Light and Motion Solite 250EX Review
It’s the dead of winter and daylight is at a premium, for months on end I leave for work in the dark and the sun sets before I leave the office. What’s a fun-loving outdoor enthusiast with an aversion to indoor physical activities to do? Joining a gym would be okay, but the noise and crowds and (ahem) pungent aroma just don’t appeal to me that much. Sitting on the couch and waiting for spring is simply not an option. The only choice is to fire up a bright light and get outside for a hike, run, or in my case: a mountain bike ride. I’ve been using the Light and Motion Solite 250EX for commuting by bike to work, road riding, and mountain bike trail riding for several weeks in the Colorado Front Range. Here’s what I think about it.
Star Light, Star Bright. The First Light and Motion Solite 250EX I See Tonight
The first thing I wondered when I received the Light and Motion Solite 250EX, is how bright is this thing? A standard battery-powered headlamp is often enough to hike with, so is the Solite 250EX enough to run with? Bike? How about MOUNTAIN bike? With 250 lumens it doesn’t turn the darkness into full daylight, but it’s plenty bright enough to ride pretty quickly down a hill on your mountain bike with plenty of visibility to see what you’re doing and where you’re going. Road cycling? No problem either, and unless the speeds get really fast (maybe 35mph plus) the Light and Motion Solite 250EX offers up plenty of light. So for running or hiking, this thing would absolutely work perfectly as well. Pro tip: pair this light on your helmet (aimed further out) with another light on your handlebar (pointed closer in) for the ultimate night mountain biking experience.
Versatile Mounts Enable Multiple Activities
One of the best things about the Light and Motion Solite 250EX are the versatile mounting options, which include a strap-mounted headlamp, bike-mounted light, helmet-mounted light, and handheld flashlight. The strap mount is easy-peasy, very comfortable, and weighing in under 5 ounces (with light and battery) means it won’t bog you down when strapped to your head or helmet. The vented helmet mounts are the same to attach to the handlebars or stem of a bike. I found this mount to be really easy to use, but slightly limiting. For instance, it attaches really well to my Specialized helmet, but not as easily to my POC helmet—the difference being the shape and location of the vents. Fortunately, you can always use the head strap if your helmet vents aren’t conducive to the way the Light and Motion Solite 250EX mounts. I found similar challenges attaching the light to my handlebars. On my commuter or road bike that has a long stem, it mounts quite easily. On my mountain bike the stem is too short to mount the light to, and while I was able to attach the light and battery pack to my bars it tended to wiggle around and wasn’t as secure. However, I feel with a bit more time I’ll find a workable solution. Lastly, the light itself mounts directly to the battery, making a handy hand-held flashlight of sorts. Useful for camping and other activities where you don’t necessarily need the light attached to your head.
Get Out There, and Stay Out There
The Light and Motion Solite 250EX has great battery life and will fully charge in 8 hours, giving you at least 4 hours of use at full power (250 lumens) and up to 150 hours in the conservative camp/read mode. While you’d need an additional battery (or second light) if you were doing an all-night adventure race, I can personally vouch that the “4 hours on high beams” number is true and should be plenty for even the longest of after-work rides or runs. The Light and Motion Solite 250EX charges with any micro USB charger—which is not included with the light. Fortunately, I have tons of electronic gizmos hanging around the house with a USB plug so this wasn’t an issue. Light and Motion does sell a separate wall plug and you can also charge it using a portable power pack, solar charging system, the majority of cell phone chargers, and virtually anything else USB.
Final Thoughts and the Light and Motion Solite 250EX
With a solid battery life, light weight, and versatile mounting options this light is a good choice for the after-work hiker, runner, cyclist, or mountain biker looking to stay outdoors and active in the dark. So far it’s proven not only capable, but durable as well. I currently keep the Light and Motion Solite 250EX mounted to my commuter bike at all times, so I’m never without when going back and forth to work, and I’ll throw it on a helmet for a weekly after-work mountain bike ride as well. The Light and Motion Solite 250EX retails for $179, which is a bit nicer on the wallet than comparable lights in the $300-400 range. Please click over to http://www.lightandmotion.com/ for more info.