As a stalwart of UK cycling, we were very keen to try out Halfords Advanced’s all-in-one 1600-lumen bike light, especially because it only costs £50, making it vastly cheaper than any other lights we’ve tested in recent times.
Its all-in-one form factor weighs 288g, including its out-front-style clamp. The onboard battery has a 6,400mAh capacity that powers three CREE LEDs in a triangular formation, which put out a claimed 1,600 lumens on maximum power.
The included out-front-style mount has a Garmin-style attachment on one side and a GoPro-style fitting for the light on the other. The light uses an adaptor that’s attached to its body with a 4mm Allen key bolt to work with the GoPro mount.
There’s a standard rubber bar mount with rubber stabiliser and adaptors for different diameter bars, too.
It also has a USB charging cable that can be used to turn the light into a power bank to charge other devices, via two USB ports covered by rubber plugs.
There are two buttons — one to turn it on and off, the other to cycle through the eight sequential modes – and a battery life indicator that provides live run-time information, depending on which mode the light is in.
The aluminium body has an IPX5 water resistance rating, and Halfords also says the light’s thermal management system helps protect it from overheating. It’s compatible with Halfords’ remote control, too, sold separately for £5.
Halfords Advanced 1600 Lumen Front Bike Light performance
I initially attached the light to my handlebars using the supplied out-front mount to save some bar space, but the interlocking teeth and bolt couldn’t be tightened enough despite my best efforts – it kept slipping down and pointing at the floor over small bumps.
This made it impossible to ride any rough terrain because the light wouldn’t stay put.
Once I’d swapped the mount to the silicone bar strap, things improved. Although I’d sacrificed crucial bar space – especially important if you mount a GPS on the bars – the light stayed put even over the roughest terrain.
The beam created by the three CREE LEDs impressed me. It had a good spread and the side-to-side cut-off was really gradual, helping highlight obstacles around turns and giving good context to the trail.
The blue hue of the light makes it feel like it has more power than the claimed 1,600 lumens. However, it emits quite a harsh light that creates high contrast down the trail making some pop, but casting shadows over other areas.
Three LEDs provide a good spread of light for the asking price. Although the wide beam does a good job of lighting up an impressive amount of trail at once, the light’s lack of overall power limits the usefulness of the spread. This compromise is preferable to a low-power, more focussed beam, though.
There was still enough light to comfortably ride less technical trails flat out – even ones with twisty switchbacks – but it does come unstuck when the track’s full of features and needs precise navigation or certain lines out of turns.
There was also a lack of light projected down directly in front of me and when I rode off jumps or drops, shadows were quickly cast as my front wheel lifted. This is something to be aware of if you’re into airtime.
Run-time in maximum brightness was 2 hours and 10 minutes, significantly longer than Halfords’ claims of 1 hour.
Operation was simple and modes cycled sequentially, but over rough terrain it was a little trickier, although the button was large enough to hit fairly consistently. The run-time display was easy to read when moving, but the information it’s conveying isn’t simple to understand.
The lack of mode indicator is forgivable but in max mode the unit’s thermal protection kicked in way too quickly for my tastes, reducing the output of the light considerably. If you ride at night in hot climates that’s something to consider, especially if your trails are technical.
Halfords Advanced 1600 Lumen Front Bike Light bottom line
For the money, the Halfords Advanced 1600 Lumen Front Bike Light is tricky to beat thanks to its fantastic beam spread and simple functionality.
Okay, so it’s low on power compared to competition but it’s also low on price. It doesn’t have the most sophisticated design but then the way it looks won’t change how it performs.
You might want to consider other lights if you’re tackling the gnarliest trails, but for most trail centre loops and bridleways it’s a great way to get into night riding.
How we tested
We put 12 high-power front lights to the test that should let you head to the hills after night falls to discover a brave new world of riding.
Other lights on test:
- Exposure MaXx D MK13
- Gemini Duo 2200 Multisport
- Hope R4 LED
- Lezyne Mega Drive 1800i
- LifeLine Ara 2000L
- Lumicycle Apogee Carbon Extender Pack
- Magicshine Monteer 8000S
- Moon X-Power 1800
- MTB Batteries Lumenator 20
- NiteRider Pro 2200 Race
- Knog PWR Mountain Kit