Badgers beware. SolarStorm X2 light first look

I entered the Chinese bright bike lights arms race two years ago with the then de rigueur CREE XML light. This has been faultless and plenty bright enough. (Too bright? Of course, but let us not worry about that.)

This year's preferred bike light is clearly the SolarStorm X2. This cost me an incredibly low £23 from Lightmalls. It is amazing how much light one gets for less money than even just a few years ago. Arrived in 14 days. Includes light unit, bands for holding onto bars (I'll investigate if a better clamp is required), battery and pouch, charger with UK plug.

Initial impressions are very favourable. The button cycles between low > medium > high, with the strobe only coming on with a long press, which is a good thing. Connector is a more waterproof screw-fit and with an o-ring. Old XML and X2 batteries/connectors are interchangeable (although the screw-fit on the X2 means the connection to the old battery is not so tight, although old XML light to new X2 battery is fine).

For size reference, here it is on the bars next to my old (two winters ago) CREE XML light

The informal, unverified 'self-induced blindness test' indicates that it is VERY BRIGHT, utter bad-man - I had red spots in front of my eyes for an unnervingly long time. I had thought the older light was bright enough to ruin retinas (it is!) but this is something else, spots linger for longer! An indirect squint at the older light and the X2 on together suggests high on the former is somewhere just under medium on the latter.

It is straight out on the box so I've no idea on performance. I should get the chance to do some proper brightness photos and run-time tests this weekend. Badgers will melt crossing my path.

With obvious concerns about the suitability of the stock batteries, I will now keep an eye out to see what the community decides on as better batteries for the long-term.