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Light and Motion Urban 500 Review

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Light and Motion Urban 500 Review

Old 05-27-19, 09:38 AM
  #1  
DaveLeeNC
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Light and Motion Urban 500 Review

I do pretty much zero night riding. But I like to be highly visible from face on in the daytime and had been using a Niterider that after a number of years quit charging. I bought a Light and Motion Urban 500 from my LBS. I wanted something that flashed (IMHO, that maximizes daytime visibility of the biker) and this one had a 'pulse mode'.

In a nutshell I would NOT recommend this unit for my purposes. My complaints ..

1) The pulse mode simply moves from dim to bright rather than flashing. This seems to me to be far less visible/noticeable.

2) The cover over the USB charging slot is incredibly irritating. It literally takes a screwdriver to get it to flip up from covering the USB port. And then once it is flipped up, the remaining holding force is about zero and the damn thing almost always ends up on the floor.

3) You have to take out a screw (you can do it by hand as it has a 'twisty thing' on one end) to remove the unit from your bike. It is not easy to deal with and hard to get back in. In fact apparently I have already failed to put it back in properly as it fell out on a recent ride and is now gone. It seems to stay in without the screw (so far, anyway). And not much of a loss if I lose it.

Maybe this is a wonderful night time light, but I will not be buying another light from Light and Motion.

FWIW.

dave
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Old 05-27-19, 09:49 AM
  #2  
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1. The brighter models have a flashing sequence (well, the slow pulse with a triple-flash cycle.) I know that the 900 and 1000 do, but the 650 does not. So there's that.
2. I agree about the charge port cover just falling off. The design makes little sense.
3. Just don't use the screw. It's completely unnecessary. I have L&M mounts on every bike, and don't use the screw on any of them.

I use the Urban 1000 on my long-distance bike, the pulse/flash mode will run for 6+ hours.
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Old 05-27-19, 10:57 AM
  #3  
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I have an Urban 900 that only supports pulsing. L&M decided to remove flashing from their line to conform to Euro laws.

I've all the same complaints as OP except none are dealbreakers for me and I can flip my charging cover up easily without needing a tool.
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Old 05-27-19, 01:45 PM
  #4  
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Agreed about the mount and USB port cover. Both are a PITA.

But it's still a good light and I'd buy another L&M. It's reliable. It holds a charge longer than my other brand lights, both in use and between uses. I have to top off my NiteRider and Cygolite lights often, even if I don't use them daily. So far no need to do that with the L&M, after about 2.5 years of frequent use. Seems to last as long per charge as it did when new.

The pulse mode seems okay. Strobe mode wouldn't be bad if so many cyclists didn't abuse it to blind other cyclists and pedestrians on the narrow MUP. It's the sort of lack of personal responsibility that leads to misguided laws. On my lights with strobe or flashing mode I usually aim the light downward a bit, and off on the MUP. On the MUP at dusk or after dark I use a low power steady light. My helmet light is usually in flashing mode in traffic, but it's only 300 lumens peak.

The USB cover broke off the first few months. I pry it off with a plastic card to recharge. Then retrieve the cover off the floor.

The rubber band mount began cracking, then breaking, after about a year. It was painful to use on winter rides when my arthritic hands were aching. I've used lots of rubber band type mounts and straps. L&M was the worst.

And the "quick" release is the worst design of any major bike headlight maker. Mine lacked the screw retainer. I used a plastic Q-tip shaft through those holes to keep the light from popping loose. And I had to use a rubber band to keep the light from pivoting loosely in the socket.

Finally I switched to a Two Fish light mount. Problem solved. The combination of the L&M tapered barrel and protruding lug to attach the original mount ensures a secure hold. The Two Fish mount has two different diameter U-troughs on the rubber block. I use the smaller trough on the handlebar and the larger one for the light.

However the light can't pivot like it does with the original mount, so I can't mount the Two Fish to the head tube and pivot the light downward a bit. No great loss, I have other lights for that.

Also, I've homebrewed a hood/diffuser for the L&M Urban 500, which prevents overhead spill where it isn't usually necessary, and enhances side visibility. It's made from a translucent white plastic pill bottle, cut to shape. Snaps into the recess behind the front of the barrel. Takes less than 30 minutes to cut one of those soft plastic bottles to shape with scissors and a craft knife, then add some black tape across the top to shield the rider's eyes, while allowing the bottom of the diffuser to glow like a light bulb. Much better side visibility than the original yellow side ports on the L&M Urban lights.

Anyway, every bike light I've used has some PITA issues. None of the mounts is really good, but some are less bad than others.
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Old 05-27-19, 07:38 PM
  #5  
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Urban lights attach to and remove from the bar using the rubber strap.

The mount and light stay together.

https://support.lightandmotion.com/h...ing-Your-Urban

Reverse to take it off.

The light and mount are not designed to be separated every time the light is removed from the bike. Just use the rubber strap.


-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 05-27-19 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 05-27-19, 08:25 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Urban lights attach to and remove from the bar using the rubber strap.

The mount and light stay together.

https://support.lightandmotion.com/h...ing-Your-Urban

Reverse to take it off.

The light and mount are not designed to be separated every time the light is removed from the bike. Just use the rubber strap.


-Tim-
I am not sure that is correct. See the reference to the "Quick Release" here.

https://support.lightandmotion.com/h...-Release-Mount

dave
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Old 05-28-19, 07:22 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
I am not sure that is correct. See the reference to the "Quick Release" here.

https://support.lightandmotion.com/h...-Release-Mount

dave
I had not seen that page. Thank you.

The fact that so many have trouble mounting the light that way and the ease with which it mounts with the rubber strap seems to contradict that page.

I own four Light & Motion products including two Urban lights. One has a GoPro mount and the other uses the rubber strap. I put them on their respective mounts and never messed with them again. They don't come off their mounts and both been in service for more than 1.5 years.

Beam pattern on L&M products are second to none including the over-hyped cut off beam lights.

An $18 blinky light may have suited your purposes better.
https://www.blackburndesign.com/en/c...ight/p/7074698

Anyone who wants a great light can pick up the 900 lumen Urban dirt cheap right now at Excel Sports.

Light & Motion Urban 900 - $48
https://www.excelsports.com/main.asp?page=8&description=Urban+900&vendorCode=LIGHTNMO&major=3&minor=6


-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 05-28-19 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 05-28-19, 08:23 AM
  #8  
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Tim, there seems to even be a TAKE10 discount code for another 10% off. And this model would appear to actually flash. Now if they have fixed that damn USB thing - I hate having to use a tool just to recharge a light. But maybe that is unique to my light or the Urban 500.

Thanks for the info.

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Old 05-28-19, 02:45 PM
  #9  
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Not sure we are talking about the same light or possibly a redesign.

Mine certainly doesn't need a tool to take the USB cover off.

Keep in mind that this was one handed. I was holding the light with four fingers and operating the cover with the index finger while holding the camera in my other hand.

Video is upside down by the way.



-Tim-
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Old 05-28-19, 04:34 PM
  #10  
DaveLeeNC
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Tim, FWIW my unit's design is identical to what is shown. Mine is just super tight and won't come out with just fingernail strength. OTOH, the end that is 'permanently' attached to the unit comes off in a light breeze (on my unit). I think that I am going to superglue that end.

dave
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Old 05-28-19, 07:17 PM
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Hey DaveLeeNC, I understand that the light doesn't work for your purposes, but wondering what you will be using instead of a Light and Motion light?

On one hand I can agree with your frustrations, as I too think the USB cover and the attachment strap is not as convenient as I would like. But I am more than willing to put up with these issues since the light has worked very well for me. Also, their customer support has been outstanding when I called with questions and some concerns on the lamp run time. Turns out no issues with the light, and they sent me a new attachment screw for free when I mentioned I lost mine.

Let me know if you found anything better.
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Old 05-28-19, 07:33 PM
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Guidosan, I had been using Niteriders. They were used almost daily and neither lasted a full 2 years. I think that one was a 300 lumen and one a 600 lumen. They both worked well for me, but they are pricey and, apparently, don't have a particularly long life. I did like their ergonomics and daytime visibility characteristics. But they are pricey. I am undecided WRT staying with my Urban 500.

dave

ps. The only road (or trail) riding at night that I am likely to do would be if I had an issue on the road on an evening ride and got home later than expected.
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Old 05-30-19, 02:23 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
I do pretty much zero night riding. But I like to be highly visible from face on in the daytime and had been using a Niterider that after a number of years quit charging. I bought a Light and Motion Urban 500 from my LBS. I wanted something that flashed (IMHO, that maximizes daytime visibility of the biker) and this one had a 'pulse mode'.

In a nutshell I would NOT recommend this unit for my purposes. My complaints ..

1) The pulse mode simply moves from dim to bright rather than flashing. This seems to me to be far less visible/noticeable.

2) The cover over the USB charging slot is incredibly irritating. It literally takes a screwdriver to get it to flip up from covering the USB port. And then once it is flipped up, the remaining holding force is about zero and the damn thing almost always ends up on the floor.

3) You have to take out a screw (you can do it by hand as it has a 'twisty thing' on one end) to remove the unit from your bike. It is not easy to deal with and hard to get back in. In fact apparently I have already failed to put it back in properly as it fell out on a recent ride and is now gone. It seems to stay in without the screw (so far, anyway). And not much of a loss if I lose it.

Maybe this is a wonderful night time light, but I will not be buying another light from Light and Motion.

FWIW.

dave
Completely agree with point 1. In fact, I started a thread complaining about that a year or so ago:

https://www.bikeforums.net/electroni...ctiveness.html

For point 2, I've never needed a tool to get it open, but it does fall off easily. I'll add that the plastic this cover is made out of is brittle and mine snapped off at the hinge after maybe 30 uses, so maybe it's better not to bend it but to just take the whole piece off when you need to open it. I mostly use my 1000FC as a flashlight these days. It's a decent nighttime light though.

I switched to a Niterider Lumina 1100 which has better flash modes (but still not ideal). Unfortunately the water proofing on that model leaves something to be desired (only IPX64 rated, which I believe means it's good against splashes but not full immersion). I just recently managed to destroy mine after getting caught in a ~2hr downpour. Now it just stays in the low power steady mode all the time and won't even power off (until the battery runs down).

So now I'm back to my trusty Dinotte XML-3 which does have a nice triple-flash and a few other flashing modes. The external battery is a bit of a pain to deal with, and it doesn't have a GoPro mount option so I can't mount it under my GPS on the out front mount, but it's a solid light (knock on wood).

By the way, I believe that fixing screw is just a long 3mm screw, so you can probably get a replacement at the hardware store if you want.

Last edited by Metaluna; 05-30-19 at 02:29 PM.
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