Author Topic: Head torch recommendation.  (Read 2109 times)

Head torch recommendation.
« on: March 09, 2019, 04:17:56 pm »
I've just broken my 3rd Alpkit head torch. It's been the same failure on each of them, the tab that holds the door of the battery case closed.
It's bad design and/or poor material.

I'm not inclined to get another one even though it has everything I want:-

rear battery case
AAAs
a low power and a higher power front beam (I use the small light for visibility, repairs and for seeing what gear I'm in at night)
a low power flashing rear light (I only use that when I'm leading the MCR-BPool FNRTTC so that the other riders can see where I am with having their retinas lasered. I've got a bright rear helmet light for commuting etc)
long battery life

Any suggestions ?


Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2019, 04:46:46 pm »
I've just broken my 3rd Alpkit head torch. It's been the same failure on each of them, the tab that holds the door of the battery case closed.
It's bad design and/or poor material.

I'm not inclined to get another one even though it has everything I want:-

rear battery case
AAAs
a low power and a higher power front beam (I use the small light for visibility, repairs and for seeing what gear I'm in at night)
a low power flashing rear light (I only use that when I'm leading the MCR-BPool FNRTTC so that the other riders can see where I am with having their retinas lasered. I've got a bright rear helmet light for commuting etc)
long battery life

Any suggestions ?
I don't have one, Andrew, so not in much of a position to comment. But I do have a couple of hand torches from LED Lenser - which I picked up for a song from Maplins before they ceased to exist.
First class products, (They're really f*cking bright) with an excellent (non-Maplins) warranty service.
I cannot fault them.
I should think that they're worth a look.

ETA - They sell direct to the public.

ETFA - I've just ordered a head torch from them.

Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2019, 09:48:08 pm »
The Alpkit model you refer to is known for this defect. I have had two lights replaced over the years. They are now offering alternative models at differing price levels.
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2019, 10:26:54 pm »
Coast. https://www.torchdirect.co.uk/coast-led-head-torch.html .I've had LED lenser and these are made more robustly (although my LED Lenser would have been an old model now) or Black Diamond for more waterproofing https://eu.blackdiamondequipment.com/en_GB/search?cgid=lighting

Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2019, 05:47:25 pm »
Thanks for the suggestions, some useful links there.
In the end, I bought another Alpkit because they've changed the design of the battery case.
It now hinges shut and appears to be much more robust. The rear light also does a funky disco flash so what's not to like ?
There was also a price reduction.

So far, so good.
I'll report any issues.


Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2019, 06:16:43 pm »
Thanks for the sugestions, some useful links there.
In the end, I bought another Alpkit because they've changed the design of the battery case.
It now hinges shut and appears to be much more robust. The rear light also does a funky disco flash so what's not to like ?
There was also a price reduction.

So far, so good.
I'll report any issues.


ETFA - I've just ordered a head torch from them.
This arrived the other day, and I can confirm that it is A. Beast.
Focus-able beam.
Tilt head.
2 levels of dazzle: Dazzle, and Very Dazzle.
Magnetic on/off switch.
Ingress protection to IP66 - which means that not only is it waterproof, but can safely be used in an environment where explosive dust is present (always handy :thumbsup:)
Runs on 3 x AA batteries.
Elasticated headbands have grippy silicon on their inner surfaces, making it suitable for use by a bald man with a sweaty pate.
It is yellow.
Yellow, as in Air Sea Rescue.
Over-specced as f*ck.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2019, 10:30:19 am »
ETFA - I've just ordered a head torch from them.
This arrived the other day, and I can confirm that it is A. Beast.
Focus-able beam.
Tilt head.
2 levels of dazzle: Dazzle, and Very Dazzle.
Magnetic on/off switch.
Ingress protection to IP66 - which means that not only is it waterproof, but can safely be used in an environment where explosive dust is present (always handy :thumbsup:)
Runs on 3 x AA batteries.
Elasticated headbands have grippy silicon on their inner surfaces, making it suitable for use by a bald man with a sweaty pate.
It is yellow.
Yellow, as in Air Sea Rescue.
Over-specced as f*ck.
that sounds anti-social, impractical, and almost completely useless to me.

Gotta link?
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2019, 10:39:34 am »
Here y'go.
https://www.ledlenser-store.co.uk/head-torches-c71/exh8-atex-led-head-torch-zone-0-20-p1309
I should add that I'm unlikely to use it whilst riding a bike - Its main use is to free up a hand when fixing something in the dark / poor light conditions.

Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2019, 12:16:54 pm »
ATEX rated too.

You can go into an area with an explosive atmosphere and be completely safe


(click to show/hide)
Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped

Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2019, 12:30:41 pm »
I've just broken my 3rd Alpkit head torch. It's been the same failure on each of them, the tab that holds the door of the battery case closed.
It's bad design and/or poor material.

I'm not inclined to get another one even though it has everything I want:-

rear battery case
AAAs
a low power and a higher power front beam (I use the small light for visibility, repairs and for seeing what gear I'm in at night)
a low power flashing rear light (I only use that when I'm leading the MCR-BPool FNRTTC so that the other riders can see where I am with having their retinas lasered. I've got a bright rear helmet light for commuting etc)
long battery life

Any suggestions ?

Check the Decathlon offerings... variety of spec with 3x AAA   https://www.decathlon.co.uk/Buy/headtorch#product_8384995

I've been using one of their previous Geonaute models for a few years,  80 lumen 3xAAA (rear pack), and it's been great.  Has low, hi and flashing mode.

Very similar to this £12.99 100 lumen...  https://www.decathlon.co.uk/onnight-210-trail-head-torch-id_8503712.html

Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2019, 12:51:13 pm »
Also from the department of over-specced as f*ck, it appears that I never actually wrote a review for my Petzl Reactik+

Highlights:

Single unit so highly pocketable.
USB-rechargeable, swappable battery pack.  Will last for about 2.5 hours at full power, or about 2.5 weeks of normal camping use.  Probably 2.5 overnight bike rides at sensible brightness.
Spot and flood beams, plus token night-vision-preserving red.  Like most high-end Petzls, the illumination is very even.
Tilt head, which like most this doesn't quite tilt high enough for a road bike riding position (unless you're interested in the ground immediately in front of your wheel) - it's fine on a MTB or recumbent.
Strap you can tighten while it's on your head.
1kHz PWM (not barakta-proof, but fast enough that it doesn't bother me).
Reactive-beam modes, where the brightness and beam shape[1] is adjusted in accordance with the amount of light reflected by what you're looking at.  This works surprisingly well, and is excellent for loitering within tent (particularly when carrying washing-up to and from an illuminated area, and for not blinding fellow head-torch-wearers) useful some kinds of fettling  activities, actively unhelpful for others and is best switched off in the presence of oncoming vehicle lights.
Wanky Bluetooth capabilities that, with a suitable app, allow you to:
- Program an arbitrary sequence[2] of beam shape / brightness onto the buttons.
- Remote-control the brightness, but not to the point of 'off' which would make this feature actually useful for something.
- Transmit arbitrary strings in Morse code.

Lowlights:
Not Intrinsically Safe.   ;)
Mine's got a seemingly-cosmetic hairline crack in the case from (presumably) being dropped on a hard surface.
Button state-machine is slightly too complicated for my 3am full bladder brain.
Bluetooth status LED that defeats the point in the night-vision-preserving red.  But that's okay, because you'll program your preferred sequence of modes once and then switch the bluetooth off.


I really like it, but it's overkill if you just need something to avoid tripping over guy ropes, and the physical design might not be optimal for cycling.  It's the fettling that I really appreciate it for - particularly the even diffuse optics.  The reactive modes take a bit of getting used to, but once you get a feel for it, they have their uses - if nothing else, it's a great way to conserve battery.  The bluetooth stuff is wanky, but I appreciate the programmability, and being able to program it with a smartphone rather than a proper computer makes sense.  It's more versatile than the Core.


[1] Achieved by cross-fading between two LEDs with different optics.
[2] So you don't have to put up with that coming-on-at-full-brightness rubbish, and you can have it do the Right Thing for toggling between low/high for cycling.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2019, 11:47:26 pm »
Another +for Petzel Actik with the core battery. A USB dynamo charger or power bank and no need to batteries. Used a Petzl myo for work, never let me down.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2019, 12:56:05 am »
Fenix/Zebra.

Anything else is plastic marketing
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2019, 06:29:24 am »
I like how Kim's review includes talk of PWM and state machines but she doesn't finish the job: next time there should be a full Mealy model and Karnaugh map analysis.  B- could do better  ;)

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2019, 07:44:45 am »
Local hill runners seem to favour Silva ones, so that's what I bought recently.
It seems rather nice, and does have a quality feel about it which my older petzel ones did not.

Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2019, 02:38:49 pm »
Petzl also do pro headtorchs, expensive. But I expect that cyclists want something  that doesn't weigh a ton.

Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2019, 03:19:20 pm »
Petzl are now also only rated to IPX4 - weather resistant - this evidently does not include Welsh weather  >:(

Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2019, 09:24:22 pm »
Yes it's ipx4 for the consumer models, ipx 67 if you want the good ones.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2019, 11:36:06 am »
+1 for Fenix.
I like the Fenix HP25R. It has separate flood or spot beams (though you can't turn them both on at once). The flood is great for offroad running anyway, I have tried a few other lights which were just too narrow.
It is USB rechargeable, and uses 18650 batteries. So you could carry some spares if necessary. Battery life is pretty good anyway, low or medium power is bright enough for most things, which gives very long runtimes.
And it seems pretty tough, and waterproof etc (IP66).
Though it is a bit bulky/heavy, maybe overkill for most things. Fenix have some smaller lights which could do the job.

Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2019, 12:40:59 am »
+1 for LED Lenser. I think it's just the fairly basic H3.2 (or its predecessor) I have but runs off AAA, variable intensity, beam pattern, tiltable and it's worked as well as back up bike light as fixing crap in the dark.

Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2019, 03:33:28 am »
Here y'go.
https://www.ledlenser-store.co.uk/head-torches-c71/exh8-atex-led-head-torch-zone-0-20-p1309
I should add that I'm unlikely to use it whilst riding a bike - Its main use is to free up a hand when fixing something in the dark / poor light conditions.

Interestingly (?) the site I linked to for Coast torches (although with an error, now fixed, in the linky URL) has the same item for £20 less, with the Coast equivalent power for a third of the cost, although they are not direct equivalents. lso for the same money you could get 10x Teh Lumens !!1!

Morat

  • I tried to HTFU but something went ping :(
Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2019, 06:06:51 pm »
Some Lumens are better than others....
I can vouch for the superb optics from LED Lenser. They have give perfectly even illumination from wide to narrow beam.
I have one of their smaller head torches for close up work in dim wiring closets where the larger ones would just blind you with reflected light.
The medium ones are perfect for steady cycling and pleasingly OTT for towpath strolling back from the pub.
The big ones are for blinding Martians from you back garden.
Tandem Stoker, CX bike abuser (slicks and tarmac) and owner of a sadly neglected MTB.

Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2019, 10:19:38 pm »
Thanks for the suggestions, some useful links there.
In the end, I bought another Alpkit because they've changed the design of the battery case.
It now hinges shut and appears to be much more robust. The rear light also does a funky disco flash so what's not to like ?
There was also a price reduction.

So far, so good.
I'll report any issues.

I bought this one:- https://www.alpkit.com/products/gamma-3
The battery case works well except it's not up to several hours of rain on a bike.
Its first (and last) significant test was on the 2019 FNRttC Manchester-Blackpool.
Well before the real rain started it wouldn't switch off and there was water in the battery case. I took the batteries out as soon as I realised; they were OK after I'd dried them.
Despite prolonged time in the airing cupboard when I got home only the funky rear light works; the front doesn't.
Alpkit's response was along the (predictable for them) line of "Your problem Bro; it's not up to riding in the rain".
Frustrating because, in terms of function, it's exactly what I want: low power front light so I can see what chain line I'm running when it's dark plus I can use it to repair punctures etc and a visible but not dazzling rear light. The latter is useful when I'm leading night rides; it's obvious where I am but the flash isn't blinding anyone. And AA batteries.
I think I've said it before; if Alpkit spent £3 more on design or materials and added £5 to the purchase price they'd be on to a winner.
The ultimately shit products I've had from them stops me buying any of their other stuff no matter how appealing it sounds on their web-site.



Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2019, 10:42:10 pm »
I used to have one of the previous models of Alpkit Gamma. Mine broke in some electronic way (IIRC it turned on but wouldn't turn off, or something weird) without ever having got wet. It was still within the guarantee period (2 years I think) and they gave me a refund without hassle. But it's put me off Alpkit electronic stuff too.

I've just bought a Zebralight, as recommended by Jaded and others. Haven't used it properly yet but initial impressions are that it's got a good range of brightness levels from nicely dim to very bright, the beam is totally unshaped – just a cone with a hot spot – but it's solidly made. It's an aluminium body and there don't seem to be any wires to break or weaknesses to bash. It even comes with two spare O-rings for the watertight thread on the battery end cap. The mode selection is slightly complex for my taste (modes complicated by submodes) but it's possible to ignore that, and of course some people like having multiple, programmable modes.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Head torch recommendation.
« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2019, 02:01:05 pm »
Just to update on the Reactik+:  I dribbled some epoxy onto the hairline cracks earlier this year, in the hope of waterproofing as much as structural reinforcement.  It continues to perform flawlessly, in spite of getting dropped in a puddle a couple of months ago (I subsequently washed the headband, and discovered how manky it was with sweat).
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...