Sunday, March 25, 2012

Light & Motion Stella 600 Review

I was very excited to learn that I would be reviewing this light because it is very similar to my own Nitrerider MiNewt Dual 700.  Both lights have similar lumen values (especially when one takes into account Light & Motion's "Integrated Sphere" lumen test chart featured in the Urban 300 reveiw).  Both lights are corded dual head lights.
To start, here are some facts and figures.  Light  Motion advertises their light at 313g.  Niterider lists their system at 490g.  Obviously, the Light & Motion system is lighter and in past calculations I found that Light & Motion always had the best lumen/gram scores on all of their lights.  However it was interesting to weigh the parts separately.  Niterider's battery was actually 10g lighter then the Light & Motion battery.  The difference was in the light heads.  Light & Motion was almost half the weight of the Niterider light heads which means less bar weight and better maneuverability.

Now, lets talk about mounting systems.  The MiNewt 700 uses rubber rings that stretch and hook into place on the front and back.  The issue I have with this system is  that it has three different ring sizes and if one switches the lights from bike to bike one may need to have all three sizes handy; not convenient.

The Stella 600 uses a notched rubber strap: simple, adjustable, easy to use, and locks on well at whatever size is needed.  Light & Motion's battery mount system is much better than Niterider's too. The mount is designed to hang under the top tube instead of on the top (the Niterider tends to rotate while riding and brush upon my leg) and it uses one strap instead of two. On the other hand, I do prefer the length of Niterider's cords. The stem on my commuter was a little to long to split the cables around my head tube with the Stella 600.

As far as the actual light lenses are concerned, the two light systems have very different approaches to a dual head system.  I believe, both are valid.

Night rider uses two identical 350 Lumen heads that can be disconnected from their Y-Conector. This means that the rider could also run just one of them if they wanted to conserve battery life or buy a second smaller battery and helmet mount one of the light heads.  One can also "stack" the light beams as Niterider demonstrates on this literature that they included with my light when I bought it.

Light & Motion has a defuser lens on one of the light heads so one side is designed to work as a flood light and the other can be used as a long range spotter.

Light & Motion also puts switch for their light on the head instead of the battery, a virtue afforded them by making their divider and light heads one piece.  Niterider has since also done this with their single head 700 lumen unit.  Cygolite has always put the switch for their lights on the head instead of the battery.

As I demonstrated,  the competition is much closer for the corded-duel head light systems.  Many companies are coming to similar conclusions on how to build their lights.  Light & Motion continues to make some of the best lights on the market.  The weight of their light heads makes them a great choice for riders concerned with weight on their handlebars.  Light & Motion's light systems consistently product light in the whitest part of the light spectrum . Here's an example...

Always a clear white light, not blue, not yellow.

For better pictures of the two lights compared Light & Motion does an awesome job on their website of showing you the difference in how their lights perform.  Check out the Beam Test section of their website.

I give this product a gold star.  Light & Motion may not be doing anything particularly unique with the product but they still maintain their best in class status among light manufacturers.

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