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Headlight advice: Niterider MiNewt X2, Dinotte 200L or Stella 200L?

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Headlight advice: Niterider MiNewt X2, Dinotte 200L or Stella 200L?

Old 12-29-08, 09:09 PM
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mds0725
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Headlight advice: Niterider MiNewt X2, Dinotte 200L or Stella 200L?

I commute to and from work in San Francisco and I would like to buy a headlight with a strength of about 150-200 lumens. Part of my ride is along a relatively well-lit urban street (Polk Street, for those familiar with SF), but part of it is through darker neighborhood streets (Cow Hollow and the Marina), where I can't really see cracks in the pavement or possible slick spots on the road. I'm considering the Niterider MiNewt X2, the Dinotte 200L-AA-S, and the Light and Motion Stella 200L. I've searched the forum and have read various things people have posted about these lights, but I'm a relative noobie (this will be my first serious headlight purchase -- I'm currently using a CatsEye blinkie), and these lights all seem pretty similar to me. Any thoughts on how to compare and choose from these headlights would be greatly appreciated. Also, if you think I ought to go with a more powerful light (ie.e, 400 lumens), please let me know. Thanks in advance.

P.S. I posted this in the Electronics forum but didn't get much response. I think people saw the word "commute" instead of "24-hour racing" and blew me off. Sorry for the duplicate posting, but I think this question actually belongs in this forum.
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Old 12-29-08, 09:20 PM
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200 lumens is barely adequate. 400 would be much nicer.
I am partial to dinotte but all of the companies you mentioned make decent lights.

Queue the standard p7 flashlight reply....
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Old 12-29-08, 09:33 PM
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Why settle for a mere 200 lumens????

I'm also a semi-newb to this forum, but have been looking closely at commuter lighting for the past few months. I recently ordered two (2) MTE SSC P7 C-Bin 900 lumen flashlights along with (4) batteries, (2) handlebar mounts and a charger. This complete package only cost me $118.90 shipped to my doorstep.

The goods have not arrived, but I know what I'm getting based on numerous reviews (many from this forum) and several visually descriptive videos on YouTube.

In a nutshell, if I'm going to spend for lighting.....you can bet I'm going to get the max lumens for my money. FWIW, I currently have two 150 lumen LED's on my bike and it's simply not enough.

Hope this info helps!

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Old 12-29-08, 09:35 PM
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I just got the Nite Rider USB as a helmet mounted light. I like it quite a bit. Riding with a helmet mounted light gives me a lot more flexibility where to put my light (on the pavement).
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Old 12-29-08, 10:21 PM
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I ride with only a 200 lumen headlight, and I find that it is sufficient. It is a Dinotte, which I've had a few problems with, but they just replaced one of my lights and both my batteries (out of warranty) because of the battery recall, so I can't really complain.

If you can wait another week or two, the annual LED bike light review should be posted on GearReview.com soon. It will have runtime and price comparisons as well as beam shots for many lights.

I feel that helmet mounted headlights are dangerous and inconsiderate in an urban environment.
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Old 12-29-08, 10:41 PM
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The FENIX flashlight is a well-known option ($55ish) that is cheaper than the DiNotte, extremely well regarded on these bike forums (THOUSANDS of positive posts on electronics section), and puts out 160-180 lumens on 2xAA batteries, no wires, no fuss, and fits into your pocket. Mounts on your helmet no problem, and is enough to ride with in traffic or on pitch black conditions with only one light. Super strong customer service as well, so if it has problems, you'll have little problems getting a replacement.
DiNotte is a great bike-specific solution, but for those on a budget yet wanting bang for the buck, a single FENIX will deliver 80-90% of the output of a Dinotte. (160-180 lumens vs 200 lumen Dinotte)
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Old 12-29-08, 10:49 PM
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Interesting. I've been using a Minewt for a long time that 'seems' to provide a very adequate amount of light compared to the crap I used to use.
Yet it's merely 150 lumens.
Based on what y'all are saying, I'm going to borrow something stronger (and probably wonder why I waited so long.)
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Old 12-29-08, 11:14 PM
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Check out trailtech.net for there headlights. I have there MR16 headlight but the MR11 is also a good buy. I found it for $300 for 1800 lumens (no thats not a typo) It burns down trees.
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Old 12-29-08, 11:34 PM
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how much light depends on several things. speed is one but also how much ambient light there is. the more there is the more you need. in the dark 200 lumens is not that bad at all but in the rain or with some streetlights it gets washed out fast. dinotte gives you a light with three light levels and three flash's with three light levels. you can use rechargeable or the more expensive pack.
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Old 12-30-08, 12:25 AM
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I'll tell you now, even 2x P7 flashlights on high will get washed out in the rain.

get a pair of fenix (2xAA) L2D premium lights or a pair of Trustfire TR-801 (1x18650) which use a Q5-WC LED, they'll have all the lighting you'll need.

to top it off, they'll end up cheaper and brighter than a single Dinotte 200L.
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Old 12-30-08, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by AEO View Post
I'll tell you now, even 2x P7 flashlights on high will get washed out in the rain.
thats good to know. I think it is the angle and most of the light reflects rather then penetrating.
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Old 12-30-08, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by steveknight View Post
thats good to know. I think it is the angle and most of the light reflects rather then penetrating.
bingo, most of the light bounces off in the opposite direction rather than back to you.
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Old 12-30-08, 09:09 AM
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I commute using a Fenix L2D and it produces plenty enough light for my needs. I don't even run it on the highest setting (180 lumens). The second-highest setting (105 lumens) is bright enough for my needs and the run time is about 4X longer.

This notion that you need 400+ lumens of light to commute is rather absurd. I think it is mainly propagated by mountain bikers who want huge amounts of lumens so they can see very stick and rock while riding on trails.
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Old 12-30-08, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post

This notion that you need 400+ lumens of light to commute is rather absurd. I think it is mainly propagated by mountain bikers who want huge amounts of lumens so they can see very stick and rock while riding on trails.
I've found that the zombie ipod joggers aren't phased by less than 400 lumens
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Old 12-30-08, 09:41 AM
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I use a Stella 200N mounted on the handlebars as my primary headlight. My commute route varies from some brightly lighted streets to long stretches of wooded roads/trails where it's darker than the inside of a black cat inside a sack with the lights turned off. It's dark. The 200N is the same as the 200L except that you save about 50 bucks or so on the battery and charger. Same 200 lumens, and the same run times on the battery.

I also have a Dinotte 200L-AA-S that I move from bike to bike, and will be rigging it up as a helmet lamp. I like it pretty well, especially for its compact size and that it runs on AA batteries that you can find in almost any convenience store. The beam from the Dinotte is a little narrower than that from the Stella; e.g. the Stella gives me a little wider view of the trail. Likewise, the Stella gives me a longer run time, 5 hours or so in "high" mode, whereas the Dinotte runs for a little over 2 hours before I have to change out the battery pack. It runs a little less than that when I'm using regular alkaline AAs inside of the rechargeable kind.

Yeah, I like MTB-style lighting for commuting... Much of the city pavement is like single track, with the potholes, cracked pavement, and various bits of debris out in the roadway, so it's not much different than need ingto be able to see "every stick and rock on the trail." Add in the occasional pedestrian in ninja mode, and there's no such thing as having too much light out there.

I would personally recommend the Stella 200, but you aren't wrong with a Dinotte, either. Both are excellent choices for running around the streets at night, and good values for the cost.

You do need lights in the front and back, too... I run a Planet Bike Superflash on the back, and this week added a Dinotte 140L tail light. The Dinotte is a derned good defense against wheelsuckers... ;-)
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Old 12-30-08, 09:51 AM
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I run a Stella 200L, both for my present commute over dark country roads and my last commute that was a combo of country, urban downtown and industrial districts. It provides plenty of light (my average speeds run 16-19mph) and has great run times...even when my commute was 25 miles and took over an hour, I didn't have to mess with recharging at work for the ride home.
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Old 12-30-08, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
200 lumens is barely adequate. 400 would be much nicer.
You need better eyes. I run with a Dinotte 200L, and I only put it on high when I'm trying to get some bonehead to dim his high beams. I run everything from streetlights to pitch black on either 25% or 50% beam - including some incredibly rough gravel road that's covered with washboard, potholes and ice.

When I had a 200 lumen flashlight, yeah, it was nowhere near enough. but the Dinotte 200L at half power is somehow more light than that.
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Old 12-30-08, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
DiNotte is a great bike-specific solution, but for those on a budget yet wanting bang for the buck, a single FENIX will deliver 80-90% of the output of a Dinotte. (160-180 lumens vs 200 lumen Dinotte)
I gave up on flashlights for two reasons:
1-crappy beam patterns
2-low run times
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Old 12-30-08, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
This notion that you need 400+ lumens of light to commute is rather absurd
Come do my commute with less than my 400L and see if you still think so.

Why do people assume their own environments are rubber-stamped over everyone else's routes?
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Old 12-30-08, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
I run a Stella 200L, both for my present commute over dark country roads and my last commute that was a combo of country, urban downtown and industrial districts. It provides plenty of light (my average speeds run 16-19mph) and has great run times...even when my commute was 25 miles and took over an hour, I didn't have to mess with recharging at work for the ride home.
I get similar results from my minewt x2 Li. I like the amount and direction of light, I like the logistics of the thing (how it attaches, how much space it takes up). My commute ranges from bright downtown (albeit only ~50k person town) through pitch black unlit MUP to well lit 4-lane divided stripmall-palooza.

The only problem is that the button is difficult to deal with. I have to hit it a bunch of times to go from high to off. If I don't hit it right it either stays on high or goes to low (which I never use except one time when I had gone days w/o recharging and took a longer ride). And for all the 'issues' of getting the damn thing to turn off, I cannot get it to blink, which is OK I never want to, but it is a function that it's supposed to have and it doesn't. But at least it always turns on pretty easily, and straight to high which is where I leave it.

I had been thinking, while getting pretty dim results from a 15W halo bulb, and over-draining the battery to a 20W bulb, that I would need to step up to a HID to get the improvement in seeing and being seen that I wanted, but I am finding the x2 to give me pretty much exactly what I wanted and is a big improvement over the halo for sure, for my needs/wants.

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Old 12-30-08, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by noteon View Post
Come do my commute with less than my 400L and see if you still think so.

Why do people assume their own environments are rubber-stamped over everyone else's routes?
+1 I agree! What works for me might not work for you. I live an a suburban area where the street lighting is generally pretty good. It only got touchy after Ike for a few weeks, but for the most part my Cyglolite 135 or my Nightrider Digital Evolution or MiNewt Mini-USB work well. Would they work back on the San Antonio River road near Goliad where it get as dark as a black cat in a coal bucket? Probably not. I would probably want something with more lumens if I were in the back country on a consistent basis.
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Old 12-30-08, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by noteon View Post
Why do people assume their own environments are rubber-stamped over everyone else's routes?
Same reason some people tell everyone that they absolutely must have more than 200 lumens. I'm sure it's true where you are. It absolutely is not true for me.
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Old 12-30-08, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Sirrus Rider View Post
Would they work back on the San Antonio River road near Goliad where it get as dark as a black cat in a coal bucket? Probably not. I would probably want something with more lumens if I were in the back country on a consistent basis.
Actually, they absolutely will.

In my experience, you need more light in areas where there is more ambient light.

I find a 200 lumen light on 1/2 power to be more than enough for me when I'm riding in pitch black areas, miles from any other light. It's when I get into town that I turn my power back up again. I feel that "be seen" lights in streetlight areas need to be STRONGER than "seeing" lights out in rural areas.

My route is almost all totally dark rural areas. A Dinotte 200L is plenty for me. If I were riding in an area where there was a lot of ambient (VERY DISTRACTING) lighting, and lots of traffic, left turners, driveway pullouts, etc, I'd probably be riding with dual HIDs.
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Old 12-30-08, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
200 lumens is barely adequate. 400 would be much nicer.
I am partial to dinotte but all of the companies you mentioned make decent lights.

Queue the standard p7 flashlight reply....

The dual x2 I run have 300 lumens combined and they are super bright.

I run them on low setting on the trail or street.
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Old 12-30-08, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
I've found that the zombie ipod joggers aren't phased by less than 400 lumens

... at least they stop doing "jazz hands" while jogging to cover their eyes.
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