Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    jl
    jl is offline
    climb
    Reputation: jl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    2,229

    Kinfire Owl CREE vs. NiteRider HID

    This should really be an Ol' Skool, New Skool, Home Skool post. I had a chance to take out my new Kinfire dual CREE XML light that I got from T-Mart (KINFIRE Waterproof Owl Shape CREE-XM-L-T6 4 mode 1400LM LED Headlight with Battery Indicator for Bicycle Black - Tmart.com). I decided to compare it against the other lights I have. This new school light really held up well in comparison to my ol' school NiteRider HID. I was also somewhat impressed with my home school light that I finally had a chance to take out on a ride.

    The webpage for the owl light says it has 4-modes, including a flash mode--my light has low-mid-high-off, if there is a flash-mode it must be a special button press. I'll found out later. This light cycled through all the modes including off. This was a little annoying, if this was your only light it would be an issue to go 'black' while adjusting the light while riding. I wish it had a way to cycle low-mid-high and then a way to turn it on/off. My home school light has a switch and driver that allow to cycle low-mid-high, and then do a full click to turn on/off.

    On other minus on the Kinfire was the light difference between the modes. The low could of been a little lower, and the high a little brighter. I really liked the mid setting and did most of my riding on the medium setting with no issues. In fact, I think this will be my goto light instead of my HID. It weighs a lot less, and the light is actually better overall. The light dispersion creates a slightly better flood, it is still bright in the center, but not as spotty as the HID. Plus the HID only has one level of light, and if you turn it off, you are suppose to wait until it cools down before powering it back up. What I really love about the LEDs is there's no warm up, you can turn them on and off at will and the light is really good.

    The HID picture is a little mis-represented because it is more focused at the ground, and the other pictures I was pointing them at the tree.

    I might put the battery in a water-bottle just so it is easier to mount and unmount. The carrying case for the battery has a velcro strap that you can use to secure to your top-tube or seat-tube, but old habits die hard, and I still like having the battery in my bottle cage.

    I still can't believe the kind of light you can get for ~40.00. My original HID was ~300. That's the equivalent of 6+ LED-lights in the new world of LED technology. And the batteries are so much better. My home school light has 4-18650s in parallel. I don't think I can ride long enough to run out of light on a ride.

    If your looking for lights to do some extended evening rides, now is a good time to jump onto some 21st century technology for a reasonable price.

    Now onto the pics...

    New Skool...






    Old Skool...






    Home Skool...






    The following pictures were all taken with 1/15sec f2.0...
    HID Light


    Home School Low


    Home School Medium


    Home School High


    Kinfire Low


    Kinfire Medium


    Kinfire High


    New Skool--Old Skool--Home Skool


    Ride On!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    2,315
    Quote Originally Posted by jl View Post
    I still can't believe the kind of light you can get for ~40.00. My original HID was ~300.
    IMO not a real good comparison. The HID was top of the line USA product at the time. Comparing the cost of that to a cheaply made, Chinese light?

  3. #3
    jl
    jl is offline
    climb
    Reputation: jl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    2,229
    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    IMO not a real good comparison. The HID was top of the line USA product at the time. Comparing the cost of that to a cheaply made, Chinese light?
    Why isn't it a 'real good comparison?' I own all the above lights, and the cost basis is different, but it also shows the evolution of technology. I don't know how this is much different than comparing an apple newton, with a new (chinese made) ipod touch.
    Ride On!

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    2,315
    I'm thinking that a better comparison would be the HID against whatever NR has for a high-end LED light. The price difference will not be so great. The quality will be more closely matched.

    Had the Chinese been making bike lights in the era of the HIDs, they would have been cheaper and lower quality than your NR HID.

    The Chinese lights have the potential to be a great value. Personally after repairing a couple cheap lights, seeing the shoddy soldering, underspec'd components, poorly mounted components, I would not trust my night riding to one right out of the box. Disassemble it and correct of any manufacturing quality problems before serious use. Once that's done and the runtime verified a few times then IMO it's as good to go as any light.

  5. #5
    jl
    jl is offline
    climb
    Reputation: jl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    2,229
    I don't think comparing the HID to a high-end LED light is any better than comparing it to a cheapo-LED light. I've been using the HID lights for 10 years, and they are not problem free. The bulbs burnout, the ballasts break, and the batteries are heavy (but at least they have lasted). The HIDs are also more prone to breaking during a crash. I've been waiting to upgrade, but I'm not willing to spend another $300 on lights, especially when I can build one for less than $20.

    For this thread I was comparing night riding capabilities of each light. Does the light provide a good enough balanced light to ride at night. I was using the price information to show how much better LEDs are in overall value. Less prone to breaking, bulbs don't burnout, can turn on and off without waiting, can be run at different lumen levels, and the cost _can_ be a lot cheaper.

    If you have a MiNewt Pro, or Pro Race light you want to give me for a comparison, I would be happy to do that comparison (LED vs. LED). But truly, I will be using my cheapo Kinfire ahead of my niterider HID for the reasons I mentioned above. Brightness/beam pattern, durability, runtime flexibility, and weight, for me, that's the true comparison. The fact I can get that under $50.00 is a bonus. I think the last 2 pictures illustrate the point.
    Ride On!

Similar Threads

  1. Cree MKR
    By Goldigger in forum Lights DIY - Do It Yourself
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: 04-22-2014, 12:33 PM
  2. Cree XP-G R5 vs Cree XML-U2
    By JohnMcL7 in forum Lights and Night Riding
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 09-20-2013, 12:23 PM
  3. Cree XT-E
    By phburns in forum Lights DIY - Do It Yourself
    Replies: 163
    Last Post: 07-08-2012, 06:56 AM
  4. Cree XM-L a Niterider Minewt
    By ballsofcottonwool in forum Lights DIY - Do It Yourself
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-14-2011, 04:08 PM
  5. Cree Xp-e Hew
    By quazzle in forum Lights DIY - Do It Yourself
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 02-11-2011, 09:23 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •