Latest LEDs (2009 ASO)
LED technology continues to march forward, and with it we have yet another batch of brand new lights to review!
AyUp V4 Adventure Kit $500
AyUp Lighting Systems (07) 3869 1251 / www.ayup.com.au
AyUp lights have taken the MTB world by storm, both inAustraliaand overseas. Their combination of minimal weight, simplicity and value has won many fans but AyUp hasn’t rested on their laurels.
While they may look the same, the review lights are part of the brand new 09 AyUp range that has just been launched. All of the new kits come in a robust waterproof plastic case with a carry handle. There are three kits on offer, ranging from the single light ‘V-Twin Sports’ at $290, to the $930 ‘V-8 Explorer’ which contains enough gear to fully equip two people.
We tested the mid-range ‘V-4 Adventure’ kit. It roughly compares with the ‘08 MTB’ kit that we reviewed last year but at $500 it costs around $100 more. The price hike isn’t hard to justify when you see the extra gear that comes inside the plastic hard case. As with the 08 kit you get two light units, three batteries, twin battery charger, a car charger and an assortment of spares. In addition to this you now get a neat headband that converts a light into a hands free head torch. A lighter and simpler ‘Gecko’ helmet mount now comes as standard and you get two red ‘Saxon’ light covers that allow you to convert one unit into a super-bright tail light for commuting.
The big news is that AyUp has boosted their light output and added a low beam to extend their runtimes. In a side-by-side comparison, the new lights are clearly brighter than before—around 25% more light at a guess. This additional brightness hasn’t compromised the runtimes and you’ll still get three hours on high beam with the small battery and six hours with the larger one. The new low beam isn’t as bright as the old single mode version but it bumps the battery life up to six and 12 hours respectively. AyUp has also added a flashing commuter mode which works well when mounted as a tail light with the Saxon covers in place.
As always, I like the minimalist weight of the AyUp lights. One helmet mounted unit weighs only 156g with the Gecko mount and battery, or you can put the tiny battery in your pocket and just have the 66g light on your head. While this is great, I’m still not a fan of the mounting hardware—the cable tie mounted handlebar bracket is a semi-permanent affair unless you want to continuously eat your way thought cable ties. The Gecko mount may be removable but you’ll need to have around eight Velcro tabs permanently stuck to your helmet. It may be a little anal but I don’t like having light brackets and bits dangling from my bike when I’m not out on a night ride.
Even with the increased light output, there are still plenty of lights out there that pump out more light with cleaner and tidier beam patterns. The real key with the AyUp is that the light is split between your handlebars and helmet. Neither puts out a massive amount of light but the combined spread, along with the ability to independently direct the beams, means that one $500 kit is all you really need to hit the trail with confidence. There’s a lot to be said for running both bar and helmet lights and AyUp delivers this for a price that’s hard to beat. With the additional features they’re likely to be more popular than ever.
Ay-up: A narrow light spread with a few rings around the edges but the handlebar/helmet-mounted combination helps it outperform individual lights with better beam patterns.