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  1. #1
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    Where does a noob start when making a decision on lights?

    I've been reading through all the post on here and I'm more confused than ever about lighting and what works best for helmet/bars, which battery packs are good, which knock-offs are as good or better than the originals, and so on.

    Is there a "intro to night riding" sticky somewhere that I've overlooked? Or a sticky on who has the best deals going now?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by hidperf View Post
    Is there a "intro to night riding" sticky somewhere that I've overlooked? Or a sticky on who has the best deals going now?
    2013 Bike Lights Shootout ? 50 LED Lights Measured | Mountain Bike Review
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  3. #3
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    There are many nice H/B combos. What's your budget? Many people including me have been impressed with the "low cost" Chinese lights but the batteries are hit and miss. I myself went with Gemini. Olympia/Duo combo and works awesome for me. I deal with Jim at Action because his customer service is top notch.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by hidperf View Post
    I've been reading through all the post on here and I'm more confused than ever about lighting and what works best for helmet/bars, which battery packs are good, which knock-offs are as good or better than the originals, and so on.

    Is there a "intro to night riding" sticky somewhere that I've overlooked? Or a sticky on who has the best deals going now?
    The general rule on helping others make an informed decision on which light(s) to buy means that the buyer has to supply some personal information such as: What type of riding do you intend to do (?), rough single track, roads , paved paths , moderate trails ...etc. etc? How much money do you intend to invest on your lamps? What type of environment will your lamps be exposed to? Rain, mud, extreme cold/heat?? How long do you expect your typical night rides to last?

    As for what are the best deals?...Hard to beat the Chinese vendors but there are deals everywhere, especially at this time of year when new versions of lamps are being introduced.

    General rule for Mountain biking at night is that you will need two lamps, one for the bars and one for the helmet.

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    Thanks, but I already read through that and it really didn't answer any question for me. If anything, it just raised more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gharddog03 View Post
    There are many nice H/B combos. What's your budget? Many people including me have been impressed with the "low cost" Chinese lights but the batteries are hit and miss. I myself went with Gemini. Olympia/Duo combo and works awesome for me. I deal with Jim at Action because his customer service is top notch.

    Budget wise I'm like any other rider out there, most bang for the buck. I'm not against the Chinese vendors at all. My bike is an open-mold Chinese carbon 29er with Chinese carbon wheels and components. Might as well stick with the theme right?
    I've been looking around and it seems I can get a pair of decent light heads with cheapo batteries for $100-125. Of course, I would spend the money on better batteries, but that raises a whole slew of other questions on it's own. But I found that thread already.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    The general rule on helping others make an informed decision on which light(s) to buy means that the buyer has to supply some personal information such as: What type of riding do you intend to do (?), rough single track, roads , paved paths , moderate trails ...etc. etc? How much money do you intend to invest on your lamps? What type of environment will your lamps be exposed to? Rain, mud, extreme cold/heat?? How long do you expect your typical night rides to last?

    As for what are the best deals?...Hard to beat the Chinese vendors but there are deals everywhere, especially at this time of year when new versions of lamps are being introduced.

    General rule for Mountain biking at night is that you will need two lamps, one for the bars and one for the helmet.
    I ride both MTB and road but I'm not against completely different setups for both bikes, if needed. MTB would be single track or hard-pack trails mostly. Road would be on the streets with traffic.

    I avoid riding in the rain or extreme cold, but I will get muddy on the MTB if the trails are spotty.

    I've never ridden at night, so I have no idea how long I'd last out there. I might not even like it, but I want to try it for sure.

    Cat, I follow your post constantly because you always have great info and you test everything. I guess I'm really trying to understand the terminology. CREE, XML, T6, 18650 batteries, etc.

    From what I can gather, the most popular setups are a dual for the bars and a single for the helmet? Do I need a tail light on a MTB?

    Then you add in all the different modes. Do I need one that flashes on the MTB?

    And this is why I spend months researching anything before I buy it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by hidperf View Post
    I guess I'm really trying to understand the terminology. CREE, XML, T6, 18650 batteries, etc.

    From what I can gather, the most popular setups are a dual for the bars and a single for the helmet? Do I need a tail light on a MTB?

    Then you add in all the different modes. Do I need one that flashes on the MTB?

    And this is why I spend months researching anything before I buy it.
    Try and get lights that have XM-L2 emitters. These are the lastest LEDS and are about 20% brighter than the XML's.

    If you're going to upgrade your batteries, try and buy name brand ones like Sanyo or Panasonics. Fasttech has the best prices on 18650s. The higher the capacity the longer the run time will be.

    You don't really need a flashy type light on a MTB, but if you ride on the road to get to the trail, you may want that option. Same goes for the tail light.

    Have fun.
    "By Your Command"

  7. #7
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    I agree that a stickied intro thread would be useful. It could at least help people get a better idea of what questions they should be asking themselves when considering a lighting setup. It could also help cut down on the duplicate threads.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hidperf View Post
    I've been reading through all the post on here and I'm more confused than ever about lighting and what works best for helmet/bars,
    Have any friends, acquaintances that night ride? If you do, see if they will let you try their lights. Many riders find a kind of floody beam on the bars and a tighter spot on the helmet to be a good setup. You might find you like something different. Much nicer to discover that with borrowed lights than purchased lights.

  9. #9
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    From Action-Led:

    Gemini Olympia light head: $128
    Magicshine MJ-6030 Battery Pack: $52
    Gemini charger: $10

    Nice handlebar setup for $190. The programmable feature on Gemini lights (now also available on Gloworm) is really cool. Or wait a couple weeks for the Olympia with the newest LEDs. The three-LED Gloworm should make for an awesome bar light; it will probably be a bit pricey. Dirt-cheap compared to Lupine.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    Have any friends, acquaintances that night ride? If you do, see if they will let you try their lights. Many riders find a kind of floody beam on the bars and a tighter spot on the helmet to be a good setup. You might find you like something different. Much nicer to discover that with borrowed lights than purchased lights.
    Unfortunately, all the guys I ride with just got into MTB last year. The only person I know who night rides is 4hrs away.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pucked up View Post
    Try and get lights that have XM-L2 emitters. These are the lastest LEDS and are about 20% brighter than the XML's.
    Are the XM-L2 emitters still scarce on the Chinese knockoff market? I can find XML all day long, but nothing XM-L2.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pucked up View Post
    Try and get lights that have XM-L2 emitters. These are the lastest LEDS and are about 20% brighter than the XML's.

    If you're going to upgrade your batteries, try and buy name brand ones like Sanyo or Panasonics. Fasttech has the best prices on 18650s. The higher the capacity the longer the run time will be.
    Doe the new XM-L2 draw more current than the older XML emmiters?

  13. #13
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    Many will complicate the issue for you with spill, throw, focus, XML LED's etc etc.

    It's really pretty simple - buy a bright light and ride. If you're ok with Chinese, go there. Otherwise search the net for discounts on name brands.

    You're done.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hidperf View Post
    Doe the new XM-L2 draw more current than the older XML emmiters?
    slightly more.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    slightly more.


    Cree XM-L - typical forward voltage - 3.1V's

    Cree XM-L2 - typical forward voltage - 2.85V's



    ****

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hidperf View Post
    I've been reading through all the post on here and I'm more confused than ever about lighting and what works best for helmet/bars, which battery packs are good, which knock-offs are as good or better than the originals, and so on.

    Is there a "intro to night riding" sticky somewhere that I've overlooked? Or a sticky on who has the best deals going now?
    you can return anything to Amazon for 30 days. Amazon sells Light & Motion, NiteRider and MagicShine which is all you really need. Be careful when ordering that the item is actually sold by Amazon LLC not sold by third party ON Amazon.

    no matter how much research you do until you try it you won't really know. it's a bit like trying to learn how to ride a bike by reading about it online.

    you should still do a lot of research, just don't expect to know what you're doing at the end of it.

    you're looking anywhere from about $40 to $2,000 for a setup.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by scar View Post


    Cree XM-L - typical forward voltage - 3.1V's

    Cree XM-L2 - typical forward voltage - 2.85V's



    ****
    didn't Lupine have to increase their battery pack capacities to compensate for higher power draw of the XML2 in their current lineup ?

    obviously XML2 draws less power PER LUMEN than XML but driven to the max it draws more - no ?

    PS: he asked about current, not voltage ...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc View Post
    Many will complicate the issue for you with spill, throw, focus, XML LED's etc etc.

    It's really pretty simple - buy a bright light and ride. If you're ok with Chinese, go there. Otherwise search the net for discounts on name brands.

    You're done.
    ^^This.
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  19. #19
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    Both are rated at 3000ma DC forward current

    Where does a noob start when making a decision on lights?-cree-xm-l.jpg

    Where does a noob start when making a decision on lights?-cree-xm-l2.jpg



    *****

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by scar View Post
    Both are rated at 3000ma DC forward current

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Cree XM-L.jpg 
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    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Cree XM-L2.jpg 
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ID:	840118



    *****
    i stand corrected.

    it was foolish of me to attribute features of Lupine's design to the Emitter itself. as the saying goes never assume. this is embarrassing

    i sincerely apologize for spreading misinformation

    the voltage however appears to only be 0.05V less. i don't think that's a huge difference.

    you obviously know a lot more than me about LEDs scar. i wasn't arguing - just making sure.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc View Post
    It's really pretty simple - buy a bright light and ride. If you're ok with Chinese, go there. Otherwise search the net for discounts on name brands.

    You're done.
    Hell yes.

    Get a couple of cheap single XML lights from DX for 32$ each. One on bars, one on helmet.
    T6 XML-T6 3-Mode 900-Lumen White LED Bike Light with Battery Pack Set - Free Shipping - DealExtreme
    If you find you like this night riding thing you might want to upgrade to something better. You can loan the old lights to your riding buddies.
    DIY LED Bike Lights:
    A few Dynamo builds and some Small battery lights

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    Hell yes.

    Get a couple of cheap single XML lights from DX for 32$ each. One on bars, one on helmet.
    T6 XML-T6 3-Mode 900-Lumen White LED Bike Light with Battery Pack Set - Free Shipping - DealExtreme
    If you find you like this night riding thing you might want to upgrade to something better. You can loan the old lights to your riding buddies.
    why single XML ? what is this aversion to multiple LEDs ?

    single emitters are only useful IMO to crate laser-beam-like super-narrow pattern when coupled with large reflectors - and this pattern in turn is only useful for tactical lights, not bike lights.

    on a bike light we don't want a super defined hot spot which means we can use small reflectors and which in turn means we can use multiple emitters in a reasonable sized light head. and if we can - we should.

  23. #23
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    I have found all the information on lighting rather overwhelming. To start I mostly want something for riding around the local park paths and back home in late afternoons/evenings while sunset is early during daylight savings time. But I also want to get started with some night riding on trails sooner or later.

    After a little bit of research I settled on a Light And Motion Taz 1200 for my handlebar.
    2014 Trek Superfly FS 9; 2013 Trek Domane 4.5

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaceTripper View Post
    I have found all the information on lighting rather overwhelming. To start I mostly want something for riding around the local park paths and back home in late afternoons/evenings while sunset is early during daylight savings time. But I also want to get started with some night riding on trails sooner or later.

    After a little bit of research I settled on a Light And Motion Taz 1200 for my handlebar.
    Nothing wrong with the L&M products. They are well made but not cheap. You should get a good beam pattern that should serve you well. Your only limitation will be "run time". Since the battery is self-contained and not really large capacity ( and not switch-out-able to my knowledge ) you might consider getting a back up when doing longer rides.

    Since the lamp can be charged with a USB cable you might be able to run an external battery with USB set-up. Not all USB chargeable set-ups work that way though. Some won't operate in charge mode.

    You have to ask L&M if the unit will still operate while in USB charge mode. ( or test it yourself if you have a charger capable of supplying 2A ) Hopefully it will and since it has a 2A charge mode it should run quite fine with external battery. If that's the case all you need is an external battery capable of supplying 2A that works with micro-USB and all your bases are covered.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Nothing wrong with the L&M products. They are well made but not cheap. You should get a good beam pattern that should serve you well. Your only limitation will be "run time". Since the battery is self-contained and not really large capacity ( and not switch-out-able to my knowledge ) you might consider getting a back up when doing longer rides.

    Since the lamp can be charged with a USB cable you might be able to run an external battery with USB set-up. Not all USB chargeable set-ups work that way though. Some won't operate in charge mode.

    You have to ask L&M if the unit will still operate while in USB charge mode. ( or test it yourself if you have a charger capable of supplying 2A ) Hopefully it will and since it has a 2A charge mode it should run quite fine with external battery. If that's the case all you need is an external battery capable of supplying 2A that works with micro-USB and all your bases are covered.
    Thanks. I think I should be OK to start. The newest L&M Taz 1200 has a new "race" mode that provides 2 hours in RaceHi at 1000 lumens and 4 hours in RaceLo at 450 lumens.

    If I get more serious than that about night riding, I will revisit what I have and need.
    2014 Trek Superfly FS 9; 2013 Trek Domane 4.5

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