Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review - Sigma Lightster

The Lightser is Sigma's latest entry in the India market among battery powered LED lights. With a bright beam, thoughtful design and sub 3k price tag, it  bridges the gap between price and performance to a great extent .

Sigma Lightster  ,Photo credit - Dipesh Pradhan
Appearance: The Sigma Lightster takes 4 AA cells. This makes the light a little bulky, but it has been designed well to distribute the weight equally. One of the previous lights that we used - the Sigma Pava - we thought was front-heavy (the light would slip down when you hit a pothole and you needed to pull it back up again). This one, on the other hand is nicely balanced.

Sigma Lightster - Position on handlebar  ,Photo credit - Dipesh Pradhan

Build Quality: Plastic body with a rubberized coating, but feels solid. The clamping mechanism needs special mention. Like most Sigma lights, this one comes with a 'tool-free mounting clamp and removable bracket. It is a nice feature if you are sharing the light with your buddies. Taking it off from one bike and installing it on another bike is a breeze. 

Sigma Lightster - detachable clamp  ,Photo credit - Dipesh Pradhan

Sigma Lightster - fitting the clamp  ,Photo credit - Dipesh Pradhan

However, there are two limitations of this clamping system that one should be aware of.

a) The light needs to be installed as close to the stem (on the handlebar) as possible. This is because it can't be panned horizontally, unlike some of the higher end Sigma lights like the Karma Pro. This means, it would be really tricky to use this light if you have a handlebar bag, or for that matter, anything else on your handlebar.

b) While testing the light on rough and un-tarred roads, the light slipped down on one or two occasions, but we could adjust the angle again without having to stop the bike. Also, to keep it really secure (so it doesn't slip) you need to press the clamp very hard. And if you do so, taking the light off  needs some force.

Brightness/Illumination: The Lightster has been rated at 20 Lux  by Sigma. It has a focused and powerful beam with a squarish beam pattern. We felt the beam pattern is great if riding on decent or good roads where it gives you confidence to ride at a higher speed. When we tried the light on broken and  un-tarred roads, we wished it had a broader beam pattern, which would have made tackling potholes or choosing a line easier.

Sigma Lightster - Beam Shot ,Photo credit - Dipesh Pradhan
Details : Time : 11.30 pm, Location : Hyderbad, Focussed 20 metres away from source

Modes: The light has just the On/Off modes. No intermediate brightness or blinking modes.

Burn time:  Although the website says that the burn time is 20 hours, in our test, the intensity went down after 10 hours of continuous usage. And after 15 hours, it is unusable (tested with brand new Duracell AA Alkaline batteries).  But a 10 hours burn time can definitely be tagged as 'very impressive' for a light which is as powerful as this one.We had also tested the brightness for a continuous period of 5 hours and didn't notice any significant drop in brightness.

Other features:
a) There is a charging socket inbuilt in the unit. This means  if you are using rechargeable cells in the unit, you would be able to charge them without taking them out. The charger and rechargeable Sigma batteries  will be available in India in very near future at additional cost. We were told by Sigma India that the charger is recommended to be  used only with Sigma rechargeable AA batteries.

Sigma Lightster - charging socket  ,Photo credit - Dipesh Pradhan

b) There is a battery status indicator, which glows red when running low on battery.
c) The 2 openings on the side of the light which Sigma refers as 'side windows' are very thoughtful. They make the rider more visible at road intersections where the light is seen from a 90 degree angle.

Cost: Rs. 2700

Summary: There aren't many sub 3k battery powered lights in the Indian Market which are suited for road bikers, and this is what makes the Sigma Lightster an interesting proposition to riders. The bright beam lets you ride without sacrificing your speed. However, if you ride on mud roads and badly broken roads,this may not be the best option. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Raman Joins TBA

Around 2 years back,  a young chap had come down to our store, asking for suggestion on a road bike. After debating on the options for a week, we ordered the trek 2.1 for him. He turned out to be a somebody who always wanted his bike to be in a perfectly tuned up condition. And that meant every other other week we would receive a call from him. Sometimes it was some very minute RD adjust, at other times it would be  that illusive 'not so smooth feel' of his bottom bracket. Its been a while since then.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are thrilled to announce that Raman Garimella,  a mechanical engineer from BITS and member of AP state cycling team is now part of The Bike Affair family. We are sure his critical approach and attention to smaller details would help us take TBA to the next level. Post trainng, he will be in charge of the Torque Wrench and will be leading the Tech Division .  He can be reached at

Friday, May 4, 2012

Giro d'Italia live @TBA

The wait is over. Yes , you are right. Its time for the Giro d'italia - one of the 3 grand tours, the other 2 being Tour De France and Vuelta  a EspaƱa. Think the Tour de France is bigger? gotta ask an Italian ( at the risk of being beaten up:)).

The next 21 days are going to be lots of fun and if you want to have some good time with fellow bikers, do drop by at TBA to watch the live action. The refrigerator has just been  Giro-ed.

We are yet to receive timing for each day, but tentatively the telecast will start around 5.00 pm IST, leaving out the Time Trial days.
15 MayDenmark Herning8.7 km (5.4 mi)History.gifIndividual time trial
26 MayDenmark Herning to Herning206 km (128 mi)Plainstage.svgFlat stage
37 MayDenmark Horsens to Horsens190 km (118 mi)Plainstage.svgFlat stage
8 MayRest day
49 MayVerona32.2 km (20.0 mi)History.gifTeam time trial
510 MayModena to Fano199 km (124 mi)Plainstage.svgFlat stage
611 MayUrbino to Porto Sant'Elpidio207 km (129 mi)Mediummountainstage.svgMedium mountain
712 MayRecanati to Rocca di Cambio202 km (126 mi)Mediummountainstage.svgMedium mountain
813 MaySulmona to Lago Laceno229 km (142 mi)Mediummountainstage.svgMedium mountain
914 MaySan Giorgio del Sannio to Frosinone171 km (106 mi)Plainstage.svgFlat stage
1015 MayCivitavecchia to Assisi187 km (116 mi)Mediummountainstage.svgMedium mountain
1116 MayAssisi to Montecatini Terme243 km (151 mi)Plainstage.svgFlat stage
1217 MaySeravezza to Sestri Levante155 km (96 mi)Mediummountainstage.svgMedium mountain
1318 MaySavona to Cervere121 km (75 mi)Plainstage.svgFlat stage
1419 MayCherasco to Cervinia205 km (127 mi)Mountainstage.svgMountain stage
1520 MayBusto Arsizio to Lecco-Pian dei Resinelli172 km (107 mi)Mountainstage.svgMountain stage
21 MayRest day
1622 MayLimone sul Garda to Falzes-Pfalzen174 km (108 mi)Mediummountainstage.svgMedium mountain stage
1723 MayFalzes-Pfalzen to Cortina d'Ampezzo187 km (116 mi)Mountainstage.svgMountain stage
1824 MaySan Vito di Cadore to Vedelago139 km (86 mi)Plainstage.svgFlat stage
1925 MayTreviso to Alpe di Pampeago197 km (122 mi)Mountainstage.svgMountain stage
2026 MayCaldes-Val di Sole to Passo dello Stelvio218 km (135 mi)Mountainstage.svgMountain stage
2127 MayMilan31.5 km (19.6 mi)History.gifIndividual time trial
(Courtesy :'Italia)