I am writing this review for two reasons
Firstly I planned to write it to obtain the $30 award for writing a review. However after the great service I got from Ray I believe a review is deserved regardless of the award.
As a kid all my bike lights were generator ones as battery lights were really bad 1.5WT things you were lucky to been seen with let alone actually see were you were going. My first bike light that was battery operated was a smart light with 10WT and 4WT Halogen bulbs, which I was very happy with as I could see well enough to feel I was riding reasonably safely. That was until hitting a patch of ice one day smashed them. My next purchase was a Marwi Nightpro with 15 and 20WT 6V halogen bulbs. I was not that impressed as it didn't seem any better than the smartlight and I was expecting with over double the watts and being 10 years newer they would seem heaps brighter.
Then two things happened to convince me to get new lights. Firstly some idiot put rope across a dark but well used bike path and was stealing people’s bags etc when they came crashing to the ground. Secondly I got talked into going into a 24HR mountain bike race in a team of 3. I was a bit worried as I had never ridden on dirt before and avoided night riding as much as possible although commuting everyday meant I had to do a lot of night riding.
I started reading everything I could on lights and found this website using Google. I also found batteryspace on google doing a search on HID helmet light because that is what one of the team members suggested was the best option.
I wanted to get a light for the race but I also wanted something that I could use for my commute to make it safer. My commute is about 23km of which over half is on bike track though bush land where there is no lights at all and the rest is bike track reasonably close to roads but still not well lit.
I ended up ordering an Eclipse 30WT HID with 77wt Li-Ion battery, a second battery and charger and some 12Volt globes to suit the Marwi Nightpro and a helmet mount to suit.
I was very happy that the lights arrived so quickly. I had ordered some stuff from web mountain bike and even though Stan posted it the day I ordered it USPS took 7 weeks to deliver it to Australia and would not tell me were the goods were when I enquired. Stan was fantastic but USPS was absolutely useless. My batteryspace order was though FedEx and the website was updated regularly so I could see where my order was and it only took 4 days to get to my house.
I mounted the light on top of the handlebars that night so I could use it to travel to work and back the next day. The light was amazingly bright but kept moving on the handlebars, as it is so heavy compared to the bracket it is on. I played with it for a while on the weekend trying to figure out how to make a good bracket and ended up mounting the light upside down. It seemed a lot more stable that way and it was also more protected in case of an accident. Also I got a puncture on the way to work and found out that I could easily turn the bike over without worrying about the light. The light has heaps of cable so I wrapped that around the handle bars thinking it the bracket broke at least the light would not fall that far and hopefully be protected
For commuting on a dark bike path the light is fantastic, I could ride virtually as fast as I could during the day – just slowing down in places where trees were on both sides of the path in case the rope moron tried to make me his next victim. I started doing some training rides at night and found I could see very well at night on the dirt. I had tried some night rides with the 6V Marwi’s before ordering these lights and the difference was amazing. I was cutting my time in half for the same route. The battery lasted over 2 hours 15 before the buzzer telling you it is almost flat kicked in.
I really like the 13.2V 77WT Li-Ion battery set up. At first I was worried how to fit it to the bike but the camera case that comes with the light is great. It fits tightly in the water bottle holder and I put the strap over my pump so even if it did come out it would not fall that far. It also has heaps of cable so I wrapped that round the top bar to also hold the battery if it managed to come out. There is a little spot for AA batteries on the camera case and I out the battery charging cable in there to keep it out of the way.
One night I went to charge it up just trusting the hall light rather than turning the garage light on and I think I might have plugged it in the wrong way. The charger was not on but there was a spark and the battery would no longer charge. I was really annoyed with my self, as even though I had another charger I really wanted two to be able to charge both batteries during the 24HR race. I e-mailed Ray from batteryspace and explained what I had done and he sent another charger free of charge. It arrived 3 days later, which I was really happy with.
During the race I used the 30WT HID on the handlebars and the Marwi Nightpro on the helmet with the 13.2WT battery in my camel back. The really long cable was very handy. Being in a team of 3 meant I did about 1 hour riding and had about 2 hours off. I left the lights charging until the other rider returned which meant I had bad transitions and I wasted a few minutes fitting the batteries but I got though the night without the batteries going flat on me. The track was incredibly dusty but I could see fine with the lowish mounted 30WT HID and overvolted 12WT Halogen on my head. The Halogen was great for the tight switchbacks and for looking at the detail of the track when required but I could have probably done the whole route with just the 30WT HID. When coming up to the timing points I put my hand over the 30WT HID so they could see my number OK.
I had a nasty experience last weekend. My bike and sons bike was on the back of the car and my wife driving. The bracket holding my bike on came loose and the bike fell off the back of the car while driving at reasonable speed. Luckily the car behind missed the bike and it is working fine however very badly scraped up. The 30WT HID and battery was still on the bike. The battery stayed put in the water bottle holder, which I found rather surprising – I would expect a water bottle battery to come out of a bike that went over sideways a few times. The light being mounted low was protected but took enough force for the bracket holding it on the break from the light. Seeing the light with broken bracket make me very worried but the light still works fine. I have taken it off my bike seeing we now have day light savings and will need to organise another bracket before using it again. I have put the battery in the fridge as I was told that makes them last longer.
Not sure how many more races I will go in but I certainly hope to use my light for commuting for a lot more years. By the time I need to replace it I expect technology will have improved again. If going in a 24HR race again I will probably try find a better helmet light and then use both 13.2V Li-Ion batteries for the 30WT HID and not have to worry about charging so much.
Bad points –
1. No warranty outside USA is a worry but I took a risk,
2. Bracket is not that great but will work if mounting light upside down.
Good points –
1. My customer service was great,
2. HID light is very bright and makes riding much safer,
3. HID light is not as fragile as I expected, certainly survived coming off a car OK,
4. Nice long Cables are supplied,
5. HID light never got that hot even riding up steep hills or holding hand in front while passing time keepers or others on bike paths,
6. Camera case holds battery very well in my water bottle holder.
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