Urban Velo

Planet Bike Blaze 1W

Planet Bike Blaze 1w HeadlightPlanet Bike’s Blaze 1-watt LED headlight is what I consider a high-end budget headlight. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but allow me to explain. In the world of commuter bike lights, you can spend as little as $10 to get an acceptable level of visibility on the front of your bike, and as you eclipse the $20 mark the safety factor goes up dramatically. At $45, the Blaze offers the level of quality and features a serious cyclist demands. In some respects, it even offers some advantages over lights in the $90 to $175 price range.

Planet Bike Blaze 1w HeadlightFor example, Planet Bike’s simple Quick-Cam adjustable bracket works impressively well. A rubber strap combined with a cam mechanism allows the unit to fit a variety of bars and doesn’t let the light dip or slip. Like most quick-release mounts, there is a tiny bit of play between the light head and the mount, but it wasn’t enough for me to complain about.

Planet Bike Blaze 1w HeadlightThe Blaze also accepts plain old AA batteries, which is pretty economical if you use a set of rechargeable lithium ion batteries. What’s more, if you get caught riding home at night and your batteries run out, you can simply get some from the store—a couple bucks is a small price to pay for safe passage home. With 7 to 14 hours of runtime per charge, a set of batteries should last most commuters a week if not more.

Planet Bike Blaze 1w HeadlightUnlike the high-priced commuter lights in my collection, the Blaze is really just bright enough to be seen, not bright enough to see in the dark. Planet Bike Blaze 1w HeadlightIt may cast enough light to traverse a flat bike path at low speeds, but I wouldn’t want to rely on the Blaze in the woods or on the dark, hilly roads outside of the city at night. I’m also hoping I don’t find myself running low on batteries and forced to use the light’s stroboscopic SuperFlash mode. I don’t even have epilepsy and I found myself a gnat’s hair away from having a convulsion when it’s on…

Jokes aside, the Blaze seems like a solid value. Based on my experience with other Planet Bike products, including the venerable Beemer headlight, the Blaze is built to last. Planet Bike backs up their products with a limited lifetime warranty, and of course 25% of their profits go to bike advocacy.

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22 Comments

  1. GavinMay 12, 2008 at 5:11 am

    A Fenix l2d is what you want Jeffy !

  2. JustinMay 12, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Let me be the first to say that the “quick cam” attachment is a big bag of shit. I bought a Planet Bike two-pack which included a lower-end version of the light above (black casing) and a rear light. The rear lamp is securely attached to my ladyfriend’s bike on the seat-tube, shining safe blinks during the nighttime hours. The front lamp however…

    The little adjustable locking ring is bunk. The “handle” so to speak falls off after more than two detaches from the bike, leaving your lamp homeless. And, even when it was attached, getting the proper amount of grip was nigh-impossible. I give this attachment system a firm thumbs down.

  3. Ghost RiderMay 12, 2008 at 10:59 am

    I totally agree with Justin’s assessment of the “quick cam” bracket. Everything else that Planet Bike makes is superlative, but not this hunk ‘o junk mounting bracket.

    I found out the hard way that the only way to get it to stay put is to cover the handlebar underneath with non-slip cloth “friction tape”. No amount of fiddling with the locking ring or the camming device was sufficient to keep the light pointing in the right direction.

    I will say that the bracket will fit a wide variety of handlebars and other cylindrical objects, though.

  4. Urban JeffMay 12, 2008 at 8:26 pmAuthor

    I’m using the light on a 26.0 polished aluminum bar, and it doesn’t slip. I’ve had it on and off a number of times, and it hasn’t broke thus far. I will say that no mounting system is perfect, and almost anything made out of plastic is susceptible to breaking.

  5. Ghost RiderMay 13, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    I’ve tried it on polished and beadblasted/anodized/painted finish bars, and the bracket slipped on every one of them…even by adjusting where the little serrated rubber pad hit. Maybe it’s just me, though.

  6. meaculpaMay 14, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    I 3rd the bracket problem if the Beemer is anything like the Blaze. After fiddling with it for the gazillionth time, I too had to use some frictiony medical gauze tape to stop it from moving up or down. Nice light tho’.

  7. bradMay 14, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    ? I used this light for a few rides before Jeff took it over and never had it slip..

    Though now that I’m thinking of it, I typically have a bit of electrical tape around my bar where a light would attach just for this reason with various quick mounts. And the tape comes in handy sometimes.

    I thought the ratcheting cam system was great. I’ve always liked cam closures for their easy on, easy off ability, and an adjustable one was great in my eyes. But as said, I always have tape around my bar where the light attaches.

    Otherwise, I found the light nice and bright, pretty well agreeing with Jeff’s views. I did find that the batteries or the mount rattled a little bit which kind of drove me up the wall for some reason or another. I don’t like things on my bike rattling, but I’d guess most people won’t even notice.

  8. peteSeptember 23, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    I just got the 1 watt blaze and it fits fine on my stock Giant OCR C3 handlebar. No slippage at all. I had to entirely remove the rubber shims to get it to fit, but with the threaded adjustment for the clamp, I was able to get a very firm grip. It did take some finagling though.

  9. ctOctober 19, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    +1 “mount is crap”

    I’ve tried this on two sets of bars and it’s useless. If you tighten the grip of the thing by turning in the screw on the cam lever, or by pushing the ratchet in one more stop, you arrive at a ridiculous situation where the cam won’t snap closed and remains half open.

  10. TroyDecember 30, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    If you have problems with the bracket slipping, you may have made the same simple mistake I made – having the clamp facing the wrong way. Try slipping it around, it’s pretty obvious once you do it which is the correct way.

  11. GilApril 24, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Zero problems with my mount. No offense,but does everyone realise that the strap is adjustable? There’s a ratcheting piece that shrinks it;to lengthen it you use a thin screwdiver to lift the ratchet. It does take a little futzing to set up initially,but once it’s set it should stay in place. I’ve fixed other light mounts in the past by putting a small piece of old innertube under the band.

    As for the light itself,it rocks. The strobe is very attention-getting,good battery life,rainproof,and it’s bright enough for most streets and bike paths.

  12. Planet Bike Blaze 1w & SuperFlash Light Set at Urban VeloApril 28, 2009 at 10:23 am

    [...] recently sent us a little love in the form of this Blaze 1w & SuperFlash set. We reviewed the Blaze 1w in the past, and we’re generally no stranger to Planet Bike’s products. These latest [...]

  13. Robert BMay 8, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    My quick cam mount also worked flawlessly — adjusted right to the needed diameter… no problems, fits tight!

  14. Bruce B.June 20, 2009 at 11:34 am

    I have to agree with Justin and Ghost Rider, above. The headlight itself is a nice design, with a good, well focused beam. The flash mode is good for high-traffic areas, and seems to get noticed.

    But the bracket is simply a poor design. I struggled with mine, trying to find that sweet spot. No, no matter what I did, it was either too lose, or else the “quick cam” would not close up properly. I’ve been riding for 30 years now, and this is one of the worst headlight brackets I have encountered by far. My bars are 26 mm, polished alum.

    My solution: I finally got it to fit by using a plastic strip from an old cateye mount, wrapped around the bar. That seemed to do the trick. If you don’t have a spare plastic strip laying around, try a carefully trimmed piece of inner tube.

    I am a little aggravated by the manufacturers’ insistence on making the mounting brackets for headlights “tool free”. Are people that confused by the idea of using a 4mm allen head driver? As they say on TV, “What’s up with that?”

    I plan on writing to Planet Bike, to inform them of my own experience. Hopefully, they’ll consider re-designing this mounting bracket.

  15. Thomas BJuly 31, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    You may wanna try attaching it to the thickest past of your bars, right towards the stem. I was having some problems too, and I moved it closer to the center, and no amount of turbulence could jar it.

  16. Chris PAugust 14, 2009 at 9:24 am

    I have the 1 watt blaze + superflash rear set. I understand how the mounting bracket could cause issues, but I myself have had none. The light stays put.

    The light itself is great, bright enough to ride unlit trails at night (if you are careful) and the superflash has gotten me “that thing will give someone a seizure” comment. Good enough for me.

  17. Bruce B.August 23, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Quick update: I wrote to Planet Bike, and received a positive reply, regarding the bracket. Apparently, mine was not the first email they had received regarding the problem. The bracket will work fine on some bars, as some have noted, and slip on others, which was my situation.

    Replacement brackets are listed at PB’s website, for sale at five dollars.

    Still, I would be willing to pay five bucks for a bracket that is “tool adjustable”, and sold as an after-market item. I really like this headlight, and consider it very effective. It’s the bracket that I feel is a problem. I think this could be done, given that the upper part of the bracket is removable. This part could be then be attached to a tool adjustable bracket, for those of us who prefer tool adjustable things.

  18. Richard E.October 10, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    I had two 1W Blaze lights. Now I have just one because the bracket is so awful. The light popped off and I couldn’t find all the parts. The flash mode is actually really excellent. I wish the rest of these lights had the same quality. The review says you can use rechargeable Li ion batteries. Actually, that would require some modifications since Li ion AA’s are 3.4v each. The reviewer probably meant NiMh. They don’t work very well either because they are 1.2v. The Blaze starts out bright, but dims long before the batteries run out. This is annoying. Maybe it is too much to expect power regulation in a cheap light. For casual use, the Blaze is OK. I didn’t replace the one I lost, and won’t get one unless they fix the awful bracket. I got a Dinotte, which cost a lot more but is reliable.

  19. charlesOctober 30, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Sorry guys but the bracket is flawless if you read the instructions and adjust it properly!!!
    The bracket has a notch and tab arrangement on the inside of the band for gross adjustment and the cam lever can be screwed in or out for fine adjustment. Finally the cam lever locks it in place with no need for tape, rubber strips or any other such nonsense. The light is bright with enough flood and a decent spot to see down the road with. I ride mine up to about 20 mph on flat roads but would not count on it for fast descents. For urban commuting it is fine and mine has proven reliable. The two AA batteries are smart to design a light around and last quite a long time. I run my light on the low setting most of the time and it is sufficient for most of my riding. I trust mine so much I purchased one for my daughter along with the excellent blaze tailight.

  20. Planet Bike Blaze Dynamo at Urban VeloNovember 17, 2009 at 8:54 am

    [...] Blaze Dynamo is, as the name would imply, the dynamo-powered version of the previously reviewed Blaze headlight. For the uninitiated, a dynamo hub is a front hub which uses the magic of magnets to [...]

  21. Bruce B.November 19, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    The 2 Watt Blaze from Planet Bike was put on the Market just a few weeks ago. Same body and form factor as the 1 watt model. It is available only in glossy black at the present time.

    I’ll be interested in seeing a review posted here.

  22. Tom C.November 30, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    I second charles. I’ve had both my 5 LED PB light mount on and off many a bike, the 1W works just the same. I say user error on these mount failures. I’ve dropped both mounts a few times and they function fine. I even mounted the 1W to my helmet using the factory mount and one zip tie to hold/force the cam closed, worked great.
    I’ve switched to 2 Fenix LD20s, because I ride in pitch black trails for 12+ miles, so I wanted the car head light feel. :) 180 lumens each vs. ~40-50 lumens for the 1W, thats just a guessing from a side by side comp. So I’m sending these (PB lights) to my mom to put on her bike, that how much I trust them, I’ll just make sure she knows how to adjust the mounts before she plays around with them.

    Read the instruction, and you’ll be better off. Also PB has great CS, so call them up and have them replace the mount, and ask how to mount them properly. :)

    Cheers

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