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  1. #1
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    Dinotte 200L and Fenix P2D review

    I really appreciate all the previous Fenix and Dinotte reports, they were helpful in deciding what light to get. So here's a really long review of the two lights. Bottom line: I like the Dinotte as a bar light, and the Fenix makes a good helmet light to go with it. A helmet light is really helpful.

    I'll post some pictures here, later.

    I have a Dinotte 200L and just got a Fenix L2D Premium 100 for a helmet light. I like the combination of a 200L on the bars, and a L2D on the helmet. Both these lights have regulated power, so they stay consistently bright, then drop to a low power mode when almost out. It's easy and cheap to carry spare AAs for both of them, too.

    Dinotte 200L.
    This is 200 lumens of light on high beam. It uses 4 AA NiMH rechargeables. It comes with a second battery holder, so you can bring a spare set along. The rubber o-ring is fast and works great as a mount. There's a notch in the bottom of the light, so it sit on the bar securely, and can be adjusted while riding. The batteries fit in a tiny nylon pouch. I have it velcroed to the side of my stem. If you accidentally try to attach the battery to the cable backwards, the light circuitry is protected, and won't be hurt. I've had a battery pop loose twice, turning off the light, the second time with one rubber band wrapped around the middle of the battery holder. So now I wrap two rubber bands, one at the top, one at the bottom.

    See the runtime tests at the bottom of this report.

    The Dinotte's beam is a wide hot spot, that smoothly fades out at the edges. There's some dim light spill out to a wide angle, but most of the light is in the hot spot. It's wide enough to light up a whole lane. The light comes back on at the same power level as when it was turned off. Double press to turn it on, then each press cycles to the 3 different power settings. Hold it for 2 seconds to turn it off. To get to the flash modes,the button has to be held down for 6 seconds.

    It also makes a good daytime running light. I used the two flashes per second mode.

    I was able to ride at about 18-20 mph with the Dinotte by itself. With streetlights, I tend to point it down a bit more, to see the road right in front of me better. On a dark country road, my eyes adapt to the dark, and the light really lights up the whole road. The spill light is bright enough to see the edge of the road right near the bike, too. There's a tradeoff between a brighter light near the bike, or seeing a farther distance. I would be moving the light slightly to see farther down the road, but then more of the light beam is up in the air, not reflecting off the road.

    I had a cheap $10.00 led light that had a very narrow beam. It helped as a headlight, to see onto side streets when turning onto a side street, or lighting up off the road, looking for dogs or deer. But it was awkward, and the light fades as the batteries go down.

    So I got a Fenix L2D Premium 100 (Luxeon) flashlight. This uses 2 AA batteries, and is rated 175 lumens on "turbo" for 2.4 hours and 100 lumens on high for 4 hours. I debated about getting the 1 AA battery model, but it doesn't go to 175 lumens, and has shorter run times. It would be about 35-40 grams lighter. This one is 115 grams with batteries. I'll discuss the Fenix below.

    The Fenix - Dinotte combination works great for solo rides. The beam on the Fenix is narrower than the Dinotte, with comparable brightness. So I can point the Dinotte down a bit, lighting up the road very well, and the Fenix can fill in farther down the road. I really like being able to point the beam. I can light up curves in the road, look off the road as needed, or follow a spot on the road that might be a rock as it gets near. I had cars slow down coming toward me out in the country too. It probably helps a lot to have the two lights, so they can judge the distance to me better. I try to aim the Fenix off to the side when cars pass. I can also point it right in front of my front tire if the oncoming headlights are messing with my night vision. I was going 25 mph downhill with this combination of lights.

    Fenix L2D Premium 100 (Luxeon version)

    This is a nice flashlight. It has a bright hotspot, that smoothly fades to the quite bright spill light ring. It can run on turbo mode (175 lumens) continuously. ( Older models could get too hot to stay in turbo mode). I can see why other BF riders have put two on their bars. The beam is acceptable as a single light, but a bit narrow. Two would work well, the best way would be to have one of the two on a helmet.

    I have it attached to my helmet with a few rubber bands and a wedge of foam for now, which worked well, but was sort of a pain to assemble. The reflector has a slight orange peel dimpling in it, which probably helps to smooth out the light beam. It's kind of amazing how small the LED itself is, less than 1/16 inch wide. The beam is extremely bright if I accidentally look directly at it, I see spots for a minute or two afterwards. So be careful if you are group riding with it on a helmet. Even the spill light angle is too bright to look at.

    Fenix modes of operation:
    Screwing the front bezel on all the way puts it in turbo mode. Clicking the button turns it on, then a half press switches to flash mode. This is just about completely useless, since it flashes at 8-10 flastes a second, like a disco strobe. I can't stand it for more than a few seconds.
    Unscrewing the bezel a half turn puts it in lower powers mode. When turned on, it starts at the 11 lumen extra low power mode, then a half click goes 50 lumens, then 100 lumens, then a very slow SOS blink mode. The 11 lumen mode is actually quite useful off the bike. It would be a good reading or walking around light, and can run more than 50 hours at that level. After the light is turned off, it always starts back at 11 lumens again, which is slightly annoying.
    I'll probably always run it at turbo on the helmet. That mode always starts in turbo when turned on, too.

    Hot spots and spill light
    The central hot spot on the Dinotte is almost twice as wide as the Fenix. It fades off at the edges nicely. I think the Fenix's central hot spot is slightly brighter than the Dinotte--more of it's light is concentrated into smaller area. It fades off evenly, too, but seems to have a more noticeable spot light effect.
    The Fenix spill light is a lot brighter than the spill from the Dinotte. I can tilt my head down, and read the bike computer with it. But I had to get used to the tunnel effect, since the spill cuts off sharply at the edge, and it's within my line of sight. The lack of bright spill light on the Dinotte is actually good, there's no edge cutoff to the light at all, and it's dim spill is still useful.

    Dinotte and Fenix together.
    With both lights on their highest power, I can easily cruise 20 mph either in the city, with streetlights and traffic, or on dark country roads. I've been up to 25 mph so far. With wet roads, the light doesn't reflect as well. I was riding a wet road with potholes at 18 mph, and had to dodge a few a the last moment, but it was workable. An unknown road with a bad surface would take a lot of concentration to go at 18-20 mph.

    20 mph is about 30 feet per second. I estimated I could see 3-4 seconds ahead, which matches up with my measured view distance of about 100-120 feet. Larger objects would show at a farther distance, of course.

    The Dinotte is a blue-white light, and the Fenix is a bit yellow-green. I actually like the two colors together, I can figure out where the Fenix is pointing.

    Run times:
    I've tested the Dinotte with my old set of 2500 mAh batteries. They might not be able to hold a full charge anymore, I'm not sure.

    On high, Dinotte says 2 hours runtime. I got about 2:05 (2 hours, 5 minutes) from the old set of 2500 mAh batteries. I just bought a set of Duracell 2650s and expected to get about 2:15. I got over 3 hours on the first test. I recharged and tested again getting 3:08 to the blink warning, 3:12 to the drop to low power. When the batteries are almost done, the Dinotte flashes 3 times as a warning, and the power button turns red instead of blue. It still ran on high for a few more minutes, then drops to medium power for a couple minutes, then to low. I'm not sure how long it could continue on low, but I can only ride at about 8-10 mph on the low beam anyway. ( The Dinotte needs some air flow to run on high beam, so I had a fan running when doing the tests. Otherwise, it blinks the power button red and blue to warn you, eventually it would power down.)

    The Fenix gets quite warm to the touch on turbo mode (175 lumens), but not excessively hot. I tested it with the old 2500 mAh batteries, and it only ran 2:10. It just drops to low power without a warning. I'll be testing the Fenix with the new 2650s and (did) expect it to run similar to the Dinotte, maybe 3 hours. EDIT--see the new test posted below: 2 hours 35 minutes.

    Wow! I got carried away with this review!
    Last edited by rm -rf; 11-01-07 at 08:12 PM.

  2. #2
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    I took some more night beam shots, but it's really hard to match up with what a rider would see. Even the ones I included are somewhat misleading.

    To see more pictures, and larger sizes, view the Picasa Web Album here. Click the "slideshow" link to see larger sized photos.

    The Dinotte with a spare battery holder. The o-ring clips in tight on the back, so it won't get lost. The holes in front of it are heatsink holes. There's a notch in the bottom to fit the handlebars. I've had a battery pop loose, so I rubber band them now.


    My temporary helmet holder for the Fenix light. The rubber bands are looped over the light, through the helmet, then over the light again. It's quite stable. The 4 rubber bands are a pain to pull and loop over.


    Dinotte mount. The battery pouch opens from the back. It fits on this 90mm stem.


    Beam shots. Fenix on the left, Dinotte on the right. Both at max power. You can see the edge of the yellow spill light from the Fenix directly above the Dinotte's hot spot. I think the hot spots are both overexposed, since the Fenix one usually looks a bit smaller in comparison.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 10-27-07 at 10:23 AM.

  3. #3
    Burnin' and Lootin' ggg300's Avatar
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    Perfect!

    Well done!

    I know what I am going with now.

    Thank You!

    Can you also post more info on where you got your charger and batteries.

  4. #4
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggg300 View Post
    Perfect!

    Well done!

    I know what I am going with now.

    Thank You!

    Can you also post more info on where you got your charger and batteries.
    I got these at Meijers. Any place that has batteries should have rechargables and chargers. I have an older charger that seems to take 10-12 hours, the newer one I just got is about 6 hours. They make fast chargers, too, for more money, but I just recharge when I get back from a ride, so overnight is fine.
    The 4 pack was about $10.00 or so, and the charger was $10.00 or $11.00 They make bundled packs of 4 batteries and a charger, too, but I wanted the 2650 capacity batteries, instead of the 2400 ones that came in the bundle.

    Duracell 2650 mAh and an Energizer charger. I wanted one with status lights for each of the 4 batteries.

  5. #5
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    You can purchase an 8-battery holder at Radio Shack if you need longer run times.

    It would be interesting to test the 2500 capacity batteries on a sophisticated charger to see what capacity they are currently at or if they original capacity could be restored.

    This review makes me wish I was starting from scratch. But alas, technology will change again next year and I would be in the same boat.

    Great review. Appreciate it very much.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

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    Great review. I own the Fenix L2D and find it to be a great light, with some minor limitations as you noted. Overall it's a great value, and can serve double use as an excellent flashlight. One thing I'd add is that while the flash mode is obnoxious for trying to see with at night, it's very useful during the day. You can't help but get noticed by cars that would otherwise be turning in front of you, and I'd highly recommend it for being seen when the road is already well lit.

  7. #7
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    I tested the Fenix L2D with a freshly charged set of Duracell 2650 batteries. I got 2 hours 35 minutes (accurate within a few minutes) before it reverted to low power mode. That's very consistent with Fenix's stated run time of 2.4 hours if they tested with a 2500 mAh set of batteries.

    2.4 hrs is 2 hours 24 minutes.
    2.4 hrs *2600 / 2500 = 2.54 hrs = 2 hours 33 minutes.

  8. #8
    another cat...FAB! stevesurf's Avatar
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    The day I got my Dinotte 200L I charged it about 3/4 and got a solid 2.5 hrs at Hi / Med out of it, with much to spare. The color and spread are consistent with the beam pattern above; I absolutely recommend it!

  9. #9
    Baby it's cold outside... ViperZ's Avatar
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    Looks like I need to get a Fenix just to have in my pack
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesurf View Post
    The day I got my Dinotte 200L I charged it about 3/4 and got a solid 2.5 hrs at Hi / Med out of it, with much to spare. The color and spread are consistent with the beam pattern above; I absolutely recommend it!
    Just to be clear, are you talking about the 200L-AA or 200L-LI? What do you mean by 3/4? It is the AA version and you have a sophisticated charger that indicates the charge capacity?
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  11. #11
    another cat...FAB! stevesurf's Avatar
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    The 200L-Li. I fully charged one battery (about 2 hr), followed by the next battery which I charged for 3/4 the time or about 1 hr. 20. No soph charger here, just measured the time and was very impressed!

  12. #12
    ROM 6:23 flipped4bikes's Avatar
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    Excellent review! I have the Dinotte, and now putting the Fenix on my wish list for Christmas!
    Every time we let a vehicle pass there is a little bit of compromise. But compromise allows the city to function and allows cyclists to function in the city. The trick is not to eliminate compromise but to learn how to work safely within it.

    --Robert Hurst

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    I want to thank rm-rf for this fantastic consumer review.

    Based on his post here I bought a set up exactly like his: Fenix L2D Premium for the helmet and Dinotte AA front and rear, taking advantage of last weeks sale.

    Headlight notes:
    For canyon climbing on dark nights the front light's low setting was all I needed to keep an eye out for sticks, gravel etc.
    The "slow strobe" setting works amazingly well to keep people from pulling out in front of you during daylight hours. This light was lighting up reflective signs a full 100 yards away from me before dark.
    For my 25 mph canyon descent I used the headlight on the medium setting. Paired with the roving spot beam of the Fenix L2D this was all the light I needed, though this is a dark canyon.

    Taillight notes:
    This thing is just absolutely amazing. I have mine mounted to the left of the frame a few inches (to clear the seat bag) and angled downward about 20 degrees. I run it in the low-high-low flash mode. It illuminates the top half of my rear wheel and spokes and sets up a huge red circle of light behind the bike with each high flash. Tilted downward, it still pops drivers in the eyes with each bright flash. If I ride a busier stretch of road during daylight I'll angle it up a bit to maximize visibility but I prefer not to blind drivers at night.

    Compared to the Superflash, this light is taken more seriously by drivers and allows them to recognize and plan for a bike rider from a far greater distance rearward. I am not a mystery flash of undetermined distance away. They see my rear wheel and the spokes going around and the big ball of red light on the asphalt behind me and they pass safely because they had time to think a bit before they were on top of me.

    Fenix L2D Premium notes:
    Wow. Wow wow wow is my reaction to what this does for the serious night time rider. I've never used a helmet light, which accounts for some degree of wow. But this incredible tool fits easily in my bike bag and I simply leave the velcro band and small rubber cradle strapped on to the top of my helmet 24/7. If the ride calls for some 15mph + speeds it takes just a moment to mount the light. Descending the canyon at 25 mph I would be confident that I could see a walnut-sized rock at 30 yards with this light, which is exactly what I'm looking for.

    The L2D can also be used to communicate with traffic: Oncoming cager keeps his brights on to see you better? Play the beam (turbo mode) into the windshield and they get the point pretty quickly. Last night I came to a 4 way stop and waited for the car to my right to proceed, which he/she did. Then it became apparent that the next car behind them wasn't going to respect my position as next through the intersection. I gave a quick blip of the beam into their drivers side window and they came to a jerk-stop, allowing me to mount up and go through.
    I don't advocate harrassing drivers ( I do 50k miles/year) , and try to be a good biking citizen. But if you are being abused the beam of the Fenix can be a tool to communicate with drivers.

    So thanks again for the fantastic review and photos. I'm sure I'm not the only one you helped out a great deal

    Nomo

  14. #14
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Great posts!

  15. #15
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by nomo4me View Post
    I do 50k miles/year
    50,000 miles per year? On your bike? Pedaling?

    -Joel

  16. #16
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    wow, ~137 miles a day, i doubt it

  17. #17
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    No, 50k miles as a cager, earning $$ to go biking

    Quote Originally Posted by jbierling View Post
    50,000 miles per year? On your bike? Pedaling?

    -Joel

  18. #18
    Dead Men Assume...
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    Great review! Thanks!

  19. #19
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    I have found the new seat post mounting option that's now coming with the DiNotte tail light can be attached to any helmet with vent holes using one or more of the rubber o rings (in the same way you'd attach it to a seatpost). This makes for a helmet mount solution, though it'll have the light up 2-3 inches from the top of your helmet, if that matters to you.
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  20. #20
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    I did a 15 mile ride tonight with my DiNotte 200L on the bars and my Fenix LD2 Premium Q5 on my helmet. It is exactly as the OP says in his section "DiNotte and Fenix together." This combination worked beautifully!

    I mounted my Fenix to my helmet using two reflector mounts: a large one (seatpost reflector bracket) goes around a vent hole in my helmet, thus giving my Fenix vertical adjustability; a small one (chainstay reflector bracket) goes around the Fenix giving me horizontal adjustability; the two screw together in the middle. This mount was free, made from spare parts I had laying around, and works perfectly!
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  21. #21
    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    What about cost? I know the Fenix is a great buy at $57. How much can the Dinotte be had for?

    Sorry if I missed that info somewhere.
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  22. #22
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    What about cost?

    I rely on many things to be seen at night: 1) DiNotte 200L headlight (I paid $100 on sale); 2) DiNotte 140L taillight (again, I paid $100 on sale); 3) Fenix L2D Premium Q5 (I paid approx. $60); 4) Amphipod vest (this is the highest-rated reflective vest per Consumer Reports; cost approx. $40); 5) reflective tape on rims, fenders, etc, as well as 2 reflectors on each wheel. I also have an Airzound air horn (cost approx. $20). I'm at the point now where anything else would be overkill.

    I have all this because I feel it's a good blend of passive (reflector) and active (battery) conspicuity. In total, I paid just over $300, but I guarantee you drivers can not only see me, but will have time to alter their course to give me the space I need. My life and safety is worth every penny I've spent on this system.

    My riding: I try to ride every day. My longest ride of 2007 was 36 miles. I did 3,849 miles in 2007 (my goal was to average 10 miles per day). I commute by bike every Friday, 26.4 miles round-trip. From late-October to the end of February it's dark both directions.
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