TESTED: Light and Motion Stella

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For an on-trail comparison between this light and seven other LED models click HERE.


Light & Motion Stella 180L
Price: $300
Contact: 831-645-1538
More Information: bikelights.com
Includes: Helmet mount, handlebar mount, wall charge, Li-Ion battery, extra breakaway chips.


If a light can be sexy, then Stella’s got it going on. The light blue anodized heat sink casing, laser etched with “Stella” cursively around its perimeter, makes for a clean, svelte look—and boy does she shine.


As a helmet mount, this was one of the best lights I’ve ever used. A simple Velcro strap mounts to any vented helmet quickly and easily, and a notched up and down alignment adjustment is easy to set and forget. Best part is when you’re stopped or working on your bike you can quickly aim the light down so you don’t blind your friends and can see what you’re doing.


A heavy duty cable runs to a lightweight Li-Ion battery that can be strapped down via an included Velcro strap or clipped onto clothing or a backpack via an integrated clip—a stupid-simple innovation that I’m surprised no one else is using. The cable/battery connection is made via a hermetically sealed gasket, and the satisfying pop you get when you unplug the cable smacks of a secure waterproof fit. Plus, if you ever do snag this thing on a branch the cable will disconnect from the battery before your head disconnects from your neck.


This little rocket will burn for up to five hours on its highest 180-lumen setting, and it’ll run for 10 hours at 120 lumens, or for 20 hours at half power. All that from a single solitary bulb.


The light can be set up on a handlebar or as a helmet-mount job, and the whole system weighs just 300 grams. The Stella charges to full power in about two hours via a smart charger that has an indicator light built into it to let you know where you stand. One extra little feature the international set might appreciate: the Stella’s charger can handle 90 to 260 volts, making fear of funny-looking plugs a thing of the past.


The only bad experience I had with this light was with its “Lefty” handlebar mount, which allows you to center the light directly over the center of the stem. Basically the light fixes to a pedestal that then slides sideways onto a small steel shaft—the press fit of which being how you get your up and down adjustment. Although Light & Motion has been using this mount for years on other lights, we just got lucky and got one of a small bogus run of mounts that had an out-of-spec steel spindle. So, in super rocky terrain the light moves a little—but even with out out-of-spec spindle it doesn’t move much because the light head is so damn light.


Regardless, it’s all moot anyway because Light & Motion is now using its tried and true direct-set mount, which loses the offset mumbo jumbo in lieu of a solid no-nonsense connection. (Anyone who purchased a light with a bunk Lefty mount can get it replaced free of charge by contacting your local retailer or the company directly.)


That bugaboo aside, changing between mounts involves a small, easily-lost Phillip’s head screw that threads into a small plastic disc which is intended to work as a failsafe and break away before you or your light breaks. That said, I’ve knocked this particular light into more than one overhead branch without a problem.


If the $300 price tag scares you off, and if you’re not obsessive about battery weight, the Stella 180N uses a heavier NiMH battery pack but still puts out the same light for the same duration. The NiMH will cost you an extra 185 grams (365 grams versus 180 grams), but it also will save you a hundred bucks – $200 versus $300. Either way, you won’t regret buying a Stella.


For an on-trail comparison between this light and seven other LED models click HERE.

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  • Anne Keller

    I have had my Stella Ligth and Motion and I am dependent onit, while biking in vintertime. Now it seems as the battery is wnot working, as although the battery is loaded, it only give ligth for a few minutes. Is it possible to bay a new battery? Anf if it is where. I am living in Copenhagen, Denmark
    All the best Anne Keller
    Thingvalla Alle 26
    2300 København S

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