How many lumens?

We get this question all the time and we’ve never published any official numbers.

It’s a pity that ‘lumens’ is such a popular measurement for comparing lights. Lumens gives you a number for the total amount of light energy but it tells you nothing about chromaticity, smoothness, angle, and intensity. It is especially painful that most manufacturers don’t give honest numbers anyway.

So before we tell you how many lumens you’ll get out of a Spikelight, we’ll look at some pictures and have a short lesson in light beams.

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User Interfaces

Some people have asked about the different User Interfaces that they can choose with the V3.

At this time, there are three options.

  • Competition
  • Competition + Extras
  • Simple

In my mind the ‘Competition’ versions are the best.  They are the easiest ones to use during a race because you can always get to the beam you want quickly.  Some people don’t like it because it’s not just a simple on/off and you can get lost if you don’t remember what the different clicks and double clicks do.  So for people who don’t like to learn new things, there’s the ‘Simple’ version.  This post will give some diagrams and a video to help you work out which one you like.

The V3 Release!

This weekend I’ll be showing off the finished V3 Spikelights for the first time at the upside down rogaine in WA.  After that, I’ll take a few pictures to put up on the blog.

So if you’re at the rogaine, feel free to drop in and have a look.  I’ll have a green sunshade/gazebo and a green Landrover Discovery, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find me.

See you there!

18650 Energy Cells: What V3 users will need to know.

Rechargable-Lithium-CellsThe V3 Spikelights will be powered by a very special energy cell that will be whole new experience for most users (who aren’t electronics-nerds). It’s called the ’18650′ cell.

If you like to carry a spare battery with you, then I can confidently say, that spare 18650 cells are lighter, smaller and cheaper than any other headlight battery on the planet (for the same amount of energy stored).

Better yet, you can buy them all over the world in a very competitive market. Other high-end headlight manufacturers force you to use their own special-shaped battery. This means you have no control over the quality or the price – and if they stop selling them oneday, then that’s just too bad!

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A look at the old: The V2 Spikelight

The very new and vastly improved V3 Spikelight is almost here so I thought I’d better do a quick write-up on the old V2. This will just be a review of the stats and show how the second of my headlights motivated certain aspects of the third.

Here she is in all her glory: The V2 Spikelight!

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Perhaps not the prettiest girl in school, but plenty of fun.  This one has been in constant use for about 18 months now.  Swimming, paddling, running, cycling – it certainly hasn’t been sitting on the shelf.  No makeup or digital retouching here, this is what real headlights look like. Don’t look too close at the headband (it started out white).

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The V1 Spikelight

undefinedI’m not very creative. The first headlight we sold got the name V1 as in Version-One. As it developed I gave them new names like the V1.2, V1.3, then we jumped to V1.5 andV1.6 but I don’t think anyone ever really cared. They just ran into the bush and started playing with the things.

The V1 family are all sold out now. You can’t buy one so don’t try. I don’t even have one for myself which is a pity. At some point I may try to trade one back from an early customer.

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Design Philosophies

Right from the start we had a few aims and at their core they haven’t changed much.  Some of these have been real challenges to achieve and it’s easy to see why not every headlight manufacturer has all of these on their list.

They basically revolve around the rogaining / adventure racing aims and we were not willing to compromise in order to get into other markets.  These lights won’t appeal to your average camper who wants to hold a beer in one hand and flip hamburgers on the BBQ with the other.  So we’re missing out on a huge portion of the market, but instead we want to nail the niche.  Of course, even though it’s been hard, designing has been a lot of fun because we are the niche market ourselves.  We didn’t need to go and do surveys because we designed what we and our friends have been looking for.

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Zooms, LEDs and my dad’s head. How did Spikelights get started?

The mighty Petzl Zoom!My dad and I took up rogaining (24 hr cross-country navigation) back in 1998.  At the time I was a highschooler and it was a pretty good sport for a father and son team to do together.  On our first event we walked about 60km and spent a lot of time in the dark.  We carried these great big 6V dolphin torches which had a great beam of light, but my word they were heavy!  Cumbersome too!  You had to carry them in your hands along with your map and compass and it made it very hard to get a muesli bar out of your pocket.

Then we noticed that everyone else had these stupid-looking lights attached to their heads.  So for my birthday, Dad got me my very own ‘Petzl Zoom’.  It was the best headlight in the world!  Nothing could compare.  You screwed it in for a wide beam and out to focus it.  Everyone at the time seemed to have one.  The standard procedure was to throw away the bulb that came with it and upgrade to a halogen.  The halogen put out much more light but it chewed through your battery quicker too.  It was a huge and clunky thing by today’s standards but nothing else came close to it in raw power.

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