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  1. #1
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    Good Chinese flood for bars

    I just ordered a SS X2 for my helmet, and am now looking for something a little more floody for my bars. I've spent some time going through most of the threads on the front page, but there are so many people whose technical knowledge far surpass mine, and I can't decipher a decent bar light for my needs.

    Anyone care to help me?

  2. #2
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    I've been looking for the same thing. Problem is, some people think the SS X2 is a good bar light with plenty of spill for their needs. From what I gather the D99 and variants with optics are the most floody, followed by the D50, and then the X2. I'm not sure where the triples and quads fall in but I'm sure someone will chime in.

  3. #3
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    You could get any single led light that is the same size as a Magicshine, and then just add the wide angle lens from Action Led. This is what I do.
    Action-LED-Lights — Wide Angle Lens

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    I have the 808 clone with WA and love the beam pattern but the output is reduced too much by the lens. I would be real happy if I could have that same pattern with the full output.

  5. #5
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    Good Chinese flood for bars

    I had this setup before my lights were stolen. I, too, didn't like how much it reduced the output.

  6. #6
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    I bought this light four or five months ago and have been really happy with it.
    USA Stealth Black 1600 LM 4 CREE XP G LED Bike Light Light Head Only 872 A | eBay

    It's a Magicshine 872 clone. I would describe this as a broad flood beam with a bright hot spot. It's brighter than the 808. The only thing that sucks is the switches. They can hard to press, especially if the rubber part is misaligned.

    Anyway, there's not much discussion about this light, but it's worked well for me. They sent it pretty fast also. Once they shipped it, it went from Honk Kong to USA west coast in a day or two. Then another week and half to get to the east coast.

    We should probably have a separate thread on this light.

  7. #7
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    I look at it this way, $30 for a single XML-T6 light, $5 for the wide angle lens, and end up with maybe 400 lumens (and I'm totally guesstimating on that number) of effective flood, I can't complain about that.

    I'm all ears though if someone has suggestions for a brighter, full flood light in a similar price range though.

    *Edit, I was typing when varider posted his suggestion. It's funny, I forgot I have that same light on my "watch list" on ebay. Look like a good option if you have a spare battery.

  8. #8
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    Good Chinese flood for bars

    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    I bought four or five months ago and have been really happy with it.
    USA Stealth Black 1600 LM 4 CREE XP G LED Bike Light Light Head Only 872 A | eBay

    It's a Magicshine 872 clone. I would describe this as a broad flood beam with a bright hot spot. It's brighter than the 808. The only thing that sucks is the switches. They can hard to press, especially if the rubber part is misaligned.

    Anyway, there's not much discussion about this light, but it's worked well for me. They sent it pretty fast also. Once they shipped it, it went from Honk Kong to USA west coast in a day or two. Then another week and half to get to the east coast.
    Nice. This looks good. What battery are you running with it? That link is for light head only.

  9. #9
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    It has a standard magicshine connector. I mean it looks and acts exactly like the magicshine connector. So I used the battery that came with the 808. You can get those from action led for thirty or fourty bucks. Then I got a hard-shell xeccon for $50, also with the same connector.

  10. #10
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    Another good thing about the light is that there is a lot of light between the front tire and hot spot. It also illuminates the trees way above you head. Maybe 20 feet up (those that are way out in front of you)

  11. #11
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    Good Chinese flood for bars

    I suppose if you had any beam shots you'd have posted them already, right?

    Also, do you think it'd balance the SS X2 okay?

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    Yeah, sorry, no beam shots. They are hard to do properly. I have to figure out how to mod my Canon point and shoot with custom firmware to give me full manual control. It's a lot of work but I may try to do it the future. No promises.

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    No idea about the ss x2, although I'm considering getting one of those also.

  14. #14
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    Good Chinese flood for bars

    Isn't XP-G rather old? I wonder if there's an L or L2 version out there.

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    I think there's such a thing as a xg-g2, but it relatively new.

  16. #16
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    Good Chinese flood for bars

    This light business is harder to keep up with than the bike business.

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    For beam shots look at the 2013 shootout. It wont be for that exact clone, but it does have the MJ872 and 808. The beam on the 872 looks nice.

  18. #18
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    Good Chinese flood for bars

    Quote Originally Posted by robs31 View Post
    For beam shots look at the 2013 shootout. It wont be for that exact clone, but it does have the MJ872 and 808. The beam on the 872 looks nice.
    No kidding. One of the best wide patterns. Between a decent battery and the clone light head, one might be inclined to spend $20-$30 more and get a real MS 872. Probably smart to have a legit light, just in case something goes wrong with the SS X2.

  19. #19
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    The real 872 has some sort of heat problem. It starts out at 1200 lumens but then goes down to 900 after a few minutes. You can read about it in the light shoot-out thread. I'm not sure if the clone has the same problems even though I own the light. But the real light light is pretty expensive.

    The 856 has better heat dissipation.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    I bought this light four or five months ago and have been really happy with it.
    USA Stealth Black 1600 LM 4 CREE XP G LED Bike Light Light Head Only 872 A | eBay

    It's a Magicshine 872 clone. I would describe this as a broad flood beam with a bright hot spot. It's brighter than the 808. The only thing that sucks is the switches. They can hard to press, especially if the rubber part is misaligned.

    Anyway, there's not much discussion about this light, but it's worked well for me. They sent it pretty fast also. Once they shipped it, it went from Honk Kong to USA west coast in a day or two. Then another week and half to get to the east coast.

    We should probably have a separate thread on this light.
    I just bought one of these based on your recommendation.
    It will replace a magicshine MJ-816 I got from Geoman a few years ago that crapped out on me.

  21. #21
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    I've had it out on the trail a few times, and it kicks @ss!!!
    Thanks for the link.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by GR1822 View Post
    I've had it out on the trail a few times, and it kicks @ss!!!
    Thanks for the link.
    Wow you got it already? Glad you liked it.

  23. #23
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    They are shipped out of California now and I'm in Arizona.

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    Hey guys I have a Magicshine on the bars with the wide angle lens and I gotta tell you that it is not all that. Produces a very thin (like 1-2ft) and wide beam, but at a greatly reduced overall brightest. The lens is plastic rather than glass and I think that is most of the reason why you get less lumens. If you're not happy with the Magicshine by itself for bars, I would consider another light that is reportedly more floody. Looking for one myself, to complement a zebralight helmet mount. In the meantime, I'll run my Magicshine without the lens. May experiment with a diffuser, which could even be 3M Magic tape.

  25. #25
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    I have a plan to experiment with some different DIY diffusing techniques and may even try to measure light loss.

    I too bought the MJ-872 Clone (quad XP-G) and really like the wide beam on it (I'd describe it as "wide throwing with fairly bright spill). I just picked up some Neutral White XP-G2's which I intend to swap in soon (mainly to change tint).

    Here's a beamshot:


    For comparison, here is my SolarStorm X3 (swapped to neutral white tint emitters):


    The SSX3 pulls quite a bit more current from the battery pack. The 872 clone will have significantly more runtime.

    -Garry

  26. #26
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    Oh, another thought - you might consider "DC Fix" diffusing film. It's supposed to be the best there is for that sort of stuff with the least amount of light loss.

    -Garry

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    I too bought the MJ-872 Clone (quad XP-G) and really like the wide beam on it (I'd describe it as "wide throwing with fairly bright spill). I just picked up some Neutral White XP-G2's which I intend to swap in soon (mainly to change tint). -Garry
    My MJ 872 knockoff(of a clone) didnt' die but after a few rides only the "up" button worked, you had to pull the plug to turn it off or use a different mode, tossed it in the box with my other mistakes. I paired it with my original 808, nice combo-pattern:

    Good Chinese flood for bars-img_1259.jpg

    Good Chinese flood for bars-combo2.jpg
    rabbit hole
    Good Chinese flood for bars-combo1.jpg
    prison break

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post


    For comparison, here is my SolarStorm X3 (swapped to neutral white tint emitters):


    The SSX3 pulls quite a bit more current from the battery pack. The 872 clone will have significantly more runtime.

    -Garry
    How did you do the emitter swap on the x3? Mine are soldered on a board. The stock emitters are a bit too cool for my liking, I would love to swap them out.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by patski View Post
    My MJ 872 knockoff(of a clone) didnt' die but after a few rides only the "up" button worked, you had to pull the plug to turn it off or use a different mode,
    Mine worked with no problems for the 6 months that I used it (it still does). I remember I had to fiddle with the rubber piece that sits over the button in order to get it to work properly when I first got it. I bet if you moved it around a bit you could get it to work. You probably tried that already though.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    How did you do the emitter swap on the x3? Mine are soldered on a board. The stock emitters are a bit too cool for my liking, I would love to swap them out.
    Mine used 3 separate 16mm stars, so it was an easy swap. I used XM-L2 T5 5B1's from FastTech. I've just learned and successfully reflowed LEDs too. I'm expecting to need to reflow on the 872 clone.

    -Garry

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    Mine worked with no problems for the 6 months that I used it (it still does). I remember I had to fiddle with the rubber piece that sits over the button in order to get it to work properly when I first got it. I bet if you moved it around a bit you could get it to work. You probably tried that already though.
    Yep, even pulled off the back to get at the switches directly, fiddled, fondled and prodded everywhere, no happiness....


    Good Chinese flood for bars-fullsizerender-4-.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by patski View Post
    My MJ 872 knockoff(of a clone) didnt' die but after a few rides only the "up" button worked, you had to pull the plug to turn it off or use a different mode

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    Mine used 3 separate 16mm stars, so it was an easy swap. I used XM-L2 T5 5B1's from FastTech. I've just learned and successfully reflowed LEDs too. I'm expecting to need to reflow on the 872 clone.

    -Garry
    How tough is a reflow? I have no idea how do it, how steep is the learning curve?

    Quote Originally Posted by patski View Post
    Yep, even pulled off the back to get at the switches directly, fiddled, fondled and prodded everywhere, no happiness....
    That's a shame. I took apart a non-working logitech mouse and it had similar micro switches. Maybe you could swap out the bad switch with something found in the junk drawer.

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    I just got a MS 862 - it's got 5 XP-Gs (an extra light over the 872). Very floody and I really like it.

  34. #34
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    Just got the MS 816 clone and it seems ok , havnt hit the trails yet just a quick test spin on a dark road , ordered a SS 2 and see how that does and throw the "Micky Mouse" light on the helmet ..

    I have a feeling I'm gonna be collecting a bunch of clones lol .
    Hit the trails with your bike and get freaky.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.M.S View Post
    I have a feeling I'm gonna be collecting a bunch of clones lol .

    Great hobby with a HUGE support group! Or is the correct term enablers?

    Even though I have real lights now, I cant' stay away....

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by patski View Post
    Great hobby with a HUGE support group! Or is the correct term enablers?

    Even though I have real lights now, I cant' stay away....
    Something tells me I'll be getting real lights sooner than later ..
    Hopefully my clones do ok though .
    Hit the trails with your bike and get freaky.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    How tough is a reflow? I have no idea how do it, how steep is the learning curve?
    It's not nearly as hard as it looks. Hot air from a heat gun (Harbor Freight) is the easiest method. Search YouTube, there are plenty of videos on it. Basically, you remove the LED emitter board, place it in "helping hands" (a vise will act as a heatsink and be more difficult), apply heat from underneath on low setting until the solder starts bubbling, use tweezers to remove the LED, swap new LED over onto the "pads" and, apply heat until the LED floats over and seats on the pads. You just have to watch you dont have too much solder on the pads, and that you mount the LED the right way (compare with the markings on the original one or a 2nd one). I've yet to reflow multiple LEDS mounted on the same board, but it's the same process.

    -Garry

  38. #38
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    If my SS×2 on order isn't floody enough I'm going to get two 808 wide angle lenses and cut them down with a dremel and see if that was worth the effort .
    Hit the trails with your bike and get freaky.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.M.S View Post
    If my SS×2 on order isn't floody enough I'm going to get two 808 wide angle lenses and cut them down with a dremel and see if that was worth the effort .
    Looks like you're looking for a floody bar lamp. Let me see if I can save you some time since judging from your last couple posts you might be going about this the wrong way.

    You mentioned having a MS 816 or clone thereof; That lamp is more geared toward bar usage. The SSX2 you have ordered is better used as a helmet lamp since the reflectors throw most of the light forward. Not that you can't use it as a bar lamp, I'm just saying there are better lamps for more side spill and the MMouse type lamps usually do better than others at doing that or so I have been told.

    For flood I would be thinking either a Duo/clone or any other of the multiple emitter ( XM-L(2) ) lamps. More emitters ( generally ) mean more available light so when you start to spread the beam pattern out there isn't as much a loss in throw or over all intensity. The original tri-clones ( round, cheap tri-xml lamp ) did a pretty good job at providing a good beam pattern coming off the bars. The Duo/clone lamps use optics and that should make them easier to replace to provide the wider beam pattern you desire.

    Yes, you can use diffuser lenses to widen the beam pattern with the reflector based lamps. Rather than buy the bigger MS type flood lenses and trying to cut them ( which would likely not work so well ), I suggest buying the lens already made to size that might spread the beam out a bit more. Take a look at the lenses sold at Flashlightlens.com with emphasis on the Acrylite® FF P-99 lens. I've not used these myself but the seller recommends these over the other flood lens they sell. ( the other is a denser lens that kills the throw according to the seller ). Anyway, I have a couple lamps I thought I might try these on myself. I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

    Going forward, if you have a lamp that can provide a 10 ft. wide beam at 10 ft. from the bars you have all the beam width you need. If you try to spread the beam out too much it will ultimately diminish the usefulness of the lamp ( IMO ). Good luck with your search for a better set-up.

  40. #40
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    Garry, Have you or your CPF wizards seen this instructables night vision LED in green?

    Interesting theory....

    Green LEDs here, Green (530nm), SinkPAD-II Star LED - 161lm

    Someone in the UK makes a commercial version but I've already exceeded my 2014/15/16 budget....


    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    Mine used 3 separate 16mm stars, so it was an easy swap. I used XM-L2 T5 5B1's from FastTech. I've just learned and successfully reflowed LEDs too. I'm expecting to need to reflow on the 872 clone.

    -Garry

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Take a look at the lenses sold at Flashlightlens.com with emphasis on the Acrylite® FF P-99 lens. I've not used these myself but the seller recommends these over the other flood lens they sell. ( the other is a denser lens that kills the throw according to the seller ).
    Thanks for that link Cat! I've not dealt with Flashlightlens.com myself, but others over at BudgetLightForum have. I've even heard that the owner will custom make sizes for you (at least for certain lens types). I might have to try a couple of these. I do see though that they have a warning about not being very scratch resistant.

    patski - no, I've never seen that, nor have I ever heard of using the colored LEDs for night vision.

    -Garry

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    .... nor have I ever heard of using the colored LEDs for night vision.

    -Garry
    A little OT but my take on this; It's not all about the rods and cone thing but also has to do with the pupil. More light, even at the 530nm frequency is going to get a reaction from the pupil. Too much light and the pupil will constrict and limit the amount of light entering the eye.

    The eye's ability to use low light is very much effected by intensity as well as the frequency of the light being used. That said the rod and cone interplay looks to be designed for low level light. Yes you can see more if using the right frequency of light but you still have to limit the output ( lumen level ) or your pupil will start to constrict. At just what point this happens I couldn't say.

    This said, green light is not natural light. Certain objects will not reflect the green light in the same way as natural ( wider spectrum ) light. Whatever the eye sees the brain has to interpret and the brain is used to dealing with wider spectrum light. Not saying it won't work but undoubtedly there would be a learning curve in dealing with the "dead spots" not reflected by the narrower spectrum light. I figure it this way, the human low level visual ability was more designed for walking speeds. Not sure I would want to use something like a green LED lamp for full time mountain biking.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Looks like you're looking for a floody bar lamp. Let me see if I can save you some time since judging from your last couple posts you might be going about this the wrong way.

    You mentioned having a MS 816 or clone thereof; That lamp is more geared toward bar usage. The SSX2 you have ordered is better used as a helmet lamp since the reflectors throw most of the light forward. Not that you can't use it as a bar lamp, I'm just saying there are better lamps for more side spill and the MMouse type lamps usually do better than others at doing that or so I have been told.

    For flood I would be thinking either a Duo/clone or any other of the multiple emitter ( XM-L(2) ) lamps. More emitters ( generally ) mean more available light so when you start to spread the beam pattern out there isn't as much a loss in throw or over all intensity. The original tri-clones ( round, cheap tri-xml lamp ) did a pretty good job at providing a good beam pattern coming off the bars. The Duo/clone lamps use optics and that should make them easier to replace to provide the wider beam pattern you desire.

    Yes, you can use diffuser lenses to widen the beam pattern with the reflector based lamps. Rather than buy the bigger MS type flood lenses and trying to cut them ( which would likely not work so well ), I suggest buying the lens already made to size that might spread the beam out a bit more. Take a look at the lenses sold at Flashlightlens.com with emphasis on the Acrylite® FF P-99 lens. I've not used these myself but the seller recommends these over the other flood lens they sell. ( the other is a denser lens that kills the throw according to the seller ). Anyway, I have a couple lamps I thought I might try these on myself. I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

    Going forward, if you have a lamp that can provide a 10 ft. wide beam at 10 ft. from the bars you have all the beam width you need. If you try to spread the beam out too much it will ultimately diminish the usefulness of the lamp ( IMO ). Good luck with your search for a better set-up.
    I do believe that the 816 clone will pass the 10ft / 10ft test , I'll try that on the bars and the SS on helmet .. I might pick up one or two 872 clones with a Y adaptor and experiment with that .. Once I find the bar light or lights that I want then I will get the real vertion of that most likely..
    Hit the trails with your bike and get freaky.

  44. #44
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    So does anyone prefer using two wide angle lens over one? It's a PITA trying to screw on the lens cap and keep both lens at 90 degrees from each other. Initial tests in a darkened room makes me think one lens would be better but it could be a different story once on the trail and on the trail is the last place I want to fiddle with lenses.

  45. #45
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    Light Diffusion Film (LDF)

    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    Oh, another thought - you might consider "DC Fix" diffusing film. It's supposed to be the best there is for that sort of stuff with the least amount of light loss. -Garry
    It sounds really good, lots of users on the flashlight forums, Flashlightlens.com Light Diffusion Film (LDF)

    They recommend the "sand" version, DC Fix Self-Adhesive Window Film

    Maybe I'll use some to fix my cracked lens, cheeper than a new one...

    Good Chinese flood for bars-fullsizerender.jpg

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    updated... pic w/ DC Fix Sand diffuser installed on a flashlight intended to use for MTB...
    Last edited by siata94; 10-10-2014 at 04:18 PM.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by siata94 View Post

    Now I'm thinking about cobbling it on the stem, the light's head resting on the front part of the stem and elevate the rear with some padding and velcro it all down. It needs more support along the light's length than just the single point that it's resting on the bar. Hoping to test it out sometimes this week.
    You could just get a Hope bar clamp. Cheap and much better than those rubber bands without the need to modify anything.

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    That may be an option but I'm wondering how well it'll keep the longish flashlight from shaking and getting jittery.

    The light is relatively heavier (a big chunk of copper behind the led) for heat dissipation and of course the entire body is alum. Prob not ideal for a single point of contact mount.

    yes, those rubber bands are pretty much useless for a long flashlight. But more than suffice for the typical bike light head only.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by siata94 View Post
    That may be an option but I'm wondering how well it'll keep the longish flashlight from shaking and getting jittery.

    The light is relatively heavier (a big chunk of copper behind the led) for heat dissipation and of course the entire body is alum. Prob not ideal for a single point of contact mount.

    The Hope clamp is more for the magicshine style lights, for flashlights I think stupidbright.com has something for that.

  50. #50
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    128
    the Fenix mount on stupidbright looks promising, the 360* rotation is nice.

    Just looked at reviews and they're not too favorable both the older version and current, due to rattling issues and that's on road bikes.

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