Do I need bar lights, helmet or both?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Do I need bar lights, helmet or both?

    Hey guys,

    I am new to MTB night riding, I currently have no lights and the budget is undecided. I like the idea of some night racing so I am happy to spend the necessary amount to get the right kit. I will also be using them 2-3 times a week for 3hr training rides so battery life is important.

    Could I get some experienced opinions on what I should be looking at?

    I have spent a long time searching the net but I'm confused if I just need a good set of helmet lights or both bar and helmet!

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    If you are not travelling a lot on roads(public traffic) then with small budget helmet light should be the first thing, as it shows light excactly where you need it. With bigger budger you can use both: helmet and bar light.

    Keep in mind, when choosing a helmet light to also check the weight of the unit, as heavy lights are more trouble than useful(heavy light tires your neck and rocks your helmet around).

  3. #3
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    Thank you Genius Gun! I should elaborate more on what I'm after. I've been racing XC for a year now and I've had a 1st cat licence road racing for a few years. Ideally I'm looking to buy a set of lights and not need to change or upgrade them for quite a while. My budget could stretch to 600-700 if needs be but I'm not trying to spend as much as possible!

    Hope that helps narrow this down

  4. #4
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    you can get by with a helmet or bar light. my preference is to have it on my helmet and it seems that a lot of people do this. i am thinking of adding a bar light as the magicshines are good value and bright enough for my needs. now knowing how good they are i would have ordered 2 from the start and you will have plenty of change from your budget.

  5. #5
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    I'm a complete noob when it comes to lights and found the stickied Beamshots thread in the DIY forum to a good source of info. Even if you don't want to build or buy from one of the small scale builders, it will give you an idea of what's available.

  6. #6
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    Normally I push the MS for the average occaional night rider. But if you're looking to do 3hr rides a few times a week, and you want something for the long haul, I'd probably spend a bit more money.
    Personally, I'd look into some of the lights being made by members here, like Scars Amoeba, or the Trail LED line by Zen.

  7. #7
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    Ive been getting by with just a helmet mounted MS...... a bar mounted light would be nice though.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fightnut
    Normally I push the MS for the average occaional night rider. But if you're looking to do 3hr rides a few times a week, and you want something for the long haul, I'd probably spend a bit more money.
    Personally, I'd look into some of the lights being made by members here, like Scars Amoeba, or the Trail LED line by Zen.
    Couldn't agree more fightnut, a DarkStar/ XPG Amoeba combo, would kick but. And could be custom built for ruds specific needs.And would support two well respected DIY' ers.

  9. #9
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    Thank you for the replies so far guys! I've been looking at the options and I'm intrigued by the Full Beam Night Nemesis lights, the run time is good, power very good and it looks like a clean setup. Does anyone know of any downsides?

  10. #10
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    Since you're specifically asking about racing, my opinion is that you do need both a bar and helmet light. For racing, even a small change in speed is significant and having both does make a difference.

    Back when lights were heavier and more trouble, I would do most of my non-racing night riding with just a helmet light simply because I didn't want to bother with setting up both lights and it didn't really matter if I was going a few percent slower. But for races, it is always worth the extra trouble to deal with both a bar and helmet light. The bar light gives you depth perception and the helmet light gives you better visibility in turns. Now that lights are smaller and lighter, I pretty much use both all the time.

    I also find that I'm much happier if the lights have the same color tint. This seems to be a personal thing. It seems to bother some folks and not other folks. Personally if the helmet and bar light "look" different to me it becomes very distracting. This can be a problem in the world of LED lights because most light makers do not specify the color tint of their lights. You're usually safe if you buy from the same manufacturer, but this isn't always true. Especially if you're dealing with budget lights purchased at different times since they seem to buy whichever LED tints are cheaper at the time.

  11. #11
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    I would recommend helmet and bar lights, although if I had to choose just one I would probably go with helmet. LED's with lithium ion batteries are the way to go, buy the best and brightest you can afford, they are worth the extra money by far. I have had a couple light setups over the years, I do not work for dinotte but I have their 800/400 combo (800 on bar, 400 on helmet WITH batt) that I bought off their website on sale and it rocks.

  12. #12
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    I'd recomend both, helmet & bar for offroad. If you just want one then I'd use one for a helmet as your head/eyes will need to deviate first to see ahead before you turn the handlebars.
    I found this out painfully the first time I went night riding & I couldn't see round far enough around this particular fast sharp turn In the trail with the light on my bars, where as If I had It on my helmet I could have followed It around & reacted

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