REVIEW: Specialized Flux Expert Bicycle Headlight - Photo Intensive

PowerCandle

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Jan 19, 2015
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Modifications possible?

I just bought the Flux Expert (and registered here) but as a Philips SafeRide user i am not as impressed as i thought i'd be for 4x money. Beam is brighter but not as wide as the Philips. The raised button sometimes switched in my jacket pocket. A glued brass washer solved this problem.

- It seems easy to change the LiIon for 3400mAh type. Did somebody do that mod? Does the pack include an internal protection circuit?
- Is it possible/reasonable to change (at least the center) LED(s) with the new Cree XP-L V5 (or U5 for warmwhite light)? Or something else, without changes to the circuitry?
- Anyone with pictures of the disasssembled main board/reflector?
 

DrafterDan

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Re: Modifications possible?

This seems like a good step forward in bicycle lights. I'm currently running a smaller unit, looking for something a bit stronger. A lot of my riding is on the roads here in the Phoenix, AZ area, but often ride trails around the various mountains.
 

Derek Dean

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I've had some folks ask about a comparison of the beam between the Specialized Flux Expert headlight and my B&M Ixon IQ Premium light. Well, the Specialized Flux Expert is off on it's pass around journey, but I was able to go back through my photos and find two that give a reasonable comparison between the two beams:

First up is the Flux Expert, on Low Power and Low Beam:


And now the Ixon IQ Premium on High Power:


I'd say these photos are representative of what I see in actual use. The trail is running alongside the lake, on the left, so the light kind of disappears on that side, but these still give a good idea of the differences.

From my perspective the Ixon has a wider beam, which I really like, and it has a small pool of light right out at the end of the beam that really helps me see in the distance because it's the same light level as the beam close in to the bike. However, it has a sharp cut off at the edges where the light simply stops, and the beam does have distinct artifacts which some folks find objectionable.

On the other hand, the Specialized beam is much more even all the way from the front wheel out to the end, with very little in the way of artifacts, but it is a narrower, brighter beam. And while it does have a cut off (when on low beam), it's not the hard cut off of the IQ Premium, rather it's more of a quick tapering off of the beam, still giving some spill at the edges.

If I had to critique the Flux Expert's beam, I'd say I would have preferred that they utilized those 3 LEDs differently to make it a bit wider beam (more like the IXON), rather than simply brighter in the middle, and while it's a very even beam, there is still a slightly brighter pool of light out around 20-30 feet (visible in the photo) that seemed to draw my attention, making it a bit harder to view down the road easily.

Critiquing the IXON, it would be nice to have an additional brighter level, it needs better weather sealing, and I could see it using an 18650 instead of the 4xAA setup, but overall, it suits my needs very well.

Hope that helps.
 

deejayen

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Feb 3, 2010
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That's a great review, thanks.

Do you know if the remote will work with a USB extension cable? I need to have the light about 120cm (4ft) from the remote.

Also, what are the options for powering the light on long rides - say 24 to 40 hours (daytime riding plus one overnight)?
 

angerdan

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Also, what are the options for powering the light on long rides - say 24 to 40 hours (daytime riding plus one overnight)?
Using a powerbank with 2A output will give you 3x longer runtime with high power.
If you switch to energy saving or flashing mode, only the external power source will be used:
Haven't had time to call Specialized today, but found some info on their support site regarding an external battery pack:
specialized.desk.com/customer/portal/questions/8569980-usb-battery-pack-to-extend-ride-time-for-flux-expert
 

deejayen

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Thanks very much.

Does that mean the light will eventually stop working if it's being run at higher power levels even if an external battery is plugged in? If it's drawing around 1A per hour from it's internal battery will it last around 5 hours (assuming 5mAh internal battery) on full power if also being supported with an external battery? It might also be difficult to monitor the status of the external battery - ie it could run out, in which case the light will then solely draw on its internal battery.

I know very little about electronics!
 

angerdan

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Does that mean the light will eventually stop working if it's being run at higher power levels even if an external battery is plugged in?
If you use it in high power mode, the light will stop working when the internal battery is empty.
But if you use a energy saving mode, the light will keep working if an external battery is plugged in.


If it's drawing around 1A per hour from it's internal battery will it last around 5 hours (assuming 5mAh internal battery) on full power if also being supported with an external battery?
I guess it will last up to 4.5h on full power (1200lm) if an external battery is plugged in.


It might also be difficult to monitor the status of the external battery - ie it could run out, in which case the light will then solely draw on its internal battery.
There are several powerbanks with LCD which shows the remaining capacity.
plxdevices.com/Legion-Portable-Battery-Charger-11000mAh-p/897346002603-897346002610.htm
ianker.com/product/79AN7906-BA
pny.com/powerpack-id10400?sku=P-B-10400-12-IDW01-RB
pny.com/powerpack_7800_dual-port_1_amp__2_4_amp
 

deejayen

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Feb 3, 2010
Messages
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Thanks very much. Those powerbanks look good, but might not be the easiest thing to carry on a bike - it might have to go in a saddlebag, and run a long lead to the light.

I'm a bit wary of using USB leads on a bike since I once tried to extend the runtime of a Garmin Edge 305 with an external battery pack. The USB socket was underneath the GPS, and the cable kept vibrating loose - I nearly lost my thumb to the front wheel when I tried to snatch the dangling cable!

Also, has anyone tested using an external battery along with the remote? Is this possible, and if so, what USB cables/devices are needed?

I've already got a couple of Philips battery lights, so I'm trying to weigh up the pros and cons of the Philips against the Specialized. My later Philips seems to have better battery life than the first. I'll need to try it with Energizer Lithium batteries (my first Philips ran with these, but the battery status lights didn't illuminate using these batteries).

I like the idea of the Specialized's high beam, but I might be able to emulate that by using the Philips as the dipped beam, and buying an Exposure Equinox with wireless remote (for example) to use as a switchable high beam.

It's difficult to know what would be the best solution/compromise.
 

gipsyman

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Aug 4, 2013
Messages
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Re: Modifications possible?

I just bought the Flux Expert (and registered here) but as a Philips SafeRide user i am not as impressed as i thought i'd be for 4x money. Beam is brighter but not as wide as the Philips. The raised button sometimes switched in my jacket pocket. A glued brass washer solved this problem.

- It seems easy to change the LiIon for 3400mAh type. Did somebody do that mod? Does the pack include an internal protection circuit?
- Is it possible/reasonable to change (at least the center) LED(s) with the new Cree XP-L V5 (or U5 for warmwhite light)? Or something else, without changes to the circuitry?
- Anyone with pictures of the disasssembled main board/reflector?

I own 2 SafeRide 80s. I modified them both with Taskled Lflex drivers so I can put up to 1 amp through each of the diodes. My question is has anyone actually measured lux readings on the Flux Expert? My modified SafeRides put out 15000 lux at one meter with 1 amp of current to the leds. I believe Phillips' quotes an 80 lux reading for the stock SafeRide at 10 meters distance. I haven't seen any measured data yet on these Specialized Flux Experts. I am interested in purchasing one if the lux readings are higher than my modified SafeRides. I like the idea of a remote switching light for high beam. I have to use a separate light presently for my high beam.
 

BLOCK

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Oct 11, 2015
Messages
5
I've had some folks ask about a comparison of the beam between the Specialized Flux Expert headlight and my B&M Ixon IQ Premium light. Well, the Specialized Flux Expert is off on it's pass around journey, but I was able to go back through my photos and find two that give a reasonable comparison between the two beams:

First up is the Flux Expert, on Low Power and Low Beam:


And now the Ixon IQ Premium on High Power:


I'd say these photos are representative of what I see in actual use. The trail is running alongside the lake, on the left, so the light kind of disappears on that side, but these still give a good idea of the differences.

From my perspective the Ixon has a wider beam, which I really like, and it has a small pool of light right out at the end of the beam that really helps me see in the distance because it's the same light level as the beam close in to the bike. However, it has a sharp cut off at the edges where the light simply stops, and the beam does have distinct artifacts which some folks find objectionable.

On the other hand, the Specialized beam is much more even all the way from the front wheel out to the end, with very little in the way of artifacts, but it is a narrower, brighter beam. And while it does have a cut off (when on low beam), it's not the hard cut off of the IQ Premium, rather it's more of a quick tapering off of the beam, still giving some spill at the edges.

If I had to critique the Flux Expert's beam, I'd say I would have preferred that they utilized those 3 LEDs differently to make it a bit wider beam (more like the IXON), rather than simply brighter in the middle, and while it's a very even beam, there is still a slightly brighter pool of light out around 20-30 feet (visible in the photo) that seemed to draw my attention, making it a bit harder to view down the road easily.

Critiquing the IXON, it would be nice to have an additional brighter level, it needs better weather sealing, and I could see it using an 18650 instead of the 4xAA setup, but overall, it suits my needs very well.

Hope that helps.


I was on the fence about which light to get and this photo pretty well sums it up for me. Thanks OP!
 

Milw light

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Dec 21, 2015
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Great review, nice light. I wish lights with wired remotes would come with recumbent friendly cord lengths though.
 

Steve K

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Peoria, IL
Great review, nice light. I wish lights with wired remotes would come with recumbent friendly cord lengths though.

the whole issue of recumbent lights might be a good topic for discussion, if it hasn't already been done to death on BROL.

I've got a couple Bacchetta high racer type 'bents, and mounting lights has taken a bit of creativity. The commuting 'bent has a hub dynamo and I've mounted the headlight to the left fork blade. Not ideal, but keeps it out of the way of my feet and the light points where I'm steering.

My go-fast 'bent has the light mounted on the tube that the front derailleur mounts on. It gets used mostly for "be seen" lights, the foot flash issue is not significant and I don't need the ability to see where I'm steering.

On the plus side, my dynamo light is always on, and I can reach the light mounted just forward of the front derailleur, so I haven't felt the need for a remote switch. On the other hand, maybe I could use a remote switch for the taillight??
 

angerdan

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Last edited:

zrocket

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Dec 10, 2016
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New member here, glad I found this forum - lots of good info. Also, it seems all the people who care about bright lights AND good optics and cutoffs for drivers live here.

I went to my LBS today to check out this light, prepared to buy it, and could NOT figure out the modes. It seemed like only the middle LED was lighting up regardless of what mode we cycled through.

It went through [high - low - pulse - strobe] with each press of the S button but only the middle LED was used.
  • We checked that the light was charged (main body button was green).
  • We connected the remote to use the blue high beam button. Light horn worked, and a longer press turned on the high mode (with again just the center LED). A >0.6s press seemed to do nothing. Pressing the blue button again did not return to previous low mode. I don't remember what mode it goes to when pressing the green button from high.
  • Thinking it might be a defective unit, they opened up a new box to find the same behavior. We were getting nowhere and getting spots in our vision, so we gave up. They are going to call their rep to ask about it.

Any thoughts here? The shop confirmed both units were post-recall.
 

angerdan

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Hey Derek,
unfortunately photobucket did change their policy. So from 1st of july 2017, no embedding of images on third-party websites, such as personal blogs and forums, is possible for free anymore.
They sell this function now for $399/year. So is it possible to reupload the pictures to a fair image hoster?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_image-sharing_websites (link is external)
Now the thread has raised to 50 posts, what speaks for your review
smile.png
 

archimedes

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Hey Derek,
unfortunately photobucket did change their policy. So from 1st of july 2017, no embedding of images on third-party websites, such as personal blogs and forums, is possible for free anymore.
They sell this function now for $399/year. So is it possible to reupload the pictures to a fair image hoster?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_image-sharing_websites (link is external)
Now the thread has raised to 50 posts, what speaks for your review
smile.png

@angerdan ... this is an older thread, and these types of requests may be better done by PM please, to avoid cluttering the open forum
 

dmb

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Dec 12, 2020
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My specialized flux expert finally after 5 years has died. When I was looking to replace it i saw that there was a recall?! I guess i missed the memo. I tried to claim the recall but they said they needed to know which batch it was from as only a certain batch was eligible. Anyway how am i going to find that out from 5 years ago, box and receipt long gone and the bike store went out of business too

Does anyone know where i can get a replacement battery pack?
They are just 2 18650 batteries which are cheap online but problem is i dont have a spot welder and they are like 250 bucks on amazon

thanks for the help!
sorry for resurrecting an old thread
 

znomit

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If there's someone that rebuilds powertools locally they might be able to help.
If you're somewhat handy search for 18650 tagged cells, you probably don't use a spot welder to rebiuld.

Otherwise it should run off an external USB battery pack.
 
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