Cygo-Lite ExpiliOn 850 for the Mountains - Yay or nay?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Cygo-Lite ExpiliOn 850 for the Mountains - Yay or nay?

    So...I haven't done any mountain night riding before (lots of late-night urban commuting, but that's it). That is about to change very quickly.

    I spent a while reading threads on here but haven't really figured out what lighting I will need to do some familiar, but technical trail riding in the Canadian Rockies.

    I checked at MEC and the Cygo-Lite ExpiliOn 850, at $150 CDN and backed by MEC's iron clad return policy, seemed like a reasonable option. I will carry a cheap backup. Is this light going to do the trick? Is it best to bike or helmet mount it? Are 2 lights (one bike mounted and the other, helmet mounted) necessary/highly recommended?

    I could go the cheap online Chinese route but I don't mind paying extra so I don't have to wait forever, and then risk battery/charging issues. Plus, there is that iron clad return policy.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Hopefully I have given enough info about the intended purpose.

    Thanks.

    EDIT: no idea where Cygo-Lite falls on the light snob spectrum. I suspect it may be a little "pedestrian", but I am attracted because online ordering generally sucks for Canadians, and I can get this immediately.

  2. #2
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    If your going to be riding techy trails I would highly recommend two lights for several reasons. If one light fails in a techy section your second light may save you a lot of pain. Also the bar light will cast shadows on uneven ground giving you some perspective at higher speeds while the helmet light will light up where your looking such as tight switchbacks.

    Unless your keeping your rides under 90 minutes I would look at something with external battery's or at least cell swapping ability if using a self contained light, just bring extra battery's.

    I have read several complaints that the Expilion's have poor mounting resulting in rattling and movement of the light. I don't know if this has been resolved.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt View Post
    If your going to be riding techy trails I would highly recommend two lights for several reasons. If one light fails in a techy section your second light may save you a lot of pain. Also the bar light will cast shadows on uneven ground giving you some perspective at higher speeds while the helmet light will light up where your looking such as tight switchbacks.

    Unless your keeping your rides under 90 minutes I would look at something with external battery's or at least cell swapping ability if using a self contained light, just bring extra battery's.

    I have read several complaints that the Expilion's have poor mounting resulting in rattling and movement of the light. I don't know if this has been resolved.
    Thanks tons. Is there anything you feel comfortable recommending? I have to buy 2 sets, so cost is a bit of a factor.

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    I don't know if Amazon is an option for you. Quick delivery, easy returns. $150 can buy you way more light than the cygolite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Thanks tons. Is there anything you feel comfortable recommending? I have to buy 2 sets, so cost is a bit of a factor.
    Few questions

    How long of rides will you be doing?
    What is your max budget?
    How quickly do you need these lights?

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    If you have your heart set on an all-in-one from MEC, maybe look at the Fenix BC30R
    Fenix BC30R 1600 Lumen Bike Light - Mountain Equipment Co-op. Free Shipping Available

    If I had only one light I'd put it on the helmet though.
    You can get a pretty decent deal on a Gemini Duo, or read the thread on the Yinding if you don't mind putting parts together.

    A Yinding with a GoPro adapter from VancBiker plus one of the KD waterproof batteries and a decent charger will cost you less than the Cygolite.
    It'll take a while to get the components and there's no all-in-one warranty. For that you can get a Gemini Duo kit from actionLED.

  7. #7
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    Keep in mind that Fenix light is only 800 usable lumens. You only get 1600 lumens on (boost) mode in which you actually have to keep the button pressed to maintain that mode. Poor design IMO and a useless feature for off road mountain biking. Hopefully Fenix makes some changes to where their advertised output is accurate as the quality is there.

    I second your recommendation on the Duo from action-led-lights.com if he can wait a week or two.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt Road View Post
    I don't know if Amazon is an option for you. Quick delivery, easy returns. $150 can buy you way more light than the cygolite.
    Thanks. The thing is though is that I would be restricted to Amazon Canada, which I suspect has far less selection than Amazon US. Plus, I am not a big Amazon guy. Not sure about Amazon US but Amazon Canada is generally ridiculous, price-wise. I have yet to find anything even on par with local retailers. I consider Amazon Canada an absolute last resort for things I really want, but cannot find elsewhere.

    For Canadians, as a general statement, ordering anything online these days from anyone other than a Canadian online retailer can be over the top costly. The Canadian dollar is in the toilet, and shipping/duties/brokerage fees can $hit the bed on pretty much any online order from any out of country retailer. All you US guys have it really good in this regard.

    I will check Amazon Canada but I am not holding my breath selection-wise, or cost-wise.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt View Post
    Few questions

    How long of rides will you be doing?
    What is your max budget?
    How quickly do you need these lights?
    Thanks. In response to your questions:

    1. I suspect rides will be less than 2 hours.
    2. Max budget, hopefully, will be $150 CDN a bike (which is about $115 US, including shipping, duties, brokerage, etc., if I order online).
    3. I'd like to get the lights to be ready to go by June 1 at the latest.

    Thanks again for your help with this. I really appreciate it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Thanks. In response to your questions:

    1. I suspect rides will be less than 2 hours.
    2. Max budget, hopefully, will be $150 CDN a bike (which is about $115 US, including shipping, duties, brokerage, etc., if I order online).
    3. I'd like to get the lights to be ready to go by June 1 at the latest.

    Thanks again for your help with this. I really appreciate it.
    If you check out action-led-lights.com they have the new 2016 Gemini Xera. This is a 935 lumen light with high quality two cell battery and charger for $109US. I believe you get two hours of run time on the highest setting. Great value.

    If your interested make sure they ship using USPS then Canada post will take over once in Canada. I never get stung with duty fees so far going this rout unlike using a currier which is almost a guaranty to pay those fees.

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    Well, since the OP doesn't want to pay import duties I looked at what was being offered on Amazon Canada. Not much there. No brand names that I saw at all. They did have some of the Solarstorm clones though. If I had to buy within Canada and was going to use Amazon Canada I'd go with the RioRand® 3 x XML U2 ( Solarstorm X3 clone ) for the bars and then buy the RioRand X2 clone for the helmet.

    These lights are pretty much dirt cheap. The down side is that they are only going to give you typical Chinese quality. They will however give you a decent about of light to mountain bike by as long as they work. They likely won't include really good batteries but if you're pinching pennies I'd roll the dice and go with these. Anyway about $63 CAD for both and that's hard to beat. I figure if you're out somewhere that there are Grizzles hanging around you might need at least 2500 total lumen ( est.combined output ) in case you have to beat-feet at high speed.

    FWIW, I own some of same types of lamps and they work pretty well. Whatever you decide to get you need two lamps just in case one fails. If you get the cheap RioRands just be sure to consider upgrading the batteries as soon as possible and test the ones you have for run time so you know ( in advance ) how long they will run for your typical rides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Well, since the OP doesn't want to pay import duties I looked at what was being offered on Amazon Canada. Not much there. No brand names that I saw at all. They did have some of the Solarstorm clones though. If I had to buy within Canada and was going to use Amazon Canada I'd go with the RioRand® 3 x XML U2 ( Solarstorm X3 clone ) for the bars and then buy the RioRand X2 clone for the helmet.

    These lights are pretty much dirt cheap. The down side is that they are only going to give you typical Chinese quality. They will however give you a decent about of light to mountain bike by as long as they work. They likely won't include really good batteries but if you're pinching pennies I'd roll the dice and go with these. Anyway about $63 CAD for both and that's hard to beat. I figure if you're out somewhere that there are Grizzles hanging around you might need at least 2500 total lumen ( est.combined output ) in case you have to beat-feet at high speed.

    FWIW, I own some of same types of lamps and they work pretty well. Whatever you decide to get you need two lamps just in case one fails. If you get the cheap RioRands just be sure to consider upgrading the batteries as soon as possible and test the ones you have for run time so you know ( in advance ) how long they will run for your typical rides.
    Thank you.

    I have spent the last two days reading as much as I can and may get one of the cheap Chinese ones you mentioned, and a Gemini Duo 4 cell. That would be per bike (mine and my daughter's). It's way over my budget but life is short, I am getting older, and this is my one true passion. So whatever. Plus it's my birthday in a few days and my daughter and other love of my life still need some gift suggestions :-)

    If you or anyone else has any other suggestions, I would very much appreciate them.

    Thanks to everyone who helped me with this.

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    I love my Cygolite lights. no issues with the mounting ....

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    Okay. I may throw caution to the wind, as well as my budget, and order 2 sets of Gemini light packages from Action LED, consisting of 2 of the following 3:

    1. 2015 Olympia 2100 6 cell - $180 - 3 hours on max;
    2. 2016 Xera 950 4 cell - $140 - 4 hrs on max; and
    3. 2016 Duo 1500 4 cell - $180 - 3 hours on max.

    So that would be 2 of the above 3 per bike. One bar mounted, and the other helmet mounted. I am inclined to get the Duo. If so, for the second light would you go for the Xera or the Olympia?

    Also, my daughter and I each have Bell Super 2 helmets. I assume there will be no issue with the Gemini helmet mounts. Those helmets come with a Go-Pro attachment so I assume I can use the Gemini helmet mount the same way. Please let me know if you think otherwise. Same issue actually with the thick SixC bars - I tried cheap MEC lights this weekend and the rubber strap mount was not long enough.

    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Thank you.

    I have spent the last two days reading as much as I can and may get one of the cheap Chinese ones you mentioned, and a Gemini Duo 4 cell. That would be per bike (mine and my daughter's). It's way over my budget but life is short, I am getting older, and this is my one true passion. So whatever. Plus it's my birthday in a few days and my daughter and other love of my life still need some gift suggestions :-)

    If you or anyone else has any other suggestions, I would very much appreciate them.

    Thanks to everyone who helped me with this.
    You should be very happy with the new Duo. I have the first version and it has been a good light. Yours is brighter and has wireless remote which you will soon realize is a great feature to have. Just a reminder,,,,, this Duo is a tiny light with lots of output so if you get into a habit right away of using the med setting on slower climbs this will help prevent the thermal from kicking in which will cut output down to 20% output to save the internals from overheating. Depending on ambient temperature most likely anything over 12/14clicks and you should be good to run full output without step down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt View Post
    You should be very happy with the new Duo. I have the first version and it has been a good light. Yours is brighter and has wireless remote which you will soon realize is a great feature to have. Just a reminder,,,,, this Duo is a tiny light with lots of output so if you get into a habit right away of using the med setting on slower climbs this will help prevent the thermal from kicking in which will cut output down to 20% output to save the internals from overheating.
    Thanks. Do you have any thoughts re my "2 of 3" question above?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Okay. I may throw caution to the wind, as well as my budget, and order 2 sets of Gemini light packages from Action LED, consisting of 2 of the following 3:

    1. 2015 Olympia 2100 6 cell - $180 - 3 hours on max;
    2. 2016 Xera 950 4 cell - $140 - 4 hrs on max; and
    3. 2016 Duo 1500 4 cell - $180 - 3 hours on max.

    So that would be 2 of the above 3 per bike. One bar mounted, and the other helmet mounted. I am inclined to get the Duo. If so, for the second light would you go for the Xera or the Olympia?

    Also, my daughter and I each have Bell Super 2 helmets. I assume there will be no issue with the Gemini helmet mounts. Those helmets come with a Go-Pro attachment so I assume I can use the Gemini helmet mount the same way. Please let me know if you think otherwise. Same issue actually with the thick SixC bars - I tried cheap MEC lights this weekend and the rubber strap mount was not long enough.

    Thanks.
    The Xera does not have wireless remote. So I would go for the Olympia for your bars and the Duo for your lid. Another great feature is you can run both lights from just one remote if you want. If you want independent control then you will use two remotes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt View Post
    The Xera does not have wireless remote. So I would go for the Olympia for your bars and the Duo for your lid. Another great feature is you can run both lights from just one remote if you want. If you want independent control then you will use two remotes.
    I know you know this, but the 2015 Olympia does not come with a remote. So it's in the same league as the Xera in that regard. I understood that you could run the 2016 Xera and Duo from the Duo's remote, but I wasn't sure if you could run the 2015 Olympia from the Duo's remote. Do you know?

    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    I know you know this, but the 2015 Olympia does not come with a remote. So it's in the same league as the Xera in that regard. I understood that you could run the 2016 Xera and Duo from the Duo's remote, but I wasn't sure if you could run the 2015 Olympia from the Duo's remote. Do you know?

    Thanks.
    No the Xera does not have a remote function. I didn't realize you were looking at the 2015 Olympia. That 2015 model only has a measured output 1479lumens and is $179. You would be better off getting two 2016 Duo's as the Duo is as bright has wireless remote and costs the same.

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    The 2015 Olympia does not have wireless remote.

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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt View Post
    No the Xera does not have a remote function. I didn't realize you were looking at the 2015 Olympia. That 2015 model only has a measured output 1479lumens and is $179. You would be better off getting two 2016 Duo's as the Duo is as bright has wireless remote and costs the same.
    Okay. Good to know. Thanks.

    One final thing - please pardon my ignorance but I assume that most would strap the bar mounted battery pack to the top tube, and carry the helmet mounted pack in their CamelBak. Is that correct?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Okay. Good to know. Thanks.

    One final thing - please pardon my ignorance but I assume that most would strap the bar mounted battery pack to the top tube, and carry the helmet mounted pack in their CamelBak. Is that correct?
    Yes that's what most do!!

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    Oh although were going into summer this advice wont matter till you ride in the colder months. Never!!! charge your battery packs right after a night ride in cold temperatures. This will kill the performance and longevity of your battery in very little time. Cheers!! Let us know what your final decision is.

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    @MBMike; If you decide on a 2016 version of the Duo or Olympia you might want to ask ( Action LED ) whither or not you are getting the warmer version or the cooler version. Both are suppose to be "neutral white" but Gemini decided... ( since they listen to what people like me seem to want ) .... to switch over to a slightly warmer LED bin tint. The thing is that they are going to still sell off the the previous stock of the original version until it runs out. If you want the warmer version you might have to put in a special request.

    Good choice to go with the Gemini's and yes I too would recommend the 2016's because the wireless remotes are great and worth the extra money. And yes the Gemini's are still programmable so you can set the 3 mode levels anyway you like ( within the 10 variable output levels ).

    I took a look at the helmet you have on-line. I see it includes some sort of camera mount. If these are indeed Go-pro usable then you should be able to buy an after-market Go pro adapter for the Duo ( see the Vancbiker Go-pro adapters ).

    Now if the camera mount is removable ( which I would think it would be, not every one needs or wants a camera mount on the helmet ) then you should be able to use the included Gemini helmet mount as well. Of course there is no way I can know for sure how well your helmet will work with a helmet lamp because I don't own your helmet. Also, if you wanted to mount a 2-cell to the back of the helmet you should be able to do that as well ( judging from the available photos ).

    Of course if you are buying the set with 4-cell battery then yes you carry the battery in a back pocket or *Camelback type backpack. ( or on the top or down tube if bar mounting ) ( *comes with battery extension cable ) ( *Side note, Strange that when you shop online for helmets that they almost never show you the view of the top of the helmet looking directly down on the helmet )

    BTW, do you like those Bell Super 2's, are they comfortable? I'm considering buying one.

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    You may actually want to try the duo with a 2-cell battery pack attached to the back of your helmet. If you're running a strong bar light, medium may be fine on your head.

    I would be tempted to grab a Yinding to go with the Duo kit. It'll be well within your budget, and you can pimp it up later if you want. The Olympia is a bit brighter but a lot more $, while the Yinding is similar to the Duo, but with slower free shipping and poorer support. I didn't get hit by customs or duties.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    ...BTW, do you like those Bell Super 2's, are they comfortable? I'm considering buying one.
    Thanks for all the help CMD. Much appreciated.

    As for the Super 2Rs, my intention to wear the lower detachable part never materialized last year, despite trips to Utah, Whistler, Revelstoke, Golden and Fernie (in addition to some good technical local riding). Maybe this year I will be smarter about things (especially with my daughter, who just had her braces removed after 3+ years and many, many, many thousands of dollars out of my pocket). Anyway, the helmet, with and without the lower part, is a very nice helmet. The only gripe I have (which is really not a gripe) is that as with some others at this forum, I do find there are a few hot spots. Nothing overly bad, as I wear it uninterrupted for up to 6 hours at a time with no issues. But sometimes I can feel a couple of pressure points near my temples. Mine is non-MIPs. I understand the MIPs version is worse in this regard. I wear mine with a Sweat Buster, which has helped with fit (in addition to keeping the sweat out of my eyes). My daughter loves hers. Over 20 years of pretty serious riding, I'd say it's the best helmet overall I have owned.

    Good news on the lighting front. I may have access to the Gemini lights through my LBS, where I generally get a 25% discount at the counter. I called the Canadian distributor for Gemini and my LBS is one of 3 local retailers. So that may help out cost-wise, although Action LED may still be cheaper. I am still waiting to hear back from my LBS.

    Thanks again all. Much appreciated.

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    I have a pair of Cygolite Expilion 700s. I find them to be quality lights, but a bit of an anomaly to use for trail riding. They are too heavy (for me) to mount on the helmet, I definitely feel the weight and find it bothersome. On the bar, I find they do not have a good flood pattern. I am not sure if this extrapolates to the 850s.

    I solved this by mounting both Expilions on my bar, and running them low and aimed as the two sides of the trail. This provides a better flood for my peripheral vision. I picked up a light head with a separate battery for my helmet. Much happier with this configuration, but I would still prefer a proper flood on my bars.

    With your chin bar attached you might not find the heaver weight of an all-in-one light to be as bothersome. I know that I can't even feel my light when mounted on my MET Parachute. I could probably put the Expilion on the MET and be happy, but I have the head now so no need.

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