Cree T6 Test – 1,800 Lumens with 7000mah battery pack

This time we purchased the light from Amazon for a very reasonable £20 including delivery. The unit can be mounted on the bike using stretch rubbers in only a few seconds, or on the included head torch mount. It comes with a rechargeable battery pack which is mounted on the stem or top-tube and is quite compact, although a little ugly.

There are three beam options again, high, low or strobe with the strobe on this very uncomfortable to look at. We would advise against using this unless it’s an emergency.  There is no option to focus the beam so you are stuck with the factory setting.  The construction appear fine and is similar in design, if not quality, to the Lumicycle lights.  The machined body is designed to dissipate heat, which is a good thing as these lights get very hot!  A nice green light on the back lets you know it’s connected to the battery but I wonder how much this uses up the battery when the bike is sitting in the garage.  It’s probably best to disconnect the lamp from the battery when not in use.

We tested battery life on the lower setting of the two to give a comparison with the Q5 lights and it’s probably fair to say that battery life would be halved on the higher setting.  We managed a good 5hrs 45 minutes on our battery pack which seems impressive and would last a few days between charges on the average commute.

As mentioned in the Cree Q5 test, the output on the lower setting on this light is broadly equivalent to the higher setting on the Q5 – something you would expect by looking at the technical specifications of the emitters.  This is confirmed by an analysis of the run-times which shows that the T6 uses only draws 1217mah compared to 2400mah on the Q5 for the same approximate brightness.  What this test also shows is that battery manufacturer’s capacity readings are vast over-inflated when compared to real-world use. Given the Q5 can only draw a little over 1,000mah at full brightness this makes us suspect that the true capacity of the batteries involved is around half, or less, of the stated figures.  The results with alkaline AAA batteries in the Q5 confirm these suspicions.

Board_CreeT6_HighHigh Power
Board_CreeT6_LowLow Power

The power generated by the lights was impressive, especially on high capacity.  The centre of the beam was incredibly bright, even slightly exceeding the output from the Lumicycle on its highest setting.  If you compare the two photos of the bike you can see the reflective strip on the top-tube is noticeably brighter on the T6.  Remember, we used the same camera settings for all lights (ISO 100, f/8 and 1/5th second shutter speed) so these results really are comparable.  The lower setting was still impressive with the centre of the beam offering a good level of visibility to help you avoid hazards in the road.

Bike_CreeT6_HighHigh Power
Bike_CreeT6_LowLow Power

Less impressive however was the beam pattern.  There is a very distinct bright spot in the centre plus a very wide flood cast at 3m. It could be that this was by design, certainly the light looks well-made and not defective, but it has the big disadvantage of potentially blinding oncoming road users unless the light is pointed down.  If you are using this light make sure the light is carefully positioned and secured so it doesn’t move up.  The rubber mounts don’t especially help as they can’t be tightly clamped so any off-road use is likely to cause misalignment.