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  1. #1
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    New lights narrowed down but still need some hand holding

    After last night's ride I decided it was time for new lights. My current setup is halogen 10W (I think) helmet light, and dual 10w/15w (or 15w/20w I can't remember). These are old lights from bicyclelights.com which apparently is no longer around. Anyway, I'm pretty sold on an ideal setup being bar + helmet light so ideally my new purchase would include both. From everything I've read it sounds like LED over HID is the best "bang for my buck." Ideally I'd like to spend around $200 for the lights, but the more I look I'm not sure that price range is going to get me what I want - but I'm absolutely not going over $300. I'll be using these mostly for lightly technical singletrack - usually rides of around 2 hours. I might like to try an endurance race later this season but definitely not my primary purpose. Also, I like lots of light as much as the next guy, but I'm not looking to "out-shine" everyone I ride with. I just want to be able to go faster than my current setup allows. So following is my final picks - I'm also listing what my main likes and/or dislikes are. Basically I'm just hoping that someone here has some 1st hand experience with the lights I'm mentioning and can tell me whether my logic is sound or not. Lights are listed in the order that I currently consider them:

    #1 -- Ay Up MTB kit ($284)
    Likes: Solid reviews, light weight, good light output, runtime, but best of all a complete 2 light setup w/ multiple batteries and quick charge times.
    Dislikes: Seem like the best bang for the buck but $284 is still at the top of my price threshold, only 1 mode (I guess 2 actually - on/off), lack of low battery circuitry

    #2 -- NiteFLUX Photo 8 (single) ($200)
    Likes: Super bright (540 lumens), runtime, kind of like the idea it can double as a flashlight, looks solidly built, closer to preferred pricepoint.
    Dislikes: 1 light only, NO available reviews

    #2 (I know, they're tied) -- Dinotte 400L ($210)
    Likes: Lots of good reviews, good words about circuitry, runtime, closer to preferred pricepoint.
    Dislikes: 1 light only - would require me to spend more $ down the road unless I use my current lights with this.

    #4 -- TrailTech Single 13 W HID Helmet Light ($197)
    Likes: Light output, runtime (4.5 hours)
    Dislikes: HID (I have no experience with them, but sounds like they are more finicky - expensive to repair), 1 light only.

    There are actually a lot more likes/dislikes for each item, but I'm just trying to hit the main ones that are really hanging me up on making a decision - but if you can think of something that you think I'm really missing the boat on - please let me know.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Basically, I'd stretch and go for the 800L/400L combo from Dinotte. I think it is basically like getting the 400L for $20 or something like that. It's one heck of a deal and that would be a ton of light for you.

    The 400L is basically (almost) indistinguishable from the 600L in terms of usable light output. In other words, it's a pretty bright 400 lumens.

    This is one of those deals where it's best to go to what you really need right out of the chute. Otherwise, you wind up buying more or replacing in a relatively short period of time. If you take a nasty spill because you missed something due to poor lighting, the cost difference doesn't seem so important anymore.

    J.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80
    Basically, I'd stretch and go for the 800L/400L combo from Dinotte. I think it is basically like getting the 400L for $20 or something like that. It's one heck of a deal and that would be a ton of light for you.

    The 400L is basically (almost) indistinguishable from the 600L in terms of usable light output. In other words, it's a pretty bright 400 lumens.

    This is one of those deals where it's best to go to what you really need right out of the chute. Otherwise, you wind up buying more or replacing in a relatively short period of time. If you take a nasty spill because you missed something due to poor lighting, the cost difference doesn't seem so important anymore.

    J.
    J,
    Thanks for the idea but $500 for a light set is a little more than "stretching" for me. I'll probably get sent to the doghouse for a while just for spending 200 so more than double that will definitely be out of the question. I do want to make sure not to waste money on something that's not worth it.

  4. #4
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    go with the ayups - they're light, bright, and work well.

  5. #5
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    Photon Max at $283, definitely should be a contender, surprisingly light, so good on your head, and with 800L you dont really need a bar light. Yeah the on/off on the battery is a bit annoying but the runtime is good enough that you could probably just leave it on full all ride!

  6. #6
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    love my ay-up "roadie kit" used for commuting and trail riding. plenty of light. light weight, 6+ hr battery. it's sweet
    the time is right for violent revolution

  7. #7
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    I can't comment on the other lights, but I really like my 400L. I don't have a single complaint, using it as my only light and mounted on my helmet. Also, dinotte's customer service is top-notch, and they make their lights in the US.

    If you want a helmet and bar combo, consider the 400L and a 200L light engine only. The 400L comes w/ two batteries, so you'd be set. The 200L would be around $100, but contact dinotte for an exact price. This might put you a little over your $300 limit, but shipping w/ dinotte is free. It looks like shipping w/ ayup (only double light head set up on your list) would be about $30 coming from Australia, so you'd be about even.

    And then there is always the dual 400L package for $370...

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the input everyone. I was placing my order for the Ay Up MTB kit, but after shipping & mount upgrades it came up to over $330 and I started having second thoughts. So I looked at my other options again and finally placed my order for the photon max. 800 lumens for $274 after shipping comes out to about $.34 per lumen as opposed to Ay Up's $.52 per lumen. Plus I don't think (2) 320 lumen lights really equates to 640 lumens. So I hope I made the right decision. The Ay Up probably would have been the better choice for endurance races - but I'm not even sure if I'll do much if any of that type of riding anyway. Also would prefer to have a 2 light setup, but for now I can just bring one of my old lights as back up. I'll post a follow-up after I've used it.

    Thanks again

  9. #9
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    Good choice. Reviews are varied as the earlier ones had a narrower beam, later ones, have a better beam shame, great on your head. You wont need another light really with this!

  10. #10
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    The thing I'm not able to reconcile about the Ayups - and that is very interesting - is that their lumens are 320 per light (640 for the set). The lux measurements done here are 33 for one light (i.e. helmet or bar but not both) which is the same as the 600L that is supposed to be 600 lumens. If that is the case, then the Ayups are very efficient and must have efficient optics. My 400L's are supposed to be about 400 lumens and 25lux. that means that going to the Ayups would represent about 50% more light on the road than the Dinotte's.

    Does that sound right from anyone that has used both?

    J.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish
    Thanks for the input everyone. I was placing my order for the Ay Up MTB kit, but after shipping & mount upgrades it came up to over $330 and I started having second thoughts. So I looked at my other options again and finally placed my order for the photon max. 800 lumens for $274 after shipping comes out to about $.34 per lumen as opposed to Ay Up's $.52 per lumen. Plus I don't think (2) 320 lumen lights really equates to 640 lumens. So I hope I made the right decision. The Ay Up probably would have been the better choice for endurance races - but I'm not even sure if I'll do much if any of that type of riding anyway. Also would prefer to have a 2 light setup, but for now I can just bring one of my old lights as back up. I'll post a follow-up after I've used it.

    Thanks again
    Good choice. The price per lumen is great with the Photon Max's. I picked up 2 of the Extremes from GeoMan and love them!
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  12. #12
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    No, i know a guy who has both ayups and the 400L and one ayup is nowhere near the 400L, If you look at the 2008 test on that linky about the bounce tests the difference between the light is much more. It looks more like there was something not right during the 2009 ayup light test, i reckon they would be about 18-19 lux not the 33, there must of been lots of ambient light around or another light left on. Or the extra 40 lumens really has doubled their power!

  13. #13
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    I ride with ayup's, my riding buddies are using cygo and niterider hid's. On the specs their lights have more lumens than mine, on the trail my lights put out a brighter, broader beam and white light than theirs.

    Whilst I'm not familiar with the Dinotte lights that are discussed here this has just been my observations that theres more to lights than the amount of lumens.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by moggy82
    No, i know a guy who has both ayups and the 400L and one ayup is nowhere near the 400L, If you look at the 2008 test on that linky about the bounce tests the difference between the light is much more. It looks more like there was something not right during the 2009 ayup light test, i reckon they would be about 18-19 lux not the 33, there must of been lots of ambient light around or another light left on. Or the extra 40 lumens really has doubled their power!
    I think there was a LED upgrade between the two years of tests on the Ayups. I have the 400L, and it works well, but if the Ayup is truly 33 lux then it would be the same as the 600L mounted on my helmet in a much smaller package. That would be huge and would be worth the change.

    I, too, am curious about this and the numbers. The difference between 400 lumens and 320 lumens is not much but if the reflectors and optics are better, it could make a difference. You do notice, for example, that there is not much difference between the 400L and 600L and that probably reflects (no pun intended) improvements and efficiencies in design over a two year period. Does the same apply to the Ayups v 400L? I really would like to hear from someone that has both and could compare side by side to the current 400L and the current Ayup narrow (helmet) beam unit.

    J

  15. #15
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    Just wanted to post a follow up on the NiteFlux Photon Max. First off, big thanks to geomangear. This was my first time dealing with this website and I was very impressed. I placed my order at 12:30AM and went to bed. When I got up I had an email from Geomangear (sent @ 6:40 AM) stating that my light had been shipped! I think that's probably the fastest turn around I've ever seen.

    Now onto the light. Of course I had to wait 3 days before I could try it out because it rained the day the light arrived. Once I tried it I was very impressed. The light has 4 wattage settings + a flash mode. The second to lowest setting (3 watt) was putting out as much light as my old halogen headlamp. I ran most of the trail on the next to highest setting (6 watt) and had more than enough light. I think it's going to take one heck of technical trail to warrant the 12 watt setting. Another thing I was impressed with was how comfortable my helmet was with the light mounted on it. I was a little worried the unit would feel big and heavy on my helmet but that simply wasn't the case. It is a fairly sizable unit so I mounted it close to the front of the helmet. The top to the light sets about even with the top of the helmet in this position. I was expecting my helmet to constantly slide down in front, but suprisingly I didn't encounter that issue at all.

    I know others have mentioned the switch on the battery as being a pain in the butt, but I didn't have a problem with that either. Perhaps this is because my old light set is so old and heavy, that anything with current technology seems light-years ahead, but I just put the battery in my right jersey pocket and could easily reach around and hit the button any time I wanted. In fact it worked much better than the (wired) remote switch on my other lights because I pretty much had to wear my camel back with them just to have someplace to attach the swtich.

    The only downsides with the lights are #1: Although this light lets me see things much quicker/farther away and therefore I can go faster, at times I did miss the dual light setup. I think if I was on a trail that was slower and more technical I would really want the dual setup over the 1 light.
    #2: Actually more of an oberservation than a downside - the 12 watt setting definitely didn't seem twice as bright as the 6 watt setting. While it was noticably brighter, it was not as much brighter as I was expecting. That said, I'm actually very happy that the 6 watt setting is plenty of light for 90% of the riding I do since that means I'll get 5.5 hours out of a charge as opposed to 2.5.

    Hopefully I'll get in on a group ride soon so I can actually compare it to some other lights. So far though I'm very happy with my decision.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish
    Just wanted to post a follow up on the NiteFlux Photon Max. First off, big thanks to geomangear. This was my first time dealing with this website and I was very impressed. I placed my order at 12:30AM and went to bed. When I got up I had an email from Geomangear (sent @ 6:40 AM) stating that my light had been shipped! I think that's probably the fastest turn around I've ever seen.
    I've always had excellent success with GeoMan, hence the reason I am a repeat customer and picked up two Photon Max Extremes from him!


    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish
    I know others have mentioned the switch on the battery as being a pain in the butt, but I didn't have a problem with that either.
    I haven't had any issues with the switch either. I sorta like that the button is out of the way and can't be accidently depressed. Someone that is constantly switching light modes may not like the location, but the 6 watt mode is rather bright and can be used for the majority of riding.

    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish
    #2: Actually more of an oberservation than a downside - the 12 watt setting definitely didn't seem twice as bright as the 6 watt setting. While it was noticably brighter, it was not as much brighter as I was expecting.
    That's the law of diminishing returns. It seems the brighter a light gets, the harder it is to notice lumen increases.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Datalogger
    I...That's the law of diminishing returns. It seems the brighter a light gets, the harder it is to notice lumen increases.
    So true....I just did a quick test with my Dinottes. I added the 200L's light to the 600L's and couldn't help but notice that with the additional 200lm it was hard to notice the increased output... Noticeable but barely. Now when I added the output of a 600lm torch to the 600L ( output x 2 ) there is a very noticeable increase. I think the more light you have the more you would need to notice an increase. I think once you reach somewhere in the 1000lm range the issue becomes moot. Of course having the right optics/reflector can change perceivable output as well. Once you have the right combo of flood/throw it then becomes possible to figure just how many lumens you will actually need.

  18. #18
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    I also think it has something to do with the way your see light. It's not linear - i.e. 2X the light doesn't look 2X as bright - I believe it's logarithmic.

    J.

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