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  1. #1
    Senior Member john bono's Avatar
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    2XFenix L2D Premium v. PT Switchback 3

    A little over a week ago, my Switchback 3 died right before my commute home, almost leaving me stranded. After I sent it back under warranty, I decided that I wasn't going to be in a position of having to rely on just one light at any time, so I ordered a pair of Fenix L2D Premium 100 lights. I received a new SB3 via mail two days ago, and received the Fenixes the day before that, so tonight, I took them all out for a ride, along with my cruddy Blackburn Quadrant. I tried to use my digital camera to take videos of beamshots, but none of them came out. Anyway, here is what I found:

    First of all, the Fenix lights are BRIGHT! On turbo mode, the two lights had a very intense spot, and if necessary, one could ride at a decent pace with just one L2D. With two lights, properly aimed, you can get nearly the same coverage as a three LED PT Switchback, and a more intense spot. The big drawback is the lack of spill to the sides using the Fenixes. You really need two lights to get good coverage. One light is a little too spotty on its own. You'll have a white spot in front of the bike, surrounded by dark. Two lights give you a good fill. I purchased two lockblocks to attach the flashlights to my road bars. They really don't work very well. They don't give you much flexibility in aiming the lights, even minor changes in aiming the lights tend to reset themselves with the next pothole.

    Initially, I thought the L2Ds were significantly brighter than the Switchback, but as the ride went on, I noticed that the Switchback worked much better at floodlight and spill than the flashlights did. Whereas the Fenixes has a very intense small spot, a larger well lit area, surrounded by blackness, the SB3 had a fairly mild spot, and a very large flood area. While minor changes in the aiming of the SB3 did not have a drastic effect on viewing the road, improperly aiming the Fenix did.

    Overall, though, I was very impressed with the Fenix lights. For less than $100, you can get a light, four AA batteries and a charger, and will have something that can outshine most lights in its price range, and a few that are significantly more expensive.
    Ride a bike. It makes your legs stringy, and less tasty to our Kanamit friends.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by john bono View Post
    A little over a week ago, my Switchback 3 died right before my commute home, almost leaving me stranded. After I sent it back under warranty, I decided that I wasn't going to be in a position of having to rely on just one light at any time, so I ordered a pair of Fenix L2D Premium 100 lights. I received a new SB3 via mail two days ago, and received the Fenixes the day before that, so tonight, I took them all out for a ride, along with my cruddy Blackburn Quadrant. I tried to use my digital camera to take videos of beamshots, but none of them came out. Anyway, here is what I found:

    First of all, the Fenix lights are BRIGHT! On turbo mode, the two lights had a very intense spot, and if necessary, one could ride at a decent pace with just one L2D. With two lights, properly aimed, you can get nearly the same coverage as a three LED PT Switchback, and a more intense spot. The big drawback is the lack of spill to the sides using the Fenixes. You really need two lights to get good coverage. One light is a little too spotty on its own. You'll have a white spot in front of the bike, surrounded by dark. Two lights give you a good fill. I purchased two lockblocks to attach the flashlights to my road bars. They really don't work very well. They don't give you much flexibility in aiming the lights, even minor changes in aiming the lights tend to reset themselves with the next pothole.

    Initially, I thought the L2Ds were significantly brighter than the Switchback, but as the ride went on, I noticed that the Switchback worked much better at floodlight and spill than the flashlights did. Whereas the Fenixes has a very intense small spot, a larger well lit area, surrounded by blackness, the SB3 had a fairly mild spot, and a very large flood area. While minor changes in the aiming of the SB3 did not have a drastic effect on viewing the road, improperly aiming the Fenix did.

    Overall, though, I was very impressed with the Fenix lights. For less than $100, you can get a light, four AA batteries and a charger, and will have something that can outshine most lights in its price range, and a few that are significantly more expensive.
    Here is another option:
    2X
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.5971

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  4. #4
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    This looks a bit better, but it will rival a TriNewt. Only catch, is that it accepts CR123A's.
    PTS and Wolf Eyes are releasing a Thunder, which is a Tri-Cree, however, it will accept 18650's battery.

    Boo-Yah!

  5. #5
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    Does this flashlight use rechargeable batteries?

    T

  6. #6
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    I think the footprint for the dealextreme light is a little on the big side.. I think the elektrolumens firelion is a much nicer size.. 375 lumens is the actual output (not overstated) but have been tested by users to put out closer to 500 lumens..

    http://elektrolumens.com/FireLion/FireLion-III.html

  7. #7
    Senior Member john bono's Avatar
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    Those triple cree lights are probably very bright, though I think I'd have a couple of issues with them. First, I think I would have an issue with battery life. The Fenixes have this problem too, however, since they are AA, I only have to worry about enough battery to make the next convenience store. These other lights use a less available battery type. The other problem is lack of spill. Granted, at $50 a pop, you can get two or three of these lights to deal with that, or simply tack a frosted lens over one of the lights, given the low cost.

    I think the use of flashlights is good competition for the bike light makers. The technology for leds is going by leaps and bounds, and it would be nice to see the bike headlight makers start selling the heads separately from the batteries and chargers. I think when it comes to battery life and lens design, the bike lights are much better than flashlights.

    However, in regards to using the latest/brightest technology for the lights themselves, bike light companies are following the pack. The PT SB3 is putting out something like 300lm or so. If Princeton Tech had a head swap program or upgrade kit, I could use the same form factor, same battery life, yet have a 500+ lumen light. If there is anything I love about this light it is have 6 hrs on high. This will make it possible for me to ride at anytime I want and not be concerned about running out of light.
    Ride a bike. It makes your legs stringy, and less tasty to our Kanamit friends.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    It appears Princeton Tec backs their product as evidenced by honoring their warranty by sending you a new unit quickly. Do you know exactly what was wrong with your light? I am do to receive mine on Wednesday and hope I made the right decision selecting it. I already have a L&M Vega so I have backup. But I am hoping this will be a quality light that lasts me a long time.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  9. #9
    Senior Member john bono's Avatar
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    My guess is it was something with the the head. The battery took a charge, but the head wouldn't light.
    Ride a bike. It makes your legs stringy, and less tasty to our Kanamit friends.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tfrost View Post
    Does this flashlight use rechargeable batteries?

    T
    Yes, it uses CR123A's or RCR123A's.
    (R=rechargeable)

    Also, the elektrolumens uses 18650's, which have long life. Double what the RCR123A's can pump out.

    Wolf eyes is coming out with one in a week. They will use 18650's as well. Check out PTS flashlights for more details. It is called the Wolf Eyes Thunder.

    http://www.pts-flashlights.com/produ...=1-99-118-6372

  11. #11
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    The Scepter has a long run time. But it big!
    http://www.goldengadgets.com/product...roducts_id=356

  12. #12
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    Legion will be in the long life 18650 shortly.
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.8389

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  14. #14
    There's time now icedmocha's Avatar
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    Don't these lights gets expensive battery-wise?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
    It appears Princeton Tec backs their product as evidenced by honoring their warranty by sending you a new unit quickly. Do you know exactly what was wrong with your light? I am do to receive mine on Wednesday and hope I made the right decision selecting it. I already have a L&M Vega so I have backup. But I am hoping this will be a quality light that lasts me a long time.
    I am going to find out personally. I had to send mine back for warranty today. The light would not turn on and switch modes like it should. I tried pressing the switch lots of ways and could not get it to work consistently. Sometimes I could turn it on and switch between modes with a flick of the switch. Other times it did not matter how I pressed the switch it would not come on or switch modes unless I tried lots of times, as in my fingers got sore.

    I had it fully charged and spent about 30-40 minutes working with the switch trying to discover the magic touch. At the end of the session I noticed the battery indicator was red, meaning it had less than 25% capacity left. It had worked on full for my 2.5 ride the evening before. So now I know there is something major wrong. I had e-mailed Princeton Tec 15-20 minutes earlier about my difficulties but decided to call them. Robert said that he was reading my e-mail. This was about 4:00 this afternoon. He gave me a return authorization and the battery and head are on their way to the service dept. He said they could turn it around in a day or two so hopefully I will only miss using it a couple of rides next week.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

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