In my final post for 2011 I listed the Fire Eye 2.0 Helmet Light from Illuminated Cycling as one of the five best cycling products for 2011. The folks at Illuminated Cycling have recently enhanced their product line with the addition of the Eye Beam front light system. While there is no shortage of good headlights for cyclists already on the market, the Eye Beam has several nice features that make it worth considering. Erik Shaffer, president of Illuminated Cycling, was kind enough to loan me an Eye Beam headlight for a few weeks so I could review it and I really don’t want to send it back!
The Eye Beam is a lightweight 400 lumen headlight that offers a five-hour battery life while on high beam. Thanks to the carbon fiber and aluminum construction this unit only weighs 4.1 ounces and there is no external battery pack so you don’t have to route cables or have a battery pack hanging on your bike frame. This unit uses an LED that provides a 6500K light (a pure, white light). The housing on the Eye Beam is sealed so it is completely waterproof. With just one push-button switch on the back of the housing this light is extremely easy to use. The body of this headlight is six inches long and just one inch in diameter.
The Eye Beam has five operating modes (High, Medium, Low, Strobe and Slow Flash) and it always remembers the last mode you used. With a five-hour battery life I imagine most people will use this light in the high beam setting. However, most of the time when I used it I had it in the strobe mode since most of my “daylight” rides were on days with either heavy cloud cover or fog. The strobe mode is awesome and on days with low visibility it could easily save your life (it really helps keep cars from pulling out in front of you).
On the side of the Eye Beam you will find a Mini-USB port so you can charge the battery by connecting the light to a computer USB port or plug it into the wall with the included adapter.
While every other headlight I own is designed to sit on top of your handlebars, the Eye Beam is intended to mount under the handlebar. I don’t know why someone hasn’t thought of this before! When a headlight is mounted on top of the handlebar it is prone to tilt, but since the weight of the Eye Beam is hanging below the handlebar I found it to be very stable.
At the time of purchase Illuminated Cycling offers you the choice of four different lenses (Narrow, Medium, Wide, or Elliptical) for the headlight. You can see their Website for the way different lenses impact the light pattern. This choice of a lens is especially important if you are going to be wearing a helmet mounted light as well. While riding at night I prefer to have a wide light pattern on my handlebar light and a narrow light (spot light) on my helmet. Unlike many other lighting systems, the Eye Beam uses lenses, not reflectors, to shape the light beam and this provides a very pure light that is free of optical impurities.
The Eye Beam front lighting system is hand-built in the USA and is available from the Illuminated Cycling Website for $135. Illuminated Cycling is an American company and their lights are designed and manufactured in the United States.