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  1. #1
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    What light do YOU roll on Singletrack?

    Hi All,

    I'm brand to shopping for lights outside of the cheap variety. Normally this site is my first stop for everything bike related, but now it seems this forum has been flooded with these chinese ebay lights of questionable reliability and craftmanship and now I'm not sure what is what.

    I'd like a reliablie light that is bright enough to light semi technical singletrack in pitchblack woods , has a good bar mount, and that comes with a warranty or some type of quality assurance in case anything breaks. I know one can spend a lot of money with these LED lights, so I want to mention that budget is a factor and around $150 would be nice, but I do understand you get waht you pay for and will pay more for quality / reliablity.

    So... if you were like me... what do you roll?

  2. #2
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    I use the Dinotte XML3. It's been flawless for 3 winters of bi-weekly rides. Quality construction, and really like the beam pattern. It's more expensive, but at the time, it was the best cost per lumen, except for the chinese stuff. I'd still buy it again, over other offerings these days. I trust it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZmyDust View Post
    Hi All,

    I'm brand to shopping for lights outside of the cheap variety. Normally this site is my first stop for everything bike related, but now it seems this forum has been flooded with these chinese ebay lights of questionable reliability and craftmanship and now I'm not sure what is what.

    I'd like a reliablie light that is bright enough to light semi technical singletrack in pitchblack woods , has a good bar mount, and that comes with a warranty or some type of quality assurance in case anything breaks. I know one can spend a lot of money with these LED lights, so I want to mention that budget is a factor and around $150 would be nice, but I do understand you get waht you pay for and will pay more for quality / reliablity.

    So... if you were like me... what do you roll?
    The problem here is that you want quality/good service and all for just $150. You can buy something inexpensive or something that is supported with great customer service but rarely are you going to get both.

    My suggestion is that you throw one of those requirements under the bus if you want a two lamp set-up ( bars and helmet ) that will fit your budget. If you compromise you'll likely get a more useful set-up.

    I'd suggest buying one of the Solarstorm X2's or D99 clones for the bars. D/X sells some of these lamps as "lamp head only". If it were me I'd try to buy the lamp head only and buy a better quality battery to run the lamp. Then I'd find one of the vendors here that will sell me a decent helmet lamp that will come with warranty. You might have to go a tad over $150 but in the end you should end up with a decent set-up ( with very good run time and very good beam patterns )

    Food for thought; Warranties are great but if this means spending three times as much for the lamp/battery you need to consider that when you start juggling the cost vs quality vs. PITA factors. If you have have to replace something on warranty ( through the mail ) it will always be a PITA even if it cost you nothing but the inconvenience. If you need to replace a cheap Chinese lamp it might cost you another $35 for "lamp head only". Hell, at those prices you can buy an extra and have it on standby.

    Don't get me wrong, if you can afford the good stuff by all means, knock yourself out and lay some money down. Oh, I almost forgot; If you're one of those people who might use your lamps almost everyday on a commute than by all means buy at least one quality lamp that is known to be "highly water resistant".

  4. #4
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    Thanks for all the comments so far, keep them coming.. Thing is I won't be using for commuting or bi weekly. I just want to be able to hit the trails every once in a while at night.

  5. #5
    turtles make me hot
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    I ride with an Exposure Toro on my bars and a Diablo on my helmet. They are way past the budget you posted, but they're awesome. Self contained batteries, no wires, excellent mounting system...
    I just ordered the new Fenix light to try out. We also have a handful of Magicshine clones that were 36.00 each. So far, they've been good lights. Oh yeah, the Fenix is like 96 bucks.
    I like turtles

  6. #6
    dirty hippy mountainbiker
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    I use a Jet Lite F-U2 on the helmet and a Jet x-52 on the bar. Not much experience with them but they are pretty nice.

    The X-52 has a bright center and the F-U2 has a more even beam. It's a good combination as the x-52 beam casts shadows that help depth perception.

    -M
    Mike Henderson, Dirty Hippy Mountain Biker and part owner of Jet Lites.

  7. #7
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    I use a Dinotte XML-3 on the bars and a 400L+ on the helmet. They've never had one problem and I can ride almost as fast as I can in the day.
    '12 Soma Analog SS
    '10 Transition TransAM
    '07 Felt F1X
    '97 Schwinn Mesa SS
    '89 Fuji Saratoga
    '86 Fuji Club

  8. #8
    turtles make me hot
    Reputation: NYrr496's Avatar
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    I can ride as fast as I do in the daytime... I'm just not that fast.
    I like turtles

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    I can ride as fast as I do in the daytime... I'm just not that fast.
    Ok, yeah, I guess that's one way of doing it.
    '12 Soma Analog SS
    '10 Transition TransAM
    '07 Felt F1X
    '97 Schwinn Mesa SS
    '89 Fuji Saratoga
    '86 Fuji Club

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZmyDust View Post
    Hi All,

    I'm brand to shopping for lights outside of the cheap variety. Normally this site is my first stop for everything bike related, but now it seems this forum has been flooded with these chinese ebay lights of questionable reliability and craftmanship and now I'm not sure what is what.

    I'd like a reliablie light that is bright enough to light semi technical singletrack in pitchblack woods , has a good bar mount, and that comes with a warranty or some type of quality assurance in case anything breaks. I know one can spend a lot of money with these LED lights, so I want to mention that budget is a factor and around $150 would be nice, but I do understand you get waht you pay for and will pay more for quality / reliablity.

    So... if you were like me... what do you roll?
    I'm with you zmydust. I've started looking into lights and the options are literally endless, and I have no idea what would work well for single track (or anything else). Everyone has a solution, and they are all different!
    I was thinking a Dinotte XML3 or a Gloworm X2 on the helmet would be good. The $250 range would be OK with me for something that was bright enough and reliable. Now I'm reading stuff about needing one on the handle bar plus one on the helmet??? It seems like overkill to have a light like this on the bar and the helmet (not to mention now talk about $500), but what do I know, I have never been on a night ride!?

    Any expert advice appreciated

  11. #11
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    If you have never been on a night ride and you don't have a friend who can loan you lights I suggest buying 2 magicshine 808u's (or clones if you are risky/electrical savvy). These cost 85 bucks each at action led lights, so you get in the door for around 200 with a helmet mount and a wide angle lens for the bar light.

    You can try these out for a while and if you really like night riding you can upgrade. Some models you can buy a light head only which will work with the magicshine battery. Or you can get new lights with batteries and keep the old ones for loaners.

    I started out with 2 808's and upgraded to a gemini olympia and xera which I love.

  12. #12
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    Thanks derekbob!

    How about 2 xera lights???
    The gemini stuff looks top notch. The magicshine stuff looks good too. How do I know if the batteries/chargers are interchangeable?

    Edit:
    I'm definitely leaning toward your first suggestion, two MJ-808U kit for $170 sounds pretty good.
    The Ultimate 2200 Lumen MagicShine Double Light Special 2 MJ 808U Helmet Mount | eBay
    Last edited by speedneeder; 06-02-2013 at 08:30 AM.

  13. #13
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    I would suggest buying cheap lights first to see if you're going to get into it. Two xeras are 400 bucks and I would suggest using the xera as a helmet light, and getting a duo or olympia for the handlebar. I know all gemini lights match up with magicshine batteries. Most lights which match with magicshine batteries will say so on the product info somewhere, if not ask at this board.

  14. #14
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    I think I'm going to get a single mj-808u to start with, I have no idea how bright that actually is - nothing to compare to from my own experience. Then I can decide if I want another like that or the mj-880u.

  15. #15
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    One 808u is plenty to get you out for your first time. I really like having 2 lights, almost to the point where I would call it a necessity on a solo night ride. First off you need backup. Dont head out into the dark with one light, a crappy commuter light will work. Second is simply the more light the better and one light can only illuminate so much. Its pretty common that your bar is pointing one way, your helmet another and your eyes are pointed in a 3rd direction. A helmet light is also vital to enjoy the night ride experience, there is a ton of wildlife out at night but you wont see much with only one light.

    It's a good idea to spend as little as possible initially because night riding isn't for everyone. It takes some nerve to pedal out into the wilderness at night alone. But only having one light might make it so you don't really enjoy night riding to the fullest extent. It all depends on the terrain and your style of riding as well, but despite what anyone says if you're riding tech singletrack at night you really need two lights imo.

  16. #16
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    Thanks again derekbob, I will give it a try.
    Just wish there was an American mfg...
    Last edited by speedneeder; 06-03-2013 at 06:37 AM.

  17. #17
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    Went for my first night ride this week with a standard handelbar light probably suited for road riding on streetlit roads and it was utterly hopeless. Could barely see the trail ahead, only a few meters straight in front, couldn't see the bends in the trail, had to crawl along at a snails pace. It was enough to put me off altogether.

    Luckily I didn't give up, instead I bought the following light on Saturday and went out for a ride tonight:

    Gemini XERA LED Light 850 Lumens | Gemini Lights

    Brilliant, attached it to my helmet and it was fantastic. Lit the trail ahead almost as well as riding during the day. The helmet attachment means you can look ahead or to the left and right to follow the direction of the trail and anticipate the turns. It is just so much brighter than the old light. Really pleased with it.

    Wasn't sure I would like night riding but after this experience I can see it becoming a regular activity that will keep me biking throughout winter. Without it I'm limited to weekend riding during winter so well worth it. Might have to invest in a second light for the handlebar as the one I have really isn't up to it.

    Highly recommend!

  18. #18
    turtles make me hot
    Reputation: NYrr496's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glynis27 View Post
    Ok, yeah, I guess that's one way of doing it.
    Actually, I have plenty of light to ride as fast as I can go. I probably go downhill a little slower than I do during the day but on a familiar trail, I can go good.
    My friend has slightly less light than me and he's fast.
    I like turtles

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    Just wish there was an American mfg...

    Look here.

    Amoeba - The simplest "light" form

    Jay posts on mtbr as scar. You won't be disappointed if you have him build you a system.

  20. #20
    Light freak
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    Amoeba, Amoeba, Amoeba!!

    Thanks for the shout out Vancbiker! Been busy building lights and riding





    What light do YOU roll on Singletrack?-amoeba-xp_g-beamshot.jpg



    ***

  21. #21
    I work in .001 tolerances
    Reputation: HomegrownMN's Avatar
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    Re: What light do YOU roll on Singletrack?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    Look here.

    Amoeba - The simplest "light" form

    Jay posts on mtbr as scar. You won't be disappointed if you have him build you a system.
    X2!! Scar is a rider and an artist of light.

    Good, quality product that has a real person backing up the build :thumbup:

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    Actually, I have plenty of light to ride as fast as I can go. I probably go downhill a little slower than I do during the day but on a familiar trail, I can go good.
    My friend has slightly less light than me and he's fast.
    Speed can be dangerous at night. Even with the best lights you are still dealing with the limitations of directional illumination. You can't see through foliage and solid objects. You can only pick out lines that your lights illuminate. On sharp ( or blind ) turns this is always a problem .

    Every time I think on this subject I think back to my hay-day of night riding. ( Ye Old Days of Halogen lights.. ) On one particular night I was speeding down a rocky technical descent when I came up on a slight rise in the trail. Seeing the chance to catch some slight air I maintained my speed fully expecting to land without any problems. Right as I approached the crest of the rise, the light from my old niterider 10W helmet lamp showed ( much to my chagrin..) the trail veering to the left ( AHHH! ). Try as I did to brake it did little to stop me from flying off into the woods. Luckily I wasn't hurt. Learned my first lesson on night riding that night, "If you can't see the trail, expect the unexpected".

  23. #23
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    Good light

    I use the niterider pro 1800, great light, great design, I wouldn't use anything less bright if you don't want to be slowed down. make friends with someone who works at a bike shop and get them to get you one, it'll make the $350 list price a lot easier to swallow.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfy View Post
    I use a Jet Lite F-U2 on the helmet and a Jet x-52 on the bar. Not much experience with them but they are pretty nice.

    The X-52 has a bright center and the F-U2 has a more even beam. It's a good combination as the x-52 beam casts shadows that help depth perception.

    -M
    Jet lite user here as well! Love it

  25. #25
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    A use a Magicshine 808 on the bar and helmet. I have a wide angle lens on the one on he bar. Whole setup cost less than $200 and works great. Raced it last year with no issues.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

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