The Gloworm Alpha is a robust 1200 lumen headlight well suited to off-road cycling, with plenty of well thought out features. It's not a bad price for its reasonable brightness, plus you get a full complement of accessories included in the pack.
This is the latest addition to Gloworm's large range of lights. It's small and best set on a helmet for use alongside a handlebar light (such as Gloworm's own XSV) to maximise the 1200 lumens available.
You can also mount it to the bars, but it's probably a little underpowered to use as a lone light on singletrack.
The Alpha weighs just 107g with a base mount and the elastic/velcro strap attached. Add the battery and it's 248g, though you can use the extender cable to route it down your back and stash the battery lower down. I just use a zip tie on the helmet to keep the cable at the rear instead of swinging round towards my ears.
It also works well on the integrated mount of my Giro Montara lid, which is seamless and secure, plus able to break away in a crash.
The light has four modes for trail riding: low/medium/high, plus a Super Dim option that eeks out battery life and is activated by holding the button for two seconds. Other modes are cycled through by pressing the button once.
There's a wireless bar remote available separately (£22) to save you fumbling around, and as it has two buttons it can control a second (say bar-mounted) light at the same time – handy. It's a feature of the Alpha worth bearing in mind if you're after a head/bar light combo, especially if you already have another Gloworm light.
The two Cree XP-G3 LEDs throw out a bright, clear beam with a rounded illumination point, and the fully adjustable mount makes it easy to tune the direction. It comes with alternate optics in the box so you can also tune the beam pattern from more spot-focused to wider ranging.
The 3.4 Amp-hour battery gives you between two and 2.5 hours of run time on chilly night runs, but unfortunately lacks the detailed power indicator of the 6.8Ahr version on Gloworm's similarly-sized XS.
In the box you get a load of attachment options for bars and helmet, including various straps and tools. You also get those alternative optics, the battery, the extender cable, some frame protection rubber and of course a charger.
At £129 it's well-priced for what it is – this year's USE Exposure Joystick MK15 is £165, for instance, while its internal battery gives shorter runtimes and the power is 100 lumens lower.
The Gloworm Alpha has a robust, quality feel, is usefully light for helmet mounting and is compatible with other Gloworm batteries (as well as Gemini and MTB Batteries' offerings) if you want an upgrade on run times.
It's perhaps not enough for offroad night miles on its own, but it's an excellent choice for helmet-mounting alongside a bar light and works really well with Gloworm's other offerings, too.
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