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Old 10-18-05, 08:11 PM   #1
Maelstrom 
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Night Riding - lights

I am looking for a couple of things

1 - best setup for single track (techy bumpy and usually slippery so keep that in mind)
2 - best lights for above trails
3 - not 800$
4 - 1.5hours life

Any hints or tips for good setups? I am pretty much clueless in regards to this. I read most of the other threads but found lots of great info for rails to trails and road work. But I would think single track offers its own challenges.
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Old 10-18-05, 08:29 PM   #2
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Hope you don't mind me asking something related to this thread.
Do you people prefer bike lights or helmet lights?
Thanks again!
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Old 10-18-05, 09:04 PM   #3
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There are many good lights out there that will do about what you want. It just depends on how much you want to spend.

You used the word "best" so here it is...

If you want the best, it's the "Edison 4" from Lupine,out of Germany if all you need is two hours on high (16w HID) and three hours on low (10w HID)

Lupine lights are reviewed on http://www.mtbreview.com/ . By some 24 hour racers. I have emailed with Chris Etough the winner of the "24 hrs of Adrenilne" he loves his Edison 10 (more burn time than the 4).

The US distributor is http://www.gretnabikes.com/ (Gretna Bikes) they are great !

I repeate there are many other fine lights, that will serve you well, this is not the only light in the world. But, this is the best. I have over a year on my Edison 10.


16 watt (950 lumen, eqv 65 watt) = 2 hours
10 watt (500 lumen, eqv 20 watt) = 3 hours


Edison 4

Metal Halide (Xenon) beam: Edison works with all Lupine rechargeable batteries (7.2 V). Its performance of 900 lumen output (in comparison: NightMare Pro 25W HP bulb has 550 lumen output) equals a 65 Watt HP halogen bulb - with the bright white light (colour temperature 6000 K) of xenon car head lamps. Beam divergence is 18: therefore, Edison has an extremely large light range with excellent peripheral illumination. Edison has two beam settings to reduce power consumption. Beam settings are regulated via PCS V4.1 switch unit which is equipped with a programmable capacity control. The Edison is small in size and comes with the typical Lupine casing. Diametre: 41mm, Length: 50mm.
Specs. & more picts:

http://www.lupine.de/en/products/komplett/edi4.html

Price: $630.00
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Old 10-18-05, 09:10 PM   #4
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Dude, he said NOT $800.
I KNEW you were gonna talk about your damn Lupine, I knew you couldn't resist!

I heard for MTB'ing, the color of halogen was better cause HID gives you this washed out moon like landscape with little contrast.

What's your budget? Since you only ask for 1.5 hrs of run time, you have a LOT of options. Jam on over to the commuter section under the light selection guide to see what kind of lights match the wattage, run time, and price you want.

Most people say you should have a bar light and a helmet light. A spot on the bar to see ahead and a flood on your head to see where you turn your head (your bar light will only shine where the bar's pointed).
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Old 10-18-05, 09:35 PM   #5
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I actually just bought a Light & Motion Solo Logic Mv (6, 10, 13W; 7.2v battery; lasts 2 hours on high; full charge in 3.5 hrs) tonight from my LBS. I took it out for a ride on moderate singletrack and it was great. I was on my new bike so I was taking it easy but visibility was awesome. I only had it on the handlebar but it still worked great...I have it setup on the helmet now and it should be even better for the tight, twisty trails I usually ride at night. I also took it down some of the steep valley hills and I was able to go as fast as I could in daylight. For the price, I am very happy with it...I got it for $225.
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Old 10-18-05, 09:57 PM   #6
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I like head mounted lamps like spelunkers use. Better than bar mounted for offroad.
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Old 10-18-05, 09:58 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=slvoid]Dude, he said NOT $800.
I KNEW you were gonna talk about your damn Lupine, I knew you couldn't resist!
QUOTE]


Of course you did !

Just as I KNEW you would eventually respond in some way. I guess I'm more predictable.
As a matter of fact I knew you would be awake at this time.

Yeah, I know about the $800. But I was not sure about the $630 for the Edison 4 with 2 hours run time, I'll let him draw the line at the price. I thought it was worth knowing that the light exists and is a good product.

There is nothing wrong with lots of other lights, I would recommend all of the L&M lights for the job each is intended for. I love my Nightrider blowtorch and my other Nightrider lights too. But they are not the "best".

I just "KNEW" that slvoid, and a couple other forum members would bring up a few other good lights.

Your turn to bring up some specs on L&m lights. My turn is over now..
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Old 10-18-05, 10:54 PM   #8
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check out the cats at: www.turbocatusa.com
check out the shoot out comparison at mbr: http://www.mtbr.com/spotlight/lightshootout/
lot of options out there..
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Old 10-18-05, 10:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manybikes
As a matter of fact I knew you would be awake at this time.
I'm still awake...
Anyway, I think they're pretty much all the same, l&m or niterider. Cept l&m has a better mount and slightly better beam pattern. I'd get a l&m HID plus some cheap 10-15 watt headlamp combo.
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Old 10-18-05, 11:04 PM   #10
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Hi Mael, Im going to make my usual recommendation, follow this link and have a look at the mk4's. I built these with a 50W and a 20W. 20W gives 4hr minimum, 50W about 1.75 hr and 70W about 45 minutes (good for toasting stray dogs, wildlife, rutting hikers) with a 7 amp hour battery. I'm changing this to a 4 amp hour just so I can fit the battery in a seat bag.

edit: cost, about $70 if you have to buy everything.
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Old 10-18-05, 11:13 PM   #11
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I like my light and motion ARC HID...best bang for the buck. Helmet and bar mount although the bar mount messes with my wireless computer. I like the head mount as I wander side to side with the bars when I climb so a bar mount would be useless.
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Old 10-18-05, 11:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
I'm still awake...
Anyway, I think they're pretty much all the same, l&m or niterider. Cept l&m has a better mount and slightly better beam pattern. I'd get a l&m HID plus some cheap 10-15 watt headlamp combo.
I would have to agree that the handlebar mount is the weak point in all the Nightrider lights. It's not trash, but I have see a lot of better designs. The new ones are a little better. What L&M lights do you have?
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Old 10-19-05, 05:07 AM   #13
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I will suggest the new niterider hid (firestorm) that comes with bar or helmet mount.

I use the helmet mount and I have had no problems with it so far( just bought it this summer). I like the helmet mount, it just helps see the turns in twisty singletrack

4 hour burn time. smart charger. (do they all have them now?) Bright enough to pick up every little detail. I would love to have a handlebar HID also just for overkill.

You could pick it up for a decent price at your lbs.
I used a NR trailrat for 2 years and after suffering with DIM yellow light finally made the switch. that is now a backup/commuting light.

Last edited by C Law; 10-19-05 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 10-19-05, 05:42 AM   #14
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I have been using the Cygolite Z Force NiMH for a couple of seasons so far with absolutely no problems. I use it as a helmet light, I'm not crazy about bar lights. To me it only makes sense to have the light pointing where I am looking.

The only downside with the Cyglite to it is the battery. I would rather have a flat battery than one shaped like a bottle but that's just personal preference. It really isn't that big of a deal though. I just throw the battery in my camelbak and never think about it again. If you don't carry a camelbak it could be a problem though.
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Old 10-19-05, 06:15 AM   #15
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well i just skimmed the posts here, but here's my info:

HELMET mounted is a MUST for single trails! you have to be able to see around the corner!

there are a ton of considerations:
* total amount of light (can be roughly measured via Watts for Halogen), but also lots of others (lumens is confusing as it depends a LOT on the spread but also on the light type)
* angle/spread --- i personally have experimented with a bunch of different stuff and find 10-24 degress to be the range. the BEST is a combination of a spot (10-15 degress) and a low-angle-flood (20-30 degrees).

i previuosly had the old Nightrider Digital 6 with a 16W dimmable halogen - i changed it to helmet mount and it was ok. around 16 degree spread.

last year i bought a Sigma 20W@12 degree halogen bulb/holder for $20 and built my own NiMh battery so had 2:15 runtime (7Ah @ 6V)

this year i have really got to building... my current set-up is with 2 helmet-mounted halogens: 20W@10degress (spot) + 35W@24degrees(low-angle-flood) running on my 10xD-size NiMh batteries for 12V and 7mAh which gives me 1:38 running both lights or 4:30 running just the 20W so on the trail where i turn off the 35W for non-technical stuff, the set-up lasts me for a good 3 hour ride. for longer stuff i also have a Cateye EL300 (5LEDs) which works for a dirt road... (e.g. for tonight's ride i will use the Cateye for the 1:15 climb and then the 2 lights for the Freeride descent which with stops will be about an hour so no problem for my lights!)

some day here i will rewire my 20W sigma and 6V battery and put it on the handlebar so i will have the ultimate setup: 20W@10d and 35W@24d on the helmet + 20W@12 degree on the bar (actually 30 degress on the bar would be better but not sure if i can find the bulb)

anyhow, the best is to have a spot AND a flood and the very best is to have a spot on the helmet and a flood on the bar. also consider combining with a low-power option (e.g. LED) for really long stuff. for trail riding i recommend NOT using the same battery for both bar and helmet as if you have to dismount something has to break. battery for the bar-light goes in the bottle cage and battery for the helmet light goes in the backpack.

as to HIDs and LEDs and all: HIDs provide great light but $$$ (here in Germany the Lupine is very popular so about half my buddies have one)
the LEDs are getting better but are still not there - i think the new Cateye 3-LED light supposedly has the power of a 10W Halogen (or is it 20W)? in any case they have a major advantage in low-power usage (so smaller/lighter/cheaper batteries) but i personally have not yet seen one i will ride a technical "Freeride" trail at speed with at night... maybe soon.

so Halogen is still the most economical choice. just for reference, my setup, including bulbs, mounts, batteries, charger and all will end up costing me about...um... thinking... 50 charger, 80 battery, 40 lights (i've now tried 6 different bulbs, my newest "IRC energy-efficient" 35W@24degrees for 6 including shipping should arrive tomorrow) = 170 -- so with today strong EURO, about $200 US.

in building your own the biggest issue is voltage: at 12V there are lots of cheap standard bulbs to choose from but you have to build your own holder. and at 12V you either need lots of 1.2V NiMh/NiCad cells or something special like a camcorder battery or whatever... at 6V it can be difficult to find bulbs (main reason why my new system is 12V)

if you buy something, think about:
1) battery - weight, life, capacity
2) light spread/angle
3) total light
4) low-power option for extended burn time (either with 2nd light, 2nd bulb or dimmer) -- although many of the dimmers on comercial systems are VERY inefficient in terms of power usgae (e.g. the old Nightrider - but not sure if now better?)

if you only get ony light, buy something helmet-mounted with around 15-20 degree spread with at least light equivalent of 16W...
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Old 10-19-05, 06:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harov3
Hi Mael, Im going to make my usual recommendation, follow this link and have a look at the mk4's. I built these with a 50W and a 20W. 20W gives 4hr minimum, 50W about 1.75 hr and 70W about 45 minutes (good for toasting stray dogs, wildlife, rutting hikers) with a 7 amp hour battery. I'm changing this to a 4 amp hour just so I can fit the battery in a seat bag.

edit: cost, about $70 if you have to buy everything.
hey, never seen that site before, but that is VERY similar to my new setup with 12V@7Ah and double-bulb (i have 20W + 35W)
i was going to build my own bulb-housings but then i found regular plastic hand-flashlights at the hardware store for 1 each that happened to be exactly the right size, so i cut them off and rigged them together with hose clamp fitting (plus the wiring and switches)

--> but don't mount it on the bar (unless it's your second light!)
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Old 10-19-05, 10:53 AM   #17
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Wow, lots of great info. I am definately not looking in the 600$usd range. Its ironic but what keeps me from actually making the first step is overkill. I have wanted a light for 4 years but there is to many options and to many differences. I don't have th energy to sort through them all haha..

So far I like L&m...seems reasonably priced.

I will let you guys know how it goes
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Old 10-19-05, 10:56 AM   #18
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Bottom line... go HID

I've been using NR HID for 4 years now. I'm currently using both the NR Storm and the Blowtorch. I chose NR systems because they are very well supported at AMTRI 24 hour races.

I've never had a problem with the NR handle bar mount. It's tight and secure for the rockiest terrain. I ride Colorado and UT.

I've never had any complaint about the handle bar mounted NR HID splashing enough light for fast riding and twisty single track.

YMMV.
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Old 10-19-05, 12:06 PM   #19
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I am going to recomend Night-Sun lights. You do not see them around a lot but from my expieriance with them over the last 8 years they seem to do the best job. I am currently using the Tri-Light modle on my freeride/trail rig and it lights up more area then I have seen any other light do. I do not even need my helmet mounted light when using it. It has also been involved in some major wrecks over the last 4yrs I have had the Tri and there is only a small crack which does not affect anything on the light, even the mounting. They are very tough lights and can be used in any weather conditions.

They do run on the expensive side, 400$ range, but as I said, four years with the same light that has been abused is damn good. Plus the site states that the Tri-Light gets 5.5+ hours on low from one battery, I tend to run all the lights on all the time, 40watts, and the battery lasts me 4.5+ hours ( I have never been out longer then that at night so I am not sure exactly how long it will last) and I have had the same battery since I bought the system.

I also have the SpARC XC on my new rig but have yet to put it to any real tests but it lighs things up well also.

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Old 10-19-05, 12:11 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maelstrom
Wow, lots of great info. I am definately not looking in the 600$usd range. Its ironic but what keeps me from actually making the first step is overkill. I have wanted a light for 4 years but there is to many options and to many differences. I don't have th energy to sort through them all haha..

So far I like L&m...seems reasonably priced.

I will let you guys know how it goes
The Cygolight Z force HID is under $250.
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Old 10-19-05, 12:21 PM   #21
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I'm using a TrailTech HID light and a lithium-ion battery from batteryspace with a smart quick charger. Absolutely satisfied with it, and everyone on the night group rides makes positive comments, too (two people bought one after seeing mine). $220 for an HID light that burns 5 hours... can't beat that.

Here's a picture of the light output, I have the flood version (good hotspot, tons of surrounding light). http://www.blewsclues.com//gallery/m...serialNumber=2
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Old 10-19-05, 12:44 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maelstrom
Wow, lots of great info. I am definately not looking in the 600$usd range. Its ironic but what keeps me from actually making the first step is overkill. I have wanted a light for 4 years but there is to many options and to many differences. I don't have th energy to sort through them all haha..

So far I like L&m...seems reasonably priced.

I will let you guys know how it goes
Go with simplicity. A Niterider trail rat has a battery, a wire and an on/off switch and a whole lot that can't go wrong. Sure, you can get lights with lots of bells and whistles but those can break real easily. And you can get 3 trail rats for what a single HID will cost you. If you want you can improve the trail rat with better a bettter battery pack (which are easy to make yourself) and by over-volting them (7.2v vs 6v makes a big difference). You can also get replacement bulbs that have a higher wattage. For my lights, I like a 15 W flood and 15W spot on the bars and a 15 W spot on my helmet. The helmet light is probably more important than the bar lights but both are useful.
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