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  1. #1
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    how many lumens for trail riding?

    What's the consensus on how many lumens you need to trail ride on rough stuff, not a fire road? I know the brighter the better, but what's the minimum to be safe?

    I've seen some lights with 180 lumens and some with 500 and up.
    You certainly have to pay for the lumens

    Thanks alot for any insight.

    D

  2. #2
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    I think 500 is a good point if it has a decent beam width. You can make do with less (200ish) also if the beam is wide enough but 30 mph runs will be dicey. The 180L by L&M has a spot but a wider "secondary" beam and isn't bad. Of course, I believe in making sure my light isn't an excuse and run 2200-ish with two lights.

    However, the 600L, Trinewt, and lights like that do quite well.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    I think 500 is a good point if it has a decent beam width. You can make do with less (200ish) also if the beam is wide enough but 30 mph runs will be dicey. The 180L by L&M has a spot but a wider "secondary" beam and isn't bad. Of course, I believe in making sure my light isn't an excuse and run 2200-ish with two lights.

    However, the 600L, Trinewt, and lights like that do quite well.

    Thanks for the response.

    That gives me a starting point. I'm really wanting to get into night riding this year, but it's so expensive to get a light with enough lumens..... not to mention one on the bars and one on the helmet.

    Thanks again

  4. #4
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    Expensive but worth it as well. I ride twice a week at night now and enjoy my rides a lot more.

  5. #5
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    By the time you get to about 400 lumens,and 4 hours of run time, you can ride pretty much anything if the light is mounted on your handlebars, without being impaired or at risk. Easily doable with 3 Cree LED' emitters in the" P" or "Q" series of bin builds. I'm thinking by the time the "R" series has run it's course, it will be doable with only 2 emitters, maybe just 1 by the time the "S" series is completed. The technology and manufacturing of overdriving single LED's past 350 milliamps to make huge amounts of lumens is growing exponentially, with substantial price drops in the works.

    For fire roads, I'd go with 2 lights and 800 to 1000 lumens total. You need time to react... The faster you ride, the more narrow a beam with flamethrower capabilities you need, to allow for enough reaction time.

    If you are on a shoestring budget, here is a cheap way to start...Costco has a Leatherman 500 Cree LED for $29.99 that will run for about an hour and 10 minutes on 3 AAA rechargeable batteries. Add to it a Sanyo Eneloop recharger kit on sale for $21.99 which has charger, with four 900 mah AAA's and eight 2000mah AA batteries. If you can find a way to mod it to run on 3 AA batteries, you should be able to get around 2.5 hours run time on the flashlight.

    Of course, for $52, you need to find a way to lash the light securely, or the light and power supply if you mod it, securely to your bicycle. With this set up, mount the light low, under the handlebars, and you should get plenty of depth and obstacle shadowing on single track to warn you of obstacles in your way. Currently, for the money, it's an amazing bit of light in a small package at a good price. This is a rig for a slow riding beginner on single track.... if you haul ass, or have to hang with the Big Dogs in your riding pack, you'll need a lot more than this, but if you take it easy and keep your single track speed around 15 mph or less, it should be OK.

    I'm 49, I use a $200 Trail-Tech MR-11 kit with the Welsh Allyn mini 13 watt HID bulb that all the HID manufacturers use, 560 to 575 lumens with a 3700 mAh NiMH battery.... Nightrider, Light and Motion ARC, you name it. The reflector I use is a 13 degree flood. For how I ride at night, it has plenty of spill, flood and distance for almost any riding I do except 30mph downhill fire roads... there I have to slow it down, turns can come up quickly at 225 pounds and sand over hard pack with a set of Performance Oro K-18's... Not the brakes fault, it's my fault, I need to lose the weight to slow down quicker.

    There's a ton of variables, talk to some local nightriders in your area, see what works for them, ask questions.
    Last edited by Boyonabyke; 12-11-2007 at 07:03 PM.

  6. #6
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    Be careful if you live in fast and twisty areas. Just a bar light would get me into trouble here- big trouble. Open trails are fine.

  7. #7
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    great question, but not an easy answer

    Some of the factors I can think of that have to be considered to allow someone to answer your question.

    1. Type of trail. The more technical the trail the better you want your visibility to allow for reaction time - thus more lumens. Also, if the trail is twisty with tight turns or switchbacks more lumens don't help as much as beam spread. Most lights cannot provide the side spill required to allow fast cornering which is why a lot of riders add an additional light to their helmets or if they only have one it is on the head.

    2. Speed. Are you a fast rider? If so then more lumens are needed. I regularly hit 20 -25 MPH on singletracks and I have found that anything under 500 Lumens and I'm out running my light. Just like in the daytime the faster you ride the more up trail you need to see. In addition, to allow visibility further up trail your light will need to have good throw or distance. That can be accomplished with higher lumens or a tighter beam pattern. I'm not comfortable with a light that is only good at distance but achieves that characteristic while sacrificing beam spread. I need both. The L&M Arc was the first light I tried that achieved both up trail distance and great side spill. The Arc is rated around 600-650 Lumens. So we're getting close to the answer.

    3. Age or more precisely the quality of your night vision. I'm 54 and the eyes are not what they used to be. I would guess the older you get the more lumens are needed to achieve the same visibility.

    4. Beam color. Halogen is yellowish while HID are kinda blue. Led come in a variety of color temps. What is the ideal temp for night riding? Probably a personal preference. I tend to prefer a light that illuminates the area in the same way that I would experience in the daytime but people will differ as well.

    5. Last and certainly not least is your comfort range. When I was riding with an old Streamlight flashlight strapped to the bars I sure didn't feel safe riding 5 miles from the trail head.


    For me two lights are a must. Until lately I rode with two on the bars and none on the helmet. I wanted wide and bright with a deep throw. I was using dual Lupine Edisons rated at 1800 lumens. A little overkill. I currently use two Wilmas on the bars and that is about 1600 lumens. They don't seem as bright as the Edisons but that is probably due to the color. And I only use full power when bombing down a hill. I recently added a DIY helmet light that works quite well. It's output is somewhere north of 400 lumens and its color perfectly matches the Wilma.

    My next light will be completely DIY. Two dual Q5s on the bars and a dual Q5 on the helmet. Total lumens around 1300 lumens. I'm going all DIY because I want total control over all aspects of the light - total lumens, beam spread, beam depth, color, and run time. I also want to be able to upgrade the Leds at any time. The correct amount of lumens, as you can see, is complicated and a personal preference.

    I enjoy riding with more light because my riding style is not crimped and more visibility provides a higher safety margin.


    500 - 750 lumens minimum. (What is the maximum total lumens a rider needs would be a good discussion as well) A beam pattern with both up trail penetration and good side spill. I would suggest a single light purchase first and try on both the bars and helmet to see what you like. Check with your riding buddies to see what they are using to get a better feel for the color and brightness you might like.

  8. #8
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    Just a slightly different persective- I have been riding a single helmet-mounted Niterider Head Trip (10W Halogen) for the last year and a half, and have been able to do everything that my dual-HID stadium-light-on-wheels friends do. If you have the cash, absolutely go out and drop $600-$1000+, but don't feel like you have to in order to get into night riding.

    If you are only going with one light, I would go helmet mounted. I rode for the first time with a bar-only setup last week, and it drove me nuts only being able to see where my handlebars were pointing. I'm now getting into the bar + helmet thing, which is awesome.

    Anyway, good luck. Just remember that you don't need to have the latest-greatest thing to be able to ride, and that there are some folks in these forums who have REALLY large riding budgets and forget that others may not.

  9. #9
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    Thanks

    I appreciate all the input fellas.

    I ride pretty technical stuff, that goes from fast rocky descents, to tight and twisty rock gardens. Needless to say, I think it could get dangerous if I don't have the proper amount of light. I wish I had the electrical knowledge to build a 1000L DIY, but who am I kidding. When I try reading through the DIY posts, it's like trying to read japanese... That leaves me with purchasing something, on a budget of about $300 - $350.

    Should I spend it all on one bright light for my helmet, or get 2 that are not as bright for handlebar and helmet?

    Another issue is with all the new LED technology coming out, I would like to purchase something that can be upgraded as the bulbs improve. Are most lights out there able to have upgraded bulbs and whatnot installed?

    Thanks again.

    D

  10. #10
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    I know Lupine and Dinotte LED lights usually offer upgrades you can purchase when newer led tech comes out. With Dinotte I think you have to send to them to have it upgraded while Lupine is a do-it-yourself deal. Lupine is gonna be out of your price range though. With your budget I would see if you can get a Dinnotte 600L standard beam and mount it to the helmet. Then later on or next year maybe consider adding another light on the bar.

  11. #11
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    500 Lumens a plenty

    500 lumens is brighter than my suv's headlights and whiter. A head mounted second light is a must when riding singe track that is always turnin corners. I run the Topeak moonshine. After a lot of research the prices for an HID average $350 to $400. I payed $278.

  12. #12
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    My reaction: It depend on how the light is focused and where it's mounted.

    I built a set of Achesalot type lights for the h-bars. Lots of beautiful light with good spill and throw. A center spot lens(5°) and two outboard floods(15°). It's good for most riding, but I'm faster in the singletrack with a helmet light. Even if I mounted my LED on my helmet I'd be OK.

    So for me, I have an L&M HID helmet mounted light and my LED 3X Soeul P4 SSC at 1000mA on the bars, and that works fine. If overkill, sorry but I'm old, and my night vision is not good. I'm thinking that I will replace the 1A buckpuck with a controller that allows dimming, but I destroyed my bFlex with my incompetence. So maybe not.

  13. #13
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    Personally I have a triple-cree on my head (8-degree spread) and 2 200L dinotte's on my bars (1 flood, one spot) Plenty of light for tight PA singletrack..now if I could just get my knee to heal so I can actually ride again......

  14. #14
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    The iBlast is in your price range. Looks great on the website; so far people seem to like them a lot.

  15. #15
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    In the past few weeks I have had the good fortune to be able to test the Light & Motion ARC, the Light & Motion Stella 180L, the NiteRider SolMate, and the NiteRider TriNewt.

    If $350 is your absolute max then I would try to find a deal on the Light & Motion ARC with the Nickel Metal Hydride battery. They retail for more than $350, but on eBay you can probably find one and get it "new in box" within your budget. That's 675 lumens on high, 550 on low. Mount it on your helmet and you will be completely satisfied. If you're lucky you might even find a lithium ion battery version in that price range on eBay, but that might be asking to much. The advantage being a much lighter battery.

    Now, if you are willing to ride a little slower, even something like the Light & Motion Stella 180 is bright enough for all but the rockiest descents or most difficult to navigate (e.g., due to switchbacks and massive leaf cover) trails. It is ridiculously light, very bright (180 lumens), has a long run time, and has a power switch on the light unit. It's also way cheaper than the ARC. The drawback is that the light is bright, but in a much smaller area than the ARC. This lack of light spill makes it harder to negotiate tight switchbacks, and also if you look very far down the trail or even around a bend you can't really see what's right in front of you. So with the Stella it's more of an adventure and using the ARC is almost cheating by comparison. There is a simple elegance to the Stella.

    The SolMate is not as bright as the Stella, but even at 115 lumens I had no major gripes with the brightness. I would still pick the Stella for it's extra brightness and also because the SolMate has no switch on the light. None of the NiteRider LEDs do, and this is something of a pain when your battery is at the bottom of your hydration pack.

    The TriNewt at 486 lumens is also extremely bright. Bright enough for riding fast and there's plenty of spill. The drawbacks are twofold: lack of a power switch on the light unit, and it is very heavy to wear on your helmet. Too heavy in my opinion.

    If you have a good beam pattern, I think 400 lumens is enough light to ride safely at night and fairly quickly, too. il2mb brings up very valid caveats above to my estimate. But for me I was very happy with the TriNewt on low (under 400 lumens), and as I said, the Stella is completely satisfactory for most riding. Of the lights I've ridden, I do think the most bang for the buck is the ARC, though.

    Finally, I haven't personally used the NiteRider HIDs, but they are all rated at 373 lumens according to NiteRider. I have four friends with NiteRider HIDs and they are all happy with the amount of light they put out. They are cheaper yet than the ARC. They are also lighter than the TriNewt and have switches on the light unit.

    So, I think the one HID on the helmet is still the way to go in December, 2007 if you're on a budget, but I suspect that within 12 months that will no longer be the case. As the LEDs get brighter and brighter and the weight and price comes down on the lights in the 500 lumen range, it will be a no-brainer to go LED. They are more durable, last longer, and potentially run longer, too. And there is a lot of research being done on LEDs in the automotive and commercial lighting industries, so we'll definitely see these lights develop in the next year and on from there.

    Along with all the other people's replies you have a lot of opinions to sift through. I hope this helped. I've been doing a lot of reading lately and wanted to pass on what I've learned.

  16. #16
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    Ive been evangelizing my setup to anyone who will listen.

    I got a TriNewt on the bars and a Minewt on the helmet and its been real good on twisty stuff and also for going faster.

    And as Flayer says, the money spent is WELL worth it. Unfortunately, no nitghriding for moi this week due to other commitments.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by likeybikey
    If $350 is your absolute max then I would try to find a deal on the Light & Motion ARC with the Nickel Metal Hydride battery. They retail for more than $350, but on eBay you can probably find one and get it "new in box" within your budget. That's 675 lumens on high, 550 on low. .........Finally, I haven't personally used the NiteRider HIDs, but they are all rated at 373 lumens according to NiteRider. I have four friends with NiteRider HIDs and they are all happy with the amount of light they put out.
    Where did you get these figures? I have a L&M ARC LI, and several friends have NiteRider HID's. They seem to put out similar amounts of light, although the NR HID is more of a spot than the L&M. I like the L&M, but know folks who feel the NR is brighter, although it doesn't throw light as wide. Your Lumen figures suggest the L&M is almost 2x as bright as the NR, but it certainly doesn't look that way to me.
    I love mankind - it's people I can't stand. ~Charles M. Schulz

  18. #18
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    I rode a single track in pitch black with a pocket (not keychain size) maglight zip tied to the bar. That was the stupidest thing I've ever done (biking wise). My buddies did the same but the one leading had a head strapped flashlight. If you are riding singletrack with switchbacks and rocks or obstacles on the trail, you MUST use a helmet mounted light. You cant see anything when youre maneuvering the bars with the lights going left and right. Before this experience, I wanted a bar mounted light. Now, I know the helmet mounted lights are more practical.

  19. #19
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    I would just like to thank everyone for taking the time to respond to my post.
    It has really helped narrow down my search.

    thanks again for all the input ..... now to find something in the $350 price range, pull the trigger, and ride.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricfromLA
    I rode a single track in pitch black with a pocket (not keychain size) maglight zip tied to the bar. That was the stupidest thing I've ever done (biking wise). My buddies did the same but the one leading had a head strapped flashlight. If you are riding singletrack with switchbacks and rocks or obstacles on the trail, you MUST use a helmet mounted light. You cant see anything when youre maneuvering the bars with the lights going left and right. Before this experience, I wanted a bar mounted light. Now, I know the helmet mounted lights are more practical.
    I ride at night here in North Wales on tracks and paths covered in all sorts of obsticals and I'm quite happy with a bar mounted light

    Always, never and must are words that shouldn't really be used in these cases. It works well for some people and not for others.

    I personally don't like helmet mounted lights for biking as it means your helmet is attached to your pack which I find a faff.

    The problem you experienced with your bar mounted maglite is a very focused beam. This is not very good bar mounted. A bar mounted light needs to have a nice wide beam. A helmet mounted light workes well with a tight beam as properly mounted it points where you look.

    The other problem with helmet mounted lights is they flatten the trail, you cant see the shadows because the light source is so close to your view point. This also creates a problem in fog with light reflecting back.

    Ideal found by a lot of people is to have a powerful flood mounted on the bar with a less powerful tight focused light on the helmet.

    The USE enduro combination is a good example

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch
    Where did you get these figures? I have a L&M ARC LI, and several friends have NiteRider HID's. They seem to put out similar amounts of light, although the NR HID is more of a spot than the L&M. I like the L&M, but know folks who feel the NR is brighter, although it doesn't throw light as wide. Your Lumen figures suggest the L&M is almost 2x as bright as the NR, but it certainly doesn't look that way to me.

    I emailed NiteRider a while back and they provided the 373 figure for me. The L&M numbers come from their website.

    I think, on the surface, the numbers are misleading for two reasons. First, lumens are measuring complete light output from the light. I rode with a friend last night and he was using a NiteRider HID and I had the L&M ARC. The ARC was definitely a little brighter, and as you noted it also has more spill. So in addition to a small--but detectable--additional brightness at any given location in the ARC beam, the 675 lumens are spread over a larger area than the 373 from the NiteRiders.

    Also, and maybe more importantly, the human eye doesn't detect brightness on a linear scale, but rather on a logarithmic scale. So even though the increase from 373 to 675 lumens is about 80% [(675-373)/373*100%=80.97%], in practical terms there is only about a 10% perceptible increase in brightness [(ln675-ln373)/ln373*100%=10.02%]. And even that figure assumes the lumens are spread in the same area. Since the spill from the ARC is larger than the spill from the NiteRiders, the difference in brightness at any one point is probably even less than 10%.

    I like your Andy Goldsworthy icon, Sasquatch. Anybody reading this who hasn't seen Rivers and Tides should rent it immediately.

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  22. #22
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    I have been riding on trails for the past 17+ years and this is what I found out. I started out with a small motorcycle battery and a head light off a ATC mounted to my bike. then I went to a dual beam night sun and finally I modded that night sun to have 6 led's. My hallogen night sun was just fine for me until others started getting HID lights a couple of years ago. Then when they were behind me they would make me cast a shadow directly in front me of me and it became dangerous. Now with almost 1200 lumens i am the one casting the shadow

    But I never had a problem with each light setup thinking i need more light. At time going really fast I would start to out run the beam alittle so I would either point the light higher or slow down. And these were all bar mounts, never tried a helmet light and never felt the need to. I am probalby sure that are as helpful as everyone says they are but I don't think they are necessary though. Most of the guys I ride with ride bars only and most of them have tried helmet lights at one point or another. So I wouldn't be too quick to buy 2 light systems right off the bat. Its probably going to depend on who you ride with and what they are running.

    Well that's my 2 cents.

  23. #23
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    My take on it...

    I'm new to night riding. I bought a helmet-mounted NiteRider Enduro HID for my only light. It's a blast in the tight and twisty, but I almost outrun it on the wide-open fire road descents. Supposed to be 3+ hours of burn time on the NiMH battery. Plenty bright.

    If you're only going with one light, it's gotta be helmet mounted. A second bar mounted light will give you much better depth perception with respect to trail obstacles, but for singletrack, the helmet light is key.

    This time next year (Dec. 08), LED will be where it's at, but I don't think it's quite there yet, especially if you're talking about running a single lamp.

    The light was $270 out-the-door from Performance. This was with a 20%-off coupon; the Enduro retails for about $300, but Performance is always having a sale.

    YMMV
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  24. #24
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    LOL, so many different thoughts. I currently ride a NiteRider TriNewt on handlebar only and I think its awesome. The brightness and width of beam make it great for the technical stuff. I have a 3watt PrincetonTec LED on my helmet as an emergency backup and worklight and have ridden out on the trail with it and lent it to friends whos lights have gone out. In past I've trail ridden with a NiceLite only on handlebar or fork. Tried supplementing with a Pelican on helmet, but that thing was such a tight pencil beam it was pretty useless. Finally graduated to the first NiteRider when it came out. That was a huge step up. After the battery gave up the ghost and i jurry rigged some gel cells for a while, borrowed friends TrailRat which was ok. Picked up a 6V NR Classic for fairly cheap and it worked and supplementing it with the 3W helmet light actually helped. The TriNewt I just got and it blows all previous light setups I've tried and definitely allows for faster riding. I don't bother with the little helmet light with this. So really, you can use just about any light, just the more & brighter you go, the faster you can ride. And it depends on what the rest of your crew are running. If they've got bright lights, you'll find them pulling away from you as you try to keep up the pace but find it uncomfortable with the light you have. Then the light arms race begins, heh.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quercus agrifolia
    My take on it...

    I'm new to night riding. I bought a helmet-mounted NiteRider Enduro HID for my only light.

    This time next year (Dec. 08), LED will be where it's at, but I don't think it's quite there yet, especially if you're talking about running a single lamp.

    YMMV
    have you tried a Lupine Wilma (830 lumens)? or a Betty(1400 lumens)?
    This LEDs are OVER but $$$$$$ have to pay
    They ARE here

  26. #26
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    Spend some time over at candlepowerforums.com and you can learn the electrical tidbits on how to build your own lights, as well as getting the parts for cheap.

    I bought a 500+ lumen tri-cree LED flashlight for $35 from a dealer there that I modded to use a remote battery pack and helmet mounted it. Batteries there are cheap too. All in all I have 500 lumens and 6 hours runtime for less than $60.

    However, to speak about lumens, my 500 is in a narrow spot, so it's difficult to ride (but damn, can it throw) so if I add another 500 (or more) lumens in a flood on the handle bars I will be set.

    DIY is definitely the way to go for building lights. There are a few guys on candlepower (that I think cross-post here) that custom machined LED enclosures for their bikes. One of them was taking orders on his design and it was fairly priced.

    But really, you shouldn't do a DIY without using candlepower extensively!

  27. #27
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    I have a betty and while it is awesome beyond imagination on fireroads, it is not so great on single track.

    My advice to anyone who rides a lot of singletrack would be not to buy the betty, but to get 2 less expensive lights, put one on your bars and another on your helmet.

    In fact had I known then what I know now, I would have bought 2 x Use Enduro MaXx lights.

  28. #28
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    Could you expand on that so we know why you think that way? I use it on the bar on singletrack with the Wilma on the helmet and love the combo. While there are cheaper options, I can't imagine why the Betty would be bad on singletrack. In fact, I forgot to brighten the Wilma the other day and was flying on the trail ond only realized that my Wilma was practically off when I hit a sharp turn and could not see around it as usual. I'd happily use just the Betty on the helmet. I used the ARC (great light) as one light on the helmet and the Betty has more reach.

    That said, I think any of the ligts in the 500-800 lumen range will be sufficient, especially if you have a bar and helmet light. The less expensive options are many and the choices seem to be growing. So far, I like the following LEDs for the bar:

    Dinotte 600L (US-made, very well-built, excellent customer service)
    Exposure Enduro MaXx (wireless but also heavy for one side of the bar)
    Nightlightning iBlaast (great light but imported with no importer- warranty issue could potentially mean shipping it back to NZ)
    Nite Rider Trinewt (not my fav and heavy for helmet use but still has a great beam pattern for the bar)
    BR Lights (Very intriguing and prob the tougest casing of them all but also heavy on the bar, being self-contained).

    I'd suggest narrowing it down by likes and dislikes. Use things like this to shorten the list:

    Lumens
    Beam pattern (all these are good in this dept)
    Weight
    Reputation for reliability
    Burn time on full
    Burn time on dimmer settings
    Reputation for customer service
    Mounting system

    Well, time for me to check out- gotta keep working.

  29. #29
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    I have a DIY triple Cree with ~500 lumens. The optic used is the PL35306:
    http://www.khatod.com/pdf/pl353xxnk_xlamp.pdf

    It has a perfect beam pattern for the handlebars in my opinion. It is the only light I use. I tried it on the helmet and I liked the shadows better with it on the bars. I have considered another light on the helmet but it's really not necessary for me.

    The other day I compared it to a TriNewt. The TriNewt had a slightly brighter hot spot in the middle and more spill outside the main beam. However the angle of the main beam is a lot less than my light, making it worse on the higher speed turns. The spill from my light is pretty much nonexistant but I would rather have that light as part of the main beam.

  30. #30
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    LOL, I realized I never answered the original question. The TriNewt being close to 500 lumens, I'd say 500 lumens is more than enough. I was able to ride fine with a NR Classic so you can do with much less, but with the TriNewt can definitely comfortably up the pace and can actually pick lines instead of kind of bashing through the trail.

  31. #31
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    Budget, budget, budget...

    Interesting read.

    I have been looking at several options, and have the additonal requirement of long battery run times given the type of rides these lights are for. I have come to the conclusion that I will get the Dinotte 600L bar, and 200L helmet combo. This can be had for $500 even, but I will adjust the batteries for about 30 bucks more to meet my needs.

    For you, it looks like the dual 200L setup would be a good compromise. You can get one wide, one narrow and two 4 hour batteries for a total of $334 to your door. Since you mentioned a $300-350 budget, this seems to be in the ball park.

    I hear a lot of mention of requiring 500+ lumens, and agree that that would be great. ANd will enjoy it for the first time soon (sorry for the gloating). Having said that, many of us have run much lower setups (prior to HID) and survived in technical single track. Not too long ago I ran two Cygolight Hi-Flux 100s in a 24 hour solo event. That's a total of about 120 lumens combined, with a very narrow beam. The course was not overly technical, and it required a good bit of head movement but worked...barely. I would NOT run that in technical rocky single track though. With the setup I mentioned above, you would have almost 4x that. If I didn't have the extra bones, the dual 200 would be the way to go. Rob at Dinotte is quite helpfull, and answers e-mail fairly quickly. He performs upgrades as new technology comes out for a nominal fee, and stands behind his product. New LED technology will keep surfacing, so that is a big attractor. At least check out the site, and make up your own mind.

    Oh, the L in 200L/600L is for max available lumens on high.
    Grammar and spelling errors are complementary.

  32. #32
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    If you run both a bar and helmet light then you can squeak by with a total of aroud 400 lumens, which I did for many years with 2 halogen lights. This setup is bare minimum an not necessary with the technology we have today. So if you're going to go with just one light I'd go with a helmet light. Me and my buds ride technical New England singletrack all the time with just helmet lights. I found the bar lights only thing to be too distracting when technical climbing. It's usable but the helmet light just works better for me. If you're worried about getting stranded buy a cheap AAA battery handlebar LED light. I have one and it did get me out of the woods one time when my HID went on me mid trail.

    I ran Trailtech HID light for awhile and it is quite bright. The light was rated around 550 lumens and was brighter than both of my Halogens combined, plust I got 4.5 hours of charge time. The thing I did not like was the blue light does kind of wash out some of the details and the periphreals did kind of suffer. HID is also more fragile than LED. I had 2 bulbs, a ballast, and a switch go on me in 2 years. My buds haven't had the same bad luck as me with their HID systems but I couldn't risk the expense anymore. HID stuff is expensive to replace and I tend to break things.

    I've been running a Nightlighting IBlaast 3LED system for a couple of months now and it's very nice. I was able to re-use the LI-ION battery that came with my HID which saved me $100. The lamp itself is about half of the weight and is very well made. The helmet mount is kind of primitive but works just fine. The light is rated at 720 lumens but that rating is a bit aggressive. The beam itself is an excellent spread for a helmet light with a light that is bright enough to see real far ahead yet wide enough to have a real good periphreal. Turning the light on and off is simple and you have options to set up levels of brightness to conserve battery time if you need to. With my LI-ION battery my light is rated at 6 hours at full power. I haven't tested that yet but I have put 4 hours on it w/o the battery warning kicking in. This light is upgradeable. They put an extra power setting in the driver just in case the new lights require more power.I put the light head to head against a Trailtech HID and a Nightrider HID and the IBlaast light was slightly brighter and had a much better spread. I am much happier with this light over the HID.

    My take on HID is that it's tried and true and puts out some nice bright light. If you get a big LI-ION battery you can get some serious burn times. The problem is the warranty expires very quickly and the stuff can break leaving you with an expensive repair. I disagree with the poster who said LED is not here yet. Sure it's about $100 more expensive (and always will be) but that buys you a lighter less fragile system that uses slightly less battery that puts out a cleaner light that in some cases can be upgraded for short money.

    Either light system would work for you just fine for you but if I were you I'd seriously look into the IBlaast. If you buy the lamp from them and get the battery from batteryspace.com you can get yourself into the low $300 range. The only work you would have to do is solder two wires together. Quite simple for a high quality upgradeble LED light.

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    In response to question about why I thought that way about the better from flyer:

    Its not that the betty is bad on singletrack. Its just that its so awesome on fireroads that it seems a little lacking on singletrack.

    I find with a bar mounted betty that at the apex of tight loops (we are talking sub 12mph stuff here and in dense woodland) I have little idea where the trail is going next and run the risk of hitting a tree.

    I am riding on trails that are about 60 -100cm wide, the sort of stuff you walk in single file. I inadvertently end up oscillating from side to side of the trail as I almost veer off the trail and correct myself This particular trail is very 3 dimensional and also goes up and down at the same time as hard rights and lefts. (It is absolutely awesome to ride in daylight, in fact if anyone can find their way to Stroud in Gloucestershire I will show them the trail)

    I do wonder that part of my problem is that the betty allows me to go so fast on the few straight bits of this trail, that I am traveling too fast to do the curvy bits.

    If I were to be asked what the betty's weakness are I would say the way it performs on this trail. If the betty's near illumination were to be a bit wider spread then, for me and this trail, it would be perfect.

    But the bettys spread is as it is and as soon as I can raise the cash I will get a helmet mounted light to augment the betty for tight singletrack.

    I used to ride the trail with a Cateye ABS35 and did not have this problem. But I am not sure I went as fast compared to riding with the betty. Perhaps I should do some scientific experimentation. Anyone got a stopwatch and want to time me along this trail?
    Last edited by robinfisk; 12-23-2007 at 01:44 PM.

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