Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Portland Design Works Cosmic Dreadnought 110

For the past couple of years my favorite bike headlight has been the Planet Bike Blaze. While the Blaze is still a fine light, my friend Dan at Portland Design Works recently sent me a care package containing what is now my new favorite bike headlight, the Portland Design Works Cosmic Dreadnought 110. Now let me pause to make this clear: Dan is a friend of mine and he gave me this light. As a blogger & a bike shop guy I get stuff. Manufacturers are looking for exposure and feedback and I'm looking for things to write about. Do these freebies bias me? Probably, it's human nature to think kindly towards people who give you things. So, take that caveat into account. Also remember that this blog pays my enormous coffee bills via those little Amazon links so I've got an incentive to get you to buy stuff and this could all just be a big Jedi mind trick to get you to buy things. Welcome to capitalism! Keep your eye on your wallet.

Where was I? Oh yeah, buy the PDW Dreadnought, it's awesome!

Seriously, the Dreadnought is a lot like the Blaze. Here is a PB Blaze next to PDW Dreadnought:

While both lights use 2 AA batteries, the Dreadnought is a bit smaller and lighter. The clamps on the lights are similar enough that each can fit in the bracket of the other, but the PDW clamp is a bit more solid. Changing the batteries is a mater of twisting the head on the Blaze, while on the Dreadnought a screw on the bottom of the light holds the battery compartment closed. Since I've had my Blaze pop open one occasion while I was riding, I think the Dreadnought's battery arrangement is better.

While the Blaze is available in 1/2, 1 and 2 Watt versions (I own every one of them!), the Dreadnought uses a 1 Watt Cree XPE LED. Like the various Blazes, the Dreadnought can be set to High, Low or Flash modes and the package lists the run times as 10 hours on high, 15 hours on low and 25 hours on flash. I have not tested this, but experience tells me these times are probably optimistic. That same experience tells me that the run times of the Planet Bike and Portland Design Works lights will probably be very similar.

The beam pattern of the lights is also very similar. I tested the One Watt Dreadnought against the Two Watt Blaze, expecting the Dreadnought to be overwhelmed by superior fire power. The photo below shows the Dreadnought's beam on the left and the Blaze's beam on the right. Both lights are set to High:

I don't see much difference. Repeating the test with the One Watt Blaze, the Dreadnought was the clear winner.

I still think the Blaze is a good light, but the Dreadnought is a bit better.

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA

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