Why are new LED lights so expensive ???

Home Forum Bike Forum Why are new LED lights so expensive ???

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  • Why are new LED lights so expensive ???
  • PeterPoddy
    Member

    It's generally the batteries that cost money.

    But you can get a DX light for £50ish, so go figure…….. 😕

    grumm
    Member

    They're not.

    Your looking at over £200 for most of them , how is that not expensive.

    Premier Icon funkynick
    Subscriber

    Probably because unlike a halogen lamp, it takes a fair bit more time and effort to design to get the best out of, and you could get some pretty expensive halogen lights!!

    The problem with DX lights is the spread not the batteries

    grumm
    Member

    What is it you're trying to do for which the spread of the DX light is not enough? Racing downhill perhaps? Seriously.

    coffeeking
    Member

    Newer LEDs are a fairly new technology (we're not talking old style 5mm indicator LEDs here) and the optics for them take time to design etc. Thats why they work well, thats why they cost well too.

    uplink
    Member

    All of the above + the UK£ is pretty weak right now so anything coming in in is – relatively – expensive

    I found using the old P5(i think) Emitter i got a bright spot and a shroud but at any speed they are not great compared to all pro builds.

    Battery wise im using http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.5790
    and getting more burn time than i could every want ie 1 pair of batteries with one emitter.

    Premier Icon woody2000
    Subscriber

    Why so expensive? Because people will pay it, simples 😀

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    Lights are one of those things, like suspension, that has lifted off so dramatically in price over the last few years that I'm just not really willing to try and keep up. I'm sure there's a good reason for the price of them, I just won't / borderline can't afford them. 🙂

    grumm
    Member

    Unless you are doing marathon races where you need superlong burn times, or full on downhill at night where you require mega brightness, I really can't imagine why you would need anything more than the magic shine P7 bike light from DX, which only costs £50

    Maybe a torch on the helmet to back it up but it's not essential.

    enfht
    Member

    weight vs brightness vs runtime vs MTB Numpties

    (I've bought a Hope 4!)

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Most (but not all)of the professionally built lights are using off the peg optics. There ais a huge range of optics out there.

    They are expensive because they use good battery tech and the volumes sold are small. No economies of scale

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    I balked at buying expensive bike lights for years, reasoning that there was no point in spending a huge amount of money purely so I could go on miserable cold winter night rides, but the new LED ones have such a good combination of power, run time and convenience that I'm really glad I did.

    Prior to having them I did stuff like 24 hour races and the Exmouth Exodus (an all-night road ride – the South West's answer to the Dunwich Dynamo) and inevitably at some point I'd end up faffing about with battery changes, riding home on one of those single LED Backupz or leeching light off someone with a set of HIDs.

    Re the price differences between the DX and name brand lights, I'd be tempted to pay the extra just for the better build quality. Everyone's going mad for the cheap ones at the moment but they are still something of an unknown in terms of reliability. The likes of L&M have a pretty good track record for making stuff that doesn't break when it's being jolted about on the front of a bike, and that's with fragile technologies like HID and halogen.

    grumm
    Member

    But you would literally be able to buy about six of them for the price of one of many other lights with similar specs. And you have a warranty anyway.

    And I have probably read about as many people having problems with Hope lights as I have with DX ones.

    Build quality looks fine to my untrained eye.

    Premier Icon mtbfix
    Subscriber

    I work in the trade and so have a vested interest but I'd suggest you pay the extra so you can have a light designed by like minded folk who are trying to produce a good product that can then be distributed and in turn retailed by more of these like minded folk. Ordering direct from the far east saves a whole bunch of money but sometimes middlemen are nice folk trying to make a living in an increasingly competitive environment and maybe they deserve a bit of support from end users.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    you would literally be able to buy about six of them for the price of one of many other lights with similar specs.

    And keep a spare one around in your Camelbak for when the one you're using conks out? Don't get me wrong, for the money they are unbeatable. But in terms of build quality they don't seem to be able to hold a candle to the big boys. I've heard of some problems with Hope lights but they've been out for ages, compared to most DX lights being a couple of rides old, and there's a lot more whinge mileage in your boutique UK-made product packing in.

    I don't understand why they are so highly priced.

    Mind you i also don't understand how they get such a good spread from the emitters

    kinda666
    Member

    Surely the big boys have to factor in time spent developing there lights into the price??

    sv
    Member

    My P7 torch is now on it's second winter and for £50 I can't complain. I have a focused spot torch on the helmet for very fast/twisty sections.

    DrP
    Member

    Ordering direct from the far east saves a whole bunch of money but sometimes middlemen are nice folk trying to make a living in an increasingly competitive environment and maybe they deserve a bit of support from end users.

    Whilst I do feel for you, and I'm really not trying to be harsh – this is business, not charity.
    Sometimes the weight of money, and other financial commitments, mean Joe Public has to look out for number 1 ahead of all others?

    DrP

    grumm
    Member

    [/quote]And keep a spare one around in your Camelbak for when the one you're using conks out?

    I normally have a torch with me anyway so I could get home if that did happen.

    Ordering direct from the far east saves a whole bunch of money but sometimes middlemen are nice folk trying to make a living in an increasingly competitive environment and maybe they deserve a bit of support from end users.

    If the difference was, say 20-30% then I might consider it, but there is just no way i would spend £400 on a set of lights – I don't go night riding often enough to justify it.

    alwyn
    Member

    There for bikes, anything for bikes is expensive.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Another aspect to consider is most of the purpose built ones are either european or USA made thus have to pay European wages, use european standards of H&S and environmental protection in getting rid of toxic waste etc etc – that accounts for some of the price differential – the DX ones will be assembled by poorly paid workers and there will be little environmental concerns in disposal of waste

    joemarshall
    Member

    They cost that much because the people who make lights discovered that people were willing to pay £200 for a light. Some of them are fabulously well developed, some of them are just a bunch of standard electronics dumped in a case.

    Or in the case of lupine, £500 for a light that is unreliable, very very expensive to fix when it goes wrong (£100 switch e.t.c.), but which everyone knows is jolly expensive, so it is a bit of a status symbol. Why on earth anyone buys those I don't know?

    Joe

    grumm
    Member

    TJ – yeah I see that and I would prefer to buy something that is hopefully more ethically produced, but does it account for things being 6/8/10 times more expensive?

    LOL, I'm sure those middle men are nice chaps, but middle men are just that. They don't add any value, just take their cut and there's far too many people who want a slice of any expenditure these days.

    My P7s are on the way. 🙂

    trail_rat
    Member

    its interesting how the guy who i was riding with on sunday night claimed his torch on his noggin gave out 950 lumens but when i turned on my maxxD he was astounded at the light it gave out at 950 … his looked nothing like it.

    I also turned up at relentless and ride to the night time – turned the light on and rode till morning ……..no battery changes **** all – thats why i paid for them…..

    The ammount of piles of batterys course side was silly ….

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    This is right:

    "Why so expensive? Because people will pay it, simples"

    But also so is this:

    "They are expensive because they use good battery tech and the volumes sold are small. No economies of scale "

    It's not as simple as one or the other of course. But the bike light market is ridiculously overcrowded considering that it's relatively small, so even the best sellers have small production runs. And the lifespan of the products is also short, since you can't sell an older generation bike light for love nor money, unless it says Hope or Ayup on the side. So you have constant reinvestment in R&D for the latest batteries, emitters, etc, and suddenly last year's best seller and last year's genius knowhow becomes irrelevant. It's a pretty harsh market, and I really don't know how so many companies find it worthwhile.

    But also, I think you can't deny that a lot of these products are intentionally sold at a luxury mark-up because the manufacturers know that people will pay for it regardless. If you look, frinstance, at the new lights that On One sells, they're direct competition for the £50 DX lights but they know people will pay 5 times as much for them, just because they're "proper" bike lights. And don't anybody say that they sell because they're better, because people on here were lining up to buy them before anyone knew how they perform. Fundamentally, some people wanted the performance of the DX lights but weren't happy using something so cheap and common.

    Mr Agreeable wrote:

    "And keep a spare one around in your Camelbak for when the one you're using conks out? Don't get me wrong, for the money they are unbeatable."

    Use 2. One P7 is absolutely fine to ride on, and makes more light than a lot of people use. But 2 is fantastic, one on head one on bars, and also gives you a spare. And still far cheaper than anything else as good, or for that matter most things which are worse. Any light can fail, especially mountain biking where you might end up nutting a tree or somesuch. Would you carry a spare for an expensive light?

    0pt1cal
    Member

    I'm quite happy to pay the price for good quality lights…I use them every other night summer & winter…I personally find Lupines the best performance, build and if I consider the use the get, value for money.

    joemarshall
    Member

    But also, I think you can't deny that a lot of these products are intentionally sold at a luxury mark-up because the manufacturers know that people will pay for it regardless.

    I think a lot of people will only buy expensive lights – because there are £200 lights and £50 lights, they think only the expensive light must be a proper light.

    Joe

    trail_rat
    Member

    i bought my exposure lights because they got great write ups , my team mates all use em with zero complaints and they impressed me …

    could have bought 12 DX torches for the price but would i have had such conveniant lights ? no

    i agree on lupine being overpriced – been using an edison on my head for about a week and was not impressed !

    Dimmadan
    Member

    I have 2 P7 torches from DX. One on the helmet and one on the bars and all my mates are buying the same set up. For £80 for 2 lights, 6 batteries, charger, 2 helmet mounts, 1 bar mount and a UK/US plug is brilliant value for money.

    OK they are not 900 lumen like claimed (actually between 420 and 500) but 1000 lumen for the two combined is brilliant.

    DickBarton
    Member

    I've been lucky enough over the last few weeks to have had the chance to play around with some nice expensive lights…last night I was out playing on the Light & Motion SECA 900 Ultra – and good grief the light pattern was stunningly useful – the light is incredibly expensive – about £600 BUT you do get over 3.5 hours burn time (which is pretty good for lights from the big boys) on full power – it's very bright but the light beam is triangular in shape – loads in front of the wheel with a good spread and a nice spot beam down the trail…very usable at any speed.

    I'm unsure where the £600 goes but as an end product it is very very good – if money was no object I'd be buying one in an instant.

    I've also had a play with the Hope Vision 4 – very good light output – very usable light but not quite as good as the Seca as the light spread is more scattered compared to the Seca.

    The Tesla 5 from Lupine is very similar to the Hope but not quite as bright.

    All the lights are very usable and there isn't anything wrong with them – but the price determines if you can afford them or not.

    Personally, I've got a DX P7 torch on my bars…and that is a very usable light – but I've not got a lot of cash so I went with what I could afford…it doesn't compare against the big boys BUT it is a very usable light output for biking so I've no complaints…but if I could afford the more expensive lights then I'd be going for them…

    because you want them in a shiny cnc'ed housing.

    mymorph
    Member

    bloguse 2 p7s, cost me about £50 then some more for the batteries & charger

    ive done a review on my blog

    ive also got a fenix p2d on the helmet for fast twisty bits i go through in the woods.

    DaveGr
    Member

    Ordering direct from the far east saves a whole bunch of money but sometimes middlemen are nice folk trying to make a living in an increasingly competitive environment and maybe they deserve a bit of support from end users.

    Maybe "back in the day" pre internet but now when you can import yourself why pay someone to do it for you? Last time I looked I could order (ie import) bike stuff from the States, pay ALL import duties/VAT if customs applied them and still be cheaper than they were being sold here. The only reason I can see is if you think you'll need the ease of dealing with a warranty claim thru the importer.

    As for expensive – looking @ two head units without batteries

    baby Trout = £170 for 4 XPG LED which most people think is excellent VFM (me included) and Trout himself says he's putting it together for way less than minimum wage and doesn't factor in design time etc.

    Lumicycle = £165 for 3 XPE LED

    Factor in 1 * XPG @ £3.50 (I think) and also the other plus / minus factors Lumicycle have – make a profit, company costs, economies of scale and I don't think the cost of good quality LED lights is too much. Yes, you can get cheaper alternatives which are good VFM and with technology moving on it probably makes sense not to pay a lot more for a slightly better light which may be obsolete in two years time. Of course, Lumi have said their head unit is upgradable which will be good.

    Premier Icon 2unfit2ride
    Subscriber

    To answer the OP
    Because people go to work to earn money, you go to work to earn money, we all now expect to earn good money, the internet has a lot to answer for, it is/will be the death of British manufacture, thats why we will now excel in IT 😉

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    £500 or £600 is a silly amount of money, but you can get something perfectly decent for £200 or so if you get something from one of the smaller semi-pro makers. I'd snap Troutie's (or Mr Lumicycle's) hand off at those prices for a professional looking unit. I looked into the idea of trying to sell lights myself when the current LED tech was new and there were no commercial offerings (I thought I was ahead of the game – probably did have one of the very first homebrew Cree XR-E lights), but reckoned I'd need to be charging at least £150 to get close to covering my costs properly, and that would have been for something far more amateur looking than Troutie's when the exchange rates were rather better. At that price point it's more to do with what it really does cost to put a light together than what the market will stand.

    Would really love to get an L&M, but guess I'll be sticking with the homebrew lights for the time being (still have some demand for my homebrew headtorch which comes out at ~£100 at mates rates).

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