Help me navigate through the world of MTB lights.
I have gotten pretty into mountain biking this past season and would like to continue to ride as the light fades. people are talking about $150 bike lights and my mind is pretty blown. If i’m gonna spend that much, I want to make sure it’s the best god damned light out there. Can someone break this down for me?
just a heads up, while $150 will get you a lot more light than it would even 2-3 years ago, it won’t get you the best. continue.
Yeah. You’d be surprised how much lights can cost. It’s nuts.
Things to look for (in general, no rules here necessarily):
- Higher lumens the better
- Replaceable Lithium Ion battery
You can now get a light for ~$100-$150 that will actually be usable for night mtb riding, but beware cheap batteries of questionable quality. Just a few years ago a setup throwing that much light cost $500-$800. You can still easily spend that much.
Check out Light and Motions website. They have a beam test section where you can compare multiple lights, use the drop down menus to get an idea. Beware though, Interbike is going on now and many models are just being announced or released. I know NiteRider just sent out many of their updated lights for 2012 and they can now be had online and should be locally too.
If you want the best check out exposure lights web site. Very expensive but it’ll get the job done. I use their lights everyday
^I’ll second Exposure. Very expensive. Far and away the best lights I have ever used.
Lost of good advice on this light board
(and you thought THIS board had geeks)
CPF is awesome. The geekiness there knows no bounds. I designed a custom light for mounting on something and the volume of quality info that they knew was astounding.
I found a link on the site that provided detailed sep by sep instructions on how to swap out the LED on my Cateye headlight. The new LED boosted its lums by a third and the part was only $3 bucks.
I would add that $150 might not get you a good light that is appropriate for off-road riding at night. You may, however, be able to augment that with a good headlamp (and you should probably use a handlebar-mounted lamp and a headlamp anyway).
I’m a CPF nerd. Or used to be. I don’t have access to machine tools anymore, so I just buy off the shelf stuff now.
Anyways, I have this in the mail:
I’ll let you all know how it goes, but it should be about as bright as a pair of 55w halogen low beams.
Oh, and 4300 lumens is a bit rich, I’d say it’s closer to 2000 “real” lumens, but the XM-Ls are bright (and CHEAP!).
well, my second trusty Cateye HL-EL135 bit the dust on Grant yesterday when it came off the mount and the car behind me crushed it to tiny bits.
I’m looking to upgrade and considering the tactical flashlight route… I was tempted to build up a dynamo wheel but my albatross bars and resulting cable routing won’t accommodate it without a front rack or some such.
I have a 250 all-in-one from NiteRider on my commuter and have nothing at all bad to say about them. They also make diving lights and seem to know how to build bulletproof stuff. I think I’d want 2 of them for MTB, but that’s again out of your price range.
My only complaint, and it is super-small, is that the USB charging port cover tends to open up on its own.
I’ve been having good luck with this spoke genade 1000 lumen light I got from amazon. Taken it on single track a few times this summer and have been able to see well with a helmet mount. Can’t speak for long term durability though since I’ve only taken it out a few times. Your options are kind of limited on < $150 budget, but this might work for you.
I’d be pretty wary of using a low lumen commuter light for mountain biking.
There are people on ebay selling 1200 lumen led flashlights for like 20 bucks, (“It will surely meet your various needs and bring you much convenience”)
and handlebar flashlight mounts for $6. The improvisor in me says “try that”.
Then when you do bite it into a boulder, you are making cry much less.
The general rule of thumb is a dollar a lumen. I would consider ~200 lumen to be the minimum you want for off road riding. Something to keep in mind when you shop.
@dmtroyer: If you think your bars won’t accommodate a light, you can get a mount for your fork blades (I am too lazy to search for the part…I think Peter White has it–it’s a little plastic doo-dad). When I ran a dymano-driven light, I actually preferred mounting it off of the front axle.
Also, not all 200 lumen lamps are the same,
some beams are more direct, and some are more
spread out. If singletrack riding, you want
something where you can see 1′ to the right of
the trail as well. Some lights made for
commuting wont cut it in the woods. Know
what Im sayin?
I just ordered a 1500 lumen lamp. OHYES
@brian I’ve considered the lower mounted light some time ago, and will have to reconsider… seems like a good option coupled with a handlebar blinky for visibility.
And for posterity’s sake, I’ll add that I found a super fancy mount from Paul Components, the Gino
See also the Cronometro Nob. Works pretty well, for what it is.
The Gino mounts are way spiffier, as are the ATOC Lo Beam mounts; but the Nob costs half as much and can go on just about any fork or other odd-shaped tube.
[ETA:]I forgot to mention the really pricey, really adjustable option: the Terracycle accessory mount.
The Lo Beam mounts could double as grinding pegs, if you are so inclined.
The one thing that is really nice about the Lo Beams (other than the grinding potential, of course!) is that they index into the dropouts. So, you can put your dynamo light on one, and it’ll come right off with the dynamo wheel, then go right back on in the correct position when you put the wheel back in place. No wires to unplug is kinda nice.
you bastards! those light mounts are awesome! …and now i have another thing to obsessively lust after until i give up and throw money at it
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