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  1. #1
    This is Shangri La MTBMaven's Avatar
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    Light and Motion Urban 550 - Quick Review

    I just picked up a new light I think might be of interest to the folks in this community, the Light and Motion Urban 550. Billed as a commuter light in the company's product line I found the light perfect for long distance cycling.

    Primary advantages for me:
    - Three burn levels: 550, 400, 200
    - Run time at each level: 1:30, 3:00, 6:00
    - Light weight 112 grams
    - Compact design: smaller than my 2 AAA Planet Bike light
    - Micro USB charger with on board battery

    The USB is the deal clincher for me. I am able to use two existing USB battery packs from APC (12oz). Each battery will come close to recharging the light; that's a lot of run time.

    I used the light this past weekend for the Bass Lake Powerhouse Double and it worked really well. For this ride I used the light in 200 low mode the entire time and found the output enough even for 20ish mph descents. I got the 550 because I do a fair bit of night mountain bike riding. If I wanted the light only for road riding the 400 would be plenty and would save ~$30.

    That's it, I just wanted to pass along my thoughts for those in the market for a new light. I wouldn't have normally considered the light if it were not for the recommendation of a fellow biker and co-worker. He used his for the 508 a few weeks ago.

    urban550_1.jpg
    Click image for link

    31S0NA5HZXL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
    I thought of that while riding my bicycle. ~ Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  2. #2
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    So can you plug the APC charger into the light, then turn on the light to its 200 lumen setting and have lights for the next 13 hours? I need to know because for Furnace Creek 508, you need to have lights on between 6 pm and 7 am. I was planning on using AA-powered LED lights, quickly switching lights when they got dim so the support crew could replace the batteries for the next light change later. This sounds like I could use my Urban 300 (much more effective than the Planet Bike) for the entire night. How do you hold the charger on the bike? Or am I misunderstanding how you're using this setup?

    Luis

  3. #3
    This is Shangri La MTBMaven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
    So can you plug the APC charger into the light, then turn on the light to its 200 lumen setting and have lights for the next 13 hours? I need to know because for Furnace Creek 508, you need to have lights on between 6 pm and 7 am. I was planning on using AA-powered LED lights, quickly switching lights when they got dim so the support crew could replace the batteries for the next light change later. This sounds like I could use my Urban 300 (much more effective than the Planet Bike) for the entire night. How do you hold the charger on the bike? Or am I misunderstanding how you're using this setup?

    Luis
    Luis, I carry the APC battery packs in a Bento Box and run the USB cable from there to the light. I was able to charge the while it was running. I don't want to commit to the total run time (and I know you're not asking me too) so I would recommend having either at least one extra battery or have some means of charging the battery not in use. I do know that my co-worker used a similar set up for the 508 (and I think for PBP last year).
    I thought of that while riding my bicycle. ~ Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  4. #4
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    OK, thanks. Have they made a fundamental change in the Urban series? I've got the previous Urban 300, and when I plug in the charger, the light goes off. So with the Urban 300 anyway, you can't charge while it's on. So does the Urban 400 and 550 now allow this? (Maybe I should send in a query to L&M...)

    Luis

  5. #5
    4130 on 28's at 15 greaterbrown's Avatar
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    I love the output and runtimes on these lights, but they are crap in wet conditions. When I returned my first light for pooping out in the rain, L&M said that these lights are water resistant and should not be used in very wet conditions. Not too helpful.

    My second light failed 3 or 4 times in rain, but seems to revive itself after 24hrs of drying. YMMV
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  6. #6
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greaterbrown View Post
    I love the output and runtimes on these lights, but they are crap in wet conditions. When I returned my first light for pooping out in the rain, L&M said that these lights are water resistant and should not be used in very wet conditions. Not too helpful.

    My second light failed 3 or 4 times in rain, but seems to revive itself after 24hrs of drying. YMMV
    My Urban 300 has been fine in hard Vancouver rain, and I'm heading into my second winter with it. I thought L&M started off making lights for scuba diving, so I had just assumed that they knew how to build waterproof lights. Maybe I've got too much faith in them? Me, who despises any company that makes bike parts that fail in the rain!

    Luis

  7. #7
    Senior Member DGlenday's Avatar
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    Coincidentally, I just bought a 550 yesterday.

    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
    OK, thanks. Have they made a fundamental change in the Urban series? I've got the previous Urban 300, and when I plug in the charger, the light goes off. So with the Urban 300 anyway, you can't charge while it's on. So does the Urban 400 and 550 now allow this? (Maybe I should send in a query to L&M...)

    Luis
    My light does not come on while it's on charge.
    Regards,
    Duncan

  8. #8
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greaterbrown View Post
    I love the output and runtimes on these lights, but they are crap in wet conditions. When I returned my first light for pooping out in the rain, L&M said that these lights are water resistant and should not be used in very wet conditions. Not too helpful.

    My second light failed 3 or 4 times in rain, but seems to revive itself after 24hrs of drying. YMMV
    My Stela 150l hadn't given me any problems when it's gotten wet.
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  9. #9
    aspiring dirtbag commuter max-a-mill's Avatar
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    i am not understanding why anyone would prefer a proprietary battery you can't replace in the field over good old AA batteries.

    granted the planet bike lights may not be as bright (i use 2) but no matter how long my ride i have unlimited resupply of power available at any convieninece store along the way. but honestly they last so long on 2 AAs i have even stopped carying extra batteries for rides involving only on overnight.

    carrying a battery pack (especially when you need more than one) seems like your wasting space and dragging aroung unneccesary weight.

    of course when i need lots of light and will only be gone for a few hours (nigh mtb rides) i'll bring my magicshine and use all the ridiculous birghtness it has available but for road rding i fing that level of brightness completely unnecessary.

    btw, not trying to crap on your new light but honestly trying to understand the advantage of a light like this over my gold standard the good old pb blaze 2w.
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  10. #10
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    i am not understanding why anyone would prefer a proprietary battery you can't replace in the field over good old AA batteries.
    ...
    btw, not trying to crap on your new light but honestly trying to understand the advantage of a light like this over my gold standard the good old pb blaze 2w.
    Yes, agree completely. When I rode PBP, I used the battery-powered PB 2W Blaze. I rode in the 84-hour group, so I only needed the lights on for about an hour between about 5 and 6 am, then again between 8:30 and 10 pm, as I would stop each night after covering around 400 km. The two AA batteries lasted the entire ride, although I had about four spares of each size (AAA's in the back). The illuminatiion was quite sufficient on the pitch-black French country roads, even on the first night when it rained.

    However, when you're commuting across the urban expanse of Vancouver, BC, where it rains most of the winter, and darkness sets in between about 5 pm and 7:30 am (PST), and the dark, wet asphalt just absorbs ALL the light you throw at it, I have found the additonal brightness of my Urban 300 to be more reassuring. Plus, I recharge at work and at home, so I save quite a bit on batteries over an extended period. Not sure how many recharges I'll get before the built-in battery becomes non-rechargeable, though; I'm assuming about two years at least?

    If I do Furnace Creek next October, I am planning on using a couple of PB battery-powered lights. They're really easy to slide into and out of the handlebar-mounted bracket, so I am anticipating just being able to switch lights from out of the moving support vehicle window as the batteries start to die. Sure beats trying to recharge more than one expensive L&M Urban xxx headlight (I've got my USB cord going into an adaptor for the cigarette lighter, which also charges my smart phone). Plus the L&M lights don't have brackets, so would require a complete stop to change out, as stretching that rubber belt around the bars tight enough that the light won't slide around might be a little risky while moving. And dropping a light at speed would also be quite inconvenient!

    Luis

  11. #11
    Senior Member DGlenday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    i am not understanding why anyone would prefer a proprietary battery you can't replace in the field over good old AA batteries.

    granted the planet bike lights may not be as bright (i use 2) but no matter how long my ride i have unlimited resupply of power available at any convieninece store along the way. but honestly they last so long on 2 AAs i have even stopped carying extra batteries for rides involving only on overnight.

    carrying a battery pack (especially when you need more than one) seems like your wasting space and dragging aroung unneccesary weight.

    of course when i need lots of light and will only be gone for a few hours (nigh mtb rides) i'll bring my magicshine and use all the ridiculous birghtness it has available but for road rding i fing that level of brightness completely unnecessary.

    btw, not trying to crap on your new light but honestly trying to understand the advantage of a light like this over my gold standard the good old pb blaze 2w.
    The answer is simple, IMO: It depends on the ride.

    When I'm doing short night rides, I will use my (new ) Urban 550. It turns the road ahead into daylight.

    If I'm doing a fleche, a long brevet or some other overnight ride, I'll use my "good old pb blaze 2w". Not nearly as bright, but the batteries last a long time and I'll replace them whenever I need to.
    Regards,
    Duncan

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