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13 helmet lights reviewed and explained – There is more to it than sheer brightness!

Sebastian 07. October 2016

Which helmet light fits you and your night riding needs? Directly compare the beams in our annual bc helmet light review and make an informed decision.

The days are getting shorter and we are starting to run out of daylight. For serious riding after sunset, it takes more than the typical clip-on light. You need lights with ample power. This review does not just focus on helmet lights bright enough to illuminate a football field, but compares the light beams in their quality, intensity and range one by one.

Test Set-up

The test set-up is similar to our set-up in previous years: we mounted a set of handlebars on a bike stand and set it to a height of 1.45 metres or about 57 inches above the ground. Then we set the camera on a tripod behind it.

The 5 cones are set-up at a distance of 10 metres or 33 feet apart. The last cone is placed 50 metres or 164 yards away from the light. 

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Camera Set-up

The helmet lights vary strongly in their brightness and intensity: Ranging from 200 to 5000 lumens, the unit to measure the quantity of visible light, it was not easy to find the right camera set-up. Our experience from reviews in past years helped us to get it right.

Set-Up:

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

  • Aperture: F/5.6
  • Exposure: 1/6 sec.
  • ISO-Setting: 2000
  • Focal Length: 16 mm

The CATEYE HL-EL1000RC Volt1200 is a powerful light. 1200 lumens provide ample light for your ride.

CATEYE HL-EL1000RC Volt1200 LED

  • 4 power levels
  • Up to 1200 lumens
  • 219 g*
  • Burn time: 2-17.5 hrs

Sigma Buster 200 HL LED

  • 3 power levels
  • Up to 200 lumens
  • 104 g*
  • Burn time: 2-7 hrs

Sigma Buster 600 HL LED

  • 3 power levels
  • Up to 600 lumens
  • 143 g*
  • Burn time: 2-13 hrs

The Sigma Buster 2000 HL is challenging the establishment. Large area illumination, remote control, rechargeable battery with integrated power bank, all at killer price.

Sigma Buster 2000 HL

  • 4 power levels
  • Up to 2000 lumens
  • 463 g (light + battery + remote)
  • Burn time: 2.5-20 hrs

Knog Blinder Outdoor 400 USB LED

  • 9 power levels
  • Up to 400 lumens
  • 105 g*
  • Burn time: 2-7 hrs

Knog Blinder Arc 640 USB LED

  • 3 power levels
  • Up to 640 lumens
  • 150 g*
  • Burn time: 1.8-7.9 hrs

The Lupine Betty is the most powerful light reviewed. It literally turns the night into day.

Lupine Betty R 7

  • 11 power levels
  • Up to 5000 lumens
  • 450 g (lights + battery)
  • Burn time: 1-150 hrs

Lupine Wilma R 7

  • 10 power levels
  • Up to 3200 lumens
  • 360 g (light + battery)
  • Burn time: 1.75-150 hrs

The Lupine Piko is all you need for a night out on the trails.

Lupine Piko R 4

  • 6 power levels
  • Up to 1500 lumens
  • 180 g (lights + battery)
  • Burn time: 1.75-80 hrs

Lupine Neo 4

  • 6 power levels
  • Up to 700 lumens
  • 175 g (light + battery)
  • Burn time: 3.4-80 hrs

The Hope Vison series's alloy cases are CNC machined from one block. This is state of the art craftsmanship.

Hope Vision R8+

  • 6 power levels
  • Up to 3000 lumens
  • 690 g (light + battery)
  • Burn time: 1-35 hours

Hope Vision R4+

  • 6 power levels
  • Up to 1000 lumens
  • 315 g (light + battery)
  • Burn time: 1.10 hours

Hope Vision R2 LED

  • 6 power levels
  • Up to 1000 lumens
  • 298 g (light + battery)
  • Burn time: 1-30 hours

*The light and the battery form one unit. The battery cannot be removed and is charged via USB cable.

Brand Model Lumens Burn time at max. power level Weight (light + battery)
CATEYE HL-EL1000RC Volt1200 LED 1200 lumens 2 hrs 173 g
Hope Vision R2 LED Epic Light Set 1000 lumens 1.5 hrs (2-cell battery) 298 g (2-cell battery)
Hope Vision R4+ LED Lightweight Helmet Light 1500 lumens 1.1 hrs 315 g
Hope Vision R8+ LED Helmet Light 2017 Model 3000 lumens 1 hr 690 g
Knog Blinder Outdoor 400 USB LED Helmet Light 400 lumens 2 hrs 105 g
Knog Blinder Arc 640 USB LED Helmet Light 600 lumens 1.8 hrs 150 g
Lupine Neo 4 LED SmartCore Helmet Light 2016 Model 700 lumens 3.25 hrs 175 g
Lupine Piko R 4 Bluetooth LED SmartCore Helmet Light 2016 Model 1500 lumens 1.75 hrs 180 g
Lupine Wilma R 7 Bluetooth LED SmartCore Helmet Light 2016 Model 3200 Lumen 1.75 hrs 360 g
Lupine Betty R 7 Bluetooth LED SmartCore Helmet Light 2016 Model 5000 lumens 1.00 hr 450 g
Sigma Buster 200 HL LED Helmet Light 200 lumens 2.00 hrs 104 g
Sigma Buster 600 HL LED Helmet Light 2016 Model 600 lumens 2.00 hrs 143 g
Sigma Buster 2000 HL LED Helmet Light 2016 Model 2000 lumens 2.5 hrs 463 g (incl. remote)