Vel 100 Lumen Front Light

8
£20.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Bright, lightweight safety lamp at a great price
Longer run-time than advertised
Easy to mount
Low weight
Plastic build could be vulnerable in a crash
Could potentially fall off if knocked
Weight: 
23g

The Vel 100 Lumen Front Light is excellent for commuting or road riding. Bright enough for daytime – at least for shorter rides – neatly made and packaged with several easy mounting options, it's a tidy, lightweight safety lamp. It can't quite match its bigger siblings for materials and design, and the charge indicator can be misleading, but otherwise it's great.

Vel's 100 is the least powerful of its front lights, but also the smallest. At just 25g ready to go, it provides a choice of four modes – the usual high and low output, solid or flashing options – to meaningfully increase your chances of being seen in either daylight or streetlamp darkness.

> Buy this online here

Surprisingly, its most power-hungry mode outshone (thangyouverymuch, I'm here all week) the spec sheet considerably, lasting 30-40 minutes beyond the claimed hour. What's more, even the slowest method of charging (via USB from a computer with the supplied lead) only takes an hour, making this very usable for office commuters. The wraparound lens and side cutouts mean visibility is good towards drivers in junctions, too, which is just what you need.

Less good is the battery indicator, which is an LED dot in the large, rubber-covered and water-resistant on/off switch. While it's clearly visible the whole time, even in bright sunlight, I found it almost impossible to distinguish between orange (25-49% charge) and red (24-0%).

On the upside, it's not going to trick you into running flat when you thought it was OK. On the downside, I spent most rides wondering if it was about to die from about 30 minutes in (on high beam), which is when it turns orange. Or maybe red. It's worth noting that the 300 Lumen version uses the same system, but never gave me any trouble with colours.

Mounting

The Vel comes with several mounting options. The main one is a plastic bar mount with a large, easy-to-grab silicone strap. The plastic part has two sets of hooks, to accommodate both standard and skinny bars. The lamp keys to this with a 90 degree twist, and while it's entirely stable and secure in normal use, it's only plastic-on-plastic friction keeping it from untwisting (in either direction). Knock it accidentally to 90 degrees and it will simply fall off.

Vel 100 Lumen Front Light 2.jpg

Cleverly, the base is also a clip that can be slid pretty securely onto any webbing straps, or very securely onto the supplied Velcro strap. The Velcro is a good length for looping into vented helmets, and in this configuration the whole thing is an imperceptible 21g. You're not going to see with it in the dark, but it will get you seen. It even comes with a zip-tie for (slightly) more town security on bars, and a rubber shim for paint protection.

At £20 the price is good, and compares well with similar lamps – the £25 Giant Recon HL 100, for instance, or Lezyne's more powerful but bigger and heavier KTV Drive 200 (also £25). In fact, it's much easier to spend way more than £20 than it is to spend less.

> Buyer's Guide: The best 2019/2020 front lights for cycling

While the Vel 100 has the same charging issue as the Vel 300 – your phone chargers are likely to be too powerful, as Vel says anything but QC1.0 could damage it (new phones are on QC3.0) – it only takes an hour in a computer to charge from totally flat anyway. That, plus the 100's niche as a commuting or auxiliary light rather than a main lamp you're seriously relying on, means it's less likely to be a problem.

The Vel 100 is a small, lightweight safety light with a good build and a selection of intelligent mounting options. It's weather-resistant and very easy to use: bar the slightly confusing indicator light, it's a very easy light to recommend.

Verdict

Bright, lightweight safety lamp at a great price

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Vel 100 Lumen Front Light

Size tested: 100 lumens max

Tell us what the light 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?

Vel says: "Be seen and safe out on the roads with the VEL 100-Lumen Front Light, perfect for busy city roads or as a secondary light in darker areas."

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

The company lists these features:

100-lumen front light

3-watt LED

Four modes including dayflash mode: High Beam - 100 lumens/1 hours | Low Beam - 35 lumens/4 hours | Flash - 25 lumens/20 hours | Dayflash - 100 lumens/8 hours

Memory mode function

Water-resistant, including the USB port cover

Low battery indicator: 100-50% - green | 49-25% - amber | 24-0% - red

USB rechargeable

Quick-release quarter turn mounting to included bracket

Versatile multi-mount for helmet/handlebar/GoPro

Dimensions: 50x28x21.6mm

Weight: 19 grams

Included: Front light / rubber strap and pad / velcro strap for helmet mounting / zip ties for added bracket security / handlebar bracket (19-32mm diameters) / Micro-USB charging cable

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
8/10

All plastic, but neatly built.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
8/10

Extremely easy to mount, use and charge, though mid and low power indicator colours are very hard to tell apart.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
9/10

Great.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
8/10

Well sealed against rain and spray.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
9/10

Actually lasted longer than claimed. Recharges quickly.

Rate the light for performance:
 
8/10

Bright with good side visibility.

Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10

No issues in normal use.

Rate the light for weight:
 
9/10

Extremely light.

Rate the light for value:
 
8/10

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

Does exactly what you want, without fuss.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Lightweight, good mounting selection, well made.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Twist mount has no detente, it just sits in place with a little bit of friction.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's right at the lower end – little or nothing we test is cheaper.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Yes

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It comes with everything you need to do the job well – it's not exceptional but it is very good, with only the hard-to-distinguish indicator light a detractor.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

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