iconsiconsiconsicons

A couple of years ago I was talked into putting a 24-hour team together for the last race in Whistler. A bunch of friends had done it the previous two years and I had been on standby both times and luckily hadn’t had to pull the trigger. Having never done one before I didn’t really know what to expect, but the race went through my favourite XC loop in Whistler, Lost Lake’s Zappa trails, called so because they all the individual trails are named after Frank Zappa songs. Feeling confident because the trails also happen to be in my backyard I felt pretty good out on the first lap around 4pm, but when it was my time to go again 6 hours later it all went to crap.

It had started to rain, heavily, and the temperature was dropping by the minute. About half way through I managed to miss shift in the midst of a somewhat tight technically section and snap went my chain. Not only did it break, but in spectacular fashion with twisted links on each side. That was when the battery for my lights died.

I don’t think I have done anything harder than finishing that lap, in the dark driving rain with single digit Celsius temperature. I would have to pedal slowly waiting for someone to catch up to me, and then take off hot on their heels trying to steal glimpses of the trail ahead with what their light was showing. From that point forth I decreed that I would never buy crap lights ever again.

Back in the early nineties I had a set of dual pod lights with a water bottle based battery. Weighting more than a current set of wheels those lights were good for almost 2 hours of night riding in before they would burn out and leave me riding home in pale yellowy light.

Oh but how the times have changed. I recently got my hands on three different models of lights from BLT and they are better than ever. One thing that I noticed while riding in the 24 hours of adrenaline was that it was way easier to see where you are going when the light is attached to your helmet.

 

Ozone 21

The Ozone model was the first model that I tried out. Weighing in at a measly 170g with batteries, it’s 4w high powered LED is the equivalent to a 21w halogen bulb. It uses 2 CR123 lithium batteries (similar to a camera battery), which came in the kit. It also featured helmet mount as well as handlebar so that you could interchange it between the two. The body of the Ozone is made from machined aluminum and feels very strong and has a simple push button on-off switch at the back of the unit, which was easy to operate with gloves on. I found the beam to be quite focused, with a maximum width of about 9°. The battery is said to last for up to 4 hours, but I haven’t worn it out yet.

BLT Ozone.

Opinion: Great helmet or handlebar mounted light that can take a crash or two.

Plus: Light at 170 gr, strong light beam. Great burn time. (4h)
Minus: Non rechargable batteries
MSRP: $110 cdn / usd
Website: http://www.blt-lights.com/product/headlights/ozone/

Rating: 4/5

 

Triton T4

The Triton T4 features the same 4w high Power LED as its sister the Ozone with the equivalent output of 21w halogen but this time the beam was 12.6° resulting in a much more softer beam. The weight was slightly higher at 230g and featured the same double mounts as the Ozone. The Triton T4 package did include a batteries & a charger, which was a nice touch.

BLT Triton T4.

Opinion: Good light that had a wider field of view than the Ozone.

Plus: Lightish at 230 gr, tough cast aluminum body, rechargable batteries & charger included!
Minus: Light burn time is 3ish hours.
MSRP: $160 cdn / usd
Website: http://www.blt-lights.com/product/headlights/triton/

Rating: 4/5

 

FireWire 4.0

The major difference between the Firewire 4.0 and the other two models is that the firewire 4.0 uses 4 standard AA batteries, which are held within a machined aluminum “stick”. This stick can be mounted underneath the top tube on your bike with the supplied mounting kit, or you can get a helmet mount separately.

Of the three I disliked the Firewire the most. The light featured the same 4w high power LED but this time it was equivalent to a 15w halogen with a 12.6° beam. Weighing in at 225g it wasn’t the heaviest, but the form factor of the unit being more spread out made it feel much larger.

BLT Firewire 4.0

Opinion: If you want to have a bike mounted light that can take standard batteries, this is the one for you.

Plus: Lightish at 225 gr, machined aluminum body, takes AA batteries.
Minus: Size
MSRP: $150 cdn / usd
Website: http://www.blt-lights.com/product/headlights/firewire/

Rating: 4/5

 

What is your favourite light set? Talk back here