12/10/16

I am all lit up...

So much for the beautiful Fall mountain biking conditions. Anyone who missed out, really missed out this year as the conditions were beyond excellent.

Snow hit this morning and looks like it will accumulate enough to end the Fall fun I have been having out at Banner Pits. I've logged 35 laps at Summerset alone from September to now, plus Center Trails, and Lake Ahquabi saw plenty of attention from my bike as well. We had very dry singletrack this Fall all over Central Iowa coupled with a lot of perfect temperatures which kept the freeze-thaw cycle out of the equation for mountain biking. In my opinion, it has been the best conditions for Fall riding in the past 14 years. It was the 2nd warmest November on record here in Iowa, and last Friday it was 55 degrees on December 2nd as well as around 50+ on Monday, December 5th to wrap it all up. Then the mercury suddenly dropped down below freezing the next day which meant the trails were dry, frozen, and perfect goodness for this past week for anyone with cold weather riding gear to wear. Temperatures in the teens and twenty's are my favorite as long as there is no snow on the trail.

After the time change, I pulled out my old trusted Niterider MiNewts to keep the trail lit for my road biking and my mountain biking. Realizing that their combined maximum of 650 lumens wasn't really enough to allow me to go full speed on the singletrack, I decided to upgrade these 8-10 year old lights. The MiNewt XT duals on my bar put out a maximum of 300 lumens on high, and 184 lumens on low.

MiNewts

The MiNewt helmet light could throw out a maximum of 350 lumens on high, 200 on medium, and 125 on low. The combination was enough to keep me in business for the occasional Fall/Winter/Spring night ride, or some of the 24 hour races I did way back when I bought them. However, I figured it was time to upgrade since bike lights with lumens in the 2000 - 6000 range were easily available and the same price as my old MiNewts that served me so well.

Enter, my decision to get the ituo combination of their new XP4 for the bar, and the XP3 for the helmet. On high, the combo provides 5400 lumens!!!! Let's just say that on high and on medium, I have felt super safe as I can see everything and go at race speed with no worries. It's like having a car on the singletrack with the beams on high! I paid around $450 for the three Niterider lights at the time I bought them all those years ago. The price on the ituo combination of the XP4 and the XP3 was $459 for 8.3 times the amount of lumens!

It's a sweet time to upgrade IMO.

Here's the XP4 on my bar...

Ituo XP4

Here are my helmets side by side with the MiNewt on the left, and the new XP3 on the right...

Ituo vs minewt

The ituo USA representative, Keith Robinson, lives in the Quad City area and was kind enough to answer all of my questions and make a recommendation for me. My Niteriders have the Cool Light LED's which are great for riding on pavement where the slight blue tint works best. On singletrack, the ituo representative (Keith) told me that their lights use the NW or Natural White LED's which keep the color of what you see in the forest, and removes some of the flatness of the terrain contour. I trusted him and am glad I did.

The lights are excellent!

Lights arrived a couple of days after my order...

Ituo

Small footprint for such a huge light throw...

Palm

I use a Topeak gas tank pack on my bike to hold the battery for the bar light, and I toss the helmet light battery in my jersey pocket (or Camelbak).

Here is the review that Keith did on the XP4 (and he had the XP3 on as well). Below is a video he made at Illiniwek Forest Preserve across the Mississippi River in Illinois (and also some video at Sunderbruch Park in Iowa that Keith made with a pair of XP3's). The videos helped convince me to go with the ituo lights as the terrain, foliage, and dirt at Illiniwek and Sunderbruch are very similar to what we have here in Central Iowa.

Illiniwek XP4 & XP3 combo...



Sunderbruch Park XP3 & XP3 combo...



I have two evening rides under my belt with these lights, and all I can say is they are fantastic. Run time allows me to get three laps at Banner on full power, or a lot longer if I use the medium setting. Perfect for my needs of 1 - 3 hour rides. I highly recommend ituo lights for any of you considering an upgrade.

My hope is that what little snow we do get will not completely stop my riding. I would imagine a walking lap around the singletrack with the jet pack blower would remove the white stuff.... ;-)

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