Review: Jet Lites F3

Solid construction, heat dissipation and now GoPro compatible mounts

Lights Lights Shootout

2015 Lights Shootout

Jet Lites F3 Side

The Jet Lites F3 is the successor to the Jet Lites F-U2 self-contained light. The big changes are an upgraded LED to raise the output up by about 10% to a measured 724 Lumens. Another change is the adoption of GoPro compatibility for the mounting hardware. The battery has also been upgraded to 3400 mAh to improve the runtime to 2 hours.

Mounting

GoPro compatible mounts are a new trend we’re seeing in lights and it is a welcome one. The light manufacturer supplies its own mounts in the kit, but the buyer can use any of the hundreds of mounts from GoPro or the aftermarket. Given that this is a highly lucrative area for GoPro and third parties, the mounting possibilities will continue to grow. The cyclist can thus have many mounting options and share the mount between different devices.

Machined handlebar mount that even GoPro or K-Edge would be proud of.

Machined handlebar mount that even GoPro or K-Edge would be proud of.

Construction and cooling

The best part of this light is the machined aluminum case that showcases plenty of surface area and cooling fins to keep the light in optimum temperature. Heat is efficiently transferred to the battery case area where it actually helps the lithium ion cell on very cold nights, by keeping it warm enough to operate efficiently.

The LED is the awesome Cree XM-L2 with excellent binning chosen by Jet Lites (quality batch of LED). The battery is a Panasonic 3400 mAh 18650 cell, which is one of the best available today.

The switch is nice and big at the end of the unit and it is easy to operate. It is in a recessed cavity so the battery can be stood up on its end and used as a lamp. A plastic diffuser on the lens would make this an even better light source or light saber.

Beam Pattern Photo

We photographed the lights in the same location setting with the same camera settings. The photos were taken in the back yard that is approximately 25 yards long. These photos feature many objects and a distinct background to analyze detail and beam pattern. Compare all Beam Patterns here »

Jet Lites F3 Backyard Beam Pattern

Integrating Sphere Measured Lumens

This light measured 724 Lumens in an integrating sphere. Claimed Lumens by the manufacturer is 1000 Lumens. The Lumen-hour graph below shows how the light performs over the first three minutes of its battery cycle. Compare all Lumen Tests here »

Jet Lites F3 Lumen Chart

Strengths
  • Very good cooling with heatsinking, and heat transmission from the LED throughout the case
  • Beam pattern has a big halo with a very bright hotspot
  • Run time of 2 hours is best of class for self-contained
  • Battery is field replaceable so this right can run all night
  • GoPro mount compatibility is awesome
Weaknesses
  • No USB charging and battery has to be removed to be charged
  • Center spot of beam pattern could be a little bigger
  • Measured Lumens is not up to claims
Specifications
  • Price: $189
  • Claimed Lumens: 1000 Lumens
  • Measured Lumens: 724 Lumens
  • Lumens per $: 3.83 Lumens
  • Lumens per gram: 4.26 Lumens
  • Time on High: 2:00 Hours
  • Charge Time: n/a Hours
  • Mounted Weight: 170 grams
  • Category: Flashlight/High End
Real-World experience by the veteran endurance racer: The Angry Singlespeeder

Pros: Very bright and great beam pattern. Racing two of these lights at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo this past year was almost too much light! Love the machined aluminum body. Quality construction, great aesthetics and durable as hell. A terrific choice for those who tend to crash and drop things a lot. Totally wireless and low profile. Shaped like a flashlight. Also, the lip edge of the light makes for a handy bottle opener in a pinch. The ability to just swap out Li-Ion battery cells is awesome, making this light last as long as you have extra cells. The new GoPro compatible mount is a terrific idea, making the F3 compatible with any GoPro mount setup you already have. Customer service is outstanding. Mike and Jim are great guys who ride all the time. They want their customers to be happy.

Cons: I’ve had issues with battery connectivity. JetLites claims they’ve had a few QC issues with their battery supplier, sending batteries that may be a millimeter or two shorter than spec. This led to occasional light cut-out or dimming on bumpy terrain which happened a couple times. They claim to have resolved the issue. A second con is that even though they have a new, much sturdier and more stable GoPro mount, it still has some slight jiggling that is slightly noticeable off-road. Plus the handlebar GoPro mount is not quick release, requiring an allen key to take the mount off the bar. Not a deal breaker, but other leading light mounts are quick release.

Overall Rating

4.5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4.5 out of 5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

It’s a great light with class-leading GoPro mounts, but we wish it was closer to 1000 Lumens.

For more information visit jetlites.com.

This article is part of Mtbr and RoadBikeReview’s 2015 Lights Shootout. To see all the bike lights tested CLICK HERE.

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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  • Tommy Mac says:

    Does anyone know if the old FU-2 light can be upgraded to the new mount? The FU-2 also jiggles badly in the mount – I’ve remedied it with a tape shim but the mount is a weak point. On the other hand, it’s the only light I’ve owned whose run time isn’t seriously compromised in cold weather.

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