Like many brands, Blackburn’s Dayblazer range has been around for a while and our older samples are still going strong thanks to the metal casing and impressive waterproof rating. This should make it a strong contender among the best mountain bike lights, however, the beam and strap-mount stability, and communication are less impressive.
Design and performance
The angular metal construction of the Dayblazer gives it a solid feel and the front end is stepped to fit the double-decked LED arrangement. The ‘Total Internal Reflection’ TIR lenses have a unique central ‘tunnel’ down to each LED and also include a shallow side slot for sideways traffic visibility. The face is also slightly angled to reduce upwards glare if you’re over the front out of the saddle.
The rubber strap mount will wrap around any shape or size of bar without a problem and it swivels for perfect alignment as well. You need to twist the light sideways to access the mounting hook however, which potentially scrapes the sharp metal light body across the stem or bar. It leaves the light very wobbly too, even when we tried to pull it so tight over the hook that we ended up ripping the strap. Thankfully you get a bolt-on GoPro mount included, but obviously using that with an inverted mount means the beam pattern is inverted.
The TIR optics give a broad patch of blue/white clarity ahead of the wheel and out to the middle distance. Despite being ANSI FL1-certified (rather than being a theoretical lumen output) visibility drops off sharply in terms of breadth and reach. It certainly doesn’t match lights claiming similar numbers and there’s little obvious distance when you toggle back to the 800 Lumen setting. The strap mount wobble off-road or even on degraded back roads makes detail much harder to make out too, so we’d definitely use the GoPro mount if you’re going for it. While the flash-and-pulse Blitz mode is certainly eye-catching in traffic there’s no way to shortcut the two flashing modes out of the five-mode menu. There’s no remote control option to let you stay hands-on bars either, so sudden plunges into the darkness can get tense especially if you’re trying to target the rubber button on the wobbly head mount. The translucent button does give basic ‘traffic light’ run time information, but you’ll need to pay close attention as you’ve only got an hour to play with unless you just stay at the more efficient 800 Lumen level where (yes we know the maths doesn’t add up) it almost doubles in run time. It also switches on with a single click, so be careful it doesn’t get pressed accidentally in transit. While it only happened a couple of times on really filthy rides, the central tunnels in the lens can clog with dirt which can be really hard to clean.
On a filthy ride positive, the Micro USB charger port sits under a thick, well-sealed rubber plug on the back to give it a very impressive IP67 waterproof rating that even an extended drop in a deep puddle shouldn’t breach. Recharging is reasonably fast at five hours in a standard USB plug. However, it's worth bearing in mind that the USB cable it comes supplied with is specifically shaped to reach the port inside that recess, and if you lose it, you might find yourself struggling to find an alternative that fits.
If you regularly drop your light on rocks, into puddles - or both - and you want a proven mid-powered light that won’t let you down, the Dayblazer 1100 is still worth a look. You’ll need to use the GoPro mount for when things get rough though, and the disappointing power, limited battery life and features list, plus other gripes mean it wouldn’t be our first choice.
Tech Specs: Blackburn Dayblazer 1100 light
- Weight: 144g (with strap mount)
- Claimed output: 1100 Lumens
- Modes: Blitz, High, Low, Pulse, Strobe
- Price: $95 / £85