Princeton Tec Switchback 3 Lights

DESCRIPTION

  • LED Head Unit
  • Lithium Ion Batter Pack
  • Rapid Smart Charger
  • 12V Car Charger
  • Handlebar Mount
  • Helmet Mount
  • Helmet Extension Cord
  • Cable Straps

  • USER REVIEWS

    Showing 1-10 of 11  
    [Jun 07, 2011]
    Scott N.
    Weekend Warrior

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    You can see everything while biking at night on narrow trails.

    Weakness:

    It’s a little older so the battery is a little chunky but it stays in place.

    I've loved it since I bought it about 4 years ago. I recently moved and misplaced my chargers for the unit and I was in a bind, so I went out to buy the Alias HID by Planet Bike. I didn’t care for it and took it back after the weekend ride. I then called Princeton Tec to ask if I purchase a car or home charger and Mr. Cash asked me for my info and told me “it would be in the mail!” I said “ok so do you want my card info” thinking that he had forgot to ask for it. He proceeded to tell me that “it would be free of charge.” OK_________?????Heck I asked to pay for the shipping and he told me “not to worry!!!!!!!!” WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will be getting my girl friend a new light from this company. Talk about great costumer service.

    Similar Products Used:

    Alias HID - I took it back to the store.

    [Mar 19, 2011]
    Vern in Victoria
    Cross Country Rider

    OVERALL
    RATING
    2
    VALUE
    RATING
    2
    Strength:

    Best light I've used, wide beam, visible, lets me see the trail, stumps, roots etc.

    Weakness:

    Fails at the most inopertune times. The past 6 months, bumps cause the light to go off. NOT a good thing at night on a narrow trail.

    For the price, should last one heck of lot longer.

    How to improve: The battery connection should have longer male leads. The female connection should have some type of spring loaded contact.

    If you travel a lot a night, on narrow, rough trails, DO NOT BUY THIS UNIT. (Unless a major upgrade to the connector is made.)

    Similar Products Used:

    Cygo, Norco, Streamlight, INova

    [Feb 20, 2011]
    ShadowsCast
    Cross Country Rider

    OVERALL
    RATING
    3
    VALUE
    RATING
    3
    Strength:

    Good beam pattern. Easy, flexible mounting systems. Comes with car and wall charger, bar and helmet mount, extension cord, and foreign chargers. Great price on discount.

    Weakness:

    Battery connection failed after one year of use. Battery connection shape makes connection and disconnection of the light difficult and tedious. Velcro on battery mount snags bike pants.

    The light works very well and comes with everything you could need. For the price off Chainlove.com was well worth it, and very bright. The helmet mount is easy to use. The light is easy to remove from the various mounts and move around, and the bar mount is flexible enough for any of the various bars I have. The car charger is a nice bonus if you forget to plug it in at home before a trail ride.

    That said, If I paid full price I would have rated it even lower, and if the battery connection was more durable I would have rated it higher.

    After approximately a year of use the connection from the light to the battery developed enough play that it no longer stays on while riding. It will stay on for at most 15 seconds before it turns back off. The connection is a small hard plastic plug with three small (the thickness of pencil lead) prongs in one side, and holes in the other. I tried to make the plastic piece fit more tightly to reduce the movement, but it seems that the actual metal connections have been worn away, so it didn't help very much. I should be able to make the light work by adding the extension cord between the light and the battery, but that is only a temporary solution until it too is worn down.

    From any product used a few times a week I would have expected it to at least outlast the rechargeable battery life. The saving grace for this thing was that I got 50% off.

    Similar Products Used:

    60 lumen Niterider

    [Nov 16, 2009]
    Anonymous
    Weekend Warrior

    OVERALL
    RATING
    1
    VALUE
    RATING
    1
    Strength:

    In my case there were none. Used only for one urban test ride before the battery malfunctioned.

    Weakness:

    Battery Weight.

    My battery exploded igniting my carpet and couch on fire upon the first charging session. I believe this incident is an anomaly, but it was frightening none the less.

    [Sep 21, 2009]
    dekindy
    Weekend Warrior

    OVERALL
    RATING
    3
    VALUE
    RATING
    2

    Update: Screws stripped out on light unit. Called Princeton Tec and they sent me a replacement with bigger screws. I was not able to get the larger screws in all the way but they seem to be holding. Princeton Tec offered to retap the holes if I would send the light unit in. I will continue to use it and if it breaks I will probably just get rid of it. I should have bitten the bullet and purchased Dinotte originally which is what I will ultimately do. It is always something with this light. It is too bad, too. Because it puts out a lot of light and came with everything you could possibly need.

    [Feb 16, 2009]
    mcmurv
    Racer

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    1. Burn Time
    2. Entire kit that it comes with the light. PT thought of every possible thing you might need and it comes with the light for the one price!

    Weakness:

    1. Lacks a bag to carry all of the neat stuff that it comes with.

    As many of the reviews you will read on this light have stated the beam pattern on the PT SB 3 is narrow, but it is VERY long! This concerned me at first, but I had a hard time paying $500+ for a light of equal power for a wider beam pattern that lasted half as long. As I have ridden with the PB SB 3, the long and narrow beam pattern really forces me to focus down the trail, as opposed to what is right in front of me. I have ridden with a few other Nite Rider lights, and yes they are very bright and have a wide beam pattern; but unless you are trying to avoid something jumping out at you along the trail that extra beam width is really unneeded. I ride with the PT SB 3 on my helmet, so when I need to see in front, it is as easy as looking down. Interestingly, what this has really taught me has transferred to my daytime riding as well and I have gotten much faster overall. I strongly recommend the PT SB 3 for both it's value and overall rating.

    The box comes with everything you need. It isn't like other lights that you have to blow more dough on top of the $500+ to get a handlebar mount or a cable extension. PT even sends extra Velcro straps. These guys really have thought of everything. Great job PT!

    Similar Products Used:

    A few different Nite Rider lights.

    [Dec 17, 2008]
    jt
    Cross Country Rider

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    Strength:

    I was very surprised that almost everything needed was in the box - 110 volt charger, 12 volt auto charger,(actually the charger is built into the battery and these are just to power it- nice!) bar and helmet mounts, and a load of velcro straps to adapt it most anywhere. The only thing that I would have liked added is a carrying case. Don't know how they forgot that. In use, I found that the battery isn't obsessively over sized or heavy, but also not the lightest or smallest I've owned. On the plus side, it has a built-in 'fuel gauge' that shows state of charge (but only when plugged in) and claimed run time is 6 hrs. on high power. I've had two rides for a total of about 4+ hrs. on a single charge so far. The light pattern is very good, though not as bright as an HID light. I did ride in front of someone using an HID light and unlike some low powered lights, didn't have my shadow thrown in front of me. I did the first ride with it bar mounted and perhaps in a less tight, twisty trail system that would have been fine. However, I found when riding the same trails the 2nd time with it helmet mounted, I got much better sighting from it. It attaches much more easily to the mounts than my Niteriders and I like the quick release style bar mount rather than some of the other types I've run across. All in all, a good light system for the bucks, I think.

    Weakness:

    No carrying case! Wutzupwiddat?? I have to keep it in the original box or risk loosing pieces and the box isn't very handy to carry. The cables attach in straight, keyed push/pull method with lock rings that are a bit weak on friction and can easily come loose while riding. I noticed that a couple of reviewers complained of the light going off unexpectedly while riding. I had this happen on the 2nd (helmet mounted) ride and assumed that the extension cable had loosened, but am not certain. I was able to power it back up though and it didn't happen again. However, with only two rides, the jury's not in on that issue.

    Assuming the reliability issues in other posted reviews don't show up, a very good product for the money. Are you listenin'
    Princeton techies? Add a carrying bag and I'll raise you one chilli!

    Similar Products Used:

    Niterider Storm, Niterider Niteowl, & Vistalight (model unknown)

    [Dec 20, 2007]
    Jay Riggs
    Cross Country Rider

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Strength:

    Well built, excellent accessory package

    Weakness:

    Expensive. Upon purchase, battery had to be completely discharged to recalibrate the battery meter light. This was not an issue at all. Excellent customer service at Princeton Tec

    Excellent build quality. Flexible battery mounting options. Excellent accessory package. Absolutely none of the issues described in previous posts. I ride hard and the helmet setup is sweet, though you most likely will have to re-adjust your helmet straps to find the center of gravity. You can find the right feel. very,very bright. Two outward spots with a center flood, so the light will not have a bright spot associated with other manufacturers. In fog this may be an issue. Excellent burn time. This is my first light of this type and I am completely satisfied so far. This is a very good lighting system. An excellent helmet light. This is the mounting option I prefer over the bar mount. If you want a great light, this is it.

    [Dec 20, 2007]
    Ronin
    Racer

    OVERALL
    RATING
    1
    VALUE
    RATING
    1
    Strength:

    Design
    Accesories - 2 Chargers, 1 International Adaptor, Straps, Mounts.

    Weakness:

    Quality - I have own this light 40 days, and this light has failed in 5 of the 7 times I have ridden with it.
    1st Night ride = screws stripped out of the body of the light and thus the light falls off while riding a technical section of the trail.
    2nd Ride = (After being returned by Princeton Tec) Light cuts off while mounted to the helmet. Customer Service thinks it may be extension cable, send replacement.
    3rd Ride = Mounted back on frame, straps tears at the buckle, battery pack falls off. (This is on a fire road - not even a jarring trail!)
    4th Ride = Mounted back on frame light cuts out and can not be turned back on.

    Honestly this is a poor quality controlled product.

    Do not buy the product if you need a reliable light. I have been very disappointed with its performance. It is a real pain in the a$$ to have to pull out from the group ride b/c your new light doesn't work.

    Customer Service at PT is good but not great. They claim to call you when they receive the product but I have never been contacted to hear why this product has failed.

    Whether it is poor QC or bad design, its price is high enough that their are enough other really solid performers it is competing against to pass this product over.

    Good Design with nice accessories, but if it doesn't work then why bother...

    Enjoy your riding and get a better light.

    Similar Products Used:

    Nightriders - especially useful after this product failed during the weekly group rides.

    [Dec 14, 2007]
    Dwight Kellams
    Weekend Warrior

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    Strength:

    Comes with everything! LED that puts out an adequate amount of light. Long runtime. Princeton Tec stands behind their product. Warranty and quick response to warranty claim.

    Weakness:

    Switch was defective and had to return unit and battery for warranty replacement. Frame mount battery strap broke - Luckily I had another since they sent me an entire new package and had a duplicate of everything except the battery and light unit.

    Quality made product from a quality company that stands behind their product. Good value at list and great value on close-out. Unless Princeton Tec stays on it's toes and upgrades LED's as technology advances, it will quickly become dated - This is not unique to Princeton Tec, alll manufacturers have this problem.

    Top performer in 2007 Light Shootout.

    Similar Products Used:

    Light and Motion Vega - Just not enough light unless you just want to be seen or only ride in large groups. Fenix L2D CE Q5 flashlight.

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