$150 to $200 to spend, 1 light or 2? Handlebar or Helmet
My wife's parents said that they would possibly give me a light for Christmas, with a budget of 150 to 200.
I know that a helmet light and a handlebar light would be best, but would I be better off with two cheaper lights, or one nicer light? If the one which do you prefer?
I mainly ride the single tracks (San Clemente Singletracks, or the weed patch).
These tend to be narrow, and for much of it you can't see much further than 50 feet or so. But at the same time it means that my handlebar will not be facing where I want the light to be so I am worried about getting a handlebar light. But then you lose depth perception on the head.
So what would you choose?
I have a Spark ST6 headlamp that would make a decent backup. It is a fairly floody beam though which I don't like on the bike. While hiking it is great though.
My vote would be to get two (decent) cheapie lights vs. one good light, and (contrary to many) I would say a bar light is better than a helmet light.
My first light was a helmet light, per friend's suggestion, but the problem with only the helmet light was that I couldn't see trail details. I rode down the Luge (if you're familiar with that trail) and it looked smooth, but it rattled my fillings out, since I couldn't see the bumps and ruts. I then got myself a floody bar light then the Luge was a blast at night. I still had the helmet light,but I think the floody bar light was fine for seeing around turns (and the Luge is somewhat twisty single track).
As far as the cheapie lights are concerned, right now I'm riding with two $40 Chinese XM-L lights that I'm very impressed with (both on the bars right now) with my older Magicshine P7 on my helmet. I tested the XM-L batteries at home and got 4+ hours of burn time on high out of both of them. The XM-L's have plenty of flood for me, but I do have a wide angle lens I could put in one to make it floodier.
Getting cheaper lights might be a problem for someone getting you a present, but there seem to be decent ones on Amazon that people have listed on this forum.
Here is the light I bought on ebay:
1800 Lumen CREE XML XM L T6 LED Bicycle Light Bike Cycle Lamp Headlight Headlamp | eBay
Only had these a few months, so not sure about longevity of light or battery, but fine so far.
Magicshine seems to get decent reviews at a decent price, I just can't figure out if I would be better off getting two 808's, one for handlebars and one for my head. Or maybe get the 816E for just the handlebars. Or maybe the 872 for just on the head. Too many decisions. Are there any other lights in that range anyone things I should look into?
I bought a mj-808 light head from Geoman (made own battery) when they first came out. The led burned out within a year, so questionable quality back then. Bought another mj-808 light head from Geoman plus replaced the led on the first one, and no problems with either. Hopefully decent quality from Magicshine these days. The risk with the unbranded Chinese lights is quality control and warranty, but mine seem like decent quality and are half the price of a Magicshine.
I'd suggest getting two lights (Magicshine or other) for better functionality and redundancy. If one light (or typically, battery) fails, then you still have another to finish the ride, or at least get back to the trailhead.
A riding buddy has the mj-872 and the light output isn't that impressive. I meant to do a side by side comparison with our lights, but failed to do so. My $40 light seems brighter, but not sure, and not sure I saw his on high or not.
i would get a magicshine 880 on the helmet
I just went through this decision making process recently. My vote is for both handlebar and helmet. In my opinion, there are three routes to go, what I call the yugo, the chevy, and the Cadillac. The lowest cost is the Magic shine clones that are all over ebay/amazon. While they look the same, you have less knowledge of the testing behind them some say that batteries seem lower quality. Many sellers ship from overseas and some ship quick while others take weeks. There are US distributors as well. If the battery dies, and the optics are good, there are several suggestions on the forums for good replacement packs.
*For any magic shine type bar light, I'd recommend this wide angle lens to spread the beam pattern across the trail: Action-LED-Lights — Wide Angle Lens.
From my forum trolling these cheap ones: seem to get high marks:
Amazon.com: ATC CREE XML T6 LED 1000 Lumen Bike Light / Bike Bicycle Light HeadLight headLamp with improved battery and charger: Sports & Outdoors
Here is an interesting ebay helmet one for $35
Mini CREE LED XML XM L T6 LED 1600Lm Bicycle Light Bike Lamp Headlight Headlamp | eBay
So a yugo package might be:
ATC from Amazon for the bar: $50
ebay mini cree for $38
I consider the Chevy to be the new magic shines. Historically, the older ones got low marks for bad batteries, but that seems to be cleared up and they say they have better quality control. Action LED has a great reputation. I ended up going with some MJs from
He has a combo deal of the MJ 808CE with 6 cell 6600mAh battery and MJ856 for $210. this comes with a decent hard mount clamp for the MJ rather than the rubber ring. The helmet mount still uses the rubber ring. While many find the rubber ring to be sufficient, I decided that the hard clamp was worth going for.
I also got the wide angle lens from Action LED for the 808
Some other chevy packages might be:
Action LED 808 $70
Action LED Gemini P7 for $75
Some other combinations that start to get up in price are
Bike ray USA's Speed II and Speed I
From Action LED
Gemin Xera, MJ 808
Xeccon S12 and Spiker 1207 for $245
Xeccon S12 U2 + Spiker 1207 Kit
S12 and spiker 1210 for $225
Xeccon S12 U2 + Spiker 1210 Kit
I'm pretty happy with the MJ 808 and 868 setup. I don't night ride a lot so am not as hardcore as most on this board. I think the beam on the MJ 868 is big for a spot, and wish it was tighter. The wide angle lens helped the 808 beam pattern a lot. If I had to do it again, I might go for the Gemini Xera and the Xera spot optic for the helmet.
Don't get the hard clamp! If you crash the lamp will get damaged much worse.
The O ring method hold just fine and in the event of crash they allow some give so the head does not get ripped off the 4mm threaded bolt that attaches to either mount.
Its like a shock absorber for your light. The hard mounts are better suited to commuter setups.
IME The best setup to start with is a nice wide flood on the bars and narrower one on your helmet so you can see up ahead for longer fast sections.
My parents in laws wasn't super descriptive in how much they wanted to spend. So I gave them a few different options.
The Gloworm X2 on the high end.
The Magicshine 816E as more of a middle tier.
And the standard magicshine 808 on the lower end.
I think i would really like the Gloworm X2. I would use two of the wider lens', and then maybe in the future buy a cheap ebay/china light for the head. That way I will at least have one reliable light. I could also use my spark on my head, it is good for 400 lumens or so. It is just a little too floody for the head, and the mount doesn't do well when the trails get rough.
So I have no idea what I will get and when. I will be sure to put up some pictures when I find out.
i would rather have the brighter light on the helmet
I was thinking about on the helmet but I am worried I would wash out the trail too much. I think what will probably happen is that I will try both and see which one I like better.
I would always recomend a duel light set up as there is always a chance of failer reguardless of price or brand. That been said i alway prefer quality over price and a duel set up for under $200 is difficult, but not impossible. I had a P-7 Titan and my opinion is that it was better in performance and overall quality than my P-7 Magicshine. I would consider two of those as a duel set up.
Option B, Go for a Gemini Duo or Gloworm X-2 and use your Spark ST-6 as a backup until you can afford another one.
2 Magic Shine 808s with a wide angle lens for the hbar light. Action LED has them on sale...2 should set you back at $150 or less. Been riding this combo for almost a year now with no issues. Did an 18hour race with 'em.
Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!
2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT
Amazon.com: CREE XML XM-L T6 LED Bike Bicycle Light HeadLight HeadLamp 1200LM Red: Sports & Outdoors
I bought two of these for my stepson for Christmas. Great for the money. Makes me feel kinda silly for buying Exposure lights but the wireless feature sure is nice.
Oh yeah... Get two.
Two lights is the way to go. You need the helmet light so as you turn your head to pick up the next turn, there's light where you're looking. The bar light takes care of the trail details.
Take the money and spend it on a cheap hooker and a gram of blow....
Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....