Now that daylight saving time has come to an end for the year, many of us will either start or end our rides in the dark (at least for the next few months). Whether you’re rolling at dawn or dusk, Blackburn Design’s Central 100 and 20 rechargeable LED lights are designed to keep you visible from all directions.
Constructed to ANSI FL-1 standards, the Blackburn Central lights feature extruded alloy shells, micro-USB charging ports, silicone mounting straps, and lens-mounted integrated power switches. Central lights are available individually ($34.99 MSRP), or as a front/rear set ($64.99 MSRP).
One of the first things we noticed about the Central lights was their compact size. Measuring approximately 75mm x 35mm–and less than 25mm thick (not including the silicone mount)–the lights could easily be stowed in seat packs or slipped into pockets. Don’t let the small format fool you, though, as both models put out an impressive amount of light–100 lumens up front, and 20 lumens in back.
The Central lights fall into Blackburn’s safety light category, but they’re a definite step above typical be-seen lights. Unlike some competitors’ models, which attempt to double as see-by lights, the Central lights throw a bright, consistent wash of light that offers excellent coverage and off-axis visibility (thanks in part to the translucent bezels found on both models). This extended visibility is a real plus, as the silicone mounting strap offers little in the way of angular adjustment.
During our testing, we confirmed the accuracy of Blackburn’s quoted run and recharge times (although we didn’t verify run times past 24 hours). Recharging was simple with the included USB cable; which, by the way, was long enough that it didn’t require any Jenga-like gymnastics. Note that the 100/20 combo includes only one charging cable, so you’ll need an additional cable if you want to charge both lights at the same time. Because these lights don’t rely traditional AA or AAA batteries (which can be swapped out), the built-in fuel gauge provides handy visual feedback on when it’s time for a recharge.
Blackburn’s Central lights are a good choice for riders seeking versatile, well-built, rechargeable be-seen lights. The silicone mounting straps and wire attachment clips offer a variety of secure mounting options, and the lights’ sturdy alloy shells have survived being dropped and stepped on. Most importantly, though, Central lights do a damn good job of keeping you visible–whether it’s from the front, rear, or side.
|Central 100||Central 20|
|Modes||High, low, strobe||High, steady flash, strobe|
|Run Times||3.2 hours (high), 7 hours (low), 21 hours (strobe)||25 hours (high), 42 hours (flash), 76 hours (strobe)|
|Recharge Time||4 hours||4 hours|
Disclosure: Blackburn Design provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.