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  1. #1
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    Best set for $100 for someone looking to get started...

    Hi Guys,

    I'm sorry if I'm walking into this a little uneducated. I've spent some time looking around and reading some reviews but I'm not an engineer and all this talk about heat and changing colors and stuff at this point is just too much. I'm about to pull the trigger on three handlebar lights for my wife and kids (cheaper the better) and the sooner the better as they really want to ride. I just bought four tail lights last night.

    Also I'm planning on enjoying some night riding with a new friend so I was hoping to get both a helmet and bar light for myself for under $100 if possible. I can't afford too much right now but would like something that could potentially last a year and when they failed I could then upgrade. I'm a pretty solid soul rider in the Northern Los Angeles Mountains that likes to hit small jumps and single track.

    Some of the things I've seen or read about that seem OK (but I'm open to other better suggestions too) are:

    Cree Xmi T6 or

    CREE 2xT6 LED 5000LM XM-L XML or

    JetBeam ST with Cree XM - L - Led or

    UltraFire 501B 1000LM CREE XM-L T6 LED.

    I have a 2001 Giro helmet (it was top of the line back then) to fit it on so mounting suggestions would be appreciated too. It would be nice not to have the battery wire dangling from my helmet but I do use an old camelback too. Better batteries suggestions too but if the light will last over 2.5 hours without a battery upgrade I'd rather spend that extra dough on a better light.

    Your suggestions appreciated in advance!

    Smkntrls

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    You definitely want 1 each on the bar/helmet..it helps with where the light is pointing as well as gives you some built-in redundancy. I understand that they light-nerd talk can be a bit much. For 2 lights $100, you are in the Chinese clone/eBay/etc. range like the ones you listed. I too am looking at these just for fun/to add to the collection as I have some nicer lights, however, from reading A LOT on these, its a complete crap-shoot on what quality you will get and the batteries on those lights can be sub-par - the "you get what you pay for" deal. The base price for a set of higher-quality lights from Action-Led-Lights.com would be ~$150 (2 Magicshine 808s). One other way to look at it, if you spent under $100 on 2 lights like the simply Cree XM-L T6 (Magicshine 808 clones), if you like it, you can use these as your spares and upgrade later to a nicer set.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  3. #3
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    TiGeo thanks so much for responding.

    I am curious it seems like I'm reading that I want one type of light like a flood on the bar which I think the M808 is and more pointy light (or is that where the word throw comes into play)? Will I miss out on something by not having the second type of light?

    Nice job in combining work with pleasure (reading your footer)

    ATB,

    Smkntrls

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMKNTRLS View Post
    I am curious it seems like I'm reading that I want one type of light like a flood on the bar which I think the M808 is and more pointy light (or is that where the word throw comes into play)? Will I miss out on something by not having the second type of light?

    Nice job in combining work with pleasure (reading your footer)
    To answer your question, the 808 is a spot-type light which (my opinion here) is what you want on the helmet because you are using it to point at things as you look around. If you run an 808 or similar spot light on the bar, you can disperse the light a bit using a "wide-angle lenss"..they are $5...the one issue is that they also have the effect of cutting down the light-output a bit.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  5. #5
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    Great thanks TiGeo.

    Do you or the rest of the group feel that something like a MagicShine MJ-816E 1800 is exponentially better on the bar vs a wide angle 808?

    Thank you...

  6. #6
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    I run a Cree 3x on the bars and a 2x on the helmet. The 3x is nice a floody and the 2x has a longer throw. seems like a good combo to me.

    I ran a pair of the single T6 lights like the 808, but even with the flood lens it wasn't enough for me.
    2013 Stumpy Evo
    2014 Fatboy

  7. #7
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    I ride regularly with a fellow using the previous version (P7) of the 816...its v. bright and definitely is wider in its beam pattern. Its a big light and his has the remote control switch which to me...is not necessary. Here is a clone of it:

    3T6 Bike Light | 3000-Lumen 3xCREE XM-L T6 4-mode LED Bicycle Light 4x18650Battery pack LED Bicycle Front bike light set - 3LED Bike Light - Led Bike Light - Bicycle Light & Headlamp Worldwide Free Shipping!!!
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  8. #8
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    The 816 is basically a 808 center light with 2 small 200lumen wide-angle lights. I have been using one for almost 3 years now and it is a great bar light, far better than an 808 with a wide angle lens. I pair it with 2 808's on my helmet, one of which has the wide-angle lens, so I get a nice "spot" with a oval "halo" overlay wherever I look.

    I would add that I like having the remote switch on the 816. I can quickly go from full (spot and pair) to just the pair of wide angle ones when hitting a long slow climb, and go back to full without taking my hands off the grips. This also helps me squeeze another 1/2 hour or so out of the battery. Another nice (under reported) feature of the 816 is that it is dimmable. Just holding down the button allows me to dim all of the lights to any level I want, not just pre-set steps, and back up.

  9. #9
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    Great stuff guys thank you for sharing and nice meeting you all. Open to hearing more suggestions

  10. #10
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    IMHO the 816/808 combination is a decent entry level setup. I've been running an 816 on the handlebar and 808 on the helmet since October, about 3 nights per week on average. I'll admit I'm new to night riding so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I find this pairing is working for me on the types of trails I ride, which is flat but twisty forest singletrack.

    As for helmet mounting, I ordered a helmet mount along with my lights and added a velcro cable tie to the cord from the light, which I attach to the lowest pair of vents at the back of the helmet so it runs down the center and out of my way. Battery pack goes into the top pocket of my Camelbak with it's cord wound up with a twist tie and about 12" sticking out of the zipper, which is unobtrusive but gives enough slack for full head movement.
    Speed solves all problems, except for those things it makes worse.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjaguar View Post
    As for helmet mounting, I ordered a helmet mount along with my lights and added a velcro cable tie to the cord from the light, which I attach to the lowest pair of vents at the back of the helmet so it runs down the center and out of my way.
    I have always done the same thing except with a zip-tie...I don't why I haven't thought to use a velcro strap so I don't 1) waste zip-ties and 2) always have to cut them off when I take off my light! Good idea.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  12. #12
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    I have to take the light off fairly often because I ride with my daughter to school, and she thinks the light makes me look like a dork.
    Speed solves all problems, except for those things it makes worse.

  13. #13
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    My homemade mount attaches and detaches with one Velcro on each side. Another Velcro strap holds the wires tightly to the helmet so that they don't get yanked. It's just a piece of PVC sprinkler riser that has been ground flat except for the spots where the light attaches and it drops down into the vents holes.

    Best set for 0 for someone looking to get started...-img_0116.jpg
    Here is one I made for my other helmet. The spring in the pvc keeps it tight when velcroed.

    Best set for 0 for someone looking to get started...-img_0117.jpg

    I added some foam tape to the underside for vibration damping and grip.its rock solid and the lights sit a little lower than a surface mount.

    Best set for 0 for someone looking to get started...-img_0119.jpg

    Sorry about the thumbnails, they wont die!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Best set for 0 for someone looking to get started...-image.jpg  

    Best set for 0 for someone looking to get started...-image.jpg  

    Last edited by arphaxhad; 01-29-2014 at 07:26 AM. Reason: fixed pictures

  14. #14
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    I just bought two of the $16 ones.
    Amazon.com: CREE XML XM-L T6 LED Bike Bicycle Light HeadLight HeadLamp 1200LM Gold: Sports & Outdoors
    Those seem bright as hell to me on high and both of mine last 2 1/4 hours on high. I tried to see how long one would last on low and had to give up after 5 1/2 hours with it still going. If you are really worried buy a couple extra and carry their batteries as backups.

  15. #15
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by canker View Post
    I just bought two of the $16 ones.
    Amazon.com: CREE XML XM-L T6 LED Bike Bicycle Light HeadLight HeadLamp 1200LM Gold: Sports & Outdoors
    Those seem bright as hell to me on high and both of mine last 2 1/4 hours on high. I tried to see how long one would last on low and had to give up after 5 1/2 hours with it still going. If you are really worried buy a couple extra and carry their batteries as backups.
    Wholly carp! I just paid more than that for a low rent MS battery!

    Quote Originally Posted by jjaguar View Post
    I have to take the light off fairly often because I ride with my daughter to school, and she thinks the light makes me look like a dork.
    Heh... I just use an old helmet (but I at least got new pads for it... thank you Bell!). My lights are semi-permanently zip tied to it. I could get it off, but it would be a moderate PITA to do it.

  16. #16
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    Wow guys thanks so much for sharing. The more time I spend on this site the more I'm impressed by the people involved. My eyes are struggling after a long day of researching biz stuff so will look into all this stuff tomorrow.

    Read a thread whereby one person suggested carrying a small maglite for those times when things go wrong. Don't have to remove a bar light when need you need it. Hope this little suggestion helps someone :-)

    One thing to say is I hate supporting knock off stuff and sure wish I could find a way around it. Hate supporting that market. Please don't take offense to that comment. Because of that I'm leaning towards an 816 and then mount a cheap maglight type on the helmet or two? Love that helmet arphaxhad.

    Thanks again and certainly if you have another suggestion please feel share as I haven't cinched this down quite yet.

    Good night, Smkntrls

  17. #17
    Action LED Lights
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    There were several references above to the MJ-808 or MJ-816 P7 not being bright enough. Remember, those are several generations old. The new XM-L2 lights we are carrying are much brighter, probably 50% more. We recently added a XM-L2 version of the MJ-816.
    Perhaps a simple way to add more reliable light is to get a second 808. If your batteries are good you could get just the light head and a Y-cable. If your short on bar space add this auxiliary mount.
    Jim Harger
    Action LED Lights
    www.action-led-lights.com

  18. #18
    mtbr member
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    Are you planning on offering the updated 816 as a head-only?

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  19. #19
    Action LED Lights
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Are you planning on offering the updated 816 as a head-only?
    Look at the bottom of the listing and you can choose - Light Head only.

    MJ-816-L2
    Jim Harger
    Action LED Lights
    www.action-led-lights.com

  20. #20
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    Just ordered a couple of spare 808's from Action Led...an older XM-L to use on my commuter and as a loaner light, and a new XM-L2 to replace an older 808 on my helmet. Should be here tomorrow. Great value, quick turnaround, and awesome customer service.

  21. #21
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    Thanks Action LED Lights! Thanks for chiming in and good to know you support MTBR!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjaguar View Post
    I have to take the light off fairly often because I ride with my daughter to school, and she thinks the light makes me look like a dork.
    Kids think all bike attire makes one look like a dork. I suppose the real difference is "magnitude" as some bike stuff is more dorky than others. If she can deal with the helmet just buy a cheap helmet for your night set-up and use the "lightless" other helmet for day use.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Kids think all bike attire makes one look like a dork.
    Real conversation:

    Daughter: "hey dad, I was driving my car today with Melissa and we both said, "who's the 'tard on the bike" and then we got closer and saw it was you...Nice helmet.....NOT!"
    Me: "Just be thankful I wasn't riding my road bike and wearing spandex!"

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by arphaxhad View Post
    Real conversation:

    Daughter: "hey dad, I was driving my car today with Melissa and we both said, "who's the 'tard on the bike" and then we got closer and saw it was you...Nice helmet.....NOT!"
    Me: "Just be thankful I wasn't riding my road bike and wearing spandex!"
    Oh, yes, I can't tell you how many times I have heard from my 14 yr old, "Ahhhh, Dad, We're in public"
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  25. #25
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    Seriously guys I don't know if any of you are in Santa Clarita or nearby but your all pretty funny and would be happy to drag me and my new friend out to meet you.

    I've read all sorts of hostile posts over the past nine months while picking out a new (or used) 26" for my nine year old (yeah she's hit the Gondola trails in Mammoth on it too) and all I can say I've posted two new threads and really appreciate the tones of these threads. Thank you.

    We'll I'm sorry Action I didn't check my ebay account prior to making that statement this morning. As someone accepted my best offer for a Serfas TSL550. I did also succomb to the linked knock off 808's for my second light (as the first I figured would be over my budget goal) and for the wife and kids yesterday as I figure they will probably break them quickly but I thought have at least one quality light to rely on. But I did pick up a wide angle lens from you and as these break will be contacting you for new lights. Thank you...

    Of course my daughter is starting the how embarrassing thing too. I'm thinking of adding a **** hawk to my helmet But I'm learning that if you want to be cool you don't want to match your bike. So does that mean I have to wear colors I don't like as obviously if I'm buying/riding a $XXX bike it's going to be my favorite colors


    Thanks guys and happy trails, Smkntrls

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