Planet Bike Blaze 1W Light

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Manufacturer Description

Whether you are a 24-hour racer or a super commuter, our lights are durable and super bright! Easy to use Quick Cam brackets make mounting a snap. We give you the power to light up the night.

Features

  • Blaze one-watt LED is twice as bright as half-watt LED
  • Reinforced alloy midsection
  • High and low power beam along with SuperFlash flashing mode
  • SuperFlash mode is highly visible, even in daylight
  • QuickCam bracket mounts, adjusts or removes in seconds w/o tools
  • 2 AA batteries (included)
  • Run times
    • High – 7 hours
    • Low – 14 hours
    • Flashing – 20 hours
  • 76 Lumens
  • Measured weight – 144 g (5.1 oz)
  • Retail – $46

YMMV Review

Planet Bike was founded in Madison, Wisconsin in 1996. Their goal was different from the start. They wanted to help bring about positive change for people, their communities, and the environment. I would agree with them in saying that the bicycle has the potential to help improve the world and the people’s lives in it. What is really impressive about the company is that they donate 25% of the company profits to causes that promote and facilitate bicycle usage. In the many years they have been in existence, they have created several firsts in the industry but have remained a small and rooted company.

Blaze from the Side

For YMMV Reviews, I have been working on reviewing some different commuting and lighting products for the site and a couple of articles. Planet Bike was nice enough to supply me with a Blaze 1-watt light form my review.

Testing

How do you test a cycling light you ask? Well, I tested it by riding with it of course. My commute to work is 16 miles each way, and I often need the flasher one direction and a full-on headlight the other. Depending on the time of year and the time I leave I may have to go one full direction in the dark so the light gets a good test. Between Redmond and Bend where I commute there is little traffic and lots of farms. There is not much light, which makes lighting like these even more important.

Clamp Mechanism

Design ★★★½☆

Appearance (20%) ★★★½☆

Construction (55%) ★★★★☆

Sustainability (10%) ★★½☆☆

Weight (15%) ★★½☆☆

The Planet Bike Blaze is a torch style light. It has a QuickCam clamp-on retention system to connect to your front handlebars and be a headlight in low-light conditions. The Blaze is made of a combination of plastic and a reinforced alloy midsection. This gives it a robust feeling in your hand. To get inside the light all you have to do is twist the midsection from closed to open and it will come apart in the middle. Inside there is two drop in slots for AA batteries making it extremely easy to change them out. A quick twist back to closed and you are ready to go. The Blaze has a single button on the top of the light that controls all the lighting. Just push the button the appropriate amount of times to get to the setting you are looking for:

Easy to Open and Close
  1. Low Setting
  2. High Setting
  3. SuperFlash setting

As you can see above, the light comes with three settings: low, high, and SuperFlash. SuperFlash is a strobe like mode, which is very visible even during the day. It is a light technology that has been also used in their taillights. The Blaze used a 1-watt LED bulb that can generate up to 76 lumens in high mode. The Blaze creates a circular shaped beam that can see adequately up to 100 feet away. The lens is covered around most of the edges except triangular cutouts on each side, which allow the light to be observed from the sides adding to the visibility to other road users. The light uses a QuickCam mounting bracket that slides into a slot in the bottom of the light. This bracket can easily be attached without the use of tools. The bracket can also be adjusted by a notch system on the inside of the bracket. With the light being able to be removed from the bracket, you can leave the bracket in place while taking off the light if you have to lock up your bike, a great feature for commuters and utilitarian bikes.

The actual materials used in the Blaze were more difficult to find. I am not sure if they are sustainable or not. My guess is not otherwise they would have marketed it. Planet Bike does, however, use solar power and is a big proponent of cycling as an alternative form of transportation. They actually donate 25% to bike advocacy. For these reasons, I gave them a 2.5 rating for sustainability.

Performance ★★★☆☆

Adjustability (15%) ★★½☆☆

Battery Life (20%) ★★½☆☆

Brightness (25%) ★★★☆☆

Durability (15%) ★★★½☆

Ease of Setup & Use (15%) ★★★★☆

Weather Resistance (10%) ★★★☆☆

The Blaze 1-Watt light is part of a series of Blaze lights ranging from ½ watt to 2 watts. The Blaze has stood up to my commutes thus far with no issues. It seems to be solid, and I have not had any issues with it. Since I am constantly testing things I end up taking the light off my bike after each commute and the whole unit has stood up to the on and off nature of my rides. I really like the QuickCam system on the bracket mount. It makes getting the light on and off very easy, and you can do it without tools. You do need to set up the band length to an appropriate size and then just use the cam to do the fine adjustments. One drawback to the system is that there are no horizontal adjustments possible. As long as you can get it set up and aimed in the right direction this is not an issue, but if you have some shaped or angled handlebars, then it will take some work to get the light in the proper position. A head that could twist just a couple of degrees in each direction could make this much easier. I do really like how easy it is to slide the light off the bracket; this makes it easy to keep the position you set up while removing the temptation of someone taking your light when you park your bike.

Top View with One Button Operation

The Blaze is the middle of the series and has 76 lumens of power on the high setting. I used this on some commutes where it was completely black, and it provided enough light to ride comfortable but in general, I would like to have more light. If I paired this with a helmet light, then it was ideal as when looking straight ahead the two would great and this one would always face forward even if I turned my head. With a helmet light, I could run the Blaze on low and save battery life but when by itself, I had to stay on the high setting. I am, however, disappointed on the battery life of the light. My bike commute is 16 miles each way and with a seven-hour battery life on high I would likely need to replace the batteries nearly weekly. Not only is this have a cost, but it develops a lot of waste. Too bad the light did not have a rechargeable option. I have started to use rechargeable batteries to help keep the waste and cost down. The good thing about a light with batteries, you can always carry extra batteries in case you run out of light. With a rechargeable you are out of luck.

The Blaze is really easy to use. The QuickCam is simple to attach to your bars and with only one button there is not much that can go wrong. Just push the button until you get the setting you want. Even replacing the batteries is easy as there are two battery tubes that remove the chance of getting it wrong.

The Light Taken Apart

Overall ★★★☆☆

Overall, the Planet Bike Blaze is a solid light. It has a 76 lumen output on the high setting that paired with another light works great in the darkest situations. One of the best parts of this light is the SuperFlash mode. It is bright and also at a pattern that motorists will notice whether it is day or night. The drawback I found with the Blaze was in its relatively short battery life. On high it was only seven hours and up to 20 on SuperFlash mode. With rechargeable batteries, I would be fine with these times but for my commuting, I had to go through quite a few batteries over my testing period. The Blaze is easy to use as the clamp mechanism works well. I would recommend this light as a good commuting option and encourage the use of rechargeable batteries. You could always carry some extra batteries, just in case they run out. The Blaze 1-watt retails for $46, which is similar to other lights like this. I am also a fan of Planet Bike as a company and the support they give the cycling community. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • Easy to Use One Button
  • Solid Construction
  • Planet Bike donates % of profits to Cycling Efforts
  • Clamp Works Well
  • SuperFlash is Really Easy to See

Cons

  • Battery Life is a Little Short
  • Heavier than Others Tested
  • Mount Does not Adjust Horizontally

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About the Author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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