Thursday, September 13, 2012

Running Light Reviews - Cyclops CYC-MHC-W Micro Mini LED and Pelican Mini Flasher 2130

Last winter, I really enjoyed running with eGear Guardian Strobe Lights. They were bright, reliable and seemed to clip to me in any number of ways. Unfortunately, "I cleaned up" one afternoon, and managed to put the strobe lights somewhere, though for the life of me, I couldn't imagine where. I knew the only way I'd ever find them again was if I went on to Amazon and ordered replacements.

As long as I was getting some new lights, I figured I might as well try out some other options. The Pelican Mini Flasher 2130, with it's multiple clips looked intriguing, as did the Cylops CYC-MHC-W Micro Mini Led hat clip light. So I went ahead and ordered these guys.

Naturally, two days after they arrived, I found my stash of Guardian Strobe lights. Still, it never hurts to try something new, right? Here's what I thought of each light.

Here's the lights for comparison's sake:

(That's the Cyclops, Pelican and finally the Guardian)

Pelican Mini Flasher 2130

I had high hopes for this guy. Pelican is a well known brand, and the clip configuration looked awfully impressive. Unfortunately, after only a few minutes, I realized it wasn't as a good a fit for me as the eGear lights. Having two different clip options is nice, but neither of them is as robust as the one on the Guardian. The Guardian also appeared to give off a brighter mulch-directional burst of light, so the exact positioning of it mattered less. I also like that the eGear can be switched into an always on light instead of just a strobe, simply by flipping over the batteries.

There may be scenarios (on a life jacket, perhaps?) where the Pelican is superior, but as far as I can tell, running isn't one of them. I'll stick with my Guardians.

Cyclops CYC-MHC-W Micro Mini Led Hat Clip

My experience with the Cyclops was almost the complete opposite of the Pelican. The first thing I noticed is just how light this guy is. It trivially clipped to my hat and I couldn't tell it was there. And with 5 LEDs, this guy is bright! The quality, especially considering this is a $6.00 item, is outstanding. The clicky on-off switch works well, and gives a reassuring click when you turn it off or on.

I've taken it on a couple of night runs so far, and it's definitely become one of my essentials (that and a whistle, of course). It makes running in the shadows of bridges and on dark bike trails a much pleasant experience, and I've got to think it makes me stand out to oncoming traffic (be it car, or bike).

I'm not much of a flashlight guy. When I go backpacking, I bring my favorite little Photon-X light keychain light. Anything else seems like overkill. In fact, I'm usually the guy complaining about folks turning on lights and ruining my night vision. But, given the tiny size of the Cylcops and the convenience, it may just have to tag along on my next trip. I could clip one to the bill of my hat and probably not even notice it was there.

This guy is a winner.

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