Cheap and expensive options- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Cheap and expensive options

    I'm looking to get into night trail riding and could use some suggestions for lights. Currently I have a light head only Solarstorm x2(fake?) being sent to me after winning it for cheap on eBay. Not sure if I should invest in this light or look elsewhere. If I were to keep the light...what batteries, charger, and holder are the latest recommended choices?

    On the other end of the spectrum, a friend recommended I look into the Diablo mk6 with extra battery as a standalone bar light. I'd like to get a standalone bar light that I don't have to worry about the house burning down and keep it under $220 total if possible. I've looked through the 2015 shootout but would love to get some more opinions based on what I have and am looking for. Thank you!

  2. #2
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    I've spent...god, I don't want to even think about how much I've spent on lights in the past decade...Lets just say I've bought a lot of expensive high-end light systems from NiteRider, Light and Motion, BLT etc. Sure, I've had some good lights without a doubt...but I NEVER seem to get my money's worth out of them before I end up replacing them for whatever reason...not bright enough anymore, batteries shot etc etc.

    On a total crapshoot my riding buddies and I bought 5 $35 chaiwaneese lights off of e-bay. Figured at that price it was more than worth a shot.

    We've all been using them exclusively for this entire season. Dozens of night rides for each of us. Proven to be completely reliable and way more than bright enough. No, not just 'ok' bright, completely light up that trail bright! Even on high, we're all getting at least 3 hours out of ours. They were listed as 3600 lumen, which we know they aren't...but we do figure they're at LEAST 1200...way WAY brighter than my 1000 lumen SECA, which was $450 a few years ago!

    Go cheap. Really, do it. You're wasting money on anything else!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaywardTraveller View Post
    Go cheap. Really, do it. You're wasting money on anything else!
    Normally agree, but one thing stuck out. the desire for it to be stand alone unit. All my lights are the cheap knockoff, and they work great. However, they require a separate battery pack. I can't give advise on the good all-in-one USB chargeable ones, but I know Nashbar is doing 25% off a single item. They probably have something good for a single light

    I always have 2 lights. One on my helmet, one on the bar. the bar light casts a shadow to help see how big rocks are, and the helmet light lets me shine light independent of the bar for looking around corners. I'll always use at least 2. I've had the light shut off on me before on a pitch black night. Scary as heck when you can't see any more on a rocky trail. I also have some remote control car batteries that I can use with my knockoff cree lights. Last a whole lot longer than the stock batteries, and I have good RC balance chargers for those batteries.

  4. #4
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    Cheap lights with RC car batteries? Is this a safe and reliable option? I have no preference of it being an all in one unit or having a battery pack...either works for me. Thanks for the feedback so far! If you have specific lights, batteries, or chargers for me to check out that you're talking about let me know. Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Oddly enough, it works fine. RC car batteries have come a long way in the last couple years. However, I still have the old ones from 10 years ago. Nickel metal hydride. Hold a charge, powerful, heavy, but they don't explode. Lipo's can still explode. I use the cheap lipo batteries than came with the knockoffs on my helmet, but the RC batteries are for my bar mounted lights. Chuck some battery bricks into a stem bag, and I'm off.

  6. #6
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    I don't like a combined unit on the bar because I want the light to not wobble around, and no one yet has made a combo unit with a solid enough mount for even the two-battery lights, and I need at least four batteries. 1200 lumens seems like a lot unti you're running 1800, or 2400.

    I went with a Gloworm XS head ($219 at the time) and a $20 sealed pack from china. It was shutting off when the lamp was at full brightness, so I purchases a $20 case for loose batteries and use cells I pull from laptop batteries that have died. the head unit sits rock solid, and the cell case is in a nylon bag strapped to the bar that can move around a but and won't come flying off the bar or re-aim my lamp.

    I previously used a few cheap chinese lamps and flashlights, but the beam quality and quantity from the XS was such an incredible improvement that I purchased an X2 for my helmet and will not be going back. My kids got the cheap chinese gear.
    I will suffer no butt-hurt fools!

  7. #7
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    IM with others, go cheaper. Not ebay crap shoot though. Look through this sub for the good cheap lights and where to get them. Buy a proper battery pack (no way id run lipos, crash where a stick or rock smashes the pack.....good by bike) with 18650 Li-Ion cells. Some lights ocme as kits with good battery packs but only an elite few of the cheap lights do. Nitefighter is the first one that comes to mind.

    I know on the cheaper end for stand alone usb chargeable types the fenix bc30r would work well for mild trail use. not enough for agressive trails by itself though (agressive trails use a bar and a helmet light)

    What you bought cheap off ebay isnt going to do well, the crap shoot ones there have serious lack of output.

    $220 goes A LONG WAY if you get the cheaper light heads and decent batteries, can get set up with helemt light, bar light, batteries and charger for way less than that. And have it be quality and last a while. Next best "bang for buck" which are really nice lights but kinda pricey is check out Action-led-lights.com . They are in the states, good guys, and lights are great (and the kits with batteries and everything are still cheaper than the pricey brand name stuff, but as good if not better than the high priced lights). Dont rely on the shoot out, it misses some of the far better lights that are far cheaper.

  8. #8
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    The gloworm sounds great but are any of the cheaper nitefighters similar? Sounds like the Diablo that was recommended is not even going to be an option anymore since I can get similar performance for less. Still curious about using RC car batteries or pulling dead laptop batteries, but would like to first have a solid light, batteries, and charger to start with. Thanks again for the help

  9. #9
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    Nothing out that matches the XS. But the bt21 does do better than the Gloworm X2. Only thing you loose in programmable driver.

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