FWE USB Rechargeable 500 Lumen Front Light - review - Road Cycling UK

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FWE USB Rechargeable 500 Lumen Front Light – review

Powerful, versatile and affordable light for commuting and the odd night ride

The FWE USB Rechargeable 500 Lumen Front Light is a powerful, well designed and versatile light that won’t break the bank.

FWE, Evans Cycles’ in-house brand, produces an ever-growing range of clothing, lights and other accessories, and this light, new for this season  is their most powerful front light, with a 500 lumen output. As a result, it’s a unit designed to light the way in addition to keep you visible to other road users – it ticks both boxes well, pumping out plenty of light in front of you. There’s also a fairly good amount of side visibility.

The light has four different sequences, with three different solid brightnesses and one flashing element. These are controlled through the single button on the unit, which also turns the unit on and off with a longer press, while acting as a battery life indicator.

The FWE 500 pumps out a maximum of 500 lumens, making it a versatile light for commuting and the odd night ride
  • Specification

  • Price: £34.99
  • Maximum output: 500 lumens
  • Website: Evans Cycles

All in all, it works well with one slight limitation in that the light doesn’t have a ‘memory’ – i.e. the ability to remember which setting you chose before powering it down. As a result, when I was using it in flashing mode, I had to press through three times whenever I turned it on. It’s not a huge inconvenience, particularly on a light which is excellent value, but something to be aware of against more expensive competition.

Attachment to the bike is through a plastic mount and a rubber, laddered strap. Despite the relatively high weight (we’re talking 100g, so it’s not going to make a difference to your Strava times) and length of the light, it held everything in place well, with little judder on rough roads. It’s also simple to transfer between bikes without the need for tools, something I’m a big fan of given a lot of bike enthusiasts have fallen victim to the n+1 rule at least once.

Most of the light’s weight comes from the sturdy aluminium body, which actually gives it a high quality feel. It also ensures the unit is water resistant and I used this in some fairly biblical weather without any kind of issue.

Battery life varies depending on use, with FWE listing claimed output as: high 1.5 hours, medium three hours, low six hours, flashing 12 hours. Based on my usage, these seemed about right. The battery life on the highest setting isn’t particularly long, so if you want a dedicated light with a 500-lumen setting for prolonged night riding on unlit roads, this may not be it, but I found that even the low setting was sufficient for most of the urban roads I commute on, so it’s hardly a game changer unless you regularly do long rides on dark, unlit roads.

The clip-in bracket is simple to use and quick to transfer between bikes

Finally, the light is charged via a USB port hidden behind a screw-on panel (which you can undo by hand) on the back of the unit. Once undone things could be a little tidier as you can see the circuit board behind, where in most lights I would expect to see it covered and just the USB slot itself. However, when everything is screwed in place it still looks high quality and the USB port is hidden from contamination.

Conclusion

This 500-lumen light from FWE is excellent value for money. It pumps out a good amount of light for commuting and occasional excursions on to darker roads, feels well made, offers enough protection from the elements, and sits nicely on the bars. It lacks some of the finishing touches which set some more expensive lights apart, including the USB port and a lack of memory mode, but these aren’t huge issues for what is a great little light at a very affordable price.

Pros

  • Enough light for commuting and occasional unlit roads or short night rides
  • Solid, well-built aluminium casing
  • Excellent water resistance in bad riding conditions

Cons

  • No ‘memory’ feature

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