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  1. #1
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    Helmet light and mount recommendations

    What's a decent helmet light that's low profile, will last 90-120 minutes, and not that expensive? I've been happy with the UniqueFire HD-016 so may get another especially considering they're only ~$35. But wanted to see what else I should consider. Also, what's a good helmet mount?

  2. #2
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    What's your budget? There's a lot better out there just depending on what you want to spend. Some aren't that much at all (compared to what you could or would spend for other bike parts or lights). Decent ones come with proper helmet mounts so you don't have to mess with sorting out a useable helmet mount. Kind of a "get what you pay for" matter. Some cases you can pay a lot for not much or be good to go with cheap stuff depending on what your needs are.

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  3. #3
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    Probably the only decent low budget option for helmet light right now is the Genuine Yinding from Gearbest.

    The Yinding is inexpensive, easy to mod, wide range of optics available, and good quality.

    The only big negative on the Yinding is that it's small and doesn't handle a lot of heat well. It draws 2.4A in stock form and that's about the limit of what it can handle. Oh, and stock batteries are junk, so just go ahead and order packs built with Panasonic cells, Gearbest and Kaidoman have them - well now I can't find them on GB. KD link, just be sure to get a "7.4v" version. The 2 cell would work great and should give you 90 to 120 mins if you don't run high a lot, only as needed.

    You can also checkout the latest MTBR thread on the Yinding too.

    Oh, and vancbiker's aluminum GoPro mount works great and provides additional heatsinking.

    -Garry

  4. #4
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    Thanks all. I just tested my GeoManGear battery (the MagaicShine 900 recall one) which I believe is a Panasonic. 4.5Ah, 7.2V, 32Wh. The MagicShine is still on strong after two hours so I should be good with the battery assuming the same connectors. It is the same connector as my UniqueFire so I'm guessing it's the standard (whatever that is).

    I don't do a lot of night riding, especially once daylight savings kicks in, and since I just bought a new bike I was hoping to keep the price under $50. I could go up quite a bit though if it'll make a big difference, especially if it came with a good helmet mount.

    The Yiding looks good. Seems similar to my other light which I've been happy with.

    Also, I should mention the light goes on my second helmet, so I would prefer something stable over an easy on easy off. I may go with the GoPro mount - will pm vancbiker

  5. #5
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    Well I think the next step up is a big one (but a good one) and that's the Ituo XP2 at $110 (current price, head only).

    We keep saying that there's a gap in the budget light arena that needs filled.

    -Garry

  6. #6
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    Gary,
    Since you brought up the "Gap" issue, any word from Andy about the re-release of the BT21? It would be nice to have a performance option for those on a budget + their kits were good for people starting out since they came with a usable battery.
    Mole

  7. #7
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    Alright, since I won't be using the light much, I'll probably just go with the budget option for the headlamp.

    I'm guessing there's a similar gap with the UniqueFire HD-016 as a bar light. Probably worth me just sticking with it, instead of spending > $100 for occasional use.

    My battery wound up lasting 3.25 hours so I should be good there. A flood bar light is probably more important for my trails anyway (tight twisty singletrack).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRMOLE View Post
    Gary,
    Since you brought up the "Gap" issue, any word from Andy about the re-release of the BT21? It would be nice to have a performance option for those on a budget + their kits were good for people starting out since they came with a usable battery.
    Mole
    I've not been in contact with Andy anymore. I'm thinking once I get my BT40S mod fixed (perhaps this weekend) I might share my results with him and perhaps that would be a good time to check-in, but then again I don't want to bug him on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    I'm guessing there's a similar gap with the UniqueFire HD-016 as a bar light. Probably worth me just sticking with it, instead of spending > $100 for occasional use.
    Actually the Revtronic/Nitefighter BT40S is a decent budget floody bar lamp, though there have been some issues lately (driver with wrong components and battery pack built with cheaper cells). Note sure if those issues are fully resolved and old inventory depleted yet. MTBR thread on that light here.

    -Garry

  9. #9
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    @bank5; You didn't say how you plan to use the lamp. Is this for road use, MTB or both. Are you using a 2-cell on the helmet or using a larger battery and putting the battery somewhere else?. Important stuff if you want recommendations.

    Anyway, since you want to go cheap I see no reason why your idea of an U-fire lamp won't work as long as you like it. The one you like ( does the one LED/two LED thing ) doesn't appeal to me. I like all LED's on for every mode. As a cheap-o alternative I like the Solarstorm X2 with Cree XP-L's. Three dedicated steady modes and should have a fairly wide beam pattern with decent throw. Should make a fair helmet lamp.

    As for mounting; the X2 will work with any cheap Magicshine type helmet mount but personally I'd convert it over to Gopro mounting using one of the *Vancbiker Gopro adapters and buy one of the Gropro helmet mounts from ITUO. Gopro mounting is much more "low profile" and the added plus is that you can "easy tilt" the lamp on the fly. ( *Vancbiker's adapter will also give you additional heat sinking to help keep the lamp cooler, an added plus.) When finished you should still be under $50.

  10. #10
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    [
    QUOTE=garrybunk;13058632]I've not been in contact with Andy anymore. I'm thinking once I get my BT40S mod fixed (perhaps this weekend) I might share my results with him and perhaps that would be a good time to check
    Please let us know what you find out. I have an email address for him but like you didn't want to bother him as it would not make this happen any sooner. Since you have reason to communicate with him will rely on you for information when you get some (or welcome any communication from Andy). Thanks!
    Mole

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRMOLE View Post
    [

    Please let us know what you find out. I have an email address for him but like you didn't want to bother him as it would not make this happen any sooner. Since you have reason to communicate with him will rely on you for information when you get some (or welcome any communication from Andy). Thanks!
    Mole
    You know, with GB's custom light failure I wonder if Andy would consider picking up with a similar 3 emitter light (like a 3 emitter BT21).

    -Garry

  12. #12
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    Here's a quick update. I just took my lights out to for a test. The UniqueFire (especially the spot light) seems quite a bit brighter than the MagicShine MJ-808. The UniqueFire flood does have a ring, but it doesn't bother me when I'm riding. So I think I'll use that as my headlamp, and may instead upgrade the MagicShine with the Nitefighter BT40S. Is that a significant improvement or are they pretty close, performance wise? The cost is pretty insignificant, I just don't want to wasteful if the lights are similar.



    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    @bank5; You didn't say how you plan to use the lamp. Is this for road use, MTB or both. Are you using a 2-cell on the helmet or using a larger battery and putting the battery somewhere else?. Important stuff if you want recommendations.

    Anyway, since you want to go cheap I see no reason why your idea of an U-fire lamp won't work as long as you like it. The one you like ( does the one LED/two LED thing ) doesn't appeal to me. I like all LED's on for every mode. As a cheap-o alternative I like the Solarstorm X2 with Cree XP-L's. Three dedicated steady modes and should have a fairly wide beam pattern with decent throw. Should make a fair helmet lamp.

    As for mounting; the X2 will work with any cheap Magicshine type helmet mount but personally I'd convert it over to Gopro mounting using one of the *Vancbiker Gopro adapters and buy one of the Gropro helmet mounts from ITUO. Gopro mounting is much more "low profile" and the added plus is that you can "easy tilt" the lamp on the fly. ( *Vancbiker's adapter will also give you additional heat sinking to help keep the lamp cooler, an added plus.) When finished you should still be under $50.
    I'm using it for mostly tight twisty singletrack, although I do have about a 10 minute road ride to the trail head. I've been putting a 4-cell in my camelbak. I don't have any 2-cell batteries but it seems like some don't like the extra weight on the lid.

  13. #13
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    It's all personal preference, but I wouldn't think the HD-016 would do so well on a helmet. Most of us like a throwy light (some say spotty, some say wide spot) on the helmet with flood on the bars. I never rode with my HD-016 before modding it, but I thought it's stock output was mediocre.

    I think my preference in your situation would be the HD-016 on the bars and a Yinding on the helmet. One problem no matter which way you go is mixing tints, unless you buy a cool white Yinding to match your cool white HD-016.

    -Garry

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    It's all personal preference, but I wouldn't think the HD-016 would do so well on a helmet. Most of us like a throwy light (some say spotty, some say wide spot) on the helmet with flood on the bars. I never rode with my HD-016 before modding it, but I thought it's stock output was mediocre.

    I think my preference in your situation would be the HD-016 on the bars and a Yinding on the helmet. One problem no matter which way you go is mixing tints, unless you buy a cool white Yinding to match your cool white HD-016.

    -Garry
    Thanks, good point about mixing tints. I wasn't thinking about that.

    I'm pretty happy with the amount of throw with the left light on the HD-016. I think the left throw light is better than the right flood on it (at least on mine) but I usually leave both on since the battery lasts ~2 hours. I guess the question comes down to if I want more throw or flood. I tried looking up YouTube videos of the Yinding and found some but they were pretty poor quality, so tough to get a feel.

  15. #15
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    I have some beamshot pics posted in my Yinding mod thread here (be sure to view the mouseovers, which switches images when "your mouse is over" or when you tap the image on a touchscreen. Note that in stock form the tint was quite warm. A neutral white Yinding bought now should have a tint closer to the "modded" one.

    -Garry

  16. #16
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    I just went out for a night ride and my MagicShine 900 was pretty weak. I'm guessing it may be due to it's age and possibly going into low power mode when it really hot. So I ordered the Nitefighter BT40S for my bars.

    I'm also considering modifying the Uniquefire HD-016 to give the right light a lot of throw.
    What would I do to do this?

    And if the different tints get annoying, I'll pick up a Yinding.

    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    I have some beamshot pics posted in my Yinding mod thread here (be sure to view the mouseovers, which switches images when "your mouse is over" or when you tap the image on a touchscreen. Note that in stock form the tint was quite warm. A neutral white Yinding bought now should have a tint closer to the "modded" one.

    -Garry
    Very cool, thanks for the comparison.

  17. #17
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  18. #18
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    Cool looking little light but $165 for a USB rechargeable flashlight that's 1000 lumens? Some cool options too but some things as a light nerd really concern me there. Mainly that output but using carbon fiber main housing to save a few grams.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj View Post
    Very interesting light! Totally not in the price range of the OP but worth looking at because of the unique build. Looks like the 1000 is a triple ( XP-G2 or G3? ) I'd love to see a beam pattern from the 1000. The 800 looks cheaper and is more geared for helmet use since it isn't drawing as much power. No mention is made about whether the battery is replaceable , "on the fly" so I'm going to assume it's not. The Ethos line-up has some nice features. I might of thought about buying something like that but when I use torches on the helmet, the torches I use will ALWAYS allow an exchange of battery. Still, the Ethos set-ups look simple, use neutral white LED's and are tempting if you like something small and light-weight on the helmet. The down side is the big question; "Will the Ethos mounting system work on the helmet I use"? With all the odd configuration of helmets these days it certainly begs the question.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    I'm also considering modifying the Uniquefire HD-016 to give the right light a lot of throw.
    What would I do to do this?
    .
    About the only thing you could do on that light is swap emitters for XP-L HI (you'd most certainly need to swap both to keep the voltage balanced between the two). Well another thing you could do is dedome the stock emitters (search for thread on Budgetlightforum.com named "A Perfect Dedome"). This will bring the tint down to neutral (maybe closer to warm depending on your starting tint) and definitely increase throw at expense of losing spill.

    -Garry

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    About the only thing you could do on that light is swap emitters for XP-L HI (you'd most certainly need to swap both to keep the voltage balanced between the two).
    If the OP's HD-016 has the original emitters wired in series then you could just swap in a single XPL-HI. If the original configuration is parallel, then both would have to be swapped.

    I'm not sure of what optic the HD-016 uses, but the XPL-HI in combination with the LEDDNA 10 degree optic is an outstanding (best I've ever used) helmet light combo.
    GoPro adapters for bike lights http://www.pacifier.com/~kevinb/index.html

  22. #22
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    HD-016 in stock version has two almost separated drivers (including independed sense resistors) so you can drive each led on its own. It also has two different reflectors, one pretty normal and one shallow for wide beam.

  23. #23
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    So could I replace the wide beam reflector for a narrow beam or I'd have to replace the emitter too?

  24. #24
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    Well it's not that easy. See Garrys picture http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n...ps96b06086.jpg. You can see there are two different heights of lips where led stars sits on. You would neet to adjust that to acomodate different reflector depth or TIR optics size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    Well it's not that easy. See Garrys picture http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n...ps96b06086.jpg. You can see there are two different heights of lips where led stars sits on. You would neet to adjust that to acomodate different reflector depth or TIR optics size.
    Ok, I'll just run it stock and then upgrade if I want something with more throw. It works plenty well for my typical ride, but it's impossible to have too much light.

    Btw, has any compared the HD-016 with a Yinding?

    I saw found this thread comparing an SSx2 with a Yinding - Forget your Solarstorm X2's... « Singletrack Forum

    MarkLG posted some good info towards the bottom:
    --------
    - The SS X2 draws more current (2.3 A vs 1.6A). The YD should run about 40% longer on the same battery on full power.
    - The YD gets hotter, quicker. It shuts down to medium power after 5 or 6 minutes with no airflow over it.
    - The SS X2 is brighter, but the beam patterns are very similar. The YD has a more even drop off away from the centre, but the SS X2 has a bit more throw.
    - Doing some very basic testing using a Luxmeter app on the iPhone suggest the SS X2 is throwing out about 20% more light
    - The YD is tiny. It's so small that it's worth getting just to keep as a spare in your pack.
    - The YD is made to a higher standard than the SS X2. It's very nicely finished with no sharp edges, and the screws and button are recessed flush with the body. The cable exits neatly out of the side of the body.

    -----------------

  26. #26
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    That info is a bit outdated on the yindings. They draw a bit more current and about match output of ssx2 (except the million cheap clones that exist).

    But the yinding does run rather hot which is where Vanbiker comes in.

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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    Ok, I'll just run it stock and then upgrade if I want something with more throw. It works plenty well for my typical ride, but it's impossible to have too much light.

    Btw, has any compared the HD-016 with a Yinding?

    I saw found this thread comparing an SSx2 with a Yinding - Forget your Solarstorm X2's... « Singletrack Forum

    MarkLG posted some good info towards the bottom:
    --------
    - The SS X2 draws more current (2.3 A vs 1.6A). The YD should run about 40% longer on the same battery on full power.
    - The YD gets hotter, quicker. It shuts down to medium power after 5 or 6 minutes with no airflow over it.
    - The SS X2 is brighter, but the beam patterns are very similar. The YD has a more even drop off away from the centre, but the SS X2 has a bit more throw.
    - Doing some very basic testing using a Luxmeter app on the iPhone suggest the SS X2 is throwing out about 20% more light
    - The YD is tiny. It's so small that it's worth getting just to keep as a spare in your pack.
    - The YD is made to a higher standard than the SS X2. It's very nicely finished with no sharp edges, and the screws and button are recessed flush with the body. The cable exits neatly out of the side of the body.

    -----------------
    I think perhaps you might be over-thinking this. We're talking about cheap Chinese lamps. When they are run on high they will get hot. When this happens the output drops. How well any of these lamps are going to work depends on the user and how they use the lamp.

    I don't own a Yinding but from the testimonies I've read they are liked by many. I bought one of the cheap SSX2 clones years ago ( using just first generation XM-L's ) I thought the beam pattern of the X2 half decent but since I have better lamps I use the better lamps. Of the Solarstorm lamps I own at least one that developed a problem with the mode button, in which case it would "sometimes" not change modes when pressed. Eventually though it would change so intermittent problems with the button.

    Time to get off the fence and choose. These lamps go for chunk-change. Whatever you buy you won't be out a boat-load of cash if something goes wrong or end up not liking it. If you buy any of these lamps with battery the batteries are likely going to be crap but regardless they should give you at least 2-3 hrs of usable light if you use only the mode level needed for the moment.

  28. #28
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    My BT40S arrived today (took about 2 weeks) and I was super impressed. It's much better than the other light I have. It has lasted about 3 hours with my panasonic 4 cell, but one annoying thing is that the button starts flashing red about an hour before it runs out.

    I'm going to pick up a Yinding too as I'm sure that'll be an improvement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    I think perhaps you might be over-thinking this. We're talking about cheap Chinese lamps. When they are run on high they will get hot. When this happens the output drops. How well any of these lamps are going to work depends on the user and how they use the lamp.

    I don't own a Yinding but from the testimonies I've read they are liked by many. I bought one of the cheap SSX2 clones years ago ( using just first generation XM-L's ) I thought the beam pattern of the X2 half decent but since I have better lamps I use the better lamps. Of the Solarstorm lamps I own at least one that developed a problem with the mode button, in which case it would "sometimes" not change modes when pressed. Eventually though it would change so intermittent problems with the button.

    Time to get off the fence and choose. These lamps go for chunk-change. Whatever you buy you won't be out a boat-load of cash if something goes wrong or end up not liking it. If you buy any of these lamps with battery the batteries are likely going to be crap but regardless they should give you at least 2-3 hrs of usable light if you use only the mode level needed for the moment.
    I was just curious between the differences. It has more to do with the environment than $30 and I just don't want to buy junk that I wouldn't use. But the BT40S was definitely worthwhile and I'm sure the Yinding will be too once it arrives. I appreciate all the replies and help

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    My BT40S arrived today (took about 2 weeks) and I was super impressed. It's much better than the other light I have. It has lasted about 3 hours with my panasonic 4 cell, but one annoying thing is that the button starts flashing red about an hour before it runs out.

    I'm going to pick up a Yinding too as I'm sure that'll be an improvement.
    Wow, I imagine that big a flashing red light would be very annoying. Some have covered the mode button with tape because they found even the steady blue/green light too distracting (not sure what they used but maybe someone will chime in on this).

    I've found the Yinding to work well as a helmet light combined with a BT40s on the bars. With stock optics the Yinding has noticeably more throw but also a much narrower beam than the BT40s. These are probably the most recommended low priced lights because they have good (not great) performance and have proven to be the most reliable of the cheap lights. Enjoy!
    Mole

  30. #30
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    I think I posted in the BT40S thread where I placed black electrical tape over the backside of the button. Just place it from button nub to button nub, not all the way across the entire silicone assembly. The rear of the light housing simply unscrews; just be aware that reassembly can be a pain to keep the silicone assembly lined up with the actual buttons on the driver board.

    -Garry

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    I think I posted in the BT40S thread where I placed black electrical tape over the backside of the button. Just place it from button nub to button nub, not all the way across the entire silicone assembly. The rear of the light housing simply unscrews; just be aware that reassembly can be a pain to keep the silicone assembly lined up with the actual buttons on the driver board.

    -Garry
    I too used black electrical tape ( when using the BT40S ) but left just a sliver of light showing ( up and down ) so I can still see the buttons. Without the tape the light from the mode buttons tends to effect my night vision ( not to mention being quite distracting ).

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