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Lupine LED Headlamps For Biking or Hiking

Last updated 2011-02-08 - Send Feedback
Related: lighting


Wilma, Betty, Piko (not to scale)

The Lupine Lighting Systems LED lighting systems are without a doubt the best all-around personal lighting systems that money can buy.

No matter what the use, you’ll be astounded by the amazing light output. The price is not high for the quality delivered, so don’t confuse price with value.

The Lupine LED lampheads offers unprecedented brightness, excellent color rendition, and long runtime in durable package. With custom electronics and lens system, all integrated into a robust housing with attached switch, all four of the Lupine offerings are superb.

I now own many Lupine lampheads: Piko, Wilma and Betty.

There are good products and there are great products. There are companies that sell their products, and there are companies that sell and truly support them, such as Lupine Lighting Systems, available in the USA via Gretna Bikes.

Why go with Lupine?

How many inferior lights will you waste your money on? I did. I wasted thousands sorta-good products. They all are junk now, and most had poor support. Not Lupine.

The Lupine LED lampheads will satisfy 2 or 3 or 5 years later. Build quality is outstanding, light quality and output is second to none, and they can handle just about any need.

The cables, batteries, chargers and mounting system are interchangeable among most of Lupine’s HID, halogen and LED lamps. The cables are light weight and nicely flexible, an important issue when running them from helmet to pocket.

Uses

Cycling

If you’re a cyclist like me who rides at dusk or night, get two of them—one for the helmet and one (or two) for the handlebar.

After all, a single ambulance ride will cost you the price of ten Betty lampheads—I’m amazed at the rabbits who ride with a barely-visible light, or none at all. See and be seen.

If you want to go first-class for nighttime road cycling, here’s the deal:

  • Two Betty II lampheads for the handlebar (one is enough, but two is luxury);
  • One Betty II lamphead on the helmet.

Watch drivers pay attention with this triple-beam setup— cars back up on a narrow road—the drivers must think I am heavy machinery with a blown headlight.

Another favorite comment I’ve overheard was “Is that a car driving sideways?”, and “What kind of light is that?”, and “Nice lights!!!”.

The brightness is terrific for aiming at inattentive (or drunken) drivers about to run a stoplight or stop sign—but use it for such purposes only with dangerous drivers as it is very bright and can impair nighttime vision temporarily.

The triple-beam setup allows comfortable road-riding up to 35 mph on dry roads, 25mph on rain-darkened pavement. By “comfortable”, I mean the ability to distinguish hazards such as sticks and potholes from cracks and other benign road conditions. However, with really dark fresh asphalt lacking reflective striping, even 5000 lumens will seems slightly dark for middle-aged eyes.

Mountain (off-road) cyclists will likely be quite satisfied with a single Wilma, but two are very helpful with rapidly changing terrain, especially when descending at high speed. The low angle of light from a lamp on the handlebar produces good contrast on the ground, but a light on the helmet allows placement of light just where it’s needed exactly when it’s needed, such as around tight turns on singletrack.

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Photography

If you’re a photographer who wants to illuminate subjects at night, hike pre-dawn or post-dawn, etc, one Wilma mounted on a headbelt is perfect. The quick on/off settings and multiple brightness levels are versatile and allow matching the light output to the task. There is also a continuous dimming mode.

Hiking/backpacking

If you’re a hiker/backpacker, or just want an amazing light source around the house, inside the attic or closets, etc, a headband setup is perfect. The brightest level is actually too bright for many purposes; the lowest level is more than enough for nighttime hiking on trails, meaning you could hike all night. Or for weeks, used carefully, since a larger battery can run for over two weeks continuously on low.

Safety

Women (or men) concerned for their safety in dark parking lots will find that the lamphead + headband and a small battery can easily fit into a purse or large pocket. Banish the dark shadows and the scum lurking therein—bright light is intimidating and attention-getting.

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