Sunday, November 11, 2007

AYUP Lights

The mail man delivered another set of goodies on Friday. A new set of Ayup lights for the Kona 24hr in December. I'm not using my HID for two reasons, firstly the ballast stopped working and I initially had a hell of a time getting spare parts, and secondly the amount of money it was going to cost to purchase enough battery power to keep the thing running for 10-12 hours would have been astronomical. I met the Ayup guys at the Scott 24hr and came away from the meeting with a different idea of the lights. I previously thought they were not in the serious lighting league and were a budget light in the not so impressive and up and coming range of LED light sources. I soon found out that pro-riders and adventure racers were using them (and winning - Andrew Bell) and they were a serious source of light.

So, as usual, I decided the best way to test them would be to buy them (I know there are flaws in my logic).

As I openned the package I came to realise just how small they were as I'd forgotten since I'd seen them at the Scott 24hr. The package was tiny but had two pairs of lights, 24 hours worth of batteries, two AC chargers, two car chargers, bar and helmet mounts, extra length cables, and individual protective cases for every battery and light; all packaged in a special roll-up case.

Here's the helmet with three hours worth of light.

And the bars with six hours worth of light. (And nicely colour coded, there are heaps of colours to choose from)

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Lets say you're going for a late after work ride and want some emergency lights. Here is three hours worth of light, packaged and ready for the top pocket of your Camelbak.

And the last thing you need to get true value out of so many hours of light.

So what was the verdict?
There's no way these lights will compete with the light from a HID globe, they aren't supposed to. However, for their intended use I found them perfect. I had an intermediate width beam on the bars (close range and good spread) and the narrow beam on my helmet (narrow and long range) which seemed to be a good combo. In comparison to the old halogen lights of five years ago these were brighter; but the biggest advantage was the pure white/blue light they created, as apposed to the brown/yellow of the halogen. Being built in pairs also allowed you to adjust each lens independently to spread the light, this was a real bonus.
I can see these lights being perfect for 24hr racing, I wouldn't want to be flying down a rutted and windy single track at full speed with these, that's where I would want HID. Long hours in the saddle is where these would excel. No battery worries, redundancy (in case one pair die), and a good level of light so as not to blind you after many hours in the saddle and comfortably lead you through the night at cruising speed; after all, as a solo rider I stop racing at night and focus on surviving, not lap times.
Can't wait to get more hours under the belt with these, where's that espresso machine......