Dorcy Hawkeye Light…

Dorcy Hawkeye...

Dorcy Hawkeye…

Dorcy sent me their $55USD Hawkeye LED bike light to review. Unfortunately we’ve reached the time of year in Canada where to get truly dark conditions you have to be up between 11pm – 5am. I am usually in bed early and not getting up at 3am to test a bike light! So I figured I would post some initial thoughts now until I get an opportunity to do some proper testing come the fall.

As shipped...

As shipped…

I’ve had some goofy requests for reviews these last few months and not gone through with any until now. What got me interested in this product was the claim it had a vertical cut off so that it didn’t shine a powerful beam of light into the eyes of on coming riders, peds and drivers. That’s a rare, but very important feature in a bike light so I decided it was worth checking out if this light delivered on that.

Not lightweight!

Not lightweight!

The first thing you notice when you pick up the Hawkeye is that it isn’t small or light. It’s over half a pound and quite bulky – 12cm x 8cm x 4cm.

The parts...

The parts…

The metal body of the light comes our of the bike bar mount easily and is quite attractive. If I was selling this light I would throw away the bulky and ugly bike mount and use a simple o-ring mount to attach the metal light body directly to the bars. It would be lighter, cleaner and more pleasing to look at.

Optics...

Optics…

One nice feature of this light is that it can be used as a flashlight off the bike.

Power button...

Power button…

The power button on the rear of the unit is easy to use with gloves on and cycles between On-Flash-Off modes. Flashing bike lights are evil so don’t use that mode! 😉

Ready for action...

Ready for action…

The bike mount will attach to any handle bar and is easy to use.

From the Dorcy product page...

From the Dorcy product page…

 The graphic above from Dorcy’s website shows what they see as the benefit of their lights’ beam vs. the typical spot LED bike lights being sold.

Dorcy light beam...

Dorcy light beam…

The Hawkeye does deliver a rectangular light pattern as advertised. Reasonably wide and with a vertical cutoff. It also throws some light down on the road closer to the light for dodging potholes. I’m standing ~16′ away from the side of the building.

Planet Bike Blaze 2W light...

Planet Bike Blaze 2W light…

I had a PB Blaze 2W light handy for comparison that puts out a much tighter beam of light, is less bright and doesn’t have a vertical cut off so you put as much light up into the trees and into people’s eyes as you do down on the road. I have faced a lot of these lights on my dark commutes and they are blinding.

Another view...

Another view…

At first glance it seems to be a decent option for a commuter bike light. I’ll put it through its paces and compare it to Sharon’s B&M Ixon IQ battery powered light and see how it compares. You’ll have to wait a few months for that to happen. At the moment it’s light out pretty much any time I’m likely to be on a bike! 🙂

 

 

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Bell Super Helmet Review

Holy sexy helmet! ;)

Holy sexy helmet! 😉

The Bell Super is one of the new breed of “enduro” style helmets that seem to be popping up in every brand’s lineup. The idea is to provide more head coverage and protection for riders who are attacking the downs, but who also have to pedal uphill and don’t want to be encumbered with full face DH helmets.

 The Super meets that goal with more helmet at the rear of the head and over the ears than what you would have seen a couple years ago from a typical mountain bike lid. It has some interesting features like a dedicated GoPro mount that’s detachable and a large adjustable visor that is big enough to really block out the sun or protect your eyes from rain.

Large on left and medium on right...

Large on left and medium on right…

 The sizing runs a bit large on these helmets so it’s worth trying on before you buy and if you are between sizes I’d recommend going for the smaller one. I typically wear a L/XL and the large Super just fits me with the retention system as tight as it will go and the medium is a much better fit.  It has an easy to adjust fit system with a retention dial at the back you can tweak with gloves on. The padding is two-piece and is removable for washing. The Super fits my big head really well and comes down low on all sides for great coverage. If you have a smaller than average melon you might find it comes down too low – particularly at the brow and ear.

Visor up...

Visor up…

I’ve been using this helmet during the winter months so testing out its venting performance is going to have to wait until summer. The Super has a lot of vents (something like 25) and I think it will be great for our climate since crazy hot days are rare.

 The fit and finish quality is excellent. It looks well-constructed and up to the task of being trashed on the trails. The Super looks more burly than a XC helmet, but Bell has kept the bulk in check so it does look like you are riding around with a styrofoam cooler on your head. 😉 You can buy the Super in white, black, black with white stripe, bright green and red. Most of the colours look good, but I think the red is fairly dull looking like it’s been in the sun too long.

Retention mechanism...

Retention mechanism…

 If you are a goggle user the Super was designed to interface with them and there is room to push the goggles up under the visor when you are climbing. If want to remove the visor Bell includes a set of goggle guides that mount on the sides to keep your goggle straps in place. I haven’t tried the Super with goggles so I won’t comment, but it works fine with sunglasses.

 All this coverage comes with a bit of a weight penalty. The large Super weighs 414g or nearly 100g more than some of its competition. However, the Super fits so well on my head that I would have guessed it was on the lighter end of the enduro helmet spectrum so I wouldn’t let the extra grams turn you off.

Large on left and medium on right...

Large on left and medium on right…

 As far as protection value the Super is CE EN1078 and CPSC Bicycle certified and the excellent coverage bodes well for your head should you crash. Sharon suggested I pedal into a brick wall on my bike to test out the Super, but I declined. My interest in bicycle journalism only goes so far! 😉

 With a MSRP of $125USD the Super is a reasonable value and priced in line with its peers.

Super Padding...

Super Padding…