Night riding is a very different beast and having the right light is key for both fun and safety after dark. Choosing the right light though, with all the lumens, watts, run-times, and battery standards can be confusing, however it is worth getting right as it will make a world of difference.
We recently tested the The Light & Motion Seca 1700 Race light and found it to be the prefect partner for your night time trail adventures.
Charging and set-up is a cinch. The handlebar mount was extremely simple to use however the excess cable (due to the cable being for both helmet and handlebar mounting) was a little more time consuming to find a home for. The helmet mount again was simple and the placement of the cable and battery, either in our packs our in our jersey pockey, was quick. The battery pack does have a nice clip that could be used to secure the battery to shorts or other locations.
We measured the high power run-time in a static test and it came in about 15 minutes above the advertised specifications of 1.5 hours. Heat and cold will effect this out on your trail rides but you can be assured it does measure up to specification. Additionally, if you use the light intelligently (by using Race mode) you will have no issues with most trail rides.
The Seca 1700 has some unique thinking about your needs and has two modes. ‘Cruise Mode’ is the standard setting where you cycle through high, medium, low, and flashing – all with a push of the button (however you do have to cycle through them sequentially). ‘Race Mode’ basically turns off the medium and flash settings and allows you to toggle through just high and low power. This is handy for quickly switching between low power (for climbs) and high power (for decents). Why not just keep it on high all the time? Well, the biggest advantage of adjusting power on the fly is increasing battery life, and unless you ride uphills like Dylan Cooper the low power is plenty enough to climb with.
Out on the dark trails of Stromlo Forest Park this light shone (pun intended). We were pleasantly surprised by not only how bright the light was, but also the beam width. Beam width (or spread) is important as it lets you see more of the trail and engages your peripheral vision. This makes night time riding feel more natural to the senses. Some narrow beam lights make you feel like you have tunnel vision, but not the Seca.
The 1700 lumens at full power were car headlight bright. We normally use two lights, one on the bars and the other helmet mounted, however we found the Seca was pretty perfect for most conditions just as a single bar mounted unit. The only time we were looking for a second light was in really tight consecutive corners, and even then a low powered option would have done the job.
We also rode in Race mode and found the low power setting was indeed plenty good enough for those slow grinding climbs.
The Seca 1700 is bright alright, but so are plenty of other mountain bike riding lights on the market. What should make the difference in your choice is all the other important things like run-time, charge time, adjustability, ease of installation and use, and cost. The Light & Motion Seca 1700 ticks pretty much all those boxes.
Finally, we feel that most riders and riding conditions would be fine with just the single unit. It would only be the super tight twisty trails where you may want a second light – and even then something less powerful would be fine.