Trail Tech MR16 HID light

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Trail Tech MR16 30 Watt $

Light Price Claimed Lumens Runtime Battery Type Light head weight Battery Weight Installed Weight Lumens per gram Lumens per dollar
MR 16 30Watt $429.00 1850 2:10 Lithium Ion 388g 618g 1006g 1.84 4.65

Light Meter charts and comparison table available here.


At its core, the MR16 light is a motorcycle light. That’s why it is so big. The light head is about as wide as a waterbottle and weighs almost a lb. The whole system weighs in at 2.2 lbs compared to most high end LED systems now at 1 lb.

That’s why it’s so bright at 1850 lumens. It’s designed so you can go offroad on the motorcycle at 50 mph.  And that’s why it’s so cheap.  The economies of scale in  the motorcycle industry are a little better and I don’t think they would dare sell a light over $500 for fear of retribution.

MR16 | MR 16 w/ Bag | MR 16 w/ Battery:

img_3085.jpg img_3087.jpg img_3086.jpg


This is where it all breaks down. The battery is mounted on the stem on a top cap mount. It works but it is an odd place for such a big battery. The battery can be mounted on the frame too but laying flat on it’s base, it is too wide and gets in the way of pedaling.

The light itself mounts with a small plastic mount that clamps on to the bar. Ours is not compatible with a 31.8 bar that is supposedly available by press time. There is some side to side movement that allows aiming the light.

Light Meter Measurements:

So here’s the good news. The light is bright with a Lux reading of 121 on our test bed. This is almost double the reading we got on the very expensive second place finisher, the Lupine Betty 12 at 64 Lux.

Trail Tech claimed 1850 lumens and they were not exagerating.

Run Time and Beam Pattern:

Run time was about 2:10 hours. It’s not great but it is understandable considering a light this bright. But since it is HID, there’s no way to dim the light to extend the battery life.

We tested the ‘flood’ version with  a 36 degree beam angle. We feel this is the way for a bike application since the rider can utilize more of the available light. The beam pattern is incredibly bright and wide. It seems to punch a huge white hole into the dark night.

At the center of the beam pattern, there is a little bit of a dark spot effect. This is the farthest point in the trail and the beam does not light it up as much as it does the surrounding area. A helmet spotlight might complement this system but it has to be a very bright helmet light to make a difference.

This is one of the few handlebar lights that doesn’t require a  helmet light for high speed riding. So in the end, maybe the heavy weight is offset if the rider uses just one light instead of two.


  • daylight inducing brightness at 1850 lumens or 121 Lux
  • Great value at $430 with an off the charts lumens/dollar rating
  • beam pattern is nice, wide and usable


  • mounting options are lacking
  • size and weight are overkill for most bike applications
  • HID weaknesses – low run time, no dimming, switching on takes a while, color is a little harsh
  • it gets hot and needs motion to keep it cool.

Bottom Line:

If you want the brightest, widest, best value light, this is it. But if you want a light with great mounting, features, design and flexibility, this is not the best choice.   This light can be great for hobbyists who want to tweak and build their own mounts, battery placement, etc.

Purchasing the light and getting support for it may not be the easiest too since Trail Tech is a motorcycle parts company and they don’t have a lot of retailers for these bicycle versions.

Beam Pattern Photos:


Beam Pattern rollover and side by side comparison page available here.

Value Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Overall Rating:

4.50 out of 5 Stars

Read or write reviews:

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  • Anonymous says:

    Most of us using Trail Tech lamps are using the smaller MR11. It is lighter and better use as a helmet light. Despite its size, the MR11 still blows away any other ‘bike’ light I see on the trail.
    I have a HID MR11 with a Lithium Ion battery. I have seen the battery go well over four hours between charges.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would really like to see the MR11 reviewed the same way. I realize it’s fun with this “light cannon” but I think the MR11 is a much better buy for most people.

    This site is fantastic, by the way! Thank you

    == John ==

  • Anonymous says:

    I cycle (mountain bike on fire trails) regularly with a group of friends at night. One of the group bought the MR11, which is a great light (puts out lots of light, has a very long run time (>3hrs). It was far brighter than any of the LEDs or halogens, but at a great cost. You could pair it with a good head lamp and have plenty of light. Like the MR16, you still run into the same battery mounting issues so I think with any trailtech light you will have to do some creative adjustments to get the battery mounting that you want. The only things I didn’t like on the MR11 was the color of the light (blue/white) and that the flood wasn’t quite enough for a really fast downhill. So I bought the MR16, in the 38 degree flood option.

    * Quite simply, this is the brightest light I have seen on a bike. I have ridden down eroded fire trails at 30+mph and haven’t been able to out ride it. It has allowed me to see animals on and around the trail that my other lights didn’t show
    * Build quality – This is excellent, I have dropped the light more than once and it has held up with just a few scratches, plus it has had no problems with dust, mud or heavy rain.
    * Battery charge time is about the same as the discharge time (much quicker than Ni based batteries)
    * Power lead has Red/Yellow/Green LEDs to help you know how much power you have left.

    * Since it is HID, there is no brightness adjustment, so you need to be careful not to blind folks coming towards you.
    * I bought the kit which only had the 6600mAh LiIon battery, whereas I really wanted the 7800mAh battery. My rides are 2.5hrs-3hrs, and the 6600mAh battery cuts out after ~2hrs. To get around this I typically turn the light off and just use a my headlamp on the uphill grinds. However, if you search the web there is now an 11000mAh LiIon battery available, which is plenty of power.
    * You need to do some tweaking to get the battery placement you want – I ended up buying a camera case and strapping that to the front of my bike, but the article shows some much better mounting options.

    In summary, if want the brightest light out there at a good price, this is it. If you want something that mounts easily then maybe look at another option. If battery life, size and weight are important go the MR11 way, if these aren’t a problem go for the MR16.

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