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  1. #1
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    2014 Mtbr Lights Shootout

    Phase 1 is here:

    2014 Mtbr Bike Lights Shootout | Mountain Bike Review

    It is not perfect so please look it over and let me know about comments and feedback. I wanted to get it out as soon as the time changed.

    I'm testing a dozen more lights this week to add to the shootout for Phase 2. And I'll shoot a few videos to select my top picks.


    Here's the excel spreadsheet doc. Please make me some graphs that show the data better.

    claimed vs actual lumen

    lumen per dollar

    lumen per gram

    etc.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0i...it?usp=sharing
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    Great job as usual. Will you still put up the backyard beamshots in addition to the tunnel shots?

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    Many thanks for your effort, francois: excellent!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    Great job as usual. Will you still put up the backyard beamshots in addition to the tunnel shots?
    Sadly, no. My backyard light studio gave up its life to a pump track.

    Feature: The Backyard Pump Track ? Construction | Mountain Bike Review

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    Francois, can you clarify the following statements that is on all the individual light reviews right above the tunnel photo?

    "Cones and targets are set up with the far target set up at 120 yards."

    And then on some reviews it mentions..

    "Cones and targets are set up with the far target set up at 80 yards."

    The photos don't look anywhere close to 80/100 yards. The markings on the ground I assume represent feet so the target on all these photos should be 120 feet. Right??

    Thx

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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    Phase 1 is here:

    ......

    I'm testing a dozen more lights this week to add to the shootout for Phase 2. And I'll shoot a few videos to select my top picks.


    ......
    Does that above statement mean that the lights you have already tested and provided the reviews on (as in already published in the 2014 reviews) aren't any of your top picks?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cue003 View Post
    Francois, can you clarify the following statements that is on all the individual light reviews right above the tunnel photo?

    "Cones and targets are set up with the far target set up at 120 yards."

    And then on some reviews it mentions..

    "Cones and targets are set up with the far target set up at 80 yards."

    The photos don't look anywhere close to 80/100 yards. The markings on the ground I assume represent feet so the target on all these photos should be 120 feet. Right??

    Thx
    Correct, 120. Last year was 80 feet and we bumped it up for the bigger lights. Let me find that inconsistency and fix.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cue003 View Post
    Does that above statement mean that the lights you have already tested and provided the reviews on (as in already published in the 2014 reviews) aren't any of your top picks?

    I've already got some top picks in mind.

    Cateye 1200, Lupine Wilma, Serfas 750, Taz 1000.

    Now, I have to test the three Gloworms I have and the Bontrager Ion 700.

    Have you guys heard about the Bontrager 700? 700 lumens for $99.

    fc
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2014 Mtbr Lights Shootout-img_0587.jpg  

    2014 Mtbr Lights Shootout-img_0581.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    Sadly, no. My backyard light studio gave up its life to a pump track.
    Just a suggestion Francois. In the interest of showing which light performs best picking up ruts & obstacles on trails, terrain elevation and dips, a beamshot across the pump track may be a good idea. Hotspot intensity on the fence can demonstrate throw power.
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    I'm sure we will be seeing many self contained lights in the near future. 1200 lumens is not to shabby for self contained. Thanks for all the hard work Francois!

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    That Bontrager looks tiny. Very impressive. $99 for a 700 lumens self-contained light is going to be hard to beat. That 1200 lumen Cateye is going to be another big hit.

    One thing that I would like to see more info on is the battery replacement in the self-contained lights (especially if they are built-in). Does the manufacturer offer a replacement battery service and what is the cost of this? I know some of the older Luminas used regular 18650 that could be swapped out by the user. I would hate to see all of these lights end up in the trash three years from now, just because the battery life is a third of what it used to be. After all, the leds themselves should still operational years from now. The lights will undoubtedly be better at that point, but you could still use it for an around town beater bike.

    I'll miss the backyard beamshots, but it was sacrificed for a good cause. The pump track looks like a lot of fun!

    P.S. I think you forgot to sticky this thread

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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    Sadly, no. My backyard light studio gave up its life to a pump track.

    Feature: The Backyard Pump Track ? Construction | Mountain Bike Review

    fc
    Pump track turned out great Francois, I enjoyed the video. Once again thank you for all your hard work on the 2014 shootout. Looking forward to the rest of the reviews. Cheers!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    I've already got some top picks in mind.

    Cateye 1200, Lupine Wilma, Serfas 750, Taz 1000.

    Now, I have to test the three Gloworms I have and the Bontrager Ion 700.

    Have you guys heard about the Bontrager 700? 700 lumens for $99.

    fc
    I am very interested in seeing the beamshots and reading your thoughts on that bontrager. It isn't even on their website and I have a trek store close by that carries all their products so I am very very interested. Hopefully you can get that one up very soon and they hold a candle to the other 700 lumen contenders.

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    Also interesting you pick the lupine Wilma say over the beam pattern and light output of the seca 2000. But all good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbRevolution View Post
    Just a suggestion Francois. In the interest of showing which light performs best picking up ruts & obstacles on trails, terrain elevation and dips, a beamshot across the pump track may be a good idea. Hotspot intensity on the fence can demonstrate throw power.
    I'll definitely give it a try. There's a gap in the track where the light can poke through the berms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cue003 View Post
    Also interesting you pick the lupine Wilma say over the beam pattern and light output of the seca 2000. But all good.
    The Seca is awesome but it just a tired design. Long wire, old batteries. But it has a beautiful beam pattern and the old head can still handle the heat of all the lumens.

    But the Wilma is just a work of art at 2770 lumens, lumens/dollar, lumens per gram.

    I do like the Taz 1000 though at $250. That is a good one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cue003 View Post
    I am very interested in seeing the beamshots and reading your thoughts on that bontrager. It isn't even on their website and I have a trek store close by that carries all their products so I am very very interested. Hopefully you can get that one up very soon and they hold a candle to the other 700 lumen contenders.
    I have the Bontrager Ion 700. $99, about 680 lumens on my home lab, 1:45 run time, beautiful build nice beam pattern. Real integrating sphere measurement is coming tomorrow.

    It's only weakness is thermal management is not sophisticated and it doesn't step down when there's no airflow. So caution to high heat night riders.

    And the other weakness is it's not available for another month. But it looks like an industry shaker.

    fc
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    Hey Francois,

    Any ideas about the Betty coming in under Lupine's claimed output? Supposedly they use an integrating sphere as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    it looks like an industry shaker.
    looks like L&M Urban clone.

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    Some graphs:

    2014 Mtbr Lights Shootout-2014_mtbr_lights_shootout_graph1.jpg2014 Mtbr Lights Shootout-2014_mtbr_lights_shootout_graph2.jpg2014 Mtbr Lights Shootout-2014_mtbr_lights_shootout_graph3.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    The Seca is awesome but it just a tired design. Long wire, old batteries. But it has a beautiful beam pattern and the old head can still handle the heat of all the lumens.

    But the Wilma is just a work of art at 2770 lumens, lumens/dollar, lumens per gram.

    I do like the Taz 1000 though at $250. That is a good one.

    fc
    i understand your frustration with the Seca only picking up an extra 200 measured lumens over last year's model. that's why i picked up the last year's Seca 1700 over the new 2000, because the new one just wasn't enough of an upgrade to warrant the price difference ( $499 vs $320 at the time ).

    on the other hand with 2700 lumens for $600 the Wilma is more competitive on the lumens per dollar front, so i understand why you're leaning to make it a pick. i also like that it can be ordered with 13 amp hour battery, which is a lot.

    personally though, i would probably still get the Seca over the Wilma. the Seca isn't improved much because it was already perfect. the Wilma on the other hand is improved precisely in the area where it did not need improvement ( output ) and unchanged where improvement was needed ( beam pattern ).

    the Taz 1000 does look like a very interesting light for road use. very interesting pattern - almost like a German STVZO light, but brighter.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by stu06 View Post
    Hey Francois,

    Any ideas about the Betty coming in under Lupine's claimed output? Supposedly they use an integrating sphere as well.
    I will recheck it. I think it's related to heat. These light heads are so small compared to the 4500 lumen claims that they're too bright for the heatsinking available. We take readings at the the 30 second mark and our fan was tiny.

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    looks like L&M Urban clone.
    Yup. It's a $150 light for $100.

    fc
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    Francois, thank you for the shootout. Noob question follows: what would be the ideal number of lumens for trail/XC riding?

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike123456 View Post
    Francois, thank you for the shootout. Noob question follows: what would be the ideal number of lumens for trail/XC riding?

    Mike
    For XC riding this year... I would say 1200-1400 lumens. That could be one 1200 lumen light on the bar or 700 on bar and 700 on the helmet.

    Lumens get cheaper each year so I tend to ratchet up a little every year.

    Generally:

    - the faster you go, the more lumens you need so you don't outrun your light.

    - the more people you ride with, the more lumens you need. That's because someone will have a super bright light and your eyes will adjust to their bright light.

    What do others think?

    fc
    Last edited by fc; 11-06-2013 at 09:13 AM.
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    Waiting for gloworm reviews

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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    I will recheck it. I think it's related to heat. These light heads are so small compared to the 4500 lumen claims that they're too bright for the heatsinking available. We take readings at the the 30 second mark and our fan was tiny.

    fc
    With the ever increasing outputs in these tiny lamp heads, do you think it may be worth re-visiting the time frame the measurements are taken to achieve that products max output? Maybe the ten or fifteen second mark just to help rule out that some power houses are stepping down due to heat before the measurements are taken. The Olympia is also one that had been discussed as been majorly over stated, and that there should have been some decent improvement over last years model.

    I understand by doing this it could alleviate motivation for these company's to improve their heat sinking

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    When are we going to get water cooled headlamps? Air cooling is so last century.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RojoRacing53 View Post
    Waiting for gloworm reviews
    Same here!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt View Post
    With the ever increasing outputs in these tiny lamp heads, do you think it may be worth re-visiting the time frame the measurements are taken to achieve that products max output? Maybe the ten or fifteen second mark just to help rule out that some power houses are stepping down due to heat before the measurements are taken. The Olympia is also one that had been discussed as been majorly over stated, and that there should have been some decent improvement over last years model.

    I understand by doing this it could alleviate motivation for these company's to improve their heat sinking
    We're using the 30 second mark since that is the FL1 standard of measurement for lumen output for flashlights. FL1 is becoming widely adopted now by light manufacturers. Here are some excerpts:
    http://www.streamlight.com/Documents/ansi/ansi-pres.pdf

    Bot on the review of each light, we have a 3 minute graph showing the lumen output, so one can see the output at any point within the first 3 minutes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkirkpatri View Post
    Same here!
    They sent me three lights a few weeks ago. This week, they sent me three new lights of the same models since they made some 'significant' improvements.

    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fourtrax View Post
    Some graphs:
    Thank you!!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    For XC riding this year... I would say 1200-1400 lumens. That could be one 1200 lumen light on the bar or 700 on bar and 700 on the helmet.

    Lumens get cheaper each year so I tend to ratchet up a little every year.

    Generally:

    - the faster you go, the more lumens you need so you don't outrun your light.

    - the more people you ride with, the more lumens you need. That's because someone will have a super bright light and your eyes will adjust to their bright light.

    What do others think?

    fc
    That sounds good to me. I think it's becoming more about beam shape than just pure lumens, because we have reached a point where all the lights put out enough light. If you have a light that puts 2000 lumens into a hotspot size of basketball it doesn't do you any good. You need some light between the tire and the hotspot, and some side-spill to see where you going. There is a lot of personal preference that comes into this as well. Some love the super-spot lights, where I prefer a floodier even beam. Some of the manufacturers are catching on to this, and providing different optics choices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    We're using the 30 second mark since that is the FL1 standard of measurement for lumen output for flashlights. FL1 is becoming widely adopted now by light manufacturers. Here are some excerpts:
    http://www.streamlight.com/Documents/ansi/ansi-pres.pdf

    Bot on the review of each light, we have a 3 minute graph showing the lumen output, so one can see the output at any point within the first 3 minutes.
    Does that three minute graph start when the light is first turned on,,,, or at the thirty second mark?

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    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    That sounds good to me. I think it's becoming more about beam shape than just pure lumens, because we have reached a point where all the lights put out enough light. If you have a light that puts 2000 lumens into a hotspot size of basketball it doesn't do you any good. You need some light between the tire and the hotspot, and some side-spill to see where you going. There is a lot of personal preference that comes into this as well. Some love the super-spot lights, where I prefer a floodier even beam. Some of the manufacturers are catching on to this, and providing different optics choices.
    I just got the Lezyne Deca drive (800 lm) and it has plenty of light output on roads and fire roads.

    I totally agree that the beam pattern is more of a factor now. Running that light at higher light output would just be a waste of battery power.

    One thing I noticed on my Deca light is the cover lens appears to be replaceable. This has me thinking, "Can the cover lens be swapped to change the beam pattern to your liking?"
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

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    Good job!
    Looking for power lights?, see here

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    Updated the graphs with more info and larger.

    2014 Mtbr Lights Shootout-2014_mtbr_lights_shootout-claimed_vs_measured_lumens.jpg2014 Mtbr Lights Shootout-2014_mtbr_lights_shootout-lumens_per_dollar.jpg2014 Mtbr Lights Shootout-2014_mtbr_lights_shootout-lumens_per_gram.jpg

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    Sweet. Thanks fourtrax!

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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    Phase 1 is here:

    2014 Mtbr Bike Lights Shootout | Mountain Bike Review

    It is not perfect so please look it over and let me know about comments and feedback. I wanted to get it out as soon as the time changed.

    I'm testing a dozen more lights this week to add to the shootout for Phase 2. And I'll shoot a few videos to select my top picks.


    Here's the excel spreadsheet doc. Please make me some graphs that show the data better.

    claimed vs actual lumen

    lumen per dollar

    lumen per gram

    etc.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0i...it?usp=sharing
    How about some comparisons with lux instead of lumens? $/lux, lux/gram, etc. I copied this from another thread:

    Remember when "lux" was supposed to be more important than "lumens"? Compare the lux & lumens of the Gemini Olympia vs the Seca Race:

    Lumens: 1477 vs 2022 (Seca Race has 36.9% more lumens)
    Lux: 153 vs 170 (Seca Race has 11.1% more lux)
    $/Lux: 1.96 vs 2.94 (Seca Race costs 50% more $ per lux)

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by steelhmr View Post
    How about some comparisons with lux instead of lumens? $/lux, lux/gram, etc. I copied this from another thread:

    Remember when "lux" was supposed to be more important than "lumens"? Compare the lux & lumens of the Gemini Olympia vs the Seca Race:

    Lumens: 1477 vs 2022 (Seca Race has 36.9% more lumens)
    Lux: 153 vs 170 (Seca Race has 11.1% more lux)
    $/Lux: 1.96 vs 2.94 (Seca Race costs 50% more $ per lux)
    Lux is really not that relevant. It measures light output at a specific spot in the beam pattern.

    We do something called Mtbr Lux which is the ambient lux reading of a light meter when the light is pointed at the ceiling in a controlled room. This number is really easy for us to get but it is only relevant to us for the basis of comparison. We used this a lot when we didn't have access to a $20,000 machine that measures lumens, an integrating sphere.

    An integrating sphere measures lumens, which is the total output of a bike light. It measures by capturing all the light from a light and bouncing it on a sphere and collecting the light output. So lumens is the end all, be all for measuring light output.

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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fourtrax View Post
    Updated the graphs with more info and larger.
    Can I get a hell ya.

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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt View Post
    Does that three minute graph start when the light is first turned on,,,, or at the thirty second mark?
    It starts when the light is turned on, or second or two before the light is turned on.

    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    Lux is really not that relevant. It measures light output at a specific spot in the beam pattern.

    We do something called Mtbr Lux which is the ambient lux reading of a light meter when the light is pointed at the ceiling in a controlled room. This number is really easy for us to get but it is only relevant to us for the basis of comparison. We used this a lot when we didn't have access to a $20,000 machine that measures lumens, an integrating sphere.

    An integrating sphere measures lumens, which is the total output of a bike light. It measures by capturing all the light from a light and bouncing it on a sphere and collecting the light output. So lumens is the end all, be all for measuring light output.

    fc
    Lumens ( when independently measured using an Integrating sphere ) are certainly a more useful metric than Lux.

    however Lux i think can also be useful for measuring the "throw" of a light.

    going by Lux alone is a good way to mislead the customer, but using Lux in addition to Lumens i think would be interesting and informative.

    while it can be argued that the Tunnel beam pattern shots already convey the information about "throw" of the light, they do not do so in a way that can be easily entered into an excel spreadsheet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    They sent me three lights a few weeks ago. This week, they sent me three new lights of the same models since they made some 'significant' improvements.
    I have the X1v1 for helmet and the X2v2 for the bar.

    Would love to see you include the 3 lights from a few weeks ago plus the 3 new lights to see the differences and whether it's worth upgrading.

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    Francois, can you share your thoughts on the Duo and Olympia? Gemini seems to be a hot topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    The Seca is awesome but it just a tired design.
    X2. Awesome beam pattern though but it needs a revamp!

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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    It starts when the light is turned on, or second or two before the light is turned on.

    fc
    Thanx, good to know as it rules out my concern about the thirty second mark as graph will show a cool lamp head's output in the beginning. Cheers!!!

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    Lumens ( when independently measured using an Integrating sphere ) are certainly a more useful metric than Lux.

    however Lux i think can also be useful for measuring the "throw" of a light.

    going by Lux alone is a good way to mislead the customer, but using Lux in addition to Lumens i think would be interesting and informative.

    while it can be argued that the Tunnel beam pattern shots already convey the information about "throw" of the light, they do not do so in a way that can be easily entered into an excel spreadsheet.
    Good points. I think it's too much detail and not enough background and it's hard to be consistent. A light with a very focused beam pattern will be rewarded with a high lux number. But then, that's really not what we want for biking.

    In this FL1 document,
    http://www.streamlight.com/Documents/ansi/ansi-pres.pdf
    The standard measure for light throw is determined by the distance where one can get a reading of .25 lux at the center. Unfortunately, that lux number is too low for these modern lights and I'll have to go hundreds and hundreds of yards to get to that low a reading for the big lights.

    So, I'd say the photographs will be a better indicator of throw.
    IPA will save America

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    I just got the Lezyne Deca drive (800 lm) and it has plenty of light output on roads and fire roads.

    I totally agree that the beam pattern is more of a factor now. Running that light at higher light output would just be a waste of battery power.

    One thing I noticed on my Deca light is the cover lens appears to be replaceable. This has me thinking, "Can the cover lens be swapped to change the beam pattern to your liking?"
    Have you compared the Mega Drive with the Deca Drive? Is the extra throw of the Mega Drive useful for road use or is the Deca Drive enough? Thanks.

  50. #50
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    Attached is the Excel file that I used to make the graphs.

    I added a couple columns to convert the run time and charge time to minutes in case anyone wanted to use them in a calculation. There were a couple I couldn't decipher from the original data (highlighted in yellow). I added a couple macros so you can re-sort the graphs.

    I can update as new lights are added.

    2014 Lights Shootout.zip

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