It’s been a few months since our last bike light review so it’s high time we had another. Several people wrote in and requested reviews of some lights that are less expensive than those featured so far. Not wanting to disappoint, I’ve been putting the Smart Lunar 35 Lux through its paces. The review model is the latest 2011 / 2012 version. Smart is a Taiwanese company founded some 18 years ago and now produce a wide range of good value and therefore very popular lights. The Smart Lunar 35 sits at the top of their range of front lights.
The light is a fair bit smaller than you imagine from the pictures, the compact unit being easily pocket-able. It’s made of a shiny black plastic and is lightweight (I measured it at 113g without the bracket), yet feels reasonably tough. The light is 10cm long and about 3.5cm diameter at the widest point. If you imagine a toothpaste tube with the bottom half chopped off you get a reasonable idea of the shape and size.
The lens part of the light is removed by a one sixteenth turn to reveal the battery compartment. It’s quite a tight fit and there is a rubber seal ring to ensure water can’t get in. I’m confident the sealing is very effective but a little care must be taken when changing the batteries to ensure that seal ring is not lost. The push button is also very well sealed.
The Handlebar bracket is made of plastic and would fit a wide range of handlebar sizes. It features a flexible strap with adjustable length (3 positions). Fitting to the handlebars and fine adjustment is via a thumb screw. The light slides on to the bracket until it secures into place with a click. Once attached the light can be adjusted to the left or right by around 5º even while riding the bike . Removal of the light is simply a case of pressing the small tab to release. It all feels secure enough in use.
Operation is via a single push button. Each press of the button cycles the light through its various modes. High beam -> low beam -> flashing -> off. The button itself can be operated when wearing gloves yet requires enough of a push that it wont operate accidentally in a bag or pocket.
The light takes 2 AA batteries and a set of alkaline batteries are included. The manufacturer specifications on the side of the box say the light has a battery life of up to 8 hours on high beam, 15 hours on low and 30 hours on flashing. In my tests I found the light can achieve battery life approaching these times but as is common with many inexpensive lights it’s very dependent on the type and condition of batteries used, and the brightness continually dims throughout the battery life until it is nothing but a faint glow at the end. Using a good set of rechargeable batteries I would say that you would be looking to charge them after approx 3-4 hours of use on the high setting. What’s interesting with this light is that the low beam setting is hardly any dimmer than the high beam setting yet manages to deliver almost twice the battery life.
Beam Pattern and Brightness
For being seen in town, the light produces more than enough light. A focused front beam coupled with a halo of light projected at wide angle ensures excellent front and very good side visibility which is enhanced by a slight cut outs in the plastic at the sides of the lens.
Unlike most cheap battery powered lights, the Smart Lunar 35 does provide enough light for cycling on unlit roads albeit relatively slowly. The centre part of the beam is very bright and actually just as bright as many lights on the market costing several times as much, however the beam is quite narrow and during my 10 mile test ride in town and country I had to spend a bit of time adjusting the light to find the best position. The ability to adjust the light while riding was therefore a particularly useful feature.
The Smart Lunar 35 is a well designed commuter light offered at a very reasonable price. If you ride mainly in town but want to retain the option for occasional jaunts into the countryside this light would be a great choice. It earns a place on our best bike lights page somewhere between the budget and mid-range sections.
Where to buy the Smart Lunar 35 Lux
If you’re also looking for a rear light, look out for the package that bundles the Smart Lunar 35 light with the superflash. They are even better value when bought together.