Cons: Super low brightness and beam quality scores
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Our Analysis and Test Results
While this light scores above average for battery life and portability, it is also the lowest scoring light for beam quality. The SafeCycler weighs in at just over 4.5 ounces, and also includes a rear mounted safety light that is powered with two AAA battaries.
Brightness is generally considered to be the most important criteria when considering bike lights, and the SafeCycler performed rather poorly in this category. Athough, with a 2 out of 10, the SafeCycler did beat out the CatEye HL-EL by one point.
Below, we'll compare two beam distance photographs. As you can see, these bottom of the line scorers are pretty similar when it comes to beam distance. The SafeCycler measures a max distance of 40-meters, pictured on the left, compared to the CatEye's 34-meters.
Now, we'll show you the stark difference between this budget model and our Best Buy winner, the Light and Motion Urban 350, on the right.
Both for safety, and for seeing what's ahead of you, the best lenses available create beams that cast far out into the distance, are evenly lit, and flood your peripheral areas. Unfortunately, the SafeCycler performed the worst in this category, scoring a 1 out of possible 10.
As you can see in the photo comparisons below, the SafeCycler has a much smaller, and more narrow beam pattern than the CatEye Volt 300, which is pictured on the right.
When we compare the SafeCylcer to a real powerhouse, like our Editors' Choice winner, the NiteRider Lumina 750, on the right, you can see how much the SafeCycler really lacks in beam quality.
The SafeCycler bike light is the second highest performer when it comes to battery life; we measured its lifespan to be almost eight hours. However, that being said, keep in mind that this light uses four AAA batteries that must be replaced once they've been exhausted. We tested all of these lights on their highest beam, and typically the top scoring contenders for battery life, like the SafeCycler, tend to score low on overall brightness. The brightness output drastically affects battery lifespans, and since this light is relatively low on that scale, it is no wonder it excels in this category.
Lets look at a light whose battery lasts just half as long as the SafeCycler's, like the NiteRider Pro 1800, with this chart that also compares beam distance over time. Although the Pro 1800 stays illuminated just under four hours, it maintains a beam distance of around an impressive 160-meters as opposed to the SafeCycler's beam that is closer to 30-meters and tapers off then to about 10-meters of visible distance.
This light fell in the middle of the road with a score of 5 out of possible 10 for portability. The light is easy to install and remove at the rack; however, you definitely need the rubber inserts in order for the mount to fit properly on the handlebar, but these inserts fall out easily so that is something to be mindful of while making a pit stop at the grocery store. Even then, it is difficult to get the mount tight enough for the light to stay stable while riding.
Due to the low brightness and beam quality scores, we recommend that you use this light as an addition to an already existing setup for added visibility. This light can also be applicable in well-lit urban situations where you are not relying heavily on it to greatly illuminate the path in front of you.
At a price point around $40, this light is proof that you get what you pay for. Although this light is not the cheapest light we've tested, its scores and price are definitely connected. We recommend you splurge and spend the extra $20 for our Best Buy Award winner, the Light and Motion Urban 350.
The SafeCycler is one of the lowest scoring lights we've tested, mainly due to its low performance in brightness and beam quality. We do not recommend using this light unless there is another light source available, whether from your own setup or around city streets.
— Gentrye Houghton