Lights set up for twisty, switchback, rooty, rocky single track trails- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Lights set up for twisty, switchback, rooty, rocky single track trails

    Never done any night riding before but my days of natural light after work are numbered, I probably have another 2 weeks.

    I assume I need at least 1 back up, but past that, I'm clueless, for the twisty single track trails what is best, handle bar mount, helmet mount, both together?

    I'm looking to order a few items from lightinthebox.com, funny how thats the website name but I didn't go there to order lights at first, anyways, since I'm already placing an order with them, might as well get lights there too, so, can I have some recommendations, please?

    Besides lights, is there anything else I should consider for night riding?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheTrOOpr View Post
    for the twisty single track trails what is best, handle bar mount, helmet mount, both together?
    Both together.

  3. #3
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    both. I put the brighter one on the bar. remember to get a diffuser. You can buy ones for about $4, or I made some out of contact paper. Just get some diffuser contact paper at wallyworld, stick it to a clear piece of plastic and cut it in the shape of the lense.

  4. #4
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    Got it.
    Would both the handle bar and helmet be the same kind of beam, both flood instead of focus spot I'd assume?

    I'll take some recommendations here please

  5. #5
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    comparison of a couple lights. They're all very similar, just get ones with good reviews. I'd also look at ones with the higher voltage so you have more light. You can always use the lower light settings to save battery. My only real advise is making sure you get ones with the same voltage and cable, or make sure they use different charger cables.

    1. Basic Cree LED light, 4.2V, $20 off lightinthebox.
    4400MAh Cree T6 LED Cycling Bicycle Bike Silver Headlight Headlamp Kit Set 2015 ? $19.19
    2. similar light off amazon for $10, but with red accents. OOH AAH
    http://smile.amazon.com/Bicycle-Ligh...=cree+headlamp
    3. similar light, but the higher voltage one with higher light output for $22. I think I saw a similar one on lightinthebox for $24. does get a litle warmer, so you don't want to just sit there with the high beam on. when moving, it's good. I bought this one last year, still going strong. I haven't used it as much as I'd like, but when I do get to use it, it works for about 2 hours on medium, which is plenty of light.
    http://smile.amazon.com/3800lm-Outdo...=cree+headlamp
    4. If the thought of cheap batteries is a concern, they make USB powered ones. You really need to get a higher amp battery pack, so avoid the cheap $10 ones.
    http://smile.amazon.com/1200LM-XML-T...cree+usb+light
    http://smile.amazon.com/Poweradd-Pil...b+battery+pack

  6. #6
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    You want to go with a flood on the bars and more of a spot on the helmet and definitely want both. Many members have had great success on Gearbest.com for lights. Read reviews on here, depends on your budget. For $100 or so, you can't go wrong with a BT40 for the bars and a BT21 for the helmet. That would get you probably 95% of what a $500 top of the line setup would cost.

    I have never heard of that site and it looks like they are selling knock offs, which are not good. Gearbest has been putting together very nice light packages that are proven. Most of the recommendations so far are pretty outdated by a few years. There are much better lights out there right now.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheTrOOpr View Post
    Got it.
    Would both the handle bar and helmet be the same kind of beam, both flood instead of focus spot I'd assume?

    I'll take some recommendations here please
    I like the looks of this one - Bike Light Bicycle SpokeLit LED Safety Light for Bike Wheels 32 Patterns (3xAAA) 2015 ? $9.99


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  8. #8
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    That would be fun as heck on a ride, but not much light output on the trail. Will send the guy behind me into a seizure though. The ones I linked to above are cheap knockoff lights, same thing that's on gearbest, but they do work. for better quality, Niterider makes good lights too.

  9. #9
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    Not the same as on Gearbest. There are different quality levels of knock offs. OP needs to give a budget for more specific recommendations.

    Also, make sure you get a nice small flashlight to carry and maybe a spare battery pack. You can get decent cheap spare packs on Amazon for under $20. I carry both when on night rides. 2 light set ups, one spare battery pack, and a flashlight. And if all goes to heck, I have my phone flashlight.

    Lights WILL go out on the trail at some point, so be prepared.

  10. #10
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    Best to have 2 (helmet/bar) adn this handles the redundancy if one craps out. I have never had a light fail on the trail in hundreds of hours of night riding, but I haven't ever relied on these v. cheap lights/batteries (only ridden with them a handful of times) that are the rage here now.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

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  11. #11
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    Guys, thanks a bunch for recommendations and education on this.
    I'm not looking to spend a lot on it, not sure how often I will end up riding at night anyways, but if a $20 (x 2) light works, I'd bite the bullet.

    I also own a Sola 1200 dive light, great light, super powerful, huge flood, no external batteries but long enough burn time for me, would have to figure out a way to attach it to handle bar though, probably not so difficult. Then I'd just need the helmet one, might even get away with other, smaller/lighter dive lights I have, will see...

    gearbest.com prices aren't bad, they have a bunch of stuff for under $30, if it's that much better quality I could order from them, idk, I just asked about lightinthebox.com because I was already browsing there and looking to order some jerseys and few small items, plus I could get one of those wheel lights it indeed would be a ton of fun when I join the monthly/bi monthly club night ride lol

  12. #12
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    Didn't see it mentioned yet, but look for lights with neutral or even warm white tint. They will perform much better in the tight rocky and rooty conditions than a cool white tint.
    GoPro adapters for bike lights http://www.pacifier.com/~kevinb/index.html

  13. #13
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    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 pointing out in front of you on the ground (which could be actually visible in your peripheral vision). In snow, fog, and rain, and dust, a helmet only light can be difficult. The light reflecting back at you off of the moisture and dust particles 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, real dusty,or foggy and it is making visibility difficult because of the helmet light, then you just go bar only. Don't want your only light to die and have to walk out, not fun.

    A sweet set-up would be a light on both the bars and the helmet. If you can only do one lightthen I would suggest starting out with helmet mounted first.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    Didn't see it mentioned yet, but look for lights with neutral or even warm white tint. They will perform much better in the tight rocky and rooty conditions than a cool white tint.
    Adding to what Vanc said; a good medium flood for the bars and medium wide spot for the helmet should serve you well. Like you I ride areas that are rocky and rooty with lots of wider turns. Having a medium wide lamp on the helmet with at least 150 ft. of throw is a big plus when going around wide turns. I used to ride with a tight spot on the helmet but I now see a greater advantage to using a lamp with a wider confined beam pattern.

    The only problem you have is that if you want these features in a warm / neutral emitter lamp there are only so many brands that offer this and most of those are Chinese. Not too many brand name lamps are on-board with the "Warm-neutral " beam tints yet.

    Oh, and to my friends out there, please notice that I am coining a new term, "Warm-neutral white".

  15. #15
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    What would be the numerical range for "Warm-neutral white"?

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheTrOOpr View Post
    I also own a Sola 1200 dive light, great light, super powerful, huge flood, no external batteries but long enough burn time for me, would have to figure out a way to attach it to handle bar though, probably not so difficult. Then I'd just need the helmet one, might even get away with other, smaller/lighter dive lights I have, will see...
    It looks like the light has an available helmet mount. Other than that, zipstrips and velcro straps do wonders. You could also look at a phone or camera mount that you can attach the light to for handlebar use. Basically, lots of different ways to attach it to a bike or helmet, you just have to see what attachments are available on the light itself and get creative. If you mount it on your helmet, be aware that putting it high on the helmet increases the chance of knocking it off with branches.

    Based on the fact it's a dive light, before I used it out of water, I'd see how much it heats up. In water, the light is cooled off instantly. Out of the water, it could get much hotter. Hate to burn out the electronics in a couple hundred dolar light.

  17. #17
    ummmm.. what!?
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    so say the budget was 200 for both lights.. any good recommendations?


    ended up buying nitefighter bt21. great reviews. think that might end up on my helmet and maybe Ill get a bt 70. I'm excited, never did a night ride before
    Last edited by blkcheerio; 09-19-2015 at 09:13 PM.
    Its a JEEP thing. I have 4 and still don't understand..

  18. #18
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    @ scar: NW would be 4-5000k, closer you get to 4000 and below, the warmer the tint. Figure 3c-4c range is NW 5A on up is warm. If going say xp-l hi options atm, 4000k is warmish, the 5000k is top end of NW (and really nice).

    As for the bt70, most who buy them end up running lower modes anyway, so id get a bt40s instead. Its been proving more reliable (no quality issues that I know of yet) and its plenty for a bar light.

    Or go a step up with a $200 budget, xeccon has a really nice full set for helmet and bars for just under $200, includes batteries and all.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by scar View Post
    What would be the numerical range for "Warm-neutral white"?

    ***
    Since I don't really know the binning on the lamps I have that I like I have to guess. I was thinking 4200-4500K but now I'm not sure. A torch I received a couple weeks ago was ordered with a XM-L2 U2 3C rated at 4700-5000K. To my eyes it was very white but just a hair less than a standard 'Cool white " LED. I personally like a warmer tint.

    Here's the issue that is giving me pause to ponder; The first generation of XM-L2 ( T-6 ) were a little warmer than the previous XM-L (cool white ) bin. I know this is true because I have both. I figure this might have something to do with the upgraded "U2" designation on the newer LED as it is designed for more output. I'm really not sure at this point.

    Recently I have received two other LEDs with 3C tinting. One is a XP-L V6 "3C" and the other a LED ( XM-L2 T6? 3C ) for torch retrofit. Both look very warm-neutral to me. I don't know why the XM-L2 U2 3C looked so white unless the seller made a mistake with the torch build. The XP-L V6 3C is rated at 4700-5000K so believe me I am very confused because that one looks perfect to me. ( as does the torch I personally retrofited ).

    BTW, Jim from Action LED told me that he is bringing back a Nitefighter BT40S from Interbike ( said he is thinking of selling these ). I've asked him to compare the tints to the neutrals he has for his Gloworms ( 3C ) so I'm hoping to get some more feedback. ( I'm also planning on sending in one of my X2's for neutral retrofit so hopefully I'll get that sent off by next week. )

  20. #20
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    Cat remember tints kook different between reflectors and optics, as well as between optics types. 3c is a warmer than cool white by a fair amount. But in a torch it appears warmer than it does in some optics.

    ALSO amount of drive current will effect the tint. Lower drive currents will go towards warmer end, higher goes towards the cooler side.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    Cat remember tints kook different between reflectors and optics, as well as between optics types. 3c is a warmer than cool white by a fair amount. But in a torch it appears warmer than it does in some optics.

    ALSO amount of drive current will effect the tint. Lower drive currents will go towards warmer end, higher goes towards the cooler side.
    Yes I know all this. The torch I just bought was special ordered and built according to instructions. I have a feeling the emitter that was installed was not the one I ordered but unfortunately I have no way to prove this. ( It provides the same tint regardless of mode. ) It was supposedly a 3C tint but it appears cooler than the one I have using the XP-L 3C. Like I said before though, a mistake in the order might have been made.

    Unfortunately I don't know what tint Nitefighter uses in it's lamps. I have one known 3C LED ( XP-L ) and 2 known 4C ( XM-L2 ) and of course the LED I ordered installed in my new torch (3C? ). The 3C XP-L I have installed in a drop-in is warmer than the one I received in the newer torch. The other known 4C tint emitters I have are of course much warmer.

    Right now I'm hesitate to reorder a 3C tint until I'm able to see another "known" 3C emitter and verify that the tint is acceptable. I've installed one of my XM-L2 "4C" emitters into one of my torches and I like the 4C tint. With that in mind I'm more inclined to favor that 4300-4500K temperature range.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by blkcheerio View Post
    I'm excited, never did a night ride before
    You should be. It's great fun, and can make your normal trails seem fresh again. If you're one of the only night riders in your area, be prepared to ride through a lot of spider webs at night. I've been running the cheap chinese lights for about 5 years now - get at least one new light a season and am just now getting close to what I spent on name brand lights in the past. I keep an older cygolight as a back up in my pack - sometimes bring a spare chinese light too. The amount of light you get per $ now is nuts.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    Or go a step up with a $200 budget, xeccon has a really nice full set for helmet and bars for just under $200, includes batteries and all.
    You have a link for the xeccon all in one package? Couldn't come up with anything doing a quick search.
    '14 Yeti SB95c--Pike'd

  24. #24
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    Both together are the absolute best, if you can afford $300 for your main light the candlepower trail torch throws a wide even flood pattern that reaches out very far in front of you as well. I like to pair a far reaching beam pattern as my helmet light for looking around switch backs but the bright flood of the trail torch cover the corners very nicely.

  25. #25
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    To me , i like to have a medium wide / spot beam on the bars(Gemini Duo) with a floody beam on the helmet (Gemini Olympia) for heavily wooded tight twisty trails as i like to have a good peripheral vision.
    Last edited by C.M.S; 10-18-2015 at 05:21 PM.
    Hit the trails with your bike and get freaky. :cornut:

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ds33gt View Post
    You have a link for the xeccon all in one package? Couldn't come up with anything doing a quick search.

    Go on ebay. I have a xeccon 1206 and 1207

    1206 $65 helmet light. Xeccon SPIKER1206 1200 Lumen Bicycle Road Commuter Racing LED Bike Light | eBay

    1207 bar light $110

    Xeccon SPIKER1207 2200 Lumen Bicycle Road Commuter Racing LED Bike Light | eBay

    Lights are of great quality and the batteries are top notch as well. Both for under $200... tons of light too.
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