I finally had all the oportunity to do a (rather decent) shot session comparing the Wilma and ARC beams. And not only that but much more: I organize a 12 hour race here and this past weekend we had the 12th edition - lots of lights performing in real conditions to see! I had my Lupine and L&M with me and the night before the race I took a ride on the circuit. The moon was full, I had a decent Kodak pro digicam, but somehow the pics were awfull. Iīm not very good as a photographer
Fine, I was planning a second lap anyway. This time I used my cel phone cam and - voilá - the pics were much better. Go figure... Not super, but at least got the job done. I just disabled the flash, no special anything. There were lots of other nice lights at the race, but I was too busy working and the riders too busy racing, so I had no time nor chance to take pics of them in action. Lots of HIDs (Niteriders, Topeaks and even a couple of ARCs) and LEDs (Cygolites, Cateyes).
Just a short story before the pictures:
There were also a Betty 12 and an Edison 10. They belonged to a couple of racers from Portugal who, coincidentally, I picked up at the airport here. We stayed at the same hotel and became friends. I changed the original setup of his Betty (low beam) at his request, and we compared the beams in the room. I loved the Charger One and was further impressed by Lupine care and attention to detail. High quality thoroughout. They let me try their lights, but we didnīt have enough time to take pics on the trail. I was able to ride alongside them for a few times during the race, just to have an idea about the beams, my impressions are at the bottom of this post.
He was impressed with the ARC and found it to be almost as bright as the Edison, but with a nicer, smoother and wider beam. I had the same feeling. The Edison is visibly brighter but not by too much, and it has a regular WA bulb that projects a beam with a darker halo, just like the NRs and Topeaks. Itīs small and compact though, with the fancy Lupine electronics and casing, neat stuff. The Wilma is massive (but not huge), those 7 LEDs look threatening and poised for some action And they are, if you stare at them.
I took pics on an open (no trees) singletrack and on a "forest singletrack" as well. I had the Wilma on the helmet and the ARC on the bar, thatīs my prefered combination for singletracks and fast situations. The circuit had 10km with 5 stretches of fast, twisty, roller-coaster-style, tree-lined singletrack, very technical stuff. They were linked by more singletrack on open field and some wide, open dirt roads, the kind you can reach high speeds. A couple of creek crossings and the team area, and that was it.
Now, to the pics
Wilma only, full power, open field singletrack: thatīs pretty bright, again the pics wonīt show the real brightness and reach of the beam so itīs just to compare it to other pics and get an idea. There is some nice side spill and this beam reaches pretty far too.
ARC (high): lots of trail detail, very wide too!
ARC + Wilma, low beams (10 and 9W respectively): increased visibility.
ARC + Wilma, full power (13 and 12W respectivelly): whoa! Really, thatīs a lot of light. It washes away some of the trail roughness but that doesnīt really matter nor make a difference, cos itīs so bright (much like a carīs headlight), broad and deep and smooth, you just see everything, everywhere. I could ride as fast as during the day in this setup.
ARC only, full power: the hot spot reaches far down the trail yet thereīs a lot of light to help with the surroundings, especially on this tree-lined singletrack.
ARC (high) + Wilma (60%): Wilmaīs beam fills in where the ARC doesnīt reach, mostly beacause itīs on the bar and the Wilma higher on my helmet.
ARC (high) + Wilma (high): The pic is worse but thereīs a lot more light there. I could ride anything as fast as I would under sunlight. The natural head movement to see the coming obstacles and curves throws the super-bright Wilma beam anywhere I look and that gives plenty of confidence to ride FAST!!!
Now, bit of wildlife: a rattlesnake I came across on a dirt road another day (under Wilmaīs beam).
And the race circus, a few hours before the start (not really related to the topic but...):
Comments about Wilma, Betty, Edison and ARC:
When I rode alongside Ricardo (the racer) on a short uphill and parts of the circuit while he was racing, my Wilma + ARC combined seemed to pump more light than his Betty at full power. And I was riding the ARC on low (10W) and the Wilma on 60% (9W). When I turned both to HIGH, my lights overpowered his by a fair margin, both in width and reach. The hot spot of the ARC is something, but the eveness and quality of the light from the Wilma (and Betty) is amazing.
Of course a Betty + Wilma combo should beat that, but I found the Wilma pretty good compared to Betty. Got very happy about my purchase. Iīd guess, a 2 X Wilma must give perhaps 90% of a Betty + Wilma setup, for a lower cost and marginal lower weight (negligible IMHO). But then, I repeat: I didnīt have the chance to actually try Betty myself. Ricardo shared my opinions for the most part. He too got impressed with the Wilma and especially the ARC. He rode the entire race with the Betty alone and I could see it was him on the circuit when he was coming back to the team area (or anywhere in the circuit), even with the many HIDs and LEDs out there. And he rode FAST!
Sorry for the long post, hope you guys enjoy the pics.
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