At a Glance
Kiwi light company Gloworm offer a range of lighting solutions for the nocturnal mountain biker. Their latest lumen blaster has a mighty 3400 lumens on offer and is designed as a bar mounted powerhouse to illuminate your night time trails.Buy Lights on
It's powerful, and is housed in a CNC's case and features an external battery which is attached separately onto the frame. The aim is to create a floodlight which a wide beam which can be used on its own or supplemented with a helmet light. That said, it can be mounted on a helmet if you want some retina-burning power on your lid.
There are three power levels and options for a commuter mode which makes it versatile for all type of riding. It's highly waterproof, and can even be submerged for 30 minutes and still come out shining and the lights are drop and shock tested.
Add to all this you have a bar-mounted wireless remote which can operate up to two lights independently. The box also contains a myriad of mounting and attachment options and even some spare optics (lenses) to fine-tune the light pattern and spread.
The system weighs in a 322g with the battery and costs £289.00
3400 Lumens (Real, not theoretical output)
IMT (Intelligent Mode Technology) technology
332g total system weight with battery pack
Waterproof to IP67
6800 mAH Lithium Ion Hard Case Battery with 4 Panasonic cells
3 x Cree XHP 35.2 emitters – the latest generation of Cree LED’s
3 optic system (2 x spot/1 x Honeycomb installed)
1.5 hr runtime on Maximum power
4hr battery charge (dependent on the state of charge)
Battery mounted fuel gauge
Light will flash to warn of critical battery level
On The Trail
Despite the sheer number of parts that fall out of the box when first opened, installation is, in fact, simple and quick. Various straps and Go Pro mounts allow for attachment to bars or helmet in different orientations. For me, this was a bar-mounted light and as such, I used the quick release bar mount and a stretchy velcro strap to attach the battery to the top tube just behind the stem. The bar mount allows the light to sit low in front of the stem and be central on the bars, which looks cool and centralises the light source. It would, of course, be lovely to have the battery integrated into the light itself, which is possible from someone like Exposure, but the price takes a hike if you still want the full 3400 lumens. Ultimately once mounted, It makes very little difference to the overall riding experience.
The angle of the light is easy to adjust and the system is secure and confidence-inspiring. In addition, I mounted the TX remote onto the bar to allow me to control the light from a more comfortable position. This remote can also be paired to a second light (there are 2 buttons) which in this case was their X2 head-mounted light. The pairing is simple and efficient and allows for both lights to cycle through their power options and be switched on and off independently. The remote is great, although a little bulky and finding space between grips and shifters/levers to mount it was tricky. A slimmer remote would be a great thing, however, the ability to easily adjust the lights was very enjoyable.
The XSV throws out a reasonably wide spread of light with a central region of clear powerful light fading gently to the sides. This gives a clear vision of the trail ahead and also good peripheral vision which helps to avoid tunnel vision. The low mounting position helps cast shadows on smaller trail features and gives a good overview of the coming trail. Although there is the option to swap the lenses out to change the light effects, I found the stock settings to be the best for all-round night riding.
Despite the power on offer from the 3400 lumens, I still wanted a headlight on for night riding and the X2 was a fine match. Sharp corners, or putting light precisely where it's needed can only be achieved with a helmet mount. What the XSV does do is create such a clear view of the trail ahead that the helmet light simply picks up the most important bits of the trail and sharpens up the bits of trail that need the most attention. As a pair, they worked exceptionally well together.
Battery life is good, but 1.5hrs on full means top power is best saved for the technical bits, and I nearly got caught out leaving it on full for too long and the dreaded flashing light warned me I had been overzealous with my power. There is no indication of which mode you are in on the back of the light so I had to remember to notch it down for the climbs. With the remote, it's easy to keep power output to a minimum and make this light last for some pretty huge rides.
A very powerful light with plenty of options and mounting solutions in a quality, weatherproof package. Best suited to on-bar attachment, the XSV punches through the darkness exceptionally well gives a clear and wide beam for technical and high-speed night riding.Buy Lights on
This review was in Issue 63 of IMB.For more information visit Gloworm Lights
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.