Oxbow recently sent up a bike light to try out and review on GearChase. We spend a lot of time riding with bike lights both on and off the trail. The Oxbow may look very familiar to other lights you may have seen on other websites. The value add from Oxbow is that it comes with GoPro mounts and a new caring case. As well as a domestic support system and warranty. The GoPro mount work a whole lot better than the standard included elastic band. If you plan on doing any riding off road this is a must. The Oxbow light claimed 2300 lumens for under $75 bucks. When you compare that to other headlamps on the market for the same form factor and lumens they cost upwards of $300. There are some differences, I think are worth pointing out, but for the average weekend warrior the Oxbow headlamp is a really good value to extend your play time.
The light has three Cree lights in side of it, with a single screw to swap out the GoPro or handlebar mount, some venting to keep it cool, and a green button/light on the back to cycle through the beam (low, medium, high, strobe, off). I could not locate anywhere where these lights are manufactured, but I would assume china as a lot of the parts look similar to other lights sold from China.
Using the Light
I have been using the Oxbow light now for a few months. I taken it biking, snowboarding, and used as a flashlight around the house.
The light claims to be 2300 lumens, while I don’t have a way of testing that claim, I did compare it to a expensive bike of a 2000 lumen headlamp. The expensive headlamp was brighter, but I paid almost $400 for it a few years ago. The Oxbow light wasn’t too far off, and still provided plenty of light for night rides.
The peripheral and throw of the light again were not as good as my $400 light. And there was a bit of a hot spot in the center of the light path, however most wouldn’t complain for a light that cost $70.
One of my complaints that has been resolved was that there are a lot of pieces that come with the light, and when it was shipped, it came in a cardboard box. Oxbow now includes a zipper pouch to hold all the pieces like the charger, extra mounts etc.
The light isn’t to bad for wearing on your head. It’s not too heavy and doesn’t cause the helmet to shift around as much as other bulkier lights.
The light has four settings, low, medium, high, and strobe. I like to use the low and medium settings when peddling up in the dark. Then saving the battery for the high setting for descending. The beam has a definable hot spot as you can see in the photos below. When on a bike it’s not as noticeable as it is using the light close up. The throw and peripheral are adequate and pretty comparable to more expensive lights in the market. Plenty of light off the side as well as in front of you to run this as your only light. This is nice, as dealing with multiple lights on handle bars and helmets with wires gets pretty old.
Charging the battery consistently took just over 7.5 hours. There is a red LED light on the back of the charger that turns green once the charge is completed. The charger connects to the battery by a simple plug. This is a little different that what we have seen with the smaller rechargeable head lamps and lights. They seem to be moving to a USB type charging. It’s not a big deal, but you do need to remember to bring the charging cord with you, as you can’t use another cord to charge in an emergency. This also means you can’t charge from resources like a power bank, car charger, or solar pack.
You may have heard the comments about these cheaper lights catching fire. In the Oxbow included instructions there are some precautions and warnings. When I was testing the light and battery, I never noticed the battery pack getting hot when charging, or in use. Some pointers are when the battery pack is discharged completely, it should be charged again shortly after. The pack should be charged above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The battery should not be exposed to water, especially salt water. Do not try to charge a damaged battery. Only use the specific charger included.
The battery should be charged in a fire-safe area, and at a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You should inspect the battery for any damage or bulging before trying to charge it. If the battery ever gets hot, discontinue using it.
Lastly to improve the life of the battery, it should be stored at room temperature or around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Whenever possible store the battery charged at 40 to 70% charged for long periods of time.
The primary mounting option for the light is using a GoPro mount. The light comes with an additional option to mount to a handle bar with some elastic bands, and by removing the GoPro bracket. In my opinion, it’s worth the money to just buy a GoPro handlebar mount for the light if that is the way you intend to use it. The rubber band mounts work OXif the terrain is not to bad, for example road cycling. But for mountain biking I would a GoPro handlebar mount or even better mount it to a helmet. Oxbow recommends using lock tight on screws when riding in rough terrain to prevent the light from loosening.
When mounting to your handlebars the cord must be run to the battery pack that you will likely have to find a spot on your frame to attach it to. The battery is fairly small when compared to other lights in similar class. Its pretty easy to find a spot with the Velcro pouch (included) to attach it to a bike. My favorite way of wearing the light is to mount it to a helmet, and have the battery in a back or waist pack. The cord can run behind your helmet and down your back staying out of the way.
Seth Bike Hack has a pretty good video on these style of lights. Although this is not the same light, a lot of the comparisons are very similar. And as you can tell by the battery pack they look almost identical.
Run Time for the Oxbow Apache 2400 Helmet
Light on High: 2:50 Hours
Light on Medium: 4:45 Hours
Light on Low: 14 Hours
Light on Flash: 3:40 Hours
Charging the light almost always took 7 and a half hours.
Oxbow offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, if you are not satisfied for any reason you can return it within 30 days. The light and battery are covered from manufacturing defect forever.
Oxbow real value is in their included GoPro mounts and travel case. These are cheaper inexpensive lights but provide great value. For someone looking to do a few night rides a year these are perfect. The light provides plenty of light for most riding styles. The battery last long enough for most any trail we ride after work, or on a weekend adventure.
To check out Oxbow light head over to Oxbowgear.com. They currently have two lights, the Apache (shown above) and the Voyager which is a little brighter and marketed more toward dirt bike riders.