Lupine piko + night ride

Since tonight is the BMU El Jannah’s chicken night, i thought i would get my riding done yesterday night. It was also the first test ride with the Lupine piko light system so i was properly excited.

The reason why i started looking for a brighter system is i prefer running a helmet only light for roadie riding. No particular reason, just my preferences. I found the Ayup a little lacking in that regards as the one singular Ayup light with a narrow beam is adequate when you are pottering along at 24km/h but at aroudn 40km/h on complete dark roads it becomes a little more nervous. I noticed myself tilting my head up constantly with the ayup simply because it was the natural  motion to do when i wanted to look further ahead.

The Ayup’s biggest merit is also the lupines biggest flaw. The Ayup comes as an awesome package. 2 light heads and 3 batteries. You are not going to need more. The Lupine on the other hand comes with one light head and one battery and that is pretty much it. So if you want a package like Ayup’s offering you are going to have to spend a fair bit more. Each battery is around $75 aud and the light head with battery and charger retails for around $350. So in essence if you want 3 batteries and 2 light heads it would cost you $775. So for longer rides and 24hr events you are going to have to use your brain a little if you do not want to outlay that much cash up front.

This issue is also further emphasised by the Lupines burn times. At 8W on it’s highest setting it is rated for 2.5hrs of operation time. That really is cutting it short for 24hr events and indeed even on my roadie ride of 3.5hrs it is cutting it fine. However, there are ways to work around this and it requires a little more thought but the end result might work. You see, the lights are pretty darn bright. The lupines has 3 settings, high, medium and low. The low is pretty much the limp home mode so it’s next to useless but the medium mode is the workhorse mode of the three. I knew my ride would take about 3.5hrs and straight away knew that i couldn’t run the light in high forever so what i did was to run it in medium mode for slower pace ie cycle path and then run it on high when i am going for it. In medium it is already brighter than Ayup’s and most importantly with the medium setting the lupine gives a more acceptable 7-8hrs of burn time. Throughout the whole route riding to SOP i was on the medium setting and i really found no need for high at these paces. The biggest difference i noticed wasn’t the brighter light but more the spill of light. The 2x Cree xpg led’s throw a much wider flood of peripheral light and that is always a good thing. I haven’t gone mtbing with the lights yet but i believe peripheral light is very valuable on the trail from my previous experience with the soul p7 led emitters.

Once i got to SOP and was ready for a hot lap i turned the Lupines to high and was pretty impressed. I am here to test myself first and foremost so i go about my thing and push myself. I am glad to report that in this condition the Lupine is exactly what i am after. When you are pushing yourself for 30 minutes everything becomes a little bit of a blur. You start to wonder a bit as fatigue sets in and generally everything becomes a little sketchier. In this zone the more awareness you have the better. Previously with 1 single ayup on my helmet and at 40km/h it was really pushing it. I couldn’t see pot holes or cracks on the road and really it was a matter of hold on and hope for the best. With the Lupines though it does take that extra stress of my mind as i push myself. No longer am i looking further up the road because the light output is simply enough. So basically the previous feeling of “oh crap i don’t quite know what’s coming up on this descent” has being eliminated and that was my number 1 goal. Mission complete. On the way back i ran the light on medium setting on the cycle path and once i hit the roads i set it to high again just to test for maximum battery capacity and road awareness and by the time i got home it was still fine. Unlike ayup’s the light output is regulated like i have previously mentioned so that the brightness level is the same from the start till the end. That really makes a big difference and i can definitely tell towards the 3hrish part of my ride.

You pay for Lupine lights and the quality shows from the cable plugs to the cables itself to the cnc machining on the light unit to the charger. The light in typical german quirkness has a mode which tells you exactly how much volts is left in the battery charge. They could have told you if it has high or medium or low batt charge but that isn’t accurate enough for ze germans. Instead it will tell you that you have 7.5volts of remaining batt charge. Other features are more standard like auto heat protection modes where it switches down modes if you stop moving. It also switches down automatically in brightness once it determines that the high level is not usable anymore so it wont leave you stranded out in the middle of no where.

The mounting system for the helmet is a simple velcro strap on a very nicely made bracket which swivels very easily for easy adjustment on the go. The power button is also located on the light unit itself so switching between modes *which you will have to do if you want to go for a longer ride* is easy. The velcro strap is more annoying than the Ayup to setup as it has to go through the helmet and the Ayup’s win with their gecko velcro setup.

Overall the light is good if you dont mind fiddling around a little mid ride. You need to know when to use which power levels and you can’t really just leave it on one setting for the entirety of the ride. It has allowed me to feel safer in pushing myself around a somewhat “technical” tt course and has provided more than adequate light everywhere else. My plan is to get another set of Lupine pikos which has now being upgraded to 750 lumens and run a 22 degree lens angle on the handlebars and remain using my current pikos for the helmet which has a narrower 15 degree lens angle. For short social mtb rides i should be able to leave both on high all the way and for roadie rides i will only run the helmet light. For 24hr events i will run both on medium at all times so i can get a more than adequate amount of light lasting 7-8hrs.

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Yesterday’s hot lap was interesting. I clocked a 27:12 which is my 3rd best time after 26:34 and 25:24 and i am happy with that time alone but i know it could be better. Starting off near the start i usually maintain about 38-40km/h but yesterday a car decided to come too hot into an intersection. Even though i had right of way i know better than to risk some retard that didn’t spot me so i had to slow down to about 20km/h and then re-accelerate again. Valuable time lost. Around Rhodes i also had a pedestrian crossing exactly when i got to the pedestrian crossing so i had to stop completely and once again valuable time and energy lost in re-accelerating. Overall i felt like i had quite a bit more to give and my average hr reflects this at 170bpm vs my normal 178-180bpm. Given these factors i think my 27:12 is pretty decent and i can finally start aiming to beat my own personal best when i ride it again in the near future.

I still don’t quite get how strava calculates power though as my hr was lower but my power is higher for yesterday? I would think that wind had something to do with it maybe?

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