Oct 7, 2008

Cateye Tora and Inov-8 Race 30

Last race I tested these two items and here are the results.

Cateye started headlamp business based on its famous Optocube technology. I bought Tora headlamp directly from Cateye for $45 + shipping. The specifications claimed that the brightest 1 Watt mode will last for 45 hours on 3 AAA batteries. The first thing I did was measurement of the current in this mode. I got close to 160 mA at 4.5 V that really gives about 0.75 W, but also means that even lithium batteries will last only for 4-5 hours. I prepared 2 sets of batteries for the race and it was hardly enough for the night. Another problem was the electronics of the magnetic switch that had not enough power to turn the light off at low batteries. The main advantages of the light are very compact size, very low weight (~100 g with batteries) and very bright beam. Tora can be used as a spare light for long races or for transition areas. For the main light I would recommend 3W Brunton L3 or 6 Volts version of Petzl Myo-3 with an external power pack. Both are almost 3 times heavier than Tora, but so far are the best lights I tested.

I got the Inov-8 Race 30 backpack as a trophy for the 1st place at Odyssey One Day race this year. 26 hours of “The Shag” race were the first real test for this unusual pack. Fortunately the weather was in comfortable 70 F and 2 liters horizontal bladder in combination with external bottle has been enough to keep me hydrated between water sources. The idea of horizontal bladder looks interesting, but after 15 hours in the race I realized that the center of gravity of the pack is too low and my lower back got too much load and no opportunity to rest, especially on bike. I also didn’t like the time I spent to refuel the bladder and install it back into the belt of the pack. The bottom line, I gave this backpack to Karen to test a theory of low center of gravity for women. I kept the bottle holder that I am going to install onto my Lafuma Active 30 - the best backpack ever created for adventure races.
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