British-based MTB Batteries specialises in the production of custom and aftermarket batteries for an extensive range of lights from other manufacturers, but it also has its own range of head units.
I tested its brightest and newest 2,200-lumen Lumenator 20 front light.
MTB Batteries Lumenator 20 specifications
The Lumenator 20 has a separate head unit and battery pack with a long 153cm cable. The light has two buttons; one to turn it on and off, and another to cycle between modes.
It has three constant modes (10 per cent, 50 per cent and 100 per cent) and two flashing modes (strobe and flash) but no mode indicator. It does have a battery life indicator, though, where the green mode selection button changes to red when 10 per cent charge remains and then flashes red once it has less than 10 per cent remaining.
The 6,800mAh battery, which weighs 264g, is housed in a metal case with a tough fabric surround with Velcro straps to secure it to the bike frame. The battery powers two side-by-side CREE LEDs that, MTB Batteries says, have a focused optic to reduce wasted light to the sides.
The head unit is made from anodised aluminium and is fitted with a bar mount, which uses a rubber O-ring to attach to the bars. The mount comes as standard but optional GoPro style mounts and a helmet mount are also available, costing £4.99 and £7.50 respectively.
The Lumenator 20 has a thermal management system, so if it overheats when it’s set to maximum brightness it will automatically reduce to a dimmer mode. To reinstate the higher brightness mode, the mode selector button needs to be pushed to reset.
MTB Batteries pointed out that there are lots of copies of their lights in the market, especially on eBay and other sites. So, if you’re looking to buy an MTB Batteries light, make sure it has ‘mtbbatteries’ printed on it to ensure it’s a genuine MTB Batteries product.
MTB Batteries Lumenator 20 performance
Although the Lumenator has a claimed output of 2,200 lumens, it looks a little lower than this on the trails. The light created by the LEDs’ white hue reduces contrast and has a very circular and quite narrow beam pattern.
The white hue makes trail objects easier to spot because lower levels of contrast are better for your eyes to see obstacles, but while overall power was more than adequate to tackle technical trails if they were pretty straight, the fairly focused beam pattern was problematic when I wanted to use the light on more technical, twisty tracks – especially when it was mounted to the bars.
The beam pattern’s circular shape was so limited and had such defined side-to-side cut-offs it felt like I was riding through a tunnel. This made finding lines around turns pretty tricky and on sections of trail with successive corners, I had to reduce my speed significantly because I couldn’t see what was coming next.
This meant the light was best-suited to being mounted on a helmet where a focused beam pattern is less prohibitive because it casts light where you’re looking rather than where the handlebars are pointed.
It did have good downward projection, though, which meant that shadows weren’t cast beneath the light off drops, up take-offs of jumps or over rises that caused the front wheel to lift.
The bar mount O-ring was surprisingly stable even over very rough terrain, helped by the head unit’s 100g weight. Equally, the helmet mount’s straps were long enough to secure it to all of the styles of helmet I tried and didn’t interfere with comfort.
The battery pack’s Velcro straps made it simple to install, too, and because it was relatively small it was easy to find a spot to attach it to the frame.
However, the cable between the battery and head unit is quite long. This makes it helmet-mount friendly, but the lack of extra Velcro tidying straps made keeping excess cable tidy was tricky.
The mode selection button was easy to use on the move thanks to its size, but when pushed on particularly rough trails it was possible to accidentally reposition the light. The sequential modes make it easy to understand which mode the light is in, making a mode indicator unnecessary.
Run time was 3 hours and 5 minutes, beating MTB Batteries’ claims by five minutes.
MTB Batteries Lumenator 20 bottom line
The Lumenator 20’s draw is its run time and relatively low price. Unless you’re riding very tame trails or straight technical ones, I can’t recommend relying on it as your only light when mounted to the handlebars.
However, its beam pattern is well-suited to helmet-mounted applications and has enough power to act as a companion to a bar-mounted light with a wide beam spread, like Halfords’ Advanced 1600 Lumen light.
How we tested
We put 12 high-power front lights to the test that should let you head to the hills after night falls to discover a brave new world of riding.
Other lights on test:
- Exposure MaXx D MK13
- Gemini Duo 2200 Multisport
- Halfords Advanced 1600 Lumen
- Hope R4 LED
- Lezyne Mega Drive 1800i
- LifeLine Ara 2000L
- Lumicycle Apogee Carbon Extender Pack
- Magicshine Monteer 8000S
- Moon X-Power 1800
- Knog PWR Mountain Kit
- NiteRider Pro 2200 Race