Published by Andrew on 4 February 2016
Richard Peace finds the Topeak Combo Aero LED lights perform well out in the real world.
This pair of nifty little lights (also sold separately) are aimed at those wanting lightweight yet reasonably powerful LEDs. Initial impressions are of well made items that give out plenty of light for round town commuting purposes and use on good quality unlit paths.
I was attracted to them as they are powered by two AAA batteries, two for the front WhiteLiteHP Beamer light one for the rear RedLite Aero light. AAA batteries are easily replaceable and available worldwide, and of course AAAs come in the rechargeable variety too. This means you aren't relying on proprietary batteries which are increasingly common and most are unique to the lights they come with. With such widely available batteries and decent looking waterproof seals, the neat little lights look like they should hopefully last years and years.
Easy to attach and a range of lighting modes
Fitting is pretty easy; the rear Aero comes with two 'figure of eight' rubber straps to accommodate seatposts between 25.4mm and 34.9mm diameter whilst the front Beamer mount is easily attachable by means of a thumbscrew and the light itself can be clipped on and off by a strong feeling clip (though strong thumbs are required to get the light on and off).
The clever design means the mount will fit handlebars between 25.4 and 33mm as it comes with two sizes of hinge gate and a removeable push fit rubber packing piece. There is 5 degree side to side swivel of the front light when on the bike, very hand for pointing the light just where you want it.
In use they are highly visible to other traffic, whether used in blinking or constant mode and the rear Aero has plenty of side visibility too. The simple and positive feeling rubber push button switches are not too bad to use with gloves and the simplicity of three modes – off, blinking and solid – makes for ease of use too.
The lights are still performing well after several night's use and the maker's claim of 30-40 hours' run time on solid beam looks perfectly credible. It's made clear the front light is not really designed for situations where a lot of light is needed e.g. at high speeds on poor surfaces, but for decent roads at touring speeds and unlit cycle paths, the front light gave enough light to see where I was going around 8-10m ahead. Fine for most of the riding I do.
They should be great for touring too, adding little weight (70g and 30g respectively) and coming with those easily replaceable batteries. Highly recommended.
Richard Peace is founder of Excellent Books, specialists in cycle publishing. He is author of Cycling Southern France (UK, US), Cycling Northern France (UK, US), and Electric Bicycles: The Complete Guide (UK, US). He is a regular contributor to A to B magazine, Bike Europe and writes for Eurobike Show Daily.