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Vel bike lights: first look

4 Dec 2019
Verdict:

New range of neat and well-priced lights including one with auto-adjust function

A house brand at long-standing roadie bike shop Sigma Sports, Vel has released a new range of smart-looking bike lights, a set of which recently arrived at the Cyclist office. All micro-USB rechargeable, their diminutive size, quality fixings and decent run-times make them worth checking out.

Comprising 500, 300 and 100-lumen front lights, each of these pair with the range's single 20-lumen rear unit.

Each and every model features a three-level battery indicator light to show you the charge remaining, while the larger two front lights also manage a good looking aluminium housing.

Perhaps most interesting of the set is the flagship 500-lumen model, which despite costing a reasonable £40 includes a clever ambient light sensor allowing it to switch between modes depending on the conditions. This allows it to switch from daytime flash to full-beam should the light levels drop, either slowly as the sun goes down, or suddenly, like when entering a tunnel.

For those on a budget, at the other end of the range, the smallest 100-lumen front light features a quarter-turn quick-release bracket along with a velcro strap for helmet mounting.

Acting as a rearguard to each of the front units is the 20-lumen rear light. Weighing just 18 grams, its multiple chip-on-board LEDs and wide-angle lens provide for increased side-on visibility. Coming with multiple mounts, it also includes a built-in clip allowing it to fit your helmet, seat post, saddlepack or bag.

First impressions

Competing with lights from better-known brands in terms of their vital statistics, both the supplied fixings and Vel's range of aftermarket accessories seem solid too.

The overall execution is also pleasing, with each diminutive unit taking up little space, while their largely unadorned casings look swish enough to satisfy the most ardent of bike fanciers.

Their lenses appear to spread the light evenly and without hotspots, while the way the brighter units softly raise or lower their intensity as you turn them off or on is also a nice trait.

About the only snag we found during our initial play-about with the lights is the slightly insecure attachment of the mode button cover on the 300 and 500-lumen lights. Pushed rather than glued into place on the aluminium housing, excessive jiggling in a bag full of heavy items might see them pop off, so keep an eye not to let this happen if you want them to stay in one piece.

Prices and where to buy

Prices listed are RRPs; all lights are currently on sale for less than the figure shown (04/12/2019)

Individual lights

Vel 500 lumen front light, £40 - sigmasports.com/item/VEL/500-Lumen-Front-Light  
Vel 300 lumen front light, £30 - sigmasports.com/item/VEL/300-Lumen-Front-Light  
Vel 100 lumen front light, £20 - sigmasports.com/item/VEL/100-Lumen-Front-Light  
Vel 20 lumen rear light, £20 - sigmasports.com/item/VEL/20-Lumen-Rear-Light  

Light sets

100 + 20 Lumen Light Set, £35 - sigmasports.com/item/VEL/100-and-20-Lumen-Light-Set  
300 + 20 Lumen Light Set, £45 - sigmasports.com/item/VEL/300-and-20-Lumen-Light-Set  
500 + 20 Lumen Light Set, £55 - sigmasports.com/item/VEL/500-and-20-Lumen-Light-Set  

Price: 
£20-£55

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