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  1. #1
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    Looking to get a lighting system

    I just did my 2nd 24 hr race as part of a team. I'm now tired of borrowing lights especially since this year the one I had didn't have the greatest projection which made me ride slower.

    So, for starters, I apologize if my questions sound completely ignorant, but they are. I don't really have any idea where to start. The last two years the lights I used for Nite Rider - the first being quite a bit brighter than this years.

    Is there a minimum I should be looking at for lumens? Is there an average? How about batteries - I'm assuming most are lithium ion and fairly quick charging. But, what about burn time.

    Be gentle, but definitely help with some information so I can make a good choice next year and continue improving my times during the night rides.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by scozim View Post
    I just did my 2nd 24 hr race as part of a team. I'm now tired of borrowing lights especially since this year the one I had didn't have the greatest projection which made me ride slower.

    So, for starters, I apologize if my questions sound completely ignorant, but they are. I don't really have any idea where to start. The last two years the lights I used for Nite Rider - the first being quite a bit brighter than this years.

    Is there a minimum I should be looking at for lumens? Is there an average? How about batteries - I'm assuming most are lithium ion and fairly quick charging. But, what about burn time.

    Be gentle, but definitely help with some information so I can make a good choice next year and continue improving my times during the night rides.
    You need to provide a little more information so others can help you. How much distance ahead of you do you think you need to see? What systems were you using that didn't give what you wanted? How much money are you willing to spend? How much run time are you expecting to get out of one battery? Are you willing to use a helmet/bar combo?

    Depending on how you answer those questions will determine the system or systems best for your personal needs.

  3. #3
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    Scar's Amoeba and/ or Baja Striker are what I'd recommend. Good price, decent output and strong customer service. You can go higher or lower in price, but you get a diminishing return - more money doesn't necessarily get you much more light and less money can get you many more problems with QC, reliability and back up than the savings are worth.

    Whatever you do, try and get 2 lights (1 bar, 1 helmet) or at the very least a light and a backup torch. Getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere or 1/2 way round a lap at 2am without a light is no fun at all.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    You need to provide a little more information so others can help you. How much distance ahead of you do you think you need to see? What systems were you using that didn't give what you wanted? How much money are you willing to spend? How much run time are you expecting to get out of one battery? Are you willing to use a helmet/bar combo?

    Depending on how you answer those questions will determine the system or systems best for your personal needs.
    Both years I had a bar mount light. Both were Nite Riders. Last year's light lit the trail quite well - mostly forward and not so much out to the sides. This years light had one setting and had more sideways projection and not so much out in front.

    Last year was my first attempt and riding at night and I felt pretty comfortable - I could see the objects up ahead fairly well. This year I felt like I could outrun the light pretty quickly - especially on downhills. In fact, this may have been the issue when I pitched over the bar on the steepest downhill and broke my helmet on a rock.

    I'd like a light that can get me a couple hours of burn time and projects well in front and to the sides with a little more to the front. I am not opposed to a bar/helmet combo as I think the helmet light would help me pick up the corners much better. I'm in my late 40's and night vision isn't as good as it used to be. That being said I'm running just over an hour on this specific course in the daylight and around 1:20 at night. It's a mix of single track/gravel road and forest/open fields. I'd like to cut 5-8 minutes off that night time and much of it revolves around confidence with the lighting system.

    From a budget perspective I'd like to stay in the $300 or less range.

  5. #5
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    NiteRider Mi-Newt 250's

    I'd suggest these little wonders. I've used Niterider's big HID systems in the past, but this year picked up two of the Mi-Newt 250's and ran one on the helmet and one on the bars.

    Did the 24 hr. race in Spokane this weekend and had great luck with the burn time. I was riding solo, but I just ran the helmet light at it's minimum setting on the climbs and flats, and then kick on the bar light for the down-hills.

    I wasn't sure when the helmet light was going to konk out, but it never did. If it had, I would have just switched my helmet light to my bars, etc. and kept riding.

    I think they can be found for about $130 each and come with both a bar and a helmet mount. They also include a charger which will work for both an outlet or a usb port on your computer. Good commuter lights!

  6. #6
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    Hi scozim,a really good combo potential in your price range i think would give you everything you want, would be:

    For the handle bars if you were able to get their discounted price,the Baja Stryker,(not pro) would be killer good for you.Two optics for your preference on beam pattern and very bright.Bullet proof light as well,you will see what i mean if you get it.Three hour run times on high setting will give you all the run time you need. Discounted price was $199,00.

    For your helmet,the bike ray 1or2,not sure which one but the narrow beam version.Same run time as the Stryker,but lighter, and pretty bright as well. I believe it's priced around $100,00 from Geoman Gear.

    This combo i believe in the $300 range cannot be beat!!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by epicxt View Post
    I'd suggest these little wonders. I've used Niterider's big HID systems in the past, but this year picked up two of the Mi-Newt 250's and ran one on the helmet and one on the bars.

    Did the 24 hr. race in Spokane this weekend and had great luck with the burn time. I was riding solo, but I just ran the helmet light at it's minimum setting on the climbs and flats, and then kick on the bar light for the down-hills.

    I wasn't sure when the helmet light was going to konk out, but it never did. If it had, I would have just switched my helmet light to my bars, etc. and kept riding.

    I think they can be found for about $130 each and come with both a bar and a helmet mount. They also include a charger which will work for both an outlet or a usb port on your computer. Good commuter lights!
    That's the race I was doing - Devil's Down was the culprit. How far ahead were you able to see on the trails?

    I appreciate the great information from everyone.

  8. #8
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    I never ran into any problems with over-running my lights, although by the time dark hit I knew the good lines pretty well. I don't think I ever had both lights on high at the same time, and I felt comfortable doing 20-25 mph on the fast single-track sections. Obviously went a bit slower on Devel's Down...

  9. #9
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    Hey Scozim,

    It's always fun choosing new toys eh? So many fun choices out there, I just went through that process picking a new bike - ended up with an SX Trail II - big fatty bike, wooohooo!.

    Anywho...if you'd like to know more about the Stykr like Indebt and Mattthepuppet are talking about, email me at [email protected], we actually have a few different deals going on at the moment - 24hr Races are our specialty so we have some great prices at this time of year. Our Facebook page is Baja Designs Bicycle Lighting, if you'd like to see what we are all about.

    Good luck in your search!

    Shannon

  10. #10
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    I'd caution against the Minewts - they're not terribly bright for the money. One as a helmet light is fine if you have a good bar light, but I'd rather have one of the cheap Chinese lights for the same money. NR lights also have major issues with cable reliability (just replaced one for a friend), which caused my LBS to dump them for L&M.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by scozim View Post
    ....I'd like a light that can get me a couple hours of burn time and projects well in front and to the sides with a little more to the front. I am not opposed to a bar/helmet combo as I think the helmet light would help me pick up the corners much better. I'm in my late 40's and night vision isn't as good as it used to be. That being said I'm running just over an hour on this specific course in the daylight and around 1:20 at night. It's a mix of single track/gravel road and forest/open fields. I'd like to cut 5-8 minutes off that night time and much of it revolves around confidence with the lighting system.

    From a budget perspective I'd like to stay in the $300 or less range.
    Okay, the cost issue will limit your choices. I hate to do this because it will make me sound like a Bikeray fluky since I am currently reviewing the new Bikeray IV but a Bikeray IV and Bikeray I in combo could be the way to go and still keep you in the price range you quoted. The Bikeray I is the D-bin P-7 spot version that when helmet mounted should give you decent throw. I've never seen it in person myself but the narrow beam pattern has been posted on forum I'm sure. The Bikeray IV is going to light up those open fields and fire roads like you won't believe and it has decent reach as well. Coupled together, the BR one and four could be the killer combo you're looking for without breaking the bank. You might even be able to swing a combo deal discount if you get it from BikerayUSA. ( give them an e-mail to ask a question ) Just make sure you get two batteries if you do. Nothing wrong with any of the recommendations from the others, all good stuff.

    Another option for helmet light would be the MagicShine MJ-808E. This is the XM-L emitter version of the MagicShine. Reviews so far have it out-throwing all the P-7 stuff. The low point is that it is only available from D/X as far as I know.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    I'd caution against the Minewts - they're not terribly bright for the money. One as a helmet light is fine if you have a good bar light, but I'd rather have one of the cheap Chinese lights for the same money. NR lights also have major issues with cable reliability (just replaced one for a friend), which caused my LBS to dump them for L&M.
    I agree there are many different weapons to choose from to battle the night. Pretty much anything that is light, durable, easily rechargeable, and provides plenty of power will work.

    My criteria for lights were fairly low cost (I've spent major $$ on lighting systems in the past, only to have batteries degrade, parts to get crashed out, and technology to improve so much as to make it seem defunct), easily accessible, bar&helmet light swappable, and light and battery all in one unit so I can wear whatever I want when riding at night (it's nice not to have to wear a camelbak to carry your battery if it's hot).

    I chose the NiteRider 250's because they met all these criteria, and if I crash and damage one, it's not the end of the world to replace it. I also like that the light and battery are all one unit, so there are no cables, etc. to deal with, and it's a really light unit. Being able to switch the bar light with the helmet light by just sliding the light off it's bracket and swapping with the other light is really nice in a 24 hour race situation as well.

    Pretty much any of the brands/makers mentioned here I'm sure will work, but you just need to decide what criteria are important to you and go from there.

    Happy researching! (It's half the fun!)

    -epicxt

  13. #13
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    I wouldn't say the MiNewts are bad lights, I actually think they're pretty neat and the cable issues are avoidable if you look after your lights. They certainly make good helmet lights. For the bars though, I think that money could be better spent elsewhere.

    Or, if you want a name brand light, the Lupine Piko would make an excellent light all by itself for ~$300. I personally wouldn't recommend buying lights from China, particularly if it's going to be your only light. They might be cheap, but they're built cheap and Chinese QC is highly variable at best.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Okay, the cost issue will limit your choices. I hate to do this because it will make me sound like a Bikeray fluky since I am currently reviewing the new Bikeray IV but a Bikeray IV and Bikeray I in combo could be the way to go and still keep you in the price range you quoted. The Bikeray I is the D-bin P-7 spot version that when helmet mounted should give you decent throw. I've never seen it in person myself but the narrow beam pattern has been posted on forum I'm sure. The Bikeray IV is going to light up those open fields and fire roads like you won't believe and it has decent reach as well. Coupled together, the BR one and four could be the killer combo you're looking for without breaking the bank. You might even be able to swing a combo deal discount if you get it from BikerayUSA. ( give them an e-mail to ask a question ) Just make sure you get two batteries if you do. Nothing wrong with any of the recommendations from the others, all good stuff.

    Another option for helmet light would be the MagicShine MJ-808E. This is the XM-L emitter version of the MagicShine. Reviews so far have it out-throwing all the P-7 stuff. The low point is that it is only available from D/X as far as I know.
    I emailed Bikeray twice and never heard back from them...

    I placed an order for a Light And Go - Foride, and an MJ-808E this morning (DX). I think this will also be a very good combo.

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    I'm in my mid forties and looking for a new light too. I currently have a Night Rider Pro 600 and like it. I'd look at at least 500 lumens. What I like about the NR pro 600 is I can customize my run time on the computer then reset the light with the software given. However, for a solo 24 hour event you'll need two batteries and an extra battery runs around $100+. The other down side of the NR light is the size of the battery but this is true with any light. But's is bright light in a small package. These lights are on sale at Jensen USA for $299 and normally sell in the $400 range. This is a high end light and great customer support. I chose it because they are at the 24 hour races I ride in and support is easy if I need it.

    I'm looking at a Trail Led light because of the weight vs lumens. They have the 500L at 500 lumens for $175 and this is a high end light...not the imported lights you see by similar suppliers. Or the 500XL at 800 lumens for $250. However, I'm considering the Darkstar at 1600 lumens in the same small light weight package for $420. They are a local Dallas, Texas company and support a lot of the local races. Having seen someone riding a darkstar behind me with my Pro 600...I was amazed at how much more light it had. They advertise brighter than daylight. I'm really don't want to spend more than $200 for a new light since I already have a $400 light, but the Trail LED darkstar is in a league of its own.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by deadbolt View Post
    I emailed Bikeray twice and never heard back from them...

    I placed an order for a Light And Go - Foride, and an MJ-808E this morning (DX). I think this will also be a very good combo.
    The Bikeray people must be busy but check your spam folder. Sometimes e-mail gets mis-routed.

    Let us know how the Foride/MJ 808E combo works out for you when you get it.

  17. #17
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    Anyone out there tried the Cygo-lite Expilion 250? I need a new helmet light and I like the idea of a fully self contained unit where I'm not attached to a cord. I know there are much brighter lights out there, but the set up and the price seem good for a helmet light.

  18. #18
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    Would highly recommend the Bikeray Ray III light. Have bought one of these recently and the beam pattern and burn time are both excellent. I am in the UK so bought it from Bikeray UK - service was very efficient and it arrived next day.

    Have previously been using Magicshine lights but would say the Bikeray is superior at the moment.

  19. #19
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    if you buy cheap, plan on buying 2. Not only because its only smart to ride with 2 JIC something happens to one of them but I think you have more chance of something to stop working and miss the fun
    BBW. MS, RD

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by macnmud View Post
    Would highly recommend the Bikeray Ray III light. Have bought one of these recently and the beam pattern and burn time are both excellent. I am in the UK so bought it from Bikeray UK - service was very efficient and it arrived next day.

    Have previously been using Magicshine lights but would say the Bikeray is superior at the moment.
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