Specialized Flux Expert headlight review

Quality commuter'centric light with great beam pattern

Lights Lights Shootout

2016 Lights Shootout

Specialized Flux Expert has a wide, self-contained form factor

The Specialized Flux Expert has a wide, self-contained package.

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.

Lowdown: Specialized Flux Expert Headlight

The Flux Expert is a serious effort from Specialized, not just a me-too effort in this crowded market. It is their most powerful offering in a family of lights and exhibits a lot of thought and design. The head is finely machined, with batteries built inside. It is shaped to optimize beam pattern, and the mounting is integrated into the cockpit, too.

Stat Box
Claimed lumens: 1200 Mtbr Lux: 78
Measured lumens: 780 Mounted weight: 250 grams
Lumens per $: 3.12 Category: Headlight
Lumens per gram: 3.12 Price: $250
Run time on high: 1:45 hours Rating: 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers 3.5 Chilis-out-of-5

Pluses
Minuses
  • Construction and beam quality are top-notch
  • Actual light output short of claimed
  • Beam pattern controlled and broad with more spill
  • Mounting and moving the light takes time
  • Well-integrated solution with center mount
  • Low light output per dollar/weight

Review: Specialized Flux Expert Headlight

Let’s cut to the chase: Our main knock on this light is it doesn’t deliver 1200 lumens as claimed. Instead, it comes in around 780 lumens. We’ve had to check and recheck our measurements since it’s so far off. This sort of overstatement was common years ago, but more recently manufacturers tend to match their claims more closely.

Specialized Flux Expert has a wired remote switch.

The Specialized Flux Expert has a wired remote switch.

The primary issue is the use of a theoretical or calculated lumen output instead of a measured one. There is light loss at every part of the process, so the actual output is always lower than theoretical maximum. And in the Flux’s case, they use a fancy reflected LED output where the light is not forward facing and the only visible light comes from mirrors that control the beam pattern. This is a brilliant piece of engineering but comes at the price of output loss.

Specialized Flux Expert mount is connected at the rear of the light.

The Specialized Flux Expert mount is connected at the rear of the light.

That shortcoming aside, build quality and beam pattern are top notch. The light output is reflected to produce a wider and lower pattern instead of the classic round flashlight beam. And not much of the light is wasted on top, as the beam is chopped off at the top to prevent blinding drivers with a bright beam pointed at their eyes. The light doesn’t quite comply with the German standard for STVZO lights with a sharp cut-off at the top beam, but it is still a safe light for commuting around cars.

The light has a beautiful beam pattern with a broad spill but it's just not  very bright for the money. Works well on the road though and can be complemented by another light for the trail for a great combo.

The light has a beautiful beam pattern with a broad spill, but it’s not very bright for the money.

We photographed the lights in the same location setting with the same camera settings. The photo was taken in our backyard, which is approximately 75 feet long. The backyard beam pattern allows you to gauge the throw and the width of the light. Compare all beam patterns here »

Integrating Sphere Measured Lumens

This light measured 780 lumens in an integrating sphere. Claimed lumens by the manufacturer is 1200. Actual output measured the same 780 lumens, falling well short of claims Compare all lumen tests here »

Specialized Flux Expert accessories and included USB charger

The Specialized Flux Expert accessories include a USB charger.

The light has a wired remote, which is a nice feature, though it’s not quite dialed. The wire adds clutter to the bars unlike the new crop of Bluetooth remotes. Second, it is optional (which is key) but some of the light modes don’t seem to be available when the remote is not connected.

Bottom line, this is a high-quality light that works well when used primarily for commuting and doesn’t have to be moved from bike to bike. But the price/performance issues and other quirks, having us looking for some updates before it can be considered a top performer in the category.

For more information visit www.specialized.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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  • gg says:

    Excellent job MTBR in your light reviews.
    Very surprised that Spesh would be off by a whopping 35%.
    Are they pulling the wool over the eyes of us sheep ?

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