Last week I decided to bite the bullet & plunk down $100 or so for a decent headlight for my bike. Between a recent move, up grading my 36v e-bike battery to 48v & the short winter days. (That and just about impaling myself on a mailbox the other night) You can imagine how happy I was to discover that I would be able to do this for under $50.00 and still have a good light that was plenty bright and great to look at.
After about an hour of searching for “Bike Lights” & reading reviews I decided on a CREE XML T6 LED. Now with all of this newly acquired knowledge you would think that placing my order should be quick & easy. Sadly, this was not the case and this is one of the main motivators for writing this article.
For those of you that don’t necessarily want to read my entire article, use the short list below for what you must know before comparing one seemingly identical light to another. The number one thing to remember! … These are rarely identical. They look the same but there not the same. The second is a CREE XML T6 LED is a tiny little light bulb that goes inside the bike light you’re looking to buy. IT IS NOT THE PRODUCT! A hot light bulb with a tiny battery makes a tiny light. Finally this is in NOT an article trying to steer you away from a CREE XML T6 LED Bike Light or any other CREE Lighting Product. On the contrary these are fantastic products. This article is intended only to help you choose the best CREE XML T6 LED Bike Light for your money. Click here to see some of the lights available through Amazon. OR use the Red “Quick Search” Box on your right.
- Read the reviews.
- The scientific measurement term “lumens” is rarely used scientifically in advertisements. Never base your decision on this # alone.
- Pay close attention to the battery type & pack size. I have seen some very cheap prices only to find that batteries were not even included.
- If you’re in the US & purchasing from Ebay be sure to buy from US Ebay sellers. In the event of a problem the ability to communicate is paramount.
- Use a credit card or PayPal. NEVER EVER USE YOUR BANK CARD! EVER.
- Read the reviews.
- Pay close attention to shipping charges & delivery times.
- Most of the product descriptions & specifications are translated from Chinese. If it sounds funny be sure to verify it.
- Copy & paste the package contents from each light you’re considering. Then compare & sort each of these items to be sure each package contains everything you need or want.
- Read the reviews.
- Look at the pictures closely & compare to the contents list. The O-ring fasteners with the pull tab are much nicer to use than the regular O-ring.
- Read the reviews.
I purchased my light through Ebay from a US seller fzbuyhuge for $39.97 USD. (pictured below) This package included a 5 LED red rear light which I needed. That price was delivered. It had an advertised 1600LM output. The battery output is 8.4V DC @ 6400mAh & it has 3 switch modes. It arrived in 3 days exactly as ordered.
My other top choice was the CREE XML T6 LED Bicycle Headlight from Amazon.com & supplied by TOMTOP COM for $37.94. (pictured below) This package appeared to be identical except for the metallic red lens ring. A nice touch I though. It also had 4 switch modes instead of 3. It did not include a 5 LED red rear light & this was the reason I went with the CREE from Ebay. The shipping was .99 cents. However, after receiving & testing my CREE T6 form Ebay I discovered that this TOMTOP unit came with a much smaller battery pack. This battery pack output was 4.2V DC @ 4400 mAh compared to the 8.4V DC @ 6400mAh for my Ebay unit. That was lesson one. CHECK CLOSELY THE SIZE OF THE BATTERY PACK.
A better match through Amazon would have been this seemingly identical 3 Mode 1600 Lumen CREE XML T6 Bulb LED Bicycle bike HeadLight Flashlight Light Headlamp by Generic. It’s $38.59 plus $4.99 shipping but NO taillight.
Do a search on Google or on Ebay for Bicycle light & over 1/2 of the results will be for a CREE XML XM-L T6 LED Bicycle Light in some configuration or another. They’ll range from an advertised 1000LM, 1200LM, 1600LM, 1800LM to 4000LM in out-put & will be shown in assorted colors & various options. All of these lights are built by differant companies scattered across China but they all share one thing in common. They have a CREE XM-L LED Bulb manufactured by CREE LED Components & Modules. (see picture below)
All of these CREE XML XM-L T6 LED Bicycle Lights are simply No-Name Clones of more expensive higher quality bike lights. By using CREE for a name they sound legitimate. The reality is, they are assembled by hundreds of small independent companies mostly from China. The T6 designation in the title stands for a category of small low voltage bulbs. It also indicates the shape of the bulb. A T6 HALOGEN for instance is a very common low voltage bulb. The XML part stands for the specific type of LED Lamp manufactured by CREE LED. Beyond that little light bulb the quality & configuration of everything else everything else is up for grabs.
All of the bike lights I have looked at so far are copies of bike lights made by MagicShine, LuminTrek or Niterider. The good news is they all seem to be well made & put out plenty of light at a fraction of the cost of their brand name counter parts. The bad news is, it’s impossible to compare prices until you can first determine what you’re actually ordering. Since all of these ads appear identical it is quite difficult to determine which light is your best choice. Since most of these lights have similar prices and for the most part are fairly priced the only way to insure that your getting what you want for the best price is to pay close attention to the package contents listing, battery specifications & to question any statement that sounds a little off. Follow the bullet points I listed above, use your own good sense & use this CREE Bike Lights from Amazon.com link & your chances of getting exactly what you want are pretty darn good. I also included some of my Amazon Picks below. It has Cree Bike Light Products & Accessories that I have either purchased or considered purchasing in the last 30 days or so. After that comes a short review of what I just bought. Since there is already a wealth of good and very detailed reviews already written on these lights I included a few of the more detailed ones below. They will give you a lot of insight into how these “cheap clone bike lights” compare to the “real bike lights”. I have always been one that was willing to pay more for a quality product. I consider cheap junk to be just that. Well the times they are a changin & I’m happy to say that they are changing in favor of the consumer. Many of those cheap Made in China Products are no longer cheap, they are just a lot less money than their western counter parts.
Let me start by stating that I am both an Ebay seller & buyer as well as an Amazon Affiliate & user. It should come as no surprise then, that I know the good and the bad about both of these web-sites. I rarely make a purchase for anything with out checking both of them coupled with a Google search. Most of the time any NEW product of any complexity over $50 would be purchased through Amazon.com. If I make a purchase such as this through Ebay it will always be through a US Seller.
That said, this purchase was made through Ebay because I couldn’t find a similar package on Amazon. My search started as “Bicycle headlight” with the “located in US” filter selected. This gave me 247 active listings versus 5,394 active listings for a general world-wide search. I started looking for a bicycle headlight only but after seeing many combo packages with taillights I quickly added ” taillight” to my list of requirements. The light I purchased was advertised as 1600 LM although by now I had learned that lumen’s as a measurement of light was indiscriminately used in many of the advertisements of this type. Instead I just made sure that every light I was comparing was at the least using the same CREE XM-L T6 LED.
After about an hour of searching Amazon, Ebay & Google I had a pretty good idea of what was was what. Since Amazon did not have a package that included the tail light I went back to Ebay to make my purchase. I settled on the Ebay Seller fzbuyhuge I purchased the “NEW 6400mAh Battery 1600LM CREE XML XM-L T6 LED bike Bicycle Light HeadLight” It was $39.99 with free shipping. The purchase was a simple two step Paypal check-out with the option to print a receipt. The order was immediately confirmed with an email from Paypal & a second email from the vendor the following day. It arrived in 3 days exactly as ordered. I have gotten quite used to new products that arrive with no manuals & or no instructions & this was no exception. Note: Although the contents listing did not list any instructions or manual the photograph in the ad clearly showed one.
It arrived well packaged and with no damage. The battery appeared to have a good charge but I plugged it into the charger anyway. It took over 4 hours for the light to go from amber to green so It probably had just had a shallow surface charge. The headlight itself is a good-looking unit with a solid feel. the charger, battery pack, battery holder & headband are all of acceptable quality. The O-Rings that are used to mount the light on the bike or on the headband where the much nicer molded rubber-rings as opposed to a standard O-Ring. (In this case the picture showed standard O-Rings NOT the better molded ones) The taillight seemed to be on par with most of the other inexpensive taillights I have owned but it is nothing great. I actually broke the end of the flexible mounting clip playing around with it while still in my office. Fortunately it was the very end of the clip & it did not render the light useless. Another complaint is the 7 flash settings that you must go through in order to turn it off. Having choices is nice but does anyone really need to have 7 modes of flash? I’m sure 2 ot 3 would be sufficient. At this point I only have about one hour of riding time on this but I’m absolutely blown away by the amount of light this thing puts out. I’m sure it’s as bright or brighter than the motorcycles I grew up riding in the 70′s & early 80′s. All in All I could not be more pleased with my purchase. Everything about this bike head light is more than satisfactory. It looks great, it works great and it arrived quickly and complete. Had someone showed me this light six months ago and told me it cost $184.00 I would not have blinked. To think you can buy these just about anywhere for less than $50.00 is just amazing. I’m thrilled.
If you need a Bicycle Headlight you simply have to check out the Bikelights being sold with CREE XM-L T6 as part of their name. If your fortunate enough to have a local bike shop selling these by all means check there first. Next to the local bike shop is Amazon.com’s Bike Commuter Store. They have an incredible selection of anything related to cycling. Also check out my Lights & Reflectors link on your right and the CREE Bike Lights box directly above also has Bike Lights that I have either purchased or am planning to.
CUSTOMERS REVIEWS ON CREE XML-T6 LED BIKE LIGHTS
After a few months of running both lights side by side. I decided to write a comparison review between my MagicShine MJ-808E 1000 lumen bike light and the CREE T6 1200 lumen bike light. Most of the field testing was conducted on Minnesota single-track trails with both lights being operated at the same time…Continue
popcorn: Review of Ebay: 1800 Lumen CREE XML T6 LED Bicycle HeadLight Lamp. My first light review:
The kit came in a small box which contained the lamp, battery/charge, 2-Orings, Helmet strap/adapter, battery holder. At first sight the body was machined well with matt black anodizing. I was actually surprised with the quality of the workmanship. No burs, machine marks nor blotchy finishing. The threads were smooth and fitting was tight.
The Aluminium reflector had a smooth finish instead of the Orange peel texture that was pictured in the ad. The LED was mounted on the board with a large heat-sink which threaded into the body. There was plenty of room in the housing for heat dissipation. The crowned Bezel has 6-points with a nice satin brushed finish. Under the glass lens there is a GITD (Glow in the Dark) silicon O-ring and silicon rubber tail cap. The tailcap switch is a reverse clicky with a LED battery indicator behind it… Continued
I’m very pleased with quality and brightness of this bike light. ”Ryszard Sytnik | 6 reviewers made a similar statement
Thank you for reading this, I hope it helps with your considerations! ”Brian M. Lambertz | 3 reviewers made a similar statement
I did purchase the Wide Angle Lens for MagicShine, Gemini, and many other Bike Lights / Headlight with it as well to get a wider beam. ”Nienke Splint | 7 reviewers made a similar statement
Hello, This is the real deal… super bright light with three settings: high, medium and low (no flash setting). ”Charles Thomas Polk | 3 reviewers made a similar statement
Summary: I like this light. ”JPilot | 2 reviewers made a similar statement
I thought the rubber band mounts were mickey mouse but they work fine and are easy to remove for day riding. ”Jammin’ Jim | 1 reviewer made a similar statement.
For more on lights & stuff for your bike go to; “My Picks Page”
Tagged with: Bicycle Accessories
Filed under: Electric Bicycle
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