The Hub SA Review: Extreme 2K and Extreme 1200 bike lights

Although the days are getting longer with summer approaching, riding in the dark is still something many of us will do. Whether it's pre-dawn training or a “just-because-you-can” night ride you'll want a dependable and effective light.
Based in Stellenbosch and having been active on the site for a good few years Extreme Lights are no stranger to most Hubbers. What began life as a hobby for Hannes Zietsman has developed into one of the leading names in adventure lights.

Hannes is a keen mountain biker and trail runner who also happens to have a background in engineering. His passion for his products and light technology, in general, is abundant having gone to great lengths to share his knowledge in many a discussion.

Over the last few months, we've been testing the Extreme Lights 1200 and 2k to see how they perform. The lights were tested as a combo as well as individually.

Specifications: Extreme 2k

  • Model nameExtreme 2K Cree XM-L2
  • Configuration3xCree XM-L2 on copper heat sink
  • Light output1800 lumens
  • Modes and runtimeHigh: 1800, 5h00 Low: 400, 15h00 Strobe: 1800, 10h00
  • BatteryPanasonic 4-cell, 6 800mAh
  • Weight0.738 kg
  • PriceR 1,795.00 (Currently on special offer at R 1,495.00)

Specifications: Extreme 1200

  • Model nameExtreme 1200 MKII
  • Configuration1*CREE XML
  • Light output900 lumens
  • Modes and runtimeHigh: 900, 4h00 Low: 200, 12h00 Strobe: 10h00
  • Battery4400mAh battery
  • Weight0.726 kg
  • PriceR 975.00 (Currently on special offer at R 795.00)

Mounting

Both lights come standard with an o-ring type mounting system and each is supplied a number of different size o-rings. I’m always a little concerned with o-ring type mounts maintaining position through bumpy terrain. With the right o-ring selection this was never an issue with only minor adjustments required after one or two big bumps.
2k-1

Extreme 1200 using a pull-tab style o-ring
2k-2 Extreme 2k using a standard o-ring (both types are included)

Extreme Lights also offer a quick release swivel clamp which comes standard with the Extreme 2k. This clamp design gives a tighter grip on the bars with a quick release mechanism as well as the ability to swivel the light right and left. While this gives a solid fix on the bars I missed the ability to easily adjust the light angle depending on the road surface.

The battery packs are contained in soft neoprene pouches with sturdy velcro strapping. These were easily attached above or below the top tube of various bikes. The rubbery neoprene adheres to the frame and made for a grippy fit with no sliding or movement mid ride.

2k-3 With two battery packs on a dual-sus frame, space was limited. Placing one above and the other below the top tube did the trick with no movement issues.

On the bike

The lights were tested on multiple bikes and on a variety of terrain: on the tarmac, gravel district road, jeep track and technical single track. While not overly technical, my 2014 Trans Baviaans provided the final testing ground for their performance and endurance.

Extreme 2k

The 2k casts a nicely distributed light with enough of a focused beam or “hot spot” to confidently navigate most terrain.

2k-4 Extreme 2k on high mode: 1800 lumen. Photo specs: ISO800, 18mm, f3.5, 1/10sec
2k-5 Extreme 2k on low mode: 400 lumen. Photo specs: ISO800, 18mm, f3.5, 1/10sec

The all important battery life was the really impressive aspect for me. The 2k with a 4-cell Panasonic battery has a claimed battery life of 5 hours on full brightness. I clocked 06h10 on full power before the lights went out.

In the combination setup the 2k was used as my primary light due to both its battery life and broader coverage.
2k-6
2k-7

Extreme 1200

The 1200 casts a more focused beam with less light distribution. Because of this, the light was excellent for lighting up specific areas with a beam that allowed you to see further up the road. It was tested in a handlebar mount as this is my preference, but could easily be strapped to your helmet to light up your line of vision.

2k-8 Extreme 1200 on high mode: 900 lumen. Photo specs: ISO800, 18mm, f3.5, 1/10sec
2k-9 Extreme 1200 on low mode: 200 lumen. Photo specs: ISO800, 18mm, f3.5, 1/10sec

The battery life of the Extreme 1200 MKII was again impressive. The 1200 comfortably surpassed it’s claimed 4h00 battery rating on full power clocking in an impressive 05h02 runtime.
2k-10
2k-11

The Combo

Although either light can comfortably be used as a primary light I found the 1200 to be an excellent companion to the 2k. In a dual light setup with the combination of the wide beam from the 2k and focused beam from the 1200 provided near day-time confidence on windy downhills and technical sections.

2k-12 Both lights on high mode. Photo specs: ISO800, 18mm, f3.5, 1/10sec
2k-13 Both lights on low mode. Photo specs: ISO800, 18mm, f3.5, 1/10sec
2k-14

Overall

If I had to pick one light the Extreme 2k would be my go-to light for any type of ride. The impressive battery life coupled with the wide beam makes for a dependable and highly effective light unit.

On a budget, the Extreme 1200 provides excellent value. Although sporting a more focused beam it is still a very capable primary light. Add to that a 04h00 runtime on full power (05h02 in my case) it’s value offering you’d be hard-pressed to beat.

However, given the option (and budget) the combination of the two lights was a real winner for me. Not only for the dual light effectiveness, but also the peace of mind knowing you’re packing a 10-11 hour battery life on full power if used alternately.

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