With daylight savings dropping recently, it’s time to start thinking about a quality bike light for night riding. Just a couple of years ago a decent mountain biking light would have run you $300 to $500 or more. Thankfully those days are gone and you can now get the Lumentrek Trailblazer with a scorching 1600 lumens of LED goodness for a mere $169.95.
Before you ask, this is not Yet-Another-Rebranded-Magichshine. While similar in shape and style, it has some smart features that set it apart in the lower-cost light market:
- Four Cree XP-G R5 LED’s
- It includes the helmet mount.
- Waterproof head unit and battery.
- The power cord comes out the back of the light, rather than the front.
- A clear and a diffusing lens are included, to suit your preference.
- Optically focused beam pattern.
- High, medium, and low brightness are readily accessible with a simple click of the power button.
- Strobe mode is available, but not as part of the quick-click cycle.
- The battery is factory-sealed in a rubber case.
- The light head is warrantied for 5 years, by real people, in North Carolina.
- Comes with a short cord, and includes an extension if needed.
- The power switch uses color-coded illumination to denote remaining battery life. (and it’s also easy to find in the dark)
According to Lumintrek, with the clear lens installed, the light should provide a more focused beam, whereas the ‘orange peel’ lens is for a wider, more diffused pattern. In my testing I’ve been running the clear lens and it provides a flood of super bright white light that is broad enough to illuminate even the widest doubletrack, but only out to a distance of about 30 feet or so. This works great as a bar-mounted option, but with it on my helmet I found myself wishing for a little more distance, especially when descending.
As a single light, it’s OK for recreational riding at moderate speeds, but if you need to see farther down the trail, you’ll want to consider the $120 Lumintrek Trailblazer 1000. It has a single Cree LED that uses a reflector rather than lens optics to shape the beam. The net result is light that is not as bright, but that is focused in a much narrower, longer beam.
Of course the ultimate setup is to have both: the 1600 on the handlebars and the 1000 on your helmet. This lets the wide, diffused beam of the 1600 illuminate the whole width of the trail in front of you while the 1000 is tightly focused wherever you happen to be looking. Running both will also result in better contrast and definition of rocks and other obstacles, due to the different angles of the two beams. Most 24 hour races now require two lights, and the pair of them will set you back about $300 with shipping. That’s two lights, with a total of 2600 lumens, for the price of one of the big name brands from a couple years ago! If you get them from Amazon, they’re substantially less than MSRP and they ship for free.
Bottom line: the Lumintrek TrailBlazer 1600 is a great light at a great price. The machined aluminum head unit is solid and tight. The switch engages easily with a positive click. The power cord connects firmly and does not come unplugged on the trail. Top that all off with the included felt storage bag, helmet mount, and cord extension and you have a well thought out package at a reasonable price.
Thanks to Jeff at Lumintrek for sending over the Trailblazer 1600 for review!