Monday, December 29, 2014

Product Review: DORCY Bicycle Head Light and Tail Light

Biking in and around Long Beach, CA is something I love to do. Often, the only time I can get out for a ride is in the late evening or late at night. In order for me to do that, I need to see and be seen. For years I have had front and rear lights on my bicycle. When DORCY, based out of Colombus, OH, reached out and asked me to take a look at some of their bike lights, I was reluctant. I already had lights that I thought worked well. Then I read up on the lights and decided it was worth it for me and for my readers that like to cycle at night to check them out.

Being seen is a priority out here, so I am going to share my thoughts on the DORCY tail light as many of my fears stem from being hit behind. It's rare to get hit from behind, but I fear it most because I can't see it coming. Easy to install, the DORCY red tail light is larger than most of your ordinary rear bicycle lights, but this is no ordinary light. This LED light is bright and any driver who is paying attention should be able to spot you from a long way off. (Just don't count on your fellow man to pay attention and ride smart.) The light takes two AA batteries and has three modes to fit any type of ride. The shell is really solid and feels like it could take a beating (I did not test that feature). Mounting is very easy and, like many bike lights, you can adjust it to be vertical or horizontal.  I opted to have it vertical, but now am rethinking my decision. Either way, I was very impressed at how bright the DORCY light is compared to my other tail light I have been using. The new light is brighter and looks more like a safety light. At $13.99, the tail light is a great investment, plus DORCY offers free shipping. I really like the versatility, brightness, and ease of use of the DORCY tail light.

The DORCY LED Headlight is unique in that DORCY claims it sends out a horizontal, rectangular beam instead of a circular one. I found the light to be closer to a square shape, than the advertised rectangle. (Yes, you can make the light vertical, but why would you do that?) It is nice to use a light that is horizontal and not a circle. This way you won't blind pedestrians or other cyclists as you are riding. At 220 lumens it is one of the brightest lights I have used. There are two modes that allow you see and be seen. The first is a constant beam of light and the second is a flashing beam. I used the steady beam at night and the flashing beam during the day. The lights are very bright, but I think the feature I liked best were the two angled openings on either side of the front of the housing. This allows light to escape and be seen from the side as well. It also shines light directly on and in front of your front tire to allow you to see potholes, branches, etc. while also illuminating what is up ahead. The head light has a competitive price point at $55.00.

There are a few things that I wasn't happy with on the DORCY headlight. It's very heavy, unlike my other headlight. Installation of the mounting system works alright, but I think it could be designed better. I also think that if you were to accidentally drop the light or you were to hit some rough mountain bike trails there is a good chance for damage.

I consider myself a strong guy and I had to pull really hard on the tab to get the mount to lock in place. Even then it didn't feel as secure as I wanted it to. I was able to rotate it on my handlebars with ease. I fear that hitting a few good bumps on a trail will knock it out of place. Fortunately, it is easy to shift back. There was a gap in the mount and in order to lock it in, you have to tighten a screw attached to a secondary piece of rubber. Seems like a lot of work to mount a head light to your handlebars.

Also, in order to remove the light (to keep it from getting stolen), you need to loosen the bolt holding it inside the sleeve to then slide the light out. When you set the light back up, you have to slide the light back in and adjust it to get it horizontal again. My other light has a simple clip that you can press and slide the light out and back in so that it is in the same position every time. I disliked this feature on the DORCY.

All in all, I truly like both lights, even with the recommendations I have. The headlight is a powerful light that could use some improvement, in my humble opinion, but really does offer some benefits that other lights I have used do not. A horizontal beam of light allows you to see on the sidewalks, roadway, and keeps you from blinding other cyclists and pedestrians. The tail light is excellent at keeping you seen from the rear. Please keep in mind, these are my opinions. The big question is do I recommend these for cycling? You wouldn't be reading about them if I didn't. I would recommend these to anyone doing some urban biking and hitting up city bike paths, but I am not so sure about dirt trails or mountain biking. Try them out and let me know what you think!

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