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Old 07-27-08, 07:53 PM   #26
speedlever
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Hey... one question that just popped into my head. How bad are these lights attracting bugs at night? Even at dusk with no lights, I'm taking minor hits as I ride. Just curious what to expect with a high powered light in use.
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Old 07-27-08, 09:15 PM   #27
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Thanks Al.

However, in my anticipated usage, I expect to use strobe mode quite a bit in waning daylight hours... and heat is typically upper 80s to low 90s F even at that time. So high ambient temp is a relative term.

Guess we'll see how it shakes out.
You're welcome...

A couple of things to consider (just as variations on what's already been said)...when the Fenix manual warns about use at high ambient temperatures, I don't think it's taking into account the light being used as a bike light, but looking at it in terms of the normal operating environment (as a standard flashlight and not a bike light). High ambient temperature warnings, I'm willing to bet, are for normal use as a flashlight would be used in most everyday situations. In the bike light situation, you're adding a significant amount of air cooling beyond what the flashlight would get in normal use. With strobe use on a bike (even in the heat of the day), you've got air cooling combined with the intermittent strobe, which should further reduce the tendency of the light to heat up. In that situation, the flashlight might not even become detectably warm (at least to average human touch). And, too, I've never seen any warnings about strobe mode...only turbo mode. I'm just speculating, but I'm betting I'm on target with this just based on the conditions we're factoring into the equation when we use the flashlights as bike lights, and especially as bike lights in strobe mode.

And you're absolutely right about "high ambient temperatures" being a relative term. It's about as vague as it can be worded like it is, so we're forced into a bit of reasonable speculation.
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Old 07-27-08, 09:53 PM   #28
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Your speculation sounds reasonable. The strobe mode does operate in turbo, as I understand it. So the heat issue may or may not be a concern. I'll find out in a few days.

Got my 2400mAH batteries on the charger waiting to go.
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Old 07-27-08, 10:45 PM   #29
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One last note from me on the L2D turbo temperature versus strobe temperature (before I leave it to you for your own testing). I took two of mine (the L2D Premium 100, Rebel Cree versions) and put one in turbo mode and one in strobe mode and ran them side by side in room temperature (approx. 78 deg. F) for 15 minutes. After the 10-15 minute time frame, the turbo mode light is very warm to the touch. I wouldn't call it hot, but very warm. The strobe mode light is barely warm. I can sense that the strobe mode light is quite a bit warmer than room temperature, but it's nowhere near as warm as the light running in turbo mode.

I know my terms "very warm" and "barely warm" as just about as relative as Fenix's own "ambient temperatures" wording...but my sense of touch tells me there is quite a big temperature difference between the head of the light running in turbo mode and the head of the light running in strobe mode. I, like you, am under the impression that strobe mode is a blinking version of turbo mode...but, since strobe mode is not constant, it doesn't build up heat to nearly the degree that full turbo mode does.
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Old 07-27-08, 10:57 PM   #30
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Sounds reasonable to me. Thanks for that report.

Now... how about the bug attraction aspect?
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Old 07-27-08, 11:19 PM   #31
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Sounds reasonable to me. Thanks for that report.

Now... how about the bug attraction aspect?
I think they'll attract bugs only if you're staying still. As long as you're riding, I'd have to guess you'd get no more bugs in the face than usual.

But, I also typically ride where there are lots of other more powerful lights around (streetlights, etc.), so maybe it would be different with less lights in the area. My guess is that by the time bugs are aware of the bike lights -- and attracted to them -- you're already past them. At least, I've never noticed anything I'd count as a higher-than-usual bug hit or bug swarm rate as related to flashlight use on a bike.
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Old 07-28-08, 03:18 AM   #32
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Just in terms of rehashing the Fenix "heat up" question, I've never had mine overheat, and I used mine a lot in 60-70s temps as a runner, not a cyclist. In fact, it just felt warm - I'd notice if it got really hot, since it's strapped to my head! In fact, some of the complaints (the few) are that in the winter times in places with snow, battery life drops since the Fenix gives off so little heat to keep the batts warm. I've had no problems with Turbo for 1:30-2hrs as well as strobe Turbo in terms of heat.
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Old 07-28-08, 04:08 AM   #33
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Another thing to consider about flashlights heating up...having the body of your high output LED flashlight getting hot can be a good thing. Very bright LEDs tend to put out a lot of heat when they're operating, and heat is bad for LEDs. They're usually equipped with heat sinks, or at least some heat escape path, and generally the body of the flashlight is where the heat is going to be dissipated. If the flashlight body is cold after being on high for a long time that can be a sign of poor heat transfer, which can result in premature failure of the LED. I've even seen a few reviews of flashlights on Dealextreme (particularly on large lights like the ones with 3 cree emitters) where reviewers were afraid the light was poorly built because the outside of the light didn't heat up during normal use...
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Old 07-28-08, 06:20 AM   #34
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So what is the bottom line here. I think a summary is in order now that all the issues have been discussed.

What is the run time of the Ultrafire versus the Fenix when comparing apples to apples brightness? I don't mean to be overly critical, but this seemed to be a major flaw in your testing. I concluding from your and others' thread comments that the fenix high setting should have been used instead of the turbo mode. I use turbo but agree that there is very little noticeable difference between high and turbo on the fenix and have considered using it on high instead. Since most of my night rides are around two hours and I get a 2-hour runtime, not one hour, using 2650 Duracells then I see no reason not to use turbo since there is no heat buildup issue. Your fenix run times, Varuscelli correct me if I am wrong, are 50% of the run time experienced by every other previous reviewer. If the fenix product has changed then that would be valuable information for new purchasers to know. I didn't recall that you ever disclosed what brand batteries you were using. Would you mind doing that?

Does the Fenix circuitry differ from the Ultrafire such that the Fenix is maintaining most of it's brightness while the Ultrafire is constantly fading away? I think this is the case but I would like someone to verify. I don't consider this bad but I personally prefer for a bicycling application that maximum brightness is retained rather than maximum run time. If I was using it for general flashlight use this would not be an issue. But again, this is an apples to apples issue. This is a huge competitive advantage, imho, since all the other flashlights in this price range when I made my purchase last year did not have this circuitry.

How consistent is the production quality and performance of the Ultrafire?

It appears that the only other reviewer that commented here that compared both head to head stated the fenix is superior to the ultrafire. I would be more than glad to acknowledge the ultrafire's superiority if this is indeed the case. Your review has raised the question but I am not convinced. Varuscelli is the man when it comes to reviewing flashlights for bicycle applications. He is like Walter Cronkite was, I trust him implicity. If he says the Ultrafire is the same flashlight at less than half the price, then I will not question it.

Varuscelli, I look forward to your review now that you are back on the forum!
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Old 07-28-08, 06:35 AM   #35
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While I like the Ultrafire, it'll mostly be used as a backup. It isn't nearly as bright as the Fenix. When I compare both, outside, with fresh batteries, in the dark, the Fenix turbo (180 lumens) and high (107 lumens) modes are definitely brighter than the Ultrafire. The Fenix medium mode (53 lumens) is not as bright as the Ultrafire on high. I would rough guess the Ultrafire to be around 90 lumens on high (this may not seem like very much, but this is roughly 2x the lumens of a 2xAA MAG LED), so it's bright enough to ride with in a emergency.
Has anyone seen the actual lumens specs for this latest Ultrafire cited anywhere, either from the manufacturer or elsewhere that test measurements have been documented? I'm sure it's got to be out there, but for some reason I've either read right past it or just plain not seen it. Can anyone point me to such specs?

Note: I admit to being one of those who get a bit lost in the lumens/Lux/candlepower measurements. All I really know is that you have to have at least a little bit of a handle on what these things mean to really understand what you can read into each as associated with any given light. Lumens are certainly not the be-all and end-all of how light output is measured...but at least it's part of an overall equation.

The flashlightreview.com site has some brief but very interesting info about these measurements here, for anyone interested.

Lux Measurements as Explained on FlashlightReviews.com

Overall Output and Throw AND Lumens from Lightbox Readings on FlashlightReviews.com

Last edited by varuscelli; 07-28-08 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 07-28-08, 07:33 AM   #36
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Hi, dekindy

I appreciate the high praise, but I'm just one of the average guys here, knowledge-wise. No special insights or secrets on my end, but I do try to look pretty carefully at options and comparisons. And hey, I got my lead on using Fenix as a bike light from bike forum member Zero_Enigma, who first suggested them to me. I'm in the same boat as the rest of the cyclists interested in using flashlights and certainly don't consider myself more of an expert than anyone else here (in fact, I'm sure I'm less knowledgeable that quite a few of the serious riders and electronics wizard types).

Thanks again for the kind words, dekindy -- but at the same time, I don't want to develop a reputation of being more knowledgeable than I really am.
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Old 07-28-08, 08:23 AM   #37
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Q: Why does an Ultrafire cost $20.87 shipped?

A: Because $20.99 would be too much.


STOP THE PRESSES! I went out again last night and did more extensive riding in as dark of conditions as Houston will allow. I tested riding with 2 Fenix's or 2 Ultrafires on the bike and one Ultrafire on the helmet. I have a new appreciation for the Fenix lights.

Long story short, in a dark environment absent of streetlights, it was more obvious to me the 2 Fenix's on high (not Turbo) are BRIGHTER than the 2 Ultrafires on high mode (highest setting for the Ultrafire). Turbo just blew me away. The 2 Fenix's on Turbo completely washed out the Ultrafire on the helmet so that it was fairly pointless to have it on.

I made the mistake of only testing the highest modes of the lights, around my house with some light pollution. And I only tested 1 Ultrafire vs. 1 Fenix on the bike with no other lights. 2 lights on at a time and being in a darker environment really lets these lights shine.

My preference is definitely toward the Fenix lights. In high mode they last longer than the Ultrafires in high mode (how much longer I don't know as I left the house and was gone longer than expected.

I'll be revising my review when I get a chance sometime today.
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Old 07-28-08, 08:35 AM   #38
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Nothing beats real-world, on-the-job testing!
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Old 07-28-08, 09:05 AM   #39
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If using it as a bike light, the heat in the L2D turbo mode shouldn't be much of an issue (if at all)
+1

I am skimming the comments before I revise my review, and would agree that on a bike the heat in Turbo mode should not be an issue. In one of my runtime tests, I put a Fenix in Turbo next to an Ultrafire in High mode and had a fan blowing over them. The Ultrafire was actually cool to the touch, and the Fenix was nt quite as warm as the lights would run stationary in high mode.
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Old 07-28-08, 09:19 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by speedlever View Post
Sounds reasonable to me. Thanks for that report.

Now... how about the bug attraction aspect?
I've noticed more bugs lately, but I think I'm just able to see them more with the better light. It reminds me of riding my motorcycle when I can see them and then feel them hit me, except Ihave to keep my mouth closed on the bicycle.
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Old 07-28-08, 09:45 AM   #41
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A helmet light is never rendered useless, because it points where you're looking. Even if it's washed out by the Fenixes, I wouldn't get rid of the Ultrafire, unless it's to replace it with a Fenix. For $20, light where you're looking is worth having.
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Old 07-28-08, 11:38 AM   #42
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Here's a kind of interesting idea from one of the forum members over at the CandlePower Forums (member cave dave). It calls for using two lockblocks in an over/under configuration. It's very easy to set up if you have two lockblocks, but I haven't tried riding with it yet. I posted more photos of this on my Fenix page as linked in my signature line and in the thread Dual Fenix L2D Premium 100 Headlight Setup (Photos)

yeamac, this is something you could easily try with the equipment you've got, if interested in playing around with various configurations. You'd have to leave your handlebar bag off, but it might be worth a ride with this setup just to check it out. I can't vouch for how it will work yet (with over/under lights), but for some folks it could be good space saver if they have limited attachment space on the handlebar.

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Old 07-28-08, 11:45 AM   #43
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Good thing I waited for your update I have one Fenix L2D on my bars right now and was going to move it my helmet and get two ultrafires on the bars after your initial review. Now, I think I'll save my pennies for another L2D

You do have a very good review style though, good work. I noticed a similar issue when comparing a friends weaker light (about 80 lumens) to my Fenix in a dark room, I thought "gee, mine is only like 10-15% brighter, but once we took it out for a night ride in pitch black the difference in output was much more apparent.
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Old 07-28-08, 12:00 PM   #44
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excellent job. and it just so happens i am in the market for a new flashlight to use on my bike. cheers
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Old 07-28-08, 12:04 PM   #45
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A helmet light is never rendered useless, because it points where you're looking. Even if it's washed out by the Fenixes, I wouldn't get rid of the Ultrafire, unless it's to replace it with a Fenix. For $20, light where you're looking is worth having.
Good point. What I meant to say was the Ultrafire beam was completely swallowed by the Fenix lights, whereas in other configs (like 2 Ultrafires on the bars) an Ultrafire on High mode on the helmet actually helped to make things even brighter. And, where I ride, I have plenty of street lighting into corners so a helmet mounted light doesn't really aid anything for me.
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Old 07-28-08, 12:14 PM   #46
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Good thing I waited for your update I have one Fenix L2D on my bars right now and was going to move it my helmet and get two ultrafires on the bars after your initial review. Now, I think I'll save my pennies for another L2D
If yeamac would be willing to give it a go and post back here, I think it would be interesting to hear how a configuration of two Ultrafires on the handlebar and one Fenix L2D on the helmet would work. He's got everything he needs to do the test if he's so inclined.

My thought is that if two Ultrafires on the handlebar would outperform one Fenix L2D on the handlebar, it might make for a cost-effective way for some folks to go, especially if the Ultrafires could give longer runtimes. Might be worth a look, in any case.
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Old 07-28-08, 12:26 PM   #47
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Yeamac, your runtime issues with the fenix are related to your batteries.. The Tenergy cells are way over rated, there is nothing I have ever bought from them that has worked to the rating on the cells.. They perform about as well as some older GP2000 cells I have.. The better cells are the Titanium 2700 or my personal favorite the Duracell 2650.. The energizer cells have been hit and miss with quality.

I have easily gotten 2:00 with the Q5 L2d and 2:20 with the Q2 L2d.. Heat is only an issue if you are doing runtime tests for turbo mode.. The air cools the light when riding, so heat is never an issue..
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Old 07-28-08, 12:34 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
What is the run time of the Ultrafire versus the Fenix when comparing apples to apples brightness?
I started a test with both on high mode, and at 2:30 the Ultrafire was in a reduced output mode, but the Fenix was still going strong on High. How long the Fenix lasted, I don't know, as my family went out (for a bike ride around the neighborhood, no less), and didn't return for another 2 hours (stopped at a friends house unexpectedly) and when we returned the Fenix light dead. So I know it lasts for 2:30 but it won't go for 4:30 on my batteries. Temperature-wise, the Fenix in High mode felt about as warm as the Ultrafire on High mode.

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I didn't recall that you ever disclosed what brand batteries you were using. Would you mind doing that?
Brand is Tenergy. I had that in one of my other replies but apparently accidently took it out when I edited another comment. I got in on this package deal for 83 cents per batt. That's why I said I wanted to try those Duracell 2650 batteries (I think I left that comment in one of my replies.)

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Does the Fenix circuitry differ from the Ultrafire such that the Fenix is maintaining most of it's brightness while the Ultrafire is constantly fading away?
Yes, that is what I have observed. When the Fenix fades, it fades fast and shuts down. When the Ultrafire fades, it keeps burning, but just keeps getting dimmer and dimmer and dimmer, so although putting out light, at a point it wouldn't be useable for cycling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
How consistent is the production quality and performance of the Ultrafire?
The 3 Ultrafire lights I received all seem to be identical in terms of performance and build quality. However, I did not do any direct run time tests between Ultrafire lights to compare them, but when I used different lights for my testing against the Fenix lights, they seemed to behave the same way.

Quote:
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It appears that the only other reviewer that commented here that compared both head to head stated the fenix is superior to the ultrafire. I would be more than glad to acknowledge the ultrafire's superiority if this is indeed the case. Your review has raised the question but I am not convinced. [B][U]Varuscelli is the man when it comes to reviewing flashlights for bicycle applications. He is like Walter Cronkite was, I trust him implicity. If he says the Ultrafire is the same flashlight at less than half the price, then I will not question it.
In my initial review I never meant to imply the Ultrafire was superior, but looking over the 3 sets of pros for each light, I chose the Ultrafire because battery run time and cost were the most important considerations for me. My testing up until that point was that the brightness didn't matter much because they were both bright enough for me. Even still the Ultrafire brightness is fine for my riding, but now that I have realized I should be comparing the High mode of each light and the Fenix has longer runtime on high, that moves it up a notch, not to mention Fenix's High mode is brighter than the Ultrafire's. Now, time to try and edit my review...
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Old 07-28-08, 03:29 PM   #49
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If yeamac would be willing to give it a go and post back here, I think it would be interesting to hear how a configuration of two Ultrafires on the handlebar and one Fenix L2D on the helmet would work. He's got everything he needs to do the test if he's so inclined.

My thought is that if two Ultrafires on the handlebar would outperform one Fenix L2D on the handlebar, it might make for a cost-effective way for some folks to go, especially if the Ultrafires could give longer runtimes. Might be worth a look, in any case.
Interesting idea. If one ran the Fenix on the bike in Turbo mode, my thoughts are it would be about the same as two Ultrafires on high -- but two Ultrafires should be brighter than one Fenix on high.

I'll have to pick up some clear lenses for my sunglasses, also. Got a good one in the eye last night, LOL.

One thing to consider, and this is a personal preference, I don't care as much for the white light of the Ultrafire. I much prefer the look to the yellow light. Mixing white and yellow was kinda weird, too. Of course, that is just a personal preference.

I'll try to see if I can do such a test in a few days.
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Old 07-28-08, 04:31 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeamac View Post
I started a test with both on high mode, and at 2:30 the Ultrafire was in a reduced output mode, but the Fenix was still going strong on High.
....

Fenix's High mode is brighter than the Ultrafire's.
This is very interesting. The fenix is brighter for longer, and has a better beam colour. Is the fenix beam bigger on high too? These are both supposedly Q5?
Either the ultrafires are running poor drivers or poor LEDs... or both. Impossible to tell if your LEDs are Q5s looking at them ... until you compare with another Q5.
Putting a p3/p4 in saves a few dollars(significant in a 21$ light with free shipping) and its still an impressive light. I gave up ordering LEDs from these guys because you don't know what you're getting.
I have a bunch of cheap flashlights from DX and Kai. They are all mediocre quality (though I do like the single aaa buckle lights from Kai they are ok build and take up no room in the seatbag).

Regarding colour... On my helmet I switched from a minewtx2(very white) to a more yellow DIY (exact same colour as my bar lights) and it was a big improvement. The bar/helmet lights blend perfectly.
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