Do I need light on helmet and bars?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Do I need light on helmet and bars?

    Obviously a newby riding at night. Do I need light on bars and helmet, just bars, just helmet? Looking at the magic shine and a few other lights. Thanks!!

  2. #2
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    A bar light moves all over the place, is sometimes pointed up off the trail and doesn't light a steep downhill section until you have already started down it. However, the general lighting and spill from a bar light is nice.

    A helmet mounted light is always pointing where you are looking and allows you to look down steep sections, around corners, etc. before you are committed.

    My preference is to use both. If I had to choose only one, it would be a helmet mount.

    You are welcome to try mine out if you like. You are just a couple of minutes away from lights and a trail to try them on. See you in 10 minutes.

  3. #3
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    Ha, a guy that lives two minutes away from me answers my question. Thanks!

  4. #4
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    If you only have one light, I find that bar mounted lights are ideal when trails are monochrome (all one color ie sandy), woop de doos pop out more as bar lights show shadows better. If the trail has say, grey rocks and brown dirt, and is twisty, helmet mount isbetter due to ability to see around corners. , with the helmet as the preferred single light source. I rode with a single halogen for years before getting the cheapo deal extreme dual setup. really that magicshine is cheating due to its cheapness and brightness and burn time.

  5. #5
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    I used only a bar mount light for years in AZ.
    It worked great. I hear helmet plus bar is nice, but do you need it? Absolutely not.
    I would buy one or the other, try it, and see if you have any reason to spend more money, or not.

  6. #6
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    If I could choose only one, it would be a helmet light hands down. I like the light to be pointing where I'm looking. That said, I ride with both (right now using two MG L-Mini II Extreme R2).
    Rigid bikes FTW!

  7. #7
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    Good info in this thread.

    I just ordered the Airbike from Geoman yesterday, and will try it out on the handlebars first, then my helmet.

    I may end up getting the Magic Shine too, and use it for the helmet and leave the Airbike on the bars.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve
    I hear helmet plus bar is nice, but do you need it? (...) I would buy one or the other, try it, and see if you have any reason to spend more money, or not.
    Better try. Some LED helmet lights are in reasonable prices.

  9. #9
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    With about 5 night rides under my belt with all of them on a bar mounted light, I think I need both or at least have it on the helmet.

    For some reason, I still prefer to travel at a decent speed at night and I've crashed more times in the dark in the last week then I have in months during the day. I'm having problems going down very steep inclines which requires me to have some decent speeds. Since it's kind of steep, you need to roll down and use the speed to your benefit since if I were to use the brakes to 'try' to slow down, I'm now sort of fighting gravity in a bad way and a nice OTB situation occurs. Does that make sense? Since I can't see exactly whats ahead in some of these situations since the bar is aimed at a set height and the terrain level changes, I'm hesitant to go as fast as I should and find myself in these predicaments. With a helmet mounted light, I think I can aim the light where I need it as the terrain changes, etc.

    I've also crashed by not being able to see whats around a turn before it's too late. I think a helmet light (or simply slowing down) would be a great solution for my recent dirt tasting sessions but I digress.

    They say you'll lose depth perception through the lack of shadows (created from the bar mounted light) on the trail if you only use a helmet mount. I don't have a helmet mount yet so I'll have to wait and see how much this effects my ride but I think I'm gonna have to go for both as soon as I could afford it.

  10. #10
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    I find that you need to adjust your riding style a bit at night - you need to keep your weight in between the wheels more than you would during the day (i.e. further back). That way if something unexpected comes up (and it will) you don't get launched over the handlebars. I don't have experience running two high powered systems, maybe when you get that much light you can ride just like its day time?

    I typically ride with just a helmet light, though I rode with only bar lights for years. One other advantage of bar lights is that they cut under dust better than a helmet light - last week's night ride was dusty and wow did I see a lot of dust particles when I was 3 or 4 riders back in the group - more incentive to stay in front I guess :-D.

    I wouldn't get too caught up in perfection though, get a light, get out there and ride! People at work will think you're crazy...

    John

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuff Gong
    With about 5 night rides under my belt with all of them on a bar mounted light, I think I need both or at least have it on the helmet.

    ...

    I've also crashed by not being able to see whats around a turn before it's too late. I think a helmet light (or simply slowing down) would be a great solution for my recent dirt tasting sessions but I digress.

    They say you'll lose depth perception through the lack of shadows (created from the bar mounted light) on the trail if you only use a helmet mount. I don't have a helmet mount yet so I'll have to wait and see how much this effects my ride but I think I'm gonna have to go for both as soon as I could afford it.

    Yes, a helmet light helps ENORMOUSLY in those situations, it lights up where you look. I agree the bar light is good for depth perception and general trail awareness. So the short answer is yes, you need two lights
    I'm looking forward to regretting this.......

  12. #12
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    Having both is nice. The last off-road night ride I did, I took both my 600L and Seca 700 as bar lights, in case I needed to lend one out (charging one's battery is apparently NOT as obvious as I always thought). That's a lot of light at the bars, certainly over 1000 lumens. It makes it easy to read the surface, since it casts shadows on the terrain's features. But I still found my ~250-lumen helmet light useful too. They both have their place.

    Redundancy is another benefit to using both types at once. Get up to speed in a dark forest, cover up your light, and see how long you stay on the trail Mishaps do happen sometimes.

  13. #13
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    Depends on how much light you have on the bars. I have 1200 lumens on the bars with a nice side spill. I don't need a headlight with that. Besides that, it's hard to get a headlight that isn't totally blown out by the bar light.

    When I rode with 600 lumens on the bar (600L) and a narrow beam, then I need a headlight.

    In the summer, headlights aren't a good idea here until after the first frost. They attract bugs (unless you don't mind bugs in the face).

    J.

  14. #14
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    dealing with bar mounted lights when you have a flat or other mechanical problem is a pain. The combination of a helmet light and bar light provides backup, security, and is very helpful when you are not riding but need the light available. I use both.

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