The Light and Motion Vis 360+ is a helmet specific bike light that makes commuting easier and safer than any of the other lights we tested. As a bonus, this light also works very well for mountain biking. Its design features a front spotlight, coupled with two amber sidelights, and a rear, red tail light that makes you visible from 360-degrees. Additionally, this is the lightest weight and most compact high powered commuter light we've tested, and its battery lasts nearly twice as long as similar handlebar-mounted commuter lights. If you're looking for one bike light to do everything, we highly recommend the Vis 360+.
Light and Motion Vis 360+ Review
Cons: Beam is not as bright/wide/even as some handlebar lights, some people do not like the helmet mount, can't turn off side lights
Manufacturer: Light and Motion
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Helmet Lights: the 'Safest' and Most Versatile
As a helmet light, the Vis 360+ shines wherever you point your head. This can be argued that it is much better than a handlebar mount because you can: (1) illuminate your specific range of sight, making turning safer and more visible for both you and oncoming traffic, (2) find street signs and house numbers without turning your handlebar, and (3) shine this light directly at oncoming vehicles or pedestrians that may potentially cross your path.
When riding in cities, our testers felt the safest with a helmet light. Mountain bikers often use a combination of a handlebar and helmet mounted lights due to the ability to control where it shines. For these reasons, the consensus among our testers is that a helmet light is one of the most versatile types of bike lights, and by far the safest type of light for commuting.
The graphics below show that lights with bright and/or wide beams can reduce the probability of accidents. Thus, helmet mounted lights are the safest because you can point them at turning vehicles. Our testers also felt a greater enhanced visibility with the red, rear light also mounted on the helmet as this placement is closer to eye level with approaching traffic.
But They're Not for Everyone
Despite their performance advantages over handlebar lights, several of our testers disliked having a light on their helmet. These testers felt they were too visible to others, complaining that people actually looked at them more and felt they blinded pedestrians. Thus, you may or may not prefer a helmet light.
Please click on any of these photos to enlarge them.
This light has a maximum beam distance of 72-meters, which is the only place this light fell below the average of all lights tested and significantly less than the many of the powerful mountain bike lights, which easily double in beam distance. Though the Vis 360+ may seem relatively dim in our specs, the ability to point the light where you want makes it very bright in the specific point in which you wish for it to be bright.
We offer up two comparisons for beam distance. In the first set of photos, you can compare the beam distance of the Vis 360+ to the budget safety light, the CatEye HL-EL 135, pictured on the right.
And in this second set of photos, we compare the Vis 360+ to the best handlebar mounted commuter light we've tested, pictured below on the right is the NiteRider Lumina 750.
The Vis 360+ has two additional light elements that increase its brightness that are not accounted for in our measured beam distance testing. First, it has amber sidelights that make you more visible from the sides.
Second, the Vis 360+ has a built-in red tail light on the battery pack! This can be turned on and off with the flip of a switch to save battery, because there's no need for cars to see you from behind while you're mountain biking.
The combination of the ability to point the light where you want to, its amber sidelights, its red tail light, and the fact that the light is mounted higher up from the road on top of your head, make this by far the "safest" bike light we've tested, meaning that our testers felt safer with this light than any other commuter light we tested.
The Vis 360+'s beam has a concentrated spotlight in the center and a less bright, mostly even outer area. Though the beam is not quite as even as other lights tested, like the Light and Motion Taz 1500, we feel the Vis 360+'s beam works very well because you can shine the light where you want. In the comparison below, you'll find the Vis 360+ pictured on the left, with the Taz 1500's illuminating the peripheral zones on the right.
This is the second highest scoring light in this category, next to the NiteRider Pro 1800. The USB rechargeable battery lasts for 3.7 hours on high, which is twice as long as other top commuter lights like the Editors' Choice NiteRider Lumina 750 and Light and Motion Urban 800. Longer battery life means less frequent charging and it also allows you to take the light on relatively long mountain bike rides.
As you can see in this chart depicting battery life versus beam distance over time, the Vis 360+ lasts roughly twice as long as the average high-powered commuter style handlebar light, like the Lumina 750.
Our portability score assesses the weight and volume of each light. The Vis 360+ weighs just over 4.5 oz. with the front and rear mounts combined. This is the lightest weight and most compact light of our highest seven scoring lights! The small size and low weight is a tremendous advantage for commuters that carry the light around in their bag when it's not in use.
Due to its mount type, this light is seemingly effortless to use; both parts of the light can be attached or removed in less than 10 seconds, and it allows you to keep the light attached if you carry your helmet with you. Plus, you can easily charge the light when it's still attached to your helmet.
Additionally, the Vis 360+'s main button is located on top of the front lamp, which also serves as a battery life indicator (green = high, yellow = medium, red = low), and is easy to feel and press on the go, even with gloves on. Not to mention the beam placement is adjustable, similar to a regular ol' headlamp.
Due to the amazing versatility with this light, we suggest you use it for either heavy commutes or mountain biking. The best part is, you don't have to leave this light if you're not with your bike; Light and Motion sells a separate head strap that allows you to use this light and leave your helmet at home.
This is the most expensive compact commuter light we've tested; that being said, it's also by far the best commuter light we've tested. Also, due to the mount type and long battery life, this light has added value in versatility, because it's a great light for on-the-go around town as well as taking you out to play in the dirt and mud on your mountain bike. The mount is also transferrable to other activities in which you could attach a light to your helmet, such a spelunking, and can be converted into a running light with the purchase of a $20 accessory.
We feel the light is worth every penny if you do a lot of commuting or just want the safest or most versatile light. See our Price Versus Value Chart to compare price and our total scores.
This is the best commuter light we've tested and also the most versatile light tested, which is why it wins our Top Pick Award for a helmet mounted light. We highly recommend it!
Other Versions and Accessories
Light and Motion also offers the 360 (no "+"), which is less than half as bright, has approximately 33 percent shorter battery life, and loses the ability to turn off the rear red light. Given the dramatic decrease in brightness and battery life, we strongly believe that it's worth spending extra to get the Vis 360+.
You can also purchase the above mentioned VIS 360 headstrap for $20 and lose the helmet to convert this light into a headlamp with the ability to accompany you along whatever activity you desire.
— Gentrye Houghton