Ride Report: 10.24.11; Supernova Airstream

Since going with dyno lighting on the LHT, I’ve toyed with the idea of a similar setup on the X bike: a budget hub on a strong rim, powering a bright LED – probably another Cyo.  It would make it nice for taking this bike out for longer day rides where the return home might be at dusk, or possibly using this bike for night rides along with the LHT.

I had not really thought about a battery light since I owned the B&M Ixon IQ.  That was a good light, but not really suited for the amount of time I ride at night during the fall and winter; and scoring the used dyno hub, then the used Fly, then the new Cyo; just made the Ixon redundant.

So I had been keeping my eyes open for some good bargains when this one popped up: a barely used Supernova Airstream for less than I’d pay for another Cyo.  I had to once again cash in the change jar, because I just couldn’t walk away from a deal this good.  All I had heard about the Airstream was that it was silly bright, built like a bomb; but crazy expensive.  Yup.  The entire dyno setup on the LHT cost less than what these critters retail for.

I wasn’t looking for a battery headlamp, but this one is supposed to be really good, very bright, and they pitch that it can be hooked up via USB to a Plug for charging.  That one got me, because I still haven’t installed the Plug that I bought for $8 bucks last summer.

Let’s get all the justification BS out of the way, and just say it showed up today.  I stuck it on the charger for an hour, mounted it on the bars of the X bike, and did laps for an hour.  It has four power settings, plus a strobe; so I had it on full for the first 30 minutes until the first battery warning came on.  Then I powered down to level 3 and cruised for another 30 before heading in without the -10% light coming on.  It will be interesting to see how long this light will burn.

Impressions: Level 1 is more light than I’ll ever need.  It puts a swath of bright light across the entire road, from the front wheel to “horizon.”  It’s a focused beam, so there’s a definite cutoff; and the sides are defined as well.  It should come in handy if I ever want to take my bike out to spot deer at night.   Level 2 is about equal to the B&M Cyo, although I’m planning a side by side comparison soon.  Level 3  is notably less, but still pretty bright.  Level 4 is just enough to cruise below 10 mph as long as you focus on the road in front of you.  I didn’t use the strobe, but it could prove useful in daytime traffic.

The thing is a solid feeling chunk of aluminum with these wild Loewe-inspired cooling fins; and the button has a responsive click to it.  The battery indicators are small LEDs on each side of the button.  The mount is easy, yet solid; and allows quick adjustment on the fly for raising and lowering the beam.

I’m eager to see how long the battery keeps things going.  If I use Level 2, which seems about right, I should get 3.5 hours between charges, which should be fine for this bike.

So there it is, my quick review.  I’ll write about my further impressions as I get to play with it more.

Distance: 12.1 miles  2011:  1356


3 responses to “Ride Report: 10.24.11; Supernova Airstream

  1. Anything more to offer us 🙂 I’m planning to purchase one for $210.

  2. JB, The only concern that I have about the Airstream is the lack of spill light that is available to illuminate to the sides of the main beam. The cutoff between what is lit and what is not lit is very distinctive, so if you are running at a high level, it creates a tunnel effect because my eyes, at least, have difficulty adjusting between the two. Other than that, I’ve been very happy with the light.

    • I hear ha. After reading about lights for several hours I keep coming back to the airstream model. For the money and performance level it gives it seems to be the wisest choice right now. I did like the Trelock 950 but their mount is not that great from what I have read.

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