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Choosing a Lamphead

Last updated 2011-02-08 - Send Feedback
Related: cycling, lighting, road biking

Lupine offers various similar kits with different names, which I find more confusing then helpful. Each kit is a pre-chosen set of lamphead/battery/extras. Get the kit that best matches your needs, then add anything else you need.

In the USA, the distributor is Gretna Bikes.

Consider:

  • Which lamphead (Piko, Tesla, Wilma, Betty).
  • Which battery or batteries to go with the lamphead.
  • Headband or bike mount or both.
  • Charger (get the Charger One).
  • Accessories like mounting kits.

Think “system”

If budget decides your choice, any of the Lupine lampheads from the Piko on up are terrific. Remember, you’re buying into a system with years of future use, the system parts are interchangeable, so you can always add a lamphead later, or another battery, etc.

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Headband

Get the headband.

I use the headband as much and perhaps more than the bike (hiking, grilling after dark, finding stuff under my desk!). Even cyclists thinking of the light for use on the bike will find that the headbelt is very handy for other purposes.

Lamphead choice

Sometimes the lamphead weight might be a consideration, such as on the headband. The Piko is best for that, and the Wilma is excellent also.

But for all around killer brightness, the Betty has no peer. It’s fantastically bright.

Cycling

If your budget allows, the Betty on a biking helmet and two more on the handlebars are an absolutely amazing setup, cars on narrow roads will put it in reverse for you, and you can cruise at 30mph with no issues. That is the setup I run for night-time cycling, and I can descend any of my steep twisty roads at nearly full speed, no problem.

Cyclists should get one helmet mount for each helmet, along with an extension cable so that any battery can be placed in a jersey pocket. There are ways to attach the smaller batteries right on the back of the helmet.

With a helmet mount on each helmet, the lamphead can be swapped among helmets and headbelt very quickly without tools.

Battery size for cycling

A battery in the jersey pocket is best in order to keep the helmet balanced, especially for off-road (dirt) use (extension cable required). The largest battery is a more versatile choice, allowing lengthier rides, and won’t really be noticed in a jersey pocket.

For the hard-core nighttime cyclist, the high capacity water bottle battery is the best choice; skip the intermediate capacity battery unless the small weight difference is critical.

I generally prefer the largest softcase batteries for single-light use and for most rides because they can mount most anywhere, but the water bottle battery means I can’t carry water on my bikes that have a single carrier.

Battery size

Battery size for the headbelt

The softcase “wrap” style battery is best for the headbelt.

For direct attachment to the headbelt (cable-free operation), stick to smaller batteries, up to 2.5 Ah. However, the larger ones do work fine on the standard headbelt, and I use even the 7.5Ah battery with the Betty for extended hikes.

One can also stash the battery in a pocket, such as a bicycle jersey pocket, using an extension cable, and I use that approach for cycling (with lamp on helmet).

Y cable

Unfortunately, Lupine no longer offers this cable, so I’m taking good care of mine.

Using the Lupine “Y” cable, two Lupine lights (two Wilmas, two Edisons, or a Wilma and an Edison) can be run off the same water bottle battery for a runtime of about 3 hours at maximum output, a very satisfying setup. Alternately, a pair of the larger batteries can be strapped around the head tube area, leaving the water bottle cage available.


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