Specialized FLUX lights review

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The Australian summer has faded and the early mornings have become progressively darker. It’s that time again to either make sure your lights are charged and up to scratch, or if it’s been a couple years perhaps start looking a new set.

With significant effort and investment, Specialized are becoming known for their soft goods and accessories just as much as they are for their bikes. After speaking to many of their product designers, I can attest to fact that they don’t simply rebadge existing products with a “S” and are putting a lot of time and effort into designing the right tools for the job.

When I found out that Specialized were entering the headlight/taillight market with their FLUX range I quickly got my hands on a front and rear set and have been testing them out for the past three months in everything from sunny daylight to torrential downpours.

FLUX Elite Headlight

The FLUX Elite is not necessarily designed for the 24hr mountain biking enthusiast to ride on pitch black trails. The FLUX Expert’s 1200 lumen output will certainly light up the road in total darkness without a problem (a set of really brights lights designed for night time mountainbiking are around 3600 lumen), but it’s designed for road riding in the day and night, so that you can see, and more importantly, be seen.

FLUX Elite’s notable specifications and features:

  • Three Cree XP-G2 LEDs (cool white, R5 bin) for 1200 lumen output
  • Remote offers unparalleled control over light output
  • Quick-release mounting system for easy alignment
  • Down-firing reflector creates smooth 180-degree wide beam for excellent peripheral vision
  • Sharp cutoff illuminates objects 1/3 mile away without blinding oncoming motorists and cyclists
  • Illuminated remote to control operating mode, high/low beam, light horn (optional accessory)
  • “Light horn” for emergency signalling to motorists and pedestrians (activated from optional remote control)
  • “Surge glow” mode is said to be more noticeable than steady modes, and easier
    to ride in dark conditions than flash modes
  • Internal 5200mAh lithium-ion batteries for up to 20 hours of runtime
  • Four stage battery indicator
  • Fully sealed and weatherproof (this claim has been tested in some of the wettest conditions I’ve ever ridden in. Still works like a charm)
  • Two stage charging (90% fast + 10% trickle charge) to preserve battery life

Screenshot 2015-03-19 17.58.49

One thing you should know about the FLUX Elite is that even at minimum output (400 lumen flashing) it’s still quite bright – possibly to the annoyance to others if you’re in a big bunch ride. However, the “Surge Glow” mode will soften the intensity for those around you.

The bracket design is really good. It’s a simple snap-in mechanism for easy removal of the light and snaps back into place so you only have to position it once. The only potential problem with the positioning of the light when on the bracket is that it may get in the way of your computer mount and one of them may need to be compromised. Also, odd handlebar shapes may have difficulties fitting the mount (eg. flat handlebars on integrated stems).

The FLUX Expert is a simple to use, rock-solid, all-in-one (i.e. battery integrated) headlight that has a host of well thought-out features. At $279.95 AUD it’s not cheap, but there’s no comparison between a $25 headlight and what Specialized has done with the FLUX Expert. The two year warranty should give you some confidence that this is far more than a disposable accessory that you re-purchase ever season.

FLUX Expert taillight

My favourite feature of the the FLUX taillight is that it doesn’t blind the person riding behind me. The ambient light sensor drops the flash level by 50% when it’s dark out, so the rider on my wheel can ride safely as well. It’s still very visible, but the flash is not a piercing light that makes it annoying when in a bunch.

The other feature that’s nice is the integrated flip-down USB connector. This means that a USB cable is not required to charge the light. The only thing to take notice of is that the leads are susceptible to attracting road grime so you’ll need to make sure it’s wiped clean before charging.

The only thing that could be improved upon is the rear bracket. It comes in three options (27.2mm, 30.9mm, and Venge posts), but I’d prefer it to come with a silicon strap so that it can easily moved from bike to bike and so it can get around oddly shaped seatposts. Specialized recognises this and their website says that this option is now available, but not during time of review.

Other than that, it’s an easy to use, easy to be seen (it’s very visible in daylight conditions), long lasting rear taillight which are the basics that the FLUX does very well. The only thing that could turn off potential buyers is the price tag of $100 AUD. However, its solid construction with a rechargeable battery means that it’s not a throwaway taillight like many of us buy every winter. If you encounter problems, you have the two year warranty to fall back on.

Specs and features:

  • Latest P3 bin Cree XB-D LED for 110 lumen output at 530mA
  • Visible up to 1.0 kilometer even during midday in Summer
  • Ambient light sensor drops flash level by 50% in total darkness for courtesy and safety
  • Internal 700mAh lithium-ion battery for 17 hours of runtime in 110
    lumen flash mode
  • “Surge glow” mode is more noticeable than steady modes, easier on
    following riders than flash modes
  • Auto-sensing flash mode switches to maximum brightness dawn
    to dusk
  • Up-firing LED illuminates saddle and rider’s legs for greater
    visual footprint
  • Fully sealed (this claim has been tested in some of the wettest conditions I’ve ever ridden in. Still works like a charm)
  • Waterproof flip-out USB charger is safe for all laptops and
    phone chargers
  • Two stage charging (1:00 fast + 0:20 trickle charge) to preserve
    battery life
  • Two year warranty

Screenshot 2015-03-21 07.42.31

Full Disclosure: Specialized is a longtime supporter of CyclingTips and we would like to thank them for providing the FLUX lights for review.

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