Double Blind Headlight Test!

The Quarterly Bicycle editorial board takes your safety seriously (seriously). As a service to the folks of the cycling community we are offering the results of our double blind test of the latest and greatest from the manufacturers.

Quarterly Bicycle Test Methodology:

Test Subjects: Ads were placed on Craig’s List for two blind persons to perform the double blind testing. This was initially unsuccessful and QB resorted to responding to various personal services ads on Craig’s List to find suitable subjects. Rigorous screening of willing individuals was necessary to prevent test team from being creeped out too much.

Intensity:  each light is placed 10cm from the test subject’s eyes and turned on the brightest setting for 5 minutes. The duration of the resulting purple dot(s) are evaluated thusly.

No dots = score of 0

0-5 minutes = score of 3

5-15 minutes = score of 6

Permanent purple dots = score of 9

On/Off switch Ease of function: Each test subject tested the lights for ease of locating, and ease of operating the on/off switch.

Could not find it, crashed when looking for it = score of 0

Found it but could not tell if switched on = score of 3

Easily found, easily operated = score of 6

Safety:  Safety of the light user only was considered. Complaints from and incapacitation of other roadway and pathway users was used as the only true indication of safety. (Ed Note: Double Blind Test Subjects did not perform this portion of the testing)

No reaction by others = score of 0

Flipped off/honked at by others = score of 3

Pulled off roadway by constable = score of 6

Cause others to crash = score of 9

Social Justice: This new category for testing is a part of the new enlightened QB with a conscience. We have adopted this progressive philosophy so that folks can have a clear conscience when purchasing product.

Cooperatively owned Company (tyranny by committee) = score of 0

Chemical Free Work Force (no healthcare) = score of 2

Sourced via Kickstarter = score of 4

Organic Work Force (forced to live via subsistence farming) = score of 6

Free Range Workforce (non-unionized day laborers) = score of 9

Lights Tested: Only lights purchased on the internet via Deal Extreme were considered due to budget constraints and we want to assure our investors that no more than $5.99 (free shipping!) was spent on any single light for this test. The Fly and the Wasp were purchased at the Saturday Oakland bike swap for $5 each.

ninja turtle light

ninja turtle light

Ninja Turtle Light: This light is so cool looking, but clashed extremely with the classic lines of the test randonneuse. For this light a Trek Madone was borrowed. QB Score: 14.4 (Ed. note, light mount broke when the borrowed Madone fell over at Starbucks, resulting in a 10% score penalty, per QB testing standards)

Intensity:             3

On/Off:                  0

Safety:                  3

Social Justice:     10



Lightster: No tester would allow themselves to be seen in public with a light named ‘Lightster’. A RUSA logo sticker was used to cover the Lightster name and still no one would use the light for the same reason. Gaffer tape was used to cover the RUSA sticker and testers then acquiesced and used the light.  QB Score: 25 (Ed. note, Double blind testers inadvertently turned the light to strobe mode and suffered from an epileptic seizure. This happened three times with this particular light and the test team was intrigued by the absolute repeatability of the seizure duration [ 5 min. 38 sec.]– this will be incorporated into a future double blind taillight test)

Intensity:             3

On/Off:                   6

Safety:                  6

Social Justice:     10+




Head Lamp: This light was used as a supplemental light for descending and for looking for lost keys. QB Score: 21

Intensity:             3

On/Off:                   0

Safety:                  9 – very effective for directing into the eyes of other roadway users, Ed.

Social Justice:     10



Fly: This light is effective as a light for seeing the road, but failed dismally in the QB test highlighting the need for folks to rely on our expertise for their purchasing needs. There was no strobe setting and the cut-off optics of the light made it fail the safety component of the test.  The light is further handicapped by failing the Social Justice testing component as the workforce is not Organic, Free Range or Chemical Free. QB Score: 12

Intensity:             6

On/Off:                   6

Safety:                  0

Social Justice:     0



Wasp: This light is effective as a light for seeing the road, and extremely safe as it caused no less than 3 cyclists, 4 motorists and 2 motorcyclists to leave the roadway. Almost all pedestrians encountered flipped us off or cursed. While there was no strobe setting the intensity and uncontrolled throw of light more than compensated for this lack in safety devices.  The light is also made in the USA and although is not labeled as such the workforce is most assuredly Organic, Free Range and Chemical Free. QB Score: 28

Intensity:             6

On/Off:                   3

Safety:                  9

Social Justice:     10

Conclusion: No light results in more safety than the uncontrolled intense light of a Wasp except the neighbor’s Deer Spotting Light with 10,000 foot candles. Unfortunately the Deer Spotting Light does not work with a USB connection. QB will continue to provide folks with valuable information for purchasing product as soon as new product is available within the QB budget. Stay tuned.


3 thoughts on “Double Blind Headlight Test!

  1. Randolph Peabody Esq. - representing sight impaired sex workers of lower Polk Street

    This an outrage! My clients have not been compensated for their services as test individuals and no longer find joy in their work due to purple spots swimming before their eyes. See you in court!


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