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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i posted a few weeks ago about lights and got way different responses than i expected. most people loved magicshine and suggested i needed 800 plus lumens for night riding/racing- maybe thay say that because the magic sine is $100 and puts out that many lumens. anyway, ive decided i DO NOT WANT MAGICSHINE. i work in a bike shop and dont get (vastly)overworked and (vastly)underpaid to buy made in china stuff. im looking at dinotte, which nobody i have talked to has ever seen, but it seems like real high end stuff (and id have to pay retail). today the owner of my shop suggested a niterider higher end system (and i quote... "because when your out in places like moab or tahoe, you know the shops there will carry niterider stuff"), and i may take his advice- and id get a hefty discount on NR too. id also get a discount on Light and Motion stuff, as well as cygolite. right now id like to start fresh with the suggestions and say im leaning towards ~1000 lumens from dinotte or ~1200 from NR. is paying retail for dinotte really worth it? and do i REALLY (be honest, because im new to night riding) need at least 800 lumens to ride successfully at night on singletrack? thanks
 

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Dinotte>NR
Look at the Amoeba by Scar here on the forum and the 500L by Zen Bicycle at Trailled.com.
Non proprietary batteries for both.
Not sure how dealers having NR in Moab helps unless you are talking about demo's to borrow at a big race.
You have a NR battery fail on you and you will be waiting a while for the replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
yeah, about the battery... it sounded good and convincing when he said it. i was seriously looking at scars lights and just it was hard for me to buy into the hype, as it almost seemed like a magicshine thing (too good to be true etc). still considering the amoeba, though. but if i could get a more powerful NR system for like 3/5 the cost of a new dinotte, is it worth it? are the electronics in NR really as mediocre as they say?
 

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Not sure on the mediocrity of the electronics in general. Some battery issues and drivers are often in the battery pack.
So propriety batteries, connectors, chargers. Not a good thing if you want to hack or upgrade DIY style.
Replacement batteries are very overpriced as are the connectors.
Got turned off of NR quickly due to these issues.
You need a helmet light for the racing and the Pro1200 isn't really helmet friendly. Just too big and the battery is large as well.
The 500L and the Amoeba can be run with any 7.4 volt battery. You can also use a 6x AA battery holder and rechargeble batteries. Just need an extra connector from Scar or Zen to attach to the battery pack.
 

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you an also consider the hope vision 4Led lightning system! ~1000Lumens with very good beam for trails or not too fast (beyond 45km/h) rides...
 

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skeem said:
and do i REALLY (be honest, because im new to night riding) need at least 800 lumens to ride successfully at night on singletrack? thanks
Need 800lumens? No, absolutly not. Think about this, what did folks do before HID and high power led systems? They rode with 10-25 watt halogen systems. They don't put out anywhere near 800 lumens.

However, given the choice between a 10 watt halogen and an 800lumen LED system, I would always choose the brighter LED system. More light isn't "needed" but it doesn't hurt either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks for the advice. if i go with NR id get the led600 for the helmet, supposing its a good system, and the 700 for the bars, just because i get a great discount on it. if i do L and M id get the 300 for the helmet and 400 for the bars (this would be my cheapest option). and if i fo a dinotte id get either 2 400's or maybe a 400 for the helmet and 600 for the bars. its all just so confusing.

this was what i was really asking about

Need 800lumens? No, absolutly not. Think about this, what did folks do before HID and high power led systems? They rode with 10-25 watt halogen systems. They don't put out anywhere near 800 lumens.

i did a few rides with a VERY old niterider light, and it seemed really bright and probably pretty good to me, and it was an old halogen light with what felt like a 10 lb battery. i know more light is better, but is there a lower limit on the minimum amount of light you need to ride at night? if i really get into night racing (more than 1-2 a year MAX) id probably just spring for new lights. would it really be such a crime to ONLY ride with like 600 lumens?

also, are there any lights which stand up to weather better than others?- i ride in the rain and mud and snow and cold and heat etc, and id imagine sme lights have better weatherproofing
 

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Originally posted by skeem
i was seriously looking at scars lights and just it was hard for me to buy into the hype, as it almost seemed like a magicshine thing (too good to be true etc).
Hey skeem, that is the first time that I have heard that :thumbsup: It is for real.

Are any of these factors important to you when choosing a light?

1. - Size
2. - Weight
3. - Non proprietary batteries (3hr, 6hr, 9hr, 12hr Li-Ion, or AA battery holders)
4. - Customer service
5. - A light that is made by someone who uses their lights on an almost daily basis and knows the importance of reliability and has the same passion for biking.

I am just trying to raise my kids in today's world, perform at my job during the day, build some lights on Friday and Saturday nights, and trying to get a bike ride in there somewhere. 95% of my riding is done in the dark at 5am because of all of my other commitments, therefore I need lights. I also like sharing my stuff with others that value a handmade, custom light and the service that goes with it.

Let me know if I can answer any questions or concerns. The Amoeba light is totally weatherproof as I ride in the dark year round no matter what the conditions..

***
 

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I have the Dinotte 400/800L combo and I can't be more pleased with it. 400 on the helmet and 800 on the bar and I have plenty of light to see with. The combo came with all the mounts to have the 400 as a tail light, bar mounted light, or helmet light. I also sprung for the headband since I have some occasional non-cycling uses where a head mounted light would be handy.

I had an issue with one of my batteries but a quick call to Dinotte had a replacement battery and charger in my hands within a week.

I'm very pleased with the build quality and performance. Should I ever need new/more lights I'll definitely buy Dinotte again.
 

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skeem said:
i did a few rides with a VERY old niterider light, and it seemed really bright and probably pretty good to me, and it was an old halogen light with what felt like a 10 lb battery. i know more light is better, but is there a lower limit on the minimum amount of light you need to ride at night? if i really get into night racing (more than 1-2 a year MAX) id probably just spring for new lights. would it really be such a crime to ONLY ride with like 600 lumens?
I believe a 10watt halogen will put out approximatly 200lumens. If you know what the old NR system you used was it may give you an approximate comparision.

Be warned, the light output quote by light mfg's rarely corresponds with actual lumen output. IMO, the best comparision is done with beam shots...

If you havn't seen it yet, you'll be interested in the MTBR 2010 light shootout.
http://reviews.mtbr.com/blog/2010-mtbr-lights-shootout/
 

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skeem said:
i posted a few weeks ago about lights and got way different responses than i expected. most people loved magicshine and suggested i needed 800 plus lumens for night riding/racing- maybe thay say that because the magic sine is $100 and puts out that many lumens. anyway, ive decided i DO NOT WANT MAGICSHINE. i work in a bike shop and dont get (vastly)overworked and (vastly)underpaid to buy made in china stuff. im looking at dinotte, which nobody i have talked to has ever seen, but it seems like real high end stuff (and id have to pay retail). today the owner of my shop suggested a niterider higher end system (and i quote... "because when your out in places like moab or tahoe, you know the shops there will carry niterider stuff"), and i may take his advice- and id get a hefty discount on NR too. id also get a discount on Light and Motion stuff, as well as cygolite. right now id like to start fresh with the suggestions and say im leaning towards ~1000 lumens from dinotte or ~1200 from NR. is paying retail for dinotte really worth it? and do i REALLY (be honest, because im new to night riding) need at least 800 lumens to ride successfully at night on singletrack? thanks
One thing to consider, is the advice your getting on this forum are from people who are using many of the products been suggested to you.They are taking the time to try and help you with there suggestions. At the end of the day,YOU have to make the decision.NR/Cygolight/Dinotte/LM have been included in responses to your original post.It will drive you nutz over analyzing what has been suggested to you.Take a few moments,maybe re-read the advice from your original post,and go for it!!!Good Luck!!:thumbsup:
 

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skeem said:
also, are there any lights which stand up to weather better than others?- i ride in the rain and mud and snow and cold and heat etc, and id imagine sme lights have better weatherproofing
The Amoeba lights are very popular in Oregon (wet,muddy 10 months of the year).

I have had 3 sets of NR halogens in my family and 2 of the 3 have had problems with the connectors and electronics. Don't know about their LED lights but would have a hard time buying one given my past experience.
 

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I've long been an opponent of the "lumen race", and honestly you can ride and survive with very little light. Back years ago, I used a tiny LED hiking light for everything but the tough downhills in one of the mountain bike endurance races in Pisgah. It couldn't have been more than 50 lumens. Yes, it certainly was slower with so little light, but it was manageable, and after 12 hour of racing a little slower isn't such a bad thing.

In my opinion, there are really two factors you have to take into account. The first is how much light do you need to be able to ride at close to daylight race speed assuming that’s your goal. The second, if you ride with other people, or are racing in races where you'll be around a lot of other people, how much light will they be using. That matters because your eyes will adjust to amount of light around you. If you have significantly less light than the folks around you, your light will be drowned out.

On the first point, and this varies somewhat person to person, I can get close to daylight race speeds with 200 lumens on the helmet and 200 lumens on the bars in a solo setting where I don't come across brighter lights that mess up my night vision. I'm a big proponent of having nearly equal amount of light bar / helmet. If I do ride with a brighter light, I use it on the helmet. Having a brighter light on the bars causes your eyes to adjust to that and then the effectiveness of the helmet light suffers and it becomes harder to see around corners. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to use the same light bar/helmet, but I wouldn't overdo it on the bars and I would tend to run the bar light at a brightness setting that matches the helmet. Also, it’s not just lumens, beam patterns for helmet and bar is also relevant.

On the second point, and this is the one that drives me a little crazy, the problem is that the average person on group night rides and at races tends to have around 800 lumens total these days. I find that I have to match that to be able to approach daylight race speeds. I think that's where the 800 total lumen recommendation is really coming from. Unfortunately this will likely continue to escalate. But I have noticed that once you get into the 800 lumen range, it doesn't appear to be as big of an issue if people have somewhere brighter lights. But when people start showing up with 2000+ total lumens I suspect it'll become a problem again.

As far as Dinotte, L&M, and NR. I've worked on all three lights. You can tell someone passionate about riding and his lights designed the Dinotte’s. It's not that L&M and NR lights are bad, and it does vary somewhat model to model, but they have shipped some lights and chargers that seemed to have been rushed out the door a little too quickly. But all three brands are good quality. You’re in a funny situation where Dinotte isn’t a lot cheaper. In your case, you should just pick based on which you like best and price. Look at the details like mounts, chargers, battery mounting, and beam patterns. I generally like L&M designs better than NR, but I really hate how high the SECA series mounts on the helmet. I’m not a fan of the beam pattern on the Stella.

I don't have anything against individuals building and selling lights, but I tend to think they cater best to someone who has the knowledge and would like to build their own lights, but simply doesn't have the time. When you get into this space, you don't really know if the person is going to be around in a couple of years and you often get a light that still needs a little tinkering to get the way you want it. To an extent, you're picking a person as much as you are a light if you want support long term. You also need to look at things like the accessories for these types of light. Do you like the way the mounts work. Will the mounts work well on your helmet or bars? What do they do about chargers? Are they providing a charger of their own design or passing along something like one of the questionable Chinese made chargers. If you've decided you don't want to get that from Magicshine, you shouldn't turn around and buy the same thing from an individual builder.
 

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I guess I can see wanting the Niterider support at races, I have heard they will hook you up with charging stations, fresh batteries, or whatever. But considering that all of their stuff is proprietary and quite expensive, I'm still not sure I wouldn't just buy a Magicshine and buy several batteries, chargers, and lightheads. I mean you could buy 2 complete setups, complete with spare batteries and chargers for like 180 dollars, and then you'd have backups in case of complete failure.
 

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I've been night riding for 15 years, started out with a Nightsun Team handlebar light. I live in CT where we dont have any long,fast downhills that you can outrun a light. I have been using the Dinotte 5 led lights, one on the handlebar and another helmet mount. 200 lumens each. Its been working fine. Until I just upgraded to Li-Ion batteries,, my lights ran on AA batteries. I could carry as many spares with me as I wanted. I never had to worry about a dead battery.
 

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skeem said:
i posted a few weeks ago about lights and got way different responses than i expected. most people loved magicshine and suggested i needed 800 plus lumens for night riding/racing- maybe thay say that because the magic sine is $100 and puts out that many lumens. anyway, ive decided i DO NOT WANT MAGICSHINE. i work in a bike shop and dont get (vastly)overworked and (vastly)underpaid to buy made in china stuff. im looking at dinotte, which nobody i have talked to has ever seen, but it seems like real high end stuff (and id have to pay retail). today the owner of my shop suggested a niterider higher end system (and i quote... "because when your out in places like moab or tahoe, you know the shops there will carry niterider stuff"), and i may take his advice- and id get a hefty discount on NR too. id also get a discount on Light and Motion stuff, as well as cygolite. right now id like to start fresh with the suggestions and say im leaning towards ~1000 lumens from dinotte or ~1200 from NR. is paying retail for dinotte really worth it? and do i REALLY (be honest, because im new to night riding) need at least 800 lumens to ride successfully at night on singletrack? thanks
How about Exposure Lights?
 

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I've heard good things about the Baja design lights. I have a Lupine Betty with a Dinotte 400 taillight. I know there are a lot of very good lights on the market these days. One thing to reiterate from another poster is to consider buying a light from a major manufacturer that has a good track record. There are some independents here that offer good lights, but they may not be here tomorrow, or five years from tomorrow. I do agree with you about MS. Good for you not following the herd. I would't even consider MS. No snub to anyone who has one.
 

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Well, here's the $0.02 from a guy who has had more lights than he should. I've had halogen NiteRiders, Trinewts, MiniUSB, Pro 1200's, Dinotte 400L and 800L, Magicshine, Cycolite Mitycross 350, Fenix L2D flashlights and the list goes on. Never a Lupine though - yet. ;)

<o:p> </o:p>
For a helmet light my hands down favorite is the Dinotte 400L. I used to run it with the battery in my Camelbak but now run it with the battery mounted on the helmet. For the bars, my favorites are the NiteRider Pro1200 and Trinewt (which I still think has the smoothest, best beam pattern for MTB, but that's personal preference). Drawback to the NR Pro1200 is the battery weight - it's heavy. Very heavy. Also expensive. Drawback to Trinewt is the battery - proprietary and expensive to replace. Many consider it old technology but hey, it works.

<o:p> </o:p>
I've never had ANY problems with connectors breaking or coming undone with Dinottes. I've had the TriNewt and Pro1200 connectors come undone while riding, but not very often and usually when I either fell or routed the cables wrong. Had one Trinewt head fry on me, took it to Niterider and had it back the next day. Helps I'm in San Diego.

<o:p> </o:p>
Probably the most underrated light out there are the Cygolites. They are, IMHO, great lights for the money. The LED tints run on the bluer (cooler) side though, like Dinotte. Warmer is nicer on the trail in my opinion.

<o:p> </o:p>
Do I run the lights on high? Hardly ever. I'm usually riding with the Pro1200 set at 400 lumens and the Dinotte 400L on the helmet on medium. They both get switched to low on long, slow climbs. I rode with a Cygolite Mitycross 350 on the bars set to Medium a few nights ago along with the Dinotte 400L on the helmet and didn't need more light.
<o:p> </o:p>
One thing to remember is to try and match the LED tints on your helmet and bar lights. Same manufacturer for both is usually good. Cygolite and Dinotte tints play well together. BTW, don't try the NR Pro1200 on the helmet - heavy and sticks up too much. You want the light mounted low on your helmet for balance, comfort and safety. The Dinotte 400L and Mitycross series mount nice and low.
<o:p> </o:p>
For the bars, look for a wide, floody beam. For the helmet, something spottier.

Anyway, hope this ramble of mine helps.
 
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