Want to ride all night on a regular basis, or commute all year round? A dynamo means you never have to worry about battery levels, and fitting an E3 Pro will mean you don't have to worry about not having enough light either. It's a very well built unit with a great beam pattern that's more or less perfect for road cycling.
The E3 Pro is the same size as the head unit from a standard 2-pack system, but at 134g it's reassuringly weighty. It's an all-Aluminium construction and the light is completely rebuildable, so if you bend it in a spill you can just replace the bent bits. Everything's anodised to repel salt water, and the light is fully waterproof. Inside there's a single CREE LED capable of pushing out 370 lumens; our light came with the asymetric Terraflux lens that complies with German road lighting regulations, directing over 90% of the beam on to the tarmac. Another lens, the Iris, is available for mixed use and off-road.
Plug the E3 Pro into your dynamo of choice (we used Supernova's Infinity 8 for the testing) and roll off into the night, and it's immediately apparent that it's going to kick out more than enough light for nearly any road-based situation. unfortunately the fact that you need a spinning wheel means we can't put it in our beam shot rig, but the beam is well focused and directed predominantly at the ground, making best use of the output (see http://www.supernova-lights.com/en/products/e3pro3.html for a beam shot). Once you're moving at more than about 5mph the flicker from the dynamo resolves itself into a steady beam, so even on steep climbs there's plenty of light. If you stop there's a standlight circuit that'll keep the light glowing on a very low output for a few minutes. There's plenty enough light for clipping along on the flat, and only the very quickest of descents had me reaching for the brakes.
Our test light came with a bar mount that secures with an O-ring and allows movement in horizontal and vertical planes. There's a range of other mounts too for different types of bike. The O-ring mount was plenty secure and kept the E3 Pro pointing in the right direction, with just a bit of beam chatter over rough surfaces.
Obviously this is a dynamo light, and that means cables. Supernova use a high-quality 2-core wiring system that looks pretty hardy, and the lights are supplied with a range of heatshrink sleeves to make sure connections are waterproof. The E3 Pro can run an E3 tail light, and will also provide it with standlight power too. Obviously that means running a cable the length of your bike, which is a bit more obvious than the wire from the dynamo which you can run up the inside of your fork leg (and the inside of your fork too, depending on your fork) more or less out of sight.
Anyway, all told the E3 puts in a great performance that goes a long way toward justifying its salty £160 price tag. That's a lot for a light, especially when you have to factor in the cost of a dynamo hub too. But it's a great all night, four season light if you're prepared to spend the money. And you can get it in seven different colours too.
High quality four-season light with a great beam pattern and no battery to worry about.
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Make and model: Supernova E3 Pro dynamo front light
Size tested: black quick mount
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?
Rugged, repairable aluminium housing
The rugged aluminium housing does not only look good, but also withstands even serious crashes onto hard ground. In the worst case, every single part of the housing can be replaced.
Salt water resistant housing
The aluminium housing and the mounting brackets of the E3 are anodized to make them corrosion-resistant. Since scratches cannot be avoided during the long lifetime of an E3, we have also used a corrosion-resistant 6061 aluminium alloy.
Optimized cooling surface
Cooling the LED emitter is one of the most important functions of the lamp housing. Only a well-cooled LED works with optimal efficiency and reaches its full brightness. The 65 x 40 x 40 mm housing of the E3 is very small, but the cooling fins increase the surface area by 20% to 8500 mm. Even the small airstream when riding slowly greatly increases the cooling. A smooth surface profits far less from this effect.
Full-length two-core wiring
The rugged two-core wiring all the way ensures a safe, loss-free power transfer and top performance. Additionally, the entire two-core wire is protected by a shrink tube.
Very well put together and completely rebuildable
O-ring clamp was plenty secure, there's more permanent options available too
plenty of rain, no water got in
Super road light that'll run all night. not as bright as some of the more nuclear options out there but enough for road riding in most conditions
very well built
It ain't cheap but you're getting a quality bit of kit
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Beam pattern, construction
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
cables can make the bike look a bit messy
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Yes
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.