BLINDED BY THE LIGHTS
Updated: Dec 4, 2021
Putting the spotlight on bang-for-buck brightness
Words by Josh Leonard Images by AdventureIntel
You wouldn’t be criticized for thinking that most offroaders must be scared of the dark. There’s no shortage of rigs getting around with lightbars and spotties hanging off them like they’re going out of fashion, and it’s for good reason - ample lighting on and off the road is a must for all adventurers whether it’s for safety or convenience, every offroader needs a sturdy set of driving lights.
When you’re on the road as much as we are you quickly realise the inevitability of animal
strikes. It’s not a case of ‘if’ it’s a matter of when, so no one will blame you for doing your
darndest to avoid a collision with Skip and protect your pride and joy.
Driving lights have come a long way technologically in the last few years. Remember when you used to have to run HIDs and cop the radio interference and headaches if you were serious about being able to see after the sun had set? We do. Nowadays we’re spoilt for choice, there’s a multitude of sizes, shapes and forms out of lights out there.
The restricting factor when it comes to purchasing your new spotties isn’t your chosen application, it’s, like most things - the price. How many times have you been told by your mates that you get what you pay for? It’s at least a million, right? What if that’s old-fashioned thinking though?
See, technology advances more and more every day while production costs steadily decrease, so it stands to reason that these days, bang for buck brightness might actually be achievable.
Adventure Intel put the 9” Lightfox driving lights from VicOffroad to the test and like all of our
product reviews, we did it in the real world.
Retailing at around the $250-300 mark we would comfortably place these spotties in the
‘affordable’ category. When they arrived we were pleasantly surprised by what we saw.
They presented like lights that’d retail for at least three times the price. The wiring loom provided wasn’t something you’d install and then place bets on how long it would take for it to catch fire - it was quality.
The lights are equipped with stainless steel mounts and there's an obvious thought process behind their design. They’ve got bends in all the right places that provide more strength and less
The lights also come with a clear set of covers to slap on when you’re using the them at night but don’t fancy scraping off the 47,000 insects that got in your way, as well as a set of black covers to protect them when you’re not trying to turn night into day. These aren’t really the things you’d expect from a set of lights which, let's face it, are on the cheaper end of the scale.
First impressions were good. We chucked them on the Adventure Intel Ranger and set course
for the west. We were looking for a road free from all light pollution. It had to be straight and long enough to prove once and for all the claims of Lightfox, could these really outshine some of the biggest names on the market today?
After some solid mile munching we found our road, it was somewhere between the Blue
Mountains and Broken Hill, perfect! We might not have had any real idea of where we were, but at least we could see where we were going, right?
On came the lights and away went the dark! They’re freaking bright. And, testament to Lightfox’s claims we could see well over a kilometre ahead of us but we can’t confirm whether it was the promised 1,590 metres. The lights gave a well balanced mix of pencil and spread beams, ensuring you couldn’t just see ahead, you could see around as well - essential for avoiding the suicidal roo on a kamikaze mission before you’re wearing it as a bonnet ornament.
Being in the Outback meant we could leave the spotties on for a while without the risk of
blinding any crazed Wolf Creek wannabes on the way to their next victim and test for heat.
We’re happy to confirm that even with the Ranger parked and no air passing over the lights they still didn’t get hot. The heat sinks certainly did their job and it’s worth noting too that when the loom was inspected there were no unexpected signs of heat in the wires either.
Next, we hit some corrugations at speed and there were no obvious signs of vibration visible from within the cab and when we manhandled the lights after they were just as tight as we’d left them.
You’ll note that in the image above, the spottie on the far right that is being removed to make way for the new set of Lightfox’s is full of condensation - we were worried this would happen on these lights too. However, months later, the lights are still as dry as a dead dingoes.. well, you know...
These lights feature upgraded reflector geometry and inbuilt protection mechanisms just like the big brands, as well as being backed by a five year warranty. The quality of them really does leave you wondering how they managed to charge so little for them.
The Lightfox’s stood up to the abuse when we had them on test and months later they’re still
happily bolted to the bullbar of the Ranger, which is by no means babied around the bush and, we’ve had no issues.
Sure, there’s better lights out there but we can’t confidently say that you should be spending
$1,000+ on spotties when lights like these exist.
Adventure Intel is about making sure everyone,
from all walks of life, are able to access quality products. In the bang for buck category these
lights are a clear winner.
So, if the question is: do you get what you pay for? The answer is a resounding no! In this case
you get much, much more.
The Nitty Gritty
Product tested: Lightfox 9” Driving Lights - SKU: DL-LED2-LF*2-VOR
Product provided by: VicOffroad
Bulb Type: LED
Heat Sink: Aluminum
Housing Material: Aluminum
Lens Material: Strengthened PC
Sealing Material: Silicone
Mounting Bracket: Stainless Steel
Lumen: 18,409 (Pair)
Lux Rating: 1Lux@1,590m(Pair)
Spot Beam: 4°
IP Rating IP68
Colour Temperature (CCT): 5700 Kelvin
Expected Lifespan: 50,000 Hours
Relative Light Intensity: 78% (150°C)
Operating Temperature Range: -40°C ~150°C
Package Dimension: 54.5cm x 31.5cm x 16cm
Gross Weight: 7.12kg