Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Bookman Volume Light: Review Part 1

The Bookman Volume light, foreground, and other Bookman products.
 Note: Bookman sent over the Volume light, (as well as some previously reviewed products) for test and review to Guitar Ted Productions at no charge. I am not being paid, nor bribed for this review, and I always strive to give my honest thoughts and opinions throughout. 

Going back to last February I reviewed some Bookman light products. You can click that link to see what the deal was with those lights. They were pretty much a type of light you'd use as an accessory to your main light set up. A "safety light" for daytime riding, ,maybe, or as a fill light for close up sight in the dark. But there was no mistaking those for a "to see by" head lamp that you could rely on for city or gravel riding. They just did not pack enough punch, nor do they have long enough run times. 

So, back in June I got a little more excited about Bookman when word came down from their hired marketing firm that a "serious" torch was on the way with a very unique take on design. I actually put in a request for the light to review but after a couple of months I wrote it off as something that may not happen. Then a box showed up on Monday and what do you know? It was the Volume light along with another set of the lights I had reviewed previously. 

What comes in the box.

The Volume light is a unique take on a bicycle light to "see by" with its unusual knob sticking out of the side of it. Typically an LED, self-contained torch will utilize a button that forces you to scroll through all the light modes to get to where you want the light. This is somewhat annoying if, say, you are on the second from the highest setting but you want to toggle to "High". The light may force you to scroll through the lower settings before it will come back around to the highest one. This happens a lot with typical LED based bicycle torches. 

The Volume dispenses with that allowing you to simply twist the knob, (like a stereo volume knob, thus the name), to go directly to the setting you want. One motion. Boom. Done. 

You also will find that the Bookman Volume dispenses with silly, proprietary mounts and instead utilizes a Garmin mount. This is a great idea. I've seen a few lights that utilize the Go Pro mount, and that is nice too, but the amount of cyclists that have Garmin mounts probably outweighs those who might have a Go Pro mount by what I would wager is a fair amount. So, kudos to Bookman for that smart idea. 

What It Is: Besides those two innovative features, the Volume light comes in two versions and three colors. The maximum power varies from the range-topping 1500 Lumen model to the (tested) 800 Lumen model. Colors are Orange, Black, or White (tested). 

The Volume 800 has five levels of steady light output and five levels of flashing light. The flashing light levels are reached by a short push on the power button on the top/front of the Volume and another short push of that same button takes you back to steady light modes. In either mode, different power levels are adjusted by the knob. A long push of the power button turns the light on or off. 

Other features include a replaceable LI-ION 18650 power cell, (UPDATE 12/04/23: NOTE: It is not the standard 18650 battery as this Bookman variant has both the negative and positive ends on one end of the battery. Bookman says it will offer replacements/extra batteries in the near future.), side indicator lights, a series of 4 small LED's to indicate power level in reserve, and a USB C charging port on the left side of the light. The Volume comes with handlebar compatible Garmin style mount, a Go Pro Garmin style mount, and two different length straps to cover most handle bar situations. A USB-C charging cord rounds out the contents of the box. 

The use of a Garmin style mount is a really smart choice.

Run Times: 

Flashing ModesRuntime 
Steady ModesRuntime 

 *True Lumens: measured according to the ANSI / NEMA FL1 standard

** Modes are subject to change

Price: $107.00USD

The Volume has a replaceable Li-Ion battery cell.

Impressions: I received the white model and out of the box it reminded me a whole lot of an Apple product. I imagine had I received the orange one it may not have been quite so "Apple-like" but it was with the white light body. The design is smaller than I was thinking from promotional materials I had seen. It is well done and feels like a quality product in the hand. 

The Garmin type handlebar mount looks smartly done. You have a pretty sturdy plastic strap with an attached rubber strip to help it grip slippery metal or carbon handle bars. This has one end anchored into the base of the mount with an Allen bolt. The other end has a loop with a barrel that has a threaded hole in it which accepts a single 3mm Allen head bolt that runs through the base and attaches the mount to the bar. 

I mounted the light on my Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross rig for now and the mounting went smoothly. The Garmin type mount is simple to use and quite secure. 

A long push and the light comes alive. The Volume's knob has a satisfying detent at each level of light. There is no doubt about where you are at in regards to the knob's positioning. Bookman could easily have flubbed this point up. However; I feel the detents are spot on and reassuring. 

That said, it is easy to twist the knob quickly right where you want it. That's a great thing, but on my initial test ride, I also noted that you can get your hand to the knob and back without even thinking about it. A button to scroll takes longer, and so in trickier situations, the Volume is going to be so much easier to use without worrying about having your hand off the bar too long. 

That mount is also a thing of beauty. Rock solid. And you can tweak the position of the light off-axis slightly to accommodate a swept bar or a off-centerline mounting position. The side light indicators are cool, and the power level LED's glow a nice green color on top to let you know where you are at with reserve power. 

I have to do more night rides and grab some good images of the beam pattern, etc, before I can really say much more. That said, so far this light is impressive. The mount, the knob, and the entire design overall is really well done and looks killer. Time will tell how things wear and how things will do after I have this for a bit. Stay tuned for an update to come.

1 comment:

MG said...

I’ve been looking at these new Bookman lights with interest. Glad to hear that at least initially, they’re living up to the hype. I’d love to try one of the higher powered lights and see if it passes muster as an actual off-road able light.