|With the growing popularity of mountain biking comes more and more cool accessories for our bikes. People have been riding bikes at night for years but now it seems there are more and more options when it comes to lighting up the trail ahead of you. With today’s faster paced and more aggressive riding comes the need for a headlight that will shine bright and keep you on the trail rather than in a ditch. This is where a quality light that offers high performance and light weight comes into play.
Cygolite has been making bike lighting products for some time now and offers a wide variety of lights to suit just about anyone’s need. If you are looking for a nice midrange light that gets the job done then you may want to check out the Cygolite Expilion 700 USB. This light offers good performance and a low price and comes with some nice features. One of the best parts about this light is that the battery is part of the light itself getting rid of the need to have an external battery pack wired to the light. And even with the battery included as part of the light it still weighs in at only 140 grams.
The Cygolite Expilion 700 has 5 brightness settings and 3 special settings with different battery life time and they include:
- High - 2:20 hours
- Medium - 3:15 hours
- Boost – 1:30 hours
- Low - 9:00 hours
- SteadyPulse - 4:00
- Day Flash - 22:00 hours
When it comes to light brightness, it’s all about the lumens and the Expilion has 700 lumens which is a decent amount for a bike light but not nearly as much as the higher end lights. The light shines through a single LED bulb. 700 lumens is enough for most people and it lights up the trail fairly well but does so in a round light pattern and the light is focused directly in front of you. If you are looking for a wider spectrum of light you may want to go for a dual lens light setup.
Battery life is good and you can see the numbers above which vary on what mode you are in. As stated the battery is part of the unit so there is no external battery pack needed. The battery is removable which allows you to have a spare battery charged and ready to go for longer rides. Charging time is 5 hours and it can be done via a USB connection or wall outlet. One thing we didn’t like is that it defaults to low when you first turn it on. So if you left it on high the last time you used it and expected it to be on high the next time you turn it on then you will be out of luck.
Mounting options include a handlebar mount as well as a helmet mount. The mounts are pretty secure and the light does not bounce around while riding off road. We have found that it’s best to use the handlebar mount since it keeps the light in front of you in the same place at all times. If you really want to light things up you can get another light for your helmet and use two of them at the same time which is highly recommended because it’s hard to see around corners when your bike is facing one way and you are looking another.
Overall the Cygolite Expilion 700 is a nice product for someone who needs basic trail lighting or street riding light. If you plan to do more aggressive or faster riding like downhill or rocky terrain then you may want to go with a brighter light that will shine father down the trail and wider off to the sides to make sure you don’t ride over or into something you don’t want to. Still at around $120 it’s a good light for the money so it’s definitely worth checking out.
Check out this video of the Cygolite Expilion 700 in action in a couple of different environments. The video doesn’t show how well it works but gives you an idea of the light pattern it puts off.
This video shows the Cyglolite on a trail ride with a lower setting. On part of the ride we pointed the light more towards the ground which made visibility much worse ahead of you. We didn’t realize the light was on low until after the ride was over. It lights up the trail brighter and the pattern is wider than how it appears in the video.