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Gloworm Alpha light review

The Gloworm Alpha is an evolution of its excellent X2 but is it an improvement?

Gloworm Alpha
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

A super comprehensive accessory bundle, bombproof reliability and tuneable performance make the Alpha a small but extremely versatile night fighter. The current battery is a bit basic though.

For

  • Excellent power to weight ratio
  • Bombproof reliability
  • Great value for kit
  • Multi-mount package
  • Custom menu
  • Changeable optics
  • Battery options
  • Remote upgrade available

Against

  • The current battery lacks charge info
  • Hood interferes slightly with inversion
  • Not as neat as self-contained lights

The two-piece design of the Gloworm Alpha won’t suit everyone, but the lightweight performance, versatility, reliability, tuneability and included accessories bundle make it an awesome night riding investment for most applications.

We’ve been running Gloworm’s X2 and X2 Adventure units as our go-to helmet and road/gravel lights for years, so the Alpha had a lot to live up to. For a start, it’s got less power at 1,200 lumens rather than 1,700 lumens. We rarely struggled for illumination and detail on the trail though, thanks to well-balanced default optics with an appropriately long-reach and mid-spread beam. You also get a spare spot and wide optics in the box to focus or widen the beam as needed. 

Gloworm Alpha

Gloworm Alpha comes boxed with all the mounts to get you running (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

While the Alpha ships with two instantly switchable programs - Trail (Low, Medium, High with super dim ‘special’ mode) or Commute (Low, High with flashing ‘special’ mode) - you can fully customize settings using their IMT (Intelligent Mode Technology) function. You can also connect the light (and other Gloworm units like the XSV) to a wireless handlebar remote. While that’s not included in the box, you do get a light yet secure 31.8mm diameter stem centering bar mount, strap-on helmet mount, bolt-on GoPro style mount, extension cable for helmet use, a bundle of zip ties and even the 1.5 and 3mm hex keys for swapping mounts.

While a separate battery set up isn’t as convenient for fit-and-go-riding, it does give excellent versatility when combined with the multiple mount kits. The ribbed metal head unit only weighs 71g with the GoPro mount, while the battery adds another 136g.

The Gloworm Alpha features the brand's proven hard case 3.4mAh battery cell, which means you still get over two hours of full power run-time even in the cold, whereas the X2 tops out at an hour and a half. The current battery only has a basic charging on/off indicator, rather than the double LED bar run-time indicator found on the previous battery. A new battery is in the pipeline imminently though. Alternatively, the Plus ships with a 6.8mAh battery for double the range, and all lights get a country-configured smart charger. Gloworm batteries are also compatible with Magicshine/Bikeray/Gemini lights in an emergency.

Perhaps most importantly when you’re heading out into the night on the trail or roads, Gloworm’s New Zealand designed and assembled lights have been flawlessly reliable in the past few years we’ve been using them. The Alpha hasn’t dropped a beat in the last few months of twice-weekly use either.

The only small niggle is that while the small lens ‘hood’ added to the topside of the light stops glare into your eyes when using it on the bar ‘the right way up’, it does slightly limit downward spread and ground context when inverted on a combination ‘out front’ bracket.

Gloworm Alpha

The small lamp only weighs 71g including the GoPro mount  (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Verdict

A smaller, cheaper, but still usefully bright light with super-comprehensive hardware and software tuneability, the new Alpha is potentially an awesome affordable entry point to the super reliable and versatile Gloworm range. The current simpler battery is a backward step though.

Tech specs: Gloworm Alpha light 

  • Price: $186.00 / £129.00 / €149.00
  • Weight: 71 + 136 = 207g (head with GoPro shoe and unstrapped battery)