By Mountainbike magazine | 25 March 2020 | 0 Comments

​​​​​​​What to consider when buying a helmet lamp?

See original review at:
What to consider when buying a helmet lamp?

Ask yourself these questions to avoid any nasty surprises on your first outing in the dark. First and foremost, ask yourself what you intend to use the light for – often the lamps aren’t only useful for mountain biking.

It’s also important to consider the range and illumination of the lamp. When biking, the lamp should illuminate the trail ahead of you as clearly as possible. A high-powered beam of light, with which you’ll light up a single root or rock won’t be helpful. You need to see the full width of the trail – maximal luminous range, which is especially important for riders who like to go fast.

Even during the twilight hours helmet lamps can be useful. More light – more visibility!

In this review, we focused on bright yet lightweight lamps. If you want to create daylight on the trails on moonlight rides, we recommend mounting a second light on the handlebars. Note: every lamp we tested can either be mounted on helmets or handlebars.

Our comparison confirmed that the battery life of lamps can vary a lot and that some lamps with an integrated battery don’t attach to helmets as securely as their weight demands. To properly secure a light with an integrated battery on a helmet, a sturdy helmet mount is crucial to take the extra weight, and even then the extra weight on the helmet is more than just annoying. Our tip is to use a modular system: attach the light to the helmet and use an extension cable to store the external battery in your backpack or clip it onto your waistband. For even more ease of use, some of the models we tested can even be controlled via a remote control on the handlebar or via an app on your smartphone. Disco light or alpine distress signal – you name it!

Overview of the helmet lights we compared

Model Output* Battery capacity* Battery life (maximum output)* Measured complete system weight Price (€)
Cateye Volt1700 1700 lm 6.8 Ah 2:00 h 278 g € 235.00
Hope R2 1300 lm (measured 1000 lm) 3.2 Ah 1:30 h 343 g € 255.00
Knog PWR Trail 1000 lm 5 Ah 2:00 h 256 g € 124.99
Lupine Piko R 4 SC 1.800 lm 3.3 Ah 1:15 h 210 g € 350.00
Magicshine MJ-906 B 5000 lm 7.8 Ah 2:15 h 490 g € 179.00
SIGMA Buster 2000 HL 2000 lm 6.5 Ah 2:30 h 487 g € 200.00

*Manufacturer’s specs

A small lamp-lexicon

A few important points should be considered when buying a helmet lamp. Our little lexicon is here to help you.

Illumination / reach

The term illumination describes the maximum total area that a lamp covers in each mode. The range is the maximal distance that the light shines ahead of you.


To wirelessly connect to a remote control, a smartphone or a tablet, some of the models in this test feature Bluetooth connectivity. These include Lupine, Magicshine and SIGMA. This wireless feature is not only handy for a wireless remote control on the handlebar. You can also connect to an app on your smartphone to individually control the lighting modes, check the battery level or read the current operating temperature.

Lumen (lm)

Lumen is the unit of luminous flux that describes the brightness of a lamp. The higher the number of lumen, the brighter the lamp is. For example: 150 W = 2000 lm.

Ampere Hours (Ah)

An ampere-hour is a unit of measurement for batteries and rechargeable batteries. It indicates the available charge a battery can hold. The more Ah a battery has, the more battery life it has. For example: 1 Ah = 1000 mAh.

StvZO approval

Paragraph 67 of the German road-traffic-authorisation-order (Straßenverkehrs-Zulassungs-Ordnung (StvZO)) was revised on June 1st, 2017. Part of the revision allows for the use battery-operated and removable lamps on a bicycle, as long as they do not dazzle other road users. And they have to bear the German seal of approval, awarded by the Federal Motor Transport Authority. Of the lamps tested, none have StvZO approval, as they are intended for outdoor sports and not to be used on public roads.

Key data for the helmet lamp review

Model Lighting Luminous range Battery mounting on the helmet Battery in the backpack Comfort on the helmet
Cateye Volt1700 ●●●●○ ●●●○○ yes no ●●○○○
Hope R2 ●●●○○ ●●○○○ yes yes ●●●●○
Knog PWR Trail ●●○○○ ●●●○○ yes no ●●●○○
Lupine Piko R 4 SC ●●●●● ●●●●○ yes yes ●●●●●
Magicshine MJ-906 B ●●●●● ●●●○○ no yes ●●●●○
SIGMA Buster 2000 HL ●●●●○ ●●●○○ no yes ●●●●○

Best value – Magicshine MJ-906 Bike Light Combo

Our buyer’s tip: the Magicshine MJ-906 Bike Light Combo incl. taillight and remote control.

The Magicshine MJ-906 with 5000 lm is the nominally brightest lamp in this comparison. Obviously, a lamp with such a high output of lumen is above average in terms illumination. The defined light-spread convinced us as well. The MJ-906 is definitely worth € 179. It gets you a bright helmet lamp that weighs in at just 102 g, although the quality of the helmet clip could be improved. It does its job, but it looks cheap.

With its 5000 lumen, the light covers a large area.

Once stowed in your backpack using the supplied extension cable, you will hardly notice the hefty 347 g weight of the 7.8 Ah battery. As a bonus, Magicshine also comes with a taillight that, like the helmet lamp, can be controlled via a remote control on the handlebar. For this reason, the Magicshine is our buyer’s choice!

Output 5,000 lm
Battery 7.8 Ah
Price 179,00 € (inkl. rear light)
Battery life (max. output) 2:15 h
Weight Light, battery, helmet mount, remote control 490 g

More information at

+ storage case for the lamp incl. accessories
+ far and wide illumination
+ good value for money
+ includes taillight and remote control– heavy battery
– cheap looking helmet mount

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