Serfas True 500 – 2012 Mtbr Lights Shootout

Lights Shootout Video

MTBR Light Meter Measurements:

This graph shows the output of the Serfas True 500 over the whole battery cycle.  The graph shows the light at actual sustained lumens of 350.  The great thing is the light level is maintained throughout the whole charge of the battery. That means that the rider will get as much light in the last 5 minutes as the first 5 minutes.

MTBR Light Meter Measurements:

This light measured 43 lux on our ambient light measurement facility. This is pretty much in line with its 500 lumen claims. For comparison, the first Magicshine MJ-808 measured at 40 lux.  Its biggest competition at this pricepoint is the Niterider Minewt 600 at 50 Mtbr Lux and the Light and Motion Urban 500 at 53 Mtbr lux.

Light Meter Charts and Comparison Table »


  • Excellent light output and beam pattern
  • Good switch action and logic
  • Light stays cool even at high power and some airflow
  • Excellent flashlight
  • Great value at $150
  • Battery is replaceable even on the trail if one has a spare.
  • Bar and helmet mount are included


  • Not as bright as the Light and Motion Urban 500 or the Niterider Minewt 600  at the same price points.

Bottom Line:

The True 500 is a true contender in the commuter and self-contained categories of bike lights for 2012

Beam Pattern Photos:

Backyard Beam Pattern Comparison Page »

Trail Beam Pattern Comparison Page »

Value Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Overall Rating:

4.75 out of 5 Stars

Related Links
Mtbr Lights Shootout Main Page »
2012 Bike Lights Shootout »
Backyard Beam Pattern Comparisons »
Trail Beam Pattern Comparisons »
Light Meter Measurements »
Mtbr Lights Reviews »
Mtbr Lights Forum »

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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Wordpress Comments:

  • Chris says:

    I’ve used this all Fall and Winter long, twice a week after work and have had no problems. I run it with a 250 minewt on the bars. Ran it at the second highest setting, getting 2 1/2hr rides on it easy. Bought it for $130 and picked up the extra battery which I haven’t needed yet. It swaps out easily.
    The helmet mount has taken many tree branch hits without failing.
    My one problem with this light…RAISE THE BUTTON! As someone else pointed out, with gloves on you can’t find the button. I’m not a fan of always pulling a glove on and off to turn the light on when it’s below freezing out.
    It’s still an great light and great price.

    • John says:

      Hello Chris,
      I work with the product development here at Serfas. We have raised the button on all of the True series lights. We value your input, and this is something we started to hear, so we moved as quickly as possible to get this issue resolved.

      • Mario says:

        Hi I have the serfas true 500, can this light be used as a hand held flashlight? or does it need constant airflow… i was thinking of using it one level below the maximum?

  • Recon 1 says:

    I like the small and light weight of the light. Another great feature is the lithium-ion battery is replaceable and you can buy a spare.

    I question their claim of 500 lumens of light. I base this on it’s not as bright as my $55.00 Surefire G2X 200 lumens flashlight.

    After an hour into my bike(s) ride the battery level indicator start flashing red. To save battery power I left my AAA light on the bike and use that when I’m in a well lighted area.

    The small on/off button is hard to find when off or hard to operate when wearing gloves. I think the four light levels is two too many. The light is a wide beam, it will light up a 4 lane highway edge to edge. Maybe this is why the light is limited on lighting up the road ahead. This was the best light I could find local.

    If I can find a good quality charger and rechargeable 123 A batteries I will go back to using my Surefire G2X 200 lumens flashlight mounted on my bike.

    • John says:

      Hello Recon,

      Serfas has changed the game on high powered lighting by testing its lights in house with a 20” N.I.S.T traceable standard intergrating sphere. As the name infers, The Serfas “True” lights promise that you will always get what you pay for. Our True 500 lights actually give an output closer to 550.

      After personally attending 24 Hours of Moab, I was amazed at how well the True 500 light did in almost complete darkness. We had riders out there, using only this light, who had no problems running their full lap.

      At any time, you’re more than welcome to send not only the Serfas light, but your Surefire G2X, and we’ll run a full diagnostics on both lights to give you a true lumen output. My name is John, feel free to call me anytime at 1-800-424-0047.

  • BenK says:

    I used the Serfas 500 all last winter. There needs to be a reality check. I like the light but at cool temperatures (-3-5oC) on brightest settings the battery lasts a maximum of 40-50minutes. I have checked this with two different lights and with several different batteries. As my winter commute is ~60 minutes, in the dark and often drizzly days, I need to use the next brightest settings and then the light lasts just 65-75 minutes.

    The ease of USB charging and spare (inexpensive) batteries is very helpful.

    Great light, drizzle proof, light weight, bright light. Because the light is bright, I have to dim it for oncoming bikers but then I have to go through the whole light range including off to get back to my running light setting. The switch is hard to use with gloves.

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