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  1. #1
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    Handlebar or Helmet?

    Been riding for 15 years, but never on single track at night. It's time. Kids go to bed, wife is too tired to care, so I'm out the door at 7:30 to ride from 8:00-9:00 on some local single track.

    So, for my first light ($200 budget), should I get a handlebar mount or helmet mounted light? Maybe a convertible light and see what I prefer.

    With single track, there are some tight switchbacks to navigate, so that makes me think a helmet mounted light to point it where I want to go. But, it may be nice to have a dedicated light a few feet out in front of me via the handlebars.

    Basically, I'm clueless as to what to do for my first set up under $200. Are single beam lights wide enough for single track? All the double bulbs seem very pricey. It seems like the technology has advanced from water bottle holder battery packs; especially for only a few hours; correct?

    Sorry for being a newbie here; not new to the mtbr boards, just this one!

  2. #2
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    I have found the helmet to be the most important. It is surprising how often a handle bar light is not pointed at the trail. Now if it is a 900 lumen flood, that is different. I have also found some nice LED flashlights with the CREE Q5 bulb on ebay come with handlebar mounts and add some nice fill from the bar. The also are nice when talking on the trail as they don't shine in peoples faces but it doesn't go pitch black.

  3. #3
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    thanx

    Quote Originally Posted by kurtisk View Post
    I have found the helmet to be the most important. It is surprising how often a handle bar light is not pointed at the trail. Now if it is a 900 lumen flood, that is different. I have also found some nice LED flashlights with the CREE Q5 bulb on ebay come with handlebar mounts and add some nice fill from the bar. The also are nice when talking on the trail as they don't shine in peoples faces but it doesn't go pitch black.
    thanx! i was all excited about the magicshine 808 only to find out the US dealer just went outta business. I'll see if someone else is carrying them as the mtbr review (nice job mtbr, by the way) was great!

  4. #4
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    Lighting has come so far in the last 10 years. I run a MagicShine on the bars and call it good. I can see a bit better with it on the helmet, but I like not having the weight on my neck. Either way, you'll be happy.

  5. #5
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    For $200, get 2, one for the head & one for the bar. Run a spot on the head & flood on the bar. If only running one light, put it on the head, especially if it's twisty/tight. A flood lens will have enough throw if powerful enough(an 808 is) as long as you're not bombing downhill(in which case 2 lights is a must) at max speed. Two lights is a good idea for redundancy. I prefer the Gemini products over the MagicShine - they just seem to be built better for the same money/performance level. If you get the light(s) from action led, you can order a flood lens for like $5. Action carries both Gemini and Magicshine, and my experience has been good with them.

  6. #6
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    check out Action LED

    you can get 2 of the MJ-808E, with the cree XML, order one as base kit only and one with the helmet mount and you will pay about 175 plus shipping.

    i am currently running the ebay equivalent of the 808e, one on the bars with the Wide Angle Lens and 1 on my helmet, although i started with just the bar light. the wide angle lens really lights up the trail, then with the helmet light its easier to look around and see farther down the trail.
    Juice

  7. #7
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    +1 to Action-LED

    +1 to Action LED (Action-LED-Lights — BIKE).

    As much as I miss Geoman, Action Led has great customer service as well and is very responsive. I also have friends that saved a little bit by going with the generic 808's and are very happy with them, the only exception being the annoying strobe mode before turning them off.

  8. #8
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    + 3 for action led. Spot on the helmet and wide angle for the bars. He was great to work with.

  9. #9
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    For entry level ( night ) Mt. biking there is a couple ways to go if you are on a budget. First it needs to be understood that two lights ( bar and helmet ) are a must if simply from a safety perspective. That said, the super cheap way to go: Two torches, one bar mount, the other helmet mounted, You need a charger, 4 x 18650 cells....total about ~ $75 depending on what torches you buy. Just keep in mind to use a torch on your helmet you have to have a helmet that will work with a torch.

    Better yet would be two MS or clone MS type lights. One with the action led wide lens on the bars the other cloned lamp on the helmet. With a MS 808E on the bars and a clone M.S. XM-L lamp on the helmet you should be able to get by with ~ $125 USD.

  10. #10
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    for the sake of cost comparison and the option if you do decide to spend less and go with the ebay option THIS is the light i am running on both helmet and bars. first one i payed 46.99, second one i payed 40.98 on sale. thats 88.97 shipped, then i put an Action Orange Peel reflector in each light @ 4.95each/9.90 and i have one wide angle lens on the bars @ 4.00. and i ordered the helmet mount as well @ 7.95, but you could cut the elastic off one of the headbands that comes with the ebay light and velcro strap it to your helmet. total cost of 110.82 + about 5 bucks for shipping from Action. also, i used the orange peel reflectors because the smooth reflector i felt was just way too tight of a spot that wasnt really usable for riding.

    the other thing to rememeber is that if you buy from Action you will get support if you happen to have any issues. via ebay you are on your own. i am taking my chances for the time being.
    Juice

  11. #11
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    Both

  12. #12
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    Both

    Quote Originally Posted by smoovranger View Post
    + 3 for action led. Spot on the helmet and wide angle for the bars. He was great to work with.
    Agree. Bar mount gives a better 'perspective' of light... objects/obstacles cast shadows which make them easier to gauge. A spot on the helmet allows you to see where you're looking... including around corners, bushes, switchbacks...

    Right now, I'm running the 872 on the bars with an 808 on the helmet. A little above the $200 mark, but a really nice combo.
    TTUB - Ventura County California

  13. #13
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    i average 3x night ride per week now and love it. use only helmet mounted light, but am very diligent about charge being full and use a high quality (expensive) light so fails are limited (L&M Seca 1400). if going the budget route, then both helmet and handlebar mounts should be considered. if only one for whatever reason, will have to helmet mounted otherwise you'll find it very hard/impossible to navigate technicals or anything at decent speed with only a handlebar mount.

    FWIW, your situation sounds similar to mine in that it's just easier to night ride since the kids are settled down, and you don't have to rush to the trail to catch the last hour or two of daylight sometimes. with that in mind, you might be doing yourself a disservice by choosing the budget route IF you know night riding will be the majority of your weekly riding. a good light was one of the best investments i've made since it's allowed me to use my bike more (any night is doable now compared to being restricted to the daylight hours remaining once arriving at trailhead) ... guilt free (since kids are asleep anyway) ... and safely (fails are very unlikely and I'm approaching technicals at same speed as daylight given the huge depth and throw my light gives).

  14. #14
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    Our BikeRayUSA III $159.99 or BikeRayUSA IV $199.99 is going to give you what you need at a great value. We offer a 1 year no questions asked full warranty on all our light systems. PM me and I can also offer you a new Samsung battery that we are trying out that gives over 4+ hours runtime with the Ray IV at 1500 lumens. Only have a few of these Samsung's.

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