Review: Blackburn Central 700 Front

A great step forward for Blackburn

Lights Lights Shootout

2016 Lights Shootout

The light has a focused lens and a spill lens for greater illumination beneath the rider.

The light has a focused lens and a spill lens for greater illumination beneath the rider.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of Mtbr and RoadBikeReview’s 2016 Bike Lights Shootout. See the 2016 Mtbr Headlights Index and the RoadBikeReview Commuter Lights Index.

The Lowdown: Blackburn Central 700 Front

Last year, Blackburn intrigued us with the Blackburn Central Front with its robust construction and unique features. But it was a little bit of a miss with its high price, low output and light sensing technology that was not really that useful to most riders.

This Central 700 seems to hit all the marks however. It is bright and handy at 710 measured lumens and a simpler strap mount. And it really focuses on the most important aspect of the product, the beam pattern. Instead of making the smallest light with that requires a small reflector lens, they opted for a bigger one that could host two lenses, a near and far optic, much like a bifocal. This provides a light that provides good visibility seeing far ahead on the trail and close by for slow, techy maneuvers.

Stat Box
Claimed Lumens: 700 Lumens Mtbr Lux: 71
Measured Lumens: 715 Lumens Mounted weight: 162 grams
Lumens per $: 7.15 Lumens Category: Headlight
Lumens per gram: 4.41 Lumens Price: $100
Run time on high: 1:15 Hours Rating: 4.5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4.5 Chilis-out-of-5

Pluses
Minuses
  • Beam quality is very good
  • Not the smallest light for the given output
  • $100 price point is good
  • Tilt up/down mount is a bit redundant
  • GoPro mount compatible
  • Helmet mount requires a GoPro mount

Full Review: Blackburn Central 700 Front

The highlight of this light is the beam pattern. With its big lens, it’s able to provide a dual beam with long throw and broad short range spill. This is quite unique in a light at this size and price point so we are pleased to see Blackburn take the effort to produce a very useable beam.

Mount is a simple but very handy rubber strap with a lot of well-defined holes.

Mount is a simple but very handy rubber strap with a lot of well-defined holes.

Another cool feature is the mount. First, it is a very easy to use strap mount that makes it very convenient to move from bike to bike. Second, it has a tilt feature that is tightened by a GoPro compatible knob. That means that the rider can cinch down the strap very tight and use the tilt feature to aim the light. Lastly, the light is GoPro compatible so it can be used when any GoPro or third party mount. And since many Bell helmets come with an integrated GoPro mount, this goes on rather seamlessly with a low profile.

Beam pattern of this 700 lumen light has good lower spill for peripheral vision underneath the rider.

Beam pattern of this 700 lumen light has good lower spill for peripheral vision underneath the rider.

Beam Pattern Photo

We photographed the lights in the same location setting with the same camera settings. The photo was taken in the back yard that is approximately 25 yards long. The backyard beam pattern allows you to gauge the throw and the width of the light. Compare all Beam Patterns here »

Weight is 162 grams

Weight is 162 grams

Integrating Sphere Measured Lumens

This light measured 715 Lumens in an integrating sphere. Claimed Lumens by the manufacturer is 700 Lumens. Compare all Lumen Tests here »

Blackburn has made giant strides with their commuter lights and now these trail useable lights. Put one or two on the bars and one on the helmet and you’ll have a modular system that can handle any style of night trail riding.

For more information visit www.blackburndesign.com.

This article is part of Mtbr and RoadBikeReview’s 2016 Bike Lights Shootout. See the 2016 Mtbr Headlights Index and the RoadBikeReview Commuter Lights Index.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • cyberfly says:

    According to Blackburn’s website the battery is replaceable. Can you tell more about that, please?

    All I could find was a video on YouTube and it showed a battery with a cable attached, not a standard 18650 battery. It would really suck if you can only use a Blackburn battery.

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