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  1. #1
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    Best Combination for Lights, Bar and helmet

    I have a Night Rider 650 I will use on my helmet. Just ordered a MagicShine MJ-872 for a flood light on the bar. This seems like a good combination?
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  2. #2
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    Sounds good to me if it works for you. 872 has a nice flood.

  3. #3
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    As far as the best combination Bar/Helmet set-up for MTB'ing: Truthfully, there are too many factors in play for there to be just one. A lot depends on the terrain you are riding, time of year and personal preferences in beam coverage.

    The bars: I prefer a lamp with at least 1000 lumen of output on high ( Of course more is always welcome and comes in handy when things get fast or flaky ). With that output in mind I like a good mix of flood and throw. The throw should at least be able to give good detail over 100 ft. but honestly I prefer much more. In order to get a good mix you really need a multi-emitter lamp or two separate lights on the bars ( one more flood, one more a spot ). With the right set-up once you get it dialed-in you shouldn't need to re-aim the lamp when you change modes.

    For the helmet: Output at least in the 500 lumen range but preferably a lot more. In the summer I can get by with just a good XM-L torch. I like wireless and I like low-weight. With a good bar lamp going sometimes I don't even need to turn the helmet lamp on unless I start going much faster or get rougher terrain. When the season changes to fall I switch over to a more dedicated helmet lamp. I like a good single emitter XM-L lamp with a bright bin LED. The farther it can throw the better it helps me see the stuff I need to see. I'm not a big fan of multi-emitter lamps on the helmet. That's because most of the ones that I've tried ( while not bad ) really don't give me that super spot beam pattern that I like for the helmet. In my opinion, a helmet lamp should at least be able to illuminate objects clearly at 125-150 ft. when on high.
    Anything over that is pure gravy. My personal preference is a lamp that can throw in the >200ft. range.

    As far as beam tint goes: This is a subject I have been mulling over for at least a couple years. Once again all depends on trail conditions, climate/weather and time of year. Warmer bin LED's work well in the summer when the forest is thick with new foliage and the trails are dry and clear of last years leaves. The warmer light does not reflect off of foliage as much and gives a more natural appearance to the trail. It is also easier on the eyes. Now before you run out to buy lamps that are all warmer bins read part II.....> When the seasons change I want the cooler U2 bins. In the fall and winter the trails usually retain more moisture. This hampers the trail's ability to reflect light back to your eyes. There is also more ( wet, damp ) leaves on the trail and less leaves on the trees and bushes. In these conditions ( IMO ) the cooler/brighter bin LED's work better. All things in perspective unless you can afford to have two sets of lamps ( one summer and one the rest of the year )...I'd play it safe and just buy lamps with the cooler bins. ( XM-L (U2) and XM-L2 (U2) ) If you get too much glare in the summer....just run lower output.

  4. #4
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    Shame on you Cat. I'm KNOW you know better.

    (Sorry guys - this gets kind of deep geek)

    The brightness bins (Letter-Number combinations) are unrelated to the color bins (Number-Letter combinations).

    Very few light manufacturers are even telling us the color bin for the LEDs they are using. Most are using the cooler color temp bins, because they are initially perceived to be brighter. Though it seems to be easier to pick out detail with the neutral or warmer tints.

    The cooler temp bins tend to be the first/most numerous off the production lines when a new generation LED is produced. I'm not seeing any readily available XM-L2 U2 LEDs in the warmer tints. Most I've seen are in the cooler 1A 1B 1C color bins.

    I have seen XM-L2 T6 in the neutral 3B and warm 4C colors. (While fact checking, I discovered my preferred neutral 3C is now available.) And lets not forget that an XM-L2 T6 is brighter than an XM-L U2 (and U3).

    I suppose, based on availability, you are technically correct. There is a very high likelihood that any bike light we see on the market with an XM-L2 U2 will be from one of the very cool color bins.

    Are we even seeing anything specced with an L2 U2? I try to keep a close tab on the threads here, but I haven't seen that mentioned (except for Cat saying he wants one). Have I missed something?

    Some of the L2 lights appear to be from the T6 brightness bin (eg Solarstorm X2 on FastTech). Gloworm, Xeccon, and Magic Shine L2 lights aren't even listing the brightness bin (though some of our member may know that detail).

  5. #5
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    Light Geek fight!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian_C View Post
    ....The cooler temp bins tend to be the first/most numerous off the production lines when a new generation LED is produced. I'm not seeing any readily available XM-L2 U2 LEDs in the warmer tints. Most I've seen are in the cooler 1A 1B 1C color bins.

    I have seen XM-L2 T6 in the neutral 3B and warm 4C colors. (While fact checking, I discovered my preferred neutral 3C is now available.) And lets not forget that an XM-L2 T6 is brighter than an XM-L U2 (and U3).

    I suppose, based on availability, you are technically correct. There is a very high likelihood that any bike light we see on the market with an XM-L2 U2 will be from one of the very cool color bins.

    Are we even seeing anything specced with an L2 U2? I try to keep a close tab on the threads here, but I haven't seen that mentioned (except for Cat saying he wants one). Have I missed something?

    Some of the L2 lights appear to be from the T6 brightness bin (eg Solarstorm X2 on FastTech). Gloworm, Xeccon, and Magic Shine L2 lights aren't even listing the brightness bin (though some of our member may know that detail).
    Honestly, I don't think we are in disagreement. I've not seen warmer tint bins for any lamp spec'd with an XM-L LED with a U2 designation. When the first XM-L2's were released ( T-6 ) I didn't really see anyone using one that was particularly "cool". I own two of those and they look very much to be in the 5000K range. This is not to say that they aren't bright, they are. I just like a "Whiter" tint.

    When the L2 ( U2 ) were released so far the only ones I've seen are very bright white similar to the XM-L ( U2 ) which was previously used. To date the only lamp I know using XM-L2 ( U2 ) is Gloworm. I have no idea what Lupine is using ( usually the first in such upgrades ) but I have no doubt that when more supply becomes available you will see more manufacturers using them.

    I do plan on upgrading the drop-in for my helmet torch to XM-L2 ( U2 ) by next year. Right now I use an L2 ( T-6 ) in the warmer 5000K range. It's still bright but like I said before, " I prefer the whiter white beam tint".

  7. #7
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    I guess I have to correct myself and answer my own question.

    The 2014 Gemini Duo 1500 Lumen model uses XM-L2 U2. So is the 2014 Gemini Olympia 2100 Lumen model. They are specced that way on the Gemini site. Action LED just doesn't mention the brightness bins - an oversight on their part I'm sure.

    There is a discrepancy in various sources on the Gloworm lights. The glowormlites.co.nz site didn't list a brightness bin. Glowormbikelite.com does spec XM-L2 U2 for both the Duo X2 V3 and the XS. I must have skimmed Action LED too quick. It lists the bin as U3. I wonder if that's an error?

    Again I skimmed the Magicshine MJ-808-L2 page on Action LED too quickly. The link to the Lumen distribution chart does spec it as an XM-L2 U2. I didn't see it mentioned elsewhere on the page, or on other sites I looked at.

  8. #8
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    For my uses, I would love to use warmer bin LEDs. The Glowworm x2 and Lupine Betty that I use are in the 6000k area and are a bit harsh on the eyes. I want the area I am lighting up to be lit in a very natural white tint and not giving everything a slight blue tint which is unnatural and mildly harsh. A bit warmer and more natural looking would be about the best upgrade I can think of right now for new lights. I don't want yellow, just a natural white. The output of the newer lights for the most part is already plenty enough for any bike rider so I think it's time to concentrate more on tint. I am no light expert, but I feel about 4500k would be about right for a natural white tint.

    To the OP, I would recommend about what you have already seen here. A wider beam bar light and more of a spot light for the helmet.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian_C View Post
    I guess I have to correct myself and answer my own question.

    The 2014 Gemini Duo 1500 Lumen model uses XM-L2 U2. So is the 2014 Gemini Olympia 2100 Lumen model. They are specced that way on the Gemini site. Action LED just doesn't mention the brightness bins - an oversight on their part I'm sure.

    There is a discrepancy in various sources on the Gloworm lights. The glowormlites.co.nz site didn't list a brightness bin. Glowormbikelite.com does spec XM-L2 U2 for both the Duo X2 V3 and the XS. I must have skimmed Action LED too quick. It lists the bin as U3. I wonder if that's an error?

    Again I skimmed the Magicshine MJ-808-L2 page on Action LED too quickly. The link to the Lumen distribution chart does spec it as an XM-L2*U2. I didn't see it mentioned elsewhere on the page, or on other sites I looked at.
    A lot of interesting points you bring up.

    The Gemini Duo listed on the Gemini web site lists the lamp as using XM-L2 ( U2 ). When I first checked the Action web site it listed the Duo with XM-L2 (U3) ...or so I thought. The Gemini web site lists the Duo with XM-L2 ( U2 ) Oddly, when I went back to the ActionLED website I could find no mention of "U3" only XM-L2, no U2 or other designation. I hate when stuff like this happens. I KNOW I saw U3 somewhere! Now it's gone. Damn weird.
    Without any other designation usually I assume standard T-6 being used. Not sure if this is a print error on the ActionLED website or if they indeed ordered the lamps with standard XM-L2 ( T-6 )

    Quote Originally Posted by MaximusHQ View Post
    For my uses, I would love to use warmer bin LEDs. The Glowworm x2 and Lupine Betty that I use are in the 6000k area and are a bit harsh on the eyes. I want the area I am lighting up to be lit in a very natural white tint and not giving everything a slight blue tint which is unnatural and mildly harsh. A bit warmer and more natural looking would be about the best upgrade I can think of right now for new lights. I don't want yellow, just a natural white. The output of the newer lights for the most part is already plenty enough for any bike rider so I think it's time to concentrate more on tint. I am no light expert, but I feel about 4500k would be about right for a natural white tint.

    To the OP, I would recommend about what you have already seen here. A wider beam bar light and more of a spot light for the helmet.
    I find the XM-L2 ( U2 ) used on the Gloworm X2 (v3) to be just a very nice bright white. I see no hint of bluishness. If they had a bluish tint I would of sent them back.

    If you like warmer tint you would probably like the standard T-6 XM-L2 in the neutral white tint. This is in the 5000K temp range. If you want warmer than that the 4500K is likely the next step but expect it to be a bit more yellow. Personally I like the 6000K range, bright and white but anything higher might have some blue over tint to it.
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 11-04-2013 at 11:58 AM.

  10. #10
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    So to dumb this down for us non light geeks, a flood on the bars and spot on the helmet.
    This is the setup I am looking at, Magicshine 856 on the bars and a Gemeni duo on the helmet. Is there a better option without going up in price? I have seen lots of reviews for the MJ 872 but hardly any for MJ 856 which seems to be nothing more than an 872 with a better body for heat disapation. Am I correct?
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  11. #11
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    Double post

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swissam View Post
    So to dumb this down for us non light geeks, a flood on the bars and spot on the helmet.
    This is the setup I am looking at, Magicshine 856 on the bars and a Gemeni duo on the helmet. Is there a better option without going up in price? I have seen lots of reviews for the MJ 872 but hardly any for MJ 856 which seems to be nothing more than an 872 with a better body for heat disapation. Am I correct?
    Well idealy you want a flood/spot set up. 856 and duo are known to be flood lights. Flood on the bars and spot on helmet. Maybe olympia/duo, duo/xera, 856/xera, or 856/808. To many combos out there. And yes on the body with the 872 and 856 about heat disapation.

  13. #13
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    yes you want flood on bars and spot on helmet.

    the difficulty with the helmet light is that to get a focused spot requires large reflectors and nobody wants large, heavy helmet light, which means the light has to be heavily optimized to provide the required throw while still being light enough.

    the difficulty with the bar light is that it must provide wide, even coverage from a fixed position close to the ground. this means that the transition from hotspot to the edge of the beam must be properly dialed in, which again means it has to be heavily optimized.

    i would say get as much lumens on the helmet as your neck is comfortable with, then put about half as much on the bar, but twice as wide.

    in my case i'm not worried so much about my neck holding up the weight of the lights, as i am about the helmet flying off of my head. because with the lights on top of the helmet it becomes very tippy.

  14. #14
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    I just bought a light and motion sella and im thinking of adding a seca for the bar. I think this will be a good combo.

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    How about Light and Motion Seca 2000 for the bars and lupine Wilma 7 for the helmet?

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    I picked up a Piko 7 for my helmet light and was thinking of which light to pair it up with on the bar. Currently looking at the Taz 1000 or Seca 2000, though in terms of staying with Lupine the Wilma 7 looks nice, but I think it might be a little too much of a spotlight for bar use. Opinions?

  17. #17
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    If you can afford it I would say go for it!

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    The Wilma on the bar should be fine--with its 26 degree optics--in combination with the Piko. I'm currently running last year's Betty R on the bar and am perfectly happy with its 26 degree spread. (Previously, I used a Seca 1700 on the bar that had greater spread but not enough intensity to REALLY go fast.)

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