The Fenix BC30 is a self-contained, flashlight style light with two LEDs for a dual-beam pattern. Dual beam is a key advantage of these types of light heads, where the light can focus on both width and throw. The BC30 does quite a good job at this with a big beam, but with pretty good spot for distance.
One of the things we noticed with this light is the color, as it is more yellow than this year’s crop of lights. It’s almost akin to the Halogen days of more yellow-ish lights before the advent of HIDs. This light tint doesn’t seem as bright, but it’s actually really good for shadows and contours as the rider’s eye is able to detect rocks, ruts and bumps more easily on terrain, especially when using bar mounted lights.
Video: Test loop with the Fenix BC30. Camera is on a locked ISO setting and is set to Wide Angle mode
This light doesn’t come with batteries and that is a bit of a pain as it doesn’t say that on the website or packaging clearly. One has to buy their own 18650 pair of batteries and charger. We factored that in to the pricing adding $40 to the $100 price of the light without battery or charger. This gives it a quality set of batteries and allows us to make it an easy apples to apples comparison with the rest of our lights which come with batteries.
The box and the web information on this light keep claiming ‘max brightness of 1800 Lumens’ but as we measured it, 1200 Lumens was the output. It turns out one needs to plug in a remote switch and keep it pressed to trigger an ‘overdrive’ mode which is 1800 Lumens. This can only be done for a few seconds since the LED is not designed to be safely driven at this output.
This is pretty deceptive advertising that we hoped would be weeded out of the light industry by now. It’s a good light at 1200 Lumens, so just label it that. The 1800 Lumen boost mode can exist, but don’t claim that as the light output if the light cannot be consistently run in that way for a whole battery cycle. Aside from that, our light kept shutting down and requiring the batteries to be taken off every time we tried to run it at 1800 Lumens with the button pressed. And realistically, one cannot safely hold the button down while descending at full speed, which is when a ‘boost’ mode would be needed.
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 »
Integrating Sphere Measured Lumens
This light measured 1283 Lumens in an integrating sphere. Claimed Lumens by the manufacturer is 1800 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 »
- Dual beam pattern is bright, wide and has good throw
- Construction seems quite good
- Good value
- Mount works well
- Doesn’t come with batteries and it doesn’t state that clearly enough
- 1800 Lumen claim is deceptive
- Battery hatch is difficult to close
- Remote switch doesn’t turn the light on and off. It only works to overboost the light
- Price: $160
- Claimed Lumens: 1800 Lumens
- Measured Lumens: 1283 Lumens
- Lumens per $: 9.16 Lumens
- Lumens per gram: 7.97 Lumens
- Time on High: 1:50 Hours
- Charge Time: 5:00 Hours
- Mounted Weight: 161 grams
- Category: Flashlight/High End
4 out of 5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers
It’s a good light, but it’s marred by 1800 Lumen claims and no batteries are included.
For more information visit www.fenix-store.com.
This article is part of Mtbr and RoadBikeReview’s 2015 Lights Shootout. To see all the bike lights tested CLICK HERE.