Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cygolite Expilion 800

After my troubles with the NiteRider 650's mini-USB connection, I thought maybe I should just finally switch over to a dynamo lighting system like a real bike dork. But a quick look at the price of a decent generator hub system quickly squashed that idear. Equipping 3 bikes with dyno hubs is a little out of reach. Maybe I could do one bike, but I'd still need a rechargeable light for the other bikes. Besides, even though matchy match is overrated in bikedom, I wouldn't be able to match the blue hubs on the Vaya. Oh no!

I traded the Niterider in and upgraded to the Cygolite Expilion 800. A few things I liked right off. The switch isn't recessed and sticks out a little making it easy to turn on/off with gloves on, something I had trouble with on the Niterider. And it has a replaceable battery, so you can keep a spare handy for longer night time rides, or as a backup. The USB cable connector isn't the really thin kind that is used on the NiteRider.

One quibble - the knob for the handlebar mount clamp is on the front side, where the cables on the Vaya get in the way. The NiteRider was like this, too - I don't know why the companies don't design the mounts with the knob on the backside, where there's nothing to interfere with it.

The swappable battery, and a pesky USB port cover that refuses to stay put.

The low setting on the 800, rated at 150 lumens, throws out a little less light on the street than the low of the NiteRider 650 which was rated at 200 lumens, but it's adequate. Often, when riding home in the complete dark I set the Expilion on Medium (400 lm) which throws out plenty of light to illuminate any obstacles on the street, but runs the battery down quicker.

The SteadyPulse option is better than other maker's strobe patterns, as it pulses brightly while maintaining the low or medium beam.  Or as Cygolite's literature puts it "alerts night time motorists with pulses while constantly lighting your path".

So far I'm liking this light. I haven't really needed the High (550 lm) or Boost (800 lm) settings yet, but imagine they would be handy for trail riding. I'm keeping my fingers crossed in hopes I don't have any trouble with the electrical connection on it.


  1. i mount mine up-side-down to avoid the knobbie cable interference and to just keep it the light generally out of my way on the bars. that's a great light to have around.

  2. doh! that's a good idea, I like how it frees up space on top of the bars.