Night riding can be whole lot clearer and faster with a helmet light in place and here we've put six to the test. Considerations for a good light on your lid include weight, adjustability, run-time, ease of menu use, power and beam pattern.
Gloworm X2 Adventure
- £189 / $225 / AU$270
So good: Even for a 1,700-lumen (claimed) light, this is particularly powerful. Spare lenses are included to create a super-punchy double spot or widespread double flood set-up.
The wireless remote makes for easy power management and the mode menus can be tuned. Run time is an impressive hour-and-a-half on full chat (or buy the four-cell battery for twice the fun for £31 more). Reliability is excellent.
No good: The default spot and wide lenses gave a slightly distracting diagonal beam pattern on our sample, but that was solved by using the double spot set-up. It’s sold direct via a European warehouse, so there’s no UK shop/factory support.
Exposure Diablo SYNC Pack
- £305 / $418 / AU$565
So good: Exposure’s self-contained unit puts out up to 1,750 lumens (claimed) in a well-judged beam that’s long in range but not overly tight. Its SYNC app lets you custom-tune the power levels and menu. The through-vent mount is excellent.
An extra £40 for the ‘pack’ gets you a plug-in battery that doubles max power run time to an hour and 40 minutes. The button is easy to find and changes colour to show charge. Exposure is known for its UK-made build quality and HQ-direct backup.
No good: It’s expensive for its power and run times, although the standard Diablo with preset menus and tunable ‘tap anywhere’ mode switching is £215 / $295 / AUS$385.
BBB Scope 800
So good: A tightly-focused beam gives the twin-LED Scope a punchy reach for its claimed 800-lumen output. It lasts two hours at full power and charges quickly.
The ribbed design means less fade due to heat build-up on warmer nights. Four evenly-spaced modes let you tailor the power to the trail and ride time. The cable junctions are well-sealed and reliability of our long-term sets has been flawless.
No good: The 126g head-unit weight is similar to that of self-contained sets. Peripheral coverage is limited. The battery level light only shows when the beam is already starting to dim. Its tall mount can snag low-hanging branches.
So good: The R2’s focused twin-LED beam makes it seem brighter than Hope’s measured (not just claimed) 1,000-lumen output. It’s still usable in the lower power modes, which stretch the one-hour battery life.
The soft colour tone reduces glare in the wet and improves detail perception in the woods. Hope’s UK-built quality, reliability and product back-up are legendary.
No good: All that CNC-machined metal makes it heavy. The tall mount can catch branches unless you attach it to the front of your helmet, where the hefty 144g head-unit weight is more noticeable.
Lupine Neo 4
- €189 — price only given in Euros / Check site for shipping costs
So good: This 58g head unit and its 120g battery are barely noticeable on your lid. Distance penetration is good for such a small unit with a 900-lumen claimed output. Build quality is ultra-high, which should mean excellent reliability. Run time on max is the longest on test — two hours and 25 minutes.
No good: The price is high for the power. There are only two modes in the default set-up. Its ‘halo’ output — with a tightly-focused central beam and softer/dimmer outer ring — can be distracting. The pop-fit silicone diffuser reduces brightness dramatically.
Lezyne Macro Duo 700
- £80 / $85
So good: Lezyne’s offering is lightweight and its ‘ball and socket on a strap’ mount makes it easy to set up — if not that stable — on most helmets. The integrated rear LED and strobe/pulse options improve visibility on the way to the trails. It’s relatively affordable too, and will last an hour and 50 minutes on full power.
No good: Its output seems significantly more feeble than the 700 lumens claimed, with little distance throw and perception. All modes leave the rear light flashing, which can be distracting to following riders off-road. The stiff button is hard to use in thick winter gloves.