2014 Mtbr Bike Lights Shootout

Lights Lights Shootout

The 2014 Bike Lights Shootout is here! The batteries are charged and the lux meter and lumisphere are ready. We’ve been riding these lights for the last few weeks and the progress in LED technology is dramatic once again.

The three sections of this test are:

1. Tunnel Beam Pattern Shots – Compare all the beam patterns side by side.
2. Integrating Sphere Lumen Measurements – View actual measured Lumens of each light
3. Individual Reviews Below – Click on each light below to read the editorial and user reviews.

YouTube Preview Image Video: Best 700 Lumen lights.

The graph above (click to view larger) shows the Manufacturer’s Claimed Lumens vs. Measured Lumens by Mtbr in a laboratory. The blue bars are Claimed Lumens and red are Actual Measured Lumens.

YouTube Preview Image Video: Best 1200 Lumen lights

The Measured Lumen Per Dollar Graph (click to view larger) shows the brightest lights for the money.

The Measured Lumen Per Gram Graph (click to view larger) shows the brightest lights for the weight. Note that run times may vary but all tested are in the 1:30 to 2:30 hour range.

Lumen measuring process video using an integrating sphere with Chris McCaslin.
YouTube Preview Image

Visit last year’s 2013 Bike Lights Shootout.

Related Links
All Mtbr Lights Shootout Articles »
2014 Bike Lights Shootout »
2014 Tunnel Beam Pattern Comparisons »
2014 Mtbr Lumen Tests »
2013 Bike Lights Shootout »
2012 Bike Lights Shootout »
Mtbr Lights Reviews »
Mtbr Lights Forum »

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About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • Johan says:

    Just some positive criticism. It does not seem that any of the reviews include information about light settings. For instance, how many settings (hi, med, lo or 1-4), direction of settings or up and down buttons, increase in lumens or percentage of power per setting, etc. I’ve learnt that I can extend burn time a lot by running at the lowest setting during ascents and only using the highest setting on descents with the med setting for everything else (it works well on my current light with 3 settings, low at 600 and high at 1200 lumens) and knowing the number of settings and brightness per setting helps to understand how usable the settings are.

  • Joe Eustaquio says:

    Thanks for doing these shootouts. Very helpful in making a sound decision on what I need to buy. Thanks so much!

  • Robert Gonzalo says:

    Any reviews for Nite Rider Minewt 350 USB Pro?

  • Tod says:

    First off, thank you; these reviews are a fantastic reference material for the cycling community. But where is Cygolite? I’ve had great experiences with their products for years now, and would love to see how they compare in the current market (particularly the new Expilion 800).

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      Every year, Cygolite refuses to participate in our Shootout since they do not like independent reviews. It’s very frustrating for us.

      We will probably purchase a couple models just to have them in.

  • jim says:

    MTBR’s Bike Light Shootout is – and has always been – a great resource. It would be great to include run time (on high) in the initial list of features.

  • Fred Judson says:

    What’s happened to Baja Designs? They seem to have dropped off the face of the earth.

  • Francis Cebedo says:

    >>What’s happened to Baja Designs? They seem to have dropped off the face of the earth.

    They really got away from biking last year (they’re more into off-road vehicle lights) and seem to be just selling older inventory.

  • LT says:

    Are any Exposure lights going to be included in the shootout?
    Is there any chance some dynamo lights could be included in a mini shootout? It would be nice to compare them to other commuter level lights.

  • Pudding says:

    I’d like to see them including the run times in the review where all can see. Sometimes its not about power but longevity as in the Strathpuffer 24

  • Michael A says:

    Any chance you will be reviewing any of DiNotte’s lights this year?
    I believe they were included in last years and stood out as one of the better values for their performance, and they recently updated some of their models.
    +1 for including in the overview; Runtime on high, as well as the behavior of the light, as in gradual fade/or full brightness until drained/step down.

  • Jed says:

    Exposure Diablo and Six Pack should be at the top of anyone’s list

  • Johan says:

    +1 on Dinotte.

    I’m also interested to see the results on the X2 v3 and the new XS from Gloworm. Also, what are the lens setup for the XS (2 spots and a flood or 2 foods and a spot for instance)? I have v2 of the X2 and have been very happy with it.

    Thx!

  • Tricia says:

    If you had roughly $200-250 to spend on a helmet mounted light for night mountain bike riding, what would be your top 3 picks?

    • Johan says:

      I would go with the Dinotte XML-3 or the Gloworm X2. The only downside to the Dinotte IMO is that it’s MED setting only runs at 50% (roughly 750 lumens in other words) which might be a bit low (people are different but I like 900-1000 lumens for most decents and flatter terrain with 500 or so being enough on ascents). The new X2 outputs about the same lumens as the XML-3, but it has same user customizable output settings as the Gemini lights which I think is a really big plus. As for beam pattern, I don’t know if it’s as good as the Dinotte, but my X2 v2 has enough of a spread and throw for most riding (a little short for faster road rides, but you can run it as a spot-spot which increases it’s flexibility).

  • Vienna says:

    When will be Round2 lights posted?

  • Wish I Were Riding says:

    I agree. DiNotte Reviews please! Where are they?

  • Johan says:

    Finally…some updates! A few mistakes I saw with the X1 and X2. Claimed lumens for these (v2 and v3 of the respective models I believe) should be 950 (not 850) and 1500 (not 1200).

  • Jollo says:

    I love reading the shootouts each year. However, each year seems an opportunity for folks to bash anything made in China, especially MagicShine. I’ve owned and used the MJ816 for two years. It is wicked bright even after so much use (I average two 1.5 hour rides/week). However, the biggest drawback to me is the weight distribution of the lamp itself: it bounces excessively which renders it total crap for MTB riding; for commuting, it’s brilliant. Lately I’ve been using the 808L up at Annadel and it is fantastic. Even if it only lasts for two years, it cost me $80 and thus is a tremendous value. My 2 cents…and I still appreciate the shootout reviews.

  • Jay says:

    No Cygolite?

  • Joel says:

    Great reference. Would love to see my Magicshine MJ-816E on the list. They claim 1800 lumens (clearly not really that bright, but still bright). I paid $100 which seems to blow away the competition.

  • Leonard says:

    I have the same issue that the name brand lights are over priced. I had a niterider mini newt that the battery crapped out on after using only a few times over a period of about a year. To replace the battery Niterider wanted nearly as much as a new light would cost. Niterider would not even consider warranty support. I think manufacturers, knowing what the competition is, would want to keep their customers by providing decent warranty support and reasonably priced replacement parts. I doubt I will ever buy a retail bike light again.

  • DB says:

    Ordering a cheap Chinese light on Ebay does nothing for biking in the US. You won’t see any of them supporting multi-hour mtn, gravel, or road rides. It’s the companies listed here that you’ll see, as well as supporting local businesses, organizations such as IMBA, trail advocacy, etc. They also employ reps who spread good cycling gospel and other american workers. While they may manufacture overseas you are still keeping money local and stateside. If the lowest price is all that’s important to you nothing will convince you but I’d urge you to look at what else you’re buying when you invest with a legitimate cycling company.

  • Leon says:

    Where are your “AY-UP” results. They are THE best lights I have ever owned. They are also a great company offering awesome sales/service. They are based in Australia but sell their products all over the world. You need to put them up on your results if you want to have real credibility in your findings……just saying.

  • Blackbean says:

    Leon, there are tons of other good manufacturers missing from the review for various reasons. Ay-up being missing does not make the reviews any less credible.

    Ay-up may have been really great 3 or so years ago, but the competition has caught up and they don’t offer anything significantly better than most of the comarable lights reviewed in these tests.

  • Gridpower says:

    I echo DB’s comments above

    Ordering a cheap Chinese light on Ebay does nothing for biking in the US.

    This is why I love running JETLITES products and will continue to support them. Too bad their new product is just being released in December and must have not been ready for this test.

  • Pabcor says:

    Good job.

  • Leonard says:

    Also worth noting the Xeccon Geinea I combo consist of front and rear light. The 150+ real lumen rear light was not measured nor taken in consideration in the dollar-per-lumen results.

  • Gary says:

    I bought a cheap led from eBay for £18 thought it was great for 6 solid months use, then last night the battery decided to burn out glowing white hot where the lead joins the battery , lucky I was going out for a run and caught it happening but could of been a lot worse hence why I’m checking reviews for a reliable one

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