Helmet light recommendation- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Helmet light recommendation

    I bought a Magicshine MJ-880R from Action LED last winter for fatbike riding, tested lumens is 1700. I have an old 808 that I was using on my helmet. But using them last night, the 808 is under powered.

    Looking for a new helmet mount light. Probably a defined spot.

    Most of my rides are wide open, very little tree cover, twisty singletrack.

    Saw in another thread that Action can make changes. Wondering if that would be cost effective or just grab a new light?

    Thanks...
    Proud Tribe member since 1992 - looking for better singletrack to be ridden year round

  2. #2
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    Since you've been using something like an 808 for the helmet and now want a better light I think it best to say you need to upgrade to something better. "Something better" however is going to cost more but in the end game will make riding at night a much more rewarding experience. Since you didn't mention the LED tint of your current bar lamp I'm assuming it is cool white. My suggestion is to find a nice two or three LED lamp using XM-L2 emitters outfitted with all spot optics and go with that. More LED's will mean it will require a better battery so make sure you have a battery that is at least 6000mAh and you should be good to go. With more emitters you will find that the beam pattern will not only be brighter but also wider. Kind of a Win/win. With the right optics in place it should have outstanding throw and be quite useful.

    I would suggest something like a Gloworm X2 or XS. If that's too much money there are cheaper options. I still believe ITUO XP2 or XP3's are being sold on Amazon. The ITUO lamps ( with batteries included ) are still one of the best bang for the buck options out there. ( I use an XP3 on the helmet and have been very happy with how it works ) The ITUO lamps though all use neutral white emitters. If you want "cool white" you might have to go with something like the Gloworms. If you do order a GW lamp you can at least order it with the optics you want so that is a big plus. Not to mention that the newer GW's all come with wireless remotes, an even bigger plus.

    Always going to be other options but if you are upgrading don't try to cheap out with some Chinese POS. Get a brand name lamp that has some real verified output and some decent throw ( 200 ft or > ). A lamp in the 1800 or greater lumen range is what you need. Only the better multi-emitter brand name lamps are going to give you that kind of output.

  3. #3
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    i used this nitecore light on my helmet. i used velcro.

    Very bright and the 18650 battery can be replaced (bring multiple ones on long trip etc.).

    anything called "bicycle" light will cost 2-3 times of what a regular flashlight will cost.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
    i used this nitecore light on my helmet. i used velcro.

    Very bright and the 18650 battery can be replaced (bring multiple ones on long trip etc.).

    anything called "bicycle" light will cost 2-3 times of what a regular flashlight will cost.
    Keep in mind, you get what you pay for. Reading the product description for this Nitecore HC60 lamp ( which I find very interesting ) it does say that the beam pattern is about 100 wide. That's not the kind of beam pattern you need for a mountain biking helmet lamp. Whenever you read manufacturer product descriptions for lamps like these they almost always tout distance throw into the hundreds of meters. These types of lights however are not really designed for someone riding on a mountain bike. Might work well for someone hiking, jogging, walking, caving...etc. but someone traveling at speed needs to see well into the distance. I have a similar lamp as I just bought a Zebralight Mk IV. Similar to the Nitecore I found the Mk IV not to have the kind of distance throw I feel is needed to supplement a bar lamp for mountain biking. I'm not saying it can't work, I'm saying that it's not the best solution for mountain biking because of the wide beam pattern, especially if you are a faster rider.

    The ANSI ( FL1 ) listing is that the Nitecore throw is 117m. Now that might sound like a lot but one must keep in mind that ANSI listings are nothing like what is dealt with in real world applications. ANSI listings are under laboratory conditions and using laboratory light measurement devices that can measure light output down to less than 1 lumen. The human eye on the other hand does not sense light in this same manner. My guess is that you might be able to see well in the 75 to 85 ft. range but that's not really enough to supplement a bar lamp which already lets you see that far. The OP already has an 808 and the 808 should have a general range of about *100-150 ft. depending on conditions. ( *been a while since I've used my 808 but from my recollection the 808 has some decent throw )

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Keep in mind, you get what you pay for. Reading the product description for this Nitecore HC60 lamp ( which I find very interesting ) it does say that the beam pattern is about 100 wide. That's not the kind of beam pattern you need for a mountain biking helmet lamp. Whenever you read manufacturer product descriptions for lamps like these they almost always tout distance throw into the hundreds of meters. These types of lights however are not really designed for someone riding on a mountain bike. Might work well for someone hiking, jogging, walking, caving...etc. but someone traveling at speed needs to see well into the distance. I have a similar lamp as I just bought a Zebralight Mk IV. Similar to the Nitecore I found the Mk IV not to have the kind of distance throw I feel is needed to supplement a bar lamp for mountain biking. I'm not saying it can't work, I'm saying that it's not the best solution for mountain biking because of the wide beam pattern, especially if you are a faster rider.

    The ANSI ( FL1 ) listing is that the Nitecore throw is 117m. Now that might sound like a lot but one must keep in mind that ANSI listings are nothing like what is dealt with in real world applications. ANSI listings are under laboratory conditions and using laboratory light measurement devices that can measure light output down to less than 1 lumen. The human eye on the other hand does not sense light in this same manner. My guess is that you might be able to see well in the 75 to 85 ft. range but that's not really enough to supplement a bar lamp which already lets you see that far. The OP already has an 808 and the 808 should have a general range of about *100-150 ft. depending on conditions. ( *been a while since I've used my 808 but from my recollection the 808 has some decent throw )
    Works very well for me and 100 is good for close up observation. I aim my head to where I go or look at stuff. i have another flashlight on the handlebar for further down the road.

    Yes in theory a bicycle light is better, but ultimately they are expensive, often don't have replaceable batteries and also are not of better quality. Nitecore is pretty good.

    I had niterider light. It fell out of the holder easily and ultimately was pretty dark compared to my flashlight. I first had it as a backup, then ended up selling it.
    2018 Motobecane Sturgis NX
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
    Works very well for me and 100 is good for close up observation. I aim my head to where I go or look at stuff. i have another flashlight on the handlebar for further down the road...
    Glad that this works for you. I've found however that it usually works better if the lamp with the wider beam is on the bars and the lamp with the tighter beam pattern on the helmet. Of course you get the best of both worlds if the helmet lamp you use not only has a wide beam pattern but is bright enough to out throw the bar lamp.

    Quote Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
    ... Yes in theory a bicycle light is better, but ultimately they are expensive, often don't have replaceable batteries and also are not of better quality. Nitecore is pretty good.
    It pretty much depends on your budget as to what lamp you can or can't afford. Just because something cost a bit more I don't think it should be written off as an option. I own many torches and many bike lights. That said I don't think I've ever spent more than $200 on any one lamp. I can chose to ride with just torches or with a nice set of brand name bike lights.

    What I use depends on where I'm riding. If I'm riding in adverse conditions and on really rough terrain I'm going with my good bike lights because they are brighter, have better beam patterns and let me see the technical features sooner. Sooner is always going to be better particularly if you are riding downhill and have some speed going. On more moderate trails I can get by with just torches. Sadly, the more moderate trails are farther away from where I live so I don't do too many "torch only" rides anymore.

    As to the subject of replaceable batteries; There are places where you can still buy replaceable Li-ion battery packs at affordable prices. Not to mention that there are affordable battery holders that are designed to work with most bike lights. Since it is easier to buy loose cells I've recently been using one of the cheap Trustfire cell holders to power my helmet lamp and so far I've not encountered any problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
    I had niterider light. It fell out of the holder easily and ultimately was pretty dark compared to my flashlight. I first had it as a backup, then ended up selling it.
    I've never been a fan of any of the Niterider LED lamp sets. Niterider is one of those companies that still designs their lamps to operate with a proprietary battery. I like affordable / easily replaceable batteries so I've stayed away from buying any of the newer Niterider lamps.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
    i used this nitecore light on my helmet. i used velcro.

    Very bright and the 18650 battery can be replaced (bring multiple ones on long trip etc.).

    anything called "bicycle" light will cost 2-3 times of what a regular flashlight will cost.
    Amazon courtesy link. Reviews look good.

    https://www.amazon.com/Premium-Bundl...ustomerReviews
    Front Range Forum Moderator

  8. #8
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    I bought a NR Lumina Boost 1100 at REI for a helmet light. It was on sale and I used my dividend, so it was almost free Ive been pleased with it. Good beam pattern and throw.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    ......I've never been a fan of any of the Niterider LED lamp sets. Niterider is one of those companies that still designs their lamps to operate with a proprietary battery. I like affordable / easily replaceable batteries so I've stayed away from buying any of the newer Niterider lamps.
    This ^, plus the fact that their Lumina series lights lose so much output over their runtime puts me off their product. They advertise X lumen and Y runtime. What they are not saying is that the lumen output is only maintained for just a couple minutes then starts falling off substantially and at the runtime point the output is often less than a third of the advertised output. Misleading at best and IMO dishonest.
    GoPro adapters for bike lights http://www.pacifier.com/~kevinb/index.html

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    This ^, plus the fact that their Lumina series lights lose so much output over their runtime puts me off their product. They advertise X lumen and Y runtime. What they are not saying is that the lumen output is only maintained for just a couple minutes then starts falling off substantially and at the runtime point the output is often less than a third of the advertised output. Misleading at best and IMO dishonest.
    Well, damn. Just got a Micro 850 for my helmet. Wish I would've seen this post prior to ordering it. Might have to send it back and get something else.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by chadbrochills View Post
    Well, damn. Just got a Micro 850 for my helmet. Wish I would've seen this post prior to ordering it. Might have to send it back and get something else.
    Here's a link showing output vs. runtime of the Lumina micro 750 I think you'll find interesting and useful for the decision on whether to keep the light or not.

    We Test Lights | Lumina Micro 750 Test and Review

    Micro series Lumina's seem to be the worst for the rapid output loss characteristic but all higher output single cell self-contained lights do the same thing just not to the extent of the Micro's. Curious why you chose the 850 Micro?
    Mole

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRMOLE View Post
    Here's a link showing output vs. runtime of the Lumina micro 750 I think you'll find interesting and useful for the decision on whether to keep the light or not.

    We Test Lights | Lumina Micro 750 Test and Review

    Micro series Lumina's seem to be the worst for the rapid output loss characteristic but all higher output single cell self-contained lights do the same thing just not to the extent of the Micro's. Curious why you chose the 850 Micro?
    Mole
    Thanks for that link.

    Basically just wanted something somewhat small for my helmet. Few people I talked to recommended the Micro 850. For my handlebars, I went with the Revtronic BT40s.

    Friend of mine showed up the other day with a Lupine Piko 4, which was really nice but pretty pricey!
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by chadbrochills View Post
    Thanks for that link.

    Basically just wanted something somewhat small for my helmet. Few people I talked to recommended the Micro 850. For my handlebars, I went with the Revtronic BT40s.

    Friend of mine showed up the other day with a Lupine Piko 4, which was really nice but pretty pricey!
    Since you seem to like the Piko I'm going to assume your not married to the idea of using a self-contained light. I'm adding a link to the Gloworm Alpha (with neutral white emitters) which I've found to be an excellent helmet mounted light when paired with a BT40. Layout of the light is similar to the Piko as is performance/quality/reliability at a much more reasonable price. Make sure you choose the neutral white option as that's what will match your BT40 the best. Five star vendor (Action-LED-Lights) is another bonus too.
    Mole

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRMOLE View Post
    Since you seem to like the Piko I'm going to assume your not married to the idea of using a self-contained light. I'm adding a link to the Gloworm Alpha (with neutral white emitters) which I've found to be an excellent helmet mounted light when paired with a BT40. Layout of the light is similar to the Piko as is performance/quality/reliability at a much more reasonable price. Make sure you choose the neutral white option as that's what will match your BT40 the best. Five star vendor (Action-LED-Lights) is another bonus too.
    Mole
    Haha, that was the other light I was looking at, just didn't want to drop so much on it. Held off hoping on a BF sale.
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  15. #15
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    I'm late here, but listen to cat. Its frustrating and somewhat scary to outrun your light at night. It happens to average Joe's. Spend a little more now so you do t buy another light in the near future.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by chadbrochills View Post
    Haha, that was the other light I was looking at, just didn't want to drop so much on it. Held off hoping on a BF sale.
    https://forums.mtbr.com/lights-night...-994044-4.html

    You need to check out the last few posts in the linked Gloworm thread.
    Mole

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRMOLE View Post
    https://forums.mtbr.com/lights-night...-994044-4.html

    You need to check out the last few posts in the linked Gloworm thread.
    Mole
    I ended up ordering the X2 Adventure in NW just now.
    Last edited by chadbrochills; 11-23-2018 at 10:10 PM.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by chadbrochills View Post
    I ended up ordering the X2 Action in NW just now.
    Happy Black Friday! X2 is a very nice light as are all the Gloworms.
    Mole

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