Help with new light decision

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BetweenRides
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Help with new light decision

I started my foray into flashlight collecting last year with the intent of having a backup light for my bar mounted bike light, which is a 700 lumen flood. My first two purchases were a PaLight C8 R5, followed by a UltraFire C8 XM-L, and they have both served me well. After recently getting a few nicer flashlights (Balder B-2, Romisen P-Rocket, N-Light ST50) to use as helmet lights, I decided I'd like to upgrade my collection and sold both C8s to riding buddies, along with batteries, chargers and mounts for each. I sold them for a fair price and my buddies are happy because they've used the lights and know what they can do, plus they haven't a clue about how to get started with flashlights.

I would like to get a larger light that is a good thrower but has the flexibility of handling 1 or 2 18650 batteries. That way I can still use it for biking with 1 battery but I can get longer run time as a general purpose light with 2. I don't really have a powerful thrower, so that is my preference. My budget is ~ $65, and after doing some research, here's what I've identified as alternatives:

N-Light ST60 - $55. This has a nice size head and smooth reflector, so I think it should have good throw, but I haven't seen any reviews. I really like the performance and quality of my ST50 and this one looks to be at the same level. Not the flashiest looker though.

XinTD L2 - $55. Appears to be a well made light, love the look of the different materials, especially the SS bezel option. It also has smooth optic and the head is a bit bigger. At first I thought it had a strange appearance, but it's looks are growing on me the more I view it.

SolarForce M8 - $70 (from what I can find, this is a great price) I know SF has a great reputation and love the appearance, but I know next to nothing about mixing and matching parts and I find the SF site to be totally confusing. I can't tell if this includes all the parts needed for a light or if there is a better option through one of the Masterpiece Pro1 or Pro2 sets. I do like the idea of having a SF host that I can modify in the future.

Any opinions on these and do you know of any other 1 & 2 battery options? Any help from the great minds at BLF would be appreciated!

BetweenRides
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Wow. No response - that's surprising to me. Was my Original post too long? Let me edit it down:

Any suggestions on 1x or 2x 18650 alternatives?

I've looked everywhere I know of. First two options have a lot of mentions, but no actual experience. For the SF M8, other than an excellent review by Foy, not much out there. Still researching...

BetweenRides
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oldbobk:

Thanks for the reply. There is actually a whole 'nuther world out there related to bike night riding, especially in the mountain biking scene. If you don't already know about it, check out mtbr forums. They even have a well established DIY group that put out some incredible custom LED lighting systems. For the most part these are handlebar or helmet mounted with separate battery packs, which are usually 2x, 4x or 6x 18650 Li-Ion units. A few users there and on BikeForums got me looking at flashlights as an alternative, and I stumbled on CPF and BLF about a year ago.

My interest in this topic is for a 2x 18650 general use thrower flashlight that can do double duty as a 1x 18650 bar light in the 2-3 months out of the year when I actually do night riding.

As a side note, I did a double take on your user name. The nickname for a very well know American cyclist, Bob Roll, is "Bobke".

jacktheclipper
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One in my gear bag under the seat , and two on the bars .

Not what you're asking , but it is an alternative .

joe1512
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I guess my confusion is why you got rid of your old lights.  You had XM-L ones, so I am not sure exactly what you are looking for.  That is the latest emitter so I dont think you are going to find any better.   My only suggestion would be to pile on more lights if you needed them.

2 smaller 1x18650 lights will certainly balance better than 1 larger light.  I mean..sure you could strap a DRY 3xXM-L onto your bike, but its easier to simply mount 3 cheap 1x18650 XM-Ls.  You will get better heat dissipation and weight distribution that way.  You can then get orange peel or smooth and varied reflector sizes to get your preference of flood vs throw.

BetweenRides
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Hi, Joe - thanks for the response. Short answer, some of my cycling buddies wanted to buy flashlights and I'm using the money from the sale of my old ones to fund my addiction. Smile

As I mentioned in the first post, I wasn't real happy with the quality of the budget lights I had and I was looking to by a nice quality thrower anyway, so this worked out nicely. I don't need a dedicated bike flashlight - I already have a four cell flood that offers 700+ lumens and it meets my needs quite nicely for planned night trail rides. What I want is a nice thrower torch with long run time (2 x 18650) that can also function as a bar light (1 x 18650) if needed for road rides where I don't have the big flood with me. The three options I put out there in the OP were the only 1x or 2x lights I was able to find, and other than the review by Foy and a few others on CPF for the SF M8, not much info is available. So I was hoping for a recommendation of the best one of the three and if anyone knew of other options I am not aware of. Right now I'm leaning towards the M8, but I'm not real thrilled with the mode options for the light.

@ jacktheclipper: That is exactly how I mount aflashlight on my road bike. During the main part of the cycling season, we ride on Tuesdays and Thursdays after work and the only limitation on ride time is available daylight. Carrying a torch lets us extend the ride time a little bit so we don't have to worry about getting back at sunset.