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Light, bright and with excellent run-times, the Bookman Curve Front Light is a great choice for urban commuting or as an emergency back-up. It looks a bit different too.
Finding an LED front light that offers decent levels of brightness combined with good run-times and fast charging can be tricky. The Bookman Curve, though, balances all those handy features well, and looks pretty funky to boot with its interesting wedge shape. It's even available in a variety of colours, and either on its own or in a set with the matching rear.
The Curve only fits in one orientation, but does so easily to bars of between 22mm and 42mm with a simple silicone band and buckle that clips back into the light unit. I say easily, but the wedge shape does mean fitting it can be tricky depending on your cabling – I found it difficult to fit on one drop bar that's slightly narrower than standard, with prominent cabling.
While its shape maximises output at the front, there's also some spill at the sides to help make you more visible from other angles.
The build quality of the Bookman light is excellent and the power socket is well protected at the side of the light and covered with a silicone bung. There's little worry about water ingress in even heavy rain.
It has five modes – three steady (high/220 lumens, mid/100lm, low/15lm) and two flashing (high/220lm and low/15lm). Bookman claims a run-time of an hour on steady high, 3 hours on flashing high, 2.5 hours on mid, and 15 hours on steady low, with up to 70 hours on the low flashing. I found these accurate, though I confess I didn't test the full 70 hours... Recharging is via USB and takes two hours from empty to fully charged, making it handy for office use.
It's easy to use, with a simple button press to scroll through the modes.
On the highest steady setting it's definitely bright enough to get you seen by day or night. Its hour run-time is probably long enough for most urban commutes. In this mode it gives a decent throw of light forwards and in a good arc to allow for pretty good vision, too. In streetlit areas it's sufficient as your only form of illumination, but it also does an adequate job on dark unlit roads, should you need an emergency back-up. The beam isn't powerful enough for high speeds, but it would get you home at a steady pace.
It's a good option for dawn and dusk riding, and in low light winter conditions, where it's needed more for being seen by other road users than for seeing the road ahead.
On the 100-lumen mid setting the light is visible to other road users and just bright enough to be viable as an emergency backup on unlit roads, though you'd need to adjust your speed accordingly – it's a better option under streetlights.
The lowest setting (15 lumens) is certainly best suited to being a back-up safety light, used alongside another light for illuminating the road ahead and keeping you visible to other road users. It gives just enough light to ride by if there are plenty of streetlights, and the run-time of 15 hours means it's convenient for those with well-lit urban commutes.
The two flashing modes are essentially a choice between a daylight flash and a low-level flash for additional visibility.
Value-wise, it's not a cheap LED option at £34.99 (€39 on Bookman's site), but it's difficult to find a light to compare it with, as most around this price don't have such a high max output.
It's closest in terms of value and performance to the Exposure Trace DayBright, now £45, but even this only has a maximum steady mode of 125 lumens, much lower than the Bookman.
Overall, it's light, compact and easy to use, with good versatility for urban and occasional dark lane use, and it looks pretty funky too.
Well made, effective and bright enough to genuinely light the road ahead, plus it charges quickly
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bookman Curve Front Light
Size tested: 220 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?
It's a high-powered LED front light that's best suited as a primary urban commuter light or back-up light for all after dark riding.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Maximum brightness of 220 lumens
5 settings - max, medium, low and two flashing modes
Fits to bars of diameter between 22mm to 42mm
Very solidly built.
Very straightforward to use.
Very easy to use the strap and clamp, although a bit tricky in gloves. But the shape of the light can hamper fitting on bars with lots of cabling.
Very good for waterproofing. The USB charging port is well protected and there are no other weak spots.
Spot on with manufacturer's claims for battery life in each mode.
Excellent battery life for the various settings, and the charge time of two hours was great for daily commuter use.
Performed very well as both a primary light under streetlights and as a back-up light for after dark (or daytime) riding.
Solidly built from good quality materials, so I can't see anything failing.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
I liked the versatility of the various modes: the brightest was bright enough for most commutes, while the lower modes have good long run-times. It's quite a stylish light too, and easy to use.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
The wedge shape was a bit tricky to fit around busy cabling on my bar.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's not a cheap option, but it's difficult to find a light to compare it with directly, since it has such a bright high beam, which many LEDs do not. It's closest in terms of value/performance to the Exposure Trace DayBright at £45, but even this only has a maximum output of 125 lumens.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Definitely
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's very good: light, compact and versatile, able to handle urban and occasional dark lane use, and its combination of power, run-times and charging is impressive for the money. It looks a bit different too.
About the tester
I usually ride: Liv Invite My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
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: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.