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18

Oct

2011

Light & Motion Solite 150 review
Written by Alex Strickland   
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Light & Motion Solite 150Outdoor products not beginning with "Swiss" and "Army" that claim to do everything often perform poorly across the board. So the Light & Motion Solite 150, trumpeting "One Light, Multiple Personalities" across the box, set off all kinds of alarm bells for this pint-sized light.

Incredibly, however, the Solite 150 manages to excel thanks to one simple fact: This thing is crazy bright.

With a business end barely bigger than your thumb, the Solite 150 throws a huge 150 lumens on max power, providing more than enough light for camp and plenty for bike commuters and maybe even a cautious nighttime off-roader. Small orange lights on either side of the main beam provide some level of additional visibility from 90 degrees, but mounted in a mess of levers and cables along a handlebar, much of the side light is obscured anyway.

Light & Motion Solite 150While the Solite 150's actual light is tiny, the battery is not. The modular battery pack – more on that in a minute – is triple the size of the light it powers and while light weight, must be dealt with since it's tethered by a cord only a foot or so long.

In headlamp mode, the Solite 150 clips into a provided headband that places the light right up front and bulkier battery in back. The strap is wider than those found on many hiking lamps, but even the rubber-backed width can't disguise the real power strapped to your dome, giving a slightly coal-miner-esque feel to the setup.

Light & Motion Solite 150As a headlamp, there aren't a lot of applications for cranking the beam to maximum force, though the robust battery can pump out six hours of light at 75 lumens and 40 hours on the lowest, 15 lumen, power setting.

The light can also clip directly to the battery pack for directional tabletop lantern or handheld duties, or utilize the supplied attachment with rubber strap for latching onto a bike stem. The bike attachment lacks elegance, but does provide a simple, quick method to fit nearly any size bike stem. Durability doesn't seem to be an issue, but pulling the strap hard after a cold winter's night in the bike rack would encourage a bit of caution.

Power for this tiny starburst comes courtesy of a rechargeable unit that needs a mini-USB cable to top off the tanks – meaning prolonged backcountry use will require creative thinking – which is convenient for most urban or frontcountry dwellers. Construction is top-notch all the way around and the light ratchets into its various positions with a reassuring "click."

Light & Motion LogoSo is the Solite 150 a jack-of-all-trades and master of none? Hardly. As a bike light, it shines. As a tabletop torch it's more than enough and as a headlamp, well, it's a little insane. And while it's spendy, unless you're a 24-hour mountain bike racer, it can probably replace every other light you own. (MSRP $179)


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Alex Strickland

Alex StricklandAlex Strickland was born and raised in possibly the least mountainous and outdoorsy city in America – Memphis, Tenn. Despite the lack of trails and people to enjoy them with, he became a hiker, mountain biker and runner. Today, he's traded up for the Wasatch Mountains of Utah and added skiing to the mix, once someone explained what snow was.

A former newspaper editor in small-town Montana, Strickland enjoys freelance writing and photography for publications around the Mountain West and sharing his love for the outdoors through his work.

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