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Electron Terra 3 headlight - review

14:26 5th November 2012 by John Stevenson
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The latest Electron Terra 3 headlight pumps out a broad, clean beam that’s bright enough for unlit roads and paths. Its one-unit construction makes it compact and convenient and its price is very reasonable for its performance.

While companies like Exposure, Hope and Niterider have pushed the performance of high-end, spendy LED lights in the last few years, there’s been quiet but huge progress in the less expensive end of the market.

With a claimed 800 lumens from its three emitters and up to four hours run time, the Electron Terra 3 is a great example. A few years ago, you’d have paid over £300 for a light like this, but the Terra 3 is a very reasonable £150.

Electron Terra 3 - beam

We’re sure this isn’t good for digital cameras.

That 800 lumens is more than enough light for most things on the road aside from high-speed descending, and it’s certainly plenty for riding unlit lanes and bike paths.

We also found that on shared paths it was great for letting pedestrians know you were coming in plenty of time. We suspect some of them thought we were an electric car…

The Electron Terra 3 is powered by a lithium-ion battery that lives in the same housing as the LEDs. That’s not a new idea, Exposure has been making lights like this for years, but a genuine hassle-saver compared to the faff of separate batteries and cables. If you need stupendous amounts of light or run-time, then systems with separate batteries are still worth looking at, but for commuting or shorter night rides, we’ll take a single-housing system any day.

It takes a double-click to power up the Terra 3, and it comes on in the middle of three settings, putting out 500 lumens. That’s plenty of light for commuting on lit streets, and we like that it doesn’t power up in full beam so you don’t take off and blow through the charge just tooling through town.

A single click takes you up to 800 lumens, another down to 250 lumens, which is good for street visibility. The switch doubles as a battery charge indicator, changing colour to warn you that it’s time to head home before you’re plunged into darkness.

Electron Terra three - charging kit

What’s in the box: charger with European plug adapter and the lamp unit.

As someone who hates being dazzled on bike paths by muppets with excessively bright flashing front lights, I’m happy to say there’s no flashing mode on the Electron Terra 3. If you’re a muppet, you may see this as a downside.

The Electron Terra 3 mounts to your bar via a built-in flexible plastic 31.8mm clamp. Open it up, wrap it round your bar, use the spacer if your bar is 25.4mm, and tighten the thumbscrew to cinch it into place. It holds the lamp firmly with no wobbling as you ride, though it’s not as convenient as Exposure’s separate quick release mount.

We can’t imagine needing more light than this for urban road and bike path riding and with the low-power settings you could go a week between charges. We’ve also used the Electron Terra 3 for mountain biking and it’s beefy enough for night-time off-road riding should you fancy dabbling in those antics.

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Electron

Madison

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