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Outbound Road runtime vs brightness

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Outbound Road runtime vs brightness

Old 05-14-20, 05:18 PM
  #1  
blazin
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Outbound Road runtime vs brightness

Does anyone have first hand experience with the Outbound Road light and its runtime at different brightness settings?

Iím really interested in this light for some long (as in overnight) adventure rides. Iíve seen the runtime chart on their website and am wondering (a) how accurate it is and (b) what the different brightness settings (medium, low, etc.) are like in real world use age. I donít need to bomb singletrack descents, but I do need to have 10+ hrs of enough light to navigate rolling gravel roads of various conditions. Not sure if the low setting will suffice for this or whether Iíd need to carry two batteries to run it at medium. And, while Iím at it, does anyone have a weight for the battery pack?

Also open to suggestions for other light/battery options that might serve this purpose.
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Old 05-15-20, 02:34 PM
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You have discovered the problem with high output lights. The brighter the light, the shorter the runtime. I took the plunge a couple of years ago and bought a bike light with five CREE XML-T6 LEDs. It was incredibly bright but the run time was dismal. It came with an 6,400 mAh battery pack that would run it on high for under 2 hours. So, I bought a 12,800 mAh battery pack. The smaller one weighs just under 8 oz and the larger one 12 oz. Ditto for 4 NCR/Panasonic 18650 batteries - 7.5 oz. I discovered the five Cree light was a waste of money. I didn't need that much light in an suburban area with good street lighting and I hated using battery packs. The smaller one would fit in a water bottle cage but the larger one would not. You still have to deal with a dangling wire every time you mount the light. Eventually I just used a good LED flashlight. I can switch out the battery in a few seconds if needed and it is far easier to deal with than a separate bike light. I use a simple 360 degree flashlight holder so the light clips in and out but never comes loose. I can aim it precisely where I want the light to go.

Not terribly impressed by the information available from either the Outbound company or the source of the LED in the light. They measure the light output in LUX which is not directly translatable into lumens which most bike light manufacturers use to show the output. One review in Road Bike Rider (https://www.outboundlighting.com/store/) gives the high level output as :"1800 equivalent lumens" so this light has roughly the same output as two CREE XML-T6 LEDs. A spare battery pack is $85 and the light with one battery pack is $193. There is no doubt the battery pack is made up of four 18650 batteries. Good quality NCR/Panasonic 3,400 mAh batteries sell for way less than $85 for four of them. A waterproof battery pack to hold them is around $10-12. I can still find the batteries for $5 to $7 each on eBay.
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Old 05-16-20, 12:54 AM
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We have a few threads dealing with the outbound (use the search function), and i own it (which qualifies probably for first hand experience). There are two major points of criticism, which i will adress in the following

Runtimes: (point 1 of my critique)
Here are (measured) power consumption of the different modes, the battery has a capacity of 46 Wh
  • high 20W,
  • med-high 12.5W
  • med 7 W
  • low 2.6 W.
So in theory one could do the math.... but... The outbound has a voltage-controlled step-down in certain modes, which is imo too aggressive. The high mode is only accessible with a battery voltage above 6.3V (i.e. more then half full, below that it won't stay in high mode, it will switch down to med mode). Same is true if you start the adaptive mode with a battery which is not more than half full. On can override the stepdown to med and can adress the med-high mode, but you'd have to cycle quickly through the modes "low, adaptive, high". The med-high mode can be used up to ~6.3 V cell voltage, and at it often steps down to med mode, but one can force it back to med-high. This is very annoying. One could circumvent this by using the light with a 3S (11.1V) Li-Ion battery, it accepts up to 13V DC. The light head alone is also available for 140 USD.
tldr: high mode is only accessible for 1h, and only with a full battery. med-high mode can be used for 2 hr+ (with a full battery). i never tried the adaptive mode, but since it's output in the constant phase is below the med-high mode, i guess the runtimes are correct. However visible brightness differences between the med-high and the high mode are really tiny, so i never use the high mode. Just converts too much battery energy into heat.

Light distribution (Point 2 of my critique)
There is just too much light right in front of the bike, that makes seeing things in the distance a bit hard, as your eyes adapt to the bright spot. One can see this in the Road edition video on youtube from outbound, min 7:45. You still can see things 160ft/50m in the distance, it is just harder, and it gets harder when you have oncoming traffic. On bright gravel, the light blinds in high mode, if you adjust it in a glarefree manner. This is probably due to the fact, that the road edition is also designed as helmet supplement for the trail edition, and then this bright spot is not so annoying. If you adjust the light in a blinding manner the beam shape is wonderfully homogenous.

My recommendation to the OP:
a) If you live in the states/canada: order it, try it, send it back if you don't like (30 days money back guarantee)
b) If you want and need full blast all the time: buy the lighthead alone and combine it with a 3S (11V) Li-ion battery instead of the supplied 2S (7.2V), so you can circumvent the stepdowns. (It is stated in the specs, that you can power it with max 13V DC)
c) If you don't need the luxurious beam width, especially in front of the bike, take a look at the IXON Space, "only" 500 lm, but 150 lux, and you can see as far as with the Outbound, you can just do it easier for the eyes, as the beam pattern isn't overexposed in front of the bike. 120 EUROS incl. delivery to the states (bik24.com), can be recharged while in use with a power bank.
d) if money doesn't play a role: wait for the Lupine SLX battery version (>600 USD....), announced for summer


Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
[...]Not terribly impressed by the information available from either the Outbound company or the source of the LED in the light. They measure the light output in LUX which is not directly translatable into lumens which most bike light manufacturers use to show the output.[...]
Those discussions about "only lux" values given no proper lumen values given is not helping. On the Kickstarter page, lumens (well, calculated chiplumens, not measured out-the-front lumens or "equivalent lumens") are given. The light distribution of the road light is well designed, and it has plenty of brightness, since 95% of all lumens end up on the tarmac (and don't disappear in the air). With a 2x cree xml t6 and a conical lens, you either waste 65% of the lumens in the air or you have a badly overexposed area in front of the bike. We're talking about the road edition, here is a site that shows how a light for road use is supposed to be designed. Even the Trail edition has a soft cut-off, albeit a higher one. So it is only about light distribution (which you specify either in lux or in cd, see i.e. the FMVSS 108 or UN ECE Rules for automotive lighting), not lumen values. And development of a proper reflector is expensive and time-consuming (15k Euro)
These automotive LEDs are used as they allow much better control of the beam shape than an XM-L2 or an XHP does. Every high powered (properly) glarefree bike light uses automotive LEDS (Lupine, B&M, Supernova). If you want to use an XML-2 or and XHP and get a glare free beam shape, you need a ridiculous big lens/reflector, if you still want to see things in the distance.

Last edited by polyphrast; 05-16-20 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 05-16-20, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
Not terribly impressed by the information available from either the Outbound company or the source of the LED in the light. They measure the light output in LUX which is not directly translatable into lumens which most bike light manufacturers use to show the output. One review in Road Bike Rider (https://www.outboundlighting.com/store/) gives the high level output as :"1800 equivalent lumens" so this light has roughly the same output as two CREE XML-T6 LEDs. A spare battery pack is $85 and the light with one battery pack is $193. There is no doubt the battery pack is made up of four 18650 batteries. Good quality NCR/Panasonic 3,400 mAh batteries sell for way less than $85 for four of them. A waterproof battery pack to hold them is around $10-12. I can still find the batteries for $5 to $7 each on eBay.
I really really want to like outbound but the lack of technical detail and competitor bashing is disappointing. No lux reading for the road edition?
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Old 05-16-20, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by znomit View Post
I really really want to like outbound but the lack of technical detail and competitor bashing is disappointing. No lux reading for the road edition?
He doesn't bash, he just points out the weakness of too many products.... in his videos he even praises a competitors lights (a seca). Especially when it comes to road use, most (non-StVZO) bike lights are just unsuitable (or do you drive with switched on high-beam in your car when you have oncoming traffic?). He just omits the fact that european manufacturers do what he does for quite a few years now (Lupine SL, Supernova M99 Series, B&M Ixon space), and omits that i.e. raveman has some lamps with a okayish cut-off. He also omits that for example lezyne offers suitable road lights (StVZO certified), as did specialized with its flux light.

Lack of technical detail? Taken from the product page (see under specs)



Also here (a now hidden) link with a detailed assembly documentation with some information: https://www.outboundlighting.com/how-its-made/ .In the respective thread at forums.mtbr.com, quite a lot of technical details were given as well, e.g., about the binning of the LEDs. How much more information does one need? The only point of critism might be that those informations are a bit scattered, and that the shop page lists different informations than the non-shop page... Outbounds website is one of the most informative manufacturer webpage when it comes to light design....

Last edited by polyphrast; 05-16-20 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 05-16-20, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by polyphrast View Post
Lack of technical detail? Taken from the product page (see under specs)
My bad, I missed the LUX when I was cursing the "equivalent" lumens. And then I disappeared down the hangover runtime/perceived brightness rabbit hole.
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