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Silva L1

Review by planetFear
Wednesday 6th June 2007

This new product from Silva seems to defy the laws of physics producing 3W of light for 140 hours on 4 AA cells. All the calculations do not seem to add up, but sound impressive.  Therefore we gave it the ultimate test – how would it perform in the Adventure Racing World Championships... with heavy rain and repeated nights of use running / cycling / climbing and kayaking.

The torch comes with two battery packs on the headband – each for 2 AA cells – thus balancing the weight evenly over the back of the head, and is suprisingly comfortable to wear.  The strap is adjustable to fit onto helmets, although the battery packs then need to be moved which can be a little fiddly.  There is an alternative battery pack to go in a rucksack that gives a whopping 600 hours of light on 4 C cells.  The torch fitted well onto cycling helmets as well as climbing helmets.

But what about the light? Well, it's bright – easily being 3W equivalent with a good width of beam that is better than other LED systems I have seen.  There are three brightness settings and one flash setting.  To turn on / off the button must be held down for 2 seconds which can be a bit fiddly with thick gloves / mitts on.  The beam is bright enough to cycle and run with and covers 60m so can be used for night navigation.  You can also switch down the power for reading the map so as not to dazzle too much.  We covered some fast rocky descents at night and the L1 provided enough light to easy cope with these.

I had to change the batteries once during the 7 day event – these were not top quality batteries, but was a little disappointing considering the claim of 140 hours.  The second set seem to have lasted significantly better than the first and have provided 3-4 nights of use so far.  However the cost at £60 is significantly less than the other bike / large running headtorches, making this system extremely attractive.

From my experience this is a truly impressive light and one I certainly will use on future events and for training.

Strengths
Good beam strength and width
Longevity of battery life
Robust design
Different battery packs
Cost

Weaknesses
Fiddly to move battery cases on strap
On / off button difficult to locate with thick gloves / mitts

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