Bar end LED lights are nothing new but have largely been limited to tiny static/flashing bulbs inserted into road bike end plugs. By contrast, Torch’s imaginatively christened bar end beamer lights look like something straight out of Blakes7 with their combined white/ red lenses boasting greater surface area for improved visibility. However, the pronounced design is most effective on flat or butterfly type bars unless you’ve a pair of Scott drop-ins on the winter trainer – you won't get any real benefit on drops.
Weighing a respectable 80g per pair and powered by four tiny SR44 watch batteries means only the most anorexic of bikes and obsessive owners will notice. Quoted run times are broadly accurate with ours managing 24hours on constant and 47 flashing. Despite some initial scepticism, to my surprise they’ve slotted securely into most diameters of handlebar end and even a space saver type handlebar extension bracket thanks to clever silicone sleeves. However, while not directly in the firing line of dirt and water, they’re only water resistant so a slither of Vaseline on the contacts is a wise precaution-especially on bikes in hard service.
Toggling between modes is simple-even with gloved hands thanks to sensible rubberised switches and while very bright for a complementary system boasting visibility from up to a third of a mile-impressive but not on a par with the latest generation of blinkers and the flashing mode feels slightly pedestrian.
Summing up, they’re no substitute for good primary and secondary lighting but offer welcome extra security-especially on tag-alongs/trailer bikes that are particularly vulnerable along poorly lit rural roads. However, the otherwise clever concept requires re-designing to work well with traditional drops.
Clever idea but relatively short burn times and needs redesigning for traditional drops
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Torch Bar End Beamer lights
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?
These are intended as super bright, tool free fitting bar end mounted LEDs intended as a tertiary visibility aid and work very well on flat, pursuit bars and indeed bar ends.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
LED bulbs with white and red lenses that sit securely in most end diameters thanks to clever silicone sleeves. powered by 4 watch type batteries they deliver a slightly disappointing 24hrs static but more reasonable 47 in flashing mode.
Not bad but burn times could be better.
Vulnerable to knocks in the event of a spill or the bike falling over.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Despite relatively short run times, they're actually quite good at providing additional safety-especially along unlit rural roads and offer a secure, universal fit in the handlebar ends. However, a slither of Vaseline is prudent given they're not waterproof and while fairly robust, the present design is vulnerable to damage-especially fitted to flat bars.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Large surface area, easy to use switches-a great safety aid for tag-alongs, especially when emerging from junctions.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Limited run times.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
About the tester
Age: 35 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)