Planet Bike Blaze 400/600/800 SLX LED Bike Headlight Buyers Guide – feat. Clean Beam + Superflash

Planet Bike Blaze 400/600/800 SLX LED Bike Headlight Buyers Guide – feat. Clean Beam + Superflash


Thanks for tuning in this The Sweet Cyclists, today we’re going to be looking at the Blaze 400/600 and 800 SLX bike lights. Today we have very interesting review of the Planet Bike Blaze SLX series of headlights. Planet Bike has been kind enough to provide us with all three versions of the latest headlights. We have the 400 lumen, the 600 lumen and the 800 lumen version. As you can see they all have the same form factor but they have different battery capacities to achieve the higher lumen ratings. Planet Bike is also a great company you may be more familiar with through their Superflash taillights, they also have the Superflash and Courtesy modes integrated with these headlights as well which is a really nice perk for daytime riding. They’re also a great company in terms of support you can always get spare parts by just calling them up or going through their website with free shipping. Now let’s go ahead and open one of the packaging’s up and we’ll take a look at what comes in here, I also want to note the packaging is really well done it’s environmentally conscious. There’s no plastic here and the overall design is really nice it displays well on the shelf and has everything you need regarding the weight, the lumen output the IP66 ratings all printed on the back for quick accessibility. Let’s go ahead and take this out, in terms of specifications there are three versions. You have the 400 lumen which is a $43 light, we have the 600 lumen version and that has a $55 retail price and then we have the 800 SLX which is $65 and 800 lumens. All of these are micro USB rechargeable and as I mentioned they all have the same form factor as well. They have the clean beam design and you can see that here if we do a little close up these are the big vertical deflectors that spread out the beam. In terms of battery capacities the 400 has a 2200 mAh battery, the next one up is 2600 mAh and finally the 800 feature a 3350 mAh battery. They all have these integrated sight cutouts as well which is great for side visibility. They all have multiple steady modes as well as a Courtesy and Superflash. This is very similar to Light & Motion Safepulse which has an irregular pulsing to really draw attention for daytime riding. In terms of what’s in the packaging, it is very simple, you get a user manual give the user manual, a micro USB charging cable and you have headlights themselves. As you can see they all have the same form factor and finally you have the mount. The mount has a pretty interesting design, it’s a cam design so you can see no tools are required which makes installing and uninstalling very simple. So now that I have everything out of the packaging let’s go ahead and weigh these lights. Planet Bike claims all of these have the same weight which is not surprising considering the same form factor. The 400 version is 120 grams, if we look at the 600 we have 120 grams and finally the 800 which should have the highest battery capacity is surprise-surprise 120 grams. If we look at the mount, that comes in at 26 grams so overall pretty light weight for these headlights. Now let’s take a look at the fit and finish of the Planet Bike Blaze SLX headlights. They all have the same form factor, so we’ll review one and discuss any differences. If we start out on the front, these all have Cree LEDs with the clean beam design on the lens. What this means that this has some vertical deflectors which distribute the beam horizontally as you can see here with it on the mat. We have a very horizontally distributed light which would reduce the glare. This is not a proper beam cutoff but does a good job at reducing the glare a bit. You have really nice shielding on the top of these lights as well so when you’re looking down you shouldn’t be blinded by the light. With some headlights I’ve noticed if you don’t have this kind of shielding, once you get out of the saddle you’ll actually blind yourself with your own headlight just unfortunate. They all have this torpedo style profile to them which tapers at the end and the front. The front portion of the headlights is a metal body which improves the heat dissipation, they also have this powder-coated style finish with the metallic flake to them which looks pretty good. On the sides you have the model number imprinted on there, and the Planet Bike logo on the rear portion. The other side is unadorned as well as the rear portion. You have these little cutouts on the sides which should also improve the heat dissipation, on the bottom you have your micro USB port which is a standard offering with a nice large rubber cover to prevent any dust or water getting in. You have a standard slot style mount here that works with their proprietary mount. In terms of controls you have a single button interface and it has a very large rubber button which has great tactile feel, really easy to operate it’s a single click to cycle through. Now the different lights here have different number of modes, the higher power ones have more levels in terms of high, medium and low. They all feature the Courtesy mode as well of the pulsing mode which is their Superflash. That’s similar to Light & Motion’s Safepulse which has an irregular pulsing to attract attention. This is the regular mode you can see the beam is really well distributed horizontally, you have different steady levels this is the flashing mode and then we have this courtesy mode which is a nice kind of pulsing mode which is good at drawing attention without distracting people. A long hold will turn it off and you also have mode memory so if you turn it off at a specific mode when you turn it back on they’ll be in the same mode. In terms of differences between these there aren’t any, it’s just the model number. They weigh the same amount and they just have different battery capacities to achieve the different outputs. They do have a different cream model for the LED in the 400 version which is the lower powered version. The mount is something that’s also really interesting it’s kind of a standard rubber strap design but this cam design makes it really easy to install and uninstall. You can see here now that I have the top cover off you simply pull back and that releases the strap mechanism it is a really trick design. I’ve never seen something like this before, now this was at the furthest setting which accommodates the smallest diameter handlebar. If I want to adjust that I have two different positions I can go at the center location or at the front location. Now you can see it provides you a much wider range of a larger diameter and reassembly is the opposite of disassembly. We simply slide that rear tab in push down and then re-screw this back on. Now is a little bit inconvenient as it isn’t tool free but typically you don’t swap between different handlebar diameters and I do like that you don’t have to store different diameter straps. If you look at my closet right now I have a lot of boxes for different headlights and all the straps and different mechanisms that come with it which gets to be pretty cumbersome to keep track of. Alright now that it is secure you can see I simply readjust this and now I have a much wider diameter here. So if you’re watching this review you’re probably wondering which Planet Bike Blaze SLX should I buy. In order to answer that question I’ve laid out some of their competitors starting from the left to the right where this is 400, 600 and 800. If we start with a 400 you can see it has a very bulky size as it shares the same form factor with the others. That’s one big downside with this, for only 400 lumens you don’t need such a large sized light. However Planet Bike has done a great job in terms of pricing across the range. This is a $43 headlight for the 400s SLX, if we look at one of its competitors the Topeak Headlux 450 USB as the name implies 450 you have 450 lumens. However it comes in at 50 dollars and although it does have a lot smaller form factor. Also if you go lower powered you can get more commuter style lights, this is $50 Light & Motion Vya Pro which has a lot of smart features and again a lot more compact and lightweight compared to the Planet Bike. Across the range, I think that’s one drawback. A more interesting comparison is if we look at the Blaze 600 SLX which is $55. Its nearest competitor I think would be the Light & Motion Urban 700, this is a really popular series of light however they’re a little bit more simple. They have a very simple design with no clean beam or deflectors and a basic spot light. Again the Urban 700 I have here retails for $70 and while the Planet Bike 600 SLX is only $55 so you can definitely save some money. This one feels a little more substantial and I think I like the design better, it looks a little more modern and again a little more compact as well which is nice. If we go up to the higher power 800, overall I’d recommend definitely buying the most lumens you can as you can always run the 800 at a lower setting for longer versus something lower powered. If you ride in more dark trails I definitely recommend having something closer to 1000 lumens. I think the nearest competitor for the 800 SLX is the Fenix BC21R v2 it is a really cool light $75.00. It has removable lithium ion battery, which is huge and a very cool battery indicator. With all the Blazes, the only battery indicator you have will be a little LED behind the main button which will turn on once it’s low. With the Fenix I can actually check the battery status anytime and you get a little more granularity. Again same theme overall, the Planet Bike lights are bulkier in terms of all the shapes and sizes. These have the same sliding mount designs and same USB port designs, while the Fenix is actually USB Type-C which is great. However again, $75 while the Blaze is only $65 and if you have a higher budget you can also get a little more sleeker and compact lights. This is a Magicshine Allty 1000, this is an $85 light but it features a integrated DRL and one of the best feature is the Garmin mount so you can put this in your out-in-front mount instead of in having to use a proprietary sliding mount. Again more compact, smaller size and I think a better more modern design. I also wanted to point out that the cam style mount is very similar to the Fenix but I think what Planet Bike has done with the adjustable positions to accommodate different diameters is really slick. If we look at the Fenix version here it has the same kind of cam style that slides in and out. So really easy and quick, however you use different thickness pads to accommodate different diameters and this means you have to store these somewhere and then try not to lose them. So I think it is a clever solution from Planet Bike in terms of the mount. Now let’s look at the light output of the Planet Bike Blaze SLX lights, first let’s take a look at the beam shape. On the right I have a cross-section of the beam and as you can see it’s very horizontally distributed thanks to the clean beam design. On the left you can see a side shot of the beam, as you can see the shielding on the top surface of the light helps prevent some of the glare but otherwise it’s a kind of standard distributed beam. Now will cycle through all the different modes, I’ll go through the 400 the 600 and 800. They all have a high-low setting with the 600 and 800 also having medium setting as well. For each of these settings I’ll show the lumen output and the claimed runtime. You can see courtesy mode here looks a little flicker on camera, however it’s this is a constant mode and then it ramps up and down. Super flash on camera looks really strange as well but it is very high frequency pulsing they would not recommend on a nighttime trail. [Music] Now that you’ve seen all the different modes we can compare the high modes for a Blaze 400, 600, and 800 SLX side-by-side. There are not many obvious differences here but if you look closely you’ll see that the 400 has less distribution do the lower power, while the 600 has a wider beam and then finally an 800 is a wider beam with further reach. We found the lower medium settings to be pretty sufficient for the 600 and 800 SLX while the Blaze 400 SLX needed a high setting if you want to ride on darker trails. Now lets go over the pros and cons for the Blaze SLX lights. I really like that they’re very affordable regardless of which level you buy the 400, 600 or 800 they’re cheaper than the competition. The Courtesy and Superflash modes really help improve the daytime visibility and with the side cutouts you get 275 degrees of visibility which is really nice to have at nighttime. What I don’t like about these lights is the fact that a little bit bulky especially for the 400 SLX, the form factor is larger than some of the competition. You also have to cycle through the Courtesy and Superflash modes just to access the different steady-state modes which is unfortunate. A lot of lights now have a double click which will access flash modes. Also like a lot of USB lights, the low battery status indicator is non-obvious. You can’t really check the battery status, and you just have to wait for that low status to show once you have less than 10%. Now let’s give the lights a final rating, I think across the board I would give these an 8.4 out of 10. They’re really bright and budget-friendly set of lights. They lack some of the modern features such as the Garmin mount or DRLs, but they make up for that and the fact that they’re very affordable and with that clean beam design you get a really great beam pattern for commuting with. Thanks for watching this review, hopefully this helps you determine which light you want to buy. You can find more content from us on our website at thesweetcyclists.com as well as follow us on Instagram at @thesweetcyclists. This is The Sweet Cyclists reminding you to enjoy the ride! [Music]