L&M ARC and Dinotte 600L Narrow Beam
I just tried out my own ARC with my new 600L for the first time tonight on the road. The guys at Dinotte strongly recommend the narrow beam for road use, so that is what I ended up with. Overall, I am very pleased with the combination.
I was happy with the ARC on very dark roads, but when the ARC had to compete with poorly lighted streets and headlights from oncoming cars, things would get kind of dicey. I bought the 600L to provide more light closer to the bike for those situations. I'm pleased to say that it works pretty well. It works so well, in fact, that I am not really happy now with either light by itself.
I aimed the ARC as high as it would go (to the point where aiming it higher wouldn't add anything to the sight distance). Then I did the same for the Dinotte. The result is a very even distribution of light in front of the bike that is nearly identical to a car's headlights. In fact, I found myself checking my mirror all night thinking that a car was approaching only to discover that the light was mine!
Like others have said here, the ARC seems to light everything up around you in a low-key sort of way. Then there is the ARC's spot which goes straight down the roadway, providing plenty of light but not very wide. The Dinotte, on the other hand, lights a very even swath of pavement from the front wheel forward that is plenty wide enough to not only spot hazards, but also to see where to go to avoid them. It is not as bright as the ARC's spot but is more evenly distributed in front of the bike.
The two combined though brighten everything in front of the bike. The ARC's fill light makes the dinotte's beam seem twice as bright. I am not sure why that should be - the effect seems to create more illumination than I would have imagined by looking at each light by individually. Possibly the different color of the two beams has some sort of additive effect. I don't know - these are just my first impressions, but it appears to be a very good combination.
When you consider that you can get an ARC for about $300 by shopping around, for a total of $700 you can get a pretty nice combination of lights totaling nearly 1,300 lumens with build-in backup should one of them fail. For another $100 or so you can add in the brightest tail light in the world. I purchased the tail light as well, and everything everyone says about it is spot-on. From both the front and rear, I have never had so much respect from motorists as I did tonight.
I wish I knew someone w/ a Wilma or Betty for comparison. I'd say that if you already own an ARC - this is a very cost-effective upgrade. If you are starting from scratch - I can't say - I've never seen either the Wilma or the Betty. I'll try to get some photos at some point but photography isn't one of my strong points.
Last edited by Cino; 11-13-2007 at 09:51 AM.
I have used the ARC and the Wilma. I will be getting a Betty in a few days. I'll post a review on the Wilma and the Betty and my baseline experience will be with the ARC. The Lupines are more expensive but I'm not afraid to ride like I normally do just because of that. They are very tough and I like the fact that they are upgradeable by the user and Lupine does upgrade them so I am moving exclusively to them and have sold my ARC. However, I know others with the ARC so I hope we can do a picture comparison when we have them all. Well, I think some of these guys are also moving to the Lupines so I hope we still have an ARC to compare with. Regardless, I know the ARC beam well and it will be easy to compare.
The Wilma is brighter than the 600L but the width is probably the same. It is also a very even beam like the 600L. Give me a week and I'll have a comparo. Another week and I should have pictures as well. I'm buying my lights from Larry at mtnhighcyclery and he may have a friend with a high quality camera who can help us out with some pictures that are better than a digital point-and-shoot camera can take.
1. I have a Canon EOS with different lenses
Originally Posted by Flyer
2. The more I see beam shots, the more convinced I am that they are next to worthless
Squeaky- you may consider yourself recruited as cameraman.
After riding with this setup another evening, I noticed that I wished that I had more site distance. Then I looked at some beam shots of the 600L posted on Acidinmylegs. The reviewer posted a shot of the 600L beam indicating clear, bright illumination out past 120 ft. This should be plenty of sight distance for traveling at 20 mph, but I don't think that I am getting near that. So now I wonder why?
One change I made when I installed the new light is that I now have both lights mounted upside down underneath my handlebars, instead of on top. Would that make any difference in the distance that the beams project? It seems like I only dropped the center of the beam maybe 4 inches, at most. Does it matter if these things are upside down or not?
Does anyone have any experience with this?
OK, resolved the throw issue - it was all in my head.
Last night I tried measuring the throw distance of the beam by counting pedal strokes. I got on a straight, flat section of dark roadway and put the bike in a known gear. Then when the beam on the pavement passed a fixed point (I used a street sign) I started counting full pedal revolutions. Then did the math.
The pavement in front of the bike is fully illuminated for about 230 ft. Vertical objects, especially reflective ones like cars and signs are lighted well beyond that. I guess when you are riding @ 20mph, your sense of distance is distorted somewhat - it seemed like less to me. So I guess there is nothing wrong with my setup.
230 ft is pretty decent. That is enough site distance for a bike to travel at 30mph. I don't think I'll be going that fast at night.
Last night, before the ride while I was waiting for folks to show I put both lights at their lowest setting (for the ARC, that is not very low). When the ride started, I forgot to up the brightness, so I did almost the entire ride w/ both lights on low power. I didn't even notice - visibility was fine. I didn't realize that until I was on my way home fiddling w/ the lights to compare the effects of the different settings.
On the capacity side of things, the longest ride I have been on so far has lasted 3 hours. That night, I had left both lights on high. At ride's end my 2-year old ARC battery was warning me that the battery was low, but it was still shining OK and the new Dinotte had not yet given any indication of low battery.
I guess that is all I can say for now. Very happy w/ this setup. If I get more info, I'll repost, but if anyone has an ARC and wants to supplement its output w/ an LED light, the 600 L narrow beam works nicely. No complaints.