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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few years ago LED head lamps came out for hikers, I got one to replace my halogin. Burn time on halogin 45 min, burn time on LED 15 hours on high 100 hours on low. Low is plenty bright enogh for hiking trails and high works off trail. I want to start riding at night in early spring. The LED head lamp I got cost about the same as my old head lamp. Will LEDs take over MTB lighting like they have for hikers? I don't want to get stuck with a system when somethig way better comes along. I have some good lights for comuting but they are several years old and the battery dosen't hold a charge like it used to. Should I wait till next year and hope the price of LEDs come down? Is there some place on the web that compares ALL the lights on the market?
 

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Old man on a bike
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The LED lights are getting better and better. Why not just check out the light reviews here on mtbr? Not all the brands but I doubt that anyone has a review posted to that extent. The 3 watt luxeon star LEDs are pretty dang bright (check out the 25 dollar one on batteryspace.com; I got one to use for camping/emergency use and it's pretty dang bright (altho I wouldn't do a regular night ride with one, but it'd be great for sticking in a pack and using in case you get stuck out after dark on a ride).
 

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Dr Gadget is IN
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LEDs for riding - power level

Yes, LED's are getting good. The ones available for the last few years were very good for foot travel, and for slow pavement riding. I had a 5 LED headlight that replaced every flashlight, but try it riding and you could see maybe 3-5 ft ahead well enough to "read" the surface.

Last year I got a Cateye (hl500?) with a 1watt luxeon. Like a searchlight at walking speed, and acceptable for pavement - but NOT acceptable for offroad unless veeeeeery slow (ok spot, but not enough flood) . But then I scored a small 3W flashlight (ebay - gotta love it) which is good enough for medium speed offroad. Runs on 3 AAA's. Works ok using a twofish mount (shaped rubber block with 2 velcro straps), but bounces noticeably over the rough. Got several, sold to friends - concensus is excellent backup light - light and small enough to live in camelbak, but not quite ready for full throttle.

This year, I have a Cateye tripleshot (3x3W). This light is more than good enough, tho at $250 vs $50/30 for last years attempts, gotsta do your own value judgement. One of the group has been running an L&M HID on his hat (no bar light) for the last couple years just got a tripleshot and finds that it complements the HID very well (HID doesn't wash it out), allowing him to shoot the HID into the distance while still having a good bright pool of light in front on the trail.

I haven't experienced a 5W luxeon system yet, but I am betting that they will stand even with a 20W halogen. But some LED advantages start to be lost because of the higher power. my 9W cateye can run for 3+ hours on a small battery, but it's not like the 15/100 life on the unit you have.

Comparisons? Not too many - check mtbr shootout, some others. But LED's apparently don't photo as well as they are, no one lists equivalent stats (lumens? candela? watts? candlepower? DOH!)

If you're stressed about $250 for a decent LED, just get a 15W halogen system for around $100. I don't thik the LED prices will drop that low in the next couple of years. Or just go to batterystation.com or batteryspace.com and get a new battery($50-80) for your existing.

Ride on.......
 

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Get a system that has enough power to ride by and is in your price range. Do not worry about it being the "latest and greatest" or if it will not be the the "best" next year. If it works well enough now, it will work fine next year. There is always going to be "better" products in the future.

The current "high power" LED system put out as much usable light as a mid level halogen and cost as much as HID lights. Run times are not much if any longer because the battery packs are smaller to save weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Not stressed out about having the latest and greatest, just wondering. Should be able to find deals come spring.
 
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