German brand Lupine’s Alpha is its range-topping 7,200-lumen light that’s claimed to project its beam up to 840m down the trail. That kind of power comes at a price, though, and the Alpha just ticks over into triple digits when bought in euros or dollars.
16 LEDs (eight Cree XM-L3 and eight Cree XQ-E HI bulbs) project their light through eight lenses with three different lens types (2x 22-degree, 2x ultra-wide, 4x 18-degree), generating a floodlight beam pattern with a “range that outshines any comparable lamp”, claims Lupine.
The separate head unit (230g) and 6,900mAh battery (468g) are connected via two short cables totalling 37cm long. A wireless Bluetooth remote control (17g), called Peppi, is supplied and features two buttons, both of which illuminate to indicate mode and battery charge.
At the rear of the head unit, an LED mode and battery indicator changes colour depending on the light’s status. The head unit is made from CNC-machined 6061-T6 aluminium with a shot-peened and hard anodised finish.
Along with the battery, it’s IP68 water- and dust-resistant, and has an IK09 impact strength rating.
The head unit has cooling fins to help manage heat build-up and features a single mounting point, which can be used for the supplied 31.8mm bar mount (17g), or optional 35mm bar mount and Velcro helmet mounts. A tool-free clip-in style mount is also available, but this only works for helmet or head mounts.
The battery pack has a five-LED and audio charge indicator, activated by the push of a button. Although the connector is proprietary, a USB adaptor is included, so it can be used as a power bank to charge other accessories.
With five default modes, run time ranges from 33 hours (550 lumens) down to one hour 20 minutes (7,200 lumens), and an additional three modes can be accessed. Lupine’s Light Control 2.0 smartphone app can be used to connect to the Alpha for full in-depth customisation of modes, outputs and profiles for different activities.
Lupine Alpha performance
Unsurprisingly, the Alpha’s 7,200-lumen claimed output feels as powerful as it sounds. It has a super-focused centralised spot, where the area its light is projected onto is as bright as daytime, meaning no obstacle goes unseen.
Luckily, its power is spread out to the peripheries well, and thrown down the trail, too. In fact, the brightness of the focal point can be misleading, making you think there isn’t much spread to the beam’s shape.
That couldn’t be further from the truth, however, because there’s a massive amount of usable light projected to the sides. This means spotting lines on the exits of turns is strain-free, helping make sharper corners a speedy and exhilarating experience.
The light’s spread tapers to darkness, too, instead of having a harsh cut-off. This further enhances the riding experience and provides impeccable context on the trail.
Its throw is just as impressive, and on full-power fireroads and straighter trails are illuminated magnificently – quite literally as far as you can see.
Adding to this is the amount of light projected downwards, keeping landings and the backsides of crests fully lit up. This means you’re never left wanting more power in any scenario.
Backing up the immense power is the beam’s hue. With the perfect balance of a yellow/green/white colour, it makes the trails pop and come alive, while still feeling natural. Definition is impeccable, too, with no overpowering of colour, helping keep fatigue to a minimum.
In the run time test, the Alpha lasted for 1 hour 35 minutes on maximum power, 15 minutes longer than Lupine claims.
The wireless remote – easy to pair and with two backlit buttons – is the primary control for the Alpha, but the head unit has a single on-board button too.
The rubberised strap makes the remote a doddle to tension up, and the buttons are large enough to push with plenty of tactile feedback.
In terms of functionality, reading the manual isn’t a pre-requisite to using the Alpha. The mode and battery indicators are simple to understand. These include rear-facing LEDs on the head unit, traffic light LEDs on the battery, plus audible tones. They make gauging mode and battery life unequivocal.
Dedicated 31.8mm and 35mm bar clamps do away with the need for rubberised shims, and mounting times are sped up further by the tool-free bar clamp. The mount’s out-front position helps keep it looking sleek, and the bar clamp is narrow to save bar space.
The head unit attaches to the mount with an Allen bolt, with rubber O-rings between the bolt, the clamp and the clamp and head unit.
These O-rings help create the tension needed to keep the light positioned at its set angle, but the bolt must not be tightened beyond 2Nm. The head unit can also be tilted on its X axis thanks to a secondary bolt.
However, with the bolt set to 2Nm the head unit tended to move over rough terrain, slowly pointing down more and more towards the ground.
Over-tightening the bolt (which isn’t recommended) doesn’t solve the issue, but adding a small metal locking washer did the trick. This is disappointing given the price of the light, but is an easy enough fix.
Lupine Alpha bottom line
The Alpha is a massively impressive light, from its outright power and incredible beam pattern though to the LEDs’ hue, simple functionality, sleek design and refined user experience.
For the price, however, that’s the kind of performance you should expect, so it’s a good job Lupine has delivered.
The unstable head-unit-to-clamp connection was disappointing, but is an easy enough and incredibly cheap fix for even the least mechanically minded, so it’s easy to forgive the Alpha for its single fault.
Purely from a price-versus-power perspective, it can’t better the Magicshine Monteer 8000S Galaxy V2.0, but the quality of the Alpha is unquestionably higher.
How we tested
This year, we tested 10 of the best mountain bike lights that enable you to embrace the darkness and see riding after nightfall as an opportunity. Well-ridden routes become a fresh and exciting challenge after dark, and the crackle of ice under your tyres on a starlit night is a special experience.
Lights on test
- Alpkit Hadron review
- Exposure Six Pack MK12 review
- Gloworm XSV (G2.0) review
- Lezyne Super Drive 1600XXL review
- Light and Motion Seca Race review
- Lumicycle Apogee with 6.8Ah high-capacity battery review
- Lupine Alpha review
- Magicshine Monteer 8000S Galaxy V2.0 Remote review
- Niterider Lumina Max 2500 review
- Moon Rigel Power review
|Weight||735g – includes clamps, cables & remote|
|Features||Run time: 1 hour 35 minutes (measured)
Modes: 8100 lumens; 5500; 4000; 1500; 800; plus 3 additional via Light Control 2.0 smartphone app