$150 - $300 Category
Friend/neighbor wants to enter the night riding game and his wife asked for my advice, to get him a light for Xmas. Budget is 150 - 300.... perhaps a popular price point, for the budget minded but serious night rider.
I've been using a NightRider HID for years, but after reading recent threads it's clear that LED is the new tech to get.
The search engine must smoke when people enter Jetlites A-51, Magicshine, Lupine, or Baja Stryker. I work on the computer and my eyes are sore from the overtime reading recent threads (at least I got some chuckles too!)
So here's the deal, I really can't recommend any of the DIY jobs, although, the great deal they may be. All signs, in the noted price range, are pointing toward the A-51.
The few LOBs I've checked with don't carry Jetlites. Nightrider and CygoLites seem common. But for output, weight, price and durability, the A-51 seems to have them beat.
Am I missing anything?
Any last, passionate arguments for something else?
If purchasing the A-51 online, with whom?
Do It Yourself
The A-51 is a good light from a reputable company at the right price. Go for it. Buy direct.
I was looking at the Exposure Diablo Mk2... It's $250, has a run time of 1hr on high and 3 on med. I like it because it looks bright enough, on high to start those early morning rides.
I plan to use this on my helmet with my Magicshine, after the new battery comes out.
I really like the Baja Designs Strykr and Strykr Pro but might have some battery strapping issues when used with the MS.
I recently spent several weeks researching for a light in the $200-$300 range, hope this helps you out. I'm a road rider but do light trail / closed road riding in the fall at night. I was looking for a bar mount, as I don't use a helmet mount on our trails but I have a Fenix L2D for that purpose if needed. Here's my short list:
JET Light A-51: $200 ($234 with excellent bar mount), 720 lumens, 345 grams, 3hrs runtime on high, Waterproof connectors.
Lupine Piko3: $310, 550 lumens, 210 grams, 2.5hrs runtime. Beautiful little unit, bar mount extra - +$32. Would be at the top of my list for a helmet light.
Trail LED 500L: $175, 550 lumens, 5 hrs runtime. DIY Unit, solid, good spot/flood combo, extended battery options (for a price).
Trail LED 4X: $300, 900 lumens, 4 hrs runtime, see above comments.
Trail LED Darkstar: $420, 1200 lumens, 375 grams, 3 hours runtime. See comments above, I know it's over $300, but this is one of the best bang for the buck lights out there anywhere.
Dinote 400L: $229, 400 lumens, 340 grams, 5 hrs runtime. Helmet/bar mounts, 2 spare lenses included, outperformed by others in light/$, but a very nice high quality light set.
Baja Designs Strykr: $300 ($200 with trade-in), 700 lumens, 520 grams, 3 hours runtime. Helmet & bar mounts, 2 lenses included - spot/flood, waterproof, lifetime warranty on head unit, 1 year on battery. Bomb-proof.
Baja Designs Stryker Pro: $350 ($250 with trade-in), 700 lumens (some disagreement on this), 470 grams. Other features same as Strykr, but slightly smaller and designed more as a helmet unit.
Amoeba XP-G: $240, 600+ lumens, 159 grams, 3.5hrs runtime. Nice little DIY unit, incredibly small and light, extra/extended battery options. This would be an ideal helmet unit, but also a solid bar mount.
Niteflux Enduro 8: $270, 540 lumens, 486 grams, 3 hrs runtime. All Niteflux units are convertible to flashlights, extra batteries are cheap.
Light & Motion Stella 400: $300, 400 lumens, 313 grams, 2.5hrs runtime. Dual Spot/Flood, beautiful unit, but outperformed by competition in terms of runtime and output for price.
Last - check out Ayup lights: Beautiful, small and functional, I just couldn't figure out pricing and the options on the website, gave up. I suspect after you figure in exchange rates and shipping, $/lumen is too low, plus warranty - while excellent, has got to be a hassle without a US distributor.
Ultimately, I went with the Strykr - couldn't pass up the price/value and durability. Very pleased with it so far, but there are some great options out there. MS900 or other Magic Shine clones were not on my short list - price is great but quality is extremely suspect and I prefer to buy for the long term. This is not an all inclusive list - I got tired of looking.
I struggled between the A-51 and the Stryker (Both have a great Value Quality Lumen factor), the A-51 is great quality (so far) and it appears the Stryker is as well. It came down to me basically "Voting" for JetLites to get more into the LED space. So far I have been very happy and their customer service has been excellent.
If you want t close look at the bar mount check my review...
JetLites A-51 Review
If anyone wants another pic or anything just ask.
Another vote for JetLites A51 here. Got mine last week and I've very pleased with it. Probably the best bang for the buck light out there. Outstanding build quality and it's made with as much US parts as possible, and all assembled here.
I don't know that Jet Lites does much through retailers, but you can buy direct from them with no problem. Their customer service is amazing.
Thank you for the replies.... especially betweenrides for his own personal shootout of stats in this category and the link from Homebrew.
Stryker. Stryker and Stryker pro here!!!!
All 3 for FR and Drops at night (1 down 1 forward and 1 helmet) and regular freeride DH 2 1 helmet and 1 bar...
Looked at alot of lights and if (when) I sack up I want to be able to ride out with light and needed something that will take a $hit ton of abuse... Not to mention been using it lobster diving lately as well as throwing nets.... Cant beat the versatility....
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I just got an email last night that the Exposure Diablo is 229 until Dec. 18th. Thanks, guys... I just bought it and now you tell me it's on sale.
I bought mine yesterday using a code from their blog (Steve from Exposure sent me the link but you can google it). $229 shipped to SoCal. I wonder if the blog codes will work with the lower price.
Originally Posted by NYrr496
My night rides rarely go over an hour and morning rides are about 30 mins in the dark so this was my light of choice.. and the fact that it's wireless. It'll leave more room for my MS and new battery pack (whenever that comes out).
Can't wait to burn some retinas!
Do It Yourself
The Diablo Mk2 looks like a great light although runtime is limited. I really like the triple XP-G setup which can be run silly bright at full power (~900 real OTF lumens @ 1A) or still put out plenty of light very efficiently for a really long time at medium (~500 real OTF lumens @ 500mA). From the one I looked at, it appears to be a Cute-3 optic which has an excellent smooth beam. I don't really like the all in one battery with a single cell though, it's just not enough time. The piggyback can remedy this but adds quite a bit to the cost and negates the "wireless" feature. Overall, it's getting closer but not quite there.
Originally Posted by NYrr496
I think a 3-mode MR-11 sized 3x XP-G with 3 hrs on high for under $300 would do very well. $300 is probably the top end of what most people are willing to spend considering the current low priced alternatives. It's more than enough for most people and at a reasonable price considering all the features. And if one wanted to limit risk/liability/complexity and lower the price, a five or six cell 6V 4500mAh NiMH would be close enough capacity and not that much bigger/heavier. This might be a way to tier the lights as well, e.g. standard model with single mode 750mA with NiMH and "Pro" model with 3 mode and Li-Ion battery. So until the light companies wake up and get with the program, it's DIY to the rescue.
I bought several Exposure lights over a year ago and really enjoy being cable free! If only they weren't so freaking expensive, so I could purchase more.
While I love these lights, there are minor issues which don't please me. One of my lights when shaken moves the internal battery about. Also the rear cap stamping and smart port are oriented upside down. I would expect more attention to detain for such an expensive light.
Overall they are fantastic lights with solid mounts and last a long time.
The piggy back is only $49 more and you can mount it on your helmet. Gives you 3 hours of 900 lumens with no wires going into your pocket or Camelbak. I got mine on special and the light+piggy+shipping was about $300 total. I'm pretty stoked on it so far.
Originally Posted by Homebrew
Do It Yourself
Originally Posted by woodyak
The info from Exposure says the light by itself is 1:10 to 1:15 on high (depending on where you look) so double that with the single cell piggy back and best case, you have 2:30 on high. Are you getting better than that?
Doing a bit of math, it seems "high" on this one must be around 750mA-800mA range which puts the rated output as a theoretical 900 LED lumen ratings. It's not overinflated Magicshine lumens but it's not OTF either. OTF would be closer to 700 lumens. This can be seen in the Shootout lux rating that put Diablo Mk2 (63 lux) right below the L&M 700 (65 lux). ~700 lumens is plenty of light but it does knock it down a peg from other high end options closer to 1000 lumens.
Again, the MR-11 triple XP-G is a great platform. I wish more companies were using it.
Yeah, I got 2:47 on my second ride w/o ever switching to low or medium at all. I made sure to time it to get to know the light. I heard that after draining and recharging a few times that you can expect to squeeze out some more time out of the batteries. We'll have to see about that. Since I timed the light I've been on a few rides and I've been switching it to medium or low when stopped since we'll sometimes be out there for longer than 3 hours. Last Thursday I was out there for 3:30 with my buds with it on high the majority of the time and there was still life in it when we stopped.
Originally Posted by Homebrew
I can't comment on true LUX or Lumens I can just give real world experience with comparisons to my Iblaast and MS light systems that both advertised 900 lumens and the Diablo kills them. My buds run a mix of Nightrider, L&M, and Trailtech lights that are about a year old and my light blows them away. I think if the Diablo were any brighter they would have to do some serious work on the lens to avoid the center hotspot.
What sold me on the system was the flexibility of the light. In the fall and spring we'll go on rides at twilight that only require about an hour or so of light. No piggy required! On the full bore night rides I just mount up the piggy. No need to use a pack or have wires hanging out of my jersey. When I go 24 hours solo I can get the 3 cell pack and run it like other light systems and swap batteries or just run it on medium and not worry about it. Then when I get back to the car I have a real flashlight I can use.