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Starfish asked Do halogen bicycle lights get very hot in use?
I am researching halogen versus LED for a front light on a bicycle. I want the brightest possible light without spending a fortune. I understand that HID LED is as bright as, or brighter than, halogen but it is not always clear whether LEDs are the standard or the HID.
And got the following answer:
There are several brightness/quality levels of both halogen and LED....HID so far just comes in one form (freakin' bright). If you want bright then you're going to have to spend some money. What you should probably do is decide how bright of a light you *need* and then go from there. I have two older halogen lights, a cheapie LED and an upper end LED, and an HID. HID blows them all away and it's great for fast riding/jumps on dirt trails. The other lights just aren't bright enough to ride really fast....but they're ok for normal riding and definitely fine for road rides. There are lots of great new LED lights on the market now. Most of them are cheaper and brighter than the halogens. Very different, though. The halogens put off an orangey yellowish light whereas most LEDs have a bluish tint to them. Very high quality LED is a little more white, but not the same as the "sunshine" that HID gives off. Until very recently there weren't any LED lights on the market that approached the light output of HID.....you can get a couple of them as of last year but the price is ginormous ($800+). You can get into a great HID for as little as $279 if you shop around (they usually run from $330 to $550). The normal range of "decent" LED lights is about $80 to $200 and halogen kits will be about the same. There are tons of cheapie LED lights out there from $10 to $50 but most of those are better for being seen in city traffic than for actual see-where-you're-going fast bike riding. As far as heat, I'm not sure why that would be a question of yours. HID gets hot, but not too-hot-to-touch. Some LEDs also get hot but most are barely warm to the touch. Halogen falls somewhere in between but they can get hot, too, with the higher wattage units. The only concern with heat would be that you make sure you let the unit sit for a few minutes before you stuff it into a case or pack....this is good for the circuitry and starters in both HID and LED, and it may keep a hot light from melting the Snickers bar in your pack. :o) So to answer your question about what the "standard" is, I don't think there is an answer. It's all about your needs. I think if you were to look at product availability and market share over the last few years then LED would appear to be the standard. If you look at 24hr mountain bike races and what most serious trail riders are using, then certainly HID would win. Try out as many lights as you can....if possible, do that on the bike rather than in a bike shop's dark closet. Many guys who ride at night have more than one light, so maybe you could hook up with some local riders to try out their lights and get some experience. Some bike shops will let you do this, too, but not many. Also, go to http://www.mtbr.com and check out their head-to-head reviews of several lights on the market. A couple years ago they started this project and have added to it every year, trying to help people make sense of the confusing marketing in bike lighting, and trying to come up with some unified comparisons as to light output and useable light, etc. Hope this helps some....night riding is a blast! If you need more, post up again, and have fun shopping. :o) P.S. Winter, have you tried out something like the Black Diamond Spot headlamp? Super bright, and it's only a compact 3AAA model. It's better than any of the previous halogens I tried and it's my go-to for backpacking now. BD and other companies have some brighter ones that use more/larger batteries, some with a belt/body pack to keep them warm. There are several of them that can throw a very nice beam up to 60m, and a few that can go farther than that. I did read about someone in Iditarod last year who was using HID bike lights for his team. Lots of LED stuff out there up to the task, though. Just thought I'd share.