Today’s LED mountain bike lights are pretty great, even if they are a little boring. The Bookman Volume 1500, on the other hand, manages to differentiate itself with an easy-to-use light mode selector, long battery life, and a compact form factor.
Bookman Volume bike light specs
- Max output: 1,500 lumens
- USB-C and pass through charging; swappable battery
- Included bar clamp fits up to 35mm bars. GoPro mount adapter also included.
- Weight: 201g
- Price: $161
- Buy from Bookman.
Positioned as a more stylish bike light option, the Swedish-designed, 1500-lumen Volume leads with its patent pending (!) brightness knob. It’s a cool feature I suppose, and I’ve found the design to be somewhat practical on the trail. The knob switches between five brightness settings ranging from 100% intensity down to 5%. It’s a good size for gloved hands, and is easy to feel around for in the dark.
Of course if you’re completely in the dark, you’ll need to turn the light on first. And to do so, you’ll have to use the rubberized button on top. A long press turns the light on, and once it’s on, a short press toggles between solid and flashing modes. Most lights require a similarly annoying long press to ensure the light doesn’t accidentally turn on when it’s inside a bag, for example. The Bookman Volume has a separate lock mode you can select with the knob by choosing the brightest setting, so I’m not sure why I have to press so long for the light to turn on in all the other modes. Admittedly this isn’t really a gripe; it’s more like frustration at a missed opportunity that could make the light even more responsive and easy to use.
Despite such a simple, all-in-one, single-bulb design the Bookman Volume bike light actually has some pretty dialed optics. The beam pattern is sorta shaped like a horizontal oval rather than a basic circle which is good for lighting up a wide angle view. There’s a clear bezel around the lens which provides extra visibility from the side, which is no doubt helpful for being seen when road riding but a little distracting on the trail. For dedicated trail use I recommend wrapping the bezel with black electrical tape to keep your vision focused straight ahead.
The Bookman Volume 1500 could be used as a helmet light, though a helmet mount is not included. At 201g, it’s on the heavy side for me. My current helmet-mounted light, a Knog Blinder 900, weighs almost 50g less and even it starts to feel heavy on longer nights.
Bikepackers and long distance night riders will be stoked to know the included battery is swappable. Bookman isn’t selling extra batteries directly at the moment, though standard size 21700 batteries can be found online for about $25 each. Not only that, the Bookman Volume allows pass-through charging so even when the light is on, you can top off with extra juice from a dynamo or external battery pack using the USB-C charging port. A set of 4 LEDs on the top side of the light indicate remaining battery life and also charging status.
Bookman says riders can expect about three hours of runtime on full power, and that sounds about right based on my tests. Most will choose to toggle between full brightness and lower settings during the ride to extend battery life, and the volume knob makes this easy to do.
The included quarter turn handlebar mount works well, and fits both 31.8mm and 35mm diameter bars out of the box. A threaded bolt ensures a tight connection to the bars, though the bolt isn’t captured which makes it easy to lose. I unknowingly dropped mine in the grass and then walked away during testing. By some miracle I was able to find the bolt and vowed to keep a finger on it at all times whenever I remove the mount.
A GoPro-style mount is included as well which is a nice option for mounting on a helmet, say, or beneath one of those fancy K-Edge bar mounts.
Pros and cons of the Bookman Volume bike light
- Simple to operate and convenient all-in-one design
- Swappable batteries and pass-through charging
- Good beam shape and plenty bright
- More expensive than lights with similar specs
I’ve been unable to find any major faults with the Bookman Volume bike light. I wouldn’t buy it just for the volume knob but I would buy it for the long and extendable battery life, good optics, and quality construction.
- Price: $161
- Buy from Bookman.