Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Night Rides

Night riding is one of those things I would like to do more than I do. The problem is that in winter when it gets dark early, it’s often really damn cold and I’m already inebriated at that point. I much prefer to night ride in the summer. It’s a truly magical experience to be way out there in the forest at night on a slim ribbon of trail getting ambushed by all sorts of wildlife; but that too is hard to do because it doesn’t get dark till 9pm-ish and it’s really easy to start getting sleepy waiting around for the sun to go down- especially when I’m already inebriated (I detect a theme- don’t judge). Another difficulty is corralling people to ride with since they are often dealing with many of the same issues I am. Anyway, if you haven’t done it, I highly recommend it, and for those of you who do it often- kudos for not being lazy. Whichever you are, the following mini review might be helpful.

I have owned and ridden with a number of high-end lights over the years (Lupine, Light&Motion, Nite Rider) and I am blown away by the lights I now use from Exposure. They are compact, easy to attach, and more than bright enough. If you follow the night riding light industry, you’ll know that the lumen wars are slowly winding down as everybody makes some insanely bright lights. Now it’s about run-time and beam pattern and charge times. Exposure doesn’t lead the field in any of these departments (but neither is it behind by much). The beauty of the Exposure lights is simplicity. The light and battery are combined in one unit like a flash light. Not ground breaking, but I really can’t tell you how nice this is in reality- you just have to try it and you’ll want one. The beam pattern is more of a spotlight on the Maxx-D model which is over 1200 lumens and designed for handlebar use. Exposure recommends using two of their lights in tandem for best results and I concur (I like two no matter which brand I’m using). The hot combo is the Diablo on the Helmet and the Maxx-D on the bars. However, the Maxx-D does just fine on its own; you might just have to go a bit slower than if you had two lights. Considering their battery size, I think their run-times are right up there with the competition, however, The Diablo is designed to run for 1 hour at maximum while the Maxx-D can go 3 hours at full output. This works fine for most rides because you don’t need either of the lights at full-power for uphill riding. If you still need or want more, you can get piggyback batteries that extend the running time. The charge times on the exposures are fairly long and I would like to see this change. You can just plan on charging it overnight. Lastly, the design of these lights allows all of them to be used like flash-lights and there is even a diffuser attachment that turns them into a camp lantern, although I haven’t seen it on the US importer’s website.

For those of you who are our local followers, we are heading out for the 5th night ride of the winter tomorrow night at 6:45 at the top of Copper. It’s going to be a slower social type ride so pony-up! I don't have any night riding pictures yet, so I'll leave you with a photo of an awesome but dreary ride on the Colorado trail near Creede.

Charlie S.

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