Introduction. The Orignal post is taken from www.thehubsa.co.za I’ve done my fair share of night rides, including 24h races and 7 Trans Baviaans’. I did my first Baviaans the first year they held it about 12 years ago or so. That was back when guys rocked up with MagLites strapped to their bars, or even just tiny headlights with 3 of those small dome shaped LED’s that you get in keyrings these days. A week before my first Trans I went for a proper night ride to see if my chosen lights (basically 3 “keyring” LED’s) would work. It didn’t. I ended up buying one of those old-school Sigma Sport headlights, with the battery weighing over a kilo and taking up your entire bottle cage. Those ones that gave you about 30 minutes usage on high beam. Years passed. Technology advanced greatly. Enter the “Magiclight” era a few years ago. Everyone was on the MJ808 headlight, and they were selling like hotcakes. I bought two, for me and the wife. Those lights saw me through many Baviaans races. But you’ll still have to swop out your battery at the top of Never Ender or run the risk of it running out before the end, if you hoped to use your “high” beam often. I even upgraded the LED chip in the one light, purchased from ExtremeLights when they were still wearing shorts in their young days. LED upgrade gave more light, with less power consumption. This year I wanted to upgrade again, probably for the last time. So… I wanted an “end-all” light that would see me into at least the next couple of years. Now, folks, I am a huge supporter of Chinese good, quality is good (read: decent) any price is right. I ride a Chinese “blank” frame. I’ve ordered many, many things from Alibaba. There is, however, one purchase that left me a little disappointed. I purchased a big flashlight for my dad for his birthday, one of those 3 LED monsters. The actual flashlight is very nice, I have to say. The batteries SUCK. From the 6 that came with the flashlight, 2 were dead on arrival. I complained to the seller who sent me replacement batteries. Half those were dead on arrival as well. With technology goods you take a gamble when buying from China, at least that’s how I’ve experienced it. Even purchased a cell phone from China a while back. Worked for a month, and then died. Not worth it guys. Enter ExtremeLights. These guys have been around a long time now. They have DONE the research, they have received their fair share of dead batteries as well. Trial and error is done and dusted. They have forged the relationships, done the site visits, and in doing so secured good product. Very good product. Yeah, their lights come with a higher pricetag compared to others. But, in the same way you pay a consultant big money, you are paying someone for their knowledge and support. Exactly the same. I won’t gamble with buying lights from China.ExtremeLights is now the premier seller of bike lights in South Africa, at least that is my opinion. The fact that they support local events clinched the deal for me.
I purchased 2 XP7’s, the big daddy. Cost me R4500 for the two, but I haven’t regretted it once. You know, I think people are quite tired of all the technical lingo that gets put out – the lumens and the whatnot. I think people just want a layman to give an honest opinion. Agree? On my first ride with my brother in law, I kept the lights on the medium beam. When I was behind him in his slip, I pressed the button again. Response? “WHAT!??!” and something the“Car baaaack!!”. “Wait is that you?” Crazy. Ride behind someone with the XP7 on full brightness, and it casts a shadow directly in front of the guy in front of you. It drowns out any other lights. I also heard something in the line of that he wants me to drop the light one brightness level as I was giving the back of his legs a tan, 5am in the morning.
The actual light is awesome. Quality is amazing, very sturdy. The handlebar clamp is MILES better than the old rubber strap, especially for a light like this that carries a little more weight than smaller models. The XP3 and XP1 will still be fine with the rubber elastic. The clamp doesn’t even need to be clamped down hard for the light to be secure. And removing the light from the bars is as quick as opening a quick release lever on your wheels.
The battery is brilliant, for a few reasons. The cord is short. With my old Magicshine lights you had to wrap the cords around your stem and bars a few times to get the clutter away. The new length is just right. Enough slack, but not too much. The battery is also what feels like rubberized neoprene. I think. My point being, wrap the strap around the battery and around your frame and it will NOT move. And there is no worry about it scratching your bike. Everything just feels “classy”, premium.
The light throws a very good beam. I’m not a huge fan of a very bright hot spot in front of me. I prefer lights to have a “gentle” hot spot that fades away to the sides. What makes the XP7 different from the older MagicLights is that they used to throw the light forward in a “fat cone” shape, with the actual light going out sideways at an angle. The XP7 pretty much throws light so wide that it might just touch the tip of your bar-ends. I exaggerate a bit, but you know what I mean. The specs say they are awesome for singletrack MTB’ing, and I do agree. With bucket load of light being thrown straight ahead and a spill that goes nearly sideways, singletrack won’t hold and surprises. If you are the type of rider that exclusively rides open marathon style races like Baviaans, you will be well served with the XP3 even. The XP7 is what the XP3 is, and more though.
With the old lights I used to point the light far down the road, but ultimately slightly down. Its silly to point the light down, straight past your front wheel. You want to see what you will be encountering in 5 seconds, surely? Not what you will be hitting in 0.5 seconds. With the XP7, I find that I’m pointing the light almost horizontal, straight ahead. This is possible because of the spill of the beam. Everything is lit up. Cars have flashed their lights at me… and then I put it into high beam. The car didn’t flash anymore. I’m not including beam shots as my night time photography skill is non-existant. I can say though that the beam shots on the ExtremeLights site is damn accurate.
That’s it folks. Enjoy the riding! PS: I don't work for ExtremeLights, just an honest opinion of a very good bike light.