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3 Month F/U With The Outbound Road Edition

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3 Month F/U With The Outbound Road Edition

Old 03-22-20, 12:13 AM
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3 Month F/U With The Outbound Road Edition

Just finished my third month with the Outbound Lighting Road Edition and thought I would just share a few thoughts. Please note that it is the middle of the three lights in these photos. The others are the gigantic Cygolite Trion 1300 (to the left when viewed from the front) and the Ceco F1000 (right). I do some long rides sometimes and so I do occasionally carry all three. I am a bit of a redundancy freak. I do have two functioning Road Edition batteries now, though, so I really don't need those other lights at this point. Oh well.

Materials are mostly magnesium, ABS, and silicone. The head is super light, at about 100 gms, which is great. It tends to stay in place over bumps because of this, as long as you snug it up well. The mount is a wide and farily thick stretchy rubber compound, so you can fit it to whatever size/shape bars you ride. Mine are the oversized/aero type. It's no problem. Does not appear fragile in the least. Seems solid. With the battery pack, total weight comes to 416 gms. The light as measured is 110 lux and somewhere in the 1500-1800 lumen range, depending on how that measurement is done, according to Outbound. Personally, I pay more attention to beam profile and lux, but that's just me. From my experience with a bunch of 1000-plus-lumen lights, I would say those numbers are all probably about on the money. Run times go from 2.6 hrs. on full blast to 12 hrs. on low. If you want to do the daytime flash thing, that is also an option. Not sure of runtime for that, but probably forever would be my guess. I usually use it on what is called Adaptive Mode, which starts out on high and then gradually lowers output as your eyes get used to the dark. It works great for me. Very clever. Adaptive will go for 3.6 hrs. Charge time from fully drained to fully charged is 4.5 hours, so you have to plan ahead. Just get in the habit of plugging it in as soon as you finsih a ride. The battery is an LG. I did have some issue with the connection on my first battery. Matt at Outbound was great and sent me another one, no issues. Problem solved. Somehow, now the first one works, too. No idea. There was a bit of a delay on the second battery, due to the COVID-19 China situation, but that's not on Matt.

Likes? Well, for one, I really like the great big power/mode change button. It took me a little while to figure out just how to use it, but it is easy to engage even with big gloves on--a big improvement over lots of other lights with their tiny buttons. Big help here, where I need gloves much of the year. It is easy to switch modes while riding with gloves. I used to have to stop and take a glove off with some of my lights.

The main thing I am enjoying about the light is the beam pattern. It is super-spacious. Wide, wide. with good throw. Comparing it to the extremely bright 1300-lumen Trion 1300, the riding experience is just completely different. Despite its output, the big Cygolite is still more like riding in a tunnel, a big cone, of illumination, with vast darkness and a big void on either side. The Road Edition totally eliminates this. There is light spread way out to either side, which I greatly appreciate. I always felt stressed that something in that void was going to suddenly pop into view at the last second and with no time to react. Car. Cyclist. This used to happen with animals, especially--bunnies, deer. Has happened with coyotes once or twice. Can be scary and dangerous.

Now, I see those bunnies and deer way before they are on my MUP or in the street. It is a big safety improvement for me, no doubt.

The best way I can describe what it's like to ride the Road Edition compared to my other lights is that older lights feel and behave like bike lights--it's a light tunnel, a cone, limited. Sometimes stressful as a result. The Road Edition feels like I am driving in a car. It is like a car headlight, except you are on your bike. That's the best way I can think to describe it. The color is better and everything is laid out before you. No worries about missing something. It is just a very pleasant experience riding in the dark with this light. Much more relaxing. I must admit, the overall experience puts all my other lights pretty much to shame. Oh well. I guess I can use them as flashlights or something.

It rains all the time here. I have been out on 5 and 6 hour rides in big-time rain. Zero issues. The battery seems well protected, as are the connectors and the head. If you ride long distances at night, as I sometimes do, I would advise getting a second battery pack, then you can easily go all night.

The Road Edition has a cutoff, like a car headlight does. I no longer find myself irritating other riders/drivers, as I used to. I realize that there are folks here on the forum who do not care if their lights annoy others and that is fine. But I do, and so, this is a big step up in that regard for me.

Matt at Outbound has been very responsive via email and I have appreciated this.

Gripes? Well, I paid $215 for mine. Happy to do it and would do it again, but obviously, if you are strictly looking to save cash, this is not the light for you. Still, I think it is a very good value given how superior the product is--in my view. I believe pricing has come down a bit, so you should check, if interested. Second, I would in an ideal universe have maybe just a bit more throw. Maybe just a few more feet. But I have figured out how to sort of angle the head just so and I am more than happy with the current setup.

So, that's about it. One of the best purchases I have made in recent years. Really couldn't be much happier. If you are looking at higher end headlights, you might read about it and see what you think. Sometimes, you buy this gear and you are disappointed. This time, it really worked out.



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Old 03-22-20, 10:38 AM
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A few years ago, I was not willing to spend real money on lights. Then as I was dissatisfied with the lights I bought, I incrementally increased the amount I spent, and each time I spent more, I realized it was worth it. I've never spent $200 on a light; I think the most I've spent is around $80. I can see that the Outbound is worth every penny. I might buy one, one day. I've been waiting for your review, because I could tell you have a sensible outlook about these things. I really appreciate this review.
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Old 03-22-20, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
A few years ago, I was not willing to spend real money on lights. Then as I was dissatisfied with the lights I bought, I incrementally increased the amount I spent, and each time I spent more, I realized it was worth it. I've never spent $200 on a light; I think the most I've spent is around $80. I can see that the Outbound is worth every penny. I might buy one, one day. I've been waiting for your review, because I could tell you have a sensible outlook about these things. I really appreciate this review.
Thank you, sir. I am happy to spend more money on things that ultimately are really going to improve the riding experience significantly over time. I don't race. I would never, ever buy Dura Ace, even though everyone agrees it is awesome. Quite sure it is. But for what I do, 105 or Ultegra are just outstanding.

We enjoy a sometimes quite spendy hobby. Very easy to spend $5K on a new bike. I do try to save money where I can. Clothing is one area I have found I can save a bit recently. I do some of my own basic maintenance and stuff. But this light, clearly on the expensive side when compared to other basic headlights, has really changed the riding experience for me. And I do think it is providing a bit of a safety advantage as a result. Onward!
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Old 03-23-20, 02:50 AM
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bpcyclist excellent and thorough review, sir! The light however has "only" 1500 lumens emitted from the LED chip, so probably 1200-1400 lumens out the front on the road (after ineviteble losses due to reflector and lens). But still more than plenty, since it is properly distributed! I am glad you don't regret buying a cut-off light, since amongst others i talked you into buying one (or tried to convince you of the qualities of such a light).

Originally Posted by noglider View Post
A few years ago, I was not willing to spend real money on lights. Then as I was dissatisfied with the lights I bought, I incrementally increased the amount I spent, and each time I spent more, I realized it was worth it.[...]
Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
[...]But this light, clearly on the expensive side when compared to other basic headlights, has really changed the riding experience for me. And I do think it is providing a bit of a safety advantage as a result. Onward!
With good lights, one can't often understand how such a lot of money is worth every penny, unless one tries and experiences the difference. For me that meant my riding frequency in the dark time of the year increased a lot, because it is nearly as comfortable as during daylight.

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Old 03-23-20, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by polyphrast View Post
bpcyclist excellent and thorough review, sir! The light however has "only" 1500 lumens emitted from the LED chip, so probably 1200-1400 lumens out the front on the road (after ineviteble losses due to reflector and lens). But still more than plenty, since it is properly distributed! I am glad you don't regret buying a cut-off light, since amongst others i talked you into buying one (or tried to convince you of the qualities of such a light).



With good lights, one can't often understand how such a lot of money is worth every penny, unless one tries and experiences the difference. For me that meant my riding frequency in the dark time of the year increased a lot, because it is nearly as comfortable as during daylight.
Thanks, polyphrast--and thanks for leaning on me...
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Old 03-23-20, 07:50 AM
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Maybe Cygolite can learn from this. I like Cygolite as a company, since they manufacture in the US and have good customer service. Their stuff is tough, too. But my eyes have a problem with round beams. They gravitate to the hot spot instead of the surface where I should be looking.
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Old 03-23-20, 07:54 AM
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Does anyone have any idea how much more a shaped beam costs to make than a round one? I realize the design takes some engineering and that is a cost. I'm not sure if manufacture has extra cost. And now that the designs are out, are they patented, or can companies copy them? Otherwise, why would Cygolite et al choose not to make shaped beams?
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Old 03-23-20, 10:11 AM
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The numbers i have read repeatedly are 10.000-15.000 euro alone for the development of the optical system. It is also time consuming. Usually a software called lucidshape is used. From what i have read in the mtbr forum in the outbound focal edition thread, where Outbound lighting has written about the development process, it is a sequential process, a first simulation of a reflector and/or lens system is done, if the result seems good, a first prototpye is made and then the beam pattern is analyzed in reality and the reflector/lens design is improved followed by a new prototype. Probably the higher the light output, the more effort is needed, especially if certain lux values above cut-offs must not be exceeded.

Unless you have access to the simulation data (and that is never freely available unless there is a data leak/hack), it doesn't help at all if you buy a competitors product. Even a slight change in LED position changes the beam, and if you use an LED with a bigger die surface than the original, the beam does not get better at all.

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Old 03-23-20, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Does anyone have any idea how much more a shaped beam costs to make than a round one? I realize the design takes some engineering and that is a cost. I'm not sure if manufacture has extra cost. ...
I have no data, I am largely guessing. But people were making shaped beams in the era of sealed beam headlamps before the first computers were ever built. Those basically had a parabolic reflector and tiny little lenses molded into the glass lens. So it is not that hard to make or even to design. And just as important or perhaps more important, to make a light that looks cool for the style conscious bicyclist is another issue. To make it small and look cool, that could take more effort. But with computer aided design and manufacturing tools, should cost very little.

I even had some nice incandescent lights that took 2 C cells or four AA cells with good shaped beams before those lights were displaced by more modern LED lights.

I paid about $5 for the light in the photo, shipped from asia and shipping took a month. That low price was because I bypassed the retail and distributor markups here in USA. Powered by USB cable without an internal battery pack. This one has a flashlight type of round beam but in this era of automated manufacturing, I can't imagine that adding a shaped lens to it like the old days with sealed beams would be that tough to do. This is the light that I take with me on bike tours where I use my S&S bike because this light will easily strap on with an elastic if I need it.

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Old 03-23-20, 12:19 PM
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Take a look at a B&M or similar European headlight. The use of an LED illustrates that designs for filament bulbs are no longer applicable. The B&M design is brilliant. It might have been expensive to create, but is it expensive to duplicate? I don't know. It's not just the lens, it's the reflector. The B&M has its LED on top, pointing down, and the reflector turns it forward. There are many subtle curves to achieve the beam shape, and the result is that it is brightest at the top. This way, intensity does not diminish along the ground as you get farther from the headlight. It's not just a cutoff.

And maybe I'm giving more credit than necessary, but I can't help being impressed.
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Old 03-23-20, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Take a look at a B&M or similar European headlight. [...] The B&M has its LED on top, pointing down, and the reflector turns it forward. There are many subtle curves to achieve the beam shape, and the result is that it is brightest at the top. This way, intensity does not diminish along the ground as you get farther from the headlight. It's not just a cutoff.
And maybe I'm giving more credit than necessary, but I can't help being impressed.
That is the best way to control the beam shape with LEDs. Outbound and Supernova use the same approach, Lezyne does it as well for their StVZO lights, and Lupine as well for their new light. The other way are one or two aspherical lenses, used in the case of the Lupine SL(F) (or a combination of a reflector and a projector lens). All modern LED lights in cars use the same principles: either pure projector lenses, or a combination of LEDs shining indirectly on a reflector with a projector lens at the front, or simply downward facing LEDs.
The layered light with the highest intensity is the key for a good bike light and you don't give too much credit!
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Old 03-24-20, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Take a look at a B&M or similar European headlight. The use of an LED illustrates that designs for filament bulbs are no longer applicable. The B&M design is brilliant. It might have been expensive to create, but is it expensive to duplicate? I don't know. It's not just the lens, it's the reflector. The B&M has its LED on top, pointing down, and the reflector turns it forward. There are many subtle curves to achieve the beam shape, and the result is that it is brightest at the top. This way, intensity does not diminish along the ground as you get farther from the headlight. It's not just a cutoff.

And maybe I'm giving more credit than necessary, but I can't help being impressed.
I have two B&M headlamps, an Luxos U and an IQ-XS. I agree that they were well designed, but with the automated manufacturing in use today, almost everything is built with high precision compared to decades ago. I think you are giving it more credit than really due.

I could be wrong but I think the main reason that they shine the light down and back to the reflector instead of the classic way with parabolic lens is to avoid non-reflected light from shining forward where it could shine above the cutoff.

Everything to do with LEDs has been amazing over the past decade or so.
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Old 03-24-20, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I have two B&M headlamps, an Luxos U and an IQ-XS. I agree that they were well designed, but with the automated manufacturing in use today, almost everything is built with high precision compared to decades ago. I think you are giving it more credit than really due.

I could be wrong but I think the main reason that they shine the light down and back to the reflector instead of the classic way with parabolic lens is to avoid non-reflected light from shining forward where it could shine above the cutoff.

Everything to do with LEDs has been amazing over the past decade or so.
I hear ya and I agree in many respects. That said, I do not personally believe that just plopping a few super-bright Crees in a housing and firing away really qualifies as much of a bicycle headlight engineering feat at all, at least, not in 2020. Just my personal take.
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