Princeton Tec Switchback 2, Switchback 3

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Princeton Tec Switchback 2

Light Price Claimed Lumens Runtime Battery Type Light head weight Battery Weight Installed Weight Lumens per gram Lumens per dollar
Switchback 2 $299.00 n/a 4:50 Lithium Ion 132g 416g 548g n/a n/a
Switchback 3 $389.00 n/a 4:55 Lithium 175g 653g 828g n/a n/a

Light Meter charts and comparison table available here.

Description:

The Switchback 2 is a 2-LED light and the Switchback 3 is a 3-LED system. Both light heads are encased in big aluminum housings with a big yellow switch  on top. The construction is top-notch and it looks to have ample cooling available.

The battery for each model is a big 5-hour battery in a hard plastic case with a rubber top to rest on the bike frame. The connectors are slotted and lock on to the battery.

The packaging is unbelievable. There is so much attention to detail to all the boxes, spacers, accessories included in the box. Everything is in here and stuffed neatly in these cube-shaped boxes.

PHOTOS: Switchback 2 w/ Battery | Switchback 2 Box | Switchback 3 w/ Battery | Switchback 3 Box | Battery Connector:

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Mounting:

Helmet mounting is established by strapping a wide base onto the helmet. The light can then be swiveled up and down.

For the handlebar, the mount is a big, solid offset mount that can mount the light at the center of the handlebar. The light can be aimed left to right as well as up and down.

Light Meter Measurements:

On our ambient light test, the Princeton Tec Switchback 2 measured 10 Lux and the Switchback 3 measured 19 Lux. These are on the low side of our tests specially at the pricepoints that these lights are at.


Strengths:

  • Included accessories and packaging is excellent
  • Mounting for bar and helmet is included and both are very good
  • Charging is fast and easy
  • 5 hour run times are A+

Weaknesses:

  • The amount of light  is just not that bright
  • These systems are quite heavy.
  • No battery guage or indicator lights
  • No carrying case

Bottom Line:

These Princeton Tec systems are overbuilt, heavy and not bright enough for racing or aggressive riding.

However, they are designed like tanks, have first rate construction and have extended run times. Thus if you are a commuter looking for a bulletproof system or an endurance racer that need run time and reliability first and foremost, this might be a good set for you.

Beam Pattern Photos:

Switchback 2

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Switchback 3, and Switchback 2 & 3

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Beam Pattern rollover and side by side comparison page available here.

Value Rating:

3.5 out of 5 Stars

Overall Rating:

3.75 out of 5 Stars

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  • Vince says:

    I use the Princeton Tec Switchback 2 on the helmet with the Light & Motion Seca 700 Ultra on the bar during endurance races. I find a helmet light to be indispensable when cornering or cresting a high speed summit followed by a steep descent.
    The Switchback 2 is just barely enough light when used as a secondary light. I would not recommend this light as a primary light on technical trails or racing. I purchased the light at a considerable discount at an eBay retail store. I would not have been as satisfied if I had paid full retail.

  • Da Cuzz says:

    The Princeton Tec Switchback Bike Lights are killer. I’ve used them for 24 hour races in Moab and other spots and perfer them much better then Nite Riders – which I’ve used before. Great for any night riding and easy to use.

    There are a few errors here. Burntime on the SB2 is over 5.5 hours and burntime on the SB3 is over 6 hours. And there IS a battery indicator on the lights. There are 3 battery indicator lights on the battery & the light head itself flashes 3 times when the battery has 25% charge remaining. Pretty efficient and simple.

    The biggest thing here is that the lights they tested were last years model. Any Switchbacks currently available are 2x as bright.

    Just wanted to get that out there so things are straight. Happy riding, Go Big!!!

  • Eli says:

    Princeton Tec says the SB3 uses 3 Maxbight LEDs but doesn’t say how many lumens it gives:
    http://www.princetontec.com/?q=node/75
    But the headlight known as the Apex also uses the same LED and gives 130 lumens:
    http://www.princetontec.com/?q=node/67

    So at max the SB3 is 390 lumens so just slightly less then the Dinotte 400L which is rated at 25 Lux in this lighting shootout vs this one at 19. So while it may have gotton brighter I’d say it can’t be anywhere near 2 times as bright as the model reviewed if you are corect in them reviewing the old model.

    Might be better to see about updating the review to be sure though

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