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Thread: Head or Bar

  1. #1
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    Head or Bar

    I need a suggestion on an easy to get (nothing exotic) light, lets say well less than $200.

    Going forward from here our rides on weeknights are going to start finishing up in the dark. I am not a dedicated night rider, but by the end of August to early Oct the rides will be 50/50 evening twilight-dark, especially since our trails are mostly twisty rocky/rooty forested single track, it gets dark sooner in there, and there is lots of stuff to make you crash, or crash into. I will also say as a newer rider I tend to ride towards the back ,if not dead last in our group (I know my place!...and so I am not another obstacle to deal with).

    I only want to buy one light, should it be bar or helmet?

    There is no well stocked LBS here so it will have to come mail order most likely.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks.
    Blueliner

  2. #2
    Light freak
    Reputation: scar's Avatar
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    I would go for the helmet light

    Characteristics of where you place the light –
    Light on the bars – With the light being below your eyes, it produces “shadowing” of obstacles. The downside of the light being on the bars is the light is always pointed in the direction that you bars are pointed. Can be a problem on tight, twisty switch backs where you want to look around the corner. The other thing is having to make a repair in the dark with your light bar mounted. Almost have to remove it to get the light pointed where you need it

    Light on your head – With the light above your eyes, it tends to “flatten” out obstacles as it doesn’t produce as much “shadowing”. The upside is that your light is always pointed directly where you are looking. Making repairs in the dark in much easier with the light on your head. The downside to a helmet mounted light only is that when you are looking to the sides or around a switchback, you don’t have lighting on the ground (which could be actually visible in your peripheral vision). In snow, fog, and rain, a helmet only light can be difficult. The light reflecting back at you off of the moisture in the air can make visibility very difficult.

    Light on both the helmet and the bars – Best of both worlds. Always have light directly out in front of you and where you are looking. If it gets snowing, raining, dusty, or foggy and it is making visibility difficult because of the helmet light, then you just go bar only.


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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueliner View Post
    ...our trails are mostly twisty rocky/rooty forested single track...I only want to buy one light, should it be bar or helmet?...
    With these conditions, my preference would be helmet mounted. BUT...since you need a backup light of some sort in case of failure, you might as well mount it on the bars and have both.

  4. #4
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    A light on your head is usually the best if you could have only one. With a <$200 budget, I'd put a $130 light on my helmet and a $40 flashlight on my bars.
    '19 Surly Krampus '18 Soma Wolverine '16 Giant Anthem SX '12 Soma Analog SS '07 Felt F1X '97 Schwinn Mesa SS '86 Fuji Club

  5. #5
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    +1 to what Glynis says. With a $200 budget you can have both.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiveFreeThenDie View Post
    With a $200 budget you can have both.
    Usually I go to the bar first, then hit the head after a couple of adult beverages.
    Gone are the days we stopped to decide,
    Where we should go,
    We just ride...

  7. #7
    Hi.
    Reputation: jtmartino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jugdish View Post
    Usually I go to the bar first, then hit the head after a couple of adult beverages.
    LOL comedy. Love it.

    Blueliner, if you could only have one option, go for the helmet-mount. Not being able to look side-to-side is a huge PITA (speaking from experience.)

    Glynis27, do you have any recommendations for the $130 head lamp and $40 flashlight you'd use?

  8. #8
    ride for fun
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    you can get both a decent bar and helmet light for under or around $200 easy. my personal experience has been that having the combination of both is the way to go. also its nice to have two lights in case one dies out on the trail.

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  9. #9
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    I've read through the thread and, while I agree that the best-of-both-worlds setup (head AND bars) is ideal, my question is, where do you suggest installation of highest lumen light...the head or the bars?

    I've just ordered a Jetlites A-51 (700 lumens) and am looking for suggestions as to another light, I'm thinking in the neighborhood of 300-400 lumens. I've seen some good deals on Niterider (Minewt cordless) and Cygolite (Expilion cordless) and was curious what the suggestion would be between these two. I'm not stuck on cordless but it would be a nice feature if I only have to pay a little extra for it....also, I've heard that the Cygo's don't have a decent spill...any truth to that?


    so 2 qustions...where to mount the highest lumen count light (head or bars) and suggestions on a companion light to my soon-to-arrive Jetlite A-51...

    thanks,
    eric

  10. #10
    Hi.
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    Traditionally, I've run the light with the widest beam pattern on my handlebars. This is often the brighter light. Then size is a factor - since the A-51 is a small light, it would work well in both locations, but I've seen most people put them on their handlebars. If you're going cordless, it's probably more convenient to have that one on your helmet.

  11. #11
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    I just had the helmet vs bar debate tonight out on the trail with a mate. He has his on his bar and reckons that you see holes etc better and the light is shining where the bike is pointing.

    I have mine on my helmet, I'd rather see in the direction my head is pointing, not my bar. It lights up the trail perfectly and I can see everything I need to see. My light has enough spread that I have good peripheral vision and is bright enough that it shows up every bit of trail in font of me worth knowing about.

  12. #12
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    This just arrived, a Dinotte 400L

    I also have a Avnir bar mount light ($20?) that I will put back in service to light up the area directly in front of the bike, the mount is broken, but I am sure I can bubblegum/bailertwine it back on its mount.

    Like we say in hockey here..."keep your head up..on a swivel"

    Thanks for the input, will let you know how it works out next wednesday nite (our weeknight ride)

    Blueliner
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Head or Bar-42583-018.jpg  


  13. #13
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    nice!

    head vs. bars depends on where you ride - for years I rode twisty but relatively smooth singletrack, so a helmet light was all I needed. Then I moved to central PA which is a rocky horror show and had a terrible time with just a helmet light as I couldn't see the best line through rock gardens. Once I built a good bar light, it all suddenly clicked into place.

    I would have the brightest light on the bar and the smallest light on the helmet, ideally in a 2:1 lumen ratio. If you go brighter on the helmet you wash out the shadows that the bar light is throwing, if you go brighter than that on the bar your eyes can't adjust to the dimmer helmet light when you rely on it in the corners.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    nice!

    head vs. bars depends on where you ride - for years I rode twisty but relatively smooth singletrack, so a helmet light was all I needed. Then I moved to central PA which is a rocky horror show and had a terrible time with just a helmet light as I couldn't see the best line through rock gardens. Once I built a good bar light, it all suddenly clicked into place.

    I would have the brightest light on the bar and the smallest light on the helmet, ideally in a 2:1 lumen ratio. If you go brighter on the helmet you wash out the shadows that the bar light is throwing, if you go brighter than that on the bar your eyes can't adjust to the dimmer helmet light when you rely on it in the corners.
    I hate rocks, especially those smooth egg-shaped random ones hidden by slippery wet leaves, that deflect you and your bike into the rhubarb.

    Blueliner

  15. #15
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    Tried the Dinotte last evening. It became necessary to use the light after about 7:30 in the woods, and we finished up with nothing but a little twilight left an hour later.

    It worked perfectly, at my skill level I will not outrun this light. It is all I need. But I do agree another light pointing at the ground attached to the bar would be an enhancement, but not necessary. With the 6 riders out, 2 had bar lights the other 4 had helmet lights.

    Thanks for your input.

    Regards,
    Alan

  16. #16
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    When mounting on your helmet does anyone find the Magiclight 808 to be too heavy? Where do you place the battery pack? I'm assuming it would be too heavy to attach to the helmet.

  17. #17
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    If you ever need another light these are only $99 and have gotten good reviews.
    TITAN LED Light System | Gemini Lights

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by powdersurfer98 View Post
    When mounting on your helmet does anyone find the Magiclight 808 to be too heavy? Where do you place the battery pack? I'm assuming it would be too heavy to attach to the helmet.
    The light head isn't bad on the helmet, but the battery is quite noticeable. If you have to mount it on your helmet, put it as low in the back as possible.

    I put the battery in my Camelbak or on the CB strap.

  19. #19
    Got a suspension fork
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueliner View Post
    I only want to buy one light, should it be bar or helmet?
    When I ride road bikes I only use 1 light and it is helmet mounted. When I ride MTB I ride with both the helmet and a bar light.
    ONE SHOX, ONE GEAR, LOTS of FUN! www.TrailFu.com My Rides

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