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  1. #1
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    JetLite vs. Amoeba?

    So I'm looking to get my first light for night riding. Now that the Magicshine is off the market for an indeterminate amount of time, I was looking at either the Jetlite A51 or the Amoeba -- both of which are in the $200.00 (give or take) price range. Both are made in the US and have decent warranties. Has anyone been able to compare these two lights maybe in a group ride situation? Or does anyone have any info or pros/cons to help me decide which to get? Thanks.
    "It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult."

  2. #2
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    I don't have either light so I can't give you a direct answer to your question so this really applies to picking a light in general. If the lights are basically equal in terms of general brightness and cost. Look at things like the quality and adjust-ability of the mounts, the battery case and how the battery mounts, the connectors, the quality of the charger, and the support provided by the company. People often don't look at these factors and they end up being fairly significant in terms satisfaction with a light.

  3. #3
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    I just got my A51s and they are fantastic. I have used Niterider HIDs for years and these are even brighter than them. Plus they are very light. So far I am very pleased.
    Those guys at Jet are extremely customer friendly and I think today while light systems are a dime a dozen, customer service is what really sets lights apart these days.
    I would recommed the A51 based on my own experience. I can't say anything about the Amoeba, but their website says they have a lead time of 2-3 weeks to make it and then I guess you have to wait for shipping.
    If you can wait that long, I guess either would be fine, but IMHO, that is missing out on a lot of rides when you can get the Jet lites shipped right now.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by biketriad
    I just got my A51s and they are fantastic.
    Sweet! I'm stoked to see them producing lights again. I almost bought a set of their older blue lights a long time ago...

    I haven't seen any of the A51s on the trail yet so I can't say anything about them. However, several people in my riding group (including myself) are using Amoebas and they are awesome.

    I like the Amoebas because of their small size. I don't notice that both the battery and light attach right to your helmet when I'm riding, but it's nice when you go to take your camelbak off and you don't need to worry about cables connected to your head.

    Scar's customer service has been great. He built me a custom 4x light with two spots and two floods and built it to my specifications (two independent on/off switches and a mount centered over my stem). After I had been using the lights for a few months, I broke the plastic on my helmet mount, and he sent me two replacements for free priority mail. Best of all, he lent me two of his new XP-G Amoebas for the Red Bull Final Descent--you can imagine how much it helped to have 1,200 lumens on my helmet riding a World Cup DH course in the dark!

    The biggest reason to buy Amoebas is that Scar is a passionate rider who builds them in his basement--a true one man operation. That being said, it's also the biggest reason why you might consider a Jet over an Amoeba--not only is it the busy season for light builders, the Magic Shine recall further increased his lead times. I would suggest shooting him an email and see how long the waits are. If you need something sooner than he can deliver, go with the Jet. Otherwise, I know you will be very happy with the Amoebas and I recommend them whole-heartedly.
    Last edited by kristian; 12-06-2010 at 07:30 AM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies. How soon I get the light is not really a factor (unless it's many months). I've only gone a couple of times with borrowed lights, so night riding isn't something I've built into my weekly routine yet.

    It sounds like both lights are (well) made in the US, are light weight, and have excellent customer service. I guess it comes down to which would be brightest -- the lumens per dollar factor. It would be great if Amoeba could get a light to the MTBR shootout, so that people could get a side-by-side comparison.

    I do like the idea of not having my head light attached to my hydration pack with a battery cable, but I'm a little skeptical that an L-ion battery could be that light weight as to not cause my helmet to slip around.
    "It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult."

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kook91
    Thanks for the replies. How soon I get the light is not really a factor (unless it's many months). I've only gone a couple of times with borrowed lights, so night riding isn't something I've built into my weekly routine yet.

    It sounds like both lights are (well) made in the US, are light weight, and have excellent customer service. I guess it comes down to which would be brightest -- the lumens per dollar factor. It would be great if Amoeba could get a light to the MTBR shootout, so that people could get a side-by-side comparison.

    I do like the idea of not having my head light attached to my hydration pack with a battery cable, but I'm a little skeptical that an L-ion battery could be that light weight as to not cause my helmet to slip around.
    I as well haven't seen either light in person,however i have had both very similar lights (MS-37lux,vs 40lux with the A-51)and the (Piko-45lux)which should be aprox where the Amoeba should measure,and the Piko was hands down brighter, and had more through than the MS.

    I would go with the Amoeba!!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt
    I as well haven't seen either light in person,however i have had both very similar lights (MS-37lux,vs 40lux with the A-51)and the (Piko-45lux)which should be aprox where the Amoeba should measure,and the Piko was hands down brighter, and had more through than the MS. I would go with the Amoeba!!
    So, the Jetlite claims 720 lumens which the 2011 MTBR shootout has measured at an actual 40 lux. The Amoeba light claims 600 lumens -- how do you figure that it is 45 lux? Have you seen somewhere else it has been tested? Thanks.
    "It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult."

  8. #8
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    Yeah, I would like to see the Amoebas in the shoot out too. I'd like to see a Jet on the trail sometime too and see how they stack up. Based on their claimed lumens, I think the Jet might be a little brighter, but that's where things like beam patterns come in. The XP-G Amoeba's Regina reflector is considered a "spot" light but it's still wider (and way brighter) than my first generation Amoeba's wide. It's also brighter at the center than my Gen 1's spot. I don't think you would have any issues trail riding with either of the two lights you're considering.

    I ride with a full face helmet so it fits a little more securely than a coconut shell, but everyone else in the group has a regular helmet. At 160g (light and battery), the Amoeba is only 60g (2 ounces) more than just the Jet light head, and the weight is distributed between the front and the back of your head.

    I just visited the Jet website and re-read the A-51 page. The battery used is a larger capacity than the Amoebas, although they offer similar 3 hour burn times on high. With the Amoeba, all you get is high, but the Jet you can go down to medium and get 5 hours. Personally, I have never done a night ride longer than 3 hours, but that may be something you want to consider.

    I like the fact that the Amoebas are simple to turn off and on--you don't have to cycle through high/low/spot every time you want to turn them off. I would rather just have them on "high" all the time when riding. If I thought I was going to do a longer ride ever, I would just buy an extra battery ($40).

  9. #9
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    No!! i'm basing the 45lux measurment on the Piko which uses the same XPG-R5 leds as the Amoeba.The Piko makes claims of just 550 lumens and was brighter, and in my opinion better in everyway than the MS,and it should be for $300:00.That been said,the Jet A-51 is a better version of the MS but only marginally brighter,keep in mind that with the Jet smart charger and mount your cost will be around $270:00.So yes, it's a guess on the Amoeba's output,but i believe it will be at least as bright as the Piko.
    I'm a little bias too as i prefer the beam pattern of the R-5's over the P-7.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt
    eep in mind that with the Jet smart charger and mount your cost will be around $270:00..
    I do think that the JET comes with everything you need in the box, no additional chargers/mounts necessary.

    I think you mis-read and added costs for an additional mount and a "universal" smart charger (but didn't include the only other option, another battery).

  11. #11
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    I stand corrected!!! Thought basic charger wasn't a smart charger,and only handle bar mount was extra $30:00.CHEERS!!

  12. #12
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    I think Scar can build an Amoeba with a bFlex for multi- brightness levels.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kook91
    So, the Jetlite claims 720 lumens which the 2011 MTBR shootout has measured at an actual 40 lux. The Amoeba light claims 600 lumens -- how do you figure that it is 45 lux? Have you seen somewhere else it has been tested? Thanks.
    Lumens and Lux are not necessarily proportional to each other.

    In the simplest terms. Lumens are the measurement of total light emitted by the LED. Lux is a measurement of delivered light. (ie. how the beam is focused).

    Neither is an accurate measure of how well a light will perform for you. A bright light (high lumen number) using a poor optic or reflector design just kind of floods the area around your wheel with little forward visibility. A high lux number can be had with less than stellar lumen numbers by an optic or reflector that focuses the beam very tightly with little to no illumination around the edge of the beam (think of a spotlight).

    In addition to this, some light manufacturers quote lumen output from the LED manufacturers data. Those numbers are derived in laboratories not in the housing of your LED bike light..

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kook91
    So, the Jetlite claims 720 lumens which the 2011 MTBR shootout has measured at an actual 40 lux. The Amoeba light claims 600 lumens -- how do you figure that it is 45 lux? Have you seen somewhere else it has been tested? Thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker
    Lumens and Lux are not necessarily proportional to each other.

    In the simplest terms. Lumens are the measurement of total light emitted by the LED. Lux is a measurement of delivered light. (ie. how the beam is focused).

    Neither is an accurate measure of how well a light will perform for you. A bright light (high lumen number) using a poor optic or reflector design just kind of floods the area around your wheel with little forward visibility. A high lux number can be had with less than stellar lumen numbers by an optic or reflector that focuses the beam very tightly with little to no illumination around the edge of the beam (think of a spotlight).

    In addition to this, some light manufacturers quote lumen output from the LED manufacturers data. Those numbers are derived in laboratories not in the housing of your LED bike light..
    The most important thing about the MTBR lights shootout LUX numbers is that THEY ARE ONLY FOR THIS TEST, those numbers aren't applicable to outside tests. Read up here:

    ‘Claimed Lumens’ is the manufacturer’s claimed lumen brightness of their lights. It is usually not measured and is based on the best case scenario of the LEDs they are using. Measured Lux is mtbr’s light output measurement of the light. It is performed by bouncing the light off a white ceiling in a controlled environment. The measurements are consistent and are quite accurate in quantifying the light output. Our lux measurement setup is described here in detail http://reviews.mtbr.com/blog/bike-light-meter-setup-for-measuring-output/. Please note that our Lux Measurement is only relevant to mtbr for the basis of comparing light to each other. The number has no relevance to the measurement of others.


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker
    Lumens and Lux are not necessarily proportional to each other.

    In the simplest terms. Lumens are the measurement of total light emitted by the LED. Lux is a measurement of delivered light. (ie. how the beam is focused).

    Neither is an accurate measure of how well a light will perform for you. A bright light (high lumen number) using a poor optic or reflector design just kind of floods the area around your wheel with little forward visibility. A high lux number can be had with less than stellar lumen numbers by an optic or reflector that focuses the beam very tightly with little to no illumination around the edge of the beam (think of a spotlight).

    In addition to this, some light manufacturers quote lumen output from the LED manufacturers data. Those numbers are derived in laboratories not in the housing of your LED bike light..
    My initial reaction was similar to yours. But I did a little bit of testing of the procedure they're using and it does seem to be reasonably valid for comparing light. They are effectively creating a poor man's uncalibrated integrating sphere. The numbers are comparable as long as Francois can keep the conditions consistent from year to year and light to light. That means he can never move or even paint the room he uses.

    It would probably be better if they didn't say the measurement was in Lux, because that's not really the relevant unit in this case. I can also understand why they don't want to say it's Lumens, because it's not calibrated to accurate Lumens. They should just give it an arbitrary unit. Light xyz output is 41 francois's

  16. #16
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    I've just built a twin XP-G light similar to the Amoeba and my medium (750mA) is only a bit lower than that in the Amoeba (800mA) - I found it a very usable light pattern (double track-wide spot about 2 bike lengths away, with bright even spill) and only really used my high (1000mA) setting because I could. The LEDs and reflectors are the same, so they're broadly comparable.

    For reference, the Amoeba will be a little dimmer than a L&M Seca 700 (only name brand light on the ride last week), but with a more focused spot. The Seca 700 was somewhere between my medium and high settings, although closer to the high - close in they were indistinguishable on high, but my light had more throw.

    Personally, I'd go with the Amoeba, they're such neat little lights

  17. #17
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    Hmmm... I guess all of these numbers can be considered arbitrary then? A picture is worth a thousand words and that may be the only way to really tell the difference between the two lights. It sounds like enough people are using Amoeba's that they ought to be part of the shootout. It's pretty obvious in the images already posted in the test, what you see is what you get.

    In any case, regarding beam pattern -- if my trails are twist- turny in the trees, which would make most sense to have: a spot or a flood? And it seems the general agreement is to have the brighter light on your helmet, right?
    "It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult."

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kook91
    Hmmm... I guess all of these numbers can be considered arbitrary then? A picture is worth a thousand words and that may be the only way to really tell the difference between the two lights. It sounds like enough people are using Amoeba's that they ought to be part of the shootout. It's pretty obvious in the images already posted in the test, what you see is what you get.

    In any case, regarding beam pattern -- if my trails are twist- turny in the trees, which would make most sense to have: a spot or a flood? And it seems the general agreement is to have the brighter light on your helmet, right?
    Even pics of beam patters are arbitrary, unless shot at the same place under similar conditions with the same settings on the same camera (yes, seriously)...

    As far as beam pattern (opinion) - I ride twisty/turny trails in the trees and always rock a helmet, never a h-bar...I'd use a h-bar light as a backup, but for primary duty, I need to see where I am looking, not where the bike/front wheel is pointed. I prefer more of a flood in theory, as I don't need 100' yards of throw and have enough techy stuff underneath me that I don't want to look at the front wheel to see what is coming next, just use the periphery when necessary. That being said, I am not sure where my 5yo light's beam pattern falls in modern marketing terms.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ofroad'bent
    I think Scar can build an Amoeba with a bFlex for multi- brightness levels.

    Scar may have driver options but the bFlex isn't one of them. The bFlex is 25mm and won't fit in the 3/4" tubing used in the Amoeba. He's using 800mA drivers that give good efficient output with low heat and run times are pretty good even with a 2 cell pack. I don't think multilevel is really needed for this one.
    Long Live Long Rides

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kook91
    Hmmm... I guess all of these numbers can be considered arbitrary then? A picture is worth a thousand words and that may be the only way to really tell the difference between the two lights. It sounds like enough people are using Amoeba's that they ought to be part of the shootout. It's pretty obvious in the images already posted in the test, what you see is what you get.

    In any case, regarding beam pattern -- if my trails are twist- turny in the trees, which would make most sense to have: a spot or a flood? And it seems the general agreement is to have the brighter light on your helmet, right?
    as Characterzero said, not all beam shots are equal, plus they're not always the same exposure (under or over) what you actually see. My bet would be to go on user experiences (search for "Amoeba arrived" in the DIY forum).

    I've had a floody halogen for ~7 years as a helmet light and it was fine at lower speeds, but speed up and I outrode my light. The twin XP-G light I have has as much flood but throws 3x further (at least). I'd say you want something in between a spot and a flood - enough spot that you can check out the trail some distance ahead, but enough flood that you're not constantly turning your head to see what's in the spot.

    I'd always go for helmet over handlebar first, though I'll be building myself a handlebar light early next year as well

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kook91
    In any case, regarding beam pattern -- if my trails are twist- turny in the trees, which would make most sense to have: a spot or a flood? And it seems the general agreement is to have the brighter light on your helmet, right?
    My personal Amoebas on the bar are a flood/spot combo, and (contrary to popular wisdom) I run a flood on my helmet too. When I have all 4 of the bar lights lit, it is brighter than my helmet light and I prefer this. When I was using the 4 loaner XP-Gs (two x2 Amoebas) on my helmet, they dwarfed my bar setup and it just didn't feel "right" to me. Obviously the amount of light was pretty huge though.

    I ride mostly slow speed techy stuff and I didn't want to NOT ride anything the dark so I put a flood on my helmet for a wider curtain of vision. Since I still have the spot on my bars for high speed straight stuff, I've been very happy with this setup. That being said, my Amoebas are Gen I, and as I mentioned above, the Regina reflector on the XP-G Amoebas are more "floody" than my flood and brighter in the center than my spot. I would guess the Jet has a similar "best of both worlds" reflector since it has plenty of lumens to throw and because they don't offer any options on flood vs. spot.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew
    Scar may have driver options but the bFlex isn't one of them. The bFlex is 25mm and won't fit in the 3/4" tubing used in the Amoeba. He's using 800mA drivers that give good efficient output with low heat and run times are pretty good even with a 2 cell pack. I don't think multilevel is really needed for this one.
    Safe to say that no worries in grunt climbs to the led's?? Kinda dumb question i know, as there hasn't been a single complaint on this issue.Just thought i'd ask as the Piko sounds like it would, if not for the thermal protection that backs off output.Basically same size lights,same led's.Will have to check and see what the Piko is been driven at on high setting.Would guess the same at least as the Amoeba as claims of 50 more lumens than the Piko.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt
    Safe to say that no worries in grunt climbs to the led's?? Kinda dumb question i know, as there hasn't been a single complaint on this issue.Just thought i'd ask as the Piko sounds like it would, if not for the thermal protection that backs off output.Basically same size lights,same led's.Will have to check and see what the Piko is been driven at on high setting.Would guess the same at least as the Amoeba as claims of 50 more lumens than the Piko.
    The 600 lumen claim for the Amoeba is approximately the theoretical output of the LEDs at 800ma drive current. It doesn't take into account losses in the optics and heating of the LEDs. So the actual light out the front will be a fair amount less. But you can't blame him since this is what most light makers claim.

    Lupine doesn't publish the exact drive current for the Piko, but you can work out an approximate value from the claimed wattage and runtime. It's in the 1 to 1.1 amp range. The Lupine claimed lumen rating on the Piko is very conservative and has been verified through measurements in an integrating sphere. It takes into account losses in the optics and due to actual LED junction temperature. Here is an old post where I worked out the lumen numbers on the Piko. Pico Lumen Calc. If you apply the same calculations to the Amoeba you come out with around 475 lumens.

    In the real world the Piko is going to be brighter.

  24. #24
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    Thanx MtbMacgyver,that puts things into perspective.I guess if the Amoeba is been driven for sake of argument 20% lower than the Piko's max,it may just run cool enough under any conditions with Scar's design to not need thermal protection,thus no need for multiple output's.Cheers!!

  25. #25
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    On the Jet Lites A51, you don't have to cycle all the way through the light levels to turn it off. Just hold down the button for a couple seconds and it will turn off. If you turn it on, it comes on high. One click goes medium, another click goes flash, another click is off. Or just hold down the button on High and it's off.

    The beam pattern on the A51 is a good compromise between a spot and a flood for me. It doesn't have quite as bright a center spot as my HID light, but has much more even light all around with a good center spot.

    I don't have an Amoeba to compare with, but I'm very happy with my A51.

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