Great quality lights with a particularly impressively bright rear. You could argue the mount provision is a little overzealous, but if you like choice this could be a big plus for you and the front beam's auto mode is a clever additional feature.
Auto mode on the front
Super bright rear
Rear mounting system a tad fiddly
Vel is a new player on the bike light scene this winter, launching with a range of beams from 100 to 500 lumen fronts, with a 20 lumen rear completing the collection.
>>> See the range at Sigma Sports (opens in new tab)
Available exclusively through Sigma Sports, the lights come with a selection of clever features and various mounting options.
The alloy bodied front light arrives sitting on a rubber strap, with alternative sizes to suit different handlebar widths. The strap slipped onto my bars easily, and can also be threaded through a helmet vent.
The unit swivels on the mount, allowing for adjustment as you ride, with a simple one-press button on the top and a battery life indicator (green is good, red is bad - sub 25% - so far so normal).
A rubberised USB port is located in the rear and the construction is fully waterproof, weighing in at 62g.
Rather incredibly at this price point, the light features an automatic environment response sensor - which will offer a full-beam in the dark, and flash in daylight.
To turn this feature on, you hold the button for 3 seconds, the indicator light will turn blue and away you go. I didn't really use this mode a lot, tending to opt for a solid output at all times, but I can see it being useful should you want to preserve battery for when it's most needed.
Five further modes range from 500 lumens, lasting an hour, to Dayflash which will last around eight hours per charge.
At 500 lumens, the brightest mode is more than enough to be seen from a distance, and I felt confident riding at night on lit roads. Personally I'd want more if I were riding anywhere unlit (around 1000 lumens).
Having removed the rubber strap to sample swapping the mount, I was initially a little miffed to discover I couldn't stretch if far enough to re-fit it - however after some fuss managed to find a small Allen bolt which unscrews to make doing so easier.
The rear light was my favourite of the two beams. The 20 lumen output is made up of 38 COB LEDs - which use more diodes to emit a much higher light density than standard LEDs. The difference is marked - I was impressed as soon as I clicked the rubberised 'on' button.
Again, there's plenty of modes - seven in this case, with life lasting between 1.5 and eight hours.
The rear light is water resistant, not waterproof as per the front - with a rubberised cover over the USB port. I used it in some pretty grim conditions, with rivers running down the sides of the roads, and it continued to work so I doubt any more weather protection is needed.
Vel ships this light with multiple mounting options. There's two plastic seatpost brackets (one round, one aero - both suited to 19-32mm diameter). These are paired with a rubber strap, before the light twists on with a quarter turn (a bit like a Garmin or Wahoo fits into its mount).
The light itself also features a clip, which you could attach to a saddlebag or pocket, and there's a velcro strap you can use on your helmet. Two zip ties come in the packet, as well.
I opted for the seatpost mount. The system worked for me - however the rubber strap doesn't stay sitting in the mount when removed, which is a downside if (like me) you spend your life chucking gear in kit bags. I'm also not sure I trust the longevity of the plastic twist mechanism, though admittedly it's not failed yet.
Personally, though I appreciate the vast array of options, I'd prefer a fixed mount as per the front light - and arguably though we could say the same of many things the bicycle industry does, sending quite so many options in every packet isn't very eco friendly.
Including the mount and strap, the rear weighed in at just 24g (19g without the accessories) - and it certainly packs a punch.
With an RRP of £55 for a set, these lights represent good value for money, you could pay a lot more for a similar lumen count. If you just want one, the front comes in at £40 and the rear at £20.
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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.
Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor.
Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.
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