- by Christopher Jones
- Published: 28 July 2009
Daylight saving has ended, winter is here, it’s now darker earlier, colder and that means it’s time to recharge the lights for nightriding. RC takes the Lumicycle LEDSystem3 Twin light head for a spin.
HID (High Intensity Discharge) lighting systems are on the way out and the new generation LED lights are the future. The new LED systems are constantly changing with updated optics and have various features better burn times and light output. Lumicycle UK a small British firm have been developing cycle lights since 1997 and offers a number of kits to suit varying needs and price ranges and we tested the top of the range LEDSystem3 Twin light head system.
The LEDSystem3 Twin light head system came packaged in a nice carry case with different pockets for the various components. For $999 you get two lamp units. Each lamp has three Cree XRE R2 LEDs one with a 13-degree flood and the other a 6-degree spot beam. The CREE XRE-R2 LED puts out 122 lumens per watt and you are able to upgrade new LED’s when they are released.
The stock setup is 13deg flood lamp and 6deg spot lamp connected to a single 2.6 ah li-on battery with twin leads and handlebar setup. Another 2.6 ah battery pack with a single lead and the helmet mount and the fast charger. You can mount the flood lamp on your bars and the spot lamp to your helmet mount using the quick release with cable ties used to secure the helmet mount. It is just a hassle free design!
The helmet setup allow riders to direct the spot lamp around corners on trails or if you’re riding on the road you can direct your light at drivers to alert them you are there, though be aware – it will blind drivers! Alternatively you can simply install both on your bars to really pierce the night.
Each twin light unit weighs just under 129g while the small battery is 367g. This is light enough that you won’t really notice it on your bike and is lighter than the head unit alone on other LED units. The battery pack is pleasantly small and lightweight for such a powerful unit.
The light housing is totally weather proof, tough as nails, the construction is solid and using the one toggle switch is well thought out and a breeze to operate. When I turn on the light, I want instant illumination, not darkness and tangled bloody mess that once was me with my bike lying under a car as a tiny led light flashes on and off.
Unlike other light systems there is no dark time in between high and low beam. Both lights are individually switchable giving four different power settings Flashing, Commute, Low, High and Boost. Burn times are claimed at a run time from 3 hours in Boost mode and 40 hours in Low mode.
Although changing modes can be somewhat challenging at first, once you have read the manual, using the toggle is easy to switch between high and low without cycling through modes. The toggle itself is located on the back of the lamp and you switch up and down through the different level modes. There little chance of accidently turning off the light as you are required to ‘hold down’ in order to switch it off or on.
Lumicycle also gives you another high beam setting “boost”, switching to this mode gives you 1700 lumens for three minutes, enough power that oncoming drivers will wonder why a freight train is approaching or so that you can light up particularly difficult section of the track.
Both lights have a fuel gauge indicator and a power mode indicator which tells you, which mode you are in and how much battery life is left via a slow flashing led. Battery mounting didn’t present too many problems, although the bigger battery was a squeeze under shorter handlebar stems.
The lights also rotate independently, allowing you to spread the focal points around and make the most of available light. Both Lumicycle beams didn’t require too much setup and I found positioning one beam slighter higher than the other gave you a perfect spread and lessened the tunnel vision effect.
Using the system, I was comfortable going faster into corners, being able to better see into the corners and with more confidence rising out of the saddle out of the corners. It really is a difference of night and day to be able to see the corner you are riding into!
I like the fact it’s completely bullet proof with the long burn times, one spot lamp head and one flood lamp head, easy installation and a compact battery pack. The price tag puts the system in the top end range of lighting systems, however the well thought out design and brightness of the system certainly makes it worthwhile.
We’ve also heard that Lumicycle are also working on a rear red light which will use the same battery pack as the LEDSystem3 to power up a bright rear light.
Lumicycle UK products are available directly from the Australian Importer: Bike Lighting