Thorfire BL-30 Bike Light Review

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wle's picture
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Location: atlanta ga
Thorfire BL-30 Bike Light Review

(thorfire gave me this but as you can see, it is still honest Smile )
(not sure how many folks here ride bikes, but i do, and at night.
plus i have had 2 or 3 of these chinese 4×18650 lights, it is one of the things that got me over to the regular flashlights)

it;s good for the price
you can definitely see to ride at any speed
decent light, brightness, color, pattern, small size
adequate battery
NOT waterproof at all – the light or the battery – this is the main reason i can;t give it 5 stars – plus the heating issue
gets way too hot on turbo, even just plain high gets pretty hot (though this mitigates somewhat if there is airflow – i.e., riding)
other than that it is made well
does what it claims to do
_bottom line, i am replacing my current (cheap) LED headlight (singfire, maybe?) with this one because it is brighter and looks better.. the other one worked ok, too, though and the increased brightness only comes at a price – heat and battery life the singfire was bright enough, but more is better_

==opening the box:—-
there are a lot of doodads, european charger adapters, that are not necessary.
there is one thing that would be much more useful: a Y-cable for the charger so you do not have to unplug the battery to charge it.
(they are cheap though.)

2 o-rings to attach the light and the remote to handlebars.

battery: 4 18650s in series-parallel for 8.4V total
charger for battery

the thorfire ‘happy card’ for comments and support

a very short manual that doesn;t tell you enough.


===controls.user interface
there is a button on the back.
it glows green when the light is on.
you press it long to turn on or off, short to change light levels
it is kind of slow to react, so you are never sure you pressed it right away. it does have a decent click feel though.

you click it twice to go to strobe mode.
strobe mode is a fast blink at max power.
click once will get out of strobe, slow press will turn off.

the strobe mode appears to use about half the power as TURBO.
strobe isn;t a long battery life mode

the light:===
light color is nice – no off colors, just cool white, not too blue at all

the pattern is nice, largish center spot then lots of spill, dimmer than the center but basically good.

i can;t tell if it has memory or not, probably not or it would annoy me.
it seems to start on TURBO every time
it has 4 brightness levels.

other people think the pattern will blind drivers
i do not think so
but if so, so what

—heating ———
it does get hot, on all light levels except LOW-while not riding, no cooling breeze present
the HIGH mode and turbo of course are very hot.
if the manual was longer , it should advise you to not turn it on high or turbo unless moving on an actual bike.
although even when riding briskly, the turbo mode becomes too hot to touch, at least while the battery is freshly charged

—light regulation ——————-
i believe it is not regulated, all the modes seem to get dimmer as the battery runs down
this helps with the heat problem, it doesn;t get as hot as they all get dimmer
but of course the brightnesses are all going down too, is the reason
and it won;t go into turbo if the battery is too low

charger is cheap generic chinese unit
there is a red and green light on the back of the charger
green means charged, red means not yet
the manual says nothing about this

the battery is the typical cheap mass market chinese battery
it may not last long, particularly under bike vibration
the strap is weak, i tie my battery packs on with stretchy fabric ribbon and ignore the velcro already there

the specs are not accurate
it says the battery is 8800mah, which is sort of right but off by 50% also
the problem is, the voltage is 8.4V, and the amp-hours at the CORRECT voltage is only 4400mah
but i believe all these cheap bike batteries make the same mistake

it is NOT NOT NOT waterproof
put it in a plastic bag with the cable sticking out.
maybe they left a gasket out, that would explain it – one gasket would have solved this
i solved it with ‘‘plumber’s putty”
BUT – if i had not taken it apart, i would have thought “oh this thing is supposed to be waterproof”, ridden in the rain, then smoke would have started coming out sooner or later

when the battery gets low, the green power light on the light, turns red
if it is in turbo mode, it will shift down to high, and turbo is not available
it may also do that for high, i am not sure
but it will let you use low or medium until the battery shuts down

the turbo shut off MAY be due to high temperature, instead of low battery, i can;t tell

battery does not last as long as amazon specs.
i fully charged it, ran it on HIGH [not TURBO], red light came on at 3:00, battery cut off at 3:10, spec says 4 hours

—on the bike——————————-
the mount is a standard half-circle with hooks, then an o-ring (fat rubber band) goes over the handlebars and attaches to the hooks
it is a good system
it works

the battery attaches with a little velcro strap thing that is hard to figure out
though all these generic batteries have some version of the same thing
and they are all different, but all hard to figure out

nice but not sure how useful
light will always be on handlebars so why do you need a remote?
though if the light is too hot to touch, the remote will be cool still

==comparison to specs:—————————————————————-
‘‘1400 lumens’‘ is possibly accurate, it is difficult to measure but i think it is possible.
it;s BRIGHT!!!

‘‘waterproof’‘ – the light itself is NOT waterproof.
the light will leak water around the front metal plate right to the circuit board inside.
it will also leak into the remote port if you do not keep a plug or the cover in it.
maybe mine was missing a gasket but water would just pour around the front metal plate.. right to the circuitry

the battery is also NOT waterproof.
it has cardboard end plates, and the cable exit is not sealed
this is serious
i would put it in a plastic bag if you need to ride in rain.

you can also water proof the front of the light with ‘plumbers putty’ but you have to take it apart.

head mount
faster switch operation
should include a Y cable for charging without removing battery from light
better heat sinking

nice color light
nice pattern
good construction
nice design

—misc remarks——————————
there is NO usb on it anywhere..which is fine but an amazon review says there is
it has 4 light levels, an amazon says 3
amazon prime shipping was MAGIC, it came same day in about 8 hours from 100 miles away

these LED lights are great in general – it amazes me that bike stores do not carry them
bike store lights are always inferior and more $$$$$$$$$$$$$
maybe it is the lithium ion battery issue, i don;t know

the port cover on the back, for the remote, will not stay in place
again this defeats waterproofing.
you could tape it shut but why does it come out all the time?-bad design or no attention to detail

the battery cover/case has weird straps to hold it on to the bike
they work but you have to fiddle with them for 30 mins to figure out how to do it
all cheap battery packs seem to have these though
and they are all different, it is not possible to learn how they work from just one

"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
    Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
It never gets easy, you just go faster.   
-Greg Lemond.

Edited by: wle on 09/14/2016 - 08:28