Which headlights are brighter: Halogen or LED?

We have had this question come up several times, so we decided to revisit the subject.  A few years ago, we tested some LED bulbs and they were no where near as bright as the Halogen bulbs are using as headlights on all Optibike models.  One of our customers replaced the halogen bulbs in his Optibike 800Li with LED bulbs so we tested them side by side in a “dark” room.  Here are the official stats:

Distance from the wall:    8ft

halogen bulbs (on left in photo):  2 x 10w 12v

cost (halogen): $2.49 each x2

LED bulbs (on right in photo):  2 x 3.3w 12v

Cost (LED):  $40.95 each x2

Optibike 800Li LED vs Halogen test

Optibike 800Li LED vs Halogen test

Things to consider:  We will have to do a longer range test to be conclusive.  The halogen bulbs used are narrow beam bulbs, which are designed to see far, not wide.  That test will have to be conducted outside, at night, because we do not have room to do it inside.

Conclusion (after preliminary testing):  It looks as though if you have an extra $82 for headlights and want to conserve 1.86% of your battery life over a full charge- you should get some LED bulbs for your Optibike.  The bulbs that were tested were from here:

http://www.ledtronics.com/Products/ProductsDetails.aspx?WP=C123K1697

As far as LED’s as OEM for Optibikes……. I think that adding a  hundred dollars or more to an Optibike for an option that not all customers would take advantage of is a bit unnecessary.  The upgrade can be done very easily by riders who want to maximize the riding experience at night- we are happy to provide instructions.  The upgrades that we offer inhouse are those that are more easily done while the bike is being built (brakes, suspension, paint, fitting, etc.)  We will be keeping our eyes out for a lower cost LED solution that offers comperable (or increased) lumen output, but $82 headlights is a bit steep for most riders.

Cheers,

Craig

Optibike

3 thoughts on “Which headlights are brighter: Halogen or LED?

  1. Other important aspects of LEDs are reliability. They have a far greater working lifespan than other lamps and they are far more shock resistant.
    Their brightness and efficiency have approximately doubled every year, while their cost is dropping.

  2. I had heard some complaints about the brightness of the Opti halogens so I looked closely at the performance of mine. I was coming fast (30 + mph) down a mountain at night, on twisty roads that have slides and deer so I watch carefully and need good lights.

    I was satisfied and impressed by my standard Opti halogens. Once I tilted them up properly they gave me good light. The mount is also very nice as it can be somewhat tight to not move but can still be adjusted by hand while riding.

    The $80 LEDs are a reasonable option for anyone who wants to upgrade. I wonder if you can run halogen and one LED?

  3. Hi Craig,
    Neat test, but yes, you need to do this outside. I think it matters a lot where you ride. I commute a lot through very dark rural areas and I think the LED’s are more about “being seen” than “seeing”. In fact, when it’s really dark, I add my HID riding light as a headlight — that’s a light I used to race mountain bikes at night, so it’s bright. I use it to see and to intimidate drivers by looking at them. Gets their attention!
    –John

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