Darker early, time for lights

Discussion in 'Lights' started by Rob S., Nov 18, 2014.



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  1. Rob S.

    Rob S. Member

    Location:
    La Habra, CA
    Name:
    Rob Skinner
    It's that time: time to pony up with a wad of cash and throw it at bike lights. The batteries on both my lights have been getting weak for some time. Last night, I started with one light on low and it still died before the end of the ride. The battery on the other light lasted the whole ride, but the indicator showed that it was low.

    One of these is a Magicshine from mid-2009, which cost $93. The other wasn't labeled Magicshine, but it's exactly the same, also from mid-2009, and cost $80. Each of these babies lasted over five years, so I'm not at all disappointed.

    Replacement batteries look like they'll cost anywhere from fifteen to fifty bucks apiece. New lights, batteries and all, with brighter, more modern LED's, are now available for twenty to thirty bucks each. There are literally hundreds of options for this new generation of Chinese lights. They all look pretty much the same, the batteries are all pretty much the same, and they all use Cree LED's and drivers. The lights will be here tomorrow, in time to get charged up for a Thursday ride.

    Back in 2009, the Magicshines were replacements for my old-school lights. One was a Niterider, about 400 lumens, that one cost $250. After a couple years, that battery was dying. The cost of a new battery was over a hundred bucks, that's why I switched to the cheap imports. The other light was a 400 lumen Dinotte, which I replaced because 900 lumens is over twice as good as 400. Interestingly, I gave that light to a friend of mine. She still wears it on her helmet and it work fine last night. The Dinotte is one well-made piece of hardware.

    It's fascinating that the light output goes up, and the price goes down. The quality of the Chinese lights doesn't come close to that of American or European products, but it's still usable and reliable at a fraction of the cost. I'm eager to take these out on the trail and see how they perform.
     
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  2. RS VR6

    RS VR6 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Valencia/Simi
    Name:
    Lee
    Current Bike:
    Banshee Shartfire/Chiner 29r
    Lights are so crazy expensive. The China lights seem like a good bang for the buck deal.

    I have a Serfas TL500 @ 500 lumens and NiteRider MiNewt @ 200 lumens. I primarily used them for riding road. When I took them onto the dirt...I cannot see. Even with both lights on...it was still difficult to see down the trail. I borrowed a 1500 lumen Serfas...and boom...I can see.

    There is a fairly big thread on MTBR...but man...there is so much material to go through. :crazy:
     
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  3. Rob S.

    Rob S. Member

    Location:
    La Habra, CA
    Name:
    Rob Skinner
    Yeah, and those MTBR people are a bunch of argumentative wannabes, anyway, so you can't trust what they say. Gotta come to iMTBtrails for the solid info. I'll let you know how my 2x1200 lumen setup works out.
     
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  4. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    North East Canada? , California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Drive Walker
    Awesome Rob! The Product Review Page is one of the reasons I started imtbtrails. That way we can write up ongoing reviews by members that are captured in an organized fashion. Then we could link from a Forum topic to the reviews. Lights would be a great subject that has not been explored.
     
  5. RS VR6

    RS VR6 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Valencia/Simi
    Name:
    Lee
    Current Bike:
    Banshee Shartfire/Chiner 29r
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  6. Danmtchl

    Danmtchl iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Bakersfield
    Name:
    Dan
    Current Bike:
    2020 Trek Fuel EX 9.7
    I currently have a NR Lumina 700 and and a Serfas 150. The 150 is mounted on my helmet. With both lights ran on medium beam, I have pretty good lighting. I am going to pickup a new NR 750 for my helmet mount and when using both on medium bright it should be a lot better especially when moving my head side to side or up and down. My

    My buddy in Santa Cruz just got a light and motion Seca 2000 and it works better than the brights on most cars. It is awesome to see in person in total pitch black.
     
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  7. Grego

    Grego iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Fullerton
    Name:
    joe
    Current Bike:
    WFO9
    My Niterider 250 and 600 lumens have been working great for the past three years. I see no need to go any brighter where I ride. Heck last two Thursdays my crew rode with no lights on some secret extra credit. Stealth.
     
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  8. Aviatrix

    Aviatrix Member

    Name:
    Kelly
    Along with lights, I was reminded on my recent afternoon Whiting-Luge ride that it's time to stash those arm warmers and jacket back in the pack for the winter months. After sweating all the way up, and the afternoon getting on by the time we reached the Luge we were wishing for a jacket.
     
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  9. CarlS

    CarlS Member

    Location:
    Temecula, CA
    Name:
    Carl
    Current Bike:
    Walmart $50 special
    I got one of those $50 Chinese lights, not sure name but single beam with small battery. I have to say that it works great. more of a spot light, but does the job just fine and lasts for hours and hours.

    That said, I also have a Night Rider Pro 1800. Although it is MUCH brighter and wider beam on when on high mode, it kills the battery way too fast so that I use it on lower modes for 80% of my ride time. Is it worth the additional $200? Meh, not really.

    ^^^ YES this for sure! I was freezing my ass off last night. Hit one of those cold pockets along side the river coming down after a long sweaty climb. had to cut the ride short, it was just too dang cold.
     
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  10. skyungjae

    skyungjae Member

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Name:
    Kyung Jae
    Current Bike:
    2015 Santa Cruz Bronson C
    I like the eBay lights that come with replaceable 18650 Li-Ion batteries. One thing to note is that the lights work great, but the batteries are never up to spec. It may say they're 3000+ mAh, but they really test under 1000. However, even with such craptastic batteries, they do last entire rides on lower power modes.
     
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  11. H2oChick

    H2oChick Well-Known Member

    Name:
    K-Oss
    We have been using the Magicshine for climbing and then these badass motorcycle lights for downhill.
    The drawback on the moto lights is they are HEAVY but do throw out enough light that you could land a plane.
    That was my setup until last week when the battery died so I just ordered up a Dinotte XML4 to pair up with my
    Magicshine. $259 delivered to my doorstep and a 2-year warranty. Review to follow ...
     
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  12. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    North East Canada? , California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Drive Walker
    Craptastic . . . . . :lol:
     
  13. JackGSB

    JackGSB Newbie

    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Name:
    Jack Greenbaum
    Current Bike:
    Norco Range Killer-B
    I ride off road with a Magicshine 1000 lumen "flood light" on the bars, and a Cygolight 700 on my helmet as a spotlight. Love the combo of flood on the bars, spot on the helmet. When I commute I just use the helmet light.

    After a ride the other night I decided to see how long the Magicshine would run, so I let it sit in the garage for a while. When I went to check on it an hour later is seemed darker, so I checked and it was on the second lowest of four settings, but I recalled setting it one higher. So I bumped it up. Within a minute is dropped back down. The light itself was hot to the touch, so I suspect that when sitting in a garage with no air flowing over it that it just gets to hot. At least it is good enough to dial itself back rather than just frying. After four hours I decided that it was lasing plenty long enough for anything I'm going to do.
     
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  14. Rob S.

    Rob S. Member

    Location:
    La Habra, CA
    Name:
    Rob Skinner
    :x :x :x :x :x :x :x :x :x :x :x

    Well, the cheap lights arrived today. These are the "Refun" 1200 lumen lights with a 8800 mah battery, as found on Amazon. The first thing I noticed was the intense spot, so I experimented swapping reflectors with my Magicshine. Then I blasted and polished a lens with aluminum oxide. During my testing, one of the lights died. Kaput. I continued the experiments with the remaining light, and concluded that it just wasn't as good as my five-year-old lights. The old ones were rated at 900 lumens, the new ones at 1200. I expected them to be brighter, but if it was, it wasn't noticeable. The return label to Amazon is printed, and I'll drop it at the UPS Store tomorrow. Shucks.
     
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  15. jaime

    jaime Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Corona, ca
    Name:
    jaime
    Current Bike:
    '20 YT Jeffsy carbon 27'5
    I got one of those "economic" lights from ebay, paid $12 bucks, and used at fully loop..... and man, that thing showed me the way back home... in other words its more like a spot but very bright, it uses a cree light, couldnt be happier... I pulled the trigger on this light since seeing one NR at my lbs and one of the guys told me that some of the chinese light are very good....

    here is the ebay link...

    http://m.ebay.com/itm/111470463376?nav=SEARCH

    626bbcbedcc6103cca03f42341d26a44.jpg hi-lo-strobe setting

    360493c010e0c6d66c8a728a762ddb55.jpg red light in the back
     
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  16. BeckTrex

    BeckTrex Member

    Location:
    Yorba Linda, Ca
    Name:
    Mark
    Current Bike:
    2009 Giant Trance X3
    I use a pair of these, one on my bars and one on my helmet. For the one on the bars I use a replacement lens that does a nice job of spreading the "spot" out into car headlight style rectangle that covers the whole trail but not up into peoples eyes. I.E from a 10° spot to a 10°x30° beam. The light is a bit dimer, but then they are pretty bright to begin with.

    I think this is the one I'm using:

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004WLCLQY/?tag=imtbtrails-20
     
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  17. H2oChick

    H2oChick Well-Known Member

    Name:
    K-Oss
    So here are the results of my light shoot out with the lights Greg and I have in our aresenal.
    The Dinotte XML 4 arrived on Thursday and I have not tested it on the trail yet but hope to on a B* ride Tuesday.
    The first light is one we both have been using until mine crapped out; it's a Trail Tech Moto Light that has about 1800 lumens.
    The light pattern is a BIG flood with lots of light. The drawback is the weight (900 grams for the light and battery) and it does not have a long run time.
    Definitely need a "climbing" light to support this set up.
    The second is the Dinotte that we thought may be a good option with 2100 lumens and weighs in at HALF the weight of the Trail Tech setup (400 grams)
    And the last is a Magicshine that is a few years old but reliable.

    Trail Tech.JPG

    Dinotte XML 4.JPG

    MagicShine.JPG
     
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  18. Rob S.

    Rob S. Member

    Location:
    La Habra, CA
    Name:
    Rob Skinner
    Thanks for the pics, H2O. Of all the lights I've owned or tested, Dinottes have been the most elegant. If I ever get frustrated playing Chinese Roulette, I'll look to them. My newfangled batteries will be delivered tomorrow, so my friend and I will be doing a night ride on Tuesday. If you guys could use some company up to B*, let me know and I'll check to see if we can make it out there.
     
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  19. skyungjae

    skyungjae Member

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Name:
    Kyung Jae
    Current Bike:
    2015 Santa Cruz Bronson C
    I forgot to mention, some of these lights will run two 18650s in parallel and others will only have one (like the one I have). Only having one 18650 is fine for most 1.5 hour rides at half power, but the two battery versions last twice as long... literally.
     
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  20. Neccros

    Neccros Newbie with Hope!

    Name:
    Brian Froeber
    I demo'ed the Lumina 750 at the Niterider demo last Thursday and lets just say "I'm sold!"

    Cant believe a $120 LED light can kick the living sheets out of my old $450 HID!!! Amazing. I want to get one, then when I get better as a rider and require more light, I will just get a cheap Chinese bar light or go balls out for a Niterider Race 1200 and make the Lumina my helmet/backup bar light.
     
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  21. H2oChick

    H2oChick Well-Known Member

    Name:
    K-Oss
    Rob, Greg and I are still riding B* tonight. Leaving the gate at 5:00 so we get a few minutes of daylight. Black Turner Czar and Silver Turner Flux -
     
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  22. Neccros

    Neccros Newbie with Hope!

    Name:
    Brian Froeber
    So can you guys list your favorite CHEAP lights ($50 or less) and possibly a link where to buy them???

    I'm looking for something bright (500+ lumens) but cheap!!! And good quality if that's even possible.
     
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  23. Rob S.

    Rob S. Member

    Location:
    La Habra, CA
    Name:
    Rob Skinner
    Thanks, H2O. I already committed to riding with another friend a little later at a different place. Perhaps next time?
     
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  24. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    North East Canada? , California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Drive Walker
    I think I'm going to break down and buy some lights this year. Never liked night riding but need to, if I want to stay in better shape as dark as it's getting already after work...:bang:

    Any late development suggestions?
     
  25. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    I'm still sold on the NR Lumina 750. Worth every penny.
     
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  26. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    HT, FS
    I would rather have two smaller lights on my bars than one. Redundundancy is good. I have a NR 1800 and Lezyne something 750, obviously more than enough. Two 750s or maybe smaller would be fine.

    In addition to that, I like a small light on my visor. (Not on top of my helmet.) This has a removable headband, then I just tape the light on by the same attachment, boom, it's on the visor and adjustable up/down:
    http://www.rei.com/product/858704/black-diamond-spot-headlamp
     
    Rob S., Runs with Scissors and Mikie like this.
  27. RS VR6

    RS VR6 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Valencia/Simi
    Name:
    Lee
    Current Bike:
    Banshee Shartfire/Chiner 29r
    Mikie and Danimal like this.
  28. pperrelle

    pperrelle Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Carlsbad
    Name:
    Paul
    Current Bike:
    Ripley V4, DV9 & Knolly Cache
    I've been running the Gloworm lights for over a year now. They work perfect for me. X1 on the helmet and a X2 on the bars. The X1 is a nice spot that throws pretty far down the trail and the X2 lights up the trail closer to the wheel quite well. I highly recommend using a helmet light. It's nice to be able to see where your eyes are pointing.

    X1_46580e61-edfc-410a-b978-64c9298b2806_large.jpg

    X2_c2f37370-bfbe-4de3-b38d-dc4f5ecccfe3_large.jpg
     
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  29. verdugist

    verdugist Guest

    I just ordered another cygolite expillion 850 with an extra backup battery. One on handlebars, one on helmet. Seems like decent quality and pretty damn bright and wide on burst setting (1h 15m). I didn't like the Chinese models with external battery packs, not compact enough.
     
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