a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 29, 2006
Weaknesses: Battery, charger, connectors, switch...get the idea?
This light nearly killed me. It decided to shut itself off without warning while I was approaching a pothole on a dark country road. The battery is impossible to charge; the most runtime I ever had was about 35 minutes at 5w. For this price I expect the thing to work...no such luck. I'll never buy from BLT again. I hope they go under because they deserve it. This product is dangerous and should never have been released.
Johnny Hiar Boy
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 13, 2005
Strengths: 1) none 2) see above
Weaknesses: They suck. battery is crap bulb is not very bright did I mention the battery sucks ***DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT***
Don't waste your money these things are garbage at best. The customer service guys keep giving me new batteries but they just keep getting worse. I am on my 4th battery in 1 season and still have never had 1 problem free ride. AS I said above DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT unless you like wasting money.
Similar Products Used: Night rider and vista light
Bike Setup: All tricked out
from Southampton, Hampshire,UK
Date Reviewed: December 14, 2004
Strengths: I like the distinct blue lamp colour which, over here, stands out of the commuting traffic I use them in - bit like halides
Weaknesses: batteries, massive design flaws with well over estimated burn times
This BLT NimH/Halogen lamp set was sold me under false pretences - good bright light, light weight and good burn times.
Initially, it was being sold for $265/£190 and seemed quite attractive with a $30 reduction. My first one I returned as the battery didn't charge properly to get a decent charge, that should have sent alarm bells ringing. When the price was reduced in time for my replacement it seemed doubly attractive, either I really should have seen the signals of a poor product too good to be true at the price. Run times, even after following the intricate battery care guidelines, are nowhere near as stated - I get 1.5 hours on 15 watts maximum, which is the power level I feel safer with to get me home, without using the spare Cateye HL1500. The 20 watt setting I use as a luxury and rarely, or, at the end of a ride when I have to empty the batteries in order to charge them effectively. My first battery was completely stuffed within the first year due to a faulty battery socket finally breaking free from its circuit board, not surprisingly as it was only held on by its' soldered connections against the obvious major stresses required by this crucial component. You could say I've had my money's worth, me, no way. Although, currently I have now have two 'working' batteries 1X4Ah and 1X4.5Ah, and two 20watt lamps instead of the one of each supplied, I still feel massively cheated. I wanted a product which would last me at least five years and didn't even last a year. This product should have been recalled or reduced by half and sold with lesser credit. Remember that name BLT, proudly a Canadian brand and avoid it, currently their site says 'Always Doing It First, Always Doing It Better', lies, come clean BLT you failed by manufacturing a cheap product out in Taiwan, or was it all intentional - was always going to be a rip-off!?
Finally, don't even think of buying BLT new Luxeon based LED lights, New Zealand have got there 'first' with theirs -check www.nightlighting.co.nz - soon to be on the market.
Favorite Trail: The Beaver ... oh well, really, rolling over Kingsworthy, NE Winchester
Duration Product Used: 2 Years
Purchased At: Wiggle.co.uk
Bike Setup: litespeed/camp rec
Date Reviewed: November 10, 2004
Strengths: Helmet mount works well. Fairly light. The ability to go from 5, 12 and 20W is nice.
Weaknesses: Reliability. Cord too short. Fuel gauge doesn't work. Dumb charger. Accessories way too expensive. Poor quality for the price. Doesn't like the cold at all. The lamp is too blue. Burn time.
I had to return 2 battery packs under warranty. I finally gave up and returned the system.
I was looking for a reliable system for commuting and mountain biking. This one isn't it. It let me down a few times and now I don't trust this system at all.
What's nice about a system like this is the ability to change the bulb depending on conditions. However 6V mr11 bulbs are ridiculously expensive (as are cables, brackets etc). I didn't care for that 'daylight' color temperature either. That blue light just doesn't work for me.
The fuel gauge is a great idea... if it only worked...
Also the burn times listed by BLT are very optimistic. I could never get 1h30 of light at 20W. About an hour is more like it. And the battery hates the cold. Even if left in my camelback, the battery won't last that long if it's slightly cold.
This is a really cheap product advertized as a high end lighting system. If you can get your hands on a pack that actually works, this isn't a bad system. But what mountain biker wants to risk having the light die? When the pack runs out of juice, the light switches to 5W. This can happen anytime (and it did!). It's not so bad if you're commuting, but it could be disastrous if it happened as you're gunning down your favorite trail.
The bottom line is, if you want a reliable system look for something else. Better systems are not that much more expensive and definitely worth the extra investment. If you're going to buy extra bulbs and cords, a better system might even be cheaper.
Weaknesses: Only one lamp - reducing weight but spread is neither spot light nor flood but half way in between. The spot light is fine on 5W, but the flood-light part bearly gets brighter at 20W. Also power indicator + internal electronics (see below)
If you haven't bought them, don't!
But if you have, you can get the battery to work... A battery will last longer if its charged with a high current (as this burns off most the corrision in the cells). To do this, full discharge the battery before charging - you can do this by connecting it the charger without plugging it in (discovered by mistake!). Also I've notice the electronics in the battery turn the light to flashing mode (to stretch the last few min. of lifetime) after an hour, but there's at least 1/2 hour charge left. Switch the lights off completely for 10 seconds, then back on again and they should be ok for a while. (This happens because the voltage across the battery drops faster than the capacity, due to the internal resistance: when you turn the lights off, the voltage slowly increases, common property of batteries).
I can just about get the claimed lifetime out the batteries now... These aren't great lights, but there not as bad as it says here...
Bike Setup: Scott hardtail, Sid shocks, XT/FSA drivetrain, Avid V-brakes.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 13, 2004
Strengths: Light, supposed to be smart & rugged
Weaknesses: Terrible battery performance, especially in cold weather. Poor strain relief on AC adapter connector--it broke off inside the battery.
It sucks. Run away. Like everybody else, I got nowhere near the claimed battery performance, especially in the cold, which is usually when I need it. I stranded me 15km from home on country roads on a pitch-black Canadian January night. Charging it for days and unplugging it seconds before I headed out the door was the only way to get an hour of power out of it. I got the battery replaced, but the second one was just as bad. Poor design of internals meant the connector for the AC recharger broke off inside the battery. Unreliable, tremendously overpriced stinker. They should be ashamed and I should get a refund.
a Weekend Warrior
from Newville, PA
Date Reviewed: January 16, 2004
Strengths: 30 minutes of bright light on a good day.
Weaknesses: Charger, Battery, Company Customer Service
Agree with most other reviews. This light doesn't even make it as high as the absolute junk level. The customer service is even worse. Should have given the wife the money to play the slots. Had to toss light, totally unreliable. Wouldn't recommend this company or their products to anyone other than someone who has a death wish.
a Weekend Warrior
from Vancouver, BC
Date Reviewed: November 25, 2003
Strengths: Perform claims from manufactures
Weaknesses: Ability of product to work as claimed
This is a follow up review as original set Gamma-Ray NH40 was replaceby BLT/Norco as the product did not work. It was upgrade to what appears to be their top light, the Gamma-Ray NH-45.
The claim by mftr of battery duration are not even close to reality. This product, if possible performs at a lower level than the first set. I get just under half the claimed battery performance on a brand new battery tested in my house at room temperature. I cannot advise on the battery performance outside as the short battery life will not enable me to ride my local trail and finish with light.
Besides the poor product performance the most irrating aspect of this product has to be the BLT/Norco customer service. After all the problems I have had with their product rather than a response such as "e'll take care of this ..." I get "we'll have to test this to make sure that you have followed instructions correctly ...". I already stated to their customer service that I follow their instruction on their web site the letter but that is not good enough. To further add to my frustration is the comment that if I want this dealt with in a reasonable timeframe I will have to pay to courier the equipment back. What about my downtime, my inconvenience and my not able to ride as I have no light.
To anyone who bothers to ready this lengthy ramble, all I can advise is to stay as far away from this company, BLT/Norco, if you want a good product.
Similar Products Used: Nite Rider, Planet Bike, NightHawk
a Weekend Warrior
from mississauga, ontario, canada
Date Reviewed: July 30, 2003
Strengths: strong clear light WHILE IT LASTS, multiple digital settings, lightweight.
Weaknesses: BLT/Norco admit to posting incorrect burn times on the box. The maximum burn is only 2hrs 10 mins at 5w lowest setting and not 2hrs 50mins! BLT/Norco won't return my emails. Wouldn't suggest buying this product if you're planning to be in the dark longer than 2hrs!
Don't recommend you buy this product based on the overpromising and undelivering by BLT/Norco. VERY disappointing burn time and very disappointing lack of response from BLT/Norco. Save your money and get a niterider or nitepro light....you won't be left in the dark!
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 5, 2003
Strengths: Good quality light beam, price is lower than other NiMH systems.
Weaknesses: Light does not work as advertised (smart charging feature, battery level indicator). Helmet mount is not as easy to use as other lights. It is difficult to adjust the aiming of the helmet mounted light.
I bought this light last year before 24 Hours of Adrenalin in Canmore. The quality of the light and the beam pattern is good. But unfortunatly the light didn't work as advertised. The smart charging feature didn't work. There's supposed to be a light which flashes green when charged, but mine never flashed green. The smart charger looked suspiciously like a basic AC adapter. The fuel gauge feature also didn't work as described.
I emailed my concerns to Norco but didn't get any response. I ended up returning the light and got a Marwi Nightpro Elite instead.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: January 30, 2003
Strengths: Light weight, powerful and easy to use. (In theory anyway!) The estimated burn times are extremely favourable and power output is good. Charger features an easy to read light sequence.
Weaknesses: Lasted only one ride - then refused to work again. This is completely unacceptable for a relatively expensive lamp - a real shame as BLT lights have in the past had such a good name. (I have used an old Explorer set for five years now without any problems!)