I bought the Cygolite 350 for my 20 mile commute to work after daylight savings time ended. Eight of the 20 miles are on coastal trails that are really dark. They would not be dark miles if the sun was up but my work schedule dictates when I make the commute.
I tried a lot of different lights before I decided to spend $70 on the Cyoglite. It was and is worth every dollar that I spent. I think the brightest mode is brighter than the head lights on an old Volkswagen. When I first bought the light, I had to read the instructions to figure out how to turn the thing on. You have to hold the power button down for about 3 seconds to get it to turn on or off. I never realized how bright 350 Lumens could be! Now that the Cygolite Expilion 350 has been replaced by the 680, I am looking for an excuse to buy the 680.
Here are some specifications about the 350 that I copied from Cygolite and reworded for my convenience while keeping the original intent.
• One LED bulb with 350 lumens
• Five-hour charge time
• 130-gram weight
• Run times:
o Two hours on “boost” – I love this setting. It is great for the dark trails. I can even see people who are out walking on dark trails dressed in black.
o Three hours on high – I usually skip this level and run on either medium or boost.
o Six hours on medium
o 13.5 hours on low
o 24 hours on flash – Flash can be a life saver when the battery is dying.
• Quick-release lithium ion battery stick for swapping out the battery on the fly – I did not understand this option so I did not buy a spare battery when I purchased the light. It is a great idea and I recommend carrying a spare battery and a spare light when riding on dark roads.
• Control button with built-in power indicators – The control button does more than expected and it is nice to have some type of indicator to let you know when the battery is charged. It says there is a low battery indicator but my experience is that the indicator may indicate something; it did not indicate a low battery to me. The battery died on me once because I did not charge it properly and went out for a ride without checking the battery. When the battery was just about dead it went into flash mode and survived for about an hour on flash. It was not the best option but it got me home.
• Precision optics – the beam spread is incredible.
• USB charging – It has a USB charger but the instructions tell you to use the wall charger.
• The USB charging port has a water tight rubber cover that is a bit tight to keep the water out of the electronic charging circuitry. The cover is tight for people like me who commute along the water front. The cover for my Garmin broke and I have clean the USB contacts regularly. It is quite challenging and it is nerve wracking to think about the eminent demise of an expensive piece of equipment.
When I bought my light, I could not find one at the local bike shops so I bought from Amazon. You can still find them on Amazon for about $55.00. You can also find the 680 for about $85.00. I want a 680. If you want to save the $30.00, there is nothing wrong with the 350. It is a great light. It is such a good light that I have no regrets about buying it after and a better light came out for about the same price.
Note: the picture is an image of the 680 from the Cygolite website because I did not feel like taking a picture of the 350.