STELLAAA! I always wanted to say that. Last fall I did a write-up on the top model Seca 900 Ultra from Light & Motion. If you read the review you know the Seca is a seriously powerful light unit. I’m sure that review left more than one person wishing they had one but the price is admittedly not for everyone. Not to worry, the folks at Light & Motion make a unit which is just as good in terms of quality and craftsmanship but at a price most can afford.
The Light & Motion Stella 200L ($249.99 MSRP) sports a single 200 lumen LED with a custom designed reflector to maximize light output. Everything you need is included in the box: the lithium-ion 3-cell 11.1V battery, smart charger, low profile helmet mount, and battery strap. The light includes just the right amount of cord so you can comfortably mount the unit on your helmet or on the bike.
The construction of the Stella is second to none. The light unit is compact and lightweight (72 grams) and features an integrated heat sink. It has a fresh bronze anodizing treatment which will keep the light looking pretty for a long time, even in the dark. The simple on/off button is integrated into the head unit with a sealed membrane to keep water out. A single touch of the button adjusts the light output: the high setting tosses 200 lumens for 5 hours; medium gives you 100 lumens for 10 hours; and low eeks out 50 lumens for 20 hours (most spots south of Alaska don’t have that much darkness in a single day!). There’s also a flash setting which will burn for 100 hours, perfect for commuting or emergencies. Placing the light in “race mode” allows you to quickly toggle between just high and low settings.
The Stella is powered by a 3 cell Li-Ion battery which is both lightweight (180 grams) and small – perfect for mounting on your toptube, the back of your helmet, or even in a pocket of your hydration pack. The battery pack features waterproof seals good for submersion up to 20 feet and an internal circuit to protect the battery from overcharging or rapid discharges.
Mounting up the Stella takes only minutes. In fact it will probably take more time to decide if you’re wearing it on your helmet or mounting it up on your handlebars. If you’re using the Stella as a standalone light, I recommend placing it on your helmet since a helmet mount shines the light wherever you’re looking. The beam pattern on the Stella 200 is ideal for a single LED, producing a focused beam with a feathered fill light on the periphery of the pattern. The Stella beam pattern gives you decent distance with enough light on the edges to make out what’s around you.
In the photos below I have set up a test area so you can see the amount of light the Stella 200 produces at night. For comparison I also show the Seca 900 Ultra placed in exactly the same position aimed the same way. The photo markers are placed for scale: the first is 10 feet, the second triple marker is 20 feet, third single 30 feet, fourth single 40 feet, and finally fifth triple 50 feet away. The second and fifth triple markers indicate an average trail width.
The Left **Stella 200L The Right **Seca 900 Ultra
Hitting the trails in and around Toronto at night was awesome. Although I took my Seca 900 Ultra, I found that unless I was really going really fast I didn’t have to turn it on. Riding without moon light was really fun as well. The Stella 200 produced a perfectly white light everywhere I turned my head and the beam gave me about a 45 arc of light. At about 50 feet ahead of the bike I got about 15 feet of the spot light and another 25 feet or so of fill lighting. This is really more than enough light for most people but perhaps not enough if you’re racing and going really fast. But for the discriminating casual rider this light will light up your life.
The photo above has been colorized so you can see the spot and the fill along with the feathering.
I also found I could use the Stella for many of my lighting needs in and around my house. Seeing that I am renovating the house, this small unit comes in super handy in tight spots due to its small size. But don’t let the size of this unit fool you – it will burn super bright for a very long time.
Overall I have to say this is by far one of the best lights out there for the money. It’s compact, tough, reliable, and good looking plus it produces a tremendous amount of usable light thanks to a single beam pattern that’s second to none. Get one for 24 Hour racing and keep using it on night rides next fall!
Specs from Light & Motion
|System Weight: 250g
|Run Time (HR:MN):
||Battery Type: 3-cell Li-ion
Battery Weight: 180g
Charger: Li-ion Smart
Charge Time (HR:MN): 05:00
|Modes: Cruise, Race, Flash
A quick thanks to the folks at Light & Motion for providing the Stella 200L for review.