The “Stella” by Light & Motion – Gear Review

I got this light at the Adventure Guide members’ sale last week. It was regularly priced at $150 and marked down by 40%. I checked the price on MEC’s website. It was also listed at $150. The 40% discount means I paid about $89 for it. However, I had a gift card that my son gave me for Christmas and also had some Adventure Guide bucks saved up. The out of pocket cost to me was about $25. I’m not a fan of spending a lot of money on gear!

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The light straps to the handlebars and the battery easily straps to the bike frame. I had no trouble with mounting either component. The battery did not get in the way of my normal pedalling motion.

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I leave for work at about 7 am and get home around 5 pm. Because of lengthening days, I won’t use the light that much until next winter. However, this past week, I was looking for an excuse to ride at night, so I could really test out the Stella. My chance came Thursday night. I went out in the evening around 7:30, but I didn’t come home until after 11 pm. It was very dark! I love this light! The Stella is a huge step up from the light I have been using for the last couple of years. I am used to riding at night with a little 10 lumen light that I got from MEC a few years back. My MEC light plugs into a USB port to charge. It was around $10 to $12. I loved it, when I bought it, because I was tired of buying expensive watch batteries for my previous light. At the time, the MEC light was a step up. I used both of my previous lights to be seen, not to see. The Stella allows me to both be seen and to see.

At 300 lumens, the Stella is 30 times brighter than the lights I am used to using. I purposely rode down dark streets to see how well I could see. I was pretty impressed! Once I got the Stella pointed at a good angle towards the road, it provided a wide oval of illumination, that allowed me to see and avoid potholes, puddles and fallen branches. Here’s a pic of the Stella’s brightness, shining on my garage door.

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I read a few other reviews of the Stella. The only real knock that anyone had against it was battery life. One guy claims that the battery dies after about three hours of use. For my purposes, that doesn’t really matter. I’m not planning on riding over three hours a night. I’ll be able to recharge the battery quite easily. Of course, if I was planning on doing an all-night mountain bike ride, or a 24 hour canoe race, the light might not suit me. In that case, I would have been tempted to buy the 1700 lumen Seca, by Light & Motion, for a mere $470! For my purposes, the Stella will suit me just fine!

14 thoughts on “The “Stella” by Light & Motion – Gear Review

      1. I was hoping to finish early enough that I wouldn’t need that much light and time it with a full moon :)

        I just bought my marathon paddle, pfd and spare paddle and quickly realized that money doesn’t grow on trees.

  1. Battery lights are silly… a nice shimano dyno-hub and a busch-muller Lumotec IQ Cyo front light are much better for the daily commuter and the batteries never die, nothing to charge, harder to steal. They are also nice if one is into long-distance riding at night.

    The other thing that matters more to me is the lens on a light rather than just “how much lux/lumens” since it doesn’t really work for me if most of the light is just going into the sky or worse into drivers’ faces, last night I want is another driver even angrier that I’m riding a bike.

    A lot of riders I see on the IH and other trails with big powerful lights really need to learn how to aim the friggin’ things…

    1. Is there a noticeable drag caused by the hub dynamo? I agree, batteries are the pits for the commuter. My reelight is still ticking but they won’t last forever. Especially the one mounted on my rack, it gets knocked constantly. I’m actually surprised it’s still working.

      1. The drag on the wheel is crazy when you just spin it by hand but it’s not really noticeable when riding… especially stop-and-go city riding. This is the c’muter that has the dynohub on it and the whole bike is kind of light… does great on longer rides tooo. I also have a sturmey-archer drum/dyno hub on winter bike and it does spin slower than the shimano dyno but given the bike it’s on I don’t ever use it to go fast. The lights on the winter bike are cheap generic ones that just pour light everywhere but they’re just “be-seen” city lights… I’d just pony up and buy another set of basic b&m lights if I were building that bike up again though. The other good “be-seen” option is to find vintage bottle generator light sets and pop in LED conversion bulbs… if I ever get around to finishing it I’ll try and remember to take pics.

    2. I’m interested in Graham’s question about drag too. Does the dyno-hub stay mounted to your bike? That could present a challenge to me. I have a few bikes that I ride at different times. I like having one light that I can switch between the bikes. I don’t worry about light theft, because I get to park my bike inside at work. If I do lock it up outside somewhere, I just take the light with me. It only takes a second or two to remove it. You make good points about the lens and aiming the light properly!

      1. There are plugs that enable one to move the dyno-wheel around but then one would need a set of lights on every bike and that gets really expensive… I’ve seen some people wire different bikes up and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are people making swappable lights. The dyno setup would be a bit of a pain to swap all the time though, never thought about that one.

        I still have my planet bike lights from MEC and they work well enough if I wanted to ride a different bike at night I could but they can’t hold a candle to the b&m light out on country roads… a lot of randonneurs use ’em and they get brighter at high speeds.

        I have two bikes I use in the dark (went mad with reflective tape on one) so they are both built up with their own hubs… I never lock my black commuter up outside either but the blue winter bike gets left all over the place.

  2. If you’re looking for something that can be used as both a light to be seen as well as to see, I’d recommend the Hexbright – http://www.hexbright.com/ – for it. It’s not cheap ($120!), but holy hell is it ever bright. I’ve got mine mounted to my handlebars with a rubber block thingy (http://dx.com/p/universal-adjustable-bicycle-mount-for-flashlights-2cm-4cm-diameter-31871), but I’ve also mounted it to my helmet and used it for riding around trails at night. Even better, it’s a great flashlight for everyday use outside of biking.
    It’s USB rechargeable, so convenient, and it’s Arduino-controlled, so you can even program your own light modes if the stock L-M-H/Strobe don’t do it for you.

    1. Thanks Ryan! I had a look. It looks great! Seems a bit awkward to mount, but at 500 lumens, it sure would be bright!

  3. Dynamo driven lights are ok when there is ambient light but not terribly effective on pitch black trails. Even the Iron Horse Trail has a lot of dark spots that defy the capacity of most dynalights. I use a Stella 150 LED system and I often supplement it with an old BLT helmet halogen light with the really dark bits. The Stella alone pumps out enough light that even the rail trail to Paris is rideable at speed in the dark. The helmet light really helps to get the attention of drivers at intersections most particularly with roundabouts.

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