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Nuke Light 3W LED front light



Very capable front light bright enough for commutes, yet light enough for the best bike

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Something a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the Nuke Light enjoys neat, albeit slightly boxy styling and a small lens suggesting very meagre output. However, clever optics and several settings ensure you can see and be seen-even on pitch-black rural roads. Convenient run times, a choice of either mains or USB charging coupled with keen pricing means its one of the best compact designs I’ve used in a very long time.

Powered by mobile phone type Li-on battery, the Nuke light employs six-lens technology, reckoned to deliver a whopping 540 lumens at a metre-on full (flood) beam. That's probably underpowered for anything resembling bridle path, but for road riding it provides a clear and accurate view of conditions chasing along unlit country lanes at close to race pace. Other settings are less impressive but suitable for urban commuting or as complement to a dynamo system thanks to run times ranging between three and forty hours (flashing mode) from a single charge.

Using a clever heat-sink ensures consistent charge and run times-even in sub zero temperatures while the positive switch prevents it accidentally turning on in the bottom of a bag but is easy operated wearing full-finger gloves. The tool free mounting bracket could be improved- it’s very secure and there’s plenty of shims to accommodate the whole spectrum of handlebar diameters but a broader tension wheel would make for easier attachment/removal.

The very modest 120g weight is a clear advantage over slightly dated bottle battery type lights and as well as being a good commuting light for unlit roads would be my choice for enjoying those late summer evenings on the best bike. Be mindful not to snag the delicate wires on the USB charger though and higher output LED or possibly HID systems are better suited for more serious use such as prolonged nocturnal rides/ winter training.

Shaun Audane


Very capable front light bright enough for commutes, yet light enough for the best bike. test report

Make and model: Nukelight 3W LED front light

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

The Nuke light is a rechargeable front lamp powered by mobile phone size Li-On battery and intended primarily for commuting. However, it's deceptively powerful on full beam and generally good enough for training on unlit rural roads.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Single 3 watt LED with four modes delivers 450 lumens (at a metre)very clever 6 lens technology gives it an impressive power to weight and burn time (3 hrs full flood beam 40 hours flashing) USB or mains charging.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

120g including bracket

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The Nuke Light really impressed me with it's ability to illuminate unlit roads rather than just be seen with. Charge and run times are really good too, although the less powerful modes are only suitable for urban use or complimenting a dynamo system. Tipping the scales at 120g it's light enough for the best bike or simply popping in the seat pack. The USB charger could've been a little more substantial but this is a minor point.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Low weight, great output, and easy charging.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing worthy of note, although tool free bracket head could've been slightly larger.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 1m 81  Weight: 70 kilos

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,


Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

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vorsprung | 14 years ago

If they are going to measure lux then the thing to do is give us the figure at 10 metres. This is the distance for german road traffic regs. All the lights that give numbers in lux use this.

If they are going to give a number of lumens then one approach is to take the basic "lumens per watt" info from the makers of the LED and adjust for the level that they are running it at.

All I want is some way to basically measure how strong different lights are without seeing them! If the reviews just gave a reliable figure and a shot of the beam pattern we'd be much better informed.

Tony Farrelly | 14 years ago

Here's what our cycle light industry insider has to say…

Here's what our cycle light industry insider has to say…

"From the 50Cycles website
Max Luminous Flux 130 lumen / up to 540 lumen within 1 metre (even
sound odd!)

"I personally think this is a confusion of units and the light is producing 130lumen output which gives a measureable light output of 540LUX at 1metre. It is much more likely that 50cycles have a light meter capable of reading Lux than Lumen. THe beam pattern will give it a high Lux reading straight down the barrell as there is no dispersion. I think Nightrider are the only people with the appropriate light testing bubble thinghy to measure Lumen which is why their published numbers are very much lower than everyone else’s (they love the moral high ground).

Vorsprung has confused the use of "mobile Phone style" battery. I think that Mike just refers to the layout of the battery. It is a NP60 battery which is a Fujifilm camera battery with 4.44 Amp hours (not nine). Just because it’s a 3W LED doesn't mean is being driven at full chat. It may well be designed to be running at a lower power to improve the efficiency (lumens/watt) equally it could have two battery cells which would take it to almost spot on 9 Amp hours. Having not stripped one I can't comment."

Tony Farrelly | 14 years ago

When it comes to manufacturers claims about how bright their lights are - well, we will tell you what they claim, but given that really testing the Lumen, as opposed to the Lux, is extremely difficult we would rather show you how bright the various beams are and test the run times - in the real world that's what counts. Just spoke to Shaun and he says that the burn times continue to be pretty accurate.

Be interesting to hear what Tim Snaith says, but I spoke to someone involved in designing cycle lights and his take was that the Nukelight's claimed Lumen output though phenomenally bright was theoretically possible (that's how I understood it anyway… Hah, shows what I know our lighting expert now tells me that the Lumen count is highly unlikely) he also says that most claims as to the brightness of lights by cycle light manufacturers should be taken with a pinch of salt.

What really counts though is does a light give enough light for what you want, and does it give it for long enough - whatever the claims on the Lumen count we have to say that this one does.

vorsprung replied to Tony Farrelly | 14 years ago
tony_farrelly wrote:

What really counts though is does a light give enough light for what you want, and does it give it for long enough - whatever the claims on the Lumen count we have to say that this one does.

ok that's fine but the claim is made that the light is 540 lumens ( or 450..) and that it is 3 Watts and that it has a run time of 3h20m

Just picking a light at random off wiggle...
The exposure spark. It has has good reviews and is £74
It is rated at 220 Lumens, and has a run time of 2.5 hours

If I was a neophylte to the world of bike lights and I wanted to pick the best light it may well be that I would look at the numbers for the two and pick the "nuke" because it seemed so much better on the face of it.

I agree that the way of describing the amount of "power" that a bike light puts out is confusing. See this CTC forum post
For a summary of what candella/lux/lumen means

vorsprung | 14 years ago

I don't quite follow your review

There is a repeated claim of 450 lumens at 1 metre. I don't understand this claim.

450 lumens from a 3 Watt light gives 150 lumens per Watt

150 Lumens per watt is pretty impressive
That's 150% of the Cree XP-G R5, which is a market leader

There is also a claim for 3 hours on full beam.
3 hours at 3W is 9 watt-hours from the batteries

My mobile phone isn't the newest or most wonderful but its battery is rated at 3.2 Watt Hours, so again this light claims to be three times better than typical technology

Perhaps Tim Snaith of 50Cycles can explain these oddities?

After reading his data page on their website I am none the wiser as the description of the "Nuke Light" there seems to be for a 1.3 Watt light rated at 130 lumens

Tim 50cycles | 14 years ago

We plan to have some video of it in action on the NukeLight page on our website soon.

Yes, the fall-off is certainly abrupt, but the range makes up for it. We were surprised to find we could light up passing low clouds when we were first tested one.

Barry Fry-up | 14 years ago

it's like a little projector on your bars  1

fall-off looks quite, erm, abrupt - was that a problem out on the road?

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