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  1. #1
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    Can someone provide a brief roundup of best torches?

    I'm looking for a good helmet torch, and spent a bit of time in the "What Deal Extreme torches do you like?" thread...but as many know, that thread would take a month to read all the way through!

    Would someone knowledgeable be willing---PLEASE!---to post a quick roundup of the "safe bets" on torches? Maybe just a brief list of a few torches for helmets and bars that are "audience favs," the ones that MANY people have used and liked and generally won't let you down?

    If not specific torches...then maybe a quick bullet list of things you want in a good torch? (Like lumens, reflector type, etc.)

    And if the whole world of torches is just too wild and wooly and untamed...and if there are literally NO audience favs (because they're all completely random and hit-or-miss)...then if someone could let me know that, I'd at least know to just roll the dice and pick one.

    I'm not picky at all—I'm not looking to spend a fortune and have no time to mod anything. I'm looking for a good helmet torch that's inexpensive (<$50) and that is brighter than the $5 LED flashlights you can pick up in the checkout line at Walmart. Something I could buy 2 or 3 of, and if they die or I break or lose them, no biggie.

    Thanks!
    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    I'm looking for a good helmet torch, and spent a bit of time in the "What Deal Extreme torches do you like?" thread...but as many know, that thread would take a month to read all the way through!

    Would someone knowledgeable be willing---PLEASE!---to post a quick roundup of the "safe bets" on torches? Maybe just a brief list of a few torches for helmets and bars that are "audience favs," the ones that MANY people have used and liked and generally won't let you down?

    If not specific torches...then maybe a quick bullet list of things you want in a good torch? (Like lumens, reflector type, etc.)

    And if the whole world of torches is just too wild and wooly and untamed...and if there are literally NO audience favs (because they're all completely random and hit-or-miss)...then if someone could let me know that, I'd at least know to just roll the dice and pick one.

    I'm not picky at all—I'm not looking to spend a fortune and have no time to mod anything. I'm looking for a good helmet torch that's inexpensive (<$50) and that is brighter than the $5 LED flashlights you can pick up in the checkout line at Walmart. Something I could buy 2 or 3 of, and if they die or I break or lose them, no biggie.

    Thanks!
    Scott
    I can't give you a line-up but I can tell you what I use. Finding something for helmet duties can be a chore. In a nutshell I use an Ultrafire 501-B with 3-mode ( H-M-L )XM-L T6 drop in. The beam pattern is a nice mix of throw and Spill. The 501B is relatively small and uniform in shape and is lite-weight as well. It sits on my helmet perfectly with only a Velcro strap holding it in place. Mounting is the main issue though depending on the vent configuration of your helmet. How to mount something on YOUR helmet is going to be your call.

    I have all the links to the drop-in and torch host. There are also links to replacement switch caps as well. All the stuff is cheap to. No time to post links now as I'm getting ready for work. I'll post the links later.

  3. #3
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    Not exactly what you requested but a good place to start:

    2012 MTBR Bike Lights Shootout
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

  4. #4
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    Thanks Cat-man-do and joeinchi—I appreciate the info. Cat-man-do, if you can post links later that would be great (meanwhile I'll google 'em).

    The main reason I'm not interested in dedicated bike light systems costing hundreds of dollars is that I just don't think they're necessary---especially for the cost. When I went out riding a tight, local singletrack trail system with a cheapo LED flashlight duct-taped to my helmet, it worked fairly well. I have no idea what kind of bulb or what its output is, but it threw enough light ahead for me to ride (particularly when I wasn't going that fast and know the trails).

    So if a good torch throws even more light than my cheapo LED flashlight...then I'm 100% certain they'll provide enough light.

    Maybe I haven't seen the light (pun intended)...but I just don't get the need to light up the entire forest like daytime for night riding. That just seems overkill to me...and I just don't see how the $300-500 (or more) systems are actually $300-500 better than a good torch (or two or three!).

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  5. #5
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    Oh, gotcha'. And, if you checked out the "Shootout," you'll definitely find plenty of overkill examples with regards to lumens and price tag.

    Perhaps you should check out the headlamp section of your local REI. I saw these in person and thought "Wow, for $20 ... that's a steal!"

    Black Diamond Moxie LED Headlamp at REI.com
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

  6. #6
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    Found this Amazon link to the Ultrafire 501-B with T6 XM-L 3-mode...
    Amazon.com: Ultrafire WF 501b Cree Xml T6 3 Mode Cree Led Flashlight 900 Lumens: Home Improvement

    For $12, can't be beat! I'm probably going to go ahead and order a couple...

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    Thanks Cat-man-do and joeinchi—I appreciate the info. Cat-man-do, if you can post links later that would be great (meanwhile I'll google 'em).
    The drop-in..Link

    The torch host ...link

    Manafont has the tail cap as well as lanyards and such. Run this with a good Panasonic battery and it will kick as*.

  8. #8
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    Thanks Cat-Man-Do! So what's the difference between buying the drop-in and the host separately...versus the complete torch I linked to above (on Amazon)? They look pretty much the same...

    And one last Q (then I'll shutup and go away, LOL): you mentioned a good PAnasonic battery...would that be an 18650 battery? (2400-3000ma?) I'm trying to wade through battery info to pick the best ones (and best charger).

    Thanks!
    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    Thanks Cat-Man-Do! So what's the difference between buying the drop-in and the host separately...versus the complete torch I linked to above (on Amazon)? They look pretty much the same...

    And one last Q (then I'll shutup and go away, LOL): you mentioned a good PAnasonic battery...would that be an 18650 battery? (2400-3000ma?) I'm trying to wade through battery info to pick the best ones (and best charger).

    Thanks!
    Scott
    Nothing wrong with buying a host/drop-in combo. That will at least give you another drop-in. Originally I bought mine with a nice 5-mode. Nice to have a mid-mode but the 5-modes also have the flash and SOS mode which is a pain to deal with. This is why I included the link to the 3 mode drop-in. No flash modes, just H-M-L. ( Note I believe Kaidoman sells the 501B with a Cree XM-L ( U2 ) with 5-mode. The 3-mode I linked is a T-6 ( however is damn bright with a good cell )

    Yes, Panasonic 18650 cells are the best. Sometimes sold by other names when the seller adds a protection circuit. I have the 3100mAh cell which kicks butt. Panasonic also has a new 3400mAh cell ( unprotected ) which I haven't tried yet but soon will.

    As for chargers I use the cheap ones and have only had a problem once. I believe that was with the Ultrafire Charger WF-139. Stay away from that one. Just make sure the charger you get has a separate indicator for each bay. That will tell you that each cell is on it's own charging circuit. Important as each cell has it's own discharge level. When you're set up buy or get a baking pan and charge the stuff there as a safety precaution.
    Fire is extremely rare but stuff happens.

  10. #10
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    Hey SW

    I use the 501B on my road bike on the handlebars. When the road is just even a bit rough, the light changes modes. It's irritating but I use a helmet mount light anyway but I like the bar light as well.

    Just an FYI. Don't know if others have this issue. However, it is only 12 bucks.

    MB

  11. #11
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    Thanks again Cat-man-do! More good information---I appreciate it. And mb323323, thanks for the tip. I plan to try to avoid a bar-mounted light and just go with a helmet-mounted light. I might even try the "binocular" approach with 2 helmet-mounted lights (they're cheap enough to try it!)

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mb323323 View Post
    Hey SW

    I use the 501B on my road bike on the handlebars. When the road is just even a bit rough, the light changes modes. It's irritating but I use a helmet mount light anyway but I like the bar light as well.

    Just an FYI. Don't know if others have this issue. However, it is only 12 bucks.

    MB
    MB, yeah that can happen when bar mounted but helmet mounted there is no sudden jarring. Some of them don't do it at all though, it depends on the torch and what cells you use.

    Generally I found out the reason for the intermittent mode changes was that the battery was moving around inside the tube when going over good sized bumps. Here's a fix that might eliminate the problem: Use something to shim the battery so that it doesn't move inside the torch. I have a torch that has the same issue and this fixes it. I just use a small sliver of plastic, tap it in so it's nice and firm and that usually takes care of it. Not the kind of thing you like to deal with on the trail but you do what you gotta' do.

    Personally I don't use the drop-in torches on the bars as I have others for that duty. Oddly, the torch I own with the problem "isn't" a drop in torch....go figure.

  13. #13
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    Anything from jetlites or dinotte. And jetlites does have THE best cordless helmet light and the best mount too.

  14. #14
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    After 3 years, twice a week nite ride I can't say enough about the Dinotte Bros. (2 man Company) lights. Nice guys, supper warenty service. Thier disign criterier includded cheap batteries, AA rechargeables for about $10 run at 200 lumen for about 2.5 hours the first year & 2 hours the next 2 years. Helmet light & batts. with mount 10 or 11 oz.Tough product...I must say this about that I will always use a handle bar light and a helmet light. The changing shaow shape from the 2 lamps revels depth perception. With 1 light the root or rock does not show it's size. it could be 2" tall or 6". Saftey is no accident!....Muddog P.S MTBR light shoot out is accurate. See it.

  15. #15
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    After 5 or 6 years riding with princeton tec lights I had 3 options:
    -DIY based on the princeton tec: new connectors, battery's and led
    -Chinese
    -Quality

    the princetons have problems with the connectors which makes them unusefull, and they still have luxeon III emitters, riding fast on technical stuff is tricky, certainly if other people pass by with flamethrowers!
    But do not intent on unleashing a new light war, around 600 real lumen should do!

    DIY was getting pretty expensive and you never now how the result will work out.

    And after looking around I decided to go for quality instead of cheap chinese, I want to be able to rely on a single light, and I don't feel like buying a new light every year,...

    After some comparison I went for the lupine piko 6, i guess I will seldom use it on full 900 lumen, but why buy the old one as the new is the same price?

    What i do fear is that I will not get used to a single lightsource, the helmet light has no shadows which often help, but a bar light doesn't allow looking behind the corner,...

    I'll keep you posted on the results.

  16. #16
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    can someone please tell me if i need batteries with top button or not, for the ultrafire that cmd recommended

    thanks

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by the lorax View Post
    can someone please tell me if i need batteries with top button or not, for the ultrafire that cmd recommended

    thanks
    I thought I covered that ...um...maybe another thread....button top cells were less problematic but truthfully the Panasonic cells give the best current output and run time. I don't know if the Pansonics come in button top or not. The ones I have are flat top. For some reason when I first put them in the 501-B host I get *no power ( doesn't happen every time but does happen on occasion ). Basically I just take and twist the torch head and suddenly it pops on and is fine after that. I would be interested though to know if others have experienced the same thing. They also do the same with some of my other torches as well so I don't think it's something limited to the 501B.

  18. #18
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    sorry it probably was covered earlier. im not very adept at searching thanks for covering it again.
    just ordered my new 501b for a helmet light
    cheers

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    MB, yeah that can happen when bar mounted but helmet mounted there is no sudden jarring. Some of them don't do it at all though, it depends on the torch and what cells you use.

    Generally I found out the reason for the intermittent mode changes was that the battery was moving around inside the tube when going over good sized bumps. Here's a fix that might eliminate the problem: Use something to shim the battery so that it doesn't move inside the torch. I have a torch that has the same issue and this fixes it. I just use a small sliver of plastic, tap it in so it's nice and firm and that usually takes care of it. Not the kind of thing you like to deal with on the trail but you do what you gotta' do.

    Personally I don't use the drop-in torches on the bars as I have others for that duty. Oddly, the torch I own with the problem "isn't" a drop in torch....go figure.

    Thank you for the info about shimming the battery inside a torch that is acting up. I just shimmed the battery on my sf-15 and it went from being unusable to working great again. Cat comes through again with some great useful info.

  20. #20
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    I did two rides with the piko, it is incredble light and small, and the 900 lumens on the helm are a lot, I used it also in eco mode, and the 700 lumens is still more then enough!
    But an additional stable bar light would help on the parts where you throw the body, and it would provide a bit more depth information.

    As a bar light only, the 700 lumens is enough if it is not to twisty and flat enough (you can't look behind the bump with only a bar light).

    The switching between the programs requires the manual for now!

    I might go for 2 piko's, the 6 as a flood in eco modus at 700 lumes, the other a piko 3 at around 350 lumens on the helmet. That would provide me plenty of light over 4 hours for around 550 gram!

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