Lights. Everyone has an opinion on them but after a long time in denial I’ve come to firmly believe that the best option involves a reasonable sum of money, well engineered systems and short cable runs with solid connectors. Definitely not homemade battery / connectors / cable / bracket / lamp unit efforts with their multiple ways to fail inopportunely.
So here’s a heads up — I need some advice. Read on to see if you can help…
For about a year now I’ve been running a Hope HID fitted to my Thomson stem using one of Hope’s custom faceplates. It’s proved to be both effective, with an excellent spread of light and powerful, with 550 lumens output. During that time it’s been easy to adjust the direction of the lamp which has always stayed exactly where I’ve wanted it and it’s been a model of quiet efficiency.
The short, screw connector cable run (it’s about 4 inches max) has meant that there’s been no cable rubs on my paintwork and overall I’ve been pretty pleased with the unit.
What I lack though is flexibility in my lighting set up. I can’t switch it from the Orange Five to the On-one without buying another Hope or Thomson stem with a faceplate – that’s another £60 minimum. This means the On-one, in many ways the perfect winter bike, doesn’t get used as much as it should.
Then there’s the fact that the HID, though easily powerful enough for me to travel at close to daylight speeds, is often pointing in the wrong direction on the slower twisty stuff and can be overwhelmed by the likes of Dave with his ‘everything-but-the-kitchen-sink‘ approach to lighting. Riders with LEDs behind me have definitely been known to put me into shadow despite the HID.
So I have a problem which is I have around £150-200 (absolute maximum) to spend on upgrading my lighting. Now, I could buy a Hope stem and faceplate for the On-one and add an Exposure Joystick MaXx to my helmet which would probably be pretty good. I’d then have light where I need it on the twisty stuff assuming I look where I’m going and the chance to easily switch the light between bikes.
Or I could buy a Hope Vision 4 LED (or, I guess, the Exposure MaXx-D) which has nearly twice the light output of the HID, variable power outputs to eek out riding time and a quick release bracket to swap between bikes. If I sold the HID and OS Thomson stem (ie the complete system) on eBay I’d have funds to contribute toward the purchase of the light and a new Thomson stem.
Dave has also found these self contained ‘twenny-dollah’ LED lights recently which could be hacked into an efficient helmet light (I’ve seen them in action).
So which is the best option? I really don’t know so thought I’d ask what others would do… Any advice gratefully received.