“More is Better” is a common saying. When it comes to cycling, many people always search for more speed and more carbon fiber accessories. For a bicycle light, more lumen output is also something that never hurts. However, a brighter light also usually means a larger and heavier light and batteries. While we’ve been spoiled with 1000+ lumen lights with external battery packs, today we’ll be looking at the recently introduced Topeak Headlux 450 USB. The Headlux 450 USB featuring an impressive 450 lumens with an equally impressive small dimension at only 2.6” x 1.9” x 1.1”!
Compared to commuter lights like the Magicshine Monteer 1400 or Fenix BC21R v2.0, the Headlux 450 is a surprisingly tiny light. Topeak markets the light as a low profile, affordable and easy to mount light. As the name implies, the Topeak Headlux 450 USB is a USB rechargeable and has an integrated 940mAh Li-ion battery within the metal housing. The light has dual high powered LEDs, with a simple button interface on top and an illuminated battery indicator.
|Category||Bicycle Head Light|
|Likes||+ Lightweight |
+ Flexible mounting options
+ Impressive output for the size
|Dislikes||– Limited run-time |
– Difficult-to-follow Mounting Instructions
– Single button interface with poor tactile feel
|Where to Buy (US)||Topeak|
Affordable small form factor headlight that packs a punch. The Headlux 450 USB boasts an impressive 450 lumens from dual LEDs mounted in a modern low profile metal exterior. With compact size and low weight, the Headlux 450 is an excellent urban bicycle head light or helmet mounted light.
The Headlux 450 USB is simply packaged with the light prominently displayed. Inside the box you’ll find:
- Headlux 450 USB light head
- Micro USB charging cable
- Large rubber strap for handlebar mounting
- Smaller strap for helmet mounting
- User manual
- Warranty card
A simple plastic strap holds the light in the packaging, with the straps and cables hidden in the upper portion of the package. The graphics and labeling on the packaging are well designed and easy to read. We were very surprised at just how small the light was when we opened the packaging, as most of the online photos show enlarged versions that make it difficult to visually gauge the size.
FIT & FINISH
Topeak touts the Headlux 450 as “a high-performance, low profile light without the hefty price tag or the cumbersome set-up.” With the light in your hand, it’s clear to see that this is more than just marketing speak. Despite a dual LED design and sleek metal housing, the Headlux 450 is extremely lightweight and has a very compact form factor. On the front of the light, you are greeted with two small LEDs enclosed in a simple lens.
On top, there is a large round gray rubber button to turn the light on and cycle through the modes. Unlike most lights we’ve used, Topeak doesn’t use a long press to turn the light on/off. Instead all interactions are done with a single press, the available modes are: off, high, medium, low and flash. To shut off the light in any mode, you have to cycle back to the ‘off’ setting. This is a little cumbersome, and does require you always travel through the flash mode. Additionally, we found the button to have a strange tactical feel making it difficult to press. It’s difficult to describe, but the button has what seems like a small area where it can be depressed.
Below the button is an illuminated battery indicator light that shows the battery state while charging and notifies you when the battery level is low. The user manual does not indicate when the low battery indicator light would turn on while riding though. A screen with a run-time display or a more informative battery indicator would have been a nice- to-have feature.
The rear of the light features a large rubber cover that protects the USB port from debris and water. This is a nice feature, as many lights hide the USB port underneath the light which can be difficult to access when the light is mounted on the bike.
The Headlux’s “party trick” is the tool free and bidirectional mounting. Attached on the bottom of the housing is a plastic hooking surface. Two large hooks are incorporated into the sides of the light, with two grooves in the front and back designed to fit the rubber straps. A large rubber strap is included that is designed to mount the Headlux onto both handlebars or aero handlebars. Topeak recommends overlapping the rubber straps twice to ensure the Headlux is securely mounted. The rubber strap requires some significant force to mount, but we found that with additional mountings, the strap becomes more flexible.
Additionally, the shorter rubber strap allows the Headlux to easily be mounted on a helmet by looping the strap through the hooks and around your helmet vents. By utilizing the side hooks for both handlebar mounting and helmet mounting, the Headlux is able to achieve the bi-directional mounting that Topeak advertises. While the rubber straps may seem like they are insufficient, they feel durable and hold the light securely with minimal play.
The two LEDs in the Headlux 450 result in a very square beam pattern with an even light distribution. There are no hot spots in the light pattern, and the lens does not have any integrated beam cut off. There are four available output modes. The claimed run-times with the Headlux 450 are: low (135 lumens, 5 hours), medium (270 lumens, 3 hours), high (450 lumens, 1.5 hours) and flash (10 hours).
Looking at the beam comparison photos with the Headlux mounted on the handlebar parallel to the ground, you can clearly observe the square beam pattern. Also note that the Headlux 450’s output is more of a spotlight than a flood light. The additional flash mode has an impressive 10 hour run-time and one of the highest frequencies we’ve tested to date and gives off a “lightning” effect. While we can’t confirm if the higher frequency is more effective than slower flashes, it is definitely more annoying for the rider.
Even though 450 lumens is nothing to scoff at, in our full night time riding we found the beam output to be insufficient as a primary headlight. For urban riding, the flash mode works well to attract attention and the lower output modes have enough run-time to limit recharging to once or week depending on how much you ride. Additionally, we found that the Headlux excelled as a helmet mounted light to improve visibility without additional weight or wires to deal with.
Overall, we were impressed with the Topeak Headlux 450 USB. It may be that we are spoiled with 1000+ lumen headlights, but we preferred the Headlux for urban riding or as a secondary helmet mounted light. In particular, the light weight of the Headlux 450 and easy mounting make it an ideal secondary or even backup light. Although the Headlux lacks a clear battery indicator, the compact form factor, price and easy mounting makes it easy to recommend.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Topeak. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.