The Trail LED Darkstar is a compact yet ultra powerful light unit meant to be mounted on the helmet. It features two LEDs that have a very wide beam. When used together, these two form a huge yet bright beam.Continue reading →
Weaknesses: Amateurish handlebar mount, poor customer service, long lead time for repairs, questionable warranty
The Trail LED Darkstar may seem like a cost-effective way to enter the world of high-end lighting, but you will sacrifice customer service in the process and get what you pay for. I made the mistake of purchasing this light and now regret it.
The "Company" is incredibly slow in repairing defects, such as LEDs and in providing communications such as emails or phone calls. They set a new low for customer service. Although the light itself worked well at first, the poor service prompts me to recommend against purchasing this light.
Similar Products Used: First high-powered light I have owned
Bike Setup: Litespeed titanium, Dura-Ace
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: January 5, 2010
Strengths: Blistering bright
Trail head appeal
Excellent price for superior performance
Weaknesses: Helmet mount is simple and does not work for all helmet shapes. The rails on the light body enable the user to work with several different configurations so its not a real problem.
Why the major names can't do what the independents can do is beyond me. This light is bright, lite, and durable. You can pay less for a light that doesn't work as well and will fail, or you can pay much more for a light that doesn't work as well. If you want the best and want to have money left over for bling on your ride, this is your light.
Strengths: Painfully bright
Choice of spot or flood lenses
Well designed, solidly built
Custom batteries with great connector
Fully customizable driver
Great price and service
Sweet glow-in-the-dark lens glue!
Weaknesses: The included helmet mount strap may need some help, depending on your helmet. Many people I know just velcro the light unit to their helmet, but my helmet has a pointy spot right where I need the light to sit. I solved this by removing the mounting pieces from a NR helmet mount and placing a velcro square there. Perfect solution for me.
I'd heard a few people talk about these lights locally, but didn't realize how great they were until I organized a simple "light shoot-out" at a local trail with about 20 different lights. The Darkstar was the undisputed champion. It put my Niterider HIDs to shame in all ways: weight, brightness, burn time, etc., so I ordered one.
One of my LEDs proved to be defective during the first ride, but it was replaced at no charge. I decided to have him install 2 clear (spot) lenses at the time instead of the spot and diffuse (flood) lenses I had originally requested. The flood really gives a broad, even light, but I preferred the superior throw of two spots. The spot still has plenty of light spill to fill your peripheral vision. We are talking 1200 lumens, after all. This number seems to be fair and accurate, based on 3rd party lumen readings I've seen on the web.
I opted for 2 eight cell batteries, which I believe are rated at 4-5 hours each. I won't be able to test this until the next 12 hour race, coming up soon, but I have no doubts that they'll deliver. They're smaller and lighter than the NR NiMH batteries I was lugging around for my old HIDs.
The button is simple and easy to find and operate even with full-finger gloves on, and there's a 22 page manual for fiddling with the driver settings, if you're into that. The heat-sinking is effective, keeping the light cool at full brightness while moving. I have had it bump itself down once while I was off the bike for a few minutes, but turning it off and back on reset it with no problems.
What else is there to say? The unit seems indestructible, made by a great guy, for a fair (cheap?) price, and is at the top of the ladder of brightness. He even said upgrades can be made in the future when brighter (?!) LEDs come out (for a price, of course). Wonder what 2000 lumens will look like?
Similar Products Used: Owned: Niterider HIDs (2), Light & Motion HID (1), old halogens back in the day.
Tested: Several. See my review here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=124629&id=643883144&l=cfb010d78f
Bike Setup: Dirty.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: January 4, 2010
Strengths: -Uber Bright
-Customized for your needs (Running a flood and spot combo)
Weaknesses: -non adjustable helmet mount
The light is SUPER bright. I actually have to run it on the low setting on my group road rides b/c when it is on high the shadow it casts from other riders is to much and they can not see. Customer service was great. I do not think you can get a product at this price point that can compare. If the trails will ever dry up I can try this on a night mt bike ride.
Bike Setup: Run this light both on my road bikes and mt bikes.
a Weekend Warrior
from Victoria, B.C.
Date Reviewed: December 30, 2009
Strengths: - insanely bright
- light weight
- quality construction
Weaknesses: - helmet mount
This light kicks ass when compared to anything you can get off the shelf from the bigger brands such as Niterider, Light and Motion, Lupine, etc... This much light output at this low weight is unmatched by any other model on the market...
Strengths: Price, build quality, size, light output, customization. TrailLED will customize the battery which allowed me to make this a 100% helmet mount solution. I don't use any straps...just velcro I attached to helmet, battery, and light.
Weaknesses: No on-the-fly adjustment mount for helmet. Not a big deal but it may take a couple rides to get your optimal beam direction. Actually prefer it this way to reduce height.
Night and day difference when compared to my old halogen setup. Dollar per lumen and quality made this an easy decision and I no longer have to lug around a heavy battery or worry about outrunning the light.
Mine is one of the first couple built,1 spot,1 flood setup. mounted vertically in the air vent to keep it even lower for clearance. you cant do this with most other lights. its also a custom battery so it will run for over 5 hours on high(so far) without dimming or warning. its on an extended cord and is carried in a camel back.
It is by far the brightest light on the trail here locally and has been appreciated by many riders in front of me with poor lights, and cursed by cars when riding the road.
If your going to run only a helmet light, this is the one you want. Its even better, when running another 500L or equivalent on the bars too, theres nothing you cant see with this setup.
First off, I got lucky at bought the DarkStar at the intro price...secondly, I'd pay the extra 100 bones for this bad boy, no doubt about it!
This light is crazy bright, has superb beam throw (I got mine configured with a spot and what the builder calls a "medium optic"). My first couple of rides with the DS I only popped it on high for effect, but rode with it on low...I did a ride last week in rather crappy conditions...I was weak, couldn't hold a line to save my tail, fell way behind the main group and it was cold, add to that I was riding a newly cut trail that I'd never laid eyes on and I was floundering...but aha! I popped the DS on high and I felt like a new man!
I've not run the battery longer than 1.5 hours, so can't attest to run times. I can attest to a worry free charge though. Nice small compact battery and accompanying smart charger.
Haven't needed any warranty work but based on the responses I got from the builder when I was waiting for mine to ship, I feel confident that his customer service will be as sharp as his light is bright.
I've got no idea if the Star is putting out the advertised 1200 lumens on high, but I can say that I switched from a two lamp halogen bar light and single lamp halogen helmet light combo to the Dark Star and I've got light to spare!
a Cross Country Rider
from Pacific Northwet
Date Reviewed: December 22, 2009
Strengths: SUper bright light. Great beam, no tiny spot or washed out flood. Just a giant ball of bright light!
Super strong and durbale. It's nearly impossible to break
Weaknesses: The bright bulbs use alot of energy, so the 3 hour battery isn't tiny. (It's still smaller than the battery on my HID light)
The TrailLED lights are well built, bright and solid lights made by a Mountain biker to help support his passion. he has an awesome warranty, and stands behind his product. My light was an early model and he upgraded the plugs for me when he found better ones!
Have you seen the video of a car driving over the Darkstar light without damage? It's awesome!!!!
I ride alot in wet weather and have had no problems with the light. If you love to night ride, this will make you a better lover!
Similar Products Used: Nightrider, Light and Motion, Amoeba.
Bike Setup: 2 wheels and handlebars. Oh yeah, it's got brakes also.
a Cross Country Rider
from Madison, WI, USA
Date Reviewed: December 22, 2009
Strengths: Tremendous beam throw. Very nice beam width and a distinct cut off near your peripheral vision. I have a spot/flood combo mounted on my helmet as could not be happier. Build quality is top notch and robust. I am completely satisfied. Battery is extraordinarily small and light. Run time is over 3 hours on the high setting.
Weaknesses: The mount is pretty basic, what amounts to a velcro watchband but is perfectly functional. I only mention this to have something in this box. There really aren't any weaknesses.
The small niche manufacturers are far nimbler than the major manufacturers and can deliver real value. Could be happier.
I purchased a Darkstar last season and waited a while to get it and then the mount several weeks later. The light is compact and bright, but just not what I expected. I herniated a disk shortly after recieving it so I used it a few times in my neighborhood . I went to use it the other day and the o- ... Read More »
Using the included charger, what is the charge time for the 7.4V 6600MaH standard battery? mine is dead but charging and i'd like to know how long it will take before i get 80% or so in it so i can hopefully ride tonight.
thanksRead More »
Been playing with this for a while, but think I finally got it working the way I want it:)
[IMG]http://i205.photobucket.com/albums ... Read More »
I was recently convinced/coerced to participate on a 4 man team 12 hour overnight race called Pitch Black SIngle Track in Wisconsin. Since running from 8pm to 8am would require lights (obviously) I went on the hunt for a more modern solution to replace my 12 year old TurboCat S47.
After a s ... Read More »
I am pleased to announce that due to demand from this board and many others I will be doing my first CNC run of the Darkstar in the coming month. :D
I just wanted to say thanks to everyone that has ordered a light from me or helped me on this forum and would like to invite everyone else to check ... Read More »