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  1. #1
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    Light suggestions for riding trails at night...

    Hey,

    I went riding yesterday evening and got caught in the dark. I came across some riders that had lights and it's inspired me to get some of my own.

    I'd like to buy a light for my bars and one for my helmet. Which light should be more powerful? and are there specific lights for either one?

    I mostly ride in the Santa Monica mountains. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated.

    cheers!

  2. #2
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    I would suggest checking out the reviews in this forum or the "lights shootout" thread and see what you like. Lights range from board sponsored companies to custom made lights. In general, you want a stronger bar light that has a 'flood' effect and a less strong light for your helmet that has a lot of 'throw'. Those lights require a lot of current to power them and that's why most opt for units with external batteries (plus, the batteries tend to go bad before the lights). Be careful about exaggerated lumens claims out there. The shootout thread is good for getting a realistic idea of how these lights really perform with standardized beam shots to boot. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    As steelhmr said, the 2013 light shoot out is a required read. It focuses on commercially made lights that range from under a hundred dollars to several hundred dollars.

    A lot of the lights that we talk about on this forum are made in China clones. They are super cheap, as little as $25. They are used by many people, with varying degrees of success. They are not sold in bike stores

    Here's on of the most talked about and cheapest
    Review of Ebay: 1800 Lumen CREE XML T6 LED Bicycle HeadLight Lamp

  4. #4
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    some good suggestions and starting points -

    Bars Lupine Wilma with helmet mounted Pika. Actually a *really* nice set up with be dual Pikas with one on the helmet and one on the bars. Hard to be tinier than that and that is *plenty* of light.

    Self contained on the bars - the Taz1000 from light and motion is a good choice.

    Dinotte has a number of good solutions. So does L&M but I think their choices run better towards bar mounts.

    J.

  5. #5
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    How often are you going to be riding at night and for how long? If a lot, spend a little more for your lights. If not, go for the cheap stuff.
    "By Your Command"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmtt View Post
    Hey,

    I went riding yesterday evening and got caught in the dark. I came across some riders that had lights and it's inspired me to get some of my own.

    I'd like to buy a light for my bars and one for my helmet. Which light should be more powerful? and are there specific lights for either one?

    I mostly ride in the Santa Monica mountains. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated.

    cheers!
    good plan.

    helmet light should be powerful but lightweight and have good "throw"

    bar light should have wide even coverage, but doesn't need to be super powerful, unless you don't have a good helmet light.

    beam pattern is more important for bar light. power to weight ratio is more important for helmet light.

  7. #7
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    The good ole' Magic Shine 808s (2) is a great combo for not a lot of coin. Action LED Lights - Brilliant lighting for all your biking & outdoor sporting activities.

    Get the diffuser for the bar-mounted light.

    You can't go wrong with this set up..tired and true.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  8. #8
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    After doing some research I came up with this combo.
    Dinotte xml-1 for helmet and Dinotte xml-3 for bars.

    pucked up - I've been riding about 3 times a week but now that daylight leaving us i'll probbaly be using the the lights twice a week.

    TiGeo - I've read about thos Magic shine 808's, they sound good. Aftter doing some research I came up with this combo - Dinotte xml-1 for the bars and Dinotte xml-3 for helmet.

    what say you all????

  9. #9
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    sorry for the repetition! typing on an iphone blows!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmtt View Post
    After doing some research I came up with this combo.
    Dinotte xml-1 for helmet and Dinotte xml-3 for bars.

    pucked up - I've been riding about 3 times a week but now that daylight leaving us i'll probbaly be using the the lights twice a week.

    TiGeo - I've read about thos Magic shine 808's, they sound good. Aftter doing some research I came up with this combo - Dinotte xml-1 for the bars and Dinotte xml-3 for helmet.

    what say you all????
    you stated what you came up with twice and managed to contradict yourself. figure out which one is for the bars and which one is for the helmet and get back to us. re-read what you wrote ...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmtt View Post
    sorry for the repetition! typing on an iphone blows!
    repetition is not the problem. the problem is what you stated the 2nd time is the opposite of what you stated the first time ...

  12. #12
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    sorry, dinotte xml-1 for helmet and xml-3 for bars

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmtt View Post
    sorry, dinotte xml-1 for helmet and xml-3 for bars
    no good ...

  14. #14
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    try instead:

    XML-3 on helmet
    L&M Seca 1500 on bar

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    try instead:

    XML-3 on helmet
    L&M Seca 1500 on bar
    nice but a bit too pricey for me

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmtt View Post
    sorry, dinotte xml-1 for helmet and xml-3 for bars
    that will work fine.... err for most ppl anyway.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmtt View Post
    nice but a bit too pricey for me
    then:

    helmet - Dinotte XML3



    bar - MagicShine 872


  18. #18
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    You could get more power for less money with two 808s.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    You could get more power for less money with two 808s.
    power is not everything ...

  20. #20
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    I started with 2 808's and moved up to a Gemini Xera on the helmet and an Olympia on the bars, which is similar to a dionette 3 up on the bars and a single xml on the helmet. This setup works great for me. I like to suggest starting cheap because you can get in the door then figure out what your needs are and what to buy among the hundreds of options. You also will have some loaner lights and extra batteries after you upgrade.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekbob View Post
    I like to suggest starting cheap because you can get in the door then figure out what your needs are and what to buy among the hundreds of options.
    i agree. no matter what you get you will decide to upgrade a year or two later anyway. don't think spending a little more now will mean you will never need to upgrade - doesn't work that way. since you don't know what you're doing now you should not spend a lot.

    yes i know i contradict myself because i just told somebody else to get at a minimum a setup for over $1,000 but his situation was different. he said he has something like a 10 hour race coming up in a few weeks half of which would be in the dark - in that case he didn't have the luxury of incrementally upgrading over the course of 2 - 3 years.

    but if you're not in a rush start with a more value oriented setup and then you will eventually figure out if you want more light on the helmet or bars, or if you want a brighter light or wider beam etc. because a lot of this is individual preference.

    last year i thought i had it all figured out, ended up returning all of the lights, and getting a completely new set this year, because again i thought i figured it all out, but then i realized it wasn't working either, so i am again making changes - that's just how it works

    and it wasn't because i went for ebay lights the first time - on the contrary - the first light i bought was a Lupine - it's just that sometimes you realize that what you need is not what you have and it has nothing to do with quality of what you have - what you have may simply be wrong for your needs ...

    just like a college student on average changes his declared major 2 or 3 times so i would say expect to replace your setup once or twice or three times before you have something that you're truly satisfied with.

    for a first round your goal should be to get within striking distance of a good system without spending a lot of cash. two lights for ~ $100 each is probably a good place to start.

  22. #22
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    mmtt, take anything Androgen says with a grain of salt. He doesn't ride trails, he rides around the streets of NY lit up like a circus clown, and likes to suggest overpriced lights to everybody (that is, when he's not going way off topic with page long ramblings).

    I'd go with TiGeo's suggestion.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by fightnut View Post
    mmtt, take anything Androgen says with a grain of salt. He doesn't ride trails, he rides around the streets of NY lit up like a circus clown, and likes to suggest overpriced lights to everybody (that is, when he's not going way off topic with page long ramblings).

    I'd go with TiGeo's suggestion.
    thanks for that personal attack buddy, that was very appropriate of you. off to ignore list you go.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmtt View Post
    sorry, dinotte xml-1 for helmet and xml-3 for bars
    THose are actually a great choice. Dinotte is a great company with good customer service.

    I think you will find, though that the XML-1 at 400 lumens will get lost in the XML-3's beam at 1500 lumens. Generally, I've found that a ratio of about 2:1 (bar to helmet) works out about right. If on doubt, error closer to 1:1. You might want to look at a XML-3 for the helmet too and then run a battery in your pocket with an extension cable. That would be a modest upcharge AND I'm sure Rob would make you a deal on two of them.


    J.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    thanks for that personal attack buddy, that was very appropriate of you. off to ignore list you go.
    Don't feel bad fightnut - that's where I am and it's actually been nice.

    J.

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