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Lupine Betty R Lamphead (3600 Lumens, late 2012)
The Lupine Betty R (late 2012) is a 3600 lumen 7-LED lamphead for serious nighttime adventure.
Update: the latest Betty R model arriving September 2013 is upgraded to 4500 lumens.
Available at Gretna Bikes in the USA.
Brighter than a Xenon car headlight
Anyone who rides at night on black asphalt that is wet from rain knows that even the most powerful lights simply black-hole-vanish in such conditions.
The Betty R delivers such an intense light that even wet black pavement can be ridden downhill at high speeds (30 mph or s0). The photo below shows just how black the pavement becomes. The Betty R has quite usable light from the blackest pavement, but it’s the leaves, twigs and debris that become like airport landing lights.
The bike lights some riders use* cast a pitiful smear of pallid light a few feet ahead of the bike. The Betty R provides a broad and generously deep brightness that makes speeds downhill up to 35 mph perfectly comfortable (so long as my night glasses are not beaded with water droplets!).
* A multi-thousand dollar bike with an irreplaceable rider and a $50 AA-powered light = how much is your life worth, why not just skip the helmet too. Logic need not apply. From what I’ve observed, most riders are using lights that cost less than one good tire.
The last claim below, comparing the Betty R to a Xenon car headlight is not an exaggeration!
I took the Betty R out on black asphalt after a rain and found it to be the first bike light bright enough to sufficiently illuminate one of my favorite night-time roads sufficiently, even as well as dual Betty II 2600 lumen lampheads.
Lupine describes the Betty R as follows:
The system of lamp head with remote control in the Betty R is unique and a world first because it’s specially designed for the requirements of a 40W lamp.
The hand rests safely on the handlebar and at the push of a button our Betty switches through up to four individually customisable light levels with a maximum output of 3600 lumens
As a direct comparison, 3600 Lumens is brighter than any common Xenon car light! Betty R 12 comes with an 11.2 Ah Smartcore battery and a helmet mount; to put it on a handlebar an optional mount-set is available.
The Betty R eclipses other bike lights in build quality, real brightness, beam uniformity, waterproofness, and system compatibility for past and future products.
- Runtime: From 1:30 hours at 3600 lumens up to 200 hours at 30 lumens.
- Installed Weight: 530 grams (lamp and battery)
- Features: Up to 4 individually customisable power levels
- Battery: SmartCore battery with capacity indicator
- Remote control: Worldwide unique remote switch, to control one or more lamp-heads or else to connect more than one remote control with a single lamp-head.
- Great for night-time photography (painting with light).
Complete Betty R9 light set comes with:
- 40 W LED 26° 3600 Lumen lamp-head
- Li-Ion SmartCore battery 8.4Ah / 61Wh
- 120cm extension cord
- Helmet mount
- Bar Mount Set—31.8 (Betty R quick release bar mount + Peppi V4 remote switch mount)
- Charger One (incl. 12V cable)
- 2 Flexible velcro battery-mounting straps, anti-slip
- Transport case
- 60-Bit remote control
Claimed 2 hours with 11.2 Ah battery (not yet field verified).
Lumen 3600 Emitter 7 x Cree XM-L U2 Material CNC-machined, Aluminum 6061-T6, Shot-peened, Hard-anodized Dimension (Ø x L) 55 x 45mm Mass 150g Protection class IP 68 (Watertight) Microprocessor 14-Bit RISC (4 x PLL) Lens 26° Optics (Collimated Lens Technology) Color temperature 6000K (5% tolerance) Converter phase 32KHz Core speed 32MHz PCS luboard Conducting path structure Fine Pitch (< 0.2 mm) LED-Board Copper: Direct bonding Thermalpad / Copper board Ambient temperature - 30°C to + 55°C Temperature control active Connection cable highly flexible - 40 to + 80°C LED Indicator 5 x RGB LED Osram LED Backlight 2 x RGB LED Avago Radio receiver frequency (EU Version) 433.92MHz Radio receiver frequency (US Version) 315MHz Radio modulation ASK Internal Code storage 3 (First-In-First-Out) Dim levels 11 steps from 0.3W (30 Lumen) to 40W (3600 Lumen) Voltage indicator by RGB LED Low-Battery warning lamp-head by backlight Discharged capacity by RGB LED Reserve Tank depends on battery and type of use Candlelight function 0.3W (Single LED Mode) Special modes SOS, Alpine emergency signal, RVLR Standby-Receiver 32 hours (Reactivate receiver: restart or disconnect battery)
Beam angles and lumens
For mountain biking on trails or dirt roads, a wider beam can be helpful for better peripheral vision through varying curves and terrain: the Betty R delivers a 26° beam angle which is perfect given its high power output.
My big disappointment with the Betty R is that unlike all previous Lupine Wilmand Betty lampheads, there is no rubber ring mount on the Betty R.
With the Betty R, all the rubber ring mount versatility is taken away:
- The Betty R comes with a helmet mount or a 31.8mm handlebar mount or a headstrap mount. Dedicated, no quick switch because no rubber ring.
- Switching between handlebar mount and helmet mount requires an oddball-size allen wrench (not supplied). Switching to headband appears even more involved. And it is not quick, and there are small parts to lose.
- It seems impossible to mount the Betty R on any of my Moots mountain bikes, because the titanium handlebar diameter is far too small for the handlebar mount. When I go for a late-day ride, I don’t want to be forced to choose a helmet with a Betty R mounted (heavy and not so comfortable), on the chance that my ride might run into full night. So the Betty R will just stay behind it seems.
In short, I love the Betty R light output, but I am very disappointed with the new “modal” mounting restrictions, the lack of rubber ring mount. Sadly, the design itself appears to preclude this option. The value of the Lupine Betty/Betty II to me has long been its incredible versatility. Betty R seems to have crushed that idea.
Consider the following, which are a non-issue with the Betty II rubber ring mount:
- A rider has two or more bikes, some with 31.8 handlebars, some with 24.5mm handlebars and some with neither. The Betty R mount requires dissassembly and reassembly to switch between the 31.8 and 24.5 mounts.
- One wishes to switch the Betty R on a headband or helmet. Dissassembly and reassembly required to switch between uses, twice (round trip).
My own uses and the mounting headaches with Betty R
These considerations are my own, and might not apply to many users, but they have endeared the Betty II to me, and make the Betty R feel frustratingly limited:
- Betty R has no bar mount to fit my MTB handlebars.
- The Betty R helmet mount is not quick or easy to install, does not fit my favorite helmet, and the velcro irritates my (bald) scalp.
- The Betty R helmet mount is not quick on/off (given the need to tighten/adjust velcro straps just-so), and that means that I must commit to that extra weight and discomfort of a helmet with a Betty— and most of the time I just want light on the handlebar anyway (extended night riding means both are desirable, helmet and handlebar lights).
- With the Betty II, I could stow the light and battery in backpack for possible later use, easy-on if needed. I could just strap to the handlebar or even have it on a headband. Betty R forces the helmet choice, in advance.
- Betty R helmet mount is not compatible with my favorite helmet (no good mount point), the velcro straps just don’t work well.
- Even assuming helmet mount (no mounting option for my MTB), where does the bulky and heavy battery get stowed if the light is mounted on a helmet? A jersey pocket presumably, but the battery is large enough to make that annoying, and I often need that space for other uses.
Build quality and impressions
The build quality is outstanding, but the Betty R is also a beautiful light with a black anodized aluminum housing.
The Betty R employs a custom-designed lens system for optimal collimated beam quality, the most efficient electronics in the business, and top-drawer LEDs (7 of them). Drawing 40 watts, total output is an astonishing 3600 lumens. Real ones.
Betty can be programmed for various light levels (including SOS), and can run for 260 hours at the 0.25 watt setting.
Few people have seen such a lamp at night in action—it’s blinding, something to experience (but not looking directly into the beam!). On my very first night ride on narrow Alpine Road, an oncoming car simply pulled over and stopped, and waited for me to go on by— the light can be seen so far ahead, that drives are on notice— a very good thing.
The Betty R (and even the Betty II) are really too bright to leave on high with oncoming traffic, so courtesy demands dimming, here the remote control comes in handy.