I finally broke down and bought the Loweís flashlight everyone has
been raving about. I figured even if it wasnít quite as good as the
hype, itíd still be good, and if not I could simply return it.
Until now my headlight has been a Planet Bike 5 Beamer. OK little
light, but certainly nothing to write home about. I found it passable
for 15MPH or so on the road, and near useless off-road.
I got the Task Force light Saturday. Sunday, I rigged up a mounting
bracket using an old headlight bracket from a worthless Bell light
that I no longer have. Some dremeling, a zip-tie and itís pretty
secure. I wonít be surprised if it requires a second zip-tie in the
future, but it seems plenty secure with just the one. Since I didnít
have any reusable ties around Iíll be cutting this thing every time I
want to use the light off the bike, I figured Iíd give it a go with
Anyway, the light is amazing. The throw for the primary spot is as
far as I could ever need it for a bike light, and damn impressive for
a flashlight as well. Short of breaking out high-power spotlights, I
canít imagine doing much better. Itís also got a good amount of
(spill?) off to the sides, letting me see right in front of the tire
as well as off to the side. I tested it out with a quick trail ride
on the dirt bike trail around the property, and was very impressed.
That same trail is simply unrideable with the 5 beamer (I tried, just
I took some snapshots of the difference in the lights, but my sub-par
photo shooting combined with my lack of tripod and the long shutter
time didnít give the best results. Still, I think itís good enough to
get the point across, even if they wonít win any photography awards.
Hereís the 5 Beamer shining on the Quonset hut from ~25í.
Hereís the TF doing the same shot:
Hereís the 5 Beamer shining into the yard:
Hereís the TF doing the same shot:
The pics really donít do it justice, although the reflect each light
poorly, to be fair. In that last shot the fire pit on the left was
perfectly clear, the side of the hut was visible, and the trail (leafy
section in front of the ramp) was lit up enough to feel comfortable
riding into it at full speed from that distance. The ground was also
plenty lit right to my front tire. My poor camera skills are not
doing this thing justice.
The best way I can think of to relate the difference is this: If I
had the PB light on and turned on the TF in addition, it completely
overrode the PB, to the point where I could hardly notice if I turned
it off. If I had the TF light on and then turned on the PB, there was
no noteworthy difference. For now Iíve got both on there, but I
expect the PB light may be deemed pointless next to this beast and
removed. That would allow me to use the bracket from that light to
make a road bike TF holder. Otherwise Iím off shopping for Ruland
collars. Or off to ebay to find some cheap bike light holder saved
from a dead light. Iíd just buy another of these cheesy Bell lights
for the holder for the road bike, but it doesnít fit on the oversized
Tonightís commute home will be ~10 miles, 7 or 8 of which will be
offroad. 5 miles of the off-road will be powerlines, with a couple
miles of dark, fully tree-covered, very rough and sometimes muddy 4x4
truck & dirt bike trails thrown in. That will be the real test, of
both the bracket (will 1 zip tie suffice?) and the light. Based on
what I saw on my own trails last night, Iím optimistic.
Iíll keep you posted on how it fares tonight.