Lights Shootout Reviews and News


2017 Lights Shootout: How to pick the right light


LEDs have brought on brighter, more compact lights with a dizzying array of features. Read on to learn more about the essentials for riding and what the best features are for you.

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  • Eznitram says:

    I’d like to add something to the “Helmet or bar Light?” question:
    From the helmet the light has almost the same path as the line of sight from the eyes. From the bar it is much flatter. For this reason the bar mounted light gives better contrast or less glare in several situations.
    Bar mounted will be better in fog or rain and in more structured terrain, like roots and rocks.

  • Carbonazza says:

    I got a Lupine Piko 3 in a big sale, with 900lm and it was ok for a while.
    Then I tried various Chinese lights, and some are surprisingly good for their price.

    But since I ride a lot in the dark half of the year, I finally offered me a Lupine Wilma with the big battery, and it is a game changer.
    I can ride in the dark, [almost] like in the day, I don’t regret the buy at all( ok, after swallowing the cost shock ).

    And for the helmet/bar discussion.
    Helmet is fine until it is raining( something unfortunately common here half of the year too ).
    The raindrops and the drops jumping from your front wheel at speed become little stars just in front of your eyes, and it dazzle you.

    So although for technical terrain a helmet light is best, I keep it generally on my bar.

    If you can, save money with cheap Chinese lights, and after a year or two get a really powerful light. You will not regret any moment of it.

  • Roy says:

    The helmet flood light coupled with the spotlight on the bar is the best set up. The light on your helmet allows you too look deep into the corners. The dazzling effect of raindrops in front of the helmet light is awesome. The only thing better is riding in the snowstorm at night. For under $100 you can be out ripping single track at night with your Chinese LED headlights. Everyone here is doing it. Tons of fun.

  • Gator says:

    Ituo lights are the best on the market right now!! Check them out!!

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CandlePower Tech XFlare light review


LED bike lights have become so handy now that we end up using them for all kinds of other purposes. Here is a light from CandlePower Tech uniquely designed for all those other applications.

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  • gg says:

    Lights like these are dangerous for others who are blinded by their over-powered beam.
    Not so safe methinks.
    There need to be standards adhered to … doesn’t the EU have some ?

  • Colin says:

    I think the super bright flashing modes are intended for use in the day, so drivers can see them, not at night.

  • Beau Bennett says:

    I wouldn’t bother to unscrew it, when you can just lift the little lock tab and slide the whole X-Flare off. To re-attach, just slide the X-Flare onto the adapter tab until it clicks into place. You can get extra adapter tabs too.

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Specialized Flux Expert headlight review


The Flux Expert is a great commuter light that can be complemented with a helmet light for trail use. And while not a bang-for-the-buck winner, it is a sleek, high-quality device.

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  • gg says:

    Excellent job MTBR in your light reviews.
    Very surprised that Spesh would be off by a whopping 35%.
    Are they pulling the wool over the eyes of us sheep ?

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CatEye Volt 400 review


The CatEye Volt 400 will not wow you with its blazing output or diminutive size relative to its brightness. Rather it will impress you with its day-to-day performance and solid design.

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Review: Blackburn Central 700 Front


Blackburn delivers a self-contained light with a very useable dual beam pattern. It features a GoPro compatible mount too.

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  • cyberfly says:

    According to Blackburn’s website the battery is replaceable. Can you tell more about that, please?

    All I could find was a video on YouTube and it showed a battery with a cable attached, not a standard 18650 battery. It would really suck if you can only use a Blackburn battery.

  • David says:

    Cant get a replacement battery for this light – can you please help

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Exposure Lights Diablo Mk.7 review


The Exposure Diablo has been refined over the years as every facet of this light has been improved. Aside from an increase in brightness every year, the light now has an excellent ergonomics, switching, mounts and features.

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  • MBR says:

    Once again, as with all your light reviews, how about listing some run times at less than max output. A one hour run time on high doesn’t even get me thru a commute to work and back home.

    • Ron Feigen says:

      You can get run-time on Exposures website. I get 3 hours at 900 lumens. I think at 600 lumens it is 5 or 6 hours.

      They also have a small support cell, external battery, to double run time. There is a large support cell, no clue how much time that give you but I would guess 3X. Look at the MaH rating and do the math

      • Ryan says:

        Guys, the large 8.7Ah support cell does NOT work with any recently released Diablo. I have the Mk. 7 Diablo, which is about to go back to Exposure for a warranty replacement for an Equinox because they put in some new hardware possibly back in generation 6 or even 5 that restricts the Diablo to the smaller 3.1Ah support cell. I was hoping to get a 4–5 hour burn time at full power or close to full power by adding the large 8.7Ah support cell, but I only ever got the standard 1.25-1.5 hour max burn time on high with the large support cell attached. I even did a warranty replacement on the large support cell before I had Exposure do some testing of their own to confirm that the Diablo does NOT work with the larger 8.7Ah support cell.

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Indigo INDIGO5.01 review


The Indigo5.01 is a self-contained light with great lens. But the best part about the light is its fine machining and very big and clean beam pattern.

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Review: Gloworm X2


Gloworm X2 comes up aces once again. Though not a huge improvement from last year, it keeps marching on with a beautiful beam pattern, a well-conceived package and good value.

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Review: Trail LED DS


Already an excellent light year, Trail LED improved their light with 400 more Lumens and an elegant new mount. This is American ingenuity and manufacturing at its best.

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  • liquidSpin says:

    $550 for a light that may break during a crash. A light that is a bit extreme. Yes I agree the higher the output of light the better for those who are blazing away but 3k lumens and another version at 6k? I guess if you live out in the boonies where there’s no city light pollution.

    I ride at night but not enough to justify this. Or any $500 light. This is definitely for a specific demographic of MTB riders with DEEP pockets.

  • A Johnson says:

    Any light may break during a crash. TrailLed has an excellent warranty return policy but even before you get to that, the higher lumens provides better visibility lowering the chance for a crash.

    I’ll keep the pair of Cree style in the pack for venturing within the city parks and road rides. After having ridden off-road with less lumens/less expensive lights while sharing the dirt with TrailLed users, I’m going to say they make a damn good excuse to spend the money.

    (The Halo is just for nutters though! If you’re the lead of a group of 20, everyone can see then!)

  • Jim says:

    How did such a large light fit in the port of such a small integrating sphere?

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Review: Fenix BC21R


This is a surprising light because of its quality construction and really nicely shaped beam pattern and warm color for only $80. Field-replaceable batteries are a nice bonus.

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  • fmcart says:

    You state that the BC21R is made of plastic and sells for $80.

    According to Fenix Lighting this unit is made of aluminum and sells for $96. I THINK Fenix Lighting is the official company website but there are others that use the Fenix name in their title.

    This is all somewhat confusing.

    • Bourec says:

      Fenix Lighting is just one of the US distributors, manufacturers website is really fenixlight.com. AFAIK the MSRP is actually 75 USD/75 EUR.

  • fmcart says:

    Fenix Lighting just lowered the priceof the BC21R to $75, just below MSRP.

  • Log81 says:

    It’s definitely made of alloy I got mine recently, great little light and I love the ability to carry replacement batteries! I got mine from rmoutdoors for just over £60!

    https://www.rmoutdoors.co.uk/shop/fenix-flashlights/bike-lights/fenix-bc21r-rechargeable-led-road-bike-light/

  • OmegaMan says:

    Are there any helmet mounts that work with this light? Fenix doesn’t make one.

  • ReplaceableGuy says:

    Love that there’s suddenly great options for torch-style bike headlights that take *standard* batteries. I’m really between this and the ITUO Wiz1 at this point.

    So is this thing metal or plastic? I’ve been reading & watching Francis’s reviews for years. He ought to know metal from plastic and he says this thing’s plastic. What gives? (@Francis, this would be a great time to post a little clarification – is it metalized plastic or powder coated metal or something?)

  • ReplaceableGuy says:

    Mine just arrived and it’s plastic exactly as described by Francis.

    The silver at the end around the lens is metal and has gaps to make it more visible from the sides. One of those gaps is at the very top. I suspect when I’m standing on my pedals and leaned a bit over the handlebars it’s going to shine in my eyes. Nothing that can’t be fixed w/ a spot of tape.

    The battery that shipped with it is as advertised: a Fenix ARB-L2-2300. It’s a flat top (almost a pure cylinder w/o a “button” on the positive end like you usually see with AA batteries). Amazon has 3000 mAh ones for like $10 for 4 of them and even some claiming to be 6000 mAh (I suspect that’s a bold faced lie)

    Last observation: when plugged into a microUSB charger, you can use it, but the only settings are “high” and “low” and “off”. Not sure how high or low those are compared to battery-only operation. Also, it works when plugged into USB w/o the battery, but makes an annoying high pitched sound and there’s only one mode (well, 2 – on and off).

  • android says:

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free.
    OB FENIX OPINIONI

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Review: ITUO Wiz2 and Wiz1


Great construction, beam patterns and honest output are the highlights of these two lights from ITUO. One delivers two hours of run time and the other keeps going for an impressive three hours.

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  • mtbiker4Lyf says:

    where can these be purchased from?

    • trevor jackson says:

      The Ituo Wiz1 and Wiz 2 can be purchased at Brightbikelights.com – more info on the Wiz 1/2 on the website

  • Josh S says:

    I purchase link would be awesome. Nice review.

  • ReplaceableGuy says:

    I’d love to see a pict of these sitting beside a Fenix BC21R. The lights have really similar performance (same LED), feature set, and take standard batteries.

    Seems like the Wiz’s are a little bigger, have a bulkier, more versatile mount. The Fenix BC21R seems to be plastic, has a fancier beam, and red side-lights. It’s mount is proprietary and I don’t think that rubber will last as long as the Wiz mount. Especially if you leave it in the sun all day.

    I like that these Wiz’s seem to have the charging port on the side. I’d be hesitant to mount the Fenix upside down for fear of water puddling on the cap and getting in.

    Any comment on the feel of the buttons? Both fairly glove friendly? Do they make clicky noises?

  • ReplaceableGuy says:

    ITUO recommends “high quality protected” batteries for it’s double-barrelled Wiz20 [http://www.ituoworld.com/en/content/?215.html] and all 3 of these new Wiz lights clearly have a lot in common. Any recommendation for “protected” batteries for the Wiz1 & 2?

    I wonder if the “protected battery” is actually the “19670”? According to Wikipedia, that’s the proper designation for a protected 18650 [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/18650#Cylindrical_lithium-ion_rechargable_battery]

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Review: Lupine Betty R 15


Lupine Betty came in at 4711 Lumens last year. This year, it clocked in at 4989 forest piercing Lumens. We don’t know how they do it but they keep extracting more light from this little beast.

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Review: Blaze Laserlight


Primarily a commuter light, it’s bright enough to get around on the trail or supplement a bar light. But you may get too distracted playing with the laser in the forest.

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Review: CatEye Volt 800


It’s a good helmet light, very similar to last year’s CatEye Volt 700.

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Review: Knog Blinder ARC 640


Knog from Australia makes a serious effort in lights with a staggering selection. Honest outputs, good beam patterns and the best form factors in the business are some of its virtues with this 640 as their brightest offering.

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Review: Lezyne Power Drive 900XL


Good optics, good price and form factor make this a good purchase as long as the customer is able to access the hidden Overdrive mode from right away.

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Review: Lupine Wilma 7


The Wilma 7 is the ‘practical’ exotic light of the Lupine line. Its incredible brightness is balanced out by light weight and good runtime. The new remote is a very welcome addition.

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Review: CandlePower Tech TrailTorch TT3000


With the highest levels of U.S. craftsmanship, CandlePower Tech delivers a light with a very bright and even beam pattern. The GoPro compatible mounting is a big plus as well.

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  • geephlow says:

    I’ve been running the older model TT2200 for a couple of years. The quality and volume of light is confidence-inspiring for gnarly night-rides, and it’s held up well after a few seasons of heavy use in the wet, muddy PacNW. Customer service is also fantastic — these are people you want to do business with.

  • SJC says:

    N/A lumens? Did the light die?

  • TKK says:

    How can a con be “Not up to 3000 Lumen claims” when you have N/A for actual. I am interested in buying this light, so any info would be great

  • Craig says:

    I’m interested to know what the measured lumens are. The light looks to compete with the gloworm xs but i’d like to know how it fairs on the lumens. The beam pattern looks to be perfect

  • Craig says:

    Look to compete directly with the Gloworm XS but without lumen measurements hard to know. Can we get some more figures? Beam pattern looks to be amazing, i’m thinking of buying this light

  • Steve says:

    I’m a return buyer to this company. I had purchased their TT1800 a few years back and found that it fit the build for a high end light with quality output, meticulous build at a fairly reasonable price.. Recently, I purchases this light, the TT3000, and found it to be orders of magnitude better than the TT1800 in all respects even though the 1800 is a killer light for night riding. While I can’t authenticate the actual lumens, the beam pattern and throw is fantastic and a quantum leap above the1800. Strapped to my helmet, I can’t outrun the beam and the squared off pattern gives a very deep throw and a very even broad pattern that pushes back the darkness better than any lights I’ve seen. The battery packs are bullet proof, and I carry a backup in my camelback. Run times, at 40 degrees have exceeded an hour and a half without discharging the battery or it dropping down in brightness. Cabling is literally a snap and is uber high end.
    ALSO, I purchased their XFlare tail light (and a hundred other possible uses) and think it is in a class by itself as tail lights go. My riding buddies, like me, think it produces a demanding flash that simply cannot be ignore by any driver. It looks like you are coming up on a police cruiser with its light on. Everything these guys sell is top notch workmanship and avenues of communication are great. Like many readers I am baffled why MTBR does not list the actual lumen output for this product, but nonetheless, it works as promised where it is most needed… in the utter and complete darkness of the deep woods

  • Bull says:

    FYI, per their store, they are sold out until Fall 2016.

  • Craig says:

    Measure the lumens already….

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Review: Sigma Buster 600


The Buster 600 puts out an honest 600 Lumens in a handy, no frills package for $90. Impressed with this offering from Sigma of Germany.

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Review: DiNotte XML-3


The XML-3 is light at 355 grams, bright at 1573 Lumens yet it does not break the bank at $229.

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  • Tim M says:

    I researched for months before buying a light, and this was my choice. I consider it the best for price, weight, brightness, and run time. Excellent customer service as well. Very pleased

  • Craig says:

    I have a pair of DiNotte XML-3 lights that I have used for two years now. One on the helmet and one on the bars. I have no clue how many hours I have on them, but it’s a whole lot. I have many, many night rides and who knows how many pre-dawn rides lasting between 1.5 and 2.5 hours each.

    I can’t begin to say how extraordinarily pleased that I am with these lights. They have survived cold winter rides and blistering Texas summer rides. I have used them on road bikes, but mostly mountain biking. They have been used in daytime for awareness on road rides in 100+ degree days for hours.

    Only now am I beginning to see battery duration decline. It actually seems to have come on pretty quickly, but it’s manageable. I need to start thinking about battery replacement. These replacement batteries are not cheap, but they have delivered many dependable hours of riding.

    They get my highest rating!

  • Dave O says:

    When you say the beam has an excellent color, is it less blue than some of the other lights, more like a neutral white?

  • Corbinworks says:

    I have this light, Dinotte has it listed as 2000lm not 1600lm
    Do we have an updated test showing the 2000lm’s?

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Review: Light & Motion Urban 850 Trail


This latest Urban 850 Trail model remains very bright and light. Now the side lights have been turned down to optimize for trail use. GoPro mount compatibility is offered now as well.

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Review: Lupine NEO 2


At 188 grams, it is the ideal helmet light with the battery mounted at the rear of the helmet to provide balance to the light head up front.

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Review: Lezyne Deca Drive 1500XXL


Lezyne made their mark with honest, infinite battery lights. But with the dangers of loose Lithium cells, they are going with sleeker and more compact designs.

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  • SuperficialDorkOnBike says:

    Well, now Lezyne is like many other and can be bunch in with them. The lack of a replaceable battery in the field was a big selling point for me. I was willing to pay a little more for that.

    While not field replaceable, most of the Lezyne lights can have the battery replaced. You just have to want to take the light apart. I have done it one my micro drives models.

  • SGK says:

    Lezyne lights are great…when they work. I’ve had multiple fails with a Super Drive and bad battery with a Mega Drive. Customer support was okay, but never solved the battery issue. It’s hard to go night riding with a light you don’t really trust.

  • AC says:

    I’ve seen mixed reviews on the battery issue. Many claim the Year 9 Power Drive XL 900 has a user-replaceable battery, but not the Macro Drive 600 XL, for example. Does anyone know if either of those models have a user-replaceable battery or not?

  • Brian says:

    Francis, was the 1390 measured lumens in race mode or regular mode?

  • Aaron says:

    I have used alot cheap lights and they only put out white lite. The white light just washes out the ground. I use mine on endure mode and it last 3hr for my 25 mile mountain bike ride.

  • Zvi says:

    Bought two Deca drive 1500 XXL lights via EBAY. Both are not working, one after a year and the other one after half of a year. Contacted Lezyne but they renounced.
    After using rechargeable batteries lights for many years I came into conclusion that this technology is not reliable.

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Review: CatEye Volt 1600


The Volt 1600 continues to be one of our favorites as the output bumps up to 1600 Lumens now. Chassis and mount are getting a bit dated now for this much light but this is still a self-contained powerhouse.

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Review: NiteRider Lumina OLED 800


This latest Lumina bumps output to an honest 800 Lumens. It also incorporates an OLED display to make switching through modes very easy. Finding out remaining runtime on any light level is handy as well.

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  • John says:

    Heading into my third (or is it fourth?) winter with 2 Lumina 650’s. Still holding a charge, and producing all the light I need. They have survived some hard falls without issue. Small, low weight, sufficient light, durable, and made in America. What’s not to like?

  • The Geezer says:

    I have used a NiteRider Lumina 650 for a couple of years. I use it mostly on “walking” mode. It will run for hours without reaching the recharge indication. All good, highly recommend these lights.

  • Jeff in Napa says:

    I have three of their lights a mi-newt 600 , lumina 700 and a lumina 750 that I am nothing but pleased with . 95 % of my riding is in the dark usually the Veeder loop here in Napa where it’s pitch black and I have more light than I actually need running two on low just incase one were to quit working .. The mi-newt is a few years old and has been charged at least 500 cycles and still works fine which is pretty amazing …. Money well spent !!

  • Kevin says:

    I have a older Tri-Newt and it works well. I use it on my handlebar and mount the large battery in a water bottle and put it in the water bottle cage. I also have a Lumina 750 that I run on the helmet that is very light and I enhanced the helmet straps with two zip ties. I use that helmet only for night riding. Both lights have been flawless, bright, dependable, and well built.

  • Garyh | Australia says:

    Que??
    Under Minuses… “OLED does not display charging status ”
    This is not correct. A running bar shows the battery is undergoing charge, and when disconnected and turned on, the percentage of charge and corresponding bar representation is also shown. In what context, and when has the published observation been made?

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      >> Que??

      When charging, it should display the current % charge on the battery. This is how other lights with OLED function.

  • patrick says:

    had the reg lunina 600 and now the oled 600….love them both…the oled ins smaller in length, looks great and is fun to use….my only disappointment is it doesn’t have the hyper flash that’s great for intersections….it has 4 flash modes that all seem to be very similar and slow…

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