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  1. #1
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    Self contained helmet mount lights for commuting

    The cord on my 13W hallogen head lamp is about to break so I'm looking to replace it with something without the fussy, fragile cord.

    How practical are the self-contained helmet mounted lights? A staff member at a local bike shop mentioned that he tried one once for about an hour or two and it really made his neck sore. However, the particular model he used is one of the heavier ones.

    I'm looking for something that mounts and unmounts easily, is comfortable for up to an hour when used daily and can also be mounted on the bars when that option is available. My primary "bike" is a pair of speed skates so no bar mount available there.

    Is there anything out there that really works? I will need about 300-400 lumens to match the old halogen.

  2. #2
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    Look at the Amoeba lights by an mtbr member scar. He uses a short cable between the light and the battery so you can balance it better than an all in one light. It's also a very light system too.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the shout out Vancbiker!

    I think the advantages of my light are the micro size, minimal weight that is well balanced, low profile, and great output. But then I am biased


    Self contained helmet mount lights for commuting-blog-11.jpg

    Self contained helmet mount lights for commuting-amoeba-xp_g-beamshot.jpg


    Shoot me an email as the address in my signature and I can forward you some information.

    ***

  4. #4
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    My self contained helmet light is not as cool as Scar's Amoeba, but it does the job for me

    Convoy M1 with a velcro strap for a .mount

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by find_bruce View Post
    My self contained helmet light is not as cool as Scar's Amoeba, but it does the job for me

    Convoy M1 with a velcro strap for a .mount
    How do you mount that on the helmet?

  6. #6
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    Lezyne have a few self contained lights that might work. eg:
    Lezyne Performance Led Bike Lights

    Helmet weight is a personal thing, some people don't mind loading it up, in which case (need to add batteries):
    $17.82 UltraFire A6 Cree XM-L T6 800-Lumen 3-Mode LED Headlamp - 2*18650 at FastTech - Worldwide Free Shipping
    DIY LED Bike Lights:
    A few Dynamo builds and some Small battery lights

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ese002 View Post
    The cord on my 13W hallogen head lamp is about to break so I'm looking to replace it with something without the fussy, fragile cord.

    How practical are the self-contained helmet mounted lights? A staff member at a local bike shop mentioned that he tried one once for about an hour or two and it really made his neck sore. However, the particular model he used is one of the heavier ones.

    I'm looking for something that mounts and unmounts easily, is comfortable for up to an hour when used daily and can also be mounted on the bars when that option is available. My primary "bike" is a pair of speed skates so no bar mount available there.

    Is there anything out there that really works? I will need about 300-400 lumens to match the old halogen.
    if the light on which the cable broke was halogen that already means that the cable lasted way longer than the design life of the light. now if your cable failed after a year of use that would be legitimate beef, but as it is - you really have no reason to avoid cables.

    i used a helmet light which while not self contained had the battery mounted on the helmet ( Lupine Piko with 2 cell Lithium battery on the helmet ) and i really didn't like the weight of the battery on the helmet. instead of focusing on keeping myself balanced on the bike i was focusing on keeping my helmet balanced on my head because of how top-heavy the helmet was.

    now i have my helmet light's battery in my hydration pack and i am much happier. i'm not distracted with my helmet moving around on my head when i ride and the light is brighter to boot.

    i now have a self-contained light on my bar ( Philips SafeRide ) and i really wish it wasn't self contained either - the weight of the batteries causes the mount to slowly creep so i have to readjust the angle several times a day even though it is fully tightened.

    my vote is - avoid self contained lights unless you plan to move them from one bike's bar to another bike's bar on daily basis. in my opinion self-contained lights are a hack.

    for a helmet light in the lumen range you want consider Light & Motion Stella 500 ( 500 Lumen )

  8. #8
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    Actually, commuting with a helmet light means the lamp (at minimum) really is mounted and unmounted every day.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ese002 View Post
    Actually, commuting with a helmet light means the lamp (at minimum) really is mounted and unmounted every day.
    do you mean so that it will not be stolen when you're at work ? sorry, i don't commute to work on the bike - i just ride around the city at night for pleasure. i'm sure actually commuting to work on a bike involves challenges that i'm not aware of.

    if it needs to be mounted / unmounted on daily basis then i would try to find a light with some sort of quick release mechanism. my Philips SafeRide bar light comes off and on in a split second with just a press of a single button and a click - but then, it is self-contained.

    on the other hand my Seca helmet light would be quite tedious to put on and off - i would not want to be in a situation where i had to do this on daily basis.

    NiteRider Pro 750 seems to have a quick release mechanism for the light head:

    http://www.niterider.com/wp-content/...newtpro750.pdf

    it would probably work well for you.

    750 lumen may be a little more than what you wanted, but due to progress in LED efficiency it is hard to find a well-designed light at this point that will have much less.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    do you mean so that it will not be stolen when you're at work ?
    No. The helmet comes in with me. However, no helmet light is so light and convenient that I would want it on my head when I don't need it. So I put the light on when I go home in the dark and take off before I return in the morning. A bar mounted light is no big deal. I would just leave it on. But I don't have any bars so that option is not available.

    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    on the other hand my Seca helmet light would be quite tedious to put on and off - i would not want to be in a situation where i had to do this on daily basis.
    Yep. Light and Motion makes great lights but they are a PIA to mount and unmount. My current light is like that. I have to remove the whole mount in order to take the lamp off of my helmet. If I want to move between the helmet and bars, I have to do that and remove and replace a screw in order to move the lamp between the two mounts.
    Last edited by ese002; 08-17-2013 at 11:09 PM. Reason: remove dangling [/quote]

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ese002 View Post
    no helmet light is so light and convenient that I would want it on my head when I don't need it.
    well i can only speak for myself, but i wouldn't even mind something as big as Seca on my helmet in the day, and in fact set to flashing mode it would probably provide plenty of extra safety as well.

    a plastic light head is pretty light as long as it doesn't have batteries in it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    How do you mount that on the helmet?
    The "mount" is literally a Velcro strap. Like I said, not as cool as Scar's set-up, but functional

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ese002 View Post
    Actually, commuting with a helmet light means the lamp (at minimum) really is mounted and unmounted every day.
    scar's light and battery are attached by velcro patches... just rip it off, and stick it back on... doesn't get much easier than that.

  14. #14
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    serfas, niterider and L&M all sell small self-contained LED lights and I think all of them are USB rechargeable which is a huge boon. The weight will take a little getting used to, but with a well adjusted helmet you soon won't notice it, especially if you're not riding anything too rough. No idea on mounting options, probably best to check them out at your/ a bike shop.

    I think Serfas also has a user replaceable battery, using some kind of proprietary cartridge, which might be useful if you ever want to take the long/ rough route home

  15. #15
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    I've seen, but not used, the Serfas, Niterider, and Light and Motion offerings. Niterider is rather heavy as in the Serfas. Perversely, the Serfas' new line is heavier still, weighing in at 235g.

    Light and Motion is significantly lighter at 112g which should make it more practical as a helmet light. However, I suspect that someone thinks otherwise. The helmet mount is optional and few shops (none of the brick and mortar shops near me) carry it. The mechanism is weird too, involving friction hold from a rubber strap that tends to break and need replacing periodically.

    I'm leaning toward an Exposure Joystick. It's expensive, though not as expensive as some other options but, at 87g it is substantially lighter than even L&M and they seem to be serious about helmet mounting.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ese002 View Post
    Light and Motion is significantly lighter at 112g which should make it more practical as a helmet light. However, I suspect that someone thinks otherwise.
    hehe

    well look this is what i use:



    and i also have a 85 gram Red Zone 8 on the very back of the helmet, which combined work out to over 200 grams, but i don't feel them.

    on the other hand last year when i used this:



    i did NOT find it comfortable, even though it was less weight. but the problem was that the center of gravity was HIGHER because i had the battery on the very top of the helmet.

    by comparison now i use two lights of similar weight on the helmet with one on the front and one on the back which works out to a better balance of weight.

    it will probably also depend on how your helmet fits your head. if it fits very well you will probably be able to use more weight and not notice it, but if it is loose even a small amount of unbalanced weight may get annoying.

    so i don't think it is the weight that counts, but how it balances on your head. it would be ideal if you could try the light for a few rides mounted in different positions on the helmet.

    Quote Originally Posted by ese002 View Post
    I'm leaning toward an Exposure Joystick. It's expensive, though not as expensive as some other options but, at 87g it is substantially lighter than even L&M and they seem to be serious about helmet mounting.
    if it gives you lower weight and lower center of gravity ( shallower mount ) and a mount with less wobble then it is probably worth it. if its purely about saving a few grams then i wouldn't think it is that important.

    visualize where the light will sit on your helmet and think which ones will have their center of gravity closer to your brain. the further the center of gravity of the light is from your brain the more tippy it will feel.

    because i don't think you feel the weight of the light so much as you feel the moving around of the light and / or helmet.

    if somebody asked you to walk on ice for an hour or so you would probably be exhausted - not because you gotten any heavier - but because you couldn't relax your muscles due to constantly being off balance. so i wouldn't focus purely on the weight alone here.

    i think if you're hell bent on self-contained helmet light and not particularly concerned about things like light output and will mainly use the light to point at at motorists ( as opposed to illuminating the trail ) and you don't mind the price then you probably won't find a better light than the Joystick.

    in his review Francis pointed out that the beam of Joystick is narrow and has no halo - which normally would be a terrible thing - but considering the low output of the light it would probably be hard to have a wide beam of any usable brightness.

    not that something like Stella would be much brighter ...

    the Joystick looks like a well designed product. not something i would use, but considering your specific desire for a low-lumen self-contained helmet light i don't think you will find a better designed / made one.

    frankly i think Exposure is the only maker that even takes the idea of self-contained helmet light seriously. Light & Motion self-contained offerings seem to be geared towards bar use ( unless i am missing something, it seems they would be sitting quite high up on the helmet ).

    make sure to check out NiteRider Lumina Flare though ! looks like an interesting product and Luminas seem to have a very cool, low profile / shallow helmet mount with quick release ! as i mentioned before NR seems to do helmet mounts better than most.
    Last edited by androgen; 08-20-2013 at 08:05 PM.

  17. #17
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    I think the Lezyne lights are light and can be mounted on the helmet. They are supposed to be pretty good. I think they also use standard 18650 cells, if I remember correctly.

    Lezyne Performance Led Bike Lights

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by find_bruce View Post
    The "mount" is literally a Velcro strap. Like I said, not as cool as Scar's set-up, but functional
    Looks pretty good to me.

  19. #19
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    I'm not running self contained helmet lights so weights are low on the helmet. Current setup is dual XMLs at 3 amps for ~1500 lumens in a 65 gram package. My earlier builds were dual XPGs at 1 amp for ~500 lumen in a 27 gram package. None of those are noticeable on the helmet. A couple years ago I set up a 3 cell battery pack on the helmet to use with one of the 27 gram lights. Total weight was ~230 grams I think. That was noticeable and I felt more neck strain after that ride. I went back to carrying the battery in a jersey pocket after that. That test was off road riding. Road riding would likely be less an issue since it is so much smoother.

  20. #20
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    Hi. It looks like you've got the same setup that I've been planning (torch strapped to the top using velcro) which is quite encouraging, but what are you thoughts in terms of using it on the road? My torch is pretty powerful and although I'll obviously aim it down towards the road, I was wondering whether it causes any issues with glare to oncoming cars and indeed whether it's legal?
    Quote Originally Posted by find_bruce View Post
    The "mount" is literally a Velcro strap. Like I said, not as cool as Scar's set-up, but functional

  21. #21
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    My set up is simple. The flashlight is secured via a velcro strap and is anchored at the back of the helmet using the flashlight's lanyard. In this way, the flashlight doesn't slide forward and pop out of the velcro when I push the button on the bottom end of the flashlight.

    The red LED taillight is built in and comes with the helmet. And for redundancy there is a reflective tape around the helmet (came with the helmet as well).

    Self contained helmet mount lights for commuting-2013-09-14_12-17-29_146b.jpgSelf contained helmet mount lights for commuting-2013-09-14_12-17-12_307b.jpg

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