I used to ride my bicycle a lot. During the last few years, day-to-day activities took over and I slacked off on pedaling outdoors. One reason for this is because my bike was not equipped for riding any time after the daylight hours. That just changed with the arrival of the BX-550 USB Bike Headlight from Night Provision. I received one free in exchange for an honest review, and now I have no excuse not to hop back on and pedal around the neighborhood at dusk to try it out. So, is it any good? Here is my Night Provision BX-550 USB Bike Headlight review.
Night Vision makes LED lights, including tactical flashlights and bike lights. This model is the BX-550, a USB rechargeable bicycle headlight equipped with a CREE® XML2 T6 LED capable of up to 550 lumens. It’s made of anodized 6061 aircraft aluminum alloy with ABS plastic and is rated IP65 water resistant. It is powered by a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery pack and has an detachable mount for easy attachment and detachment when mounted on the front handlebar of just about any bicycle on the market.
Not surprisingly, the BX-550 installs as advertised. The Easy-Click mount clamps to the handlebar of the bicycle with a locking lever that allow you to adjust and tighten the grip as needed for a firm hold. The bike light itself easily slides onto the mount and locks in place with a plastic tab. To detach the light, simply press the locking tab to release and slide the light off the mount, then pull the locking tab lever to release the clamp from the handlebar.
The only thing I didn’t like about the Easy-Click mount was the ease with which the plastic tab released the light from the mount. It was too easy. Also, when placing the light onto the mount, it didn’t just slide on and automatically click into place. I had to consciously remember to push up on the plastic tab to lock the light onto the mount. If I didn’t, the light would slide right off again.
The bike light itself is powerful and works well. It has four modes of operation controlled by a button on the top. The first press turns on the light in High mode with a full 550 lumens. A second press places it in Medium mode with 250 lumens. The third press puts it into low mode with 50 lumens. Pressing it a fourth time takes the light into Flash or Strobe mode at a medium brightness of 250 lumens. A press and hold for several seconds turns it off.
As with the mount, the light itself worked as advertised. At full illumination it is very bright, and has a wide area of coverage. According to the manual, the light will operate for up to three hours at high mode and ten hours in low mode, presumably on a full charge. I haven’t tested that out, since my night rides would not usually exceed 30 minutes, but it’s a good reason to keep the BX-550 charged up in case the extra time is needed.
Which brings us to the battery and the charging capabilities of the light. The BX-550 is powered by a 2400 mAh lithium-ion battery, which is easily removable if it needs replacement. The light has a built-in micro-USB port for charging with a computer or portable power bank equipped with USB. The power button on top of the light is also a multi-color status light. It glows red when the battery is depleted or while the light is charging and blue when fully charged or when the light is on in any of the its operating modes. Charge time varies depending on the state of the battery, but my first time charging completed in less than an hour.
As for weather resistance, the BX-55 seems durable enough. The IP65 rating means that it has full protection from ingress of dust or a spray of water projected by a nozzle 6.5mm or less. In other words, it’s dust proof and water resistant, but not waterproof. Since I don’t usually ride my bike during inclement weather, I can’t fairly review it’s resiliency to the elements based on my own experience, so I’ll have to defer to the Ingress Protection rating. It may survive a ride in a rainstorm, but don’t drop it in a puddle of water.
I do have one concern. After a few minutes in high mode, the head of the flashlight becomes fairly hot. I don’t think it gets hot enough to burn the skin, but it is a lot warmer than I expected. When using this light, be sure to give it a few seconds to cool down before you detach it from the mount.
Overall, the Night Provision BX-550 USB Bike Headlight is a nice little light for cycling. It’s small, but powerful and provides sufficient light for a little biking around after dark or just before dawn. It’s easy to mount, easy to use and easy to recharge. As long as you remember to push up on the lock tab and you remember to recharge it after use, it’s a handy little accessory for any cyclist who likes or needs to ride at night. #BX550