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Thread: Review: Nextorch B10 Bike light (4xAA)

  1. #1
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    Default Review: Nextorch B10 Bike light (4xAA)

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's Statement for Transparency and Disclosure
    The test sample/s featured in this article have been provided for technical testing and review by the manufacturer. Test samples are retained by the reviewer following publication of the completed review for the purposes of long term testing and product comparisons.

    All output figures and test results published in this review are the sole work of the reviewer, and are carried out independently and without bias. Test results are reported as found, with no embellishments or alteration. Though best endeavours are made to maintain the accuracy of test equipment, the accuracy of these results is not guaranteed and is subject to the test equipment functioning correctly.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Though it is not what Nextorch are best known for, they do have a very capable bike light in their range. Meet the B10 and its shaped beam.





    Taking a more detailed look:


    The B10 comes in a ‘Try It’ type of cardboard blister pack. These always slightly concern me as it means the light is ‘powered up’ while on the shelf and you don’t know what state the batteries will be in.




    First to emerge is the B10 itself with its rubber handlebar strap.




    Opening up the compartment in the box (which has the reflective surface for the ‘Try It’ effect), you find two spare rubber handlebar straps and the instructions.




    On top of the sleek aluminium body is a single button.




    A thumbscrew secures the back plate battery cover in place.




    With the battery cover removed you can see the locator pins in the battery cover and the gold plated connection strips. Also visible is the physical reverse polarity protection provided by plastic tabs preventing a negative cell terminal touching some of the contacts.




    Cell polarity is marked inside each of the four battery slots.




    The B10’s body is divided into two sections each holding 2xAA. The contacts are springs.




    The B10 is not a great deal bigger than the 4xAA it houses.




    A first look at the B10’s optic. From this angle you can just make out the XP-G2 LED behind the lens.




    A different angle showing how curved the lens is.




    Looking right into the optic, the XP-G2 LED is a bit clearer. The optic is an asymmetric ellipse shape.





    The beam

    Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.
    The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball "Off-White", and the walls are a light sandy colour called 'String' again by Farrow & Ball. I don't actually have a 'white wall' in the house to use for this, and the wife won't have one!



    Starting indoors, the highly shaped beam is obvious. The bright band does project upwards compared to the body of the light, so when mounted will need to be angled down somewhat on the handlebars.

    This beam shape gives a lower spill to light the ground and very little light above the bright band. This will be excellent for reduced glare for other road users.




    Outdoors, the beam is limited in range due to the extreme shaping and limited output. Please bear in mind that this position is elevated so the ground effect is not showing.





    Modes and User Interface:

    The B10 has a simple set of modes, Low, Medium, High and Flashing.

    To switch the B10 ON press and hold the button for 1s. It will switch onto Low regardless of the last used mode.
    When ON pressing the switch cycles through Low, Medium, High, Low.
    To switch OFF press and hold the button for 1s.

    (Though Nextorch call the flashing mode a ‘strobe’, in my view the slow flash used as a visibility aid for cycling is a ‘flash’, not strobe.)

    To access Flashing mode, from ON or OFF press and hold the button for 5s. If the B10 was OFF, it first turns onto Low, then enters Flashing mode. When Flashing mode is initiated there is a brief strobe before the flash rate slows to 0.85Hz.

    To exit Flashing, either press once to get to Low mode, or press and hold for 1-2s to switch the B10 OFF.



    Batteries and output:

    The B10 runs on 4x AA, Alkaline or NiMh.

    To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

    Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

    ___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
    Nextorch B10 using Alkaline AAs I.S. measured ANSI output Lumens PWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
    ___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
    High 428 0
    Medium 241 0
    Low 86 0
    Flashing 425 0.85

    * Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.

    Peak Beam intensity measured 1500lx @1m giving a beam range of 77m.

    There is parasitic drain at 2uA meaning typical Alkaline AAs will be fully depleted by this drain in 108 years (not to worry then).

    When running on Alkaline cells the B10 is nothing to write home about, but that is the cells, not the light.

    Load it up with Eneloops and the B10 can do what it was meant for. A well-regulated 400lm output for nearly 1h30m with 15 minutes of trailing off is very useful.





    Troubleshooting

    This is a new section I am adding to mention any minor niggles I came across during testing, in case the information helps anyone else.

    No issues were encountered during testing.

    As per the description of this section, this information is provided in case anyone else finds a similar 'issue' that might be fixed in the same way.



    The Nextorch B10 in use

    Unfortunately due to a persistent shoulder injury, I have been prevented from testing the B10 as much as I would have liked before completing the review. This has also prevented me from getting some on-the-road/trail beamshots which I would normally include for a bike light review. As I’m not expected to be fit to ride again for several months I’m publishing what I can.

    Before the injury prevented it, I did get in several long rides with the B10 over varied terrain and both on and off road, so do have a good sense of its strengths and weaknesses.

    Mounting the B10 is simple but can be a little fiddly due to limited space between the mount’s ‘hook’ and the light body. This is helped a lot by the tab moulded into the end of the strap that gives you something to get hold of.




    The strap is ladder-like and has four ‘rungs’ that allow you to adjust it to four different lengths to suit different handlebars.




    The mount is articulated allowing you to turn it from side to side to suit.




    Thanks to being self-contained, the B10 is neat and doesn’t take up much space on the bars.



    A really quick assessment of the B10 is that it is more of a light to ‘be seen by’ than to ‘see by’.

    On the road it is excellent, providing fill light in street lit areas and glare free light for other road users to see you by. Being so easy to fit and remove means that urban riding and locking the bike up is not a chore as you can quickly take it off when leaving the bike. The Flashing mode is not aggressive but very visible, much better than the strobe used on many other bike lights.

    Proper off-road it just doesn’t have enough light, but this is not what it is designed for. On unlit trails the beam shaping works very well, and there is sufficient light to make it usable at lower speeds. I found that between 10-15mph it was getting uncomfortable, and over 15mph ‘exciting’ in the wrong way. So if caught out with only the B10 on unlit trails you can get home, just a bit slower than you might like.

    Though it looked odd in the beamshots, the beam shaping does work well. It creates a very wide hotspot so you get light spread out across the trail, and the spill directed downwards gives you visibility of the ground around your front wheel.

    Being powered by 4xAA it is easy to feed and will run on Alkaline cells if you really have to. A real benefit over rechargeable bike lights being that you can carry a spare set of cells and swap them out as required. I’d much rather this than rely on a single set of batteries.

    The B10 is a compact, moderate output light and works very well round town. I’ve been carrying it as a backup light when going into unlit areas (where I use bigger lights) and as a regular hop-on-hop-off light for short journeys to the shops. A really handy light with good beam shaping for its intended purpose.


    Review Summary

    _______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
    Things I like What doesn't work so well for me
    _______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
    Dedicated ‘shaped beam’ for cycling Mount can be fiddly due to lack of space
    Regulated 400lm output on NiMh Not enough power for unlit areas
    Compact
    Easy to feed with AAs
    Excellent ‘be seen’ light




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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Review: Nextorch B10 Bike light (4xAA)

    reserved for updates...

    Please feel free to ask questions, give feedback or comments.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Review: Nextorch B10 Bike light (4xAA)

    I like but why is it that 400 lumens is not enough for unlit areas? Is it the shape of the beam? I've been getting by with 200-300 lumens

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Review: Nextorch B10 Bike light (4xAA)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Floppy View Post
    I like but why is it that 400 lumens is not enough for unlit areas? Is it the shape of the beam? I've been getting by with 200-300 lumens
    A good discussion point, thanks.

    The beam shape might be part of it, but not all of it. The beam does put the light where you need it with the ground lit near you and the main strength of the beam forward far enough to give you reasonable visibility. However the lack of light above the brightest part of the beam might be causing the effect I've noticed.

    The unlit trails I ride are quite twisty and 50% tree lined. It means that I need light on the trees so I can spot branches sticking out at head height. The B10 doesn't do this well, and this may be the main reason I start to feel uncomfortable when picking up speed.

    However 200-300 I'd never be happy with. To be able to ride normally on the downhill sections I need 800+ lumens. The uphill sections, well in some places a candle would do!
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Review: Nextorch B10 Bike light (4xAA)

    Thanks for introducing such a nice back light. It looks like a camera very much. But I don't like battery for its unsustainable and not environmentally friendly.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Review: Nextorch B10 Bike light (4xAA)

    Quote Originally Posted by candle0301 View Post
    Thanks for introducing such a nice back light. It looks like a camera very much. But I don't like battery for its unsustainable and not environmentally friendly.
    Why do you say that when it runs best on rechargeable NiMh AAs?
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Review: Nextorch B10 Bike light (4xAA)

    It seems like someone will have to come up with a light with a high beam ...

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