2013 Bike Lights Shootout – Mtbr Lumen Tests

Lights Lights Shootout

We created a few graphs for you to make light comparison easier.

2013 Claimed vs Measured Lumens

This first graph is a bar graph of each light’s lumen output. Taller bars indicate a brighter light. The cheaper lights are on the left and the most expensive ones are on the right. And the best feature of this graph is it has the red dots on each bar that mark a light’s ‘Claimed Lumens’. This makes it very easy to compare what a light claims and what we measured its lumen output to be.


2013 Lumen per Dollar

This next graph is our measured lumens divided by the price of the light. Higher numbers indicate a brighter light for the money.


2013 MTBR Lux vs Lumen

This graph compares the Mtbr Lux metric in our very own lab and compares it to the integrating sphere readings. This map shows that the Mtbr Lux reading is always consistent and proportional with lab measured integrating sphere data. This validates the Mtbr Lux readings which we have used for the last 5 years. This means that we can compare these new crop of lights to all our historical data. And in cases were we can’t measure with an integrating sphere, we will always have Mtbr Lux readings.


Related Links
All Mtbr Lights Shootout Articles »
2013 Bike Lights Shootout »
2013 Backyard Beam Pattern Comparisons »
2013 Mtbr Lux measurements »
2013 Mtbr Lumen Tests »
2012 Bike Lights Shootout »
Mtbr Lights Reviews »
Mtbr Lights Forum »

SPECIAL NOTE: Cygolite has declined to participate at this point. Niterider, Exposure, Jet Lites and Gloworm are all sending new lights asap. If you would like to send lights for this test, please email [email protected]

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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  • Skidad says:

    Great work Francis, do you ever sleep? Keep the light info coming and take your time with the 650B shootout (alternative motive hoping to get the new Banshee Spitfire included with frames arriving in Dec).

    How about getting the Trail Torch from Candle Power Tech in PA? Looks impressive @1800+ lumens.


  • slyfink says:

    to Paul Barrett in the facebook comments re MJ 872. I have that light, and while it is very bright, it doesn’t put the light where you need it, ie down the trail. In fact, it’s so bright so close to my eyes, that it is counterproductive with my helmet light when used at full throttle. I can only use it in the bottom two settings.

    That kind of exposes the weakness of the “lumens-only” measurement as the be-all and end-all pursuit of light measurement. I’m not saying it’s a bad or useless measurement, only that there are far more considerations to take into account. I’d say flood characteristics, throw, colour and temp, and compatibility between bar and helmet are things that need to be taken into account too. Good luck gathering all that into one measurement you can print on the box!

  • Jason says:

    Why are there no Exposure lights in your testing? They seem to have a wide variety of lights with nice features.

  • Jason says:

    Just saw the Facebook posts that they are sending in lights!

  • Kerry says:

    I would really haved liked to see the Cygolite TridenX1100 in this test. I have one and think it is brilliantly bright and love it but I am interested to see how the claimed lumens stack up against the MTBr tests and other lights.

  • Dave says:

    It seems really hard to compete with the Chinese lights. $95 for 648 actual lumen is cheap. My son has two Magicshines that hit nearly 1300 actual lumen and we only paid $190 for both. I ordered two Xeccon’s last night for myself for $210 and they’ll hit around 1600 actual lux. I’d like to buy U.S. products but as we can see on the list, I’d be paying nearly double. And they work well to boot.

    • Deschutesriverbum says:

      Hey Dave, my experience with the cheap Chinese made lights is that they are not well built and the beam pattern is not great. These are other factors to consider when making a purchase. Also, try dealing with customer service with one of those companies is impossible. When you buy an American made product with local customer service then you get better service. Supporting a local US company instead of a Chinese company helps out the US economy too and you get what you pay for. They may be more expensive but they will last for years. My Light & Motion Arc is many years old and still great. And they give an upgrade deal for a new light when I need one!

  • bubbska says:

    lumens per dollar is a good way to evaluate. but you could lump all the major factors together and have (lumens*runtime)/(cost*weight). like 1000 lumens, 3 hrs runtime, $250, 350 grams gives 0.034…maybe multiply all by 1000 to give 34. hi lumens and runtime give a higher score, high cost and weight give a lower score.

  • Diego says:

    Para ser verdaderamente justos, también había que añadir en la prueba las copias chinas de Magicshine que pueden comprarse en Ebay/Dealextreme con 1 o 3 XML, (algunas ya incorporan el LED XML2)
    Todo el mundo comenta que los focos de 3 XML son fantásticos y superan a la Fénix BT20 o la Niteye B20

    Seguro que encuentran a mucha gente con uno de ellos para hacer la prueba!!

  • Diego says:

    Sorry, in English:
    In To be truly fair, also had to add in testing Chinese copies that can be purchased on Ebay / Dealextreme with 1 or 3 XML (some already incorporate LED xml2 U2)
    Everyone says bulbs 3 XML are great and outperform the Phoenix Niteye BT20 or B20

    Sure are a lot of people with one of them for testing!

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