Tour (German bicycling magazine): Bicycle lighting article in issue 1 of 2011

On 25 December 2010 I read a posting on the IBC forums ( by a Gregor/'Thunderbird' (I suppose this is Gregor Arndt) referring to a test by Tour. On Supernova's website the following PDF can be found: Tour 2011-1 lighting test, extract by Supernova. I had already got this PDF a day or so earlier from someone else. My first comments in an email on 25-12-2010 described the problems I immediately spotted in this article, and in my lambasting of Supernova and Gregor/'Thunderbird' on the forum on 26-12-2010 I criticized more or less the same issues. Extract from my first email:

I think I can make out the contenders for the dyno arena as: Cyo, Philips SLD, Edelux?, E3 pro, Trelock (LS 885?)

- The trelock LS 885 is not rotated correctly for maximum throw. Because of this the beam is way too short and thus far too intense in the near field on their picture. This makes the throw look very short which it isn't.
- Ditto for the Cyo
- Philips looks ok, but I think it looks too dim. My experiments clearly show it's at least as bright as the E3 pro in most positions on the road.
- If picture 3 is the Edelux they really didn't do a good job of pointing that properly either.

- They say: "Bestnoten erhielten die hellsten Scheinwerfer mit den homogensten und breitesten Lichtprofilen", i.e. the highest marks were given to the brightest lamps with the most homogenous and widest beams.

So, how did they make the E3 pro the winner when its beam is (in reality if not their pictures) dimmer than that of the Philips? The beam is wider, yes, but in most cases wide where it's of no use.

I'm not impressed!

Ditto for the beamshot of the LED bike light and Airstream. Did they switch the LBL on in low mode? Those beamshots can't be right. It doesn't even look better than the first picture which I presume is the Ixon IQ.

You know, I was right with my commentary that placed on my website since 2008. Reviews in magazines are worthless...

The Trelock lamp was of course not the 885 as that allows light from the lens to go upwards (and that doesn't show in the beamshot).

Critical review of the article in Tour

I now (31-12-2010) have the 2011-1 issue of Tour and thus the complete review and I will elaborate on various problems in this review of their review.

The names of the lamps being reviewed aren't stated in the PDF one can download from the Supernova website, so I'll name them here. The pictures in the PDF are in the same order, from left to right. The 5 dynamo lamps are:

  1. Busch & Müller: IQ Cyo T
  2. Philips: Saferide LED dynamo
  3. Schmidt: Edelux
  4. Supernova: E3 pro StVZO
  5. Trelock: LS 875

The 5 battery powered lamps are:

  1. Busch & Müller: Ixon IQ speed (50 lux)
  2. M-Wave: M1 (also known as the Dosun M1 but for some reason these lamps are known as (or sold as) M-Wave in Germany)
  3. Philips: LED bike light (80 lux, actually measured at about 95 lux IIRC, and measured at 270-291 lumen "out the front")
  4. Supernova: Airstream, StVZO version (supposedly 305 lumen, not taking into account losses in the lens, electronics, nor deviations from the datasheet so somewhere around 220 lumen is more likely)
  5. Sigma: Pava

They start with some fluff such as that the LED is smaller than a matchstick head, but it lights for 100,000 hours while a matchstick head only lights for about 6 seconds. What a load of rubbish! A matchstick head contains its own power supply for making the light, whereas the LED doesn't. Then they give some pseudo scientific talk about how the energy is converted into photons "which are observed as light". Observed as light? Photons are light. Making any (mostly philosophical) distinction is nonsensical in the context of an non-scientific article. This shows you they don't know what they are talking about.

They say they tested each lamp on a 50 km testride. I'm not sure if that was a single ride as it appears from their wording, or multiple, but let me give you some perspective on how I test: I test many, many times and 50 km in the dark is the minimum I do in a week with a lamp I'm testing, and I test for many weeks. I general I test at least ca. 300 km in the dark before giving a final verdict on the lamp's beam.

Testing many different times is needed because you should get accustumed to the lamp's beam (after which you will tend to watch for all kinds of details in the beam), and you may think of something during a ride, or after a ride, which you want to examine on another ride, e.g. by setting the lamp slightly differently, or you may want to examine whether a lamp is better suited than another on specific types of road, etc. This means you also need to select the test course depending on what you want to test. Something else that's important after having been accustomed to a beam is to switch between using that lamp and another lamp which really points out some deficiences quickly which could normally get annoying and thus noticed only after a long time. Finally, you really should test under various circumstances (at least: Dry roads + wet roads). So, while 50 km may sound like a lot, it's actually very little.

Then they criticize the manufacturers apart from Supernova because of the lamp mounts which are not suitable for road bikes. This is insane! Note that Tour was always road bike oriented, but other stuff such as dynamo lighting and dynamos does appear, and did appear in the 1990s as well. But those lamps that don't come with a handlebar mount (i.e. most of the dynamo lamps) are in particular meant for travel and daily use bikes, not road bikes. If you want a handlebar mount, buy one! (Such as the one from Riese & Müller, that they mention themselves). If you don't buy a Supernova lamp you'll have plenty of money left to buy such a mount. Also, the handlebar mount with the rubber band from Supernova sucks: With small shocks the lamp already rotates a little around the handlebar messing up the angle you set it at (and that angle is critical for headlamps with cut-off). Why did they not notice that?

In the table with comments and specifications for the lamps, they say the handlebar mount for the Philips LBL is for ∅ 26mm handlebars, but it's suited for 21-32 mm using the various rubber inserts as clearly stated in the instructions... How incompetent was that reviewer for not noticing you can take out the rubber inserts, and for not reading the instructions? Answers on a postcard please to the Tour competition address! (evil grin)

Of the Cyo T they say it is without competition w.r.t. features and operation. What a load of rubbish again. What do those daylight LEDs add? And let me tell you about the rear knob: It's very hard to tell in which position it is (especially when mounted on the fork crown), so operation is definitely not without competition. I don't even see a mention (never mind criticism) of the colour of those daylight LEDs nor of the annoyance they give to oncoming cyclists.

The price of the lamps isn't included in the valuation...



Worthless review. I expect we can see more advertisements from Busch & Müller and Supernova this year in Tour in exchange for these favourable valuations? I'm no longer even considering wasting a second of my time on future editions of this magazine...

The Tour people should make note of the following proverb by Ah-Q:

Bicycle lighting and enlightenment are related concepts indeed, we all need illumination :)

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