The Kiwi-born company Gloworm has been on the go since 2010 and has grown from a small New Zealand business into a global brand with distributors in 10 counties and a main office now based in Europe. Their aim is to offer more affordable lights for riders who want to get out at night, but aren't prepared to spend an entire paycheque on a lighting solution, as well as offering the best weight-to-lumen ratio possible.Buy Lights on
Gloworm's latest light to hit the market is the Alpha 1200. This is an impressively compact and lightweight piece of waterproof lighting (only 69 grams for the head assembly) which still pumps out a strong 1200 lumens. It boasts a neat little 3.4AHr Lithium battery which will keep the trails lit for 2 hours on the max setting, and comes with the necessary mounts and cables so you can stick it to your head or your handlebars.
The super bright twin LED’s can light the way in two different forms thanks to a replaceable optic system. Pricing comes in at £110 in the UK; we’re impressed with the package before we’ve even tried them!
The lightweight and compact nature of the Alpha 1200 means that this light can be used to good effect on either the handlebars or helmet. Attaching it to the handlebars couldn’t be easier thanks to the O-ring clamp which the light unit simply screws into. The clamp is sized to fit a 31.8mm handlebar at its thickest point which means that it can be nicely positioned directly in front of the stem.
I’m running a fatter 35mm set of bars so I wasn’t able to position the light in the exact centre, but was still really happy with the positioning, although if you run 35mm bars with a prominent rise or sweep then you may not be able to position the light too well on the bars.
Raising the angle of the clamp upwards allows enough room to avoid any glare back from the cables which is a real bonus. A velcro strap and rubber pad are also included so that the battery can be strapped to the top tube without the risk of paint damage.
To attach the Alpha to your helmet a mount attachment which fits to the light is held on with four tiny hex bolts (wrench provided). This is a little fiddly to do, and best done where the bolts will be easy to find when dropped! After changing between a handlebar and helmet set up a few times I managed to round off one of the small bolt heads so the best thing is to decide where you want the light to be and keep it there; I guess to have such a lightweight set up there has to be some compromise!
Depending on the venting layout on your helmet the mount is attached with a velcro strap and can be positioned nice and low at the front of the lid which allows you to ride through tight woodlands without the risk of striking the light. The button is well placed and easy to access wherever you place the Alpha and it weighs so little you hardly notice it’s on your head.
To manage the output Gloworm use their tried and tested IMT (Intelligent Mode Technology). This consists of two user programmable modes – Trail mode which has three light levels and Commuter mode which has two. Tied into this are three special modes which include a consistent flash, an interval flash and a dim light which is ideal for packing your gear away at the end of a ride. These settings make it a great all-rounder if you should wish to use it on the trail or on the road.
The light power given off on the Alpha is certainly impressive for such a small unit. On Trail mode, the 3 different brightness options are enough to cater for any trail situation from climbing to flat out descending. The spread of the light in the highest setting is really good, a powerful white light which spreads nice and evenly over everything you need to see immediately in front of you.
I have used this light on its own on my helmet and was satisfied with the output, although once I paired it up with another light with a longer reaching beam I was blown away with the vision I was given!
A super lightweight light with a heavyweight feel and an unmistakeably attractive price tag. The Alpha 1200 is a great light for those looking for an affordable light on its own or anyone wanting to increase the output of their current set up. At this price, you might even be tempted to get one as a reliable spare!
By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.
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Dan, Joe and Edgar