When testing products there can only be three ways that things go. Well, unnoticed, or basically a complete shit show.
Particularly when I started this “Into the Night” test I had some reservations. Mainly about will there be enough light to see? Would my own crappy vision (I wear contacts nowadays to see anything) be able to give me enough confidence to see what I need to see to ride somewhat fast? Would the products work? What about their performance on my 2017 model bike? Will the speed at which you can ride be enough to still enjoy the ride? Or will it just feel like you are wasting your time? Basically a lot of questions and concerns for a complete (insert another word for poo) show of an inspection.
All that was rattling around in my head when I kitted up the first night. Particularly because I had made the decision to start testing with the weakest lumen power lighting option as the first product used. Then progress through to the strongest. I didn’t want to start out with everything and not be able to manage with less later and only end up with a half-arsed review. Keep in mind if you have ever ridden your bike in the dark with the stock headlight.
You will understand why I was concerned a bit. Stock headlights don’t do much if anything for lighting. But quickly when I rolled out the shed into the night. The lights took over and a level of comfort came into effect. Using the Standard power Moto3D headlight and the 1000 Lumen Helmet mounted CleanSkin light.
I rolled straight into a single track and with each corner worked out what was being seen and what wasn’t. Which if I’m honest, there wasn’t much being missed. Yes, you get a bit of a shadow on the bottom and backside of logs, and protruding rocks or overhanging branches. But if you drop about 10% of your daytime speed. You will be comfortable and happy as a pig in mud riding your dirtbike in the dark of night when everyone else is tucked away watching TV or in bed.
So remember. I had never ridden in the dark before. But after about 5 mins. A minor adjustment to the angle of the helmet-mounted CleanSkin light. It felt really no different to riding in the daytime. Yes, at this point I hadn’t left my own well-known tracks. But I was really enjoying the ride. Comfortable with everything that I could see. Bike singing in the cool night air and no one to look out for on the trail other than a minor concern for wildlife getting startled with the LED’s.
Moving out onto single tracks that I wasn’t familiar with was the next step in the inspection. Keeping in mind we are still on the weakest power lighting options here. Along with the fact that due to lockdowns in NSW when I was initially doing this inspection, recent good weather (rain and sunshine). The tracks have become quite overgrown. So, vision was more difficult. But not from the available lighting options. I couldn’t see the ground in the daytime on rides since either so I can tell you the light wasn’t to blame.
It’s hard to put in words the freedom feeling I was getting in the middle of a state forest, in the dark with my motorcycle. It was shocking to me, that I could see as much of the track as I was, being able to go as fast as I was going, and on tracks that many people would struggle to ride in the daytime. I was picking lines up and down hills like nobodies business. It was such a super cool thing to do on my dirtbike. I highly recommend you try it if you haven’t previously. If you have and had a bad light experience. Well, read on as maybe it was your light options.
So let’s hit some bullet points to help you pick your best lighting option.
- More Light is More Light.
But that comes with some added weight or bulk. But it can be well worth it. Take the Moto3D high power headlight option. The standard power works great. But the high power has a bit bigger light unit in the rear/behind the plastic and a bit more weight. But it’s on the bike so you don’t notice it. Then take the Duo 2200 lumen Cleanskin Helmet light. The light itself has the smallest body and weight. But it comes with a lead to attach to the battery pack that you have to run over your helmet and into a backpack/Camelbak. So if you are carrying a Camelbak it’s fine. If you are not that’s an issue as I would highly recommend not strapping the battery pack to your armour in case of a crash. You do not want that pushing into your ribs or spine in the event of a crash.
- Under the visor is the best spot for helmet mounting lights if you are on forest type trails.
If you have ever run a GoPro and tried to duck under a branch you know what I’m talking about. The light is safest under your visor. It minimally impacts the top of your vision. But at night looking up doesn’t really help you. So after a minute or so you get used to the light being there and look straight past it.
- You need a bike and helmet light.
Yes, the Moto3D headlights are bright as bright can be. But when you pull a wheelie up a hill the track still goes black. The helmet light covers so well for this. But also when cornering. If you have any skill or technique. You should be looking through the corner. Which isn’t always where the headlight is pointing. But your head will be, thus giving you the vision to see where you’re going before the bike gets there. Two lights are a must.
- Start your headlight angle at its lowest point.
These Moto3D LED lights have so much light coming out they cover a lot more than you expect. So adjust the height of the light to the bottom setting to begin with and move small amounts up from there if you need to. I didn’t.
- Goggle Prep is important at night
I was continuing to use the XBrand Lucid goggles from our past inspection. They have multiple lens options and I found the yellow night lens to be perfect to increase the light sensitivity at night. But also no zip offs and no tear-offs. They can create bright spots or clarity issues at night. Best to just go all natural lense.
- Pick your tracks ahead of time and have ridden them in the daytime recently
This is a bit of a safety thing. Yes, both Cleanskin and Moto3D lights work awesome. But they only light up so far in front and so far around. So you might not see a hole or a stump on the side of the trail that can cause some damage. Just ask my riding partner. He decided to switch ruts through some long grass and found a stump in that grass and when over the bars. The light show as he when base over apex from my viewpoint was like watching the Sydney fireworks pre covid.
- The Cleanskin lights, with their ability to mount via a GoPro mount to your helmet, It was a game-changer. Making for simple angle adjustments. And removability for charging etc. super good design and use of a readily available mounting option in the extreme sports world.
What did we like and dislike about each individual option?
Moto3D Standard Light (Main Photo)
- Easily installed and connected. In my case with the assistance of a rectifier to change the current delivered to the light from the bike.
- With the two-beam types in this light. It did help a bit more than the high power option for overall light nearby. The High power is more concentrated light as you can tell from the images.
- Lightweight – it’s barely heavier than the standard headlight but actually works to ride at night with.
- It looks so much better than a standard headlight when on the bike. I mean looks aren’t everything but damn it was a massive improvement in the looks department for the bike.
- The only real dislike was that you can notice the less overall light it puts out when compared to its high powered brother. But if you are on a budget. This thing works just fine!
Moto3D High Powered Option
- A lot of light. I mean a lot!
- At low speeds on tightish single tracks, this light was perfect. You have to remember your riding at night. It’s always going to be a bit hard to see compared to daytime. But this light lets you see everything you need to. Whilst letting you ride fast enough to enjoy and train on every ride.
- A couple of dislikes with this one. You do give up a little bit of weight and bulk. But again it’s on the bike so you don’t really notice it.
- On the 2stroke. (not sure but guess the 4 strokes with bigger wiring setups won’t have this issue) when the bike gets too low rev’s. The light does dim a bit. But if you keep the rev’s up it’s fine.
- The first model of this light we received. We had a minor overheating issue with the light as it was wired incorrectly. But a very quick email and return process and the next model that came out were all good to go. Unfortunately, every product can fall foul to minor assembly issues from time to time. But Moto3D was awesome to deal with to resolve the issue.
Cleanskin Unite 1000 Lumen LED Light
- Super lightweight, small design and simple to operate. Fit perfectly into the under visor position on the helmet.
- Quick to charge.
- Gave useful centre based light
- Disliked the 3 light battery display. Just that once it hits the last light of 3. You don’t have much warning about time till it’s dead. Not at least until you have used it and are familiar with its battery life. Which was about 2+hrs. I ran all the options on full power the entire time.
- It was my number 3 of 3 ranked helmet light.
Cleanskin Unite 1800 Lumen LED Light
- This is my number 1.
- Loved the digital 100 to 0 percentage led display on the unit. When positioned under the visor I could see it with a quick lookup. So I knew easily how much battery I had left. If I had to lower the power setting to get home I could.
- The ability to charge a phone from this unit is a super cool feature. If you are out on trail and the phone dies. You could be in trouble. No selfies to prove the ride happened. Or worse not able to call for help if needed. A phone lead in the back pack and you can plug in and charge your phone straight from the light.
- Exceptional light without an additional battery pack.
- One dislike on this one. It is a bit more intrusive into your upper vision range due to it’s size vs the Unite 1000. But it’s a small price to pay for the extra light and battery indicator.
Cleanskin Duo 2200 Lumen LED Light
- Coming in at number 2 of 3
- If you are riding with a Camelbak every time. Then this is probably your number one. But it requires a bit more prep. Taping the lead onto the helmet. Plugging it into the battery unit in your CamelBak and remembering to disconnect the lead when you want to take your helmet off.
- But outside of that. It’s super small on your helmet under the visor.
- It’s super-duper bright. I mean like with the high powered Moto3D bike light and this it’s almost daytime in front of the bike.
Emit 100 Lumen LED Tail Light
- I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with this one when we got it. As my bike has a taillight on it. But I soon realised that this little rear-facing light tucked onto your helmet can be enough to ensure your mates don’t run into you when you are stopped. As your bike lights turn off when you switch the moto off.
- It’s super lightweight and small and you barely notice it on your goggle strap.
- Battery life is crazy long on this thing so it will do multiple rides no problem.
So you can probably tell that none of the options we tested was a bad option. You can’t go wrong with any combination of the inspected products. But I will say that my go-to combination. Is the Unite 1800 from Cleanskin on the helmet. Along with the Moto3D standard headlight. But honestly. You could go with any of them and still be extremely happy with your purchase and your night rides will be glorious. Trust me. It was super fun. You need to try it.
Be sure to check out both Cleanskin products on their website https://www.cleanskinmtb.com/ and Moto3D’s products on their website www.moto3d.com.au and use the discount code always10off to save 10% off your purchase.
You can follow David at @always.moto on Instagram