Looking for bicycle light with long runtime and good flood

Hi all,

After almost a week spending my evenings reading this forums for info and insights, I think it’s time to ask directly because I’m beginning to be more confused the more I read and I’m overwhelmed by all the possible choices.
So thank you in advance for helping a newbie.

First, I’m new to Flashlights. I was in the process of buying a “to see” bicycle light that last long enough so I don’t need to charge the batteries every day. Reading forums, I quickly understood that a good budget option was to buy a flashlight and mount it on the bicycle. I liked that “back to basics” avenue.

So, here my criteria (hopefully):

  • Last around 10 hours or more on a low mode that I hope would be emitting around 100 lumens (see the NiteCore EC25 for lumens and runtime reference).
  • Would have a other modes (medium, high, etc) emitting respectively around 200-300 and 500-600. I don’t care if there is other brighter modes but it’s ok if there is. Also, not having to cycle trough blinking/sos mode by default would be great.
  • I want good flood / spill (are they synonyms?). I really need to see max 50-100 meters away. It’s better for my to see a tree branch than see that I will to turn left in 30 seconds.

I will equally ride in lite and not-so lite city streets and often totally dark parks. Around 30-60 minutes a day.

With that in mind I searched the web.

I first saw the Nitecore EC25 (http://www.nitecorelights.com/compact/ec25-cobra-860-lumens/).


  • The runtime and lumens range is perfect.
  • Size, look and heat dissipation good.
  • Low battery indicator.


  • From youtube videos I saw, it seems more a thrower (not much flood)
  • Expensive

Then I discovered this forum and the Chinese lights.

Here, I found some lights that were appreciated by fellow forum members with similar needs.

  • SolarForce L2M
  • UltraFire C8
  • TrustFire A8
  • UniqueFire UF-2200
  • Shadow JM07
  • FastTech X-Power HA-III

After research I understood that 26650 batteries have more power (hence runtime) so I focused my search on Flashlight using those — still NiteCore EC25 is using 18650 batteries and fits my runtime criteria.

Some thoughts on the models I found.

SolarForce L2M


  • Saw a lot of good review.
  • It is P60 format which are supposed to be good flooders.


  • I suppose it lasts not long (runs on 18650 batteries).
  • I was not able to find where to buy it.

UltraFire C8 - Review: Ultrafire C8 XM-L U2 (Warning - Very Picture Heavy)


  • Many cyclists forum users seem to like it


  • It looks to be more a thrower
  • Is kinda big
  • I suppose it lasts not long (runs on 18650 batteries).

TrustFire A8 - Review: TrustFire A8 from Manafont.


  • Use 26650 batteries
  • Small
  • Have good flood (as I think I understood it is P60 format which are supposed to be good flooders)


UniqueFire UF-2200 - Cheap U2 XML single cell 26650 lights


  • Often compared to Shadow JM07 and Keygos M10 (which I did not include here because I understood the UF-2200 is better in every points) which seem to be positively reviewed for bicycle use.
  • Can use the two types of batteries.
  • Inexpensive


  • Not many reviews or visual night shots comparaisons with other flashlights models.
  • I was not able to find if it has a good flood/spill.

Shadow JM07 - Review: Shadow JM07 Pro "Stone White" Limited Edition


  • Seems to have a good spill/flood (26650 bike mount).
  • Can use the two types of batteries.


  • Expensive

FastTech X-Power HA-III - X-power lights @ Fasttech or http://www.fasttech.com/products/1601/10003006/1225300


  • Inexpensive copy of the Shadow JM07, so should also have its Pros.


  • Not much info on it so I don’t know.

A Con which applies to all these lights is that there is no runtime and lumens info for medium and low, only for high, which as I read is often even not true. A point that lead me to maybe buy the NiteCore EC25 dispite its price, just to be sure of what I get. Because I don’t want to play a try and error game. Still, having a good flood is important to me.
I’m looking for a good quality/price ratio flashlight, but I like to know what I will get.

So this is it.
I would really appreciate your tips, info and suggestions. If you have an idea of another model to consider, please tell.

Thank you for your help (and for reading this long post :wink: ).

I have a 20 Min commute by bike each day. (Urban but dark in places).

I use a Klarus ST20 powered by AA eneloops and over 5 trips per recharge. Sorry I can’t be more precise. Here’s a link to a Klarus review so you can check out the LED, etc. Klarus ST20

A “flood” light gives a wide but short beam. “Spill” is the amount of light that “surrounds” a “hot spot” in a flashlight beam. Nearly all lights have spill, but the question is how much and is it useful.

I love this light. It’s waterproof (lots of rain where I live) and obviously “doubles” as a flashlight, since it is a flashlight. It gives me a bit of a safety feel since the AA length means I can make a fist around the flashlight and have it protrude on both ends, should I need to stop in a bad area. It won’t roll but that’s not so much of an important feature out doors, since there are nearly no perfectly flat surfaces outside.

As to my setup, I use this http://dx.com/p/universal-nylon-mount-for-flashlights-and-lasers-12000 to affix the light to the vent holes in my helmet. I then “tilt” it towards the center of my helmet (since the vent holes are not centered) so that it balances on the top of my head. The weight is hardly noticeable if you do this and the helmet does not wobble. The grip is Very secure - I have never had the light loosen even slightly, even in the rain and going off curbs, etc.

Having a head mounted light is great on the bike - you can point it at anything you want without changing the path of your bike. The light I use is billed as a thrower (I think) but the spill is such that it lights up the width of the street adequately to see.

Since the heat radiates upward (and since there is a constant breeze from forward movement on the bicycle) there is never an issue of this type of light getting too warm when helmet mounted.

As a final bonus, elevating the light makes you very visible to cars and pedestrians, whereas a handlebar mounted light might be blocked by cars, low objects, etc.

The key to the whole system is the rechargeable Eneloops. Two go in the light, and I keep two fully charged as backups. When the light gets dim (I lose the highest mode first, but the lower modes work) I have the option of switching in the backup batteries and riding on. Then when I get home I pop the dead ones into the charger and they become the new backups.

One last thing - on the Klarus, it has a front button switch that allows you to cycle through high med and low modes. I find this very useful for two reasons. One, I use the modes to save energy - if I am stopped in a well lighted area I sometimes drop down to low mode, which is very visible to others, but will not illuminate much for me. When I am in very dark areas, I go to high. Two, the side switch makes it easy to do a one handed change without reaching too far back on my head for a rear switch.

I don’t think they make this particular light anymore, but you might find something out there. I would not go with a Dimmer light - as this one on Med/High is good for my needs, but I wouldn’t want the range to be shorter or the light dimmer.

I also wouldn’t do with a flood light, since you don’t get enough illumination for distant threats, like cats, children, crap in the road, etc. Then again I go pretty fast and can sweep my head side to side if I need to pick up potential threats (as when I’m going though an intersection).

As a final recommendation, for visibility when riding you can pick up a pair of these http://dx.com/p/2-led-3-mode-white-red-light-fog-bicycle-lights-black-pair-2-cr2032-51737 (or the like). I mount the white one on the handlebars, to provide low blinky light. I mount the red one on the back of my helmet, again through the vent holes, to provide elevated rear blinking red light. (I also use a larger red blinking LED, so I don’t always turn the helmet one on. It’s more of a backup light for urban riding or if I forget the larger one.)

First of all, welcome to BLF! Many many threads on "best light for cycling"! Few notes: beware that the A8 has a sharp cutoff to it's spill due to the bezel (which can be removed, but then may look odd). Also, I don't know where you heard the A8 gets hot. The A8 handles the heat quite well, and being on a bike will cool just about any light. P60's have lousy heatsinking (could work while moving) and you should probably stay away from them. I'd suggest the FastTech X-Power HA-III JM07 clone (T6 3C neutral white). That's on my wishlist. Look for neutral white tints (like the 3C) which will have much better color rendering and show you detail. Finally, get informed about Li-Ion cells, their dangers, and proper usage of them.


I’d recommend the Jm07 if you can afford it, you may have seen my review on it:

I haven’t yet come across a flashlight yet that’s better for cycling, or you could take a punt as Garry’s mentioned on the xpower version which I’m sure would still be good quality and may well perform similarly to the JM07. And yes, get the nuetral white tint, much easier and nicer on the eyes and gives better depth perception than a typical cool white which has a bit of a 2D effect. 26650 battery lights will give you the best runtime for single cell lights.

This one does look nice. One benefit I forgot to mention is the type of riding you do. I like the option of being able to walk into any corner store in the US and buy a pack of AAs if I have some sort of problem with my dedicated batteries (such as being out for a really long time, forgetting to recharge, etc.).

For riding that’s more predictable, the JM07 looks excellent.

JR - what’s the feasibility of mounting the JM07 on a helmet?

With that FastTech X-Power and a few assumptions here are some rough numbers (very rough, no account for light loss or driver inefficiency):

With (1) Trusfire Flame Protected 26650 (available here) which has been tested with true capacity of about 4,200 to 4,500 mAh (we'll assume 4,200) and using Match's chart from testing an XM-L T6:

High @ 2.6A = +/- 800 lumens for 1.6 hours (1hr 36mins)
Med @ 30% of 2.6A (780mA) = +/- 310 lumens for 5.38 hours (5hrs 23 mins)
Low @ 5% of 2.6A (130mA) = +/- 60 lumens for 32.3 hours (32hrs 18 mins)

Those numbers are on one battery. The medium and low runtimes will likely be less than I calculated (how much less? Not sure.) Two batteries would nearly double all those runtime numbers (not the lumens), but there is much more risk running two Li-Ions in series.

Seems that this driver is almost ideal on 1 cell except that low is a bit too low for you. I do think this driver has low voltage protection, but can't guarantee it.


It can be done, although I rarely helmet mount flashlights so probably not the best person to ask. Even with a smaller lighter P60 light after a while I get a slightly stiff neck, depends on you and if the weight will or won’t bother you. I’ve seen pictures of other riders helmet mounting 26650 lights. Considering where I’m at nightriding with flashlights on a nice shiny giant sized mountainbike at night means I draw a lot of attention, helmet mounting is kind of embarrassing here. :~

Thank you Skalding for all the info.
If I understand, I don’t necessarily need a flood light, but a still large beam with useful spill. Right?
I do like the two buttons UI of this light (as on the JM07) and it could be a good light to use with the many eneloops I have (God I love them!). But the runtime seems pretty short.

My plan is to mostly use my light on low mode and only use medium and high when necessary. That’s why I want low mode to be around 100 lumens.

I sure did. And I think I also read all the threads on “best light for cycling”. :wink:
Yes I can afford it. I don’t plan to buy many flashlights and if my bicycle light can also be a good all-purpose flashlight, why not! :slight_smile:

The Shadow JM07 seems very interesting, but I’m hesitating because both the Shadow JM07 (on International outdoor) and the NiteCore EC25 (on FastTech) have the same price of 55$.

I like that the NiteCore EC25 is smaller.
But I saw this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-c387rV2DU) and I find the EC25 has a too bright hotspot. It’s more a thrower, right?
How would the Shadow JM07 compare ?

Do any of you also have the NiteCore or have good info that should eliminate the NiteCore as a choice?
It’s not that I prefer the NiteCore EC25, it’s just that until now it was the one I had the more info on runtimes.

Thanks Garry for that useful info!
What surprise me is that the XPower with 26650 battery has around the same runtimes for proportional lumens than the NiteCore EC25 with only 18650 battery.

For the batteries, you say to take the protected ones, so shouldn’t it be this product instead? http://www.fasttech.com/products/1420/10000901/1209800

60 lumens on low, would it still be a bit useful as a “see by” light in most unlit city streets? I said I wanted 100 lumens, but it’s from picture/video I saw, I don’t have reference experiences with flashlights to know what 60 or 100 lumens would look.

As for the XPower I think I will first decide between NiteCore EC25 and Shadow JM07 then see if I find it will make it too expensive when adding batteries and charger.


Nope, go with the original link. The "flames" are trusted. They are protected, it's just not in the title (see description down below).

I'm not sure on 60 lumens. It might be enough. I used a small 3AAA 150 lumen XR-E light (mfg. rated as 150 lumens) for some night riding and it was very sufficient in complete darkness in the woods. I also had an 80 lumen standy-by light which I did move to after the batteries went weak in the 150 lumen one and it was ok for slow riding on a designated trail. Your 100 lumen low may be a good target, maybe even a little higher (or used medium and keep low as an "off the bike fixing / eating" use). It also depends on the emitter. The 150 lumens from my XR-E throw out much further than a 150 lumen XM-L.


Here ya go. Here's an example beamshot of a simple 3AAA XB-D light (in stock form, fresh batteries) rated 100 lumens:

(150 to 200 feet to the shed)


Here's a Lowes Task Force 2C XR-E (stock) rated 150 lumens:

Lowes Task Force 2C:

For comparison, a 3A XM-L in a C8:

KD C8 (High):

KD C8 (High) - Backed up a bit to get better idea of the flood area:

Here is my fake Solarforce L2 (P60) from Lightake with Lightake's XM-L drop-in (3A on high & SMO):

The P60 is a little more floody than the XM-L (although my XM-L has an OP reflector too).


Thank you Garry. 100 lumens is indeed low.
From the photos, I like the uniform light aspect of the the Solarforce L2 (P60). :slight_smile:

The nitecore EC25 has a better UI, cooler look, better build, lighter so perhaps better for helmet mounting and would make a decent bikelight. However the JM07 is the better light for cycling, and certainly no slouch in looks and build.

The nitecore EC25 has the same diameter reflector as my nitecore MT26 so would put out a similar beam. From comparing, the JM07 easily out-throws the MT26, easily, and it should and will always do as it has a larger diameter reflector. The MT26 hotspot is tighter (due to a proportionately deeper reflector) and not quite as useful, and the spill on the JM07 is also much wider. For runtime the JM07 wins as it can use 26650 batteries.

If you’re looking for a great bike light go the JM07, otherwise if you want a nicer cooler flashlight that’s still a decent bikelight get the EC25.

There’s also the Nitecore P25 that can be had for around $62, and is probably my favourite single cell flashlight:

Beam profile is very similar to the JM07, not quite as wide a spill, but close. Only problem is it doesn’t come in a NW tint. It runs off a 18650 battery so won’t give you as a good a runtime, but would be a better bikelight than the EC25 IMO. When I go cycling however it’s still the JM07 that gets most the use.

Thank you whokilledJR for all that info, it’s very enlightening (! :slight_smile: ).
What I really liked is the small size of the EC25 but I guess it’s just physics and that the shape of the JM07 reflector is just more appropriate.
The USB port on the Nitecore P25 is awesome! That would remove the need to buy a charger. But it’s too long
I will think about it and will probably go with the JM07.
If I can ask another question, what modes (lumens) do you find the more useful in city street and country road (unlit) context? I only have an old dedicated bicycle light and it does not tell in lumens how much bright it is, which in any case is not enough to be useful as a see by light.
Thank you.

Watch out with lights with built-in chargers. These are generally not a good idea, at least on Chinese budget lights. Higher end name brand lights should be ok.


In typical city streets you really don’t need much if any light as they are already lit, you only really need a light so others can see you, so low mode is all you really need. For unlit roads it depends, if there’s traffic probably medium mode but make sure the light’s angled downwards so you’re not blinding traffic, otherwise if there’s no traffic or if you’re on a trail I prefer high mode. Everyone’s different though and I’m cycling mostly on unlit country roads/ trails with little to no traffic, so I usually use high and angle it out at around 18m+.

Just to clarify the JM07 is what I consider a throwy bike light, at close range the spots a little too intense, however it’s good from around 12m and great at 15m+. 2 lights is better, a floody light like the HD2011 or convoy S3 for close range and the JM07 for longer distance, but if I were to go with one it would have to be the JM07.