Riding off-road trails at night is a blast! I started night-riding several years when the Chicago area was experiencing an unusually hot summer and riding after sundown seemed like the only way I was going to get my miles without suffering heat stroke.
During my first few years of riding at night I purchased several underpowered headlights and I never really felt safe because I was outrunning my light, i.e., my headlights did not throw a beam of light far enough down the trail for me to safely ride at the speed I was traveling. It was like driving your car at 90 MPH down a foggy country road using only your parking lights. That all changed last summer when I purchased a CygoLite ExpiliON 250.
The ExpiliOn 250 is one-piece compact unit that throws out 250 lumens of intense LED light and fits on either your handlebar or helmet (it comes with mounts for both). Since it weights a mere 130 grams you will probably never even notice it if you wear it on your helmet. Using the high beam I was able to get nearly three and a half hours of light out of it (CygoLite only claims a 3 hour battery life). It is powered by a quick release Li-Ion battery and it recharges in about 5 hours. How good is it? After my first ride with an ExpiliOn 250 on my helmet I ordered a second one for my handlebars!
This light has six different settings (High, Mid, Low, Daylight Flashing, Walking and SOS). The flash setting is very interesting—it sends out a quick pulse of light, pauses, then sends out two more pulses in rapid succession. This flash setting really grabs the attention of oncoming traffic. During the winter months in the Upper Midwest the sun never gets very high in the sky so our few hours of sunlight are accompanied by long shadows, but the sad fact is that most of our days are rather cloudy anyway. Riding with the ExpiliOn 250 in flash mode allowed cars to see me a long way off. I was having cars stop me at least once or twice a week to thank me for using the light. Some motorists claimed they saw me over mile away which gave them plenty of time to avoid a head-on collision.
Now the best part: I’ve had to call CygoLite’s customer service twice and I have been extremely happy with them. My first ExpiliOn 250 had a small problem (it was probably my fault) and when I called customer service they insisted that I return the unit for a new one—no questions asked. The guy on the phone made an interesting comment. He said, “We are really trying to protect the CygoLite name and we can’t afford to have dissatisfied customers.” WOW! It is wonderful to deal with a company that is trying to build a reputation instead of resting on one.
The CygoLite ExpiliOn 250 has a list price of $140.00, but I was able to buy mine for around $110.00 from Amazon.com.