Lighting up the Chase

In recent weeks the dark nights have been closing in and we’re now at the beginnings of a British Winter. This meant that I either had to only ride my mountain bike over Cannock Chase on weekends, or I brought some lights to continue my mid-week after-work rides. Well, I didn’t want to lose the fitness I had built up over the summer and it would be a shame to only ride my Lapierre only once a week, so I opted to buy some lights.

I had been talking with fellow mountain biker and rider in crime Tim about the best set up, costs and we’d been “um-ing and ah-ing” about what to get for a couple of weeks. As the nights closed in, I finally bit the bullet and decided on a single light for my helmet, a Hope Vision 4. These certainly aren’t the cheapest lights on the market, but the reviews were great and some of the pictures of their ability were incredible. The light is made up of four LEDs pumping out a staggering 930 980 lumens.

I have been night riding over Cannock Chase for a couple of weeks now – both the sign-posted official trails of “Follow the Dog” as well as other routes towards Milford and Brocton – and I can not fault the light output what-so-ever. There are four brightness settings; the lowest is fine for ascents, such as climbing The Hill™, the second is good for medium speed cross-country sections, even through trees, and the third level is bright enough for the high-speed technical downhill sections. I have not once needed the highest brightness setting – which reduces the run time to a respectably but not brilliant two hours fifteen – as the increase over the third level isn’t all that noticeable.

When riding we often pass other riders and, more often than not, they have lights on both their helmet and handlebars. The decision on mounting and whether I needed two sets (thus increasing the cost) were the hardest to make, but the single Hope Vision 4 mounted on my helmet has been good enough not to warrant investing in more lights for the handlebars. However, talking with a few riders, they do say that handlebar mounted lights help show the relief and pumps in the trails, and this is one thing I have noticed lacking when riding at night.

Overall the Hope Vision 4 light is a very high quality product. It is extremely well manufactured but not overly heavy and features one of the brightest outputs on the market. My only faults are that the battery pack is a little too bulky – I would prefer it to be thinner but slightly taller or wider – and the price tag of £250! If you’re looking to buy a good trail light and your budget stretches, I would definitely recommend these. 8/10