Initial Review: Light & Motion Stella 300 and Vis180

I’ve said this before, but there’s no such thing as too many lights when commuting through a major city, especially one that loves its cars so much like LA. With a mantra like that, I’m a natural choice for testing lights here at Bike Rumor, so I see quite a few at my doorstep. However, when I recently saw a Light & Motion light in person, I knew they were up my alley and sought out a headlight to test. What arrived in that magical box was a Stella 300 and surprise Vis180, the latter of which is already in the hands of another of our testers, Marc. Check out more details on the lights, plus my initial reaction after a couple rides, after the jump…

Thoughts:
The reason that I got the Stella 300 is because the light I saw in person was a Stella 400, which I subsequently borrowed for a week or so. I thought it was a good comparison to get the 300 after experiencing the same ride with a 400. Installation was a breeze and I was immediately happier with the single lamp design of the 300, because it allowed me to use an autonomous blinking light in conjunction with the high-powered lamp, although there was a huge excess of cable (which you can see under the stem in the pic) I wasn’t expecting. I would have preferred an extension cable necessary for the helmet mount, rather than needing to bunch up the cable when mounted to the bike. On the ride, the difference between the 300 and 400 was negligible. 300 lumens is just plain a lot of light, and this light does a great job of lighting the road for me.

Specs:
Lumens: 300
Run Time: High- 4:00 Med- 8:00 Low- 16:00
System Weight: 285 gr
Mounts: Helmet/Handlebar

Thoughts:
I wasn’t expecting to get a Vis180 in this package, so I wasn’t sure what to think. Through all my testings, I always came back to my trusty rear setup; a PDW Radbot 1000 on the bike, and a Planet Bike SuperFlash on my bag. I wasn’t quite sure anything would ever oust them.

Then I played around with the Vis180 for a bit after it was charged up.

This light is stupid, stupid bright. I’m very impressed by the side amber lights too. It seems that a lot of companies attempt something like that, but never get it quite right. After riding this light home the first night, I am nearly speechless. It’s so bright that you can see it from the saddle,  illuminating the ground around the rear wheel. If anything, it may be TOO bright; I’ll be playing with all the settings too see if maybe the lower settings are more ideal. It’s worth noting that mine came with the cable, unlike Marc’s, so they clearly heard that criticism. I am also a big fan of the bracket. It seems janky at first, but it stays put remarkably well, and the design allows the light to lock securely onto straps/belts/etc.

Specs:
Lumens: 35
Run Time: High- 4:00 Pulse- 8:00
System Weight: 131 gr
Mounts: BIKE/BAG/HELMET

So my initial reaction is: impressed. Stay tuned for a long term review after I’ve put them though some abuse.

(Unfortunately, I don’t have one of those fancy Park Tools gram scales like some of the other testers, so I can’t confirm nor deny any of the weights listed on the L&M website. However I will say that the Stella 300 was lighter than I thought it would be, and the Vis180 is heavier than I thought it’d be.)

http://www.bikelights.com/

Comments

AdrianQ - 01/25/11 - 11:44am

I can confirm your thoughts on the Vis 180– they’re too bright, at least as a fellow cyclist. They’re getting more popular here in Seattle, and I’ve ridden behind a few. They’re a bit uncomfortable and very distracting in downtown where there’s plenty of headlight and street lighting. Looking directly at them will leave an afterimage. On dark paths, they’re unbearably bright and I could see them overwhelming lower-power headlights.

I think the biggest contributor to the brightness problem is that the design of the mount tends to lead people to angle the light upwards (and directly into the eyes) instead of level with the road. Being a seatpost mount, this already puts the light pretty high so it doesn’t take much.

murpes - 01/25/11 - 2:12pm

Do the batteries explode and burn your house down? If not, it’s got that going for it over the MagicShine I use.

AnonymousChris - 01/25/11 - 2:48pm

So far, it has NOT exploded and burned my house down, so I guess +1 for Light & Motion?

Neuticle - 01/27/11 - 12:38pm

Had a customer return the Vis180 due to it blinding fellow cyclists on the most popular bike commute route here in SF. For crowded bike routes, where you’ve already got some safety in numbers, common sense and courtesy would be to just turn off the Vis and use a more conventional light. Chris is 100% right that you can’t have too many lights in a car-dominated urban environment. For most of my commute, too much isn’t enough.

SGK - 01/27/11 - 10:25pm

I think the brightness wars are getting to be too much for commuter lights. I’ve noticed that there is a point when the light get so overwhelming driver/riders lose the actual cyclist as when a good depth/speed perception. 300lm up from from with another blinking up front is plenty.

And on the rear a least run these super bright lights on solid. Following with them on blink sucks.

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.