Information overload! First time lights suggestions needed.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Information overload! First time lights suggestions needed.

    I went for my first night ride yesterday using a borrowed light and had a blast. I am looking for suggestions for a helmet/bar setup for 1-3 hour rides in the pacific northwest under $100 total. I wear a smith forefront helmet if that is pertinent info.

    Looking through all of the light threads I am hoping someone will filter all the mumbo-jumbo and say "buy this"

    thanks in advance.

    greg

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  3. #3
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    under $100, thats pushing it because being oo cheap you end up playing chinese roulette lol. No idea if battery will burn down your house, or if light will even work when it arrives. Some have great luck, but the next person who buys the same light gets total crap.

    Wanted to clarify that before 20 people post with "got this on ebay works great" cause it does for them, but I know from experience its more often money that went in the garbage.

    Now right about your budget, nitefighter bt40s for the bars to start. Thats $50-60 for the kit which comes with EVERYTHING. Then for the helmet use a Neutral White version Yinding OR nitefighter BT21 kit. Yinding the battery pack in the kit is useable, not the greatest but itll work for a while. Bt21 uses same pack as bt40 which is brand name cells (BAK). Nitefighter also comes with an actual useable pouch for the batteries, most chinese lights come with some cheesy crap that comes loose on the first set of hard bumps.

    ANything youd want to know about those 3 lights are in their assigned threads.

    There are a few others that are "usable" but those are the best options available for "budget" lights for quality and performance. No real arguing that, only better offerings would be up to magicshine lights.

  4. #4
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    I'm just wondering why someone with a helmet worth >$200 wants to plop a fifty dollar light set on top of it. ... Whatever....your helmet is supposedly designed ( has a lift up flap ) to work with a Gopro mount so I'd start there and find out what is Gopro mountable.

    Not sure what beam tint you might want but I would think the Nitefighter lamps ( with warm/neutral white LED's ) would light up the plush vegetation you likely have in the Pacific Northwest and let you see all the natural over-tones of the terrain.

    Yeah the Nitefighter BT40S ( for bars ) and BT21 ( for helmet ) can ( both ) be had for about $100. The BT21 ( I believe ) even includes a Gopro adapter for the helmet if you buy the full kit. Just buy a Gopro mount for the helmet ( if one doesn't come with the helmet or you don't already have one ) and you should be good. ( Note, the video I watched of the Smith Optics Forefront helmet showed that it had a top panel for GoPro mounting which is why I mentioned it. I figure if you're going to spend that much on a helmet you might as well take advantage of the special feature ).

    I'm not sure though how well the Nitefighter stuff will hold up to the damp / rainy conditions of the Pacific NW. I've never been there but I hear that it gets quite a lot of rain. Chinese lamps are not waterproof. I've tested the BT40S myself and I can confirm that it is not waterproof. ( although it should stand up to a light shower of short duration ).

    I don't always like to recommend lights so just put all of this on a back burner for further consideration. There ARE better lights. They WILL cost more. If you prefer "Cool white " beam tints you will want something other than the Nitefighters. The Nitefighters though are a pretty good "Bang-for-the-buck" value. Decent output, Good batteries ( when buying kit ) and a fair to midland quality ( for a Chinese made lamp ).

    ( **Sidenote: Vancbiker, one of the forum members has made and sells Gopro adapters for different bike lamps. If you want a full Gopro set-up you might want to ask him some questions. )

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    I'm just wondering why someone with a helmet worth >$200 wants to plop a fifty dollar light set on top of it. ... Whatever....your helmet is supposedly designed ( has a lift up flap ) to work with a Gopro mount so I'd start there and find out what is Gopro mountable.
    Good catch Cat-man-do

    Guys who are riding $200 helmets aren't exactly slumming it. You are probably riding some serious terrain also.

    Gdesch, do yourself a favour and buy something decent to begin with. I would recommend something on the level of a Glowworm, Gemini, or upper end Magicshine (they have new lights coming out), or pretty much anything on the official mtbr light shoot-out.

    The thing with the cheap lights is that you end up buying more than you need and in the span of 6 months you have a pile of light heads that cost you a total $300 and you don't use anyway. Buy the good stuff once and you won't buy anything for the next 3 -5 years.

  6. #6
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    All great info. I have a Yinding for the bars and an XT40 for the helmet but am moving to a BT21 and BT40 with neutral lighting for my next set of lights. As I tell friends that I ride with, for $100, you are going to have a set up that is 95% as good as a $400-$500 setup.

    I ride in the PNW and have had my lights in the rain without issue. If one ever does crap out which will happen at some point, for $20-$30, I can buy a replacement light and all is good. I would recommend the choice above as the best budget set up at $100 right now. These lights are much more proven than buying something off of ebay or Amazon that will typically be a worse knockoff just to save $10-$20. Get a nice small flashlight on Gearbest for $10-$20 to carry in your pack as well.

    I have a Vancbiker adapter for my Bell Super 2 helmet and it works great. The XT40 is a bit heavier and with a nice Gopro mount on this helmet, it is now solid. If your helmet has an integrated Gopro mount, use it! Much better than velcro straps.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    I'm just wondering why someone with a helmet worth >$200 wants to plop a fifty dollar light set on top of it. ... Whatever....your helmet is supposedly designed ( has a lift up flap ) to work with a Gopro mount so I'd start there and find out what is Gopro mountable.
    Totally valid question and one I expected. Here is my line of thought. Just because I have some high end gear doesn't mean I light my my cuban cigars with $100 bills while willy-nilly splashing cash on every whim and fancy that catches my eye. I went on one night ride and thought it was pretty fun. Before I plunk down my hard-earned money on an expense set-up I want to make sure I truly like like night riding and will stick with it. If we must dig into it I have a terrible track record of getting super excited about something and then underusing said gear. I ride a lot in the day and always wear a helmet, hence that purchase.

    Good? Good.

    Thanks for the feedback around the lights. The BT40 and BT21 seem to be a good route. i will check them out.

  8. #8
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    For what it's worth, my bike is over approaching 5 figures and I have very nice gear. Doesn't matter....for some reason, I get jacked about cheap lights that cost a fraction of good lights and perform almost as well. It is warped, but oh well.

    Good way to start and you aren't investing much for the great reward you will have when you are hooked on night riding. After a few years, I still don't have the motivation to buy top of the line lights.

    BTW, if you use GB, use the coupon codes to cover and pay the extra few bucks for expedited shipping! You will have your lights in a few days vs. up to a month.

  9. #9
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    Well since you seem to be serious about saving money, you should consider the following lights.

    Solarstorm x2, x3, xt40
    Yinding (dual led)
    Nitefigher, BT21, BT40, Bt70

    I would go with neutral tint. You might want to consider getting decent batteries from a place like action led and then buying the lightheads from the far east. The batteries that come with the Solarstorm kits can be iffy, although the Yinding kits are pretty good. Nitefighter kits have good batteries. I would recommend Gearbest for those.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gdesch View Post
    Totally valid question and one I expected. Here is my line of thought. Just because I have some high end gear doesn't mean I light my my cuban cigars with $100 bills while willy-nilly splashing cash on every whim and fancy that catches my eye. I went on one night ride and thought it was pretty fun. Before I plunk down my hard-earned money on an expense set-up I want to make sure I truly like like night riding and will stick with it. If we must dig into it I have a terrible track record of getting super excited about something and then underusing said gear. I ride a lot in the day and always wear a helmet, hence that purchase.

    Good? Good.

    Thanks for the feedback around the lights. The BT40 and BT21 seem to be a good route. i will check them out.
    Well said, good retort. What you said makes sense to me. From that perspective you are correct, doesn't make sense to plunk down the big bucks until you're sure you really want to do a lot of rides at night.

    BTW I really like that helmet. I've been drooling over some of the nicer helmets I see on the MTBR ads so I'm a bit jealous. One of the problems with the newer helmets though is that the venting systems usually are not very accommodating for the typical Velcro / O-ring mounting systems. This is true for yours too but at least the manufacture had the forethought to allow for Gopro mounting, a big plus. Sadly not all lamps are Gopro ( mount ) ready ( ..But some can be adapted. )

    Once again FWIW, Vancbiker makes GoPro adapters for both the BT40S and the BT21. A BT21 on your helmet would look nice and work nice. You can even choose to change the optics for a tighter throw if you buy a couple after-market optics.

    Just be sure to use the expedited shipping if you order from Gearbest. For the extra bucks you get the stuff much sooner. If the items are marked "Out of stock " you can still order but will take longer.

  11. #11
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    Could someone let me know the coupon codes please for the BT40s and the Bt21

  12. #12
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    There isn't any currently

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dawgman25 View Post
    As I tell friends that I ride with, for $100, you are going to have a set up that is 95% as good as a $400-$500 setup.
    No, not even. You're thinking, hey, it works, and the beam pattern is almost as good, so, 95%. Nope. Be honest and factor in the inferior components (won't last as long), the limited UI, the failure replacement turn-around rate, the shop repairability or replacement history, and the level of customer service. In my mid, Nitefighters are closer to 60%, with the rest of the Asian stuff being somewhere near 30%.

    Which makes it worth your while to go ahead and get some gloworm lights since you can purchase just the heads, and source your own battery packs.

    Unless you are just trying it out, in which case I'd suggest going with a $30 light, they tend to last long enough to figure out of you like night riding or not.


    Quote Originally Posted by dawgman25 View Post
    Get a nice small flashlight on Gearbest for $10-$20 to carry in your pack as well.
    LPT: Get a $20 hiking headlamp instead. I picked up a Black Diamond Ion just for biking, super small and lightweight. It sat in the pannier bag for a few months until I figured out that setting it to low power and pointing it down makes for a perfect cockpit light. It could only be more perfect by having a significantly more powerful red LED.
    I will suffer no butt-hurt fools!

  14. #14
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    Cockpit light.......helmet mounted is for more light in front . Usually a decent thrower with decent flood in the bars.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigflamingtaco View Post
    No, not even. You're thinking, hey, it works, and the beam pattern is almost as good, so, 95%. Nope. Be honest and factor in the inferior components (won't last as long), the limited UI, the failure replacement turn-around rate, the shop repairability or replacement history, and the level of customer service. In my mid, Nitefighters are closer to 60%, with the rest of the Asian stuff being somewhere near 30%.

    Which makes it worth your while to go ahead and get some gloworm lights since you can purchase just the heads, and source your own battery packs.

    Unless you are just trying it out, in which case I'd suggest going with a $30 light, they tend to last long enough to figure out of you like night riding or not.




    LPT: Get a $20 hiking headlamp instead. I picked up a Black Diamond Ion just for biking, super small and lightweight. It sat in the pannier bag for a few months until I figured out that setting it to low power and pointing it down makes for a perfect cockpit light. It could only be more perfect by having a significantly more powerful red LED.
    Well, we will just agree to disagree here. I have had some lights for 3 years now and they still work fine. They are not nearly as good as my current lights, which is the point I will make.

    I have a full season of riding on my current light set up and they work great. Not sure where customer service is involved here. If I pay 25% of what a good set up is and get a few years out of them, I feel that is a great tradeoff. BT21's are going for $22 right now. Add that for a back up light if you are worried about how long it will be to replace a light or getting bad customer service. Always nice to have a backup.

    I think most people feel that $100 is a fair threshold for getting into night riding. To buy complete crap for $60 or spend $100 on tested, warrantied and well rated equipment at a place like GearBest, it make sense to pay another $40 for some decent proven lights and batteries. Not the best, but far better than 60%. These numbers are completely arbitrary anyways.

    Maybe I have a different viewpoint, but if I am going to spend $400-$500+ on the best light set ups, I am going to keep them for a long time because that is an expensive investment in lights. Technology is changing so fast, I would rather buy something close for a fraction of the price and then not feel like I am wasting my money if I want to upgrade in 2 years. So far, I have not had a problem with these "inferior" lights lasting 2 years.

    It would be one thing if these good Chinese lights were half as good as a Gloworm, but that is certainly not the case as been stated numerous times by other members on this forum who own both.

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