User Review: Black Diamond Sprinter (2011)
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $80
One of the best running headlamps out right now, with a few quirks.
- Well-designed beam
- Odd cord sleeve
- Default "flashing" back
Winter in Montana makes it necessary to have some kind of illumination for your runs... unless you are ready to subject yourself to the treadmill for every run. Daylight hours are at a premium, so the search for a premium running headlamp is on.
The Black Diamond Sprinter stood out from the field as soon as it was released. It was reviewed to much acclaim on several running websites and, at the time, certainly seemed worth its rather steep MSRP of $80. So, I sprang for it. And, then I ran with it... a lot.
The Sprinter stands out in several aspects for runners. Black Diamond nailed the beam. It gives enough throw for all but the most technical of trails (which one probably shouldn't be running at dark anyway). And, at the same time, it is diffuse enough so that you don't get motion sick from a bouncing light.
The balance and weight of the headlamp is perfect. It goes on the head, stays there, doesn't bounce and one soon forgets that it is there. I have strapped it on my head early in the morning and, after the sun rises, forget that it is there until I yank my hat off (it's durable too!).
But, there are downsides to this headlamp. The light weight is accomplished through an irreplaceable battery pack. While it is light and slim, it is going to go belly-up some day. Replaceable batteries really should be the order of day anymore.
Another issue is the routing of the power cord. It goes through a sleeve on the head strap that you cannot remove it from. So, if you need to clean the band deeply (which my sweaty head needs), you have to work around it.
One final pick is that the flashing red light on the back is "on" by default. I'd rather choose to turn it on, rather than have to remember to turn it off. Probably just my preference.
Overall, the headlamp is an excellent running headlamp. I have used it for over a year without incident. It doesn't show any significant wear on its working parts. It does what it is asked to do and does it well.
And, Black Diamond is offering an updated 2012 version at a lower MSRP, which solves at least one of my concerns (power cord routing). If they figure out how to make that battery pack replaceable, they would have an undeniable winner on their hands.