After having used my Lupine setup for half a year now i was thoroughly impressed. However, there are notable problems though. Problems which rear its head only when the ride goes over 3hrs. The Lupin piko i have used was the first iteration with 500 lumen cree led modules. It comes with a fairly small battery which lasts 2.5hrs on high mode. I usually have the Lupines on medium setting (where it can burn for 7.5hrs approx) which coincides with the brighter parts of the night and then once i know i have about 1hr of the ride left (usually heading home) i switch it to high and enjoy the full power of the Lupine. This is an alright compromise and the power is more than adequate. Last Tuesday night i left my Lupine batt at home so i had to borrow Clifton’s Ayup head mount and i was pretty shocked at the difference.
When you are sometimes upgrading from one product to another, you wont feel a massive difference. However, it is when you downgrade that you notice the massive difference. That night really put the Lupine into perspective. Basically, i don’t think i can ride with one single headed Ayup any more. If i rode Ayup’s i would make sure i have both the head and bar lights. Still, i knew the Lupines would have problems on rides longer than 3hrs. IE 24hr races. Mont is coming up and i knew my Lupine setup isn’t right. Since i am using Lupine i would not be able to rely on the support of 1000’s of other riders which are also using Ayup’s and potentially have charged batt’s at the ready. Using a minority brand meant that i had to be prepared for a good 4-5hrs of juice at racing pace.
What are my options? I thought about this for a long time and considered a variety of choices. I could simply buy a bigger batt and that would bump the Lupine to a burn time on high of 5hrs but the batt is a little too big imo to be jersey carried. I could have just used the Lupin on medium but i felt that it was on the verge of “enough light”. Cue the solution i eventually chose, a second Lupine piko. Lupine has improved their piko’s for 2012 by using the latest cree emitters and have bumped the lumen from 500->750. On top of that the angle of the beam has being bumped up from 15 degrees to 22 degrees. Do you see where i am going with this?
The new Lupine piko are to be my handlebar mounted light. With a wider beam it would work optimally on the handlebar although with the amount of light it spills out you could pretty much use it for anything. The idea is to run both lights on medium at all times and still have more than enough light to be used at race pace easily for 5-7hrs. The first positive of this setup is i get a handlebar light. That is always important to improve the contrast of rocks and deformations in the terrain by having a lower light source. The second positive is i have more options. Preparation for Mont is awesome but the idea of having 500+750 worth of light on high setting for a short 2hr mtb night ride stint is awesome too. When i go for shorter night rides i will just turn both piko’s to high and enjoy daytime.
The reason why i chose the title of this post comes from the realisation that Lupines are quality quality bit of kits. Known pretty much as the best in the bicycle lighting industry the construction and fitting of everything is great. The cord is nicely thick so it doesnt kink into 14 undoable knots. The plugs are big and waterproof and directional so you cant stuff it up or bend pins. The modes on the units are just right and the extra ability to check how much batt is left is useful too i guess (although i have not used that feature yet). I was doing a handlebar mount swap of the new piko and i felt inspired to make this “partial review”. Everything just screws in so nicely. Individual washes are provided and different washes are used for different mounts and that clamp to the handlebars must be the most sexy and slim-lined mount i have ever seen for lights. Easily removable/adjustable and the mounting position is perfect. Very happy camper indeed.