Mini Review: 24 Hour Race Test with Lupine’s Betty, Tesla and Wilma

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My racing partner Mario Correa and I raced the 24 hr Nationals in Moab last October.

It was a tough course, the first 6 miles served up some rocky terrain so it was ‘game on’ right away. Because we were going to do a lot of night laps I requested some lights from a company I really respect. One word, two syllables: Lupine.  We ran the Betty’s on the Bars and Tesla and Wilma on our helmets.

betty_solo-00551Betty Solo shown here

We specifically wanted these lights to avoid any problems that can easily happen during a 24 race.

1) Support gets batteries confused (All batteries are interchangeable with their various lighting systems)
2) Batteries run out of charge (These batteries can last quite some time depending on your power output, plus it has a reserve tank that can at least get you back to the pits)
3) Mounting systems fail or slide around (They have two sizes of rubber O-rings that curl around your bars. Bomber.)
4) Light output isn’t strong enough (These puppies put an LA movie set to shame. Think Friday Night Lights)

Have to say, Lupine across the board is a quality system.

After the race we discussed our likes and dislikes.  Hit ‘more’ to read the our thoughts…

Where did we mount our batteries?
Mario mounted his on the stem, it was long enough to do that, I mounted mine on my top tube. The case Velcro’s shut and then there is the added security of a plastic clasp. So if the Velcro fails the clasp is your back up.

wilma5_solo-00212Wilma shown here

Both our set ups were bomber. We pre-rode the first 4 miles at night to check out our systems and then did the battery mount test. Mario’s invention was to drop your bike on both wheels from about 4 feet off the ground several times and the lights and batteries stayed put.

The helmet mount was also solid and very positive as this type of Velcro is sticky on the entire piece of material.

Mario: I could also mount the small battery on my bar, right behind the head tube or mount it on the bar and it wouldn’t compromise my steering; the battery is very lightweight and is so small.  If I can I like to keep my batteries off the carbon frames, so the carbon doesn’t get compromised

Tapered handle bars have been an issue in the past for mounting, how were these?
We both have tapered bars, so we ran the larger o ring mounts which secure tightly and don’t slide around. ( I found that happening with other lights, they would slide around, especially if the course was technical and you bounced around a lot).

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Was the light beam cool or warm?
Mario: Compared to some others I’ve used, it’s not as yellow as the Niterider but not as cool or blueish as Light and Motion, more in between. Neutral.  It had less of a color cast, more of a white light.

Were you brighter than the moon?
Mario: Yes, all the nocturnal animals came out.
Heidi: I blinded the timing table people a few times, I think they saw stars.

How was the light spread?
Heidi: Lupine has an even light output and spread as opposed the more concentrated beam I was used to riding. At first I found this a little difficult to get used to and once I did liked because I am not effected by the tunnel vision type beam pattern. I am more generally aware and helps my peripheral vision.
Mario: The even light spread was perfect for me. I don’t like looking at a concentrated source because when I look away I get the after image/glow spots.

Were you worried you were going to run out of power?
Mario: No. Lupine comes with a device that indicates your power so you are aware of your charge before going out and it will go on a reserve, so you can at least get back to your pit.

Was the light output easy to manage?
Mario:
Very. It has adjustable settings, but we ran the factory default settings which were fine for a duo team.
Heidi: Yes, plus they have a power control system which is a cord with a button that controls the light output and general power (on/0ff) . You can place it where ever you want so it’s a great goldilocks feature, put where it’s just right for you.

The one draw back were the instructions. I think they need a “get started fast” user’s guide. They don’t tell you exact burn times because they have so many fancy pants settings it’s difficult to give estimated times. Like most, I rarely read the manuals. Get ready for some reading with this one, but 0nce you set it up, it’ll work like a charm.

Editor’s note: To appease the bureaucrats, for full disclosure these lights were provided by Lupine at no charge to these riders.

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