Planet Bike Blaze 2W

The recent advancements in LED technology have been a real boon to bicyclists. Just a few years ago, lighting systems powerful enough to illuminate the road sufficiently for riding at commuting speeds could cost into the hundreds of dollars. As LED emitters have become more efficient, small, lightweight bicycle lights have become powerful enough to be used as primary headlights. Along with increased output, these diminutive lights also have longer run times and virtually infinite “bulb” life.

Planet Bike has just introduced a new 2-watt LED headlight called the Blaze 2W. It looks nearly identical to their popular Blaze 1W (the 2W is black, the 1W is white), but as the name suggests, the output is double. Like other Planet Bike lights, the case design is sleek and simple and the weight is kept to a minimum. The handlebar clamp is nearly identical to the Busch & Müller clamp and it’s one of my favorites. It adjusts to any bar size without the use of rubber sleeves and the quick release is quick, yet secure. The overall build is excellent for a light in this price range.

Over the past couple of years I’ve used the popular Fenix L2D as my benchmark battery-powered headlight. The L2D is actually a flashlight that, when combined with a TwoFish mount, makes an excellent bicycle headlight. Up until now, the L2D provided just about the best balance of output versus run time in a 2/AA powered LED headlight, so it made sense to compare it to the new Blaze.

As you can see by the above beam shots, the Blaze is noticeably brighter than the L2D. The Blaze beam is ever so slightly tighter, with a little less spread. The L2D beam has softer edges and is generally more diffuse. The Blaze does a better job of illuminating the road surface near the bike and throws a beam out at least 20-30% further. Overall I feel as if the road is better illuminated by the Blaze.

The Blaze is powered by 2 AA batteries. Run times are good with 5 hours on high, 12 hours on low, and 18 hours in flash mode. For comparison, the L2D runs 4 hours on the same 2/AA set-up. I’d stay away from the flash mode except during daylight hours; it’s far too intense to direct into the eyes of oncoming motorists at night.

Obviously, these runtimes indicate the use of rechargeable batteries. If you don’t have a charger, Thomas Distributing is a great source. The Maha chargers are nice and they pay for themselves in no time. The Deluxe 8 Cell “Pro” Charger is fast, reliable, and highly recommended.

Generally, we recommend dynamo lighting systems, but for those who only occasionally ride after dark or don’t have the budget for a dynamo wheel and matching headlight for every bike, a small, but powerful LED headlight like the Blaze 2W is a great alternative. At $59.99 you’ll be hard-pressed to find another light that provides so much output for the dollar. Highly recommended.

MSRP: $59.99

Planet Bike

About Planet Bike
Whenever I review one of their products, I like to point at that Planet Bike donates a full 25% of company profits to grassroots bicycle advocacy organizations. Learn more here.

Disclosure: Planet Bike is a sponsor of this website and provided the Blaze 2W for this review.

17 Responses to “Planet Bike Blaze 2W”

  • Tali says:

    I recently got an Ixon IQ. After riding with a light with a wide, rather than spot, beam pattern I don’t think I’ll ever want to go back to a spot beam as my primary light. The extra information I can get about what is going on a few more degrees off the direction of travel is quite reassuring. The integrated charging make the Ixon IQ pretty hassle free too.

    Of course, the Ixon IQ was double the price of this light, even with a 25% discount. And I do wish it had a flashing mode for gloomy weather.

  • Alan says:

    @Tali

    I have an Ixon and it’s a great light. I too prefer a controlled “Euro” style beam, but as you indicated, lights with those types of reflectors are in a different price class.

    Alan

  • Larey says:

    I have the PB 1W Blaze which is pretty darn good but it’s a very focused light (I much prefer the broad pattern of the Nite Rider Minewt or Cygolite Milion). For really dark conditions I found my 1W Blaze worked best lighting up the road in front of me but with a second (1/2W Blaze) pointing up to light up bridge reflectors, oncoming bike salmon, and low hanging branches. I bet pairing up the 1W and 2W would be very effective.

  • doc says:

    I hope that PB upgrades their dynamo light to the 2W LED. It would make a nice light for a gopher bike where one doesn’t want to pony up for a Cyo or E3.

  • Alan says:

    @Doc

    The folks at Planet Bike told me their Blaze Dynamo actually draws more power out of the hub and therefore ends up having a lumen rating similar to the Blaze 2w. Pretty cool. I have a Blaze Dynamo; I’ll run some tests and follow up with some comparison beam shots.

    Alan

  • ac says:

    Why don’t the headlight manufacturers put their lumens ratings right on the box? I don’t really care how much power a light consumes – I want to know how bright it is.

  • Barrett says:

    My local shop just got the PB Blaze 2W lights in today (at my request last week). Have to say the thing lives up to the hype, which is rather nice since we just went off Daylight Savings Time. (Also smart timing on PB’s part.) VERY happy it uses the same h’bar mount as my Beamer 5; I can switch between both lights on two of my three bikes (the third uses a generator system). For batteries, I’m just starting to use Sanyo’s Eneloop rechargeables, whose big claim to fame is their ability to hold about 85% of a full charge for upwards of a year, which eliminates my last objection to using rechargeables in items like flashlights/bike lights and such. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of useful life per-charge I get out of these.

    - Barrett

  • Feniz LD20 review. - London Fixed-gear and Single-speed says:

    [...] http://www.ecovelo.info/2009/10/28/p…ke-blaze-2w-2/ [...]

  • Geof says:

    I’ve been waiting for this light since I discovered it a few weeks back on a website. I’ve been looking around for it at local bikes shops and happened to see it today. I grabbed it, mounted it and preceeded to ride on the Minuteman trail with it.

    I have multiple 1 watt lights from different manufacturers, including the Blaze 1W.

    This light is a joy to use. As a matter of fact, it is too bright to leave on when you approach someone. I felt the need to cover it with my hand as a courtesy to on-coming riders.

    As I was leaving the trail at Alewife a rider who had been behind me caught up and off-handedly said something like “thanks for sharing the light.”

    He had the spock on his bike and is convinced that the Blaze 2W is a real step forward.

    Anyway, instead of packing it in at about 5:30 tonite I went on and rode until just about 9:30 with the light. It throws enough light for me to ride at my usual pace (14 – 18mph) and not be surprised by the road/path surface.

    I’ve owned other rechargeable systems and have also built high output 12 and 18 volt systems for my bike. The Blaze is a convenient and light-weight solution.

    The 2W is a real step up from the 1W. As a matter of fact, if you mount both you can use the 1W in flash mode and the 2 to light your way, or at one point I had the 2W focused on the path farther out and the 1W closer in and I had continuous light in front of me for 30-40 feet or so, definately far enough to see any bumps/holes and detritus on the road and enough lead time to avoid it.

    It’s worth the $60.

  • Ted Sommer says:

    OK, now I am confused. The excellent Ecovelo review suggests that the Blaze 2W should be brighter than the Fenix L2D. However, Fenix advertises their highest output as 180 lumens. I couldn’t find the comparable data on Planet Bike’s website, but Gear Junkie’s review lists the Blaze 2W as having a maximum 100 lumen output. I own both, so I should probably do a decent side-by-side comparison like Alan did. However, I have already used the Blaze 2W a couple times on my dark commute and didn’t think that it performed any better than the Fenix. This isn’t to say that the Blaze 2W isn’t a wonderful product–I would still recommend it to most people over the Fenix because of the better mounting system and longer run times. It is also fabulous value–I purchased one on Ebay for just $40, which included shipping.

  • Alan says:

    @Ted

    The Fenix is in fact brighter in “Turbo” mode, but it’s impractical to use that mode for bike commuting because the run time is too short. The runtime is advertised as 2.4 hours, but in reality I’ve found it to be closer to 1.5 hours, not enough to get most people through even one morning/evening commute. In “Standard” mode, which has a reasonable run time of around 3.5-4 hours, the L2D is not as bright than the Blaze.

    Alan

  • Ted says:

    Alan, thanks for the clarification. BTW, my run times with the Fenix in “Turbo” mode have been similar to yours–clearly lower than the advertised run times.

  • Alan says:

    You’re welcome, Ted. I probably should have been more clear in the review. I’ve mentioned before that the Turbo mode is not really useful for bicyclists, so I didn’t bother to go into it again. My mistake…

    Alan

  • ac says:

    I’d like to speak up in defense of bright lights with short runtimes. My morning commute is in daylight, and my evening commute only takes about 45 minutes. I want an extremely bright light, but it doesn’t have to run for more than 45 minutes, and I’m happy to recharge it every night

    A shorter runtime means that I don’t have to pay for battery capacity that I don’t need, and I don’t have to carry around battery weight that I don’t need.

  • Chuck says:

    I have the 1/2w version, and of course the beam is none too bright and pretty narrow, and also has a that blue/purple tint to it.

    I was wondering just what the beam spread looks like on this new 2w (perhaps even compared to the 1/2w?), and what the color of the beam is? – I have heard that the 1w is somewhat wider and much whiter than the 1/2w, but still I, (like everyone else) am looking for a review that I can really trust.

    I am looking for more than just a “be seen” light, but also something that will show me more that just a 3′ wide/short strip of light in front of me – I would not be riding fast; maybe 12-15mph. – It would also be ok with me to use a 3LED (5mm) light along with this aimed very close up for the near vision, as is my general practice anyway.

    Thanks so much to anyone that can shed some light on this for me – Sorry bout the pun:-))

    -Chuck

  • jnyyz says:

    Hi Alan:

    I did some tests on the 2W versus 1W here:
    http://jnyyz.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/planet-bike-blaze-headlights/

    The short answer is that the 2W on low runs for 12 hours and is brighter than the 1W on high.

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Game Over says:

    [...] $50-$100 price range from the majors will do a remarkable job. I’m particularly fond of the Planet Bike Blaze 2W, the Princeton Tec EOS Bike, and the Fenix L2D. This last one is actually a high performance [...]

 
© 2011 EcoVelo™