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Sea Otter: Brighter emitters, more commuter-oriented models from Light & Motion

By:
James Huang
A mini-USB port is used to charge the onboard Li-ion battery - perfect for commuters.

A mini-USB port is used to charge the onboard Li-ion battery - perfect for commuters.

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While best known for its high-powered off-road lighting systems, Light & Motion is making a strong push into the commuter market as well with two new models aimed specifically at riders who spend most of their mid-week saddle time on their way to and from work.

The clever Vis 360° is a complete front and rear (and side!) lighting system designed to fit entirely on your helmet. The compact aluminum headlight boasts an impressively bright 120-lumen output via a high-powered LED emitter along with integrated amber side blinkers for additional visibility. Run time on high is quoted at 2:30 while bumping down to the low setting will double that figure – on flash mode it'll run virtually all day.

A short, coiled wire connects the head to a similarly tidy rear light with three red LEDs and two amber-colored side blinkers. The rear light housing also contains the on-board Li-ion battery, which is conveniently recharged (probably at your computer) via a mini-USB plug.

System weight is just 135g so the Vis 360° isn't likely to create any neck strain and charge time is a relatively quick 4:30 depending on current, so unless you sneak out of the office early (in which case you likely won't need the light anyway) you should have plenty of burn time to make it home for supper. Retail price is US$169.99.

If a rear light is all you need, there's also the Vis 180° with three red LEDs and a combined 35-lumen output, plus two amber side blinkers. Run time is a generous 4:00 on steady or 8:00 on pulse mode and like the Vis 360°, there's a built-in Li-ion battery that is recharged through a mini-USB plug.

The Vis 180° mount is worth mentioning, too: its fully tool-free design straps to a broad range of tube shapes and sizes and is securely adjustable for angle so it can be mounted to either seatposts or seat stays without compromising the viewing angle.

Naturally, Light & Motion's more performance-oriented systems get a boost as well. At the very top end sits the Seca 1400, which now churns out a whopping 1,400 claimed lumens via six ultra-high power LED emitters. According to Light & Motion's Eric Squires, the beam pattern has been refined for better long-range punch, too.

Run time on high and charge time are both 2:30 and as before, there are multiple output levels plus a trick 'Race' mode that simply toggles between high and low settings. All that performance comes at a cost, though: retail price is a spendy US$699.99.

Most single-emitter Stella models also get a power bump. Last year's Stella 200 and 300 each gain another 100 lumens to become the Stella 300 and 400, and the previous Stella 150 has evolved into the Stella 200. The Stella 120 and 150 models carry over. Prices range from US$129.99 to US$299.99.

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