Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Thread Killer
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    3,751
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Review: Cygolite Expilion 700

    First, let me start out and warn all the technogeeks that this isn't a technogeeky review. While I'm impressed with the knowledge of electronics, circuitry, LEDs, and reflector types that many users of this forum have, I don't have any skill or education in that direction myself, so if that's what you're looking for, you might as well stop reading here.

    However, for those of you who appreciate a little insight into potential purchases and can deal with a more generalist viewpoint, then hopefully I can offer something of use.

    One additional caveat: I only received this light today, and so can't give any insight into durability or any of the issues that arise from extended use.

    So why bother with the review at all, you may be wondering? Well to be honest, had someone else done a review like this here before, I probably wouldn't have purchased this. I'm not saying don't buy it, only that it doesn't really satisfy what I was looking for.

    Getting into the particulars then, let me start by saying that the simple packaging of the Cygolite Expilion 700 set the tone for disappointment. It's in a cheap plastic tray, like an assorted cookies gift box, and each component is in a translucent plastic bag. Everything was fine, just packaged in a basic, utilitarian way.

    Handling the headlight and associated bits is just fine. The unit is appropriately weighty, and the accessories feel like solid plastic pieces. A closer look at the light reveals fairly simple casting for the head, one that shows little detailing or marks of attention. The handlebar clamp looks good, though, and I love the short locking screw which only takes a few turns to loosen and remove. Compared to the Niterider Lumina mount with it's very long screw, this is a blessing.

    Tactile impressions are fine...until you reach the light switch. It's over sprung and vague to the touch, as it is to the ears as well. It makes a click, but it's virtually inaudible. Detents are imperceptible. It is lighted though, which is not indicated in the Cygolite website, so that was nice, but otherwise the switch sucks.

    Clicking through the modes is straightforward, without much to note there aside from the fact the fade-to-black from Mid, High, and Boost to off is nice. None of the other light modes fade the light though. A push of a couple seconds switches between two menus; this is easy enough.

    Inserting and removing the battery is a cinch, but the USB port cover is not. It's tiny, and getting it reinstalled securely takes attention. On a couple of occasions I thought I'd secured it, only to find it popped open later. I've read a couple of stories about the cover tearing, but think a little basic care in removal and installation should allow plenty of life

    Mounting the light on the included helmet mount or handlebar mount is easy enough, though removing it is a pain, requiring quite a bit of strength. Maybe over time this will loosen up.

    On the mounts, as I said earlier, the handlebar one has it's charms derived from the quick release, but two things nag. First is narrow range of off-center adjustment horizontally. Probably not a big deal, as the 3 or 4 degrees available is enough to reach across a lane, but still, it feels abbreviated, and it's probably exacerbated by the second thing, which is the absence of detents. It just silently turns left and right in this narrow range, and is susceptible to being knocked out of position by accident. I'd definitely prefer a clicking or ratcheting type of action here.

    The quality of the light itself is pretty good; it's on the warmer end of the cool scale, with just a touch of yellow. The beam is broad and totally circular, with a nice, solid, bright core that fades out to the edges. No annoying artifacts are present at the edge; smooth all the way out. I'd like to see some shaping to the beam, because it offers a fair amount of throw, but is hard to judge how much glare is getting into the eyes of other road users.

    I used the light side-by-side with a new NiteRider Lumina 500, and have three comments on my perception of the comparison: 1. the brightness levels of the 700 and 500 seem about the same. We didn't do any proper distance measurements, and while I think the E700 had a slight advantage, it was less meaningful than I was expecting with nearly half again as many lumens as the L500, and 2. that the L500 has a cooler white temperature. This is, of course, a matter of preference, but I like the cooler, more technical light of the NR. Finally, 3. the NR seems to have a little more "beam control," particularly at the top, which is defined somewhat, whereas the E700 is not.

    In sum, I think the Cygolite Expilion 700 lacks some refinement in most areas, and while I like the various light modes in practice as much as I'd anticipated, the main interface points-- the switch and the USB-- are it's weakest, and really have me wondering if the interchangeable battery and flash modes are worth it. I really like the form factor of the Serfas True 500, which also has the interchangeable battery and a much better switch, and I love the build and finish quality of the Niterider Luminas; maybe the L650 would perform just as well or better despite a lower lumen rating? One thing for sure, if the Cygolite delivered better, I wouldn't be asking these questions, because it had a lot going for it, including output, a full kit (helmet mount, wall charger, USB cable) and a great price.













    Light modes:

    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  2. #2
    Mmm hm! agent pombero's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    1,164
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Awesome review!

    I love my Expilion 700 but it is in repair because the USB cover came completely off. The light is less than 3 months old, normal usage. I was always very careful removing and reinserting the cover. It is a very poor design IMO on Cygolites part. Hopefully they do away with these weak ass USB covers.

  3. #3
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Norwalk, CT
    My Bikes
    2012 Cruzbike Sofrider, 2013 Cruzigami Mantis
    Posts
    2,829
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    One comment about brightness: The (human) eye basically has a logarithmic sensitivity to light. So if light A i putting out twice as many lumens as light B, our eyes will not register the light A as being twice as bright.
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    Thread Killer
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    3,751
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    One comment about brightness: The (human) eye basically has a logarithmic sensitivity to light. So if light A i putting out twice as many lumens as light B, our eyes will not register the light A as being twice as bright.
    See, I didn't know that! I suspected something like that, though, which is why I tried to qualify my impressions by saying the difference between the two was not as significant as I expected, yet fully understanding my expectations were not all that well-informed and probably tainted by all the lumen hype and focus that has been going around.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  5. #5
    Thread Killer
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    3,751
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
    Awesome review!

    I love my Expilion 700 but it is in repair because the USB cover came completely off. The light is less than 3 months old, normal usage. I was always very careful removing and reinserting the cover. It is a very poor design IMO on Cygolites part. Hopefully they do away with these weak ass USB covers.
    Thanks, AP. So I take it you think my remarks were fair to the light?

    Your comments about the USB cover were one of the things I had in mind when I did the writeup, because I'd seen you mention that before here. I also saw that Cygolite has instructions on their site somewhere for reinserting the anchor for the cover; was that your problem, or did the piece actually tear? Does Cygolite offer the piece as a replacement?
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  6. #6
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    7,264
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have one. Works well. USB cover is iffy but lubing with a very small amount of silicone grease helps. You can flip the mount around on the bar clamp 180 degrees by loosening the screw. I did this because the clamp knob interfered with my cables.

  7. #7
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    My Bikes
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Trek 900, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '92 Schwinn Crosscut, '03 Diamondback Tandem, '94 Yokota Grizzly Peak
    Posts
    2,499
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have the 400 lumen version of this. A couple of your critiques are valid, but minor for me, and I bought a second light for my wife. The USB cover is a minor irritant for sure. I've also found the side to side play of the mount loosens up over time and doesn't stay pointing where I want it. I put a blob of silicon sealant between the pieces so it stays pointing straight ahead now. A ratcheting mount like you suggest would be nice.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

  8. #8
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    7,264
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    ...I used the light side-by-side with a new NiteRider Lumina 500, and have three comments on my perception of the comparison: ...
    FWIW, the following site has beam shots for both, with all the usual caveats about interpreting these: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...e-Expilion-700

    Suggest rather than get a spare battery, get a second entire light, perhaps a 600 for <$100 which uses the same battery. Then you have two batteries, can charge the batteries independently, can run both lights, one on high the other on flash then switch to extend run time and increase conspicuity, one on the bars and one on the helmet, etc...

  9. #9
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Huntington Beach, CA
    My Bikes
    Cervelo Prodigy
    Posts
    5,089
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The USB port cover: Garmin uses a more dense material on their covers. Garmin's inside the cover also has a design feature that actually acts as a plug to prevent water or dust to enter the USB port. This would be the step-up in design for Cygolite.

  10. #10
    muu
    muu is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    227
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    the best solution i've found w/ the port cover is to not try in the first place. Have not had problems riding in the rain w/ the plug exposed. Obviously I'm taking chances there, but IMO you're gnashing your teeth at nothing trying to put that thing on.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    4,009
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Can you replace the battery that is in the holder or is it glued in? Looks like an 18650.

  12. #12
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas Church of Hopeful Uncertainty
    My Bikes
    1966 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist, 1973 Schwinn Varsity, 1983 Raleigh Marathon, 1994 Nishiki Sport XRS
    Posts
    13,953
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I agree with the assessment of NiteRiders being a little more sophisticated than CygoLites. I have one of each and they both work great, but the Cygo is just a little less elegant (although it is an older model, a Rover II).
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  13. #13
    Thread Killer
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    3,751
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by muu View Post
    the best solution i've found w/ the port cover is to not try in the first place. Have not had problems riding in the rain w/ the plug exposed. Obviously I'm taking chances there, but IMO you're gnashing your teeth at nothing trying to put that thing on.
    Wow, it's not that hard to secure!

    Even if it was, personally, I wouldn't risk running around in the rain with it dangling open. Sell it while it still works, man, and get something else!
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  14. #14
    Thread Killer
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    3,751
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by davidad View Post
    Can you replace the battery that is in the holder or is it glued in? Looks like an 18650.
    It looks to be irreplaceable, the battery. Cygolite sells extra batteries fitted in the holder.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  15. #15
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec
    Posts
    4,203
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    See, I didn't know that! I suspected something like that, though, which is why I tried to qualify my impressions by saying the difference between the two was not as significant as I expected, yet fully understanding my expectations were not all that well-informed and probably tainted by all the lumen hype and focus that has been going around.
    Sensitivity aside - light intensity is still inversely proportional to the square of the distance. So effectively - if you want twice the reach of a 500 lumen light - you need four of them ( or one 2,000 lumen light. And if you want three times the reach - you need nine of them - or one 4,500 lumen light.

    So don't sweat the small stuff. Nice review!

  16. #16
    Thread Killer
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    3,751
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    So don't sweat the small stuff. Nice review!
    I think, Burton, that it's particularly easy to lose sight of that axiom when sitting at the computer, shopping around the web...speaking for myself, anyway, not having the item in hand to poke, prod, and actually use, makes it more likely that I'll go to "the numbers," and try to coax some distinctinction out of measurements that don't turn out to be meaningful in real world use.

    Thanks for the reminder, and for the compliment!
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  17. #17
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    7,264
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    Sensitivity aside - light intensity is still inversely proportional to the square of the distance. So effectively - if you want twice the reach of a 500 lumen light - you need four of them ( or one 2,000 lumen light. And if you want three times the reach - you need nine of them - or one 4,500 lumen light.
    Or one that's focused to a tighter beam. It still will go as the one over the square of the distance, but if it has 1/2 the angular spread, it will be the same intensity at twice the distance.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •