Help! Going mad trying to choose lights!

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  • Help! Going mad trying to choose lights!
  • scotjohn

    Ok I’ve procrastinated a stupid amount of time now looking for new bike lights when I should be studying for imminent exams so I need your help! I need some new lights but I’m struggling to choose between so many that seem to get such great reviews from everyone so here’s my requirements and the ones I’ve been looking at and your thoughts would be appreciated.

    [*]I want a bright light (doesn’t everyone), but it doesn’t need to be stupid bright. Genuine output of 900-1200 lumens would be fine. [/*][*]I need to use it for adventure racing/epic mtb ride/solo 24hr stuff/long runs in the hills, so I need a long battery life (eg 10hrs on a medium setting). I’m not too concerned if that means a bigger heavier battery, I just don’t want to run out of light![/*][*]I much prefer a helmet mounted light so it needs to come with a strap or be fitted to one I can buy, and be light enough that it won’t kill my neck.[/*][*]I need to be able to mount it to a headstrap for orienteering[/*][*]I’d like it to have a few brightness levels, not just OMG that’s bright and low. Some intermediate levels would be preferable – I’d imagine running on a medium setting most of the time to save some juice, putting it up to high for techy stuff and low for road/fireroad etc. I don’t care about a flash mode.[/*][*]It needs to be ‘weatherproof’. I thought about waterproof like Gloworms but I doubt they’ll ever get a full immersion.[/*][*]Decent warranty – many recommend the cheap Magicshinealikes, but I seem to be jinxed so don’t want to buy cheap and be let down in the middle of nowhere. I’d prefer to buy from a UK dealer with at least a year’s warranty[/*][*]I don’t have a lot to spend, or rather will struggle to justify spending >£150 when I see so many people happy with their cheap lights from China. Ideally I’d spend between £90 and £130.[/*]

    I’ve looked at many posts and reviews now and seem to be going round in circles. Everytime I think, yes that’s the one, I flick to another review and am convinced of an alternative, so here’s the shortlist.

    Smudge/mtbbatteries Lumenator – £122.50
    Lumenator link
    +Helmet mounted.Bright.Great customer service reports. Long run time.
    -Doesn’t come with a headstrap and don’t see one available. Some say the helmet mount is a bit rubbish

    Smudge/mtbbatteries V2 XML – £90
    V2 XML
    + Plenty bright by most reports. Cheaper. Helmet mount. Unknown run times…
    – No headstrap

    Gloworm X1 – £132 with 4 cell battery and headstrap
    Gloworm X1
    + Very latest LED Cree XM-L U3. Great user reviews. Light. Head mount. Waterproof. Many light level choices. Long run time
    – Maybe not enough flood? £42 more than the Smudge equivalent.

    Gloworm X2 – £156 with 4 cell battery and headstrap
    Gloworm X2 – Could be perfect but over budget. Looks like I’m a few weeks late as they were on offer before Christmas :o(

    Magicshine MJ-872 – £90
    + Many, many happy owners. Wall of light. Cheaper. Comes with helmet mount. Options for 6 cell endurance battery.
    – Unsure how suitable for helmet or headstrap use. Some say lacks distance penetration. Reliability issues. Overheating?

    Fluxient 4xR5 1600 lumen “Endurance” – £90
    UK seller
    + One or two great reviews on mtbr and torchythebatteryboy. Bloody bright. UK seller and backup. Waterproof. 2 year warranty
    – Bar mount only? Weight to fit to a headstrap? Need to source a suitable headstrap

    I think that’s what I’ve managed to whittle it down to. Was looking at the Gemini lights too but they are over budget.

    So who can help me choose? I think if I’d managed to get a deal on a Gloworm X2 I’d have been as happy as Larry but seem to have missed the boat there and I wonder is it worth the extra over all the other options?! HELP!

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    Ay up. Buy once

    Also lumin measurements are similar to measurements given on dating sites


    Try asking Smudge for a headstrap – he kindly found me one when I bought the v1 off him last year


    I have a fluxeint 1 x U2 on my helmet and use a cheap £17 ebay jobby on the bars.

    spot on for night riding and more light than i really need.

    all in 2 lights for £73


    the luminator comes with a helmet mount in the box and I’ve had no problems with it.

    lumenator, and a head strap from DX

    Quite a wide beam with an unobtrusive spot means it really is like riding in daylight.

    Battery life, I’ve no idea, but I get 3 x 2 hour + faffing rides out of it without it going flat, mostly on high (the boost doesn’t look much brighter on narrow trails, only really dicernable if you shine it down a fire road). It’s rare that I’d go 3 rides and forget to bring it in to charge so I don’t know how long it would go for.


    I bought a lumicycle last winter and haven’t regreted it for a minute. in that time my riding mates seem to have gone through numerous “magic shine”/ “deal extreme type stuff. ( the last one, on its first outing caught fire in the back of my mates van on the way to the ride!!!
    Anyway, for what it is worth I think the lumicycle is fantastic and worth every penny, great burn times and power with, so far, no reliability issues.


    I’ve tried both super cheap chinese and super expensive european lights over the last few years as the lumen outputs have gone up and found the best compromise to be European or American designed and QC’ed, chinese made lights. Glowworm X2 V1 was okay but the light the temperature was a bit green and the separate switch, whilst on paper looked great was more a novelty and unnecessary extra cable to manage.
    I’ve found the GEMINI lights to be spot on. They are sensibly priced, very reliable, have samsung hard shell battery packs and have great beam shapes.
    My favourite is the Duo, (2 XML-U2), used as a headtorch. Runs from either a two cell or four cell pack fine for the 2-3 hour rides we typically do. Comes with all the accessories you specify. The two cell pack can go on the helmet if you’re not wearing a pack. I use it with a Gemini Xera (single XML) on the bars, which gives a modest flood that complements the mildy spottish beam shape of the duo.
    I think the Duo bought from a UK reseller is about £140, but cheaper from ActionLED in USA, and the light heads on their own are great value if you already have battery packs with the conventional connectors


    I looked at the Ay Ups and have always had good reports from racers using them, but they seem to be a bit behind in the LED war that’s going on now and are a bit pricey compared to the others above.

    Just seen the Fluxient 1 xU2, but it seems a bit too narrow a beam for a do-it-all light…? MTBR beam test

    I know the Lumenator comes with a helmet mount, just read on here about some folks having to bodge it a bit or buy another one to get it to work on their helmet

    Premier Icon trout

    Can do you a Troutie Mini with custom light levels from 150 lumens to lots for a good price helmet mount and head strap


    i wouldnt say the u2 is narrow but it is a good helmet light, i use a bar light for flood.

    I know the Lumenator comes with a helmet mount, just read on here about some folks having to bodge it a bit or buy another one to get it to work on their helmet

    It’s like the DX one’s but slightly different. Only thing I’ve noticed is it’s a PITA to thread the O-ring through it in the dark! The actual mount I just leave zip tied to my helmet.

    My old DX seemed heavier so I zipped that straight to the helmet to stop the nodding head feeling. Haven’t needed to with the lumenator, but it’s always an option if you don’t ride in daylight (or dont mind having a light with you if you do).


    Sent you an email Troutie

    Thanks for your thoughts folks. Any more?


    Torchy every day of the week.
    Bought the R5 from him it’s awesome, he is a seller you can defo trust!


    Can’t fault the Magicshine and you have spare cash for other shiny bits.

    b r

    I’ve cheap lights and dear lights. They all work, but some are better than others.

    But if I needed a light (system) for everything including 24hr events, then I’d use one of my Exposure lights and buy whatever piggyback batteries were needed.

    Premier Icon tomhoward

    I got the lumenator and one of the Chinese specials of eBay, so got a headstrap mount and helmet mount. Really good combo IMO, decent spread of light from the lumenator, and a more focused beam from the eBay one that I have mounted on my lid, using the mount I got with the lumenator.

    Premier Icon Cheezpleez

    I have a Lumenator and mj872. Both great lights but Lumenator is better for what you want. Better for head mounting (comes with helmet strap that’s (although I used a bit of foam and the rubber ring around the helmet vent then bought a £1.99 one from On-one that’s lower profile cos I’m fussy). It also has a bigger battery and a really wide range of output levels.

    Don’t stress it, you’ll be fine with any of the lights on your list.


    Got a brand new Lupine Wilma 5 available for £225 posted


    The Gloworm X1 will be the lightest light head with the lowest profile on that list and there is a new design headstrap for it arriving in a few days.

    It comes with 3 optics as standard including a flood one – check out the beamshots here for a better idea (they’re a bit out of focus as there was a 30mph wind that was wobbling the tripod on the 6s exposure) –

    There are still some Gloworm discount codes in circulation – check out the latest edition of IMBikeMag 😉

    tendonitis – the Gloworm X2 version 2 uses totally different emitters to the version 1 plus larger more efficient optics – it gives about 20% more throw than the version 1 and is a different colour light output.

    Premier Icon bryan-g-

    I’ve got an Exposure Diablo and I find it all the lite I need.


    Personally have 2xT6 Chinese lights, a Wilma 6 and a set of Glowworm X1/X2.
    For the money – the Chinese lights are bloody good BUT they are not a patch in quality or run times compared to the Lupine/Glowworm.
    The Lupine has the latest updated U board and has a fantastic light but it shows its age against the Glowworm.
    The size of them is insane, they weigh NOTHING and the battery packs are in a different league to anything else from any other manufacturer.
    Add to that their price and there is no other option really….


    I have the Glow-worm X2 and its the dogs dangly’s so far… Basically my requirements sound similar to yours, as an all round night light for ultra running and biking, including 24 hour events and bike-packing. I spent ages looking at Magic Shine options, expensive options and various others and at the end of the day the GW was the best option for me because:

    – Its a good price, I felt you get a lot for the money in comparison to many others and the build quality feels very good.
    – The light unit is tiny! But gives great light!
    – I got the original head strap, for ultra/night running, and whilst a little bit of a fiddle to set up the head strap, (this has been redesigned, but I’ve not yet seen the new one) the first time, it works very well, feels secure on your head and doesn’t bounce like some lights. I use the extension cord for the battery, and carry this in my pack.
    – On the bike, the light sits nicely over the stem, and throws a nice light which is good to ride with. You can pop the battery where you like.
    – Not had an issue with the run time, and I’ve been using it on super bright, just to annoy my friends with much more expensive options!
    – You have loads of light settings.
    – It can be mounted on the helmet, but I’ve not used it on mine, I’m very tempted to get the X1 through as a helmet light. If I can afford it in time, I will get the X1 for the Strathpuffer…

    I will do a full review of this light, but not until after the Puffer, by which time I’m guessing it will be to late for you…?


    Just ordered the Gloworm System Combo from CRG. Many thanks for IMBikeMag discount code neninja. Can’t wait to try these out.


    Thing is, when you can have a magicshine (or equvalent) off ebay for £17, then well, you might as well get a couple as spares whatever else you buy! Any light can let you down, no matter how expensive, so i wouldn’t go into a 24hr event with a full set of spares. For £100 you could have 5 sets of cheapo lights, batteries and chargers!


    c&b seen – ~£40, seem better quality than direct from Chian ones on e-bay, UK warranty, decent batteries, good beam pattern, excellent build quality. Agonised for ages too, then realised I was agonising and not buying/riding, so went for these cos they’re at a great price/performance/reliability point. No complaints.

    Everyone will tell you they love their own choice, and they will – but I wanted low price, good performance, but reliable and decent backup in case of problems – and this hit it best for me.

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