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on July 28, 2011
I've been skeptical about LED bicycle lights and have owned several that have been disappointing. But, The Dawn Patrol LED has outshone all the others. It actually puts out more light than my wifes halogen bike light.

Not only is it bright, but it doen't take up much handle bar space and with the 3 AAA batteries, seems to be pretty light.

It stays in the mount really well but can be quickly removed for other uses.
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on September 19, 2011
This light can illuminate an oval roughly 7 feet wide by 20 feet long when aimed about 8 feet in front of a bike. I find that useful for typical bike speeds to avoid flats, but don't expect much detail beyond 50 feet (if you angle it up more). I don't think it's safe to ride with this light much faster than 12 MPH in pitch dark conditions. The flashing mode may cause headaches if left on too long, but it will get people's attention.

Comparing it to a high-tech flashlight with variable brightness, it seems to produce maybe 20 lumens (subjective). That may not seem like much, but the light is focused effectively for bicycle use. There is a dark ring and halo surrounding the center beam and enough side-scatter so you don't get tunnel-vision.

The light weight of the body gives the feel of something that won't pitch up or down on its mount. It uses a typical clamp and rubber band spacers. There is a slide-forward clip so you can remove it in seconds if you want to sweep an area. Because of the impressive battery life, I can see buying one as a good "cheap" household light, even if you lack a bike.
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on October 7, 2011
*EDIT* October 29, 2011

I finally got around to updating my review and wanted to let everyone know that Amazon replaced the light quickly and easily. No hassle. First return I have ever made to Amazon in all the years I have been an Amazon customer. But I found that they stand out when it comes to returning and replacing defective products too. Is it any wonder I love Amazon.com?

OK, so I have been using this light a lot on my daily/nightly bike rides and I'm completely happy with this little wonder. The amount of light it puts out is more than adequate for me, but I do have good night vision anyway. One thing I really like is the width of the light beam which gives me more confidence riding at night. During the day I still use it because I want to be seen by car drivers. For this I use the blinking mode since I don't need a steady stream of light during the day. And the batteries last longer.

The nubbin-type plastic lever that broke on the first light I received seems to be stronger on this one, so maybe I just got a bad one at first. It happens. Still, if you ride in winter then you will want to take extra care when removing the light from the mounting bracket since very cold temperatures will make the plastic more brittle. That's not a design flaw, it's just the nature of most rigid plastics like the plastic this light is made of.

Being able to easily release the light from the mounting bracket is pretty slick so this little powerhouse can draw double duty as a torch whenever you want or need one. Nice feature.

One review I just read that is more recent than mine contained a complaint about the small screw that must be removed to install or change the batteries. The small Victorinox Swiss Army knife I carry on my keyring (purchased from Amazon, of course, a few years ago) has a small Phillips head screwdriver, and it's the perfect size, so unscrewing the plate in the housing to get to battery compartment is a complete non-issue for me.

I guess you could say I am very happy with my purchase. This light is exactly what I need and wanted, and the ability to double as a torch is a really nice value-added benefit.

Old review:

Based on other reviews for this light I went ahead and bought it. The reviews about the brightness and how lightweight it is are 100% correct. Unfortunately, I only got to use the light once before running into trouble.

When I tried to unclip the light from the mounting bracket, to slide it off and use the light as a torch to shine the light on my U-lock to lock up my bike, the plastic nub-type release lever snapped right off. This small plastic part doesn't require much pressure, and I didn't apply much either. The plastic is just brittle, thin, and cheap. It's a design flaw that needs to be corrected. Left as it is this flaw makes this headlight much less useable since I can't really use it for the primary purpose I bought it. Attaching the light permanently to the mounting bracket with super glue or something else isn't an option either because the light must be removed from the mounting bracket when you change the batteries - thus compounding Bell's design flaw.

Since I have removed the headlight from the packaging, installed batteries, and used it one time, I don't think I can return it to Amazon for an exchange or refund even though it is within 30 days and definitely defective. So my only option may be to contact Bell and see if they will replace the mounting bracket. If they do, I'll revise my review and upgrade it, along with reviewing the actual light more than Bell's design flaw. If they don't, then I'll still revise my review so it reflects the level of customer service I receive so others can be warned and aware before making a choice in purchasing a bicycle headlight.
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on July 14, 2011
Took this on my bike to Yosemite park. I mainly stayed on trail. Did not fall off, which is a common problem for some of the lights of similar design. Stayed in remote motel near Bodie and rode the bike in absolute darkness - it is bright bright !! Could easily see about 75+ feet.

The light can be used as a torch if needed. Also works with rechargeable NiMH AAA battery.

The blinking function is great for in-city rides.

Will buy two more for my kids.

Only con is there is some light scatter/reflection through the top part of transparent plastic(that covers the LEDsm not the black body) that creates some annoyance. Also you need to carry a small screw driver if you plan to change battery in the field.
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on August 28, 2011
Purchased at a local Walmart and after installing I went out to test on a short ride at night. I was fairly impressed so I ended up pedaling back to Walmart to purchase a second one. Mounted on both left & right side of the stem I can honestly say that I'm impressed. Using two allows you to adjust both to aim at the same point for an ultra bright spot.....or have one slightly pointed up while slightly pointing the other down for an elongated oval of light which I find fantastic for fast riding. They easily detach so you can use them as a flashlight and having both is also a good fail-safe just in case something happens to one or the other. I haven't rode in the rain with them so I can't comment on that nor have I ran the batteries down so no comment on battery life either. The mount is pretty solid as well..... I would give this light 4.5 stars if I could and a perfect 5 if I could get this performance out of one light instead of two but for the price I paid (ruffly 10 bucks each, total of $20 + tax for both), I'd say the value is definitely there.
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on October 20, 2011
This light worked pretty well for the first month. I liked the illumination provided by the three LEDs. However, about 1.5 months into using it, the on/off switch failed. Now tapping the case lightly causes the light to shut off. The switch also no longer cycles to the pulse option. Slight bumps on the bike do the same. The light is unusable in its current condition, I will be buying a not "made in China" light next. It's also a pain to have to use a screwdriver to access the batteries.
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on December 1, 2011
The mechanics is simple yet very effective. The light is very bright and shoots out to a good distance. In a dark neighborhood these lights allow me to see a few blocks out.

Mounting takes maybe 30 secs, and the light itself is extremely easy to attach/detach from the mount. Many complain that its mobility allows easy stealing. Well, personally I think the mobility is meant to allow you to take it with you everytime you need to leave your bike unattended. Or worst comes to worst, you lose a $10 headlight. For me I wouldn't want to take that risk because I would be riding in the dark until I get a new unit.

The unit feels solid and sturdy in hand. I haven't dropped it yet but I believe it will stand a 6-feet drop on concrete floor. The light is so bright and wide it also makes a good flash light at home. The battery life & type (AA's, rather than those really bulky ones normal flash lights use) is also a huge plus for you to use it as a home flash light.

My only minor complaint is how easy it switches on. I put it in my backpack/pocket a lot when I leave my bike and sometimes it would just switch on. But given it's a bike light, it's suppose to be that way.

I've had it for 3 months on daily abuse and it still feels very reliable.

Strongly recommended.
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on May 10, 2012
The Bell Dawn Patrol is the least expensive front flasher worth buying. Despite the generally negative tone to the comments that follow, $9.00 is the most that some people will be willing to spend, especially if an entire family's bicycles need to be equipped at once. The Dawn Patrol takes three AAA alkaline batteries that seem to last forever in flash mode. Other lights I've owned have eaten AAA batteries for breakfast, so the lower effective cost of feeding the Dawn Patrol will also matter to a family with several children.

The Dawn Patrol is absolutely light-years ahead of having no front flasher at all. That said, I can't give this product five stars.

The Dawn Patrol has three inexpensive LEDs. Typical of cheap Chinese made LED flashlights, the LEDs generate a poor simulation of white light. The LED itself produces monochromatic blue light, which causes a yellow phosphor to produce a second monochromatic yellow wavelength. Blue plus yellow sort of looks like white. Color rendition is poor. Blue and yellow objects pick up the light well, reds and greens are dulled out. It's like being color blind.

Plus, the light itself is very noticeably dimmer, when viewed from a distance, than some slightly more expensive products. The problem here is that each of the three LEDs has its own little projector lens molded into the clear front plastic. These lenses are nowhere near optical quality and do not control beam spread well. The light is allowed to go here, there and everywhere, and not towards the front where it's actually needed.

So, this is a flasher to make yourself noticed by cars. It's not useful for illuminating your path at bicycling speeds, and shouldn't be purchased for that task. In my opinion, the constant on mode is only good as a hand held flashlight.

I think a lot of reviewers make the mistake of judging the brightness of this flasher from close up. Everything on the market looks blindingly bright by that standard. Park the bike and walk 100 yards away. Not so bright now, is it? A car traveling at 40 miles per hour closes 300 feet in five seconds. Any less warning than that doesn't leave time for the driver to react.

You'll find that the Dawn Patrol isn't useful out to 100 yards until after sunset, after which it's adequate to put an attentive driver on notice for your presence. It's not bright enough to grab the attention of a truly careless driver.

Another problem surfaces after darkness sets in fully. The clear lenses in front of the LEDs send a lot of the flashing light back into your face. It's very distracting. The Dawn Patrol needs to be modified by painting or taping the top of the clear plastic. It's easy enough to do, but the failure of Bell to address this longstanding problem doesn't create a lot of confidence in the company.

My intention was to take the Dawn Patrol off my bike after I bought a headlight at an entirely different price point. The product I own is similar to this one, but mine has a more expensive extended run time battery: Cygolite Turbo 800 Lumen Rechargeable Bicycle Headlight, White, One Size.

However, I've left the Dawn Patrol on. The really great selling point of the Dawn Patrol is that its three AAA alkaline batteries will last pretty much forever in flash mode. Plus, there are conditions where my Cygolite headlight is just TOO bright, whereas the flash mode on the Dawn Patrol is adequate. The Dawn Patrol is always there if I run out of battery charge in the Cygolite, and it can also preserve the more powerful light for when it's really needed. Another reason for keeping the Dawn Patrol is to use it as a hand held flashlight if I need to make a repair after dark.

See the comments that follow for other low priced alternatives.
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on March 3, 2012
This light began malfunctioning after I had been using it for less than two months. The root of most of its problems is that it lets water in very easily. The moisture on the inside of the light causes it to turn on and off randomly, and it only sporadically responds when I press the button. The light sometimes turns itself on when I am not using my bike, and stays on for hours, causing the battery to run down very quickly. I am unable to safely rely on this light when I need to ride at night, because I never know if the light will be able to turn on or if there will be enough energy left in the battery to sustain it.

Additionally, the light falls off of my bike extremely easily and frequently. Often, it falls off into the middle of the road as I am riding, and I have to pull over, dismount, and run into the street to pick it up. This is especially a problem when I wrap my cable around my handle bars for riding short distances; if the cable even slightly touched the light, the light pops off.

The single advantage to this light is its extreme brightness; if only it were reliable, I would be happy with my purchase.
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on June 1, 2012
I didn't have this light very long before I hit a not-terribly-threatening pothole, causing the headlight to fly off the mount into a busy intersection. I didn't try to retrieve it because, well, it's Los Angeles and some jerk texting while driving probably would have run over me and that would be the end of that.

Yes, I did have the headlight properly attached to the mount. I noticed right away the plastic clip was flimsy. I guess it would be fine if you stick to a nicely paved bike path, but you probably need to upgrade for street use.
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