Ay Up V4 Adventure Light Review

by Brian Mullin on January 6, 2011

I have been enjoying the Ay Up V4 Adventure lighting system, which has excellent batteries, innovative lights and great mounting systems. Its entities are lightweight, compact, easy to use, and the kit comes with just about every accessory required, all packed into a nice plastic pod. The helmet system is a breeze to use, and the trick twin lights can be adjusted independently giving one a variety of usages. The handlebar system is sturdy, and it’s easy to pop the light and battery on and off the bike as needed.

Ay Up V4 Adventure

The kit comes with almost every imaginable item required, from the helmet and handlebar mounts, to a nifty headband, three batteries, two twin lights, a home and car charger and red colored caps for the lights, etc., all enclosed in its bright orange plastic pod.

Here is a breakdown of the kit:

  • 2 x Lights
  • 2 x Handlebar mounts
  • 4 x Light mounting bands
  • 1 x Gecko Light kit
  • 1 x Gecko battery kit
  • 2 x HALF EPIC high / low & flashing batteries
  • 1 x Half Epic battery pouch
  • 1 x Half Epic lock down strap
  • 1 x EPIC high / low & flashing battery
  • 1 x Epic battery pouch 1 x Epic lock down strap
  • 1 x 110V – 240V Adaptor
  • 1 x Dual Channel Lithium Polymer Charger
  • 1 x 12 Volt Adaptor (Cigarette Lighter Adaptor)
  • 1 x Extension cable 1200mm long, enables battery to be placed in backpack or pocket
  • 1 x Handlebar rubber packer kit to suit Diameters 25mm & 32mm bars
  • 1 x Bundle of 4 cable ties
  • 1 x Headband kit
  • 2 x Red Saxon caps
  • 1 x AY POD case
  • 1 x Wrist band
  • Documentation – instructions

Batteries
The kit comes with three Lithium Polymer batteries, two 1/2 Epic 1250 milliampere-hour (mAh) and one Epic 2600 mAh, and each is rated at 7.4 Volts. The batteries have a nice soft bright orange rubber cover over the switch, which itself has a positive feel when clicking. The batteries have four modes, High, Low, Flashing and Off, and they are easy to engage following a simple pattern. From the Off mode, click once for High, and again for Low, and you cycle between them if needed, and then hold the switch for 2 seconds to turn Off. To engage the Flashing mode, just hold the switch for 2 seconds while in Off, and click again to turn Off. I really liked that there wasn’t a Flashing mode when cycling between High and Low. Battery life was pretty consistent, and for the 1/2 Epic I got 3 hours on High and 6 hours on Low, while the Epic gave me 6 hours on High and 12 hours on Low. The kit comes with a nice battery charger that can do two batteries at once, and in addition it comes with a car cigarette lighter plug, for on the road charging. Charging took around 3-5 hours each, depending on how far they were drained and whether it’s a 1/2 Epic or Epic battery, the latter taking longer to charge.

Battery Life Testing (estimated output):
1/2 Epic – 3 hours full power, 1 hour partial power (50-70%)
1/2 Epic – 4 hours full power, 2 hours partial power (50-70%)
Epic – 7 hours full power, 2 hours partial power (50-70%)

Lights
The kit comes with two twin lights, that use the CREE XLamp XR-E LED’s in a Cool White Tint. The LED’s are enclosed in a bullet shaped anodized Aluminum 6061 housing (1.75″x1″), and comes in an array of 12 color offerings. The twin lights are attached together with a short barrel, and the lights can swivel independently 270 degrees on the barrel, offering a multitude of front and rearward pointing angles. At the rear of the barrel is the battery port, which offered a stable and secure connection. You can order the lights in three beam patterns, Narrow for helmet use, Intermediate for the handlebars, and Medium for handlebars and headband. You can pop on a Red Saxon cap over the LED, and use as it as a back light.

Mounts
The kit comes with three mounting systems, helmet, handlebar and the headband. The handlebar and helmet mounts are obviously positioned towards biking usage, while the headband can be used for running, hiking and camping.

Helmet
The helmet mounted system is a pretty trick set up, and it uses a set of Gecko mounts, one type with a barrel slot for the light (which snugly pops in), and the other with a Velcro pad for the 1/2 Epic battery. They attach to the helmet with a set of four Velcro pads, just like a Gecko lizard with their specialized toe pads that enable them to climb smooth and vertical surfaces, and even cross indoor ceilings with ease. The Gecko has no eyelids, so don’t bother trying to win a staring competition! The system is easy to install and use, and is stable and very lightweight, coming in at a respectable 160 gram. The kit includes an extension cord, so that the battery can be placed in a pocket or pack. For commuting purposes, you could place the light mount on the top center of the helmet, and swivel one light forward, and the other rearward, and cover it with the Red Saxon cap, to make a functional set.

Handlebar
The handlebar system, utilizes a mount that bridges itself over the top of the stem (not touching it), and then attaches to the bars with zip ties using a set of rubber covers for gripping security and protection. The mount is semi-permanent, but the kit comes with two mounts, so two bikes can be set up, and the light can be swapped out as required. If you needed to move the mount around to different bikes, it’s a pretty easy task to cut the zip ties, and reinstall on another bike. Once installed the mount is very stable, and it’s nicely centered because of the positioning directly over the stem. The light’s barrel pops in easily, and you flip over the rubber strap and slides it onto its front pin. The Epic battery is inserted into its neoprene pouch, and is attached to the stem with its neoprene strap using the Velcro closure. The entire system is compact, and the switch is easily accessible when the battery is on the stem. The battery can also be placed in other spots on the frame, and the extension cord can help with placement. The handlebar system weighed in at 257 grams.

Headband
The headband is a pretty nifty addition to the kit, and is highly functional for a variety of activities. The light pops into the front barrel holder, and the 1/2 Epic battery attaches with Velcro on the back. The straps are easily adjustable, for a multitude of head sizes, and can also be worn over hats. There are two slider along the left side of the headband that allow the wire to be held, though I had a difficult time getting the wire inserted. I liked the headband for poking around in the garage, the backyard or anywhere a bright head lamp was useful.

Measured Weight:

  • Light – 57.8 grams
  • Gecko battery holder – 8 grams
  • Gecko light holder – 7.2 grams
  • Small battery – 87.8 grams
  • Total Helmet – 160.8 grams/ 5.7 oz
  • Light – 57.8 grams
  • Large battery – 140.2 grams
  • Large battery pouch/strap – 42.2 grams
  • Handlebar mount (pad/zip ties/mount) – 16.9 grams
  • Total handlebar – 257.1 grams/9.1 oz

Impressions
NOTE: Francois of MTBR.com has done a mini write up on the kit, and it includes a review video, beam patterns and lux readings of the system, refer to http://reviews.mtbr.com/blog/ayup-v4-adventure-bike-lights-review/ for further details.

I started to use the helmet and handlebar systems recently for some night rides with the bike gang, though on occasion I commute to work using the handlebar mount. Most of my local terrain in Colorado, takes place on tight singletrack, so I rarely spend much time on open and expansive trails.

Although it is behind in total light output compared to a lot of the competition (refer to http://reviews.mtbr.com/blog/2011-bike-lights-shootout/), it makes up for it with its race breed features. I really liked the use of the Gecko attachments for the helmet mount, as they were easy to use and remove, plus the 1/2 Epic battery can be easily swapped out when it gets drained. They do need to include more additional Velcro pads for different helmets and as replacements. The twin light setup is excellent for the head and helmet, since you can swing them apart to create a double stacked beam, which is tall and long, making it great for tight singletrack.

Double Stacked Beam vs Normal Combined Beam

The long beam allows you to swing your head to the spot you want to see, giving a great expansive viewpoint looking down single track (albeit narrow), and pin point spotting if desired. It seemed sort of silly at first, but it was highly beneficial and functional when out hammering and flying along on narrow trails.

I like that the handlebar mounts are centered over the stem, so that the beam points straight down the trail, or at least wherever I happen to be steering. If I was riding double track or trails that are more expansive, a wider beam would be a requirement, and even though my local terrain is pretty tight, it would still be a nice feature to have some additional width. I have used the bar mount for commuting, and it has worked great, with enough light for the road and sidewalk. Although the handlebar mounts are semi-permanent, I ended up leaving one on my commuter, and the other the night riding bike, so it was much like my GPS mounts, they just stayed where they were needed, so it wasn’t that much of an inconvenience. Since they were zip tied on, they were very stable, and I never had to worry about the light getting loose nor bouncing off track. Taking the light and battery on and off was simple, and the battery’s neoprene pouch protected it, and held it firmly in place. Having the large Epic battery on the front was pretty sweet, and I never had to fret over its storage capacity on my usual rides. In fact, that was a great thing about the entire system, the batteries seemed to last for a long period of time, which made it convenient to leave them on High.

I like that it has a simple High, Low and Off mode, and none of the silly flashing stuff in the same cycle. When I am commuting, I never use the Flashing mode, since I find it annoying and distracting. The rubber covered switch was soft to the touch and had a good positive click, and seemed pretty durable, even with all the on and off cycling during my testing (my kids helped with that).

Bottom Line
The Ay Up V4 Adventure lighting kit is a great system, that’s simple, easy to use, functional, with loads of features, and it’s highly synergistic. The Helmet based Gecko mount system is pretty sweet, and is very lightweight, easy to install and use, and I really appreciated that I could split the twin light for a double stacked beam which was ideal for lighting up my viewpoint of the trail. The battery charger is nice and lets you charge two at a time, and the kit comes with a car plug, so there is no need to get extras. The whole system comes in a pod, with everything but the kitchen sink being included, which makes it quite the bargain, since you get two lights, a helmet, handlebar and headband mount and three batteries. I think this is the ideal endurance race system, due to its lightweight and long battery life, and the ease of swapping batteries out.

The Australian Ay Up company makes a great product, that is well made, with excellent features, and the only thing holding it back is the light output, and the lack of an ultra wide beam for the bars. They are releasing a 40% brighter upgrade in January, so I hope to get some testing on the upgraded LED’s?

Strengths

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use switch
  • Rotatable twin lights
  • Gekco helmet mounting system
  • Excellent charging system – car and home
  • Headband
  • Excellent lightweight and long life battery

Weaknesses

  • Handlebar beam pattern needs to be wider
  • Pod lacks carrying handle
  • CREE XLamp XR-E LED’s underpowered
  • Semi-permanent handlebar mounts
  • Lack of extra Velcro pads for Gecko system

Overall Rating: 4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

MSRP: $425

Visit the Ay Up website at http://www.ayup-lights.com/

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous January 19, 2011 at 6:38 am

Beneficial info and excellent design you got here! I want to thank you for sharing your ideas and putting the time into the stuff you publish! Great work!

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet January 22, 2011 at 7:51 am

Thanks!

Reply

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