Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Trailtech SCMR16 HID review

Posted by DaveC | October 1, 2007 | 13 comments so far

Trailtech MR16 HID
There are so many ways I could start this review but it’s probably best to keep it short, sweet and to the point. I purchased a Trailtech HID lamp based around an MR16 sized lamp via their UK distributor, picking it up for £140 inc. P&P (see Trailtech’s Single HID SCMR16 page for more details).

Now, I concede that is a lot of money for a ‘budget’ HID lamp, but boy does it output some light!

The unit itself is fairly bulky compared to a standard MR11 based unit such as the Hope, the Lumicycle or indeed the Topeak (which I understand is also a Trailtech unit) as the reflector is basically 50mm in diameter compared to 35mm.

As far as I know this is the only MR16 sized HID available and it produces 1850 lumens. Whether that is true or not is difficult to say but it does completely dominate Matt’s Hope and Jez’s Light and Motion HID which are rated in the 500-650 lumen range. Granted the output is higher as well, rated at 30 watts.

I was concerned about heat but the unit only ever got warm although I used the light sparingly for fast downhills and very muddy sections (yep, the mud is back). Trailtech don’t seem to worry much about firing the HID lamp back up after you have stopped which seems to be a concern with other MR11 based HIDs. According to Trailtech the ballast monitors itself and will not ignite if it’s too hot.

To power this baby I purchased some Lithium Polymer (lipo) batteries and chargers from a Chinese seller on eBay. Lipo batteries are much lighter and smaller than nickle metal hydride and make an ideal solution for MTBs but until recently have been very expensive (and still are in most radio control model shops in the UK).

Having checked with Trailetch in the US that the ballast in the HID will ignite with 11.1v I ordered myself four batteries with a capacity of 2400mah. Each of these should last just shy of an hour so three should be ideal for our 2.5 hour night rides. A few connectors and switches and an hour of faffage later I had a unit cobbled together.

So what are the drawbacks? Well it’s still getting on for £200 which is a lot of money for a light. It may be too bright which isn’t so much of a concern for me as for the others I ride with as it tends to cast a shadow in their HID beam. As Matt commented, its the nuclear option in terms of the annual lighting arms race…

The swivelling bracket that Trailtech supply also fell to bits on the first outing and required a mid trail rebuild (removing a screw to get at the screw that had come loose) but that seems cured now. Another downside is that my previously very adequate LED headlamp seemed to lose its shine.

So I guess that means a HID on the ‘lid’ is required!

Filed under Lights, Reviews in October 2007


About the author

Dave's been riding seriously since about 1997 and is one of the founding Molefathers — along with Matt and Mark — that came up with the idea of a MTB website for Mole Valley riders.

He's had several different bikes but it's now mainly 29ers in Dave's stable, apart from an Orange 5.

Current Bikes: Orange 5, Salsa Spearfish and Kona Big Unit

There are 13 comments on ‘Trailtech SCMR16 HID review’

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  1. Eeeboy says:

    Ah! Another Trailtech MR16 owner this side of the pond. Pleased to meet you!

    I echo your comments about the unit – it’s very very bright, but having had mine a year now it hasn’t been the happiest of ownership experiences.

    I bought mine from the USA through a third party distributor and initially was delighted with it. The bracket that came with it also broke mid-trail but fortunately one of the guys I was riding with had a roll of electrical tape to bodge it onto my handlebars until I got home. I have since modified a Trailtech post mount, which is supremely solid but doesn’t allow for “on-the-fly” adjustment.

    A couple of months ago I got it back on bike ready for the dark season only to have problems with starting the unit up – it took some 12 – 20 goes to eventually fire the lamp. I wish I’d discovered their UK operation earlier before buying abroad. The US reseller was pretty hopeless and rightfully deserves their reputation for crap service, eventually I was bounced to Trailtech whose customer service was fantastic. They agreed to repair the unit outside of warranty and even went as far as fitting their new processor controlled switch.

    I have the unit back on my bike now and it seems to be performing well, albeit with a consistent small amount of flickering from the bulb. I thought about bypassing the new switch but have decided “…if it ain’t broke…….”.

    I get so much pleasure from this light and despite all the current claims in the press about LED technology eclipsing HID – there is still no LED set-up that touches the Trailtech for pure output and wow factor.

    Incidentally – I picked up my new Exposure Joystick MaXx today – I’ll report back once I’ve used it.


  2. Muddymoles says:

    Reflections on the Trail

    Dave’s still at it as winter draws in. But it’s not there yet and he’s still experimenting.

  3. Muddymoles says:

    Exposure MaXx-D – it’s the daddy

    LED lights seem to have won the lighting arms race for MTBs. Exposure are still upping the ante though with their MaXx-D light.

  4. Muddymoles says:

    Hope HID or Hope Vision 4 LED?

    What’s the best lighting set up between the Hope HID and the Hope Vision 4 LED? For the LED you could substitute the Exposure MaXx-D as well.

  5. Muddymoles says:

    Exposure MaXx-D on order

    Matt puts his money where his mouth is with the Exposure MaXx-D (for Daddy). The only problem is the waiting list.

  6. justin says:

    Hi, Trailtech arent the only ones doing a mr16 30watt HID lightset and if you check out the CYCLOPS MOTORSPORTS website @ it looks like they are both using the same shell and they are also using 11.1v li-poly batteries @ 6500mAh so you only need one not four sets. If you are in the UK then why not get your light unit from CYCLOPS MOTORSPORTS and partner it with a 14.8volt 6600mAh Lithium ion battery overvolting the lamp (lamp works with batteries 10-18volts) and the end result will give you a usable output of over 2500 lumens as compared to the 1900 with a standard 11.1volt battery. Before this setup I was running a 21watt HID Cateye Stadium 3 and a Lumicycle 35watt Halogen and the single Cyclops Phoenix is at least twice as bright with the setup previously mentioned and on with a spot bulb it goes futher than two football pitches!! Yes over 200metres. I wouldnt settle for any other setup.

    Hope this helps.


  7. Colin says:

    cheers for the tips Justin

    Alternatively, just go out riding during the day !

    Anything over 1000 lumens makes life very hard for your riding mates if they’re in front of you so whilst you can see where you’re going, you run the risk of riding solo before long.

  8. Muddymoles says:

    NightLightning iBlaast LED lights review

    Colin has bagged himself a bargain with the impressive NightLightning iBlaast LED light – and here’s a review.

  9. JB says:

    Been using Trail tech Hid for 2 years cost me fortune in broken batterys (my own fault) but would not be with out them as I live in rural Lincolnshires no street lights and 11 miles to the pub these lights are if anything over kill But I can garuntee car drivers will dip there light to you and that makes them worth it!!

  10. Related: Reflections on the Trail | Rides | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

  11. Related: NightLightning iBlaast LED lights review | Reviews, Lights | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

  12. Related: Exposure Lights MaXx-D 4 LED - it's the daddy | News, 2008 | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

  13. Related: Hope HID or Hope Vision 4 LED? | Mutterings, Stuff & nonsense | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

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