Road Gear

Reviewed: Light and Motion Urban 800 commuter light

Light and Motion’s Urban 800 is brilliantly bright and compact, with a fast charge and impressive run time given its diminutive size

Light and Motion’s Urban 800 is brilliantly bright and compact, with a fast charge and impressive run time given its diminutive size. Billed as a commuter light, the $180 light can easily pull double-duty as a trail-worthy helmet light and is plenty powerful to use on high-speed nighttime road rides.

Remember when an 800-lumen riding light required a battery the size of a water bottle, a second mortgage, and a massive dual-lamp setup that generated so much heat you worried about starting a forest fire? No more. The latest generation of LED lights are brighter, with better beam patterns, than trail-specific lights from a decade ago. It’s amazing what you can get for $180 these days.

Granted, the lumen figure is a bit useless by itself, as the way the beam is spread is equally important. The 800 lumens put out by the Urban 800 fall in a narrower beam than, for example, an 800 lumen trail-specific light, which is actually putting out more light.

The Urban 800 provides a relatively narrow but very bright beam, designed primarily for use on the road, but suited to use as a helmet-mounted light on trails. At 121 grams and four inches long, it’s noticeable on a helmet but not annoying.

Twin, amber-colored side-lights provide 180-degrees of visibility. The lithium-ion battery will provide 90 minutes of run time on high (800 lumens), three hours on medium (350 lumens) and six hours on low (175 lumens). Charge time is just 2.5 hours via a USB cable.

The medium setting is plenty for commute speeds, and I failed to outrun the high setting even on fast road descents.

The mount is a simple, effective rubber strap and hook. No fiddling with spacers for different bar diameters, just strap the light down and go. Even on trail, the mount is secure and doesn’t bounce or wobble. The weight of the light is evenly distributed fore and aft of the mount, which helps eliminate jiggling.

Commuters aren’t likely to find something brighter in a package this small with such quick charge time. Roadies training after dark and singletrack riders using it as a secondary light will find the Urban 800 perfectly adequate as well. If real trail riding is your goal, the Urban 800 will fall a little short unless paired with a second, wider beam.

Suggested retail price: $180
We like: Side visibility is excellent, and the brightness at this size is impressive.
We don’t like: Narrow beam better for road than trail.
The scoop: Compact and very bright commuter light with an excellent beam pattern and decent run time.
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