Month: November 2006

Review: Light and Motion ARC NiMH

Light and Motion ARC NiMH
Light and Motion ARC NiMH
  • Overall Rating: 9/10
  • Value for money: 10/10
  • Brightness: 10/10
  • Battery life: 7/10
  • Cost: 308 euros$404 USD at the time of purchase – Nov 2006

I wanted a decent bike light for a while now, for winter commutes, evening trail riding, and for a couple of long distance day-trips so I can start early and continue late.

After a lot of review reading on bikeforums.net and looking at different options, I decided that the best value vs cost vs brightness vs time proposition was HID (High Intensity Discharge), and more specifically a Light and Motion Arc – the original one with the NiMH battery. The price of the NiMH dropped down because L&M have new Lithium-Ion batteries on the market, the Li-Ion and the Li-Ion Ultra, but it’s the same head unit, so the Arc NiMH version is a steal at $379. The batteries are purchasable seperately and are all compatible with the head unit so I can upgrade to the longer lasting Li-Ion Ultra in a few months time, but the NiMH will keep me going for the moment.

Ok, enough about why the NiMH battery is good value, lets look at why the HID Light and Motion Arc is such a good headlight. It’s bright – really damn bright. It can light up a spot hundreds of feet ahead no problem. You can bomb along at 20-30mph without outrunning your light. This is invaluable in night riding. On my first trip out with this light I descended 3-5km of hills at 30-35km/h and I wasn’t slowed by poor visibility but by a headwind. I am pretty sure that I could spin out my 110+ gear inches without having to slow because of lighting factors.

What about the light thrown out by the reflector? Well, it’s really bright! You’d never have guessed, eh? One of the things I notice about the non-direct light thrown out by this light is how much it lights up things like hi-vis vests and street signs that are right on the very edge of the enormous beam. Not convinced? How about some photos? This is from over 80 feet away and the beam is not pointed directly at the camera:
Light and Motion Arc NiMH from 25m

I should clarify here – in the picture above the camera was pointed directly at the Arc. The Arc was not pointed directly at the camera, but to the left of the lens position.

Light and Motion Arc NiMH lighting up

This is showing how well the Arc lights up my vest even though it’s pointing way over to the right of the vest (it’s pointed at the right end of the wall in the distance). Note that this was taken without flash, which is why the wall doesn’t appear very bright. I need to learn how to take photos which show true brightness levels!

Light and Motion ARC NiMH - view of Cross Check

Here’s my current setup with the Arc on my Cross Check. The NiMH battery is velcroed to the top-tube. I need to do something about the extra cable length – for the moment I have it temporarily tied up.

Light and Motion Arc NiMH - 360 degree rotation

This one just shows how the head can rotate. It’s only at about 45 degrees in this picture but it can do the entire 360.

What about batteries? Ok, well I went for the cheaper Light & Motion Arc NiMH option. This gets me 3.5 to 4 hours of battery life at full 13W power, and a bit more in the slightly lower 10W mode. It takes 2 hours to charge completely with the Multi-Chemistry Charger which supports all the different battery packs from Light and Motion. For those of use with non-US-like power supplies, e.g. 240v 13a BS1363 – have no fear if you order the US style plug, just borrow a standard industrial power cable from your work-mates monitor, it’ll fit the 110-250v charger without issue.

Specs? The Arc NiMH version weighs in at 845g and 70-80% of that is battery. The Arc HID head unit is less than 200g. Light output is 675 lumens at 13W and 550 lumens at 10W.

Anything else? Well it comes with both bar and helmet mounts so I must try out the helmet mount sometime! I probably will try it off-road as that’s where beam direction becomes vastly more important.

Back to basics…

Pros

It’s bright. It’s really bright. It’s so bright, people stop you in the street to compliment you! The very first time I was out with this light a car pulled over and the guy asked me about it – he wanted one. His wife thought it was great too. I asked if it was too bright, a concern of mine. They assured me that no, it’s just perfect.

Cons

It’s expensive. If you’re comparing it to commuters LED blinkies, you’re talking over 10 times the price. But this light doesn’t compare to commuters blinkies.

Conclusion

The Light and Motion Arc NiMH is a really superb headlight. Buying here in Ireland just isn’t worthwhile, the €485 price is ridiculous. But online, even including a 25% customs fee, it’s a bargain.

This is not a sponsored review<, and does not contain any affiliate links.

IRB world ranking weakness exposed

Showing the weakness of the IRB ranking algorithm:

  1. (1) NEW ZEALAND 94.59
  2. (2) FRANCE 85.94
  3. (4) Ranking Climber AUSTRALIA 85.55
  4. (5) Ranking Climber SOUTH AFRICA 84.71
  5. (3) Ranking Faller IRELAND 84.68

South Africa and Australia have climbed above Ireland owing to to the Ireland vs Pacific Islands game not being counted as a ranking Test International:

Australia’s thumping 44-15 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield secured only the second victory of the autumn for the double Rugby World Cup winners, but it was enough to lift John Connolly’s side into third place once again owing to Ireland’s 61-10 victory over the Pacific Islanders not counting towards the rankings.

South Africa also moved up the rankings to fourth after defeating England 25-14 at Twickenham in the second of a two-test series against the world champions. The victory, which was South Africa’s first at Twickenham since 1997, may have been the only success of the tour for Jake White’s youthful side, but it was also enough to see them leapfrog Ireland into fourth.

I just wish the bookies would follow suit 😉

Cycling – bits and bobs

I’ve been quiet this week on cycling , haven’t been out all that much. I did some minor work on the Cross Check … I installed the (wired) VDO C4 computer, we’ll see how that goes. I must admit I got lazy with measurement – I reckon my Randonneur 700x28s are close enough to 2138mm that I didn’t measure. I also covered lots of the rear-rack stays with black reflective tape and the same for the chain-stay. I also de-badged the Mavic Open-Pros and covered the ” Ultegra ” on the shifters and rear derailleur. One of the roadies in work thought I was nuts covering up all the names 🙂

I do have some drafts that I intend to post this week when I get a chance. I have a review of the Light and Motion ARC HID NiMH that I got last week – sweet light! I’ll post a review with some pictures this week. Also I downloaded gigabytes of free MTB videos legally from totalvid.com so I’ll post a review of what I thought about the service and the videos seperately too.

In the meantime, enjoy this insanely talented trials rider, Ryan Leech, as he takes on Prague. This YouTube clip (3mins 41) is an excerpt from ROAM, one of the videos I got from totalvid.com. Enjoy:

Ireland see off Islanders with sixty point win

Ireland 61-17 Pacific Islands

A nice 8 try to 3 victory for Ireland’s last International in the old Lansdowne Road stadium in front of 43,000. The game was messy at times, with the Islanders showing some of their individual class, but they found it hard to deal with such a confident Irish side. Particularly impressive were the old hands, Horgan and Hickie, and the young blood of Wallace, Best, Heaslip and Fitzgerald.

From an Irish perspective here are some great take-aways for me from the Autumn series :

  • Ireland are indeed the second best team in the world.
  • We now have real strength in depth. Wallace, Boss, Fitzgerald, Trimble, Best, Best, Young, the list goes on and on. Of course, this point is directly linked to…
  • “Steady Eddie” O’Sullivan is experimenting – finally! I’ve been a big critic of EOS’s decisions in the past (e.g. playing a half-back pairing of Stringer-Humphries on a so-called “Development Tour to Japan”) Whoever got him to cop on, buy that man a drink!
  • Our most established players have at least one Rugby World Cup in them. I was concerned that the guys who have been around the block and back might be into the danger zone.

Any negatives? Well it’s not so easy to find any! We’ve still got the old problem of cover in the front row, we don’t really have a couple of props of World Cup standard lying about undiscovered. Hopefully the scrum will not be our undoing.

Lansdowne Road stadium for the Ireland vs Pacific Islands rugby international

Coming into next years Six Nations I suspect we’ll be red-hot favourites, and rightly so. In fact, here are the odds for Six Nations 2007 – Outright from Boyle Sports:

  • Ireland: 11/8 (1.375)
  • France: 7/4 (1.75)
  • Wales: 9/2 (4.5)
  • England: 11/2 (5.5)
  • Scotland: 25/1 (25)
  • Italy: 200/1 (200)

I’d be interested to know why they’ve rated France and England so highly. I’d have my cash on Wales over either of those two if it were tomorrow – are they expecting a renaissance from a New England (have to get rid of poor Andy first, lads). I think Scotland are underrated there too, despite their poor showing against Australia.

Anyway, so that’s the end of a strong Autumn Series for Ireland. It’s a pity we didn’t play either Argentina or New Zealand, the only other sides who appear to be on top form in world rugby. Pretty much everything we take from these games has been positive and it’s such a rare and fantastic feeling to be so confident about our team lining out against any comers.

Six Nations ? Bring it on.

Ireland: G Dempsey, L Fitzgerald, B O’Driscoll, S Horgan, D Hickie, P Wallace, P Stringer; B Young, F Sheahan, J Hayes, M O’Kelly, P O’Connell, S Easterby, SD Ferris, J Heaslip. Replacements: R Best, S Best, D O’Callaghan, D Leamy, I Boss, R O’Gara, G D’Arcy.

Pacific Islands: N Ligairi, L Fa’atau, S Rabeni, E Seveali’i, K Ratuvou; T Pisi, M Rauluni; J Va’aHale A Lutui, T Taumoepeau, D Leo, S Raiwalui (capt), N Latu, M Molitika, T-Pole. Replacements: M Schwalger, T Felise, E Taione, A Ratuva, J Poluleuligaga, S Mapasua, A Tuilagi.

Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)

Taking the Long Cut home

I left work late, around 7.30pm and decided that I wanted to test both my fitness (my back seems greatly improved now) and my new toy – L&M ARC NiMH HID light 🙂 Here are some observations related to my cycle trip home this evening.

  • Dublin is windy. Dublin , along the coast, in late November, at night, going downhill into a headwind, is very feckin’ windy!
  • My Gortex jacket and Cannondale gloves are definitely windproof, thankfully! I think I need to work on my layered system though – football jersey and jacket do not a wicking system make!
  • My new Light and Motion ARC HID is so bright it’s unbelievable. I had a guy stop his car, reverse back to me and ask about it. His wife/gf was leaning across him to tell me she thought it was brilliant too. I asked if it was too bright but they said no, just perfect.
  • Roadies are good. I stopped along the coast on my way back for 2 mins to take a look at my surroundings (quite often I forget to do this!). When I was stopped I saw a blinkie coming toward me on the cyclepath, so I waved to the light. Turned out to be a roadie out on a training run, in full winter skin tights. He checked if I had any mechanicals, said good luck and continued on his way.

If you’re interested, here’s my route. I turned it from a 4.4km commute to a ~25km trip (+/-5km error – no computer on yet). Red is from work to the top of Howth Head, blue is return home. Update: it’s actually 27.5km according to Gmaps Pedometer – thanks for the link Damien.
Map of north Dublin bay coastline up to Howth Head