MOON METEOR LIGHTS REVIEW
VORTEX PRO & STORM PRO
Review by Robert Johnston
Photos by Adam Lievesley
As the winter nights set in, the disappearing evening sunlight takes with it the opportunity to sneak in an after-work lap or two of the local trails without some form of lighting. For myself and many others, the gap between the weekends is just too long to leave the bikes untouched, thus it’s essential to welcome “night-rides” into the schedule for these winter months.
Moon Sport are one of the companies making this possible, with a range of lights from budget options to make yourself seen on the road through to some powerful units that could give the Sun a run for its money. With Moon stating a “dedication to design, quality and innovation”, and being desperate to get some more trail time, I was excited to put their offerings to the test in the seemingly eternal darkness of the UK in November.
Moon sent us their Meteor Vortex Pro and Meteor Storm Pro models for a long term test. The two lights share the same quick release mounting system, allowing for them to be exchanged should you feel the need. Both lights comprise of a CNC’d aluminium body featuring heat-sinks to help with temperature management; carry the IPX5 rating for waterproofness meaning you need not worry when using them in the wettest of conditions; have a USB-C port hidden below a rubber cap for charging and remote control duties; and share the majority of functions and features. They use the same easily replaceable, rechargeable batteries, meaning you can pack a couple spares and keep both lights going for the longer rides. The differences lie in their size, weight and the LEDs fitted, which we’ll get on to in the coming paragraphs. Moons’ aim is to provide the best bang for your buck they can, and at $89.90 for the Vortex pro and $149.90 for the Storm Pro, they represent the lower end of the premium light scale.
Meteor Vortex Pro:
The Vortex Pro is a streamlined cylindrical light, featuring a single LUMINUS SST-40 LED powered by one 3350mAh Lithium Ion battery and weighing in at 120g. The 1300 Lumen max output has a 17 degree spot angle, concentrating the light on a fairly tight area that ensures the power is used effectively, with a claimed range of up to 200m. A single button on top allows the selection of the 2 steady modes and three flashing modes with a single press to cycle through each, and a double click activates the Boost mode which provides the maximum 1300 lumen output. Each of the modes can have their brightness independently adjusted using the VLS function, allowing the user to fine tune their preferred brightness for each mode; and the light will remember this selection for the next time the mode is engaged. At full power, the Vortex Pro claims to last 90 minutes, with a recharge time of 3 and a half hours. There are 5 lights on the top that indicate battery levels and the mode selected, useful if you have the light on the bars or are riding with a friend. For those looking to commute with the Vortex Pro, Moon have ensured there is some light emitted to the sides to help you be spotted by traffic, and there’s a lock function that can prevent the light from turning on if being transported in a bag or pocket. A neat helmet mount and “universal” rubber bar mount are included in the box, offering some versatility of use; and a remote control is provided for safer operation when the light is fitted on the bars.
Meteor Storm Pro:
The Storm Pro is a bigger unit featuring two CREE XM-L2 LEDs and two of the same 3350mAh batteries as the Vortex Pro, producing a 207g light with a max output of 2000 Lumens. This full power can be sustained for up to 2 hours, with the light good to go again after 4 hours charging from empty. 9 low power blue LEDs are arranged in a matrix on the top, showing the mode selected and an easy to decipher representation of the juice left to burn through. A third steady mode is added to the functions, with the same ability to fine tune each mode independently using VLS; and a double tap activates the max-power “boost” mode to unleash the full 2000 lumen fire. An additional function is the ability to modify the spread of light using the second button, offering the choice between a spot light with a 17 degree spread; a wide mode with a 33 degree spread; or the two combined to provide the full dual-LED power. The same options are given for mounting and remotely controlling the Storm Pro, with a sturdier plastic screw-on bar mount provided with ability to mount securely to 22-35mm bars.
As mountain bikers, the ultimate goal of a set of lights is to support night riding of the same speed and aggression as you can give ‘er in the day. In a perfect world, your lights would illuminate every spec of the trail in a natural manner, giving your eyes the best possible chance of detecting the grip that the terrain ahead will provide your tires.
Their sizes and beam spreads naturally lend the Vortex Pro to be best suited for mounting on top of the helmet, with the more powerful and heavier Storm Pro affixed to the handlebar. After some battery issues on the Vortex Pro initially, I tried temporarily running the Storm pro on the helmet, but found its weight a slight nuisance in rough terrain, where my helmet couldn’t grip my head hard enough to keep it stable. Nevertheless, the self-contained design of the lights is worlds better for me than the mess of wires you get from lights utilizing external battery packs.
It’s safe to say the combo of Moon lights tested did a good job of illuminating the trail. The boost mode is decently bright, almost too harsh in some instances, when some moist roots or leaves flared up and produced a slightly distracting amount of reflected light that attracted the eye. This is not so much of an issue for the items directly in the line of sight, but occasionally the wide beam of the Meteor Storm Pro caused off-trail objects to shine and created a minor distraction. But I suppose “too much” light could be considered quite the first-world problem. The tone of light is quite natural, and provides decent contrast to allow for the terrain to be analyzed correctly. I spent the first period of testing not fully understanding the capabilities of the VLS system and mode memory, so I wasn’t getting the full benefit of the lights. It’s important to take your time to study the manuals and figure out the features so you make use of the clever work that Moon has put in to make them as useful as possible.
Being considerate with the use of the battery, without becoming too obsessed with immediately turning off the boost mode once the descent had finished, the charge lasted for the duration of all of the after-work rides I used it for. These lasted up to 3 hours, with the boost mode engaged for anything that wasn’t a steady climb, and I would regularly return with a good amount of charge left as contingency in case I managed to get myself lost. The Storm Pros’ matrix LED display is very handy to have visible on the bars for an indication of when you’ll be dropped into the darkness, but the Vortex being up on the helmet means I ended up just hoping that it wouldn’t die before I got back to the van. The saving grace is the Storm Pros’ effectiveness as a single source of light, where you could comfortably get yourself home should your head light run out. The Storm Pro buttons are nicely tactile which unfortunately can’t be said for the Vortex Pro – I spent a great deal of time fumbling with the light to try to press the button when gloves were donned. Another annoyance with the Vortex Pro is the need to cycle through all the modes if you decide to go from steady Mode 2 to Mode 1. It would be nice to see a way to remove these flashing modes for exclusively off-road riding.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Moons’ Meteor Vortex Pro and Meteor Storm Pro lights provide a great combo for riders looking to add some riding hours to their Winter weeks, though not without some minor niggles. The wide spread of the powerful Storm Pro combines with the lighter weight and more focused spot of the Vortex to light the trail in a natural and effective way, coming in at a much more wallet-friendly price point than some of the competitors.
Price: $101.99 (Vortex Pro) / $169.99 (Storm Pro)
Weight: 120g (Vortex Pro) / 207g (Storm Pro)