The RSP RX480 front light offers plenty of lumens for your buck but the claimed battery life is quite a way off the mark and there’s room for improvements that would turn it from a good front light into a excellent one.
The RX480 offers, as the name suggest, a maximum output of 480 lumens, which is impressive for the £59.99 price tag. We speculated in our first look that the maximum setting should be enough for training on unlit roads and that’s largely proved to be the case.
The light throws out a wide beam which comfortably lights up the road in front of you. The 480-lumen output is plenty for riding on familiar roads in darkness, though we’d want something a little brighter when venturing into new terrain under moonlight. If going off-road, on a ‘cross bike for instance, then you’ll definitely need something more powerful to light up technical sections in the woods. Two ‘windows’ offer a little side illumination and while they are small, it’s more than many manufacturers offer.
The RX480 has four settings – low, medium, high and flashing – which make this an affordable and versatile option for riders who want a powerful light for commuting, which can also be used for occasional night rides. Anything more than the lowest setting is overkill when riding round town.
Charge time from empty to full is a claimed seven hours, and we’ve found that to be largely accurate, while run time is said to be six hours on full beam. That’s an ambitious estimate on RSP’s part and we’ve found the RSP RX480 to offer three-and-a-half on the highest setting. That’s still enough juice for a fairly long night ride – and that’s if you’re using the highest setting throughout – but it’s some way behind RSP’s mark.
The light is operated by a single, rubber button which is easy enough to use when wearing winter gloves. Press the button to turn it on, press it again to scroll through each of the four modes (low, medium, high and flashing) and once you’ve reached the end of the cycle the next time you press the button it will turn the light off. If you want to switch from flashing to low mode then you will need to turn the light off, then fire it up again, but that’s quick to do. A low battery indicator in front of the on/off button works to good effect and is called into action with plenty of warning as to when you need to plug it into your computer with the provided USB cable.
RSP describe the RX480 as water resistant and it’s stood up to what it’s been subjected to so far. Long-term durability will need a more thorough test and we will report back if we come across any problems.
The light itself is a plastic unit which feels a little budget but it’s sturdy enough and ultimately helps to keep the price low. It’s worth noting that the rubber bung which protects the USB charging port is easily dislodged when riding, though the fact port itself is on the underside of the unit offers some protection from the elements.
The plastic quick release mount is… ok. The light slots in with a reassuring click and is easily removed, but the mount itself needs to be forced over an oversized 31.8mm handlebar (as most ‘bars are these days) and even then the quick release thumb screw looks like it’s about to burst out of the bracket slot. It hasn’t so far, and that’s with riding over London’s bumpy potholed-ridden roads, but we’re always surprised by how many manufacturers get the mount just slightly wrong. The thumbscrew thread has also started to show signs of rusting.
All in all, the RSP RX480 is still a good light for the money, even with the reduced run time, thanks to a high output versatile enough for commuting and occasional night riding. If the battery life was more accurate and the mount improved then we’d have a really good light on our hands.