Gentle up the night time – and the paths – with these tried and examined helmet-mounted lights for mountain biking
As the times shorten and the clocks return, time to journey in sunlight hours turns into severely restricted exterior of the weekend. Put money into a set of lights nevertheless, and you’ll open up a complete world of nocturnal driving exercise. The greatest MTB mild set-up ought to embrace a handlebar mounted mild plus a helmet mounted mild to provide the greatest visibility at midnight.
Finest mountain bike helmet mild
Weight: 161g | Lumens: 510, 975, 2,100 | Score: 10/10
Causes to purchase: Brilliant, sturdy, absolutely programmable
Causes to keep away from: Dear (however price it), mounting points with some helmets
The Zenith MK2 has a properly machined aluminium physique and clips onto a helmet utilizing Publicity’s neat two-piece vent mount. This works with most helmets, however we’ve just lately had a number of points with MIPs liners. These are sometimes fastened to the EPS core, and to get the Publicity mount in place, we’ve needed to bend the liner, which might crease it.
The Zenith MK2 places out a most 2,100 lumens from its three LEDs and it has a barely brighter, extra targeted beam than both the Cateye AMPP 800 or Magicshine RN 1500, and like all Publicity lights, the Zenith MK2 is absolutely programmable with 9 built-in modes, helpfully written on the physique of the sunshine.
What makes this our final helmet mild is the very good construct high quality, wonderful programmability and the actual fact we might journey quicker utilizing this mild than some other.
Weight: 109g | Lumens: 1,850, 1,000, 500 | Run time: 1, 1.5, 3hrs | Score: 10/10
Causes to purchase: Extremely brilliant. Light-weight. Intelligent helmet mount.
Causes to keep away from: Faucet mode not infallible, however you may flip it off.
The sunshine output is excellent – it’s produces an extremely brilliant white mild that actually picks up element and it by no means obtained overpowered, not matter what bar mild we used it with. On full energy, you get 1,850 lumens, however there are seven completely different programmable modes utilizing the excessive, medium and low settings, so you may actually fluctuate the output and run time.
Turning off the Faucet Mode is an choice too, which we did a few occasions when driving by dense undergrowth as a result of that may catch the sunshine and faucet it off. Publicity makes a neat and light-weight vent mount for the Diablo that’s absolutely adjustable and low profile. Additionally included within the field is a bar mount field and a correct charger, not only a USB cable.
Finest worth helmet mild
Weight: 299g | Lumens: 400, 1,400, 2,000 | Score: 9/10
Causes to purchase: Wonderful worth, customisable, distant management app
Causes to keep away from: Battery life on full beam is low
The Gloworm X2 Journey is comparable in dimension and construct to the Hope R4+, utilizing a twin LED machined alloy head, however mixed with a lighter and smaller two-cell battery. Included with the X2 Journey is a plastic mount secured with a Velcro strap, but it surely’s a bit brief and the mount just isn’t that steady. Ultimately we used the GoPro adapter, which simplified set-up and made it extra steady, but it surely does sit fairly excessive.
The sunshine places out 2,000 lumens on full beam, and through the use of the brand new Hyperlink app, you may customise the person settings and even create your personal customized mode. So, whereas it sits somewhat excessive, and that helmet mounted battery/cable just isn’t as handy because the all-in-one designs, for simply over £200 the X2 Journey is cracking worth.
Good associate to a bar mild
Weight: 148g | Max lumens: 700 | Score: 9/10
Causes to purchase: Nice worth and good lens mild.
Causes to keep away from: Modest battery life.
It might ‘solely’ have 700 lumens, which might appear manner underpowered within the trendy period of 1,000s of lumens, however the Sigma Buster works simply advantageous as a helmet mild, because the beam pool is suitably tightly focussed.
The principle niggle is the modest run time. You possibly can’t actually flip it on and depart it in the course of 90mins+ rides. So a little bit of thought, planning and button urgent is required. Which is a worth properly price paying contemplating it doesn’t really value a stack of dough.
Versatile and durable helmet-mounted mild
Weight: 440g | Lumens: 550, 1,000, 1,500 | Score: 8/10
Causes to purchase: Versatile (might work as handlebar mild), spare mounts included, good beam sample
Causes to keep away from: No distant, exhausting to see gas gauge
We examined the usual Hope R4+ mannequin with a 4-cell Li-Ion battery, however Hope additionally sells a R4+ ‘light-weight’ with a 2-cell battery for £230. Each use the ES (Power Standing) gas gauge, which is button-activated and has 5 phases, so is straightforward to learn, though not when it’s strapped on the again of your helmet.
It says 2,000 lumens on the tin, however the R4+ solely has 1,500 lumens on full energy. End and construct high quality of the Hope R4+ is great. It has a great, even beam sample, and blasts out loads of mild. With all the additional clamps within the field it’s additionally versatile, though we’d prefer to see a lower-profile helmet mount, and perhaps a distant for the gas gauge, simply to make higher use of the ES expertise.
A light-weight mild that packs a punch
Weight: 142g | Lumen: 300, 750, 1,500 | Score: 8/10
Causes to purchase: Dependable and constant, light-weight, crisp white mild
Causes to keep away from: Restricted programmability
For a light-weight that weighs simply 142g and pumps out 1,500 lumens, the Magicshine RN 1500 actually packs a punch. It runs off a Lithium-Ion battery that’s charged through a typical USB-C cable, the port is situated below a rubber bung on the again of the sunshine. Run time is barely about an hour on full energy, however this extends to a claimed 10 hours on the bottom 300 lumen setting. We reckon the very best compromise is 750; highly effective however you get near a three-hour burn time.
The RN 1500 makes use of a single LED, but it surely comes with an anti-glare lens that produces a uniform beam sample and a crisp and white mild. We seen the RN 1500 did run somewhat hotter than most, however this didn’t trigger any points throughout testing. In truth, the RN 1500 has been tremendous dependable and constant. Price per lumen is among the greatest right here, and whereas there’s restricted programmability, and the gas gauge is just about redundant, it’s an ideal addition to a daily bar mounted mild for slicing by the gloom.
How we check
Splitting this check into two means completely different testing procedures. For the helmet lights low weight is essential, however having the ability to entry the sunshine’s settings whereas driving can also be necessary. To should take away the sunshine or your helmet to alter modes is inconvenient.
The beam of a helmet mild must be extra targeted in order that it might overpower the bar mild to spotlight obstacles on the path. Run time must be roughly the identical, clearly, though it is smart to cut back the brightness on climbs, once you’re going slower.
With bar lights it’s all concerning the fittings – they need to be multi-adjustable and accommodate completely different bar diameters. Battery attachments want to suit a variety of bikes. A bar mild ought to have a broad pool of sunshine in entrance of the bike with no darkish spots. To isolate each teams we check all of the helmet lights with the identical bar mild and vice versa.
What to search for in the very best mountain bike helmet lights: a purchaser’s information
In case you’re driving in woods, forests, and even jungle, on tight singletrack with plenty of turns, hidden drops and undulations, we’d suggest including a helmet lamp to your night time journey mild set-up as a result of it enables you to look over that log (or snake pit) to see what’s on the opposite facet. You possibly can spot a flip, look spherical a nook and simply get a greater image of what’s going, even on trails you recognize.
1. Helmet mount kind
Normally most helmet lights connect utilizing a plastic mount, held in place with two Velcro straps that loop by the helmet vents. Nonetheless, some helmets have optionally available clips for GoPro cameras, and you’ll usually get an adapter that permits you to bolt the sunshine straight on, eliminating the Velcro half.
Gentle output is measured in lumens and the upper the quantity the brighter the sunshine. Some producers quote claimed lumens, however others state the measured lumens, which is a more true reflection of the particular mild output. Most lights even have excessive, low, and medium settings, however some additionally get secondary modes which are accessed once you flip the sunshine on. We’ve additionally began to see programmable lights that may be configured utilizing an app or some sequencing constructed into the on/off change.
3. Beam Sample
We’ve included photos of all of the beam patterns to point out what the sunshine seems like on the path. Ideally the helmet mild wants a spot beam with good depth to enhance the bar mild which ought to have a broad unfold with smooth transitions and edges and a pool across the entrance wheel for choosing your manner by technical terrain.
4. Gas Gauge
To indicate remaining battery life a gas gauge is important, but it surely’s stunning what number of lights don’t have one. The best are simply flashing LEDs (inexperienced for good, purple for unhealthy) however among the greatest use a learn out or proportion countdown displayed on the again of the sunshine.
In case your helmet mild connects to a cable, then ideally search for a coiled cable or a brief choice which you can add an extension. The worst is a brilliant lengthy fastened design that you just’re going to should coil up your self and stow in your bag, leaving it weak to getting snagged in your helmet, hair or low branches.
Normally that is fitted to the bar, close to the grip. The thought is you don’t have to succeed in as much as toggle the sunshine on or off and also you’re additionally extra doubtless to make use of the completely different energy ranges and protect battery life. It’s actually helpful on a helmet mild, much less so on the bar as a result of you may simply attain throughout.