Product Test: Serfas True 1500-Lumen Headlight

Serfas True 1500-Lumen Headlight

Because trails are dark 50 percent of the time

Serfas offers two lights for serious off-road use: the $290 TSL-1000 True 1000 headlight and the $390 TSL-1500 True 1500 headlight (tested here).

Tech features: The system includes a lithium-ion fuel-cell battery, hook- and-loop mounting strap, battery charger, handlebar mount, helmet mount, 3-foot extension cable, travel case and storage box. Our light, handlebar mount and battery added 1 pound, 1.5 ounces to our bike. The helmet mount saves about half an ounce off the handlebar mount. You can get more information from Serfas at (800) 424-0047.

Field test results: The beauty of the True 1500 begins with its box. It is sturdy enough to stand up to normal garage abuse, and the inside is organized with a foam cut-out for each of the system’s components. It even comes with a carrying pouch for road trips, but we ended up using the box more often. No more missing parts at ride time. The light mounted easily to the oversized handlebars with the supplied clamp; no tools are necessary. Helmet mounting is hit-or-miss depending on the helmet shell’s shape, but the True 1500’s helmet mount worked on every helmet we mounted it to. The helmet mount has an adjustable clicker to fine-tune the angle of the beam from your helmet.

The light has four beam settings and a flasher mode. The light turns on in the brightest mode with a single click of a button on the light’s shell, and each click of the button moves the light down a brightness level until it reaches the flasher mode. We rode two-hour night rides with the True 1500 in its brightest setting without draining the battery, and there is no need to use the brightest setting for anything but descending. The light loses points for its inability to go from a lower beam to a higher beam without cycling through each setting. And unless you have a trigger finger fast enough to click twice, the light shuts down after cycling past the flasher mode. Switching to the flasher mode was bad enough during a ride; switching to the off mode caused a panic attack.

It would be an improvement if the lights were programmed to switch from low to high, rather than high to low. The True 1500 went in the wrong direction before getting us the brightness we wanted. The ultimate improvement would be a toggle switch that would allow the rider to select a higher or lower beam with just one click. A light should never enter the flash mode until an emergency calls for it, and it should not be so easy to accidentally shut off the light while riding.


Reprinted from our April 2012 Issue. Like us on Facebook