$300 Budget - Exposure, Dinotte or Cygolite? Commuting- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    $300 Budget - Exposure, Dinotte or Cygolite? Commuting

    Hi there,

    I've been browsing this subforum for a few days now, trying to follow the vast amount of information and been doing some research on my own. I am trying to find a lighting system for $300 or less for when I commute twice a week.

    I'll just tell you what I'm going to be using this light for. My commute home is 25 miles (takes 1.5 hours) with 9 miles of it being on a multi-purpose paved trail with some lighting, the next 5 miles is rural country road with several cars passing every few minutes with NO street lighting and dense tree cover, making it even darker. The last 10 miles is still 2 lane road but on top of a ridge so more exposed, wider road with shoulder and with minimal street lighting on 75% of it. The other 25% that has no street lighting, happens to the be, in my opinion, the most dangerous part since I'm going uphill with minimal shoulder and it's around 5pm when everyone is going home so probably the most cars on this segment of the road with some blind corners. I think my current taillight is fine, some unknown cateye model but brighter taillight would be a bonus!

    Right now I don't need a light since the clocks have not been set back 1 hour here in the US. I could use one for the morning commute to the train (BART) but I just been using my Black Diamond headlamp till I finally get an "official" bike light.

    I do do have a bike light but I havent used it since last year since I don't want to bother charging it and using it. It's an old Cygolite Night Rover Xtra NiMH that I use on the handlebars, it's 16W halogen dual beam which last a couple hours on high and up to 6+ hours on low. There is nothing wrong with the light except it weighs 700-800 grams and takes 14-17 hours to charge (must be fully drained to charge too) and has a stupid water bottle cage battery, it is bright enough, as I used it for last seasons night commutes. Isn't there halogen wattage to lumen conversion right? So my current 16w system is like ? lumens?

    I'm just looking for something that weighs a lot less (I would think any modern LED system would weigh a lot less than my current setup) and that charges quickly (again probably any modern light system). My main concern is price and lumens.

    First off, I'm not sure how many lumens is enough for commuting on my roadbike. My average speed going home is 16.5-17.5mph, with a maximum of 30-35mph going down the hills. The last 4-5 miles is the main downhill part and sometimes there can be loose rock that slid down the embankment and coming around corners I avoid them. They aren't boulder size just something you don't want your skinny road bike tires running over as you go around the corner. There also a few bigger cracks that wake you up if you hit them I definately want to be able to see this in advance as I'm coasting down the hill probably about 25mph+. That is why I think a helmet mounted setup would be nice, but a nice internal battery setup on the handlebars would be nice since it could come off and on easily if I don't need it.

    Anyway, I'm considering a few lights right now.

    1) Cygolite Mitycross 350 LED - $200

    350 lumens with a small enough battery to mount on the stem or mount on back of helmet with light mounted on front part of helmet. The run time seems reasonable and charge time is good. Cygolite is a good company, I own one of their products and it has worked flawlessly.

    2) Cygolite Trion 600 LED - $335

    This one is slightly over my budget but I liked how the battery was internal (you can attach ,piggyback, battery to extend runtime), like exposure lights, and at 600 lumens that's pretty cool, but you can't mount it on the helmet, but that is a minor issue.

    3) Exposure Lights Joystick MaXx 2 - $200

    240 lumens, so not as much as the cygolite but it's internal battery so I don't have to worry about attaching any battery but you can with their Smart Port. I could also attach the red light for a nice rear red light, +$45, (be nice for that section of road with minimal shoulders) or if I think 240 lumens isn't enough I could attach the white light, +$45, and boost the lumens a lot more, but cut the run time in half, need something to run 1.5+ hours. I think the one light runs 3 hours so with the white light it would theoretically run 1.5 hours but I wouldn't think i need both lights on for my whole commute, maybe just those 5 miles under trees and when coming down the last 4-5 miles from the hill?

    4) Exposure Lights Enduro MaxX 2 - $340

    Again, over budget but I want to consider something that might be within range and I don't want to overlook anything if it's worth saving up a little bit more for

    I say this is compable to the Cygolite Trion 600; internal battery, can add batteries, no helmet mount for both, but the Enduro has 720 lumens and they both weigh about the same ~240 grams +/-. So in terms of price/lumen this light I think edges out the Trion 600 by just a little bit. It also runs 3 hours on high while the Trion 600 last 2.5 hours

    5) Dinotte 400L-Li-2C headlight - $269

    Comes under budget, has 400 lumens. So in the middle of the 'cheaper' $200 dollars ones but not as bright has the $300+ dollar ones. Like the Cygolite Mitycross, the 2 cell battery is small enough to mount on the helmet along with the light or on the stem, which is a plus for me. Again, the weight is around ~240g, so not much difference in weight between the systems. I think the joystick weighs the least amount.

    I hear good things about Dinotte and their products look superb. I've been looking at their website for a few days now and they have some good 'package' deals which makes it tempting to get one of them since they give you another light with a massive discount if you get the package. I don't think I can justify spending the $$$ so I can get the 600L handlebar with the 400L helmet and 400R tailight, which would be the option I would get if money was no object haha.

    I'm thinking Dinotte 400L-Li-2C headlight and buy the 140L-AA-R for the taillight so $269 + $119, the tailight is not my priority though as I already have one.

    As you can tell I need some opinions and HELP! I think I would stick with the exposure light setup if 240 lumens is enough, and for 40 bucks more I could add that white light or a bright tail light and everything could be mounted on my helmet, so no worrying about cords or frame mounted batteries.

    If you guys think 240 lumens would be enough for my commute I think I would go with the Dinotte 400L headlight and POSSIBLY get their 140L-AA-R taillight.

    Okay, I typed enough and I'm tired and I'm sure you are tired from reading this and now don't want to reply I hope I covered all the basic stuff and gave you enough info on the type of light I'm looking for.

    Final thing, eventhough I prefer an internal battery solution, the only thing I worry about is...What if the battery craps out? I would have to get a new light system not just a new battery!

    I like Dinottes battery configuration options and they are cheap compared to everyone elses so that is a plus for them. I also know Cygolites and Dinottes customer service is good. I can always call Cygolite in the past and get help, both are based in the US. Exposure is in the UK right? So servicing might be more of a pain with less dealers in the states and just possibly having to ship things overseas for repair.
    Last edited by iRoNeTiK; 09-17-2009 at 11:48 PM.

  2. #2
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    Why not save some coin and get the $89 Magic Shine or the $215 Airbike as seen in this thread?
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=545163

    They put out more lumens than what you are looking at.

    I just got the Airbike Wednesday, and it is very bright.
    Will be testing it out after dark tonight on a quick ride.

  3. #3
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    The magic shine seems to be a good deal or you could pick up an amoeba. I just got one not to long ago and I'll tell you what this light is far better than any other light I have used. I would recommend not going with a big name companies as there are far better light systems out there. you just have to look!

  4. #4
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    I saw those lights as well, the Airbike and Magic Shine available from Geoman but it looks like the battery cannot be mounted to the helmet along with the light itself. It's meant to be put in a camelback, which I don't use while commuting, only on longer mountain rides. So I would be forced to locate it to the handlebar and mount the battery to the frame, not the stem like I would prefer.

    The magic shine is definately impressive, for the money and brightness it's hard to ignore.

    The Amoeba looks good, around same price as the Airbike but looks like the battery can be placed on the helmet as well. The look is so so (no offense to the maker,) but the specs and I'm sure build quality is great. The only question is, which Amoeba would I get?

    2x Cree Q5 WC LED's (spot beam pattern) - ~450 lumens total output

    Or the flood?

    OR a 2x Cree R2 with 520 lumens for $240

    Do the Amoeba's hold up to rain?

  5. #5
    H.E.R
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    So far my Amoeba has been working awesomely, way better than my night rider lights that I have. As far as which pattern spot or flood. I have the spot version. It works perfectly for me out here in Flagstaff. Judging from your post I see that majority of your commute is hard packed or paved road I would maybe go with a spot since these surfaces are generally smooth. The spot pattern on the amoeba in my case has a pretty good spread. I also ride road and hard pack dirt road, the amoeba does just fine. I would suggest contacting scar and asking some questions.

  6. #6
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    The Airbike battery can indeed be mounted to the helmet, I did last night.
    I used the short cord.

    The Velcro straps for the battery pack thread through the helmet the same is the light mount does.
    It is a lot of weight on the head though.

  7. #7
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    I have 400L and the light is awesome. Yeah, more expensive than the brighter MS but I think lighter if you want to use it on your helmet.

    I suggested it b/c you should get one of their rear lights as well w/ the package deal. I would never commute day in and day out w/o the absolute brightest most obnoxious rear light and that's what the Dinotte offers you. It's so damn bright it's highly visible during the middle of the day too. I also use a reflective strap around my ankle.

    You can never be too safe.

    MB

  8. #8
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    I ended up getting the 400 Road Rider's Experience package from DiNotte for $430, I spent more than I initially wanted and got the 400R Taillight as well. I got free Express Mail shipping, ordered Monday midday and got it Tuesday at 11am, niiiiice!

    I haven't used the system yet but I will tonight when I go on a Sunset/Twilight ride up in the hills. It's all mounted and charged, ready to go! Can't wait to see how it performs

  9. #9
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    I'm an Ay Up fan. Nice little lights with 300+ lumens. What I really like about them is you can purchase replacement/extra batteries for around $50.

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