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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings.

I currently own a Cygolite Expelion which is rated at 800 lumens. I also have an older Cygolite StridenX, which I'd guess is around 700 lumens if I compare it to my Expelion.

I vastly prefer using the Expelion on my helmet, as it is self-contained and very lightweight. No heavy battery pack or a wire.

I don't like using the old one due to the heavy battery pack, it's not as bright, and I either have to put the battery pack in a backpack or mount it to the bike. I haven't noted a huge difference between using just the Expilion by itself on my helmet and using both of them, so for the last two years, I haven't even bothered with the other one.

That said, I am considering buying another Expilion or comparable unit so that I can mount one on my helmet and one on the handlebars. I am getting by with just that on my helmet, but I think there's merit to having a second one on the bars pointed closer to the ground so I can see 10-15 feet very clearly. I don't do long rides at night, just 1-2 hours -- so I don't need the long life of a bigger battery.

My question is, will I notice a huge difference running a second 800 lumen light, or do I need a more powerful light to get better visibility? I suspect that two of them is not twice the visibility, as it might seem to be on paper...
 

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Can't comment on the brightness but I prefer to ride with two lights over one. Having one on the bike generally keeps the area the bike is going lit while I can move my head around a little more.
Plus an element of redundancy if something should happen.
 

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I also run an Expilion 800 on my helmet. I find that a wider, flood type beam light compliments it better. The Expilion is great for where you point your head, but it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to wide angle view. I tried several different lights, including LEDs used for cars. I finally settled on Outbound Lighting's trail light. Best beam pattern out there hands down. Pricey, at $249, I think, but you get great quality and a light designed by someone who worked for automotive OEM designing headlights. They now have some new lights, which I'm not familiar with; I have the original one with the external battery pack. Been using it regularly for 3 years.

Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk
 

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Probably not a useful post but ideally I'd always run a helmet light and a bar light. Areas that are illuminated are then a) where I'm currently going and b) where I'd like to go in the immediate future.

Did a night ride down a sizable jump line at midnight with just a bar light once. Now that was proper scary, only being able to see the landing past the apex of the jump arc, yeah nah.
 

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My question is, will I notice a huge difference running a second 800 lumen light, or do I need a more powerful light to get better visibility? I suspect that two of them is not twice the visibility, as it might seem to be on paper...
I think two 'bad' 800 lumen lights would not be as good as one 'good' 1000 lumen light, because beam shape, light temperature etc... make big differences, but I find a light on the bars and another on the helmet makes a huge improvement even road riding, but on the trail it's essential so you can actually see though the turns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think two 'bad' 800 lumen lights would not be as good as one 'good' 1000 lumen light, because beam shape, light temperature etc... make big differences, but I find a light on the bars and another on the helmet makes a huge improvement even road riding, but on the trail it's essential so you can actually see though the turns.
I think my Expelion is a “good” light. I mean, it gets the job done and I still enjoy my night rides. I’m just toying with getting another one because they’re pretty affordable— but I only want to do it if there’s a significant improvement.

I ride DH trails at night.😉. Most of the ones I ride are quite steep and technical, therefore aren’t as high-speed as some of the less-technical but fast and flowy trails. I’ve found that I can navigate the slower, more technical trails pretty well with just the one Expilion on my helmet, but the high-speed flow trails are much trickier — probably because I’m used to seeing further at those speeds in the daytime.

Maybe I should get something more powerful (11-1200 lumens) for my helmet and use the Expelion to light up the closer details on my bars???
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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Greetings.

I currently own a Cygolite Expelion which is rated at 800 lumens. I also have an older Cygolite StridenX, which I'd guess is around 700 lumens if I compare it to my Expelion.

I vastly prefer using the Expelion on my helmet, as it is self-contained and very lightweight. No heavy battery pack or a wire.

I don't like using the old one due to the heavy battery pack, it's not as bright, and I either have to put the battery pack in a backpack or mount it to the bike. I haven't noted a huge difference between using just the Expilion by itself on my helmet and using both of them, so for the last two years, I haven't even bothered with the other one.

That said, I am considering buying another Expilion or comparable unit so that I can mount one on my helmet and one on the handlebars. I am getting by with just that on my helmet, but I think there's merit to having a second one on the bars pointed closer to the ground so I can see 10-15 feet very clearly. I don't do long rides at night, just 1-2 hours -- so I don't need the long life of a bigger battery.

My question is, will I notice a huge difference running a second 800 lumen light, or do I need a more powerful light to get better visibility? I suspect that two of them is not twice the visibility, as it might seem to be on paper...
Is this for emergency purposes to get you back to the trail head after the sun goes down, or are you planning to do some serious night riding with them? If the latter, I would suggest separate battery packs (and yes - I know you hate them - I thought I would too, but I don't). Whichever way you go, I agree with Baker on his advice. IME, the difference between decent lighting and $hit lighting, can mean the difference between a great ride, and a not so great ride. But I am picky when it comes to things like that.
 

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And, in my experience (which is pretty deep) a combo of a flood on the bars and a spot on the helmet has worked best for me. See where you look with helmet light. And the flood on bars gives good peripheral lighting as well as depth perception via shadows.
This is a crucial point - a helmet light shows you no shadows and so you don't see the texture or contours of the trail, a bar light does, and having both lights is a big help in riding at night.
 

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One on the bars and one on the helmet. They serve two separate purposes and together make the complete package. 800 lumen is a good amount of light for each location.
 

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I think you have to find what works for you and your trails. I like a lot of flood light from my helmet, it helps me with the tight and twisty trails. Flood lights on my bars don't spill enough to get around the corners. I basically use the bar light to provide shadows so I can read the terrain. When I start picking up speed on the straights, I bump my helmet light from 1500 to 3000 lumen to get more throw out of it. 800/800 doesn't work for me, I have tried it and I am always wanting more light. So I would recommend more, 1200 at least
 

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For what it's worth, lumens are weird. 100 + 100 still = 200, but you won't perceive it that way. Here's a discussion on it I bookmarked when I had the same question. Do lumens add up?

I too run a flood pattern on the bars and a more focused light on the helmet. Fenix BC30 and a Bostac flashlight, both have hot swappable 18650 cells so I can bring spares and not have to worry about where to strap an oversized battery pack.
 

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Greetings.

I currently own a Cygolite Expelion which is rated at 800 lumens. I also have an older Cygolite StridenX, which I'd guess is around 700 lumens if I compare it to my Expelion.

I vastly prefer using the Expelion on my helmet, as it is self-contained and very lightweight. No heavy battery pack or a wire.

I don't like using the old one due to the heavy battery pack, it's not as bright, and I either have to put the battery pack in a backpack or mount it to the bike. I haven't noted a huge difference between using just the Expilion by itself on my helmet and using both of them, so for the last two years, I haven't even bothered with the other one.

That said, I am considering buying another Expilion or comparable unit so that I can mount one on my helmet and one on the handlebars. I am getting by with just that on my helmet, but I think there's merit to having a second one on the bars pointed closer to the ground so I can see 10-15 feet very clearly. I don't do long rides at night, just 1-2 hours -- so I don't need the long life of a bigger battery.

My question is, will I notice a huge difference running a second 800 lumen light, or do I need a more powerful light to get better visibility? I suspect that two of them is not twice the visibility, as it might seem to be on paper...
I think you'll be fine with using the two, one helmet mount and onebar mount.
More than 800lumen is a bit of a waste as it makes the eyes lazy. I run my 2400lumen MaxxD at around 900lumen or the 12hr setting in combination with a Diablo at 600lumen on the helmet. This is very easy on the eyes and provides sufficient illumination for even my trail descents
 

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Ride faster and you'll want more light.

For fast rides, there's no substitute for more lumens
LOL I've been nightriding since the naughties. Have raced 24hr marathons, 36hr marathons and Stage race Prologues at night. Never needed more light than 2 x >700 <1000lumen lights.
Sure more is nice but your eyes are quite capable of filling in the blanks and don't get tired from "white out"
Riding very technical trails at night, like trail parks with gap jumps and huge drop offs, yeah you want more light but massive amounts of light doesn't make it safer because there's this little phenomenon where very bright LED lights white wash the trail flattening features. Very bright helmet lights are really good at doing this.
With very bright handlebar mounted lights there are long shadows and white out around the edges of features that eyes struggle to adapt to. This wasn't so much a problem with HID lights since they cast a good balance of light wavelengths but its a big problem with LED's.
But like everything in the modern era everything is about a race to more- better -overkill.
A nice middle ground is a 1000lumen HID ( i still use my 20yea old Lupine Edison for racing.

@cookieMonster no2x800 lumen lights don't equal 1600lumen but it does mean your 800 lumen is spread wider.
If one light is more focused for a more distant cast and the other for a wider cast you'l have great visibility
 

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The TridenX is a good light (though I used to have the 1300 version). Put that on your bars and use the Expelion on the helmet.

Cygolite used to make good lights. It's a shame they got out of the MTB side of things.

If you really want to get serious at night off road take a look at the current Outbound Lighting offerings.
 

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Ride faster and you'll want more light.

For fast rides, there's no substitute for more lumens
Yep, when I start hucking the jumps and drops at night, or just the fast chutes, I need more light. Even in snow.
 
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