First published in Singletrack Magazine issue 96
Cycling industry stalwart Lupine Lighting Systems is a leader in high-end lighting solutions, with a reputation for quality, flexibility and performance.
The design and function of the Neo 2 is specifically for helmet mounting; there’s not even a bar mount clamp in the pack and there are various headband options (sold separately) which shows off the potential universality of Lupine’s ‘FastClick’ mounting system, if you already have a same-brand battery at your disposal. The head unit’s CNCed aluminium casing is reassuringly robust and waterproof, with rubberised cable connectors keeping things tight and secure between the power source and light.
Mounting up takes a bit more fiddling about (with the combined battery and light head units) than one enclosed light unit but when the system is on, it’s very safe and secure on the helmet. As long as your helmet has a few vents on offer, the expandable Velcro ties do the business. Mounted up at safely under 200g and out on the trail, the Neo 2 is thankfully perfectly suited to sit on the helmet top.
The svelte, 2.2Ah battery takes its mounting position to the rear of the helmet, providing a perfect counterbalance to the main light unit up front. Anyone with prior experience of trying to helmet-mount a battery pack and light unit before will no doubt recall the pre-ride question ‘shall I try the battery in my backpack tonight?’ to offset that extra head weight. That’s not necessary with the Neo 2, but a metre of extension cable is provided as a welcome, but for me as yet unused, option.
The head unit’s operation is handled by a single press button. It doesn’t sit very proud on top of the light unit itself, so accurate pressure is required with thick gloves on. Running through the various power/light level options takes a bit of getting used to, but from experience it seems that it’s better to have a full range of options for fine-tuning to the trail demands ahead.
In performance terms, the Neo 2 offers a claimed 700 lumens at full power for 2hr 15min from the one Cree XM-L U3 LED, which on balance is never going to provide the definitive answer in mountain bike lighting. The beam is not that penetrative but importantly it does deliver a very usable, wide spread.
There are numerous settings for longer runtimes, like the respectable 400 lumen mode for four and a half hours use. In addition, it is very much at home when used as intermediary light – between trail, road and home, or as a commuter companion (with the setting for switching to low voltage red light ideal for map reading).
For those night riders looking to buddy up their lights, or for those who already have a (more narrow-beamed) bar mount light on the bike, the Neo 2 may well be the missing link in the bar/helmet light combo you’ve been looking for. Otherwise (and perhaps perfectly suited for night ride newcomers), the Neo 2 feels like an ideal, long-term solution for someone starting to explore the joy of the dark and dangerous with about £150 of their hard-earned to spend.
With Lupine’s well-earned, long-term reputation for build quality and product longevity there is every reason to believe this neat little light will find itself in partnership with a range of additional lighting options, or as a solo riding companion for many years to come.
The Neo 2 provides a very welcome and long overdue foray for Lupine into this fiercely competitive section of the lighting market.
|Product:||Neo 2 light|
|From:||Leveret Productions, leveretproductions.com|
|Tested:||by Jamie for Two months.|