Dinotte XML-3 & XML-1 Mountain Bike Light Review…

7 02 2013

I’ve been using a Dinotte XML-3 [~1000 lumens] and a Dinotte XML-1 [~400 lumens] for over a year now although only in winter as our summers feature uber long periods of daylight in Canada. They are great mountain bike lights and Dinotte has great customer service. MTBR.com did a review of these lights as well as a comparison with 48 other mountain bike lights so I figured I’d point you at that rather than reinventing the wheel. Besides it’s not like I can afford to buy 50 high bike lights to test and review! ;)

Dinotte XML-3 on my Scandal...

Dinotte XML-3 on my Scandal…

XML-3 LEDs...

XML-3 LEDs…

One thing I must point out is these are high powered mountain bike lights for use on trails or out in the middle of nowhere. They shine their powerful beams indiscriminately onto the trail, road and into people’s eyes if they are headed towards you on a bike or in a car. They are so powerful they will literally blind oncoming traffic. Just like driving around town at night with your high beam lights in your car is not cool – using these as commuter lights anywhere with other traffic is not cool. I suspect we aren’t too far from seeing these sorts of lights regulated for road/MUP use since the cost to lumens is so low now anyone can afford a devastatingly bright light. In Germany it would be illegal to use these lights on your bike on the road and I agree that’s the correct approach.

Dinotte XML-1 mounted to my helmet...

Dinotte XML-1 mounted to my helmet…

Here is my summary of what I like about these lights:

  • reasonable cost for brightness and quality
  • symmetric beam works well for mountain bike trail use
  • Dinotte provides excellent customer service
  • these lights are repairable if needed unlike disposal Chinese lights
  • my oldest Dinottes are 6yrs old and going strong with no repairs
  • all lights made in the USA
  • one of the easiest and best mounting systems I’ve used
  • available in both AA battery and L-Ion battery versions
  • small profile so they don’t look goofy or take up a ton of room on your bars if you have the installed day and night
XML-3 with L-Ion battery pack...

XML-3 with L-Ion battery pack…

If Dinotte ever made a light with a vertical cut off optic like the Edelux I’d buy one for city use.


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3 responses

7 02 2013
Ty

Great post!

Long-time DiNotte user too. Great, super powerful lights. But as I learned from your posts over the years, they are blinding to oncoming drivers. I had a 600l and I ended up putting tiny pieces of tape over the top third of each of the three bulbs.

Now I have an Edelux on my Rando bike an the Ixon IQ (same optics) as my back-up/commuter light. Such a difference! Now cars never flash me coming from the other direction, thanks to the vertical cut-off.

I truly do think the DiNotte über bright lights are great for remote areas with little to no lighting, but are a danger on city streets. Hopefully, they will do something about it. A DiNotte with the vertical cut-off would be fantastic!

Ty

11 11 2013
mike

Worth noting that just like drivers with high and low beams, these lights have variable intensity settings. On medium my xml-3 works just fine for commuting in traffic — no brighter than XID headlights commonly used on high-end autos.

11 11 2013
Vik

@Mike – one huge difference with bright bike lights and car high/low beams is that low beams are aim down and on the road whereas high beams are more symmetrical just like bike lights are in every setting. A low power symmetrical beam bike light will be less irritating to others than the same light on high, but you lose the light you may be relying on as you power down. Having a vertical cut off built into a bike light lets you run it at high power and puts all that light where you need it – down on the road not in other people eyes.

Personally if I am using a symmetrical beam bike light like a Dinotte I fine it easier and more useful to cover it with my hand as I pass someone than to futz with the power level button each time. Ultimately it’s still a poor option for city use compared to a light like the Schmidt Edelux or the B&M Ixon.

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