huge lumen output over a large area with masses of well lit peripheral vision. The warm colour temperature means it works well in wet/reflective conditions where whiter lights can glare too much.

While the pinpoint lux measurement is low it also throws enough light down the trail to spot obstacles early. The big light pool makes the angle setup less crucial. There’s no battery life indicator though, and the lower power setting is very low so a third intermediate level would be useful.

There is a double capacity bottle battery option if you need more run time. The substantial lamp weight makes the helmet mount an optimistic inclusion, but the main bracket is very secure and the lamp is compatible with Hope’s direct fit stem system.

DStar altair mc-e beam: dstar altair mc-e beam
DStar altair mc-e beam: dstar altair mc-e beam

Beam shot - DStar Altair MC-E

For more information of how we tested this year's crop of lights, see our latest buyer's guide to mountain bike lights and Tested: 30 high-power mountain bike lights.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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