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Review: Donson Torpedo Headlight

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Review: Donson Torpedo Headlight

Old 08-21-14, 08:14 AM
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mmcc73
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Review: Donson Torpedo Headlight

I've recently been on a mission to de-seventies-ify my 1972 Raleigh Sports. Fortunately, there is not a lot of seventies to remove. Step 1 was removing a couple decals that I rather disliked (discussed in a separate thread). Step 2 was removing the hideous rectangular front reflector and replacing it with something with a bit more visual appeal.

I decided that I wanted a headlight with a retro look, but that ran on batteries (so I didn't have to mess around with a dyno) and used LEDs. An Amazon search found the Soma Torpedo. However, it appears to be made of plastic, which for me was a turn off.

So, I looked to eBay and found the Donson Torpedo, which seemed to meet my criteria. So far as I can tell, this light is only available on eBay. I bought the light, and it was shipped and arrived promptly.

(Slight diversion: I wanted to mount the light on my bike's headlight bracket, which I discovered after some searching, required a special adapter clamp that is somewhat hard to come by. Yellow Jersey had one, which I bought. The $10 + $8 shipping I paid for the thing seemed a bit pricy, but I didn't really feel like fabricating one myself. If anyone wants some pictures and measurements of the clamp, let me know.)

The light housing is made of chromed steel, and seems fairly solid. The chrome is a bit rough, but nothing that a little attention with some polish wouldn't address.

The font of the light is hinged to the main part of the body, and one opens the light to put in the batteries. It takes 3 AA batteries that are a bit difficult to cram in there. I hope the LEDs are stingy enough that I won't be swapping batteries often. Time will tell.

It does not throw a tremendous amount of light. For my purposes - mostly riding around the neighborhood in the evening or the odd trip to the store - it is adequate, but it might not be enough for a commuter.

There is not a great seal between the top of the light and the main part of the body - light leaks through the gap. As such, it might not be a great choice for wet weather.

The oddest thing about the light is the switch. It has a toggle switch on top, but the circuit must have been designed with a momentary contact switch in mind. Turn the switch on, the light turns on. Turn it off, the light stays on. Turn it on again, the light blinks fast. Off again, it continues to blink fast. On/off again, slow blink. On/off again, the light turns off.

TLDR: Overall, I think the light it is a decent purchase for $30. I think it looks pretty good, and seems mechanically solid. Light level is a bit low, but good enough for me.

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Old 08-21-14, 08:40 AM
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Velocivixen
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@mmcc73- great work! I do like the aesthetics of your headlight, but I was thinking about a different, modern battery operated headlight & this one came to mind. It is somewhat vintage looking, at least to me, and wouldn't look too bad on a vintage bike. They have the Femto & a longer one, and both front & rear. Here's a link:

Lezyne - Engineered Design - Products - LED Lights - Femto Drive (Front)

anyway, I'm just throwing it out there.
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Old 08-21-14, 08:56 AM
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Thanks for the suggestion - I like the look of their little tail light. It might make a good stand in for the little bullet shaped tail light of old. That said, I just checked out the reviews on Amazon, and there was some dissatisfaction with the quality, particularly of the switch.
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Old 08-21-14, 07:34 PM
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@mmcc73- good to know. I've always liked the unusual look of them but haven't been in the market for one.
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