Autonomous Motion

Lupine Bike & Adventure Lights

High-output technical LEDs

In the winter I mountain bike one to two nights a week after dark on fast technical single track trails. I have built my own lights and purchased commercially-available lighting systems upwards of $400. I have tried halogen, HID, and LED lighting systems. Until now they were all a compromise. I am now using the Lupine Tesla 700 LED light, and I have to say it makes everything I have used up to this point seem like a silly toy. Weighing a mere 102g, this light outshines my brightest HID system, is more efficient than my smallest halogen, and has the best construction, controls, and mounting system I have seen in a light.

Lupine Lighting Systems is a German company that has been around for a while, and I have always heard they make the best lights in the industry. Because of the exchange rate, shipping distance, and their base cost, however, I could never afford to even try their products. At the Interbike show in Vegas, I met their new US distributor Gretna Bikes, and got to see their new products priced and supported for the US market. I was really amazed and, after saving up, finally was able to buy one of their lights which I am now riding with. The one I bought, the Tesla 700, is their new “entry level” light which costs $300 just for the head unit or $488 for a complete package with battery, charger, etc. It is worth every cent. This unit puts out an amazing 700 Lumens (more than the previously-reviewed Dinotte) in a pattern and color temperature that is perfect for outdoor sports or caving. This is in stark contrast to most LED-based products I have tried which have a weirdly tinged light that even when bright enough, do not give good definition. Lupine makes larger and brighter lights, but I could not imagine what you would need more light for, short of landing a helicopter.

Since I have a bunch of good batteries and chargers already, I bought just the lamp unit and head-mount. I then used one of my own small (3 oz) 2000Mah LiPoly batteries and made a velcro mount right on my helmet for it. Now I don’t even have the usual annoying cord hanging down my back into my pocket, but I still get over eight hours of light on the lowest setting, and more than an hour on the highest before swapping batteries. LED technical lights have truly arrived.

-- Alexander Rose 02/5/09

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