At A Glance
A small British company, Mapdec was born from a love of racing bikes for very extended periods. Be it endurance, 24hr or adventure races, these guys love spending an enormous amount of time in the saddle, and as a result end up riding through the night more often than most. Add in some poor weather for which the north of England is famous, and we have a pretty demanding set of criteria for lighting on a bike.Buy Lights on
Rather than building lights in a shed, they have sourced the best components and construction they could find in Hong Kong and after winters of testing came to work with Sanguan to produce what they believe to be the best balance of power, quality and cost.
Fully waterproof to the IP66 standard, which is dust and water jet proof, everything is sealed up to keep things ticking over so you're not left in the dark. The model here is the K20 which promises 2000 lumens through a small 100g light with an external 4400mAh battery pack. It can be used as a bar or helmet mounted light, with the battery strapped to the frame, or dropping into a rucksack with plenty of cable length.
On The Trail
Used as a bar mounted light, the attachment is secured with either rubber straps or a plastic screw system to keep the unit secured. The battery has an easy to use Velcro strap to hold it firmly on the frame, stem or wherever is most convenient. The attachments all work perfectly well but lack the high-end feel of metal clamps and clip-in systems. To put the light on your helmet, a plastic mounting is strapped through vents with Velcro and then attached again using the same system from the bars. This is all totally functional and reliable but is a little fiddly arranging the velcro and getting the light centre, but once done, it could stay on indefinitely. Having used these systems for many years on headlamps, it is a reliable and very adjustable system.
Lighting power is available in 4 different modes at the press of the single top button on the unit, which itself will indicate low battery. The button is robust but lacks a solid click, which would be useful for cold, gloved hands to give a bit more feedback. Full power will give 3 hours of burn time, and low power will go for 20 hours, which has given me plenty of juice for a night out on the trails.
The lighting power is plentiful, providing a broad beam and good depth of field pushing far along the trail. Peripheral lighting isn't as good as other lights I’ve used, but this is only noticeable on the bars, and used as a helmet light provides serious power for when speeds or technicalities increase. I spent time with both bar and helmet mounts, each working well, but the latter has the faff of an external battery to be stashed in a pack which is great until you take your bag off and forget about the cable!
Bar mounted there is less of a problem, but the addition of a coiled (old telephone style) wire would give a bit of stretch to the cable system and not require wraps around the frame. I used the K20 on my helmet combined with its sibling the N2200 on the bars, to create a powerful set up for technical riding, 2000 lumens on bar and helmet is a lot of light.
The price has to be mentioned as these come in under £100, which isn't a lot of money in the world of lights, and being able to buy two for the price of more expensive options will be tempting for many riders. 12 months warranty is standard, and replacement batteries are readily available too, another advantage of external battery packs.
With Ebay full of 'too good to be true', super cheap lights, perhaps these lights offer the balance for the budget conscious nightrider. Quality, reliable lighting at a good price, they don't offer high-end, swanky features and have pretty basic mounting hardware, but at this price, you can't really argue. If you don't mind the battery pack, the K20 is a great way of putting serious power on your head.Buy Lights on
This review was in Issue 44 of IMB.For more information visit Mapdec Cycle Works
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.