Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Gryphon Mk 3: Why This Bike?

The Gryphon Mk3 mock-up. Image courtesy of Singular Cycles.
 So, in the comments section on the Fargo Gen I post the other day I was asked which modern bike was closest to the original Fargo ideals. I think that distinction falls to the Tumbleweed Stargazer. (Link to my post about the Fargo-Stargazer comparison)

But I also was not interested in getting a Stargazer, and there is one reason I have against the Stargazer, and the Gen I Fargo, for that matter. That is that neither of those two bikes can be single speed. This is important to me not because I like single speed, (I most certainly do like single speed bikes) but because there have been situations that I have been witness to where being able to set up a bike single speed after a rear derailleur gets ripped off would have been a good thing. 

So, while I will agree that the Stargazer is a phenomenal choice, I have decided to pull the trigger on the Singular Cycles Gryphon Mk 3. Yes- the Gryphon Mk3 can be set up single speed. Tumbleweed commented that they decided against a single speed option for two reasons. First of all they did not get good feedback on slider/rocker style rear drop outs because those play havoc with rear racks. They did not like the eccentric bottom bracket option because crankset compatibilities were limited.

A good look at the bare frame/fork of the Gryphon Mk3. Image courtesy of Singular Cycles.

So, obviously I chose this Singular model since it can be set up single speed. But there are other points about this frame and fork which factored into my decision here. I should point out here that these features apply to my decision making. You can and probably do have a completely different take which is 100% valid for what you expect out of a bikepacking/drop bar/gravel/MTB-ish bike. 

One of the big attractions for me is that the Singular Gryphon Mk3 is not a Boost spaced frame/fork. This means for me that I already have compatible wheel sets. Many bikes in this category have Boost spacing, which is fine, but I do not have Boost spaced wheels and I am not interested in kludgy Boost conversions for non-Boost hubs. (My opinion) 

Secondly, this is a non-suspension corrected frame, not at all like a current generation Fargo. I don't like the looks of that overly-long Fargo fork, and I don't like how that raises up the stack height. (671m on a size large Fargo vs  638mm on the Gryphon Mk 3 in a large) 

Finally I think having a straight 1 1/8th steer tube is fine on a bike with a non-suspension corrected fork since finding a carbon option would be nearly impossible that would be compatible anyway. So, you may as well have the more compliant, easier for me to source a head set option. 

Gryphon Mk 3 sideview. Image courtesy of Singular Cycles.

Goals & Objectives: The purpose of this bike, for me, is to fill in the gap where I used to have the "Fat Fargo" option. Now I can have a Fargo Gen I set up for gravel use, (how I really want it to be) and have the 'plus tire' option ready on another Fargo-like bike. The Gryphon Mk3 has clearance for up to 29" X 3" tires. Plenty of girth for my needs. I probably will opt for these Teravail Coronado tires to go on this bike. 29" X 2.8" sounds pretty good to me. 

That will float me over duff, moon-dust, sand, and big, chunky gravel, and possibly some snow and wetter gravel, if need be. Things and conditions where my normal 700 X 40-47mm tires have trouble or cannot manage to be ridden in anyway. 

It will, obviously, be a drop bar bike. That is how I like to ride, predominantly, and I don't see myself doing anything 'single track' here, but it could, if the need arises.  It's steel, and that keeps costs down and riding feel pretty good. It has a fork with an internal dynamo route, which I like the idea of a lot. (Future option)

I may gear this bike, but I might not. That's to be determined. I have the parts to go either way. And as for parts, the crank sets I would use are completely eccentric-friendly, so no big spindled issues at all. Many of the other parts I have. I will need to get those tires and some flat mount brakes though. 

So, that's a short look at why I went the way that I did instead of with another modern, Gen I Fargo replacement option. Questions? Comments? Hit the comments section and I will answer.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Another Fargo Gen I Post (But With Links This Time!)

From Sunday evening's ride this past weekend.
The Salsa Cycles Gen I bike is an oft written about bicycle on this blog. Long time blog readers have seen this bike come and go throughout the years. So, why bother writing anything more about it? 

I've written about my likes and dislikes regarding this particular Fargo here. I've wondered if I could ever replace it here. I paid for and registered for the inaugural Spotted Horse Gravel Ultra only to be a no-show because of a Fargo Reunion Ride which came up last minute. I've modified it with different ideas for wheels. I've had countless event rides and reports from those rides which have featured the Gen I Fargo. 

So, another Fargo Gen I post? Really? 

Yes, really. 

I've tried to retire this bike, I've neglected it, but every time I see it in a corner of my shop, I get the itch to get back on it. Then when I do, as with the ride on Sunday, I am reminded of the reasons why I loved the bike from the get-go. 

Even though at times the Gen I Fargo sits unridden, I always come back to it. This is from 2020.

Maybe you have a bicycle, or have had one, that just felt 'right'. A bicycle that seemed to just accommodate your body, riding style, and needs for comfort so well that you have not been able to replicate it with another bicycle. Perhaps it is a bicycle you've bonded with through adversity and success. Or maybe it is a bicycle you've been connected to other friends by, and perhaps would not have been, if not for that particular bicycle. 

A pile of six Gen I Fargos as seen at a 2010 Fargo Adventure Ride.

 Well, my Gen I Fargo is all of those things for me. It has been that irreplaceable bike. It has taken me on several adventures. I've bonded with that bike through adversity and success. I've gained friends via the Fargo I'd never have without that bike. 

But then again, I ride that bike and I just am 'at home' and none of that other stuff matters in that moment. It is just another addition to the legacy of experiences and I can appreciate the newest one just as much as I have any of the other experiences. 

I keep thinking I'll paint it. It is so battle-scarred, but the finish is 'just right'. It has character, and every scratch tells a story. No, I'll just keep maintaining it and change tires, bar tape, and whatnot as those things are necessary. And I'll keep on riding it, of course, no matter how out-of-date it gets. It is an 'old friend' by this point, and I'd wager that as long as I keep writing this blog, you'll keep seeing this bicycle from time to time.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Country Views: A Contemplative Ride

Escape Route: Shaulis Road Bike Path.
After a few days of furnace-like temperatures and withering winds, we had some relief here over the weekend. Temperatures backed off to the mid 70's by Sunday and were accompanied by partly cloudy skies and a breezy Northwest wind. 

Saturday was a work day. I didn't get out and I was a bit miffed about passing up such a great day to ride, but Sunday offered me a chance in the late afternoon before Sunset to get a bit of a ride in, so I waited and took that opportunity.

Maybe Sunday was a better choice anyway. It was cooler than Saturday, and maybe less windy too. But it was the time I had to make a ride work, so I guess that doesn't matter.

I decided to ride the Fargo Gen I. I haven't had the chance to just ride for fun with no review items to worry about for a while, so I was able to choose that bike and get it dusty for once. Again, with the swing into these warmer temperatures, I just wore normal gear. So, it was much easier to get out of the house in a timely manner. I like that about later Spring, Summer, and early Fall riding.

The leaves have popped out on the trees now, making things look much more Spring-like.

Colors have come back making the landscape look alive again.

I decided to ride South this time after spending several rides up North of town recently. I thought about visiting Petrie Road's Level B section, but I decided against that since we've had rains and it takes a bit of time for that section of road to get rideable again. I wasn't up for a mud-slog and clean-up afterward which that surely would have entailed.

Lots of field work has been done recently down South of Waterloo.

I ran across another Ag sprayer machine at work.

I'm not sure why there is a difference in farming techniques North of Waterloo where I witnessed a lot of planting being done through the 'trash' of fields with minimal tilling. South of town it was almost 100% traditional tillage and planting techniques which I saw in play. Very interesting, to me at least, and it makes me wonder why their is such a difference in practices which are separated only by Waterloo.  

I also was contemplating a lot of the news I've heard about over the weekend. Tragic news. News of lives being cut short violently in a blink of an eye. We always react with shock and horror to such news, as we should. But I also wondered about those lives which get cut short tragically over longer periods of time. One thing we can only react to. The other, maybe there is something we could do to intervene and change a path. 

We could probably do a lot of things better than we are. We should. It's worth trying to change things. For both those whose lives were tragically cut short and for those whose lives are slowly being destroyed. 

Something to think about......

Sometimes I get pretty deep into the weeds in terms of philosophy and thoughts while I ride out in the country. I like these times where I can sort through things and meditate on stuff and the only sounds I hear are the wind, my tires, my breath, and the birds. 

These are the rides that keep me sane. I am reminded that Life is a fleeting shadow, and that I should cherish every moment I have to experience it. Both the good and the bad.

Because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Trans Iowa Stories: Troubles Balance The Scales

(L-R) Mark Lowe and Nick Legan traversing some fresh gravel chunk.
 "Trans Iowa Stories" is an every Sunday post which helps tell the stories behind the event. You can check out other posts about this subject  by clicking on the "Trans Iowa Stories" link under the blog header. Thanks and enjoy!  

The morning hours of Trans Iowa v14 were sweet. I probably had the best time I was ever going to have on Trans Iowa during the morning, and that became rather apparent, even while the event was still ongoing, because by around noon things got serious. 

I started getting random DNF calls which included reports of crashes. Now, while the random crash during a Trans Iowa was not unusual, it was generally during poor weather years. This final Trans Iowa was held on perhaps the most idyllic of weekends I ever put an event on. So, what gives? We even had a report of one fellow who crashed so violently that he snapped his seat post off! 

Then the worst of my fears seemed to be coming true when I heard about Kate Ankofski's crash coming down a hill. Witnesses to the event say she looked to have lost control of her bike and seemed to have landed on her head on the gravel at a pretty high rate of speed. I was, obviously, horrified at first. Details weren't available right away, so this took several hours to sort through, all the while during a time when we had a lot going on elsewhere in the event as well. 

Fortunately Keisuke Inoue and  Warren Weibe, two veterans of Trans Iowa, gave up their race to assist. Then my volunteers, John and Celeste Mathias came along to ferry Kate to a local hospital where she eventually was cleared of any serious injuries. Once again, dodging a bullet, but this was weighing heavily on my mind for most of Saturday as the event unfolded.

Fresh, chunky gravel was the rule of the day seemingly everywhere the course went. (This and previous image by Jon Duke)
Eventually it became clear that most of the course, if not all of it, was freshly laid, deep, chunky crushed limestone. It did not seem to matter which county we were in either. And this, the gravel itself, became the major foe of riders that day. Eventually it became clear that the gravel was the cause of all the crashing as well. 

As if that wasn't enough to worry about, a strange text came to me via one of the volunteers. Apparently a woman had a dog and they lived along the course. The dog, seeing all the riders, went for a run. And it kept on going. The dog's owner then discovered the event, and put two and two together. Word reached me that this person was somehow blaming Trans Iowa for losing her dog. 

Now, let it be known that the law is that dog owners must be in control of their dogs and if a dog runs after a car- or in this case cyclists- the vehicle on the public roadway is not to blame for the dog's disappearance. But- of course- that wasn't going to be of any use to me on that day. This owner was missing a dog, and blame was on Trans Iowa. That's how it went. I ended up texting route cues to the person to follow if they wanted to track down their animal, and then that was that. I never did learn anything more about the dog. But this process took several hours to work through via various texts between volunteers and the person in question. 

That street sign is 90° off. It was another problem we dealt with during T.I.v14

Then we discovered a bad street sign. It was there alright, but some vandals had turned it 90 degrees so that it was misleading. Matt and I drove about a mile and a half off course when we missed seeing that sign was off. So, once we had discovered what was going on we had to put in a call to Tony and Mike to come over and stake the corner out to redirect riders the right direction. Meanwhile we waited for Luke Wilson and any chasers to come by so we could direct them around the bad sign.

Luke ended up going by, and the route then took him through Kalona, Iowa, where there was a convenience store opportunity. After this the route came out of that town and North, then back West. Luke had been gone for a bit, but we were still waiting for Tony and Mike to get there to mark the corner. Then Luke called me. The road out of Kalona was closed. Should he go through anyway? This was news to us, as it must have happened within the last couple of weeks before T.I.v14. 

The road out of Kalona which was under construction that caused a bit of worry during T.I.v14
Greg Gleason, Walter Zitz, and Stefan Tomasello come through the construction area as Matt Gersib looks on.

Luke called back and said it was good to go. That was a bit of a relief. We ended up seeing the chase group pass us at the corner with the bad sign, right about when Tony and Mike showed up to mark the corner. Then we all went over to watch the riders come through, with the exception of Luke, who was about an hour ahead of anyone chasing him. 

Tony and Mike then high-tailed it over to a wilderness area where the route passed by. We were to meet them there later on. I was looking forward to a break, and to the evening, hoping that a change in the weather might bring calmer times for the event. This afternoon, with all of its travails and issues, had erased all memory of the beautiful peace I experienced during the morning hours. But this was Trans Iowa, and how could you not expect there to be some challenges to your sanity and well being? 

Next: Lessons Learned; Part 1

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Gravel Grinder News: Prairie Burn 100

There are literally hundreds of gravel events all over the place these days. Heck, there are so many now that I even saw where one race director is shutting down his event citing that as one of his reasons for doing so. 


I never thought I'd see that day, but here we are. So, why write about another gravel event? You can hardly turn around now without finding out that there is something going on out on the gravel involving bicycles almost every day of the week now. Why jam another event down your throat? 

Well, I hope that you really don't feel that jaded about the whole gravel scene, but there are an awful lot of events anymore, and I would not write about one more gravel event without a good reason. I think the Prairie Burn 100 qualifies as one event that has something going on for it and is a cool ride with a great venue. 

The event, on June 11th of this year, has distances of 100, 50, and 25 miles. But that isn't even scratching the surface. The Prairie Burn is a year-long effort which includes "Burner Gravel Clinics" and a weekly no-drop gravel ride (in season). They also are a fund raiser, which is cool, and this lends a bit of a different feel than for-profit gravel events. 

The fund raiser supports Imagine Grinnel which does a lot of community service work including:

  • 1000Trees planting initiative
  • Plate to Plant curbside composting service 
  •  South Lakes revitalization project 
  •  Giving Gardens community garden maintenance 

Grinnell has awesome gravel roads surrounding it which are used for the Prairie Burn 100. (Image courtesy of Prairie Burn 100)
So, if you are looking for something a little different and want to ride some crazy great gravel roads, (many used in past Trans Iowa events), then do yourself a favor and check out thePrairie Burn 100 which happens June 11th.

See their website here:

Friday, May 13, 2022

Friday News And Views

Specialized teased the new Globe brand redux Tuesday. Image courtesy of Specialized
Specialized Re-Ups Globe Brand As EV Line:

You may remember in the late 90's, early 00's that Specialized offered city and cruiser bikes under the "Globe" brand name. (And a touring bike by that name in the 80's and an electric bike line recently that failed) Well, that name is coming back, (again) and will be electrified (again) when it does in late 2022. 

According to Specialized's Globe landing page, these bikes will be dealer only and Specialized claims that they will have a comprehensive support system using their dealer network which will help make the launch a success.

Interestingly, Specialized chose to use the term "EV" instead of "ebike" or "pedal assist" when describing the Globe brand's products in the language on the landing page. If you don't know, "EV" stands for "Electric Vehicle" which leaves the door open to fully-electric vehicles in this brand launch. 

Comments: In the world of electrified bicycles, it is a well known fact within the traditional bicycle industry that internet brands selling product in the HPV (Hybrid Powered Cycles) segment is kicking butt and taking names. Traditional brands in the industry are looking on as brands like Pedego, Rad Power, and others sell bike after bike. 

Obviously, it is a better experience and a safer bet to buy an electrified vehicle from a known brand with a wide network of dealerships. However; the mainstream brands have hogtied themselves to the Class I, II, and III code for electric bicycles and have mainly been providing variations on traditional bicycles fitted with electric motors and batteries. Meanwhile, brands like Rad Power are not tied to that design philosophy and have offered bicycles with a decidedly different take on two-wheeled transportation which has struck a nerve with the younger demographic and non-cycling crowds. 

Taking a look at the image Specialized provided, it is easy to see that this is a more "Rad Power-like" take on an HPV cargo rig. So, I suspect that Globe will not be providing bikes for the Lycra clad crowd and will be going after that same demographic that Rad Power, Pedego, and their ilk has tapped into. Meanwhile, that use of the term "EV" on the landing page is interesting. We will have to wait until this Fall to see what is up.

FDNY PSA about Lithium-Ion battery charging safety.

Fires Blamed On HPV Battery Charging:

Recently two fires connected to the charging of Lithium-Ion batteries for electrified bicycles has been in the news. 

The first was from a Florida bicycle shop, but when more information was released on that particular incident, it seemed that it was partially a user error situation. 

However; in the New York City borough of Queens, it appears that a spark caused the fire in the mid-afternoon which caused severe damage and sent some firemen to the hospital to be treated. 

Comments: This has been an ongoing issue for bike shops who are asked to service electrified bicycles, tricycles, and the like when consumers have purchased the bicycles on-line or used. The risk of fire is rather daunting, especially when Lithium-Ion fires are difficult to extinguish. Insurance policies often do not provide coverage for such fires for businesses and this also puts shop owners in a bind. 

The problem will need to be addressed as the electrification movement gathers steam. As it stands now, many shops refuse work when it comes to electrified bicycles, trikes, and scooters unless they are from a brand that they serve. So, if you are in the market for something like this, make sure you understand the dangers of charging and handling batteries and that maintenance may be difficult to obtain. 

Jingle Cross Cancelled:

In a surprise announcement on Wednesday, the race director of Jingle Cross announced that due to a scheduling issue, Jingle Cross was cancelled for 2022. In the announcement seen on Bike Iowa's website here, race coordinator John Meehan, MD, states that he had secured a date for the event, which was not going to be a World cup event this year, but two months after the typical World Cup scheduling deadline, "the UCI awarded a nearby UCI World Cup on the same weekend." Presumably that would be the UCI World Cup event slated for October 15th in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Attempts to reschedule the event were unsuccessful, so the result was that the event was cancelled after an 18 year run. The announcement did not indicate whether or not there would ever be another Jingle Cross event with Meehan only signing off by saying, " Hope to see you down the road."

Comments: It might be worth noting here that Fayetteville is the home of the Walmart family's efforts in terms of cycling and that the Fayetteville based January 2022 UCI Cyclo-Cross event was sponsored by Walmart. The UCI also requires a pretty sizable investment from the promoters to host a World Cup event. Seeing that Jingle Cross 'elected not to pursue a World Cup' and that the UCI filled that void with the Fayetteville event, it might point to a money issue at the heart of this matter. 

Whatever the main issue was, it seems to point to the end of the run for an Iowa based cyclo cross event of national caliber. I could be wrong, but after 18 years and with no written assurance of future Jingle Cross events in the announcement, the door seems to be closing on this chapter of Iowa cycling.

Simworks Doppo High Plains Drifter. Image courtesy of Simworks.

Simworks introduces Klunker  Style MTB:

Simworks made a splash this week by introducing a klunker style MTB which they say is a modernized version of the style for today's mountain biker/bike packer. 

Sporting a steel, twin-top tube design, and having clearance for either 29" X 2.3' tires or 27.5" X 2.6" tires, the Doppo High Plains Drifter can be had for $2500.00. (It's not entirely clear to me whether that is for a frame and fork or...?) 

Comments: I love a klunker/cruiser style bike and especially one with 29" wheels. This looks good, but only 2.3" tires? Ahh...... Hmm. And that price? Not sure what you are getting there, but if it is a frame/fork only? Yeah...... Not sure from the website what is up there. Maybe you can figure it out... My guess is that's just the frame/fork. 

It's a fine choice, but my take is that if you are into these klunker style MTB's, an old Sawyer or an OS Cycles Blackbuck, if you can track one down, is a much nicer bike and looks as good, if not better, and takes bigger tires. (Note- Cue comments section with modern-day, currently available choices) 

Guitar Ted on a GTDRI a few years back. Image by Rob Evans.

Hall of Fame Ride Reminder:

Okay, so this Hall of Fame deal goes down in less than three weeks in Emporia, Kansas. If you are going to be there June 1st, you can buy a ticket to the banquet and see me get feted for gravel tomfoolery over the years. 

But if that doesn't fit your schedule and you'd like to come on a ride set up by N.Y. Roll which aims to recognize my accomplishments, then see this post on his blog. N.Y. Roll is adding details as they become clearer. So, check back there from time to time, or check the "FN&V" weekly coming up to the date set. If anything comes up, I repost it here on Fridays. 

A Note On The Date Chosen: N.Y. Roll thought- ya know - it might be cool if I was on this ride, so the date chosen reflects the time I have open to do the ride. That just so happens to be a Sunday, since I work on Saturdays. This also happens to be a Sunday where I don't have to play at church in the band. So, I apologize for a date that may not work for you, but again- since this is a ride honoring me, it seemed to make sense for me to be there to N.Y. Roll. So, no giving N.Y. Roll a hard time about the scheduling of this deal, okay? 

That's a wrap for this week! Thanks for reading G-Ted Productions!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Review: Planet Bike Dual Blaze 1500 Light- Part 1

Today I want to start the review of a light from Planet Bike, the Dual Blaze 1500. Right up front I want to make it understood that I was provided this light to review by Planet Bike and I will point you to my Standard Disclaimer page for reference regarding that point. 

The LED light technology changes continue to amaze and the Dual Blaze 1500 is no exception. The two Nichia NVSW319BT emitters are powered by Samsung's 5000 mAh lithium ion battery to give you up to 1500 Lumen of lighting power at a retail price of $100.00 USD. That's crazy!

It wasn't all that long ago that a 1500 Lumen bicycle light, if you could find one, was well over that price and it had a ginormous external battery pack. (I have such a light yet from around the early twenty-teens) And that was for a bargain priced, Chinese made, internet only option. 

Now this Dual Blaze light is a self-contained unit with USB charging and a light weight for the entire unit in a compact package. Obviously, at this price you are not getting all the bells and whistles that maybe a more expensive LED unit might have, but if you are looking for simplicity and if you are on a budget, this is a great light to look at. 


Run Times; 2.5 hrs (high - 1500 lm), 6 hrs (medium - 800 lm), 12 hrs (low - 400 lm), and up to 45 hrs (Superflash™ Day - 1500 lm)

Battery: Samsung 5000 mAh lithium ion battery charges in 3.5 hours with USB C 

Features: Provides 275° of visibility with side lens, water resistance rated to IP64 standard, and weighs in at 185 grams. 

Accessories: Included Quick Twist™ mount fits 25.4mm to 31.8mm handle bars. Aftermarket accessories include helmet mount, fork mount, and extra handle bar mounts. (See website for details

The Dual Blaze 1500 has a plastic casing which helps reduce weight to under 200 grams even with the mount.

First Impressions: The Dual Blaze 1500 is about 10% smaller than a recently reviewed 1600 Lumen light I tried and it is obviously lighter in the hand than most lights with this sort of power. I'm not sure where the weight savings is coming from 100%, but obviously, the plastic housing is saving some mass here. Most lights in this category have metal housings for better heat dissipation. More on that in a minute....

The Quick Twist mount was not hard to figure out. It utilizes a slip joint to accommodate several handle bar diameters. Pretty clever that. Once you get the proper setting it is easy to tighten the mount for a secure base for the Dual Blaze to sit on. 

The Quick Twist Mount seems secure enough for rough gravel travel.

Once again, I should remind you that this light cost $100.00 bucks. The fact that it doesn't feature a lot of things higher priced lights do should come as no surprise then. For instance, you do not get a mode indicator. You do get a nice On/Off button that tabs through the four modes. The button also seems to glow in the dark slightly, making finding it easier. 

That button turns on and turns off the light easily by holding it down momentarily. It is maybe the easiest button to use on a light of this type I've ever tried. Many lights have fussy On/Off/Mode buttons that are a bit frustrating. The bad thing about a button that is easy to use? It could turn on at an unwanted time in a bag, or when stored in luggage. To avoid an issue with this you must put the light in "Lock Mode", which is attained by holding the button down for 5-6 seconds at which time the light will flash quickly several times to let you know you've got it locked. Do the same procedure for unlocking the light. 

 By the way, the button flashes a blue light when charging that goes solid blue when the battery is topped off. If you get too low on battery power the button will glow red indicating a 20% power level reserve is all you have left.

Another 'hidden feature' was that the light unit swivels on the Quick Twist Mount slightly, maybe a few degrees. But that is all you need to get that beam pointed in the direction you want and could be a great feature if your bars sweep backward after leaving the stem clamp. 

Once I had the mount secured on my handle bar the Dual Blaze was easy to slide into place. I have to say that it doesn't give you a reassuring "CLICK" or provide any resistance to give you a feeling that it is locked into place. A gentle tug on the light head did show I had it on there well enough though. 

Quick Ride Impressions: I received this light in April but we had such cold, windy, and wet weather that I put off trying the light out until now, and of course it feels like Mid-Summer out there now! Anyway, my initial impressions are good. The 1500 Lumen setting was a bit of a surprise in that it did not just wash out the features I would look for while navigating a gravel road. There was a nice flooded area of light to see by and spill-over was wide enough to illuminate a broad swath of roadway. Throw was good enough for fast riding too. 

One thing I noted was that at the highest setting, the casing got pretty toasty. Perhaps this is a compromise for getting that lighter weight plastic casing in lieu of using a heat dissipating metal casing. But whatever the case may be there, I found that the high setting was throwing off a decent amount of heat to the point of maybe being too hot for sensitive hands. 

On Medium the light was okay for general gravel travel, I thought, and it ran noticeably cooler. This 800 Lumen setting was what I was most interested in checking out. This is where I would use the light most often. Especially since you get a claimed six hours of ride time in that mode. Plenty for my needs. 

Interestingly, the light 'temperature' or 'color', was not that blinding bluish hue, but a warmer, almost yellowish tone, much like old automobile headlamps. It was easy on the eyes of this old man, if not all that impressive. That harsher, bluish light makes an impression, but it gets fatiguing to look at after a while, in my opinion. So, this "800 Lumen" of light wasn't going to wow anyone, but it might be better in the long haul than something which seems to have more punch, but is less kind to the eyeballs. 

I did see some mild artifacts from the lens on High beam, but this seemed to disappear at Medium. By the way, Low beam was essentially a commuter, "I am here" light, in my opinion. Not really all that great at first glance, but I'll try it some more before I fully pass on that mode. 

So, there is what I think so far. I plan on taking this out for a longer gravel ride and directly comparing it with the light I used for my Tour of Black Hawk County last year. Stay tuned for that and more on the Dual Blaze 1500 soon.