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Night ride lights

ride_4_life's picture

By ride_4_life - Posted on 09 April 2015

So with the end of daylight saving time to start thinking whether I can get my fix after the sun goes down. I'm into AM riding, preferring trails with some help from gravity. Any tips on what lights would be required, helmet mounted or bike mounted or both? Any recommendations? Thanks dudes

[Mod. moved to Geek Gear]

philipm's picture

ay-ups for me there a bit pricey but I have had mine for 4 years tried others but come back to ay-ups I use helmet and handle bar mounted but if I only had one it would be helmet mount

wilso_ac's picture

I Have a DiNotte XML3, its 1500LM and now a couple of years old, Battery is still going strong and I put that one on my helmet. The new version is 1600LM I think.

I also have a Xeccon Spiker 1210 which is pretty good for the price, and that one goes on the handlebars.

Choosing lights is like choosing cars, there are many, they have different features and they vary in cost. The only way I ended up with the lights I have was through trial and error and buying a few different ones to find out what was best for me and my riding style.

My advice would be to get a tighter beam for the helmet to get a bit more throw down the track and a floody one for the bars to light up the area in front of the front wheel.

Before I bought the XML3 I attempted to buy a Glowworm X2 (1500LM) because they supply both flood and spot lenses that you can interchange to get the throw you want. I placed an order on the NZ website but they wouldn't sell to me in AU so I cancelled the order and bought the DiNotte instead.

For my next light I will be seriously considering the Gloworm XS (2200LM) because of the interchangeable lens system.

Basically you need enough light to reach the point in front of you where you look to choose your line at your fastest speed, if you have enough light to see far enough ahead you can ride very fast in the dark.

The mtbr website does a pretty good light review every year and the previous years are also on their site if you want to read about older products you can still buy.

Good luck!

MrSarcastic's picture

Have a look at the Gemini Duo lights or the Xeccon D2D Elite High Performance Racing lights. If I was buying a new set I would by the Gemini Duo's; they're very small and light weight, good burn times and have customisable brightness levels. If I recall correctly you can get them in sets of two lights and battery's aswell.

Pants's picture

I've got two 6x'cree' lights that I bought off ebay, one on helmet and one on bars. They were $45 each, are as bright as $300 lights. They have lasted over two years and we even use them at work for working inside rail tunnels. Plus if you do break one, new ones are very cheap!

GarethP's picture

I've had cheap ebay ones and I've got the Gemini Duo.

Personally I do not like the ebay ones. They are very bright, that's true but the battery and charger are very low quality and every time I plug it in I worry I will burn my house down.

The Duo is a great little light, I would recommend it.

staffe's picture

I've been using the cheap ones from dealsextreme for a few years. Cost effective but the batteries are unpredictable and the quality is not that fantastic. There are many variants of the same thing there, here is one example:

For this years mont I bought cat eye in the local bike shop.

And for just under 200 buckaroos I got the best lights I've ever used. I ran them at 70% to make sure they lasted all my night laps and there was actually no need to go to 100%, 70% gave me perfect vision. USB chargeable.

Same race, I used the cheap deal extreme lights on the helmet and had to carry two batteries for each lap cause you never know when they will die, should last 2 hours but in one lap they it died after 30 minutes and I had to stop and change batteries and lose valuable time. Very annoying.

My advise would be to buy something decent and avoid the cheap ones. There are plenty good ones at more or less affordable price points with the cat eyes referenced here is in the lower price range but totally fit for purpose.

Flynny's picture

Both bar and helmet. Helmet light will let you look around the corners and help distinguish between hole and shaddow. Bar light gives you a nice steady view of what's coming up and helps pierce the dust and fog.

Pants's picture

definitely need the bar light for when you duck your head under branches. If you only have a helmet one then everything is black ahead!

I will admit with the ebay ones that i have a separate charger that i already had. I do not use the supplied one. but i do use their batteries with no problems.

bikemad's picture

for a 1200 lumen CREE light from kogan.I use it to get home safely at night after work.If i put it on bright it blinds oncoming cars!Tried it in centenial park on a dark night,very effective.simple rubber ring secures it to the bars,and the battery pac sits nicely on my (flat)top tube and it weighs bugger all.

obmal's picture

I'm an Ayup fan, they never ever have let me down, I use them nearly every day, year after year, they are just so damn reliable and last forever.

They even do a loyalty bonus/discount -25% for repeat customers, I bought a new battery, not that I actually needed it, but I was doing bikepacking ride and wanted to be sure I had a new battery charged and ready as a spare.

The only issue I ever had was cables coming out of the back of the light on bumpy trails (easy fix with proper mounting technique).

They don't seem to have kept pace with the market Lumens arms race though?

Hasbeen Racing's picture

How long is the battery cable on the Kogan? I want to get a light I can mount on the helmet and put the battery in my rear pocket.

DudeistPriest's picture

I have an Exposure that I paid a fortune for, I also have two cheap Chinese lights that cost me $50.

I've owned the Exposure for five years and it's a good light with a nice wide beam.

I've had the cheap lights for about 18 months and to date no probs, The beams are a lot narrower than the Exposure, however, having two makes up for that.

Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't spend up big on a bike lights, cheap works fine.

ride_4_life's picture

Thanks dudes, give me a few options to google. Still can't believe my message got moved to geek gear.

bikemad's picture

to do that for sure

hawkeye's picture

In case you haven't got it figured, anyone who rides mountain bikes at night in the forest is a pretty hard core bike geek.

Welcome to the club Smiling

Ivan87's picture

I bought these Chinese lights from

They have light heads only options if you already have decent battery packs. there is also 2 different tints to choose from, the Neutral tint (3C) works really well in our environment.

check out these a wealth of info on there, for a Chinese lamp they are very good value

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