by Jared Williams, PCI #1214
Tacoma (WA) Police Department
Industry Relations Committee
I recently tested two products from Fenix Lighting: the PD30 flashlight and the AF02 mount.
Technical details: The PD 30 is an LED light powered by two 3V Lithium CR123 batteries, which is fairly standard for most tactical flashlights. The body is constructed of high-quality aircraft grade aluminum. It is compact and very bright. It is simple to use and has multiple light features, including 220-lumen high output, five-lumen low output, several in-between lumen outputs, strobe, and an SOS signal setting. The flashlight has a rubberized tail-cap, and is sealed from the elements with internal O-rings.
The current model is now the PD32. Fenix is preparing to release the newest version, the PD35, which boasts a whopping 860 lumens and runs on 3V CR123 batteries. This review is about the version I own, the PD30. Retail prices for the current model (PD32) are in the $80 range.
I have owned a Fenix PD30 flashlight for several years, and use it as a backup light on duty. It has come in handy on several occasions when my primary light went dead. It provides very sufficient light, even for dark building searches. I have also used it several times on camping trips. It is small enough to slip into my pocket, yet powerful enough for me to see where I’m going on dark campgrounds.
My thoughts: The water-tight seal has proven itself on multiple occasions. I have accidently put this light through a washing machine cycle on two separate occasions after forgetting to remove it from my uniform pocket. My PD30 I has a smooth body, but the new R5 appears to have a better gripping surface and a brighter output of 257 lumens.
Overall, the construction is sleek but durable, and I would put this light up against any other well-known tactical light brand. In addition, I found the PD30 to be brighter than any bicycle-specific light our department currently has on any of our bicycles, and far less expensive to boot.
AF02 Flashlight Bike Mount
Fenix recently released an updated version of the AF02 flashlight bicycle handlebar mount. After a quick call to my local Fenix dealer (Surplus Ammo & Arms in Tacoma), I had one in my hands within a week.
Technical details: The mount features a rotating 360 degree design, making it adjustable to any angle; high quality rubber mats to provide shock resistance and slip-resistance; and it fits flashlights with a diameter of 18mm-28mm.
My thoughts: This mount is hard to beat for the price, particularly if you already have a good-quality flashlight that will fit the diameter range. The mount is made of durable plastic, and contains rubber grips on both the handlebar mount and the flashlight mount. The two halves swivel a full 360 degrees, which is great for fine-tuning where the light is pointing. Both sides use thumb-screws for tightening.
I was able to easily mount this light to several different bars, including both 27.2mm and 31.8mm diameter bars. The mount held securely on both size of bars. I tested a few different flashlights, including the Fenix PD30. I tested the mount with the PD30 during an IPMBA Police Cyclist course. I don’t know about other instructors, but here in Tacoma, we love our stairs. We went up and down countless stairs during the course, and the mount stayed put the entire time. I was able to squeeze (barely) my primary duty flashlight into it as well, though it was larger than the 28mm limit of the mount. Even with the larger light, the mount stayed where I wanted it.
While the mount is durable, it is also a bit on the bulky side. It takes up a fair amount of handlebar space, which on a patrol bike is often already at a premium. I would like to see a quick-release type feature instead of the thumb-screws, but that’s just a personal preference.
However, at the price of just $20, it’s really hard to complain about these minor details.
I will continue to use this light mount on my patrol bike, and I’ll probably even take it out on some night rides on my personal mountain bike to see how it holds up on rough trails.
Fenix Lighting, headquartered in Shenzen, China, distributes their products through numerous US dealers. Although they aren’t “Made in the United States”, they are still a quality product worth considering.
Although I look for U.S.-made products, I don’t discount products of any origin if they are high quality. If
you aren’t familiar with Fenix, you owe it to yourself to at least check them out at http://www.fenixlighting.com, or visit your local Fenix dealer.
Jared has been with the Tacoma Police Department for nine years, all on patrol. Prior to police work, he was a professional bicycle mechanic at a local bike shop. He is currently assigned part-time to the TPD’s Bicycle Rapid Response Team (BRRT). He joined IPMBA in 2007, and earned his instructor certification in 2010. He is in charge of the upkeep and maintenance of his department’s bicycle fleet, and has a hand in selecting equipment. He is a self-described “gear junky” and is always willing to test and evaluate the “latest and greatest” to see if any benefit can be had. He posts reviews at http://www.facebook.com/PiggiesOnWheels and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2013 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of IPMBA News.