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Enlightened ... Smart R1 - 1 watt Rear LED Light

jonnyboy77jonnyboy77 Posts: 547
edited December 2010 in Commuting general
Unsolicited review ...

I bought one of these from Wiggle last week and I'm very impressed so far, I was using a Knog rear and an older generic Smart LED rear but felt that as the light was fading they were less visible than I'd like. The R1 is very bright, has flashing, steady or group ride mode - the use of 1 very bright LED and two accompanying LEDs:

LAM317RL1-med.jpg

Here's a quick video I shot this morning of the R1 in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plSJk3wlwck&hd=1

I was split between buying this or the Nite Rider Cherry Bomb, I opted for this mainly based on cost and past positive experience with Smart lights.

Here's the link to Wiggle: http://www.wiggle.co.uk/smart-lunar-r1-rear-light/

I have coupled the Smart R1 with a set of Electron Terra 2 lights and a Smart Polaris 7 at the front (I like the backup of the Smart front light and the fact it can be quickly detached and used as a torch if required).

Thanks

Jon
Commuting between Twickenham <---> Barbican on my trusty Ridgeback Hybrid - url=http://strava.com/athletes/125938/badge]strava[/url
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Posts

  • hatbeardhatbeard Posts: 1,087
    I run two of these on the back of my rack and use my crappy cateye set to flashing as a backup.

    was a bit worried about them being too blinding for cars immediately behind so I have them set quite low and try not to angle them too far upwards, which probably defeats the point but for the £12 odd i paid for each of them they're very good vfm.
    Hat + Beard
  • richkrichk Posts: 583
    yes, but is it waterproof?
    There is no secret ingredient...
  • richk wrote:
    yes, but is it waterproof?

    I haven't had chance to find out, but I will let you know. First inspections show a good seal around the light unit, I am tempted to pull a zip tie around the casing to ensure a good close fit at all times.

    - Jon
    Commuting between Twickenham <---> Barbican on my trusty Ridgeback Hybrid - url=http://strava.com/athletes/125938/badge]strava[/url
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    richk wrote:
    yes, but is it waterproof?

    No, it's not. Mine has already malfunctioned in the rain. Works again once dried out but goes on and off at random when it rains. Smart still don't seem to abe to sort that issue. People here have suggested rubbing Vaseline round the rubber seal, I might have to try that...

    I like the brightness but Smart lights have consistently had this problem - I've had 3 or 4 of them and they're all susceptible...
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • richk wrote:
    yes, but is it waterproof?

    No, it's not. Mine has already malfunctioned in the rain. Works again once dried out but goes on and off at random when it rains. Smart still don't seem to abe to sort that issue. People here have suggested rubbing Vaseline round the rubber seal, I might have to try that...

    I like the brightness but Smart lights have consistently had this problem - I've had 3 or 4 of them and they're all susceptible...

    My older Smart rear light has ridden through torrential rain with no sign of issues, I'll keep an eye out for this on the R1, some form of grease may help aorund the seal, along with a zip tie to keep the casing held together.

    I've read of similar water ingress issues with a lot of these types of light, I suspect due mainly to keeping the cost down.

    - Jon
    Commuting between Twickenham <---> Barbican on my trusty Ridgeback Hybrid - url=http://strava.com/athletes/125938/badge]strava[/url
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,014
    People here have suggested rubbing Vaseline round the rubber seal, I might have to try that.....

    That'd likely be me! Has worked for me but effectiveness may depend on other factors - eg if you insist on riding without full mudguards, the light will certainly have a lot more water thrown at it.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    Rolf F wrote:
    People here have suggested rubbing Vaseline round the rubber seal, I might have to try that.....

    That'd likely be me! Has worked for me but effectiveness may depend on other factors - eg if you insist on riding without full mudguards, the light will certainly have a lot more water thrown at it.

    Yes I think it was you! You're probably right about the mudguard thing but I never had problems with Cat Eye lights in the rain with no mudguards. I wish we could combine Cat Eye reliability with Smart brightness and price...
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • Mr PlumMr Plum Posts: 1,097
    I've been using the Smart R2 for about 3 weeks and it's great. I've had the kidney shaped 1/2 Smart Bspoke rear light for over a year and it hasn't faltered at all - regarding waterproofing, I've ridden in some shocking weather and it's been fine, even accidental dropped it in the sink when I was giving it a clean and it still works like the day I bought it. I'm genuinely surprised to hear that there are waterproofing issues with the R1.
    FCN 2 to 8
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I have the old Smart lights - and they've been great for me. I bought the new one and its let water in, not even on a wet day.

    I dried it out in the week and gave it another go after treating the seals with vaseline. Seemed to be fine to begin with, but an hour into the ride - my mate told me it had gone off. It only came back on of its own accord when my bike was packed away later on....

    Its going back. It may be brighter than the old version, but less reliable in my experience.
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    cougie wrote:
    I have the old Smart lights - and they've been great for me. I bought the new one and its let water in, not even on a wet day.

    I dried it out in the week and gave it another go after treating the seals with vaseline. Seemed to be fine to begin with, but an hour into the ride - my mate told me it had gone off. It only came back on of its own accord when my bike was packed away later on....

    Its going back. It may be brighter than the old version, but less reliable in my experience.

    Yes I was on the verge of sending mine back but I think I might stick mudguards on the bike over winter so hopefully that will help protect it a bit
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • AndyOgyAndyOgy Posts: 579
    I got a Blackburn Mars 3.0 a couple of years ago and I reckon it to be one of the best rear lights out there. I've since tried a couple of Cateyes and a Smart, like the one above, but the Blackburn shines the brightest and is 100% waterproof.

    However, they changed the design. Mine has 3 screws that need to be undone before removing the battery. The new one has a simple clip on battery cover, just like the Smart. I'm guessing that this won't be as waterproof.
  • cyberknightcyberknight Posts: 1,238
    I run one of those on the seatpost and i haven't had any problems with water, maybe because its under the seat and i have full guards + a rack.

    If you like them but are concerned about the cost of replacements what with water damage check these out, for about £2 you get practically the same light .
    I run it next to the smart and i cant say i can tell the difference.


    sku_35036_1.jpg

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.35036
    FCN 3/5/9
  • defflerdeffler Posts: 829
    Im running a R1 alongside the latest Blackburn Mars, both very bright. The Blackburn problies edges it on brightness & the fixing is more secure however the Smart R1 is easier to adjust the angle. Both excellent rear lights
    Boardman Hybrid Pro

    Planet X XLS
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    Snow this morning and regular as clockwork my Smart lights packed in...
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • Snow this morning and regular as clockwork my Smart lights packed in...

    Well, snow this morning and Smart R1 still going strong afterwards! Time will tell I guess :)

    Jon
    Commuting between Twickenham <---> Barbican on my trusty Ridgeback Hybrid - url=http://strava.com/athletes/125938/badge]strava[/url
  • Mr PlumMr Plum Posts: 1,097
    Snow this morning and regular as clockwork my Smart lights packed in...

    This must be isolated to the R1 (?). All 4 of my Smart lights have been going strong in all weather and it's not live treated them well - I've dropped them, submerged them in water, got them covered in mud, had crashes with them on, and they still work great.
    FCN 2 to 8
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    I run one of those on the seatpost and i haven't had any problems with water, maybe because its under the seat and i have full guards + a rack.

    If you like them but are concerned about the cost of replacements what with water damage check these out, for about £2 you get practically the same light .
    I run it next to the smart and i cant say i can tell the difference.


    sku_35036_1.jpg

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.35036

    Looking at the reviews it seems this light, however cheap, also packs up in the rain. I think the problem is that many bike lights are designed with the light leisure user in mind rather than hardcore commuting in heavy rain and snow come what may!
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    Mr Plum wrote:
    Snow this morning and regular as clockwork my Smart lights packed in...

    This must be isolated to the R1 (?). All 4 of my Smart lights have been going strong in all weather and it's not live treated them well - I've dropped them, submerged them in water, got them covered in mud, had crashes with them on, and they still work great.

    Nope, I've got 2 Smart low power rears which I bought for about £2.99 in a sale, both packed up in the rain and one never worked again even after drying out. I also have the Smart ½watt and Smart R1 and both have had issues when wet although have started working again once dried, however it's not good knowing that whilst in heavy traffic, in the dark, your rear light may have decided to take a break...
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • Mr PlumMr Plum Posts: 1,097
    I guess it's quite hit and miss then. Does sound like a pain in the censored though.
    FCN 2 to 8
  • squeelersqueeler Posts: 144
    Smart rear lights have been consistently the most weatherproof for me, apart from my Exposure Joystick but that's in another price bracket!

    Both the Cateye LD??? and Blackburn Mars didn't even last a month earlier this year. It's wierd how the same products perfom so differently with different peope?
  • I've no problem with my Smart 1/2 watt lights - provided they're on the winter bike with mudguards. If I use one on my summer bike and it rains, it stops flashing and goes to constant - and then I can't turn it off until it dries out.

    I lost an older unit on a cattle grid once. Since then I've slipped a rubber band around each one, securing it to the bracket - a small section of inner tube makes an excellent long-life rubber band. :wink:
  • cyberknightcyberknight Posts: 1,238
    I run one of those on the seatpost and i haven't had any problems with water, maybe because its under the seat and i have full guards + a rack.

    If you like them but are concerned about the cost of replacements what with water damage check these out, for about £2 you get practically the same light .
    I run it next to the smart and i cant say i can tell the difference.


    sku_35036_1.jpg

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.35036

    Looking at the reviews it seems this light, however cheap, also packs up in the rain. I think the problem is that many bike lights are designed with the light leisure user in mind rather than hardcore commuting in heavy rain and snow come what may!

    The seal is better than the smart and i have never had a problem with it, in fact the 1 time the smart needed drying out this kept going, sure if you run it on the seat stay and let c**p get to it then pretty much any light will fail.Like i said my lights on on the seat post + mudguards so my rear lights are out of most of the weather.
    FCN 3/5/9
  • Mr PlumMr Plum Posts: 1,097
    The seal is better than the smart and i have never had a problem with it, in fact the 1 time the smart needed drying out this kept going, sure if you run it on the seat stay and let c**p get to it then pretty much any light will fail.Like i said my lights on on the seat post + mudguards so my rear lights are out of most of the weather.

    Well this is what I don't really get - I don't use mudguards and have my 1/2W Smart on the seatpost, and it's been fine for over a year. It's the most problem-free light I've ever used.
    FCN 2 to 8
  • cyberknightcyberknight Posts: 1,238
    Mr Plum wrote:
    The seal is better than the smart and i have never had a problem with it, in fact the 1 time the smart needed drying out this kept going, sure if you run it on the seat stay and let c**p get to it then pretty much any light will fail.Like i said my lights on on the seat post + mudguards so my rear lights are out of most of the weather.

    Well this is what I don't really get - I don't use mudguards and have my 1/2W Smart on the seatpost, and it's been fine for over a year. It's the most problem-free light I've ever used.

    Its all down to luck i guess, mine did not pack up it just stayed on and that was cycling home doing the impression of a drowned rat, heck my front lights i had to take apart to get the water from behind the lenses it was that bad !
    FCN 3/5/9
  • I followed a bike with this light whilst driving the other night and it was BRIGHT! I was so impressed I had a good look at it at the traffic lights to see it was the Smart. I'm thinking of getting one if I've got room on my seatpost between my Mars 4.0 and Ld600.

    A random motorist stopped to ask me what my lights were recently too as he was impressed with the brightness. You can't go far wrong with any of these really.
  • bunterbunter Posts: 327
    my Smart Superflash worked great until last week when the plastic slot that the bracket fits into sheared away. Argh! light works fine but there is no way to fit it to the bike.

    Still, much better than the halfords rear LEDs I tried, which literally shattered if you looked at them funny (and I do... look... funny)
  • meh!

    the rsp astrum double 1/2watt is truely bonkers!

    there is a review here
  • I have the same problem. Its an awesome bright back light, but shitter than a bucket full of pigshit once things get wet. It's a good job I have my good old trusty revolution lights I got from Edinburgh Cycles
    Bianchi. There are no alternatives only compromises!
    I RIDE A KONA CADABRA -would you like to come and have a play with my magic link?
  • My cheap and cheerful lights kept failing in the wet, so now I wrap them in cling film. A single layer tightly applied doesn't effect the light output and the mounting brackets are still fine, but I no longer get water in the lights. Might be worth a try?
  • Run a little vaseline around the seal, or if feeling v.clever use some RTV/silicone sealant. Just use a thin smear and once set they will run underwater for days. I know, mine went in a bucket of water at work last summer to see how water proof I could get it. It lasted till the batteries ran out. :D That was with a 1/2 watt one, I'll be getting a couple of 1 watt
    jobbies soon though.
    '11 Cannondale Synapse 105CD - FCN 4
    '11 Schwinn Corvette - FCN 15?
    '09 Pitch Comp - FCN (why bother?) 11
    '07 DewDeluxe (Bent up after being run over) - FCN 8
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