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  1. #1
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    Serfas TSL-1500 or something else

    I am new to night riding and looking for a light. I plan on using something on my bars and helmet for riding for 2-3 hours on trails but I'm going to only buy one light first to see how I like riding in the dark. I have no idea how much light output I need. My LBS just advertised a special for the new Serfas TSL-1500 for $300, which looks like $100 off of MSRP. I have been looking in stores and online. I haven't been impressed with what most bike stores have in stock (nothing over 200 lumens). The baja designs Strykr seems nice, so do the new NiteRider minewts that are coming out soon. I haven't been in a hurry to buy a light yet because I usually ride from 6pm-9pm and I will have enough daylight for that for a couple more weeks. But.... this heat wave we're in is making me want to change my riding to 8pm-11pm so I kind of want to jump on this deal my LBS is offering. I won't if Serfas's lights have been junk in the past but the numbers seem decent on it. I may be jumping the gun since this heat wave is almost over and it looks like rain tomorrow. Your thoughts please....

  2. #2
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    Hi Jay. Night riding on the trails is thoroughly enjoyable - you'll find this out soon enough.

    Not sure entirely what your budget is but generally speaking, folks usually opt for a bar light with more flood and a helmet light with more throw.

    There are literally loads to chose from unfortunately and it can easily become overwhelming.

    What I am currently using are two Magicshine 808's for the bars with a set of Rob's Soft flood lenses and a Dinotte 400L on the helmet. For your normal trail type riding with speeds up to 50 kmh I find this to be ample and the combo works very well for my intended purposes. That works out to about maybe a combined 1000 lumens on the bars and maybe 300 lumens on the lid. (Manufacturers usually cite a theoretical max of how powerful their lights are but when measured its often much lower.)

    Big things of late that have been surfacing particularly with the cheaper lights from China include waterproofing of light heads and battery reliability. Definitely worth doing your homework before purchasing.

    Baja Designs with their (Stryker and Stryker Pro models) do make a solid system and are on my list for the next set of bar lights. Lupine's Piko is a tremendous helmet light and if my current Dinotte bites it in the near future, that's going on next.

    Then there's lights by Scar and Troutie (custom builders on this forum) who fabricate some very nice products....

    Not much help I know but as you can tell there is a lot out there. If you have specific questions about makes and models I'm sure folks who own them will chime in. Good luck!


    EDITED: Forgot to mention tail lights if commuting works into your night riding. I've been using a Dinotte 400R in the rear. Simply amazing. Too many folks are fast to spend a few hundred dollars on lights facing forwards but only want to wiggle in 20 bucks on a cheap blinky at back. I learned the hard way and it very nearly cost me an arm and leg. Literally. Get something substantial.
    Last edited by Chromagftw; 07-23-2011 at 10:34 AM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply Chromag. I wasn't sure how the light for the bars and helmet should be different. Basically wider flood for bars and more of a spot for helmet?

    Strykr - I like that they are rugged and all of the reviews say the light output is great especially with the wider reflector. They seem a little heavy compared to most other lights. Probably a trade-off for it being so rugged and waterproof. I don't need a waterproof light since I never ride in the rain, just small creek crossings. I'm not a weight weeny but I do try to pick out bike stuff that is not the heaviest. Also, their model has been around for a few years now. Has LED and battery technology progressed enough that they are getting a little outdated? They also were not one of the favorites for the 2011 mtbr shootout.

    Serfas TSL-1500 - I guess nobody is going to have comments about this light since it is very new but does anybody know anything about the brand? I've never heard of them until my LBS advertised this special. I guess I should drive over and check it out but I'm pretty sure if I do that I'll end of buying them. I'm a little excited about trying night riding and don't want to wait the week for shipping. The company website does not list too much information about the light. No weight, run-time on the different modes, or even what the other modes are. http://www.serfas.com/product_details.asp?ID=897

    The Lupine Piko 3 caught my eye from the shootout. Maybe it would be a good choice for the helmet light. I was thinking of the MiNewt.600 Cordless for my helmet light. Simple and small, and I was thinking I could carry that in my bag for the rides when I should be done before sunset as long as I don't get a flat.

  4. #4
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    Drove to the LBS and they sold their only TSL-1500 the very first day they got it. They ordered a few more that will come in later this week.

    I was ordering one pair of shorts from pricepoint, then that turned into, oh I also need this, and that.... and then saw they had the MiNewt 600 cordless in stock. So that should be here in a couple days. That will be a nice way for me to get my feet wet with this whole night riding thing. If I like it I will still be shopping for a handlebar light.

  5. #5
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    +1 on Chromagftw's recomondations!!! Jayaimzzz, If you want good quality it will cost you a bit more for sure, and you can see on other threads here, that buying cheep can be time consuming, and disappointing. The Surfas TSL-1500 looks very nice, kind of similar to the Triden X, but double the output. I don't know anything about this company's reputation for quality, but if someone who does, jumps aboard on this thread and can varify decent quality it could be a good value,and purchase.

    The new (XML Piko) would be an awesome helmet light, at 750OTF lumens it would be a good match to just about any bar light.

    I'm waiting to hear that Shannon has replaced his P-7 Strykers with the top bin XML's(hint,hint) for a boost in output, but his lights joking aside are built to last and are very good. Iwould recomend the Stryker(not pro) for the bars as it is about 20% brighter than the Pro version.

    One other light overlooked so often, is the (800+) from Dinotte. It is using four XPG emitters and is probably closer to 1000 OTF lumens. This light and the Piko would be a Killer combo and the envy of many. Also a very good value from a quality company at just $319usd.

    There are so many other very good company's out there i could add, but don't want to overload your choices.Good luck!!

  6. #6
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    I do a lot of night riding, both on road and off. I had been searching for a good lighting kit for my bike but wasn't really happy with the durability or brightness of the kits I was finding. My friend pointed me toward a company out of Oakland called BrighterCycling, they are making insanely bright lighting kits that light up the trail in front of you and the ground beneath your feet. Lots of cool colors (not sure that's really an issue on the mountain), and the lights themselves are really durable and good for abuse and moisture. Comes with a lithium ion battery pack and bright headlight. Check em out

    www brightercycling com

  7. #7
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    Nice of you to jump on board here to advertise your product lightthemountain,but jayaimzzz is looking for a high powered head light, not dressing up his bike like a christmas tree.

  8. #8
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    I've been using the Serfas True 1500 for about a month now, one on my head and one on the bars. It's like riding in a football stadium. You can ride at full speed all night without having to worry about "riding through" your light. Great wide beam pattern for full trail vision, just a great light and about 3hrs bur-time on overdrive. I've used a bunch of lights over the years from Nightrider, HID up to the Tri-Newt, all good but nothing this good at such an affordable price-point. I'd recommend them and then some.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcopple View Post
    I've been using the Serfas True 1500 for about a month now, one on my head and one on the bars. It's like riding in a football stadium. You can ride at full speed all night without having to worry about "riding through" your light. Great wide beam pattern for full trail vision, just a great light and about 3hrs bur-time on overdrive. I've used a bunch of lights over the years from Nightrider, HID up to the Tri-Newt, all good but nothing this good at such an affordable price-point. I'd recommend them and then some.
    Couldn't agree more with this assesment of the tsl 1500. I Have used a lot of lights and this is far and away the best one. The price is right too.

  10. #10
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    I would recommend the Serfas True 1500. I demoed one last night on a night ride and I was impressed. I do like the Serfas brand and have been using their True 250 model for a year now and it has worked great. I donít see why the 1500 would be any different. Even at the lower levels it was more than bright enough to see directly in front of me and also all around me.

  11. #11
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    I just purchased the Serfas True 1500 online early last week for $289.00! I Hope to get it soon, and post up some kind of review for it. I based my purchase on the MTBR lights review and the previous post here. Plus I couldnt pass on the price I found! I did check back on the website I purchased from, and it seems they posted the price incorrectly, it is now advertised at $390.00. SO I guess timing is everything, I scored a good deal!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt View Post
    +1 on Chromagftw's recomondations!!! Jayaimzzz, If you want good quality it will cost you a bit more for sure, and you can see on other threads here, that buying cheep can be time consuming, and disappointing. The Surfas TSL-1500 looks very nice, kind of similar to the Triden X, but double the output. I don't know anything about this company's reputation for quality, but if someone who does, jumps aboard on this thread and can varify decent quality it could be a good value,and purchase.

    The new (XML Piko) would be an awesome helmet light, at 750OTF lumens it would be a good match to just about any bar light.

    I'm waiting to hear that Shannon has replaced his P-7 Strykers with the top bin XML's(hint,hint) for a boost in output, but his lights joking aside are built to last and are very good. Iwould recomend the Stryker(not pro) for the bars as it is about 20% brighter than the Pro version.

    One other light overlooked so often, is the (800+) from Dinotte. It is using four XPG emitters and is probably closer to 1000 OTF lumens. This light and the Piko would be a Killer combo and the envy of many. Also a very good value from a quality company at just $319usd.

    There are so many other very good company's out there i could add, but don't want to overload your choices.Good luck!!

    I can vouch for the Serfas lights, I was set up beside them at the 24hrs of Moab this year and can tell you that they make some good lights. They are also a good company and have been in the cycling industry for quite a long time, they are particularly famous for making great saddles. I personally tested their 1500 and was impressed, it's no 1800 Lumen/150 Lux Baja Designs Double Stryk (biasness alert!) but it worked very well, and seemed like a good solid light system.

    How many times do I need to say that the 2010-11 Strykr/Strykr Pro never was a P-7 it was/is a Cree MC-E, I do not like the P-7 Sam I am, not on a boat, not with a goat, I would not, could not spec a P-7! (Sorry, I have a 2yr old at home - lot's of Dr. Suess)

    Just giving you a hard time Indebt, the Strykr series was Cree MC-E's and are now T6 Bin Cree XM-L's good for 74 Lux according to MTBR. The Strykr Pro has become the Styrkr SL and the Strykr is the Strykr II, both of them are significantly brighter than last year's Strykr/Strykr Pro and they both come with a wide and a spot optic. For 2012 we ditched the TIR style of reflector from the Pro and went with a standard reflector and lens set-up for the Strykr SL.

    Anyway...back to the original question (although I believe the original poster went with an NR 600) the Serfas lights seem pretty cool, they look awesome, and from my dealings with them in the past Serfas is a good company.

  13. #13
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    Shannon!!!!! It only took you four months to give me heck on my miss-information,,,, your slipping!!! LOL. Sorry about that man. Don't know why i thought that they were P-7's. Doesn't matter now does it, with kick-a%$ Xm-L's now been used.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt View Post
    Shannon!!!!! It only took you four months to give me heck on my miss-information,,,, your slipping!!! LOL. Sorry about that man. Don't know why i thought that they were P-7's. Doesn't matter now does it, with kick-a%$ Xm-L's now been used.
    Haah! It's true, I am a huge slacker! You found me out!

    No worries, you picked up that tid-bit of bad info from another thread from months ago - I crushed that rebellion at that time but...you know how it goes. No big deal. I hope you are doing well man.

    Shannon

  15. #15
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    Welp I finally got to use my new 1500 last night, and I was very impressed! The lowest setting was more than enough for urban/street riding to the trail, and boy oh boy the overdrive setting is fantastic in the hills! I rode fire trail and single track and the light was excellent! The only thing that I could complain about was the beam is kinda narrow, Id like a bit wider spread, but other than that I'm super stoked on its performance. And at $289.00 for a light of this caliber, I dont think I went wrong.

    I dont have any experience with other high end systems, I am comparing this to my current halogen light that I bought in 1999 (LaserEdge) which still works fantastic and is now integrated onto my helmet. Both systems together make my night riding solo excursions safe and fun! I feel like I can blaze the trails just as fast as during the daylight. Anyone heading towards me at night with the lights on are in trouble.

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