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At 1000 Lumens for £75.99 the One23 Extreme Bright 1000 Lumen is clearly marking its territory as a premium performer for a not-quite-premium price. It's bright, sure, but is let down by some fundamentals of bike light design: beam pattern and button control.
One23 is a house brand of Moore Large, one of the UK's largest industry distributors. The Extreme Bright 1000 is the bottom of three 'separate battery' lights, the others being 1600 and 2000 lumens respectively.
In the box you get the single Cree XM-L T6 LED housed in a sturdy machined aluminium case with a single lit rubber button on the back. It has an eight-inch cable permanently attached and a simple curved rubberised mount to go over handlebars, fixed down by a thick rubber O-ring (two sizes supplied). The curve of the mount is ideal for 25mm bars, not so great for 31.8mm. It will stay put but at high speed you'll notice vertical juddering movement when riding over uneven surfaces. This is no different to many eBay designs, and can be improved with a bit of inner tube or the bike light hacker's best friend, the moldable air-drying polymer rubber Sugru. The package of light and battery weighs 400g.
The 4400mAh battery pack is a real step above the ubiquitous eBay fare, the case being made from very well-put-together neoprene. It sits in the palm of your hand with a solid feel, the four rechargeable cells inside protected by yet another layer of rubber. At a shade over three inches long it should fit under all but the shortest of stems. To attach the case, the strap has two areas of velcro, one where the first loop is made over tube or stem and through the plastic buckle, and then again as the strap wraps around the entire battery pack. This is very handy for tucking away excess cable, especially when stem-mounting close to the bars. There's a nine-inch cable coming from the battery ending in a very secure weatherproof connector. When connected to the light there's simply no way water's getting in or the cable is coming loose. If your stem is short or you have Di2 kit hanging about that makes under-stem mounting not possible, the combined 17in of cable gives you mounting options on the frame.
There's also a four-foot-long battery extension cable, should you want to mount the battery somewhere way back on your frame. The dedicated charger comes with a generous cable length and simple red or green LED indication for charging status. Lastly in the box is a borderline-unusable helmet/headband mount. The backing plate is simply too small in area and the light too heavy, so when held secure it presses into the forehead and still bounces around. Mounting on to a helmet is likewise impracticable, as the elastic bands and small plate slip around over the smooth plastic. You probably want to look elsewhere for a helmet- or head-mounted light, or invest in gaffa tape.
Out in the dark there's no getting away from it: this is one damn bright light and the run time is eyebrow-raising at over four hours on full beam. However, and this is a big however, the beam is simply too narrow. The Magicshine MJ858 is the closest match for price in this year's road.cc light comparison, and the difference in beam width is stark. The One23 looks to be almost setting fire to the road immediately in front while the MJ858 spreads evenly. The result of this focus by One23 means when riding around even minor bends it's hard to pick out the road surface ahead, due to the lack of light cast outside the centre beam. Switching to high beam doesn't fix the problem, as the increased contrast makes picking out the unlit sides even harder.
Let's be fair here: this light is good for 40+mph descents in pitch darkness. If you are on a straight, smooth road, that is.
As mentioned run time is very good, with battery level indicated by the glowing button on the back of the light. Using high power we got over 2.5 hours on green, then another 1.5 hours on blue, then 1 hour on red. That's five hours on high beam, exceeding the advertised maximum runtime by half an hour. At the five-hour mark the red button started flashing, and there was a double flash of the main beam that you'd miss if you blinked. Just five minutes later the light shut down. Unlike others that gracefully ramp brightness down in the bottom 10% of the tank giving you a natural impetus to slow down, the One23 is an all-or-nothing show. Be warned, and keep an eye on that button if you plan to go out for over 4 hours on high.
In low power the advertised runtime is 18 hours, but several tests from fully-charged (using a fan to ensure no overheating) showed runtime was considerably less at just over 11 hours. The red LED came on at around 9:45, with the red flashing LED lasting just the final 10 minutes. If you are looking for a light to see you through a 12hr+ adventure ride in one go, this isn't it.
Disappointingly for a light of this price the controls are straight out of eBay. On is always straight to high beam, then a press for low, then flashing (on high) again, then off. So if you want to go from a long climb in economy mode to bombing a descent, you have to go into flashing mode then turn the light off briefly. This is frankly unacceptable, and with the likes of Lezyne and others offering high-low-high switching options at similar price points there's no excuse. As mentioned the flashing mode is in high power, which is almost guaranteed to make you deeply unpopular with every other road user within 500 yards unless you point it at the ground.
The One23 could be greatly improved with a simple filter lens that spreads the beam wide and low, readily available for a fiver for the eBay special lights. However adding one of these isn't an option as the front lens ring isn't removable.
Basically what you get with the One23 Extreme Bright 1000 is a better battery pack/cables and twice the run time over the £20 eBay option. The actual light and control experience is exactly the same, with no option to change the lens. You can't help but feel that 10 minutes talking to the manufacturer about button options, some smarter glass and a bit more clarity around run times would have yielded One23 a market-leading product for the price. Maybe for 2015.
Verdict: Well-made high-power light and long-lasting battery pack, let down by poor beam design, control options and mount.
Well-made high-power light and battery pack, let down by poor beam design, control options and mount
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Make and model: One23 Extreme Bright 1000
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?
Handlebar-mounted LED light for riding on unlit roads, fast. Aimed at riders wanting a quality lighting product. Personally I feel it fails to deliver. My own £25 twin-LED eBay Special does a much better job of lighting the road, albeit with a poorer battery experience.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Single Cree XM-L T6 LED, 4400mAh Li-Ion battery. Claimed output 1000 Lumens. Listed as 'shower resistant' but definitely not waterproof.
It's a well-made setup. Looks professional. Feels solid.
Beam pattern and mount movement makes this light not let you ride as fast as you otherwise might.
The solidity of the cables, connectors and battery case makes me think it would last a lot of use for a long time.
It's actually 400g including battery - which is fair enough.
At £75 RRP, this isn't really good value due to the fundamental issues with beam and buttons.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Workable. I was able to see the road, but nowhere near as well as I'd like or expect at this price.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Battery life and the industrial design of the battery and cables - excellent.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Beam pattern, button control modes and the mount diameter. Also the low-power runtime is misleading, as tested.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not really. The fundamental issue of not being able to see around corners properly made me nervous.
Would you consider buying the product? Not at RRP.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not if I wanted to stay friends with them.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
One23 should fix the button controls, beam pattern and mount. Then it'd be a cracking light even at £100.
Age: 41 Height: 183cm Weight: 73KG
I usually ride: Charge Juicer My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: club rides, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, MTB, singlespeed and Dutch bike pootling
Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.