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Thread: Lights

  1. #1
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    Lights

    I'd like to start doing some night riding however, i need to get a good light. i'd like to be able to see every little rut or bump in the trail as i'm not a huge fan of crashing. after looking at lights for a while, i feel a little overwhelmed by my options. tell me what to buy please?


    LED or HID??

    What's the difference? What would you get?

    Most of them mount onto the helmet right?

    help

  2. #2
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    Given you wish to "see every little rut or bump in the trail" you should look at HID. either way you are going to spend some big coin. The really powerful LEDs and HID set ups are pretty pricey.

    The only experience I have with modern lighting systems is with my new MiNewt single LED I use for road riding. I plan to try it out on the trail soon in combination with a high powered LED flashlight attached to my helmet. Though I kind like the rush of not being able to see everything on trail I know well. It adds a little extra challenge.

    Good luck with your search. You really should spend some time on the Lighting board. Most of your questions can be answered over there pretty quickly.
    I thought of that while riding my bicycle. ~ Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  3. #3
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    "See every little rut" makes a helmet mount unlikely, since that destroys your depth perception. Try to borrow a friend's light for a ride or two, and remember, lumens are your friend. As 'fiend notes, the lighting board will have more info, but the main thing you should consider is that you need to spend more money than you want to. It will hurt at first, but the difference in light output between a $100 light and a $400 light is impressive.

  4. #4
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    I ride at night quite alot and I use the Nightrider Flight. It works great for the wider handle bar stems and it centers directly in the middle of the bars. So far the light has been reliable but you only get about 3 hours of high power. The Moab I read gives you 7 hours but weighs more. The bike shop helped me pick some out. Best place to start. Mine is HID and LED and lights up the trail quite well.

    Good Luck
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  5. #5
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    I ride at night too.... Current best bang for the buck is the Trail-Tech HID... $200, about 550 lumens. I run a 13 degree flood on my handlebars. I bought the NiMH battery package, I'm not a weight weenie. I mount the battery with velcro between my front forks. I bought a camera bag at Best Buy for $10 to pad and protect the battery, and some velcro tabs at the 99 cent store.

    http://trailtech.net/3122-FX-NB.html


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  6. #6
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    I run a halogen ... Jet Lights Phantom single. 12 watts, very natural light. Works great. Can be had for under $200 at the right place.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyBoy
    I ride at night too.... Current best bang for the buck is the Trail-Tech HID... $200, about 550 lumens. I run a 13 degree flood on my handlebars. I bought the NiMH battery package, I'm not a weight weenie. I mount the battery with velcro between my front forks. I bought a camera bag at Best Buy for $10 to pad and protect the battery, and some velcro tabs at the 99 cent store.

    http://trailtech.net/3122-FX-NB.html

    Mtn fiend is right. You'll get some great insight from browsing the lighting/GPS/computer message board. Some of the guys are pretty big on LEDs, and some LEDs now have comparable lumen output to HIDs but they cost over a grand (unless you do a homebrew).

    I also agree with Randy Boy about Trail Tech offering the best package. I purchased the Trail Tech's MR16 HID through Battery Space before Trail Tech sold the package directly. Battery Space was pairing a battery with the light that was too powerful as my light would overheat and shut off without warning. It totally sucked and getting a refund from Battery Space was a pain in the neck.

    If you don't mind carrying a little weight on your bars or helmet I'd go with this package in a heartbeat 1,850 Lumens The MR 16 is like strapping a friggin car headlight to your helmet in terms of lumens. It's the brightest light you will find for a reasonable price.

  8. #8
    Jus' Ridin' Along
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    I've done so much night riding I actually dread it now ( I used to look forward to it; the novelty and all) so I've learned a few things:

    First, start with a bar mounted light. A 'flood' beam pattern is best. This will give you the best depth perception and allow you to react naturally to trail hazards.

    Second, a helmet mounted 'spot' beam is a must for tight or twisty singletrack. It allows you to "look ahead" on the trail to anticipate turns, hills, etc. Used alone however, it shows no shadows so no concept of depth, angle, etc. AND if following anyone, all you will see is their dust.

    Third, buy a lighting system that is simple and bright. The more bells and whistles, the more to go wrong. I like my older Nightrider HID: on/off and bright as he**. Runs for 5 hours, even though just thinking about a 5 hour night ride makes me puke (Generally, 3 hours is more than enough). Also, stick with major brands. Check the reviews for the best ones out there. LED and Li-Ion batteries are the latest and lightest, but HID's and Ni-Mh bats are still bright and dependable.

    Quatro, get a good BRIGHT rear blinkie. Most night rides can include some road, and if nothing else, it's a good beacon for your buddy you dropped. It might even make the kitties think twice about you as a bedtime snack.

    Cinco, pack a small LED flashlight in your pack/pocket for trail side fixes and emergencies.

    Last but not least, ride in LEGAL areas with buds. A good way to get started is the docent led rides in OC or Thursdays at the Fully Loop (lots of people). Taking on something early like the San Juan Trail will only put you off to the idea, and riding illegal areas can be costly.

    Also, if you live in OC, The Path bike shop is having a big sale this Sunday so it might be a good time to save some coin on a good set-up.
    If ya gotta good tool, build a shed over it

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbchik25
    I'd like to start doing some night riding however, i need to get a good light. i'd like to be able to see every little rut or bump in the trail as i'm not a huge fan of crashing. after looking at lights for a while, i feel a little overwhelmed by my options. tell me what to buy please?


    LED or HID??

    What's the difference? What would you get?

    Most of them mount onto the helmet right?

    help
    Hi mtbchik25,
    I have been looking into lights as well. I kind of narrowed it down to 2 choices:

    Nite Rider Sol LED on Sale at Beyond Bikes for 129.99 down from 150.--
    Nite Rider MiNewt X2 Li-Ion at Beyond Bikes for 159.99 down from 190.--

    I think both of them are usually handle bar mounted. I think going cheaper will not be a good choice in the long run. Check it out, let me know what you think.
    Lets get some lights and hit Calaveras .....

  10. #10
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    I night ride a lot and I've been really happy running two Niterider HIDs. They're the "Eduro" model that available here and there online for a really good price. Somewhere around $280. But it's designed as a helmet mount light. You can run in on your bar just fine but you have to pay $25 extra for the bar mount and either buy a battery bag to hang the battery on your frame or bungee the battery into your bottle cage. In other words, the battery doesn't come in a handy package ready to be strapped to your bike.

    One more piece of advice that was touched on earlier: if you run one light, run it on the bar, if you run two, then bar and helmet is good. But you don't want to only run one light as helmet mount. Since the light comes from your viewing angle, you won't see shadows, which helps you read the trail better.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbchik25
    I'd like to start doing some night riding however, i need to get a good light. i'd like to be able to see every little rut or bump in the trail as i'm not a huge fan of crashing. after looking at lights for a while, i feel a little overwhelmed by my options. tell me what to buy please?


    LED or HID??

    What's the difference? What would you get?

    Most of them mount onto the helmet right?

    help
    Do you have riding buddies with lights? If there's a group of riders you know, or a local shop with a night-riding scene, there will always be older Halogen lights in peoples' parts bins. Mountainbikers tend to evangelize the night--it's a safe bet you can find someone to loan lights to you so you can try a single-bulb helmet light, a dual-bulb bar-mount, etc... and see for yourself. You can also check out the gnarly, eye-searing HID lights, the new uber-LED rigs that run all night, etc...

    If you're just getting into it, a used Halogen dual-bulb bar mount set will be great! They put out great light, run for 2+ hours and sell for low prices.

  12. #12
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    Get the Topeak HID Moonshine at $278 at Sunrise Cyclery in NY, free shipping and no tax. It has about 500 lumins and my brand new pathfinders headlights are not as bright as the Moonshine. Comes with remote, head band strap, bar mounts for light and a mount that replaces your stem cap with one the has a connector for the lithium ion battery. it runs for 2 hrs, and i have not yeat seen it use the half hour reserve battery yeat.

    Mount the moonshine on your bars and buy a cheaper but decent helmet or headmount led for running the single tracks that have quick turns, you need to be able to look around corners and a bar mount light cant do that. I shut off my hid when on a long climb and run the headmounted led to save battery time.
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    Last edited by MrBigglesworth69; 12-10-2007 at 02:13 PM.

  13. #13
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    I use the Niterider Mininewt X2 Dual for the handlebar and a Niterider Solmate for my helmet. I like being able to adjust the dual light patterns to fit conditions and the helmet light to see ahead of you around corners. You really need both in order to do anything other than straight ahead or slow curves. I got both on Ebay for less than $300 total.
    2011 Ibis Mojo SL-R & 2008 Giant Trance X0

  14. #14
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    Performance is offering the Niterider Enduro for $239 thru Saturday 12/8. (299-20% sale). That gives you a helmet mount so you would have to buy a bar mount seperate. It's still a low price to get into a HID....Also, it's a bit heavy since it's still the NiMH battery. The newer Li Ion batteries seem to be about 1/2 the weight.

  15. #15
    keep the shiny side up!
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    nothing beats a good halogen light. sure the HID's offer a bright whiter light and longer burn times, but it washes out the details on the trail. i have been night riding for the better part of a decade and have gone through many sets of lights, including HID's. the big draw of the HID is that it is super bright, but because it is such a bright white light, u lose the contrast and details in the trail. u can actually see contrast on the trail much better with a halogen light than the brighter HID lights. when i was riding the HID light, especially when used as a helmet light, i found myself hitting bumps that i never saw. all of a sudden i would feel a good jolt that surprised me because the HID made everything look smooth. if u want to see every detail on the trail, get a strong halogen.

    i am currently using a jet starfire halogen light with the smart switch. the smart switch allows u to either run the light at full blast, a medium setting, or a lower setting so that u can save on battery life. the 20W bulb gives plenty of light and since it isn't a bright white light, it does not wash out the terrain.

    seriously try to check out some other ridders light first and determine for yourself what u prefer.

  16. #16
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    That heavy bulky battery is a downside. The Topeak Moonshine has a wallet size litium and unlike the Enduro a remote can be mounted by your grip like a motorcycle. The niteriders button is on the light. get the moonshine, its awsome and has good reviews. $287. I got 2 words for that! "Nice".

  17. #17
    MTP
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    I've had several lights, only type I can recommend is a good bar-mounted HID. I have a NiteRider I got on sale at BeyondBikes a few years ago. Still works great, though battteries have gotten lighter since then.

    Review: Bar mount
    HID
    Find a good sale
    Since you're female, don't ride alone at night. I've had some crazy experiences and I'm no small guy. I now carry pepper spray at night.
    If not biking, then what?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTP
    I've had several lights, only type I can recommend is a good bar-mounted HID. I have a NiteRider I got on sale at BeyondBikes a few years ago. Still works great, though battteries have gotten lighter since then.

    Review: Bar mount
    HID
    Find a good sale
    Since you're female, don't ride alone at night. I've had some crazy experiences and I'm no small guy. I now carry pepper spray at night.
    thanks. what kind of crazy experiences? i don't plan on riding by myself at night.......i do have pepper spray.
    Last edited by mtbchik25; 12-07-2007 at 02:21 PM.

  19. #19
    MTP
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    The craziest involved a very large, unleashed dog that chased me down. As I was defending myself with my bike, I told the owner I would take care of it if I had to by any means available. She responded with profanities, screaming "Why am I riding my bike at night?!" (in an open space park, where it is legal) and then mooning me (yes, pulling down her sweat pants and assuming the position) twice! She was completely unhinged. I am convinced she was a mental patient of some sort and was off medication. Her male friend ran to the scene and had to pull her away, all the while she was screaming and going berserk. He was apologizing profusely for having the dog/beast off a leash.

    I would have peppered her and her dog if that guy wasn't there to pull her away. She was in my face and she was not restraining the dog.

    I've also come across less than savory characters doing things they shouldnt' be doing. Not concerned as a guy, but if I were female, there is no way I would want to come across those situtations. Be careful out there.

    If you want to ride Black Mtn. in PQ on Monday nights, let me know. I never miss it unless it's raining or I'm working.
    If not biking, then what?

  20. #20
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    ... and if we just ...

    Quote Originally Posted by MTP
    The craziest involved a very large, unleashed dog that chased me down. As I was defending myself with my bike, I told the owner I would take care of it if I had to by any means available. She responded with profanities, screaming "Why am I riding my bike at night?!" (in an open space park, where it is legal) and then mooning me (yes, pulling down her sweat pants and assuming the position) twice! She was completely unhinged. I am convinced she was a mental patient of some sort and was off medication. Her male friend ran to the scene and had to pull her away, all the while she was screaming and going berserk. He was apologizing profusely for having the dog/beast off a leash.

    I would have peppered her and her dog if that guy wasn't there to pull her away. She was in my face and she was not restraining the dog.
    This version of the story isn't nearly as interesting as when it ended with "Name and Address Withheld by Request."

  21. #21
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    Do check out the GPS/Lights forum. There is more info there than you will be able to read during a full workday

    I used the Jet Phantom, moved to the Light & Motion ARC, and now use Lupine LEDs. All fantastic lights but I moved to Lupine LEDs for the runtime, ability to dim them effectively, durability and quality of light.

    I run a lot of light with my Wilma and Betty but I have never enjoyed nightriding so much either so it's worth the $$ I spent. HID- the ARC is currently the best one out there. I think Jet makes the best Halogen except for Turbocat but TC batteries have such low runtime.

    The big downside to HID is the cost of the bulb- $125ish each and they do burn out pretty quickly sometimes. Halogen bulbs cost around $20 and LEDs are supposed to last thousands and thousands of hours and are upgradeable.

    Check out the Lights forum though- tons of good info there.

  22. #22
    Crop Dusting Magistrate
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    2008 Nite Rider MiNewt X2 Li-Ion, LOVE IT! I use it for commuting and it's way brighter then most peoples setup on the road.
    It wasn't me

  23. #23
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    I'm running the Cygolite Tridenx...got brand new on ebay for 230, claims to be HID bright, 4 settings, 12 hrs on low, about 3 hrs on high...quite bright.

  24. #24
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    I been using the L&M Arc Li-Ion HID and it's great but my friend recently picked up the Niterider MiniNewt X2 dual LED and it's almost as bright, half the price, and half the weight. Ofcourse my run time is like 8 hours but who really needs 8 hours unless you're doing 24hr races?

    He bought the single MiniNewt X2 at first but was definitely not as bright as he'd liked and upgraded to the dual and now is very happy. That'll be my next light unless I can afford the TriNewt.

  25. #25
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    Not so technical when it comes to lights, but I used to be a full time pro photographer so I have some nice tools hangin around. yesterday I recieved a Cateye Tripple Shot LED rechargeable light and today I compared it to my Nite RIder Enduro HID using my Minolta light meter and they both gave the almost identical readings - ISO 100, 1/60 @ F8 - the readings were all within a 1/3 of a stop so basically identical.

    You want to know where I'm going with this, well here goes.............The NR Enduro HID costs around $280 US and the Cateye TS costs around $230, the TS battery is smaller and lighter, the connectors are better, housing is better and yet it still has the same run time and recharge time but costs less.

    So if you're looking for a nice light weight LED system consider looking at the Cateye oferings. One major advantage of LED over HIS is that the LED won't suffer as bad if you stop for a while and leave it on - to fix a flat etc - where as the HID's tend to heat up.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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