MTB Lights - How many lumens, really?

Discussion in 'Lights' started by wheezy, Dec 14, 2016.



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  1. wheezy

    wheezy Member

    Location:
    Turtle Rock
    Name:
    Todd McTallguy
    Current Bike:
    2020 NORCO Range VLT C1
    So, no BS, how much light do you really need to ride at night? It's DARK by the time I get home this time of year and I'm looking to buy a light or two.

    What do you run? Wish you had more? How much is enough? One on the bars, one on the helmet?

    Help me out. It's been many years since I rode in the dark.
     
  2. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    I tagged along on one of @Faust29 's nighttime jaunts up Black Star. We came back down in the dark. My first ever ride at night.

    I have one Niterider Lumina 750 (750 lumens strangely enough :confused:) on the handle bars. It was enough light but it didn't look around curves. Really had me wishing for one on my helmet.

    When I save enough pennies I'm getting another one. It's a great light.
     
  3. Torrent77

    Torrent77 Well-Known Member

    Name:
    Dave
  4. Cisco Roots

    Cisco Roots Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Maple Valley WA
    Name:
    Cisco
    Current Bike:
    YT Jeffsy 29
    I recommend two lights. One for the bars and one for the helmet.

    I personally use a Night Rider Lumina (older model) 700 Lumens on the handlebar.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F3QGXMU/?tag=imtbtrails-20

    For the helmet, I use a Night Rider Lumina 220 Lumens.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E3VMDPW/?tag=imtbtrails-20

    I night ride pretty regularly, most times twice a week and this set up has worked fine for me. Some people prefer more lumens.

    For the climbs I set the lights to the lowest brightness setting and for the downhills I set them to the highest. Never had an issue of running out of battery.
     
    riiz, herzalot, bvader and 5 others like this.
  5. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    North East Canada? , California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Drive Walker
    An excellent subject. We have discussed in the past. I have added a forum for Lights so we can collect them. Moving this thread to the forum "Lights". :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
  6. siata94

    siata94 Member

    Location:
    lake forest
    Name:
    siata
    Current Bike:
    lazy goat
    I have/use custom built flashlights modded to produce max output using high drain batteries.
    They all use a single 18650 cell. No external battery packs, no wiring.

    Helmet light is a triple XP-L max output 4000 lumens (actual measured, not estimated).
    Bar light is a quad XP-L max output 3000 lumens.
    I also have single XP-L lights making 1600 lumens that are my backup and loaner lights.

    Obviously I don't run them at high at all times. Usually mid modes on the climbs to conserve battery. Only
    on high for the descend. I've done several night rides w/ the Irvine Conservancy without needing
    to change batteries altho I carry spares.

    This is the single XP-L light:
    http://www.banggood.com/Astrolux-S1-XPL-1600LM-7-4modes-LED-Flashlight-18650-18350-p-1012721.html

    It's essentially a "modded" light from the factory as the specs were created by flashlight modders and took it out to bid. The only reservation I have with it is that it's not modded further to handle vibration on a bike so it may not last on the bar. But would work great on the helmet, I use 2 16" velcro strips. The mods consists of JB weld or something similar to the circuit board, upgrading the springs.

    I use this Fenix bar mount:
    http://www.banggood.com/Fenix-ALB-1...-AF02-Upgrade-Type-p-922668.html?rmmds=search

    Let me know if you want to give them a try.
     
  7. shawndoh

    shawndoh Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Lake Forest
    Name:
    shawn
    Current Bike:
    I ride all the bikes!
    I prefer 2 lights. 1 bar, 1 helmet. 650 lumens, minimum. Sort of comes down to how close you want to be to day time performance. I can ride with something much more minimal, like 1 bar light at 350 lumens, but the downhill speed really suffers.
     
  8. Torrent77

    Torrent77 Well-Known Member

    Name:
    Dave
    Just a quick tip, There are 2 different types of cree lights available. Multi led and single led. Try to buy the single LED version because the dimmer stretches your battery life longer. The multi LED lights suck up more juice as it turns on 1-3 leds to increase brightness which draws more amps from the battery.
     
  9. wheezy

    wheezy Member

    Location:
    Turtle Rock
    Name:
    Todd McTallguy
    Current Bike:
    2020 NORCO Range VLT C1
    Where it will never be seen again. LOL. Got the info I needed though. Also, fwiw I searched, but didn't really dig in the results. Also FWIW I just scored an 1800 pro on pinkbike for $190 delivered. Probably overkill, but I like that I can run it on a lower setting and get plenty of run time for longer rides, or possibly even a ride when I forgot to charge it! (the latter being the more likely scenario). Gonna pick up a "cheapy" for the helmet. And dude, where's Dino and the Fully Loop Night Ride Group! It's probably been 10 years since I've done that ride.
     
    DangerDirtyD, mike, Danmtchl and 3 others like this.
  10. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    North East Canada? , California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Drive Walker
    But as you will note, it has already been populated with two other threads that relate to the same thing... Why? ...cuz I care. :inlove:
     
  11. wheezy

    wheezy Member

    Location:
    Turtle Rock
    Name:
    Todd McTallguy
    Current Bike:
    2020 NORCO Range VLT C1
    Where they too will literally, most likely never be seen again in the sub forum of a sub forum LOL but whatever works for ya man. This site has about 20 too many sub sections for it's active user base :thumbsup:
     
    Mikie, DangerDirtyD and Danmtchl like this.
  12. Faust29

    Faust29 Moderator

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    B. Bunny
    Current Bike:
    Moxie Mx3, SC Lizard & a Sutra
    Amazon cheapies for the win! 500 Chinese guesstimated luminajiggies. :D

    I have three of these... Two of them are a couple years old now. And one is at college with the kid... I put two of them on the bars. One on the helmet would probably be smarter, but they work fine for me. I usually run one on the way up and both on the way down. I've run them on high for 3 hours without going dead, but I really don't know how long they last.

    Edit: forgot to add that they are USB rechargeable. If I needed them to last longer, I could always carry one of the spare batteries we have for the phones.

    719ySQl7isL._SL1223_.jpg
     
  13. siata94

    siata94 Member

    Location:
    lake forest
    Name:
    siata
    Current Bike:
    lazy goat
    I'm no modder but I'm told that the led output vs amp draw at higher amp is a diminishing return. So it's actually
    better to run multiple leds at the most "efficient" amp level to maximize output vs amp.

    Most cheaper lights are very low draw so they do not maximize output and not built to withstand the heat of high output.
    Also, be careful with the cheaper lights with battery packs using recycled laptop-pulled batteries and chargers that overcharge them.

    And check the LED type, XM-L is older (lower output, higher draw), XM-L2 is newer, as is XP-L.
     
    Danmtchl and Mikie like this.
  14. konakc

    konakc iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    kc
    I use 650, 700, and 800 Nite Riders... Even the 650 is good enough for downhill speed but use two just in case one dies first.. have it on low and high output settings so...
     
    mike, Danmtchl and Mikie like this.
  15. Danmtchl

    Danmtchl iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Bakersfield
    Name:
    Dan
    Current Bike:
    2020 Trek Fuel EX 9.7
    I use two Niteriders, a 1200 Pro on the handle bars to see in front of me and a 700-750 lumina on the helmet to see side to side or whatever the bar light does not pickup. This is a great setup for my area since its really super dark where I ride in the dark.
     
    Luis, Runs with Scissors and Mikie like this.
  16. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    Depends on where you are riding.

    Places like Blackstar/Maple/Harding/Motorway/Luge you can get away with one 800 lumen light.

    Places like Holy Jim/San Juan you are going to want two 800 lumen lights.

    Wide open trails I just run a single light. I run a 400 lumen Niterider, a 1200 lumen Niterider and a 5000 lumen(claimed, but acutal is less than half that) Magicshine.

    I used to run a helmet light as well....but over time I just got tired of it. On trails that are dusty, it is really hard to see especially if you are riding behind another rider.

    Trails with tight switchbacks....a helmet light is almost mandatory.

    The more you ride at night, the more comfortable you get....so I find that the brightness of the light doesn't matter as much to me.
     
  17. RS VR6

    RS VR6 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Valencia/Simi
    Name:
    Lee
    Current Bike:
    Banshee Shartfire/Chiner 29r
    500 lumen Serfas True 500 just before it got completely dark. It's small enough that I keep in my pack "just in case". I made sure that it has a full charge this time. :Roflmao:whistling::mad:

    IMG_20161210_165655.jpg
     
    Mikie, Luis and Danmtchl like this.
  18. wc_surveyor

    wc_surveyor Member

    Location:
    Brea
    Name:
    Dean
    Current Bike:
    Giant Anthem SX
    I have 6 of these for the various bikes in the family.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-2000-Lu...569?hash=item1e854f7799:g:eek:4UAAOSwwPhWlx5o

    Yes, they are the Chinese knock-offs of the original Magicshines. Three of them are more than 2 years old and they still work great. My night rides usually don't exceed 2 - 2.5 hours, but there is always plenty of charge left. I don't know if they are truly 2000 lumens, but they are so bright I have had cars flash their high beams at me. I usually run one on my bars and one on my helmet (I like to look ahead through corners).
    I have paid from $17 to $25 (free shipping and no tax) on Ebay for them. I keep telling myself "At this price, I don't care if anything happens to them", but they have been bullet proof.
     
    Mikie, Oaken, Torrent77 and 4 others like this.
  19. Cornholio

    Cornholio iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Shitbucket
    Name:
    Not Mike
    Current Bike:
    Pivot Shuttle
    Mikie and Torrent77 like this.
  20. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    HT, FS
    Tons of good input here.

    I like two lights on the bar, each pointing a little outward. 350 lumen on the helmet. I have a 1800 plus a 700 – it's overkill but good redundancy. Two 800 would be ideal for what I do.

    If you plan on riding in the cold, a remote battery pack could be easily wrapped with a chem hand warmer. I have not, but def would next time. My run time suffered last time below freezing.
     
    Mikie and DangerDirtyD like this.
  21. DangerDirtyD

    DangerDirtyD iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    CA
    Name:
    Chicken Nugget
    Current Bike:
    2018 Guerrilla Gravity SMASH
    As do dropper posts.



    DeeeeeeeRAIL!


    @wheezy, what's a snub?



    POW! My 700 on the handlebar and 800 on the helmet are good up to 15 mph. Then I wish I had another 1600.
     
    Mikie, mike and Luis like this.
  22. rossage

    rossage iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
    Serfas T-1000 (lumens) with taillight integrated into the battery for Handlebar and
    Light and motion Stella 150 for helmet.

    The Serfas light comes with a wired remote thumb switch to knock down the lumens or change modes.
     
    Mikie and Mr.All-is-on like this.
  23. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    I'm using new magicshines (1200 lumen) and the chinese amazon knockoffs, probably about the same. I find them more than bright enough. As an emergency light I'll often bring my camping headlamp which is 240 lumens I think. It's bright enough to ride with as long as its not a really fast trail.

    Bright lights are great but they can be pretty obnoxious in places where there is long distance visibility, and they are counter-productive long term when there are expensive homes nearby and the trails people are riding aren't exactly legal.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  24. bigringrider101

    bigringrider101 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Winnetka CA
    Name:
    Berni Avila
    Current Bike:
    Jones Space Frame Ti truss for
    You said it right Magic Shine knock off. I wouldn't recomend this, the battery doesn't hold charge.
    Read the reviews and half of them are negative. I had a bad experience myself with them batteries.
    Get the actual MS.

    IMG_4673.JPG
     
    Faust29, bvader, Mikie and 3 others like this.
  25. Postal Pat

    Postal Pat Well-Known Member

    Name:
    patrick
    Current Bike:
    kona hei hei
    mike, Mikie, DangerDirtyD and 3 others like this.
  26. Luis

    Luis iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Sylmar
    Name:
    Luis
    Current Bike:
    La Diabla
  27. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    North East Canada? , California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Drive Walker
  28. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    North East Canada? , California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Drive Walker
    Cuzzzz, it's pretty tough to do, this...:whistling:
    lights.forum.PNG
     
  29. riiz

    riiz Member

    Location:
    Redlands, CA
    Name:
    Eric
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Heckler/Killmaleon
    I recommend two lights, one on the bars and one on the helmet. Even if that means you have to purchase two lower output units. I like that option best for singletrack trail riding so I can keep looking forward down the trail, but wide open aka fire-roads it probably doesnt matter.
     
    wheezy and Mikie like this.
  30. siata94

    siata94 Member

    Location:
    lake forest
    Name:
    siata
    Current Bike:
    lazy goat
    Should we talk about tint? :)

    Most lights come w/ very cool tint, 6500K - 8000K. Cooler tint led is cheaper, makes slightly more lumens than a neutral or warm tint, appears to be much brighter to the eye. I've tried various tints and prefer around 4500K - 5000K but planning to try even lower, around 4000K. Using differing tints between the bar and helmet is rather distracting and annoying.
     
    wheezy, DangerDirtyD and Mikie like this.
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