Buying Lights for First Time-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018

    Buying Lights for First Time

    My son (11) and I are going to be extending our riding into the winter this year, as I don't get home from work until 6pm, which is past sundown once daylight savings time hits.

    As such, I'm looking for recommendations on setup. A few parameters:

    1) We won't likely ride over 2 hours.
    2) We will be doing quite a bit of flow trail, jump lines, and technical riding at night.
    3) We won't be riding on roads with traffic or on roads at all.
    4) Weight isn't really a worry. We aren't weight weanies and aren't doing any kind of crazy distance rides. We're basically just trying to extend our regular after work riding season.

    My understanding is that best setup is a one bike mount and one helmet mounted. It would be great if we could spend $100 or less per rider setup.

  2. #2
    RAKC Industries
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Honestly your budget for the level of riding you want to do is pretty low. Anything reputable and reliable your going to be restricted to their lowest output lights to stay in that budget. Which isnt bad for flow trails but adding in tech and especially jump lines your going to be "flying blind".

    The other option on that budget is playing the Chinese lottery. Hope to get something decent that will hold up.

    Bike lights are like bikes and gear, you get what you pay for to a certain extent. There of course is a point where, like bikes themselves, where you spend crazy money for something that really isnt worth the price difference.

    You could get by ok on that budget if riding was toned down, but I'd caution trying to go all out at night for the moment with budget contractions. Play the Chinese lottery via amazon for the moment until you figure out what exactly your looking for in a light and how much/how intense of night riding you really want to do. Then save accordingly.


    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    Life on a bike doesn't begin till the sun goes down.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: sturge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    I've had great luck with NiteRider Lumina lights the last few years. Good for a couple of hrs, light weight, tough, and a decent company that stands behind them. I've always gotten by with a helmet mount but the best option is to have two as you mention (bar and helmet). I had a 700 lumen a few years back then upgraded two years ago to 900 lumen and it's fine. I ride New England singletrack which is not 'flow' but plenty of tech, trees and bone with consequences if you crash.

    A couple of the 850 lumen 'micro' models would probably be fine. You can do that for about $150/pair. Move up to the 1000 lumen and it's about $175/pair.
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...:thumbsup:

  4. #4
    Not a role model
    Reputation: ninjichor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Looks like you'll be shopping the bargain bin deep discount lights, 2nd hand, or playing the lotto with Chinese copy-cat lights with that budget. Can't be too picky, so I'm not going to list off actual models, but I personally would aim for a very high lumen flood light (1000+, pref 2000+ since you mention flow trails and jumps) for the bar and a more focused spot light for the helmet (doesn't need to be high lumen, 800-1200 fine). If you get anything with a decently shaped beam pattern, rather than one that has typical round flashlight style ones, consider yourself lucky.

    You'll likely buy nicer once you or your son get more confident and want to ride fast, but just having lights period opens opportunity to ride for a bit of fitness. Just beware that poor ride habits that you develop during night rides may affect your day time bike handling habits, such as spending too much time in the saddle, or brake checking everything. Some habits might change for the better though... I know I stopped looking between my legs to check what gear I was in (unable to see at night), and instead figured out a different method to determine without being able to look.

    If the jargon "spot" and "flood" are confusing to you, nothing a bit of googling can't fix. Not sure where you can find the best deals, but ebay's got a ton of selection. There's copy cats of chinese copy cats there. xD

    The cheap lights I got (YinDing and Magicshine 872), before I upgraded (Outbound DH), had crappy mounts that failed before the lights themselves did. Just one fall did them in. I'm riding a bit faster and more confidently with the newer lights, to say the least.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Hogfly-I'm curios as to what you ended up buying? I'm new to Mountain Biking and want to continue to ride through the winter (I live in South Florida) but with work I will be riding at night. I have no idea where to start looking and what I need.

  6. #6
    Reputation:'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    I cannot recommend 'fenix bc30r 2017' enough

    mainly because it works great and stays put, but also it has an accurate
    intelligent display showing exactly how much runtime you have on each light level

    it is a 'no brainer' self contained light and no guesswork how long you can run it
    "Put your seatbelt back on or get out and sit in the middle of that circle of death." - Johnny Scoot

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