Gear up: Sinewave Beacon 2
Sinewave Beacon 2 $350/£379
The Beacon 2 follows on from the successful first version, which was a favourite with many dirtroad tourers and backcountry bikepackers like long-time Cycle contributor Cass Gilbert. Not having used v1, I asked Cass for his thoughts on the Beacon 2, and he noted some real improvements, particularly less flicker. That’s important given that the light is designed to be used at the low speeds you often travel at when riding off road. I only noticed an initial flicker when I started riding, which is soon replaced by a steady beam after you’ve travelled a few metres.
It’s solidly built from machined aluminium, and houses a powerful 750-lumen light with three separate LEDs. A switch allows you to toggle between high and low beams or turn it off. The low beam works well for road riding with intermittent street lighting, and will likely cause less glare for other road users – though you may want to angle its beam down.
The 750-lumen high beam gives a good spread of light, enabling you to ride with confidence in the dark. I headed down a bluegraded trail at night with just the Beacon 2, and had no trouble picking my way while equally competent riding pals with battery-powered lights gingerly inched along.
The illumination is fantastic, but for me what puts this light above others in its class is the facility to charge devices on the go. While you can buy additional components to charge your electronics via a dynamo hub, I usually find them a bit fiddly.
You pay for the convenience with the Beacon 2 but you’re also getting lighting and charging systems that are designed to work together. Lighting is given priority over charging, as it should be. Sinewave uses corrosion-resistant connectors, like gold-plated USB contacts, and covers the electronics in epoxy so even if water gets inside the connectors it won’t do any damage.
One other neat touch is, as well as charging an external battery pack, you can also use that pack to power the light. It’s ideal for when climbing at night, lighting your campsite or even allowing you to switch the lamp to another bike without a dynamo.
Price is dependent on the exchange rate as it’s made in the USA, although it’s available here from St John Street Cycles. Don’t forget to factor in a hub dynamo (and wheel build?) if you don’t already have one.
Perfect for selfsufficient cycling adventures, this powerful, if expensive, light will easily ensure you have no trouble travelling in the hours of darkness, while also keeping your electronics charged.
The Edelux II will be a familiar sight to many tourers – it’s well built and gives good light even at low speeds. This version includes a junction box which should allow for easy connection of charging devices.
Adept Electronics Velocharger MK2 £82 at the time of writing
Suitable if you have a lamp already and just want to charge your electrics, though will require some fiddling with wires to make it work.