Review: Blackburn Flea 2.0 Lights and Solar Charger

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I tested and liked the original version of the Flea lights back in Bicycle Times issue #3. This diminutive light set has been updated with a new USB charging system, and Blackburn is also offering a solar charging option for space-age convenience.

Each light has four LEDs housed in a sturdy body. The front’s 40 lumens put it in the “be seen” category (rather than “to see”), and it has two steady modes plus a flash. The rear has two flash modes plus steady and is disco-bright. Both have fuel gauge LEDs in the on/off buttons. Run times were at least as good as advertised—one hour on high for the front and six hours on steady for the rear.

Both lights conveniently clip into special slots on the Bell Muni helmet (reviewed in issue #22), a feature I especially appreciated—they’re so tiny and lightweight they went unnoticed hitching a ride on my helmet, and I always had lights come along when switching bikes. They can also be attached to a bike with included Velcro straps.

The lights charge via an equally tiny USB charger that attaches via magnets—pretty slick, and convenient to carry. The solar charger might be the best part, though. Portable solar panels can’t yet deliver enough juice to make them practical for powering things like smartphones, but for these small lights, they make a lot of sense. Blackburn’s tiny solar panel charged the lights in a few hours and also easily fit with the USB charger in my bag.

After a couple months of use, the rear light stopped charging via solar or USB when plugged into a computer, and would only charge via USB direct to an outlet. My original Fleas also stopped taking a charge after about a year of near-constant use. In both instances, the lights were covered under Blackburn’s generous lifetime warranty.

The Flea front and rear combo is available for $55, and the solar charger is $15. Each light is also available singly with a solar charger for $40. For the price, these Fleas are companions you’ll want around for convenient visibility.

 

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