Review: Moon Comet rear light
There are so very many lights out there, with more appearing every couple of weeks, it seems. With rear lights, at least, it’s a little more straight forward in finding one that gets the job done.
That job is to be bright, reliable, and stay on the bike. You don’t need them to light they road ahead, and as such, you don’t need them to have the power of the sun at ten paces, so you don’t usually have the problem of blinding other road users. All of them will have a steady mode and a flash mode, at minimum, and, like front lights, most of the good ones will be USB rechargeable.
The Comet comes in both front and rear versions, with the front putting out a much brighter 100 lumens, while the rear puts out a paltry sounding 35. In reality, that’s plenty bright, and the way it pumps these lumens out makes it seem even brighter.
Rather than having one or two larger LED’s, the Comet uses a bank of 30 “chips” that are closely packed together to make a staggeringly bright display that retains almost all of its intensity across 180º. To take you beyond 180º there are two repeaters per side, though they are considerably less bright than the main light.
As far as output goes, I have found that the least bright flashing setting is still more than bright enough for rush-hour commutes at night. I prefer to make the most of the run-time, but if you don’t mind charging it more often, the brighter settings are really quite impressive.
As for the modes, there are six. There are three steady modes (standard, high, and overdrive), and three flashing, where the first two flashers are normal (50% and 100%), and the third is a strobe setting. In your hand this just looks irresponsible – like it will just give people behind you seizures, but real-world distances it has more of a pulse than a strobe effect. This mode is probably the better option for low-visibility situations, like rain at night, as people can track you better than having to recalculate your position with each flash if you are moving at a decent pace.
The battery life is pretty reasonable, especially for a light of this size. The Comet’s proportions are pretty small – smaller than the Serfas Thunderbolt, which uses the same light unit – and the run-time is listed at between 1 hour 45 minutes to 6 hours 50 minutes, which is pretty standard. My light has easily achieved the maximum run-time, and though I haven’t tested the brightest setting to failure, Bike Radar has, and they actually got 1 hour 52 minutes.
My only gripe with the lighting side of things is the battery indicator light. It works, but because of the compact housing and the fact that it goes from orange (normal) to flashing red (low), which isn’t much of a contrast to begin with, the orange light often appears to be red when the light is flashing anyway as the main light appears to bleed into the battery light. When I have reached my destination and want to check to see if it needs a charge, what I have to do is hold the button in for a couple of seconds to change it from flashing to steady and then check the battery light on the steady mode in order to see if it is flashing. It is annoying, but it’s not a serious problem and doesn’t really taint my view of this light.
One final note about the battery: once the low-battery light does start to flash, if you are using the overdrive mode, you don’t have much time before it just shuts off (another reason why I use the lower settings on most bright lights).
Regarding weather, I have not had any problems. I’ve used it over winter, and have not had any moisture creep into the lens. As for using it with gloves on, it is pretty hit and miss as to whether you find the button to turn it on, especially if you try it while riding (as I often do…). Most of the time I just end up taking off a glove or making sure I turn it on before setting off.
The mounts are one of the better features of the Comet. That’s right, mounts. You get two. The usual mount is still better than most, with a good quality stretchy strap and is easy to use and looks and feels like it will take a lot of tugging on before it gives up. You get a small screw that you can undo to allow for an adjustment of the lights angle, which is a feature not found on many lights, but very useful. The rubber that surrounds the back of the mount itself actually allows you to still use it as is with an aero seatpost with some success, as I have (even with a very sharp trailing-edge), but that’s where the second mount comes in to its own.
The second mount clamps conveniently to your seat rails and has the same vertical adjustment that the primary strap does. This mount is solid. Although I found it a bit of a faff to put on, it’s actually quite simple, but you do need to have your saddle far enough back to allow enough rail exposed to use it. Depending on your seatpost clamp arrangement, you might not have much room. My saddle is in the middle of the clamp, so nothing extreme, and the mount still only just had enough room. The guides on the rail mount are a pinch on the narrow side but they fall into place when you tighten the screw down. You can choose to mount the light either vertically or horizontally on either mount, which tucks it away nicely under the saddle (depending on the saddle clearance, you can flip it so that the light is really tucked right underneath the shell), and keeps it nice and aero behind the seatpost with its narrow profile . This is one of the more flexible rear lights in terms of mounting options that I have come across.
Overall, this is a great way to spend your money if you are looking for a rear light. Bright and compact with reasonable run-time and great mounting options, the Moon Comet is a well thought out product. Highly recommended.