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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dorcy light review

Note: The items mentioned below were provided to me for free in return for my honest review.  All information about the lights is taken from the Dorcy website or from my own personal experience.  All opinions are my own.

I had never heard of Dorcy, so when I was asked to use and review some of their lights, I was pretty excited to see that they had both a headlamp and a bike light in their catalog. Both are required gear for 24 hour races and necessities for night riding, and I have yet to purchase a bike light I'm happy with. With the certainly of some night miles at Dirty Kanza, lighting was still an issue to be resolved.  Dorcy sent me a headlamp, a bike light, and a taillight.

The headlamp.

Headlamp specs (source)
At $24.99 for 120 lumens, the price compared favorably with my other similar light. The Dorcy runs on 3 AAA batteries, which took a couple of tries to install in my semi-dark car. The light has 3 settings: full power, half power, and strobe, and it can be directed to beam straight ahead or to tilted to aim at the ground in front of you. One thing to note: this headlamp does not have a red light mode; that said, I've never actually used that mode on my other lights and so that wouldn't be a big concern for me.
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The head strap adjusted easily and fit comfortably and securely.  I did notice that the back of the light has very little curve against the wearer's forehead, and I had to loosen the strap quite a bit to keep the body of the light from pushing against my head.  Even at a jog, though, the headlamp stayed where it was supposed to be without bouncing around.  I tested it during a night hike in our local woods.  The light gave me great visibility both on trail and off-trail where the footing was more tricky.  Overall I think the Dorcy headlamp is a great value for the money, and I would definitely use it again.

The tail light


Tail light specs (source)
Dorcy's tail light retails for $14.99.  It has two modes: solid red light or flashing red light and turns on via a small button on the back.

I had a difficult time installing the batteries (2 AA). After trying for about 10 minutes, I finally got help from my husband, who ended up using two tools AND needing an extra hand to pry the housing apart. We were both afraid we were going to snap a piece off of the body in the attempt to pry it apart and put in the batteries.  .

imageThe tail light was easy to install (no tools necessary) on the seatpost of my bike, but I'm used to rear blinky lights the size of a wristwatch and was a little put off by how big the Dorcy light is.  Between the frustrating experience trying to put in batteries and then the large size, I was prepared to dislike the light and give it an unfavorable review.  That changed as soon as I turned it on.  First of all, it didn't seem so large when in use, and more importantly, it put out great light and was very visible.  I definitely felt safer riding at night with this tail light.

The bike light:

Bike light specs (source)

Dorcy's  bike light sells for $55 on the website and has 220 lumens.  It looks like a small metal flashlight.  It runs on 3 AA batteries and has two modes: constant and flash. The advertised run time is 2.5 hours.

The 3 AA batteries were easy to install, and the light was easy to mount on my bike.  I've had problems attaching lights to my cross bike's handlebars in the past, but the clamp fit well on my thicker handlebars and attached securely.  The light can be pointed straight ahead or angled down in front of the rider; the clamp allows the user to rotate the light to multiple positions.

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The design of the tube spreads light in a rectangular pattern, illuminating more than just the small patch right in front of the wheel.  I was really surprised and impressed by both the light's brightness and beam distance. I was able to negotiate cracked and potholed sections of road with confidence because I was could see what was coming up with plenty of time to choose a safe line.  This could be a great light for night commuting or short evening trips. With a 2.5 hour run time, though, users will want to carry extra batteries if they plan to be outside after dark for long, and frequent night riders might find that their battery costs outweigh any initial savings.

Overall, I thought that all three lights that I tested were great options at reasonable prices and compared favorably with similar products I've used. I did find it curious that none of the packages included any kind of direction on battery installation or use; I guess they just assume that you'll be able to figure it out, and it's hard to argue with that logic when I did.

Have you tried one of these lights or another Dorcy product? Have any questions about the ones I tested out? Let me know!

5 comments:

  1. Great review Kate. Have you decided what lamp to use for DK?

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    1. I'm borrowing one from Patrick and bringing the Dorcy (and extra batteries!) as a spare.

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    2. You are welcome to borrow mine too.

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  2. Hi Kate! I just read your last post and it sounds like you are doing amazing on the bike! Congrats on that great Hairy One Hundred :) ...minus 7. Also, thanks for your kind words!

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