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  1. #1
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    How fast can you go when singletrack/trail riding at night?

    As the title said. And what light(s) support you to go that speed? Share your speeds!

  2. #2
    loves me some carbon
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    I ride every bit as fast at night as I can during the day. I make my own lights. Here's the helmet:

    How fast can you go when singletrack/trail riding at night?-image.jpg

    And the bike:

    How fast can you go when singletrack/trail riding at night?-image.jpg
    Posting on the basis that ignorance shared is ignorance doubled.

  3. #3
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    Full speed ahead!

  4. #4
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    I have tried to break DH PR's on Strava at night and it doesn't fly, the times are usually about 5% slower. I think you get a sensation of going as fast as during the day but in actuality its a little bit slower. My total light output is somewhere around 4500 lumens on high.

    Does anyone else compare night and day runs with some sort of GPS/timing?

    Edit - the difference is closer to 3%, so it's pretty close

    Edit 2 - My max speed is usually around 28 mph at night and just above 30 during the day, this is assuming I avoid descending fire roads or pavement, which I always try to do
    Last edited by derekbob; 11-12-2013 at 11:15 AM.

  5. #5
    Magically Delicious
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    Interesting thoughtÖI can essentially ride as fast at night on singletrack as I can during the day given some exceptions. Iím running about 3,000 to 3,600 lumens and If the track is generally not exceptionally technical or involving fast switchbacks with tree gates and off-camber technical turns and clean drops-offs greater than 2 - 3 feet or so, Iím ok. Given some of the listed obstacles my speed drops because I tend to have some depth perception issues that have a tendency to take me precariously closer to fixed objects than I am comfortable. Itís personal issue that Iím sure everyone doesnít experience. Given a little tree spacingÖ rollers, rock gardens, climbs, descents and reasonably normal trail can be achieved at daylight speeds without problems.

  6. #6
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    A good gauge would be marathon races like WEMBO last month. Run as many 16.9km loops with a 397m elevation gain in 24 hours. Results shows night lap times drops off about 2-4km/h average - we can attribute a little to caution and fatigue. We are still waiting on commentary from Jason to complete the album here.
    Leonard - All things Xeccon + Beyond
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  7. #7
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    When i did 24 hr races, my best night laps were about 5 minutes slower than best day laps on a 12 -14 mile course. Fatigue had a small part in that but the biggest issue was only running a single halogen NR light. Now with over 3000 lumen between bar and helmet, I can ride a familiar trail as fast at night as I can during the day.

  8. #8
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    How fast can you go when singletrack/trail riding at night?

    I just raced as part a of 4 man team for a 12 hour race. 9 mile course with fire roads and singletrack. Most times on the teams racing were within a minute or so for the night lap. So 40 minutes went to 41 or 42 minutes.

    Generally 2000 to 3500 lumens for most riders.

  9. #9
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    All your guys speed keep me thinking I am not a qualified night singletrack rider. Guess time to upgrade the lumens to meet it. But MAN! 4500 lumens are pretty incredible to me.

  10. #10
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    ..not to rain on anyone's parade but not everyone who rides at night is going to need 3000-4000 lumen. The most I've ever used at one time was about 3200 lumen. That was just to do an extended fire road downhill run at about 30-35mph. Rarely do I ever ride at speeds like that. My typical set-up has maximum output of about 2300 lumen...1500 bars, 800 helmet. More often than not I ride at lower output levels and only ride fast when the terrain is safe enough to do so. At my age I've learned not to over-estimate my own capabilities. Mountain biking itself during the day is inherently dangerous. Riding at night raises the danger level up a couple notches. If you find catching air dangerous during the day you shouldn't try it at night.

    Everyone likes to push the envelope occasionally to show they are brave. I'm no different, been there done that. More often that not though the word "brave" gets followed by the word "fool". Very sad it is when two such different words follow each other, particularly when it pertains to one's self.

  11. #11
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    Yes,,, speaking of age!! On flowing single track I can ride just about as quick as daytime however not because of output limitations from my set up which is tones,, but the cooler temperatures cause my eyes to water up creating some limitations. Because of age my night vision isn't where it was years ago as well as nerves on the sketchy stuff,, but i'd say I've never loved night riding more despite.

  12. #12
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    Cat's right on about how much one needs. Though both my lights on high get over 3000 lumen, I rarely use them on high except on fast sections.

    Most of my night rides are paced differently than a day ride. Stops to gaze at stars etc. Last nights ride included a long stop to play with some deer that I spotted. One young buck would follow the spot from my helmet light as I moved it from bush to bush on the edge of the woods. It was kind of fun and something that would never happen on a day ride.
    Last edited by Vancbiker; 11-12-2013 at 10:35 PM.

  13. #13
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    One of the best parts of night riding is that you can ride the same trail 100 times during the day at incredible speed...but the first time you ride it at night you feel like you have never ridden the trail before and are riding at 100 km/h!

  14. #14
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    I thought this thread was about how fast you can go at night, not about safety and minimum needs. Some of us are light geeks who have spent way more money on mtb lights than most people spend on bikes in a lifetime. Most people on this forum (and my trails) are on the latter side of 40 years old, so safety advice is being told to people who already know for the most part.

  15. #15
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    On rocky far N.Cal singletrack I average about 10 mph with max about 20mph. 2000 lumens mounted on helmet, half flood and half spot. 1400 lumens on bar, 400 flood and 1000 spot. Oh (and OT) almost 54 years old.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by arphaxhad View Post
    On rocky far N.Cal singletrack I average about 10 mph with max about 20mph. 2000 lumens mounted on helmet, half flood and half spot. 1400 lumens on bar, 400 flood and 1000 spot. Oh (and OT) almost 54 years old.
    I live in Redding. I think you're the guy I see on the trails all the time. I was going to say on the latter side of 50, but I was trying to be nice

    FWIW - I'm 38

  17. #17
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    If its in the BLM land north of Red Bluff, yep that's probably me. Theres only a couple of night riders around here. If not you should come down some night, Or Id like to go up there. The only night stuff i've done up there is Swasey/Mule ridge, Mary lake to the tower, and ditch trail up to dam and Chamise peak. Would like to do some more.

  18. #18
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    I was just kidding about seeing you, I was pointing out how most of the guys on the trail are about your age. I have never came across another mountain biker at night (that I didn't set out with).

    You have listed almost everything in town (considering all of Swasey, and everything south of the dam to the river trail). Whiskeytown would be next. Awesome place to be a mountain biker

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekbob View Post
    I thought this thread was about how fast you can go at night, not about safety and minimum needs. Some of us are light geeks who have spent way more money on mtb lights than most people spend on bikes in a lifetime. Most people on this forum (and my trails) are on the latter side of 40 years old, so safety advice is being told to people who already know for the most part.
    ..And such it is. If one chooses to not go so fast there is likely a reason. I assume that when a question is asked, "How fast can you go when riding Single track?", that it is an invitation to discuss the pro and cons of the subject.

    That said, I can go pretty fast when I want to. Even the brightest of directional lighting though has it's limitations. I hate to be the party pooper but I hate the idea that someone might think night mountain biking is about going as fast at night as during the day. You may choose to do that but it's nice to hear about the potential dangers BEFORE making that choice. Some people are new to the sport so you never know who is going to read something and get the wrong idea ( or just a limited view point ). Nothing wrong with riding fast as long as you know what you're doing.

  20. #20
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    @derekbob

    Came across one young guy(like you) as I was bombing down Chamise. Done the Lemurian and Whiskeytown classics and LaGrange in Weaverville, but none of that at night. Our 18,000 acres of BLM north of Red Bluff is really only used during the day and that mostly by horses (grrr....) Seen a couple of lights in the distance and trucks parked down here, but those could have been guys spotlighting deer. Had fish and game chase me on the road that parallels the trail to my truck one night thinking I was a motorcyclist, had t show them my warm lights (not bad for a single speeder) but no biker face to face. I agree that we live in a great MTB'ing area!

    Sorry, should have maybe PM'd this...

  21. #21
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    I'm as fast at night as I am during the day but at night I'm smoother. At night my powerful flood beam bar light creates long shadows behind everything that isn't flat so its much easier to spot that allusive perfect line that impossible to spot with all that overhead sun light glaring down.

    Smooth deep sand is the only thing that ever catches me off guard. Because it'll look like hard sandstone but at soon as you hit it....well you better be leaning back. Riders going slower at night is common from what I've noticed in all of my 24hr races but it doesn't have to be that way if you know how to adjust what to look for when the trail is illuminated my led vs the sun.

  22. #22
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    During a recent multi-lap relay race my lap times were as fast at night as they were during the day...In fact my fastest lap was at night. Riding with ~1200 total lumens..2 Magicshine 808s.

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  23. #23
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    I suppose I shouldn't shun safety advice. I should probably attend a safety meeting (wink/nudge). Having said that, I work for a living and having a cast (or worse) would put a damper on that, so I'm careful even when I'm going as fast as I can.

  24. #24
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    I ride faster at night to stay ahead of killers. Why, I know a guy who knows a guy who found a bloody hook hanging on his seat rail when he got back to the trailhead. True story. It was ten years ago, on a night just like tonight...
    Speed solves all problems, except for those things it makes worse.

  25. #25
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    about 10x faster than during the day, until...... I get home and upload to Strava. Then it turns out I'm about 5% slower, at best. As others have noted, going fast at night feels much faster, even if it isn't.

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