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  1. #1
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    Know of a good, inexpensive bar-mounted light?

    I recently bought the Gemini Duo for my helmet, but am thinking that it would be good to have a second light, mounted on the bars/stem.

    I came across the new Cygo-Lite Metro 500, but it seems to have some reviews which mention poor clamping, and coming loose off road. It's recommended for "moderate" off roading, and we often hit some nasty, rough terrain while night riding, so I don't think it would do.

    So does anyone know of a good little light for the bars/stem which is around $75.00 max, and about 250-500 lumens?

    Thx.
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  2. #2
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    Self contained?

  3. #3
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    Yes, preferably.
    Last edited by Technician; 10-24-2013 at 01:43 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Anybody?
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  5. #5
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    I recently got a MagicShine 808 on Amazon for about $75 Not self contained but 1000lumens. pop for a wide lens for about $5 and you have a great commuter light

  6. #6
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    Thanks for that, but perhaps I wasn't clear: I don't commute; the lights will only be used for mountain biking (singletrack) at night. As I already have 1500 lumens on the helmet light, I only wish to have around 500 max on the bike. It would be for a little added light which is separate from the movement of my helmet, and also for safety/backup. Good clamping is key as we ride some pretty rough trails, and staying at around $75.00

    Cheers.
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  7. #7
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    Sorry, I don't know why I was thinking commute. I dont know why you want to limit yourself to a maximum, especially off road. I ride trails that are littered with lava rock (see avatar)and I want both the maximum light available and a mount that is both secure and a bit shock absorbing. The o-ring system that MS and clones use is very robust and in several years of riding have never had them loosen up. I use a combination wide/narrow beam 1400 lumen light on the bars and 2000 lumens on my helmet (2 MS 808 lights). Here is one on Amazon for $60 with $5 for the wide angle lens and you are still less than your price point.

    Good luck on your search

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    Last edited by arphaxhad; 10-27-2013 at 06:42 PM. Reason: add comment

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by arphaxhad View Post
    I dont know why you want to limit yourself to a maximum, especially off road.
    Because a) The more lumens, the more expensive it is generally (for a quality unit).
    b) Because I already have 1500 on my helmet, and the bike-mounted light is just for backup and some added light which will not move if/when I turn my head.


    Here is one on Amazon for $60 with $5 for the wide angle lens and you are still less than your price point.
    Thanks, but there are a number of reviews there which indicate that that particular light doesn't fair so well with the rigors of harsh off-road riding.
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  9. #9
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    To each his own, like I said, over 2 years of very harsh trail riding and I have had no problems. Just trying to be helpful...

  10. #10
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    You should spend some time reading some of he most active threads on the first page of this forum.

    You've picked a low price point. A guaranteed "high quality unit" is not assured in that price range. Self contained lights are generally higher priced than external battery lights. The higher quality self-contained lights, with a good warranty, from name brand manufacturers are in the $100+ range.

    The Cygo-Lite Metro 500 is also limited to a 1.5 hr advertised run time (who knows the actual), and does not have an "on trail" user replaceable battery.

    You haven't specified run time, and that's kind of a requirement for around here for light recommendations.

    We tend to prefer the external battery pack lights because of longer run times, and the ability of having a backup battery, to allow even longer run times.

    That battle for bragging rights, results in not much being produced in the low lumen level you requested. You do recognize that most of the lights we discuss have lower power settings that would give you roughly your 500 lumen range, right?

    Check your dates on reviews that trash the MS lights. They are now quite well regarded as a middle tier manufacturer. And Action-LED is an excellent supplier, who stands behind their product.

    The O-ring mounting system is pretty much the standard for bar lights. If you have some slippage problems on the rough stuff, add grip tape or a piece of inner-tube to your bars.

    There are three inexpensive lights very highly recommended on this forum, that are well within your price range. They are all external battery pack models, and all brighter than your request, but all have lower power modes. Check out the threads on the SolarStorm X2, & the MJ880 Clone. I own the SS, and like it enough, I am going to buy another. It's early days on the Yingding discussed in the Gemini Duo clones thread, but those that have it seem pleased with it.

  11. #11
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    Here is what I would do, plan to do and why. Save a bit more money and purchase an 808 LE2 with the upgraded battery.($28 more from Action LED) That Gemini and the shine run on the same battery. It is often said that the battery is a weak point with any LED bike light. If you stick with something that is interchangeable you will have a choice to run either light to get you back from miles deep on the single track in case of failure.
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  12. #12
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    You didn't specify runtime but to stay in the self contained space and still have everything you desire my suggestion would be the Cygolite Expilion 800. It can be found online for less than $100 and will give you over 2 hours at 550 (longer than the highest setting on the light you are considering) and of for whatever reason you brighter output on the bars you will have it available. You can even run for 3 hours at 400 lumens.

    The thought that I am presenting is getting more runtime at same or higher output levels with a slight increase in price point without having to buy the extra battery and light approach for the lower end unit if longer runtime is desired.

    If you do buy the extra battery for the cygolite (any one of the self contained units) keep in mind that their extra battery has to be charged in the light itself. There is no mechanism to simply plug it in and charge external to the light.
    Last edited by cue003; 10-28-2013 at 10:15 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian_C View Post
    You've picked a low price point. A guaranteed "high quality unit" is not assured in that price range. Self contained lights are generally higher priced than external battery lights. The higher quality self-contained lights, with a good warranty, from name brand manufacturers are in the $100+ range.
    Thanks for the well-said post. I guess I didn't mean "high-end", just not "junk". Mid-range will do.


    You haven't specified run time, and that's kind of a requirement for around here for light recommendations.
    As this particular light will used in a "mid" setting, and/or turned off at times, 1.5 hour burn times on high would be enough.

    We tend to prefer the external battery pack lights because of longer run times, and the ability of having a backup battery, to allow even longer run times.
    Yes, but as my Gemini Duo on the helmet has a 4-cell external battery, that's enough to do the lion's share of the lighting task.

    You do recognize that most of the lights we discuss have lower power settings that would give you roughly your 500 lumen range, right?
    Yes, but I feel that I'd like to not have an external battery for this bar-mounted light.






    Quote Originally Posted by Cajun Rich View Post
    Here is what I would do, plan to do and why. Save a bit more money and purchase an 808 LE2 with the upgraded battery.
    I Googled Magicshine 808 LE2 and got nothing. Is that number correct?






    Quote Originally Posted by cue003 View Post
    ....my suggestion would be the Cygolite Expilion 800. It can be found online for less than $100 and will give you over 2 hours at 550.
    Yes, but it has the same clamping problems that I sited in the OP about the Metro 500. Here's what the review said:

    "Frustrating mount: the mount is completely rigid (no rubber or silicone here) and can only be adjusted (by a plastic clip-in spacer) to “thick” or “thin” handlebars. The mount comes loose relatively quickly, and must be frequently re-tightened. The mount also rotates, which is handy for lighting up curves, but the light often slides from side to side when you want it to just face forwards."

    Perhaps some rubber on the bar would solve this as Ian_C indicated - I dunno.

    I just thought that for a self-contained 250-500 lumen bar light, there'd be a few brands/models that would be clear favorites.
    Last edited by Technician; 10-29-2013 at 08:50 AM.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Technician View Post
    Thanks for the well-said post. I guess I didn't mean "high-end", just not "junk". Mid-range will do....

    ...As this particular light will used in a "mid" setting, and/or turned off at times, 1.5 hour burn times on high would be enough.....

    Yes, but as my Gemini Duo on the helmet has a 4-cell external battery, that's enough to do the lion's share of the lighting task....

    Yes, but I feel that I'd like to not have an external battery for this bar-mounted light.
    With these things in perspective, I think you will be hard pressed to find a self contained lamp in the $60 range that will fit the bill. On the other hand you might go the torch route. A high quality 3-mode (H-M-L ) XM-L2 U2 drop-in with a good torch host ( something like a Solorforce ). Used with good Panasonic 18650 cells and you should have what you seem to be searching for and do it for around the $60 target price. You just won't get a very wide beam pattern but then again that doesn't seem to concern you. ( * if you need more info on setting up a torch just contact me and I'll try to dial you in to what you might want. )

    My recommendation is that you put the Duo on the bars ( which is what it was designed for ) and buy something like the Xera ( or Xera clone ) for the helmet. (Check with Action LED they might have some later models of the Xera still on sale.) The Duo will work better on the bars and the Xera is designed for helmet use. The Xera will cost more than $60 but you will have a better all around system for MTB'ing. Anyway, my 0.02cents FWIW.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Technician View Post
    I just thought that for a self-contained 250-500 lumen bar light, there'd be a few brands/models that would be clear favorites.
    Any light with those specs is made for commuting for the most part. Your needs are unique among mountain bikers. You need to make your own light or figure something else out.

    I like Cat's suggestions. Try a torch mounted to your bar if you really want a self contained 500 lumen bar light, or get a Xera.

  17. #17
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    If I were dead set on self contained, I'd probably just go with a torch deal like this, and a simple mount like this, and save some money. Might have to swap batteries mid-ride, but only takes a minute.
    And although the lumen claims are bogus (as usual), will still be brighter then the Cygolite.

    *Edited because I just re-read OP's first post.
    Last edited by fightnut; 10-31-2013 at 12:04 PM.

  18. #18
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    Great thread! I just decided the other day that I wanted to get a decent light for around 100 bucks for night trail and road rides. Lots of great info here that is definitely helping me out.
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  19. #19
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    Hey, I just stumbled across this; isn't this just what I'm looking for?

    KNOG : Hi Power Lights : Blinder Road 3
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Technician View Post
    Hey, I just stumbled across this; isn't this just what I'm looking for?

    KNOG : Hi Power Lights : Blinder Road 3
    There has been some complaints around the web about the longevity and quality of the Knog straps. These concerns have been with the blinder road 2 but there is no difference between it and the road 3 outside of a 100 lumen higher output on the 3 to make it 300 lumens.

    Let us know what you decide and your thoughts after usage.

  21. #21
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    It's probably called a road light for a reason.

    There's lots of these lower powered self contained lights. Look at the lezyne's, the nightrider lumina, and the serfas.

    My concern is that your very bright Duo is going to wash out your lower powered bar light. The point of the bar light is to create shadows, so you can recognize the roots, rocks and ruts. If your head light is four times brighter than your bar light, then I doubt that you would see any shadows.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    It's probably called a road light for a reason.
    Yes, and I've emailed Knog with an inquiry to see what they say.

    There's lots of these lower powered self contained lights. Look at the lezyne's, the nightrider lumina, and the serfas.
    Thanks, I will (although right off the bat, I'm familiar with the Lumina, and feel that it's too tall, weighty and longish for staying solid (wobbly) and this is why I'm drawn to the little stout ones.

    My concern is that your very bright Duo is going to wash out your lower powered bar light. The point of the bar light is to create shadows, so you can recognize the roots, rocks and ruts. If your head light is four times brighter than your bar light, then I doubt that you would see any shadows.
    This is not a concern for me. The duty of the bar-mounted light (for me) is to be: a) a separate direction of light apart from my helmet light for those events (however brief) that I need to move my head away from the trail. And, b) to be a back-up light should the aircraft-landing-light on my helmet fail.

    Cheers.
    Last edited by Technician; 10-30-2013 at 04:55 PM.
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  23. #23
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    It's what you want if you wanted 60% the lumens you said you want and 130% of the price you said you wanted, is really what you wanted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Technician View Post
    Thanks, I will (although right off the bat, I'm familiar with the Lumina, and feel that it's too tall, weighty and longish for staying solid (wobbly) and this is why I'm drawn to the little stout ones.

    Cheers.
    I've had the Serfas in my hand and I thought they were remarkably small. The new luminas (2013) are also supposed to be smaller than the previous year.

    Another thing you could do is go get a cheap clone light, run it low, and mount a 2-cell battery on the stem. That's probably what I would do the in your circumstance. It's still light, plus you can swap it with the Duo or its battery if you run into problem with that light. It's a much more cost effective option. Solarstorm X2 lighthead $20-$25, 2 cell battery $23
    Action-LED-Lights ? MJ-6008 2200mAh Waterproof Battery

    That's going to be a way better option than a self-contained light, in my opinion. The mounts are always going be a weak point on those.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironbrewer View Post
    It's what you want if you wanted 60% the lumens you said you want and 130% of the price you said you wanted, is really what you wanted.
    I said I wanted 250-500. It's 300.


    Only $10.00 More:

    Knog Blinder Road 3 Front 2 LED Light Sports & Leisure | ProBikeKit Canada
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  26. #26
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    Just for everyone's information, I just received this from Knog, regarding the "Blinder Road" units:

    As of the October production run we are manufacturing Blinder Road 2 & 3 lights as well as the Arc's with an integrated strong magnet in the strap and clasp. This will prevent the units from coming undone if riding over tough terrain.
    Therefore I would wait for these updated models to hit the stores in December/January before committing to a unit.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    Another thing you could do is go get a cheap clone light, run it low, and mount a 2-cell battery on the stem. That's probably what I would do the in your circumstance. It's still light, plus you can swap it with the Duo or its battery if you run into problem with that light. It's a much more cost effective option. Solarstorm X2 lighthead $20-$25, 2 cell battery $23
    Action-LED-Lights ? MJ-6008 2200mAh Waterproof Battery

    That's going to be a way better option than a self-contained light, in my opinion. The mounts are always going be a weak point on those.

    Speaking of mounting weak points, I just picked up one of those MJ-6008 battery packs from Action LED and while the pack itself appears to be decent, the nylon case leaves a lot to be desired with respect to mounting on a stem. The velcro and snap strap don't allow you to fasten it down tightly and it hangs loosely and sways around. Since I bought the pack mainly for helmet use, this doesn't bother me this much but if I intended to use it on the stem, I'd just spend the extra 12 bucks for one of the 4-cell MS packs Action LED offers which have two strap setups that enable you to more tightly fasten the pack to a stem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by klydesdale View Post
    Speaking of mounting weak points, I just picked up one of those MJ-6008 battery packs from Action LED and while the pack itself appears to be decent, the nylon case leaves a lot to be desired with respect to mounting on a stem. The velcro and snap strap don't allow you to fasten it down tightly and it hangs loosely and sways around. Since I bought the pack mainly for helmet use, this doesn't bother me this much but if I intended to use it on the stem, I'd just spend the extra 12 bucks for one of the 4-cell MS packs Action LED offers which have two strap setups that enable you to more tightly fasten the pack to a stem.
    That sucks, it looks like it would be great little pack.

    Another option would be that strap from backcountry that someone linked to recently. I have also seen some sort of clip that turns an old inner tube into a strap. That might work.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Technician View Post
    Just for everyone's information, I just received this from Knog, regarding the "Blinder Road" units:

    As of the October production run we are manufacturing Blinder Road 2 & 3 lights as well as the Arc's with an integrated strong magnet in the strap and clasp. This will prevent the units from coming undone if riding over tough terrain.
    Therefore I would wait for these updated models to hit the stores in December/January before committing to a unit.
    Thanks for posting the response from Knog... now how will anyone know if they unit they are buying is truly the new unit vs old stock unless they are physically holding/inspecting the unit before purchase?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Technician View Post
    This is not a concern for me. The duty of the bar-mounted light (for me) is to be: a) a separate direction of light apart from my helmet light for those events (however brief) that I need to move my head away from the trail. And, b) to be a back-up light should the aircraft-landing-light on my helmet fail.

    Cheers.
    I agree with varider, I think having a light on your bars that is less then half as bright as your helmet light isn't ideal.
    If nothing else, I think it's going to mess with your eyes having to adjust and re-adjust to the different levels of light moving around.

    It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me to want such a small amount of light when there are other options available to you.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by fightnut View Post
    I agree with varider, I think having a light on your bars that is less then (than) half as bright as your helmet light isn't ideal.
    If nothing else, I think it's going to mess with your eyes having to adjust and re-adjust to the different levels of light moving around.

    It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me to want such a small amount of light when there are other options available to you.
    Thanks for the reply, but I don't concur. Allow me to explain:

    I think it's widely agreed that if a person were to have one light only, a helmet mounted light is better (at least for off-road). I got a loaner light from a bike shop a couple of weeks ago, and tried a bit of riding with it (at night) on the bike, then tried it on the helmet. The helmet mount felt so much more...."better". It felt logical and fluid compared to the bike mount experience.

    As explained, I've already spent ~$260.00 on a Gemini Duo, and I don't wish to have double that invested in my lights, nor do I want two big batteries to lug around. The Duo will do the vast majority of the work, and will do it well, mounted on the helmet. I just want a little extra light on the bike to augment the Duo, and for back-up.
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    Curious why you're opposed to the bar light having an external battery? Just not want the hassle of mounting the battery? A weight/bulk issue?

    Because if you were flexible on that, I really think a Gemini Duo CLONE makes the most sense here. Especially since you already have a genuine Gemini Duo on your helmet (so you know how small and awesome they are), for under $50 bucks, how can you go wrong? Puts you in your budget range, run it on low or medium if you only want 300-500 lumens on the bars.

    Hell, if you only run it on low and medium, you could probably get away with using a 2 cell battery to save you the weight/bulk of a full 4 cell, if that was your concern.

    Just throwing out options for ya.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by fightnut View Post
    Curious why you're opposed to the bar light having an external battery? Just not want the hassle of mounting the battery? A weight/bulk issue?
    Ya, basically. But, it's now looking like the type of integrated battery light that I'm looking for doesn't exist, so I may need to go to a separate battery type. If I do, the Minewt Mini 350 looks like a good option, as it has a very small battery that can tuck under the stem.



    Because if you were flexible on that, I really think a Gemini Duo CLONE makes the most sense here. Especially since you already have a genuine Gemini Duo on your helmet (so you know how small and awesome they are), for under $50 bucks, how can you go wrong? Puts you in your budget range, run it on low or medium if you only want 300-500 lumens on the bars.
    Possibly, however I don't feel good about supporting the people who have stolen the design from the Canadian guy who invested time & money in developing the Gemini lights. That's why I bought the authentic Gemini Duo, I wanted to support the guy and his efforts.



    Just throwing out options for ya.
    Yup, and I appreciate it - thanks.
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    I just bought the shadow from the international outdoor store.
    Some Nice New Lights at International Outdoor Store | BudgetLightForum.com

    It is small and bright, probably 700-800 lumens. $60

    Lo/Med/High and strobe.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Technician View Post
    Ya, basically. But, it's now looking like the type of integrated battery light that I'm looking for doesn't exist, so I may need to go to a separate battery type. If I do, the Minewt Mini 350 looks like a good option, as it has a very small battery that can tuck under the stem.
    That Minewt is basically what I was trying to describe to you, with cheaper and brighter parts. I don't know what you mean with " But, it's now looking like the type of integrated battery light that I'm looking for doesn't exist". There are tons of lights with integrated batteries.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    I don't know what you mean with " But, it's now looking like the type of integrated battery light that I'm looking for doesn't exist". There are tons of lights with integrated batteries.
    Yes, but it seems like the vast majority of them are long, tall, wobbly things like the Lumina 350 sort of thing; not what I'd like. So far the Blinder Road 3 was the best I found, but the new model suitable for MTB isn't available for a few months.

    Thx.
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    The aren't that wobbly because they are light.

    I don't think you are going to be happy with that Knog. If you are really riding the rough stuff, I can't see that staying put. It's not even that small. It only last an hour on high. It's really more of a city light. It's almost $100.

    You're hell bent on getting that thing, so let us know how it is.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    I don't think you are going to be happy with that Knog. If you are really riding the rough stuff, I can't see that staying put. It's not even that small. It only last an hour on high.

    You're hell bent on getting that thing, so let us know how it is.

    It appears that you haven't been reading all of my posts. I mentioned how I contacted Knog and found that the new model that might be better suited for off-road won't be available for a few months. I also stated that what I'm looking for doesn't appear to exist, so I may indeed consider a light with a separate battery (as long as it is small) like the Minewt Mini 350.

    shrug
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  39. #39
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    I'm in the same market. I have a 750 lumen helmet mount light but it's just not enough for rough singletrack.

    What about the Fenix BT20? Looks like a decent light for around $100 with a smallish (2 cell) battery pack.

  40. #40
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    So I wound up buying the Minewt Mini 350 "Plus" from Jenson. It seemed to check off the most boxes for me and my particular wants & needs. It has a very small battery which mounts under the stem. I got the "Plus" model which includes the helmet mount just for that option/flexibility. They matched an Amazon price of $85.87 (Reg. $109.99)

    Thanks for the conversation.
    Last edited by Technician; 11-01-2013 at 02:56 PM.
    I call him free who is led solely by reason. (Baruch Spinoza)

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Technician View Post
    So I wound up pulling the trigger on the Minewt Mini 350 "Plus" from Jenson. It seemed to check off the most boxes for me and my particular wants & needs. It has a very small battery which mounts under the stem. I got the "Plus" model which includes the helmet mount just for that option/flexibility. They matched an Amazon price of $85.87 (Reg. $109.99)

    Thanks for the conversation.
    Maybe you could report back after you get it and let us know your thoughts.

    Enjoy your new light.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by cue003 View Post
    Maybe you could report back after you get it and let us know your thoughts.
    So I had my first night ride with the new lights last night (Gemini Duo 1500 on the helmet and Minewt Mini 350 on the bars). It worked out great. I had the Duo quite far forward on my helmet, and I assumed that I would be able to fine tune it's angle once I was out on the trail, but it was maxed out in it's tilt back, so it wasn't pointing out far enough, its beam was a little too close to the area in front of the front wheel.

    I've now located it a little further back on the helmet and have the desired adjustability with the beam throw. The 1500 Lumens was great, but wasn't as "killer" as I was expecting, so I'd recommend that this level of light at least would be what one should strive for.

    The additional little light on the bar was great to have, as expected; it's a good combo.

    I found that on both units, the control buttons were difficult to push for different settings. It was very cold (freezing), so I suspect that that may have played a role in this, but the buttons seem too flush & firm - you don't get a good sense or feel that you are on the button, and it had to be pressed very hard to switch.
    I call him free who is led solely by reason. (Baruch Spinoza)

  43. #43
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    I ride with a reverse lumen setup from you. Bright light on the bars and lower lumen on the helmet. Tried the other way first, but found I like the brightest light pointing where the tire is going and the lower lumen on to look around with. The guys I ride with do the same but I know there are others like yourself who find it better the other way.

  44. #44
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    Heretic!

    I call him free who is led solely by reason. (Baruch Spinoza)

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    Just to chime in here on the topic. I also was looking at the best combo for bar/helmet. I purchased the Gemini duo (2013) model and have it bar mounted. Plenty of light for a single light option.

    I then purchased the Xeccon s12-2 for a thrower for my helmet. On my first ride with the combo, the Xeccon is WAY too overpowering of the Gemini duo on the bars. This thing reminds me of those lights used to spot planes during bombing raids! For the tight single track we mostly ride the Xeccon is too much.

    I just ordered a Duo clone with the XML2 led for my helmet mount. I think this may be the ideal setup..
    Will report on how this works

  46. #46
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    I like mine to be balanced between bar/helmet; I set my bar to light the trail closer to my bike and my helmet light gives me the down-the-trail view.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

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