Headlight recommendation, pref w GoPro mount, trail use, survivable in wet/cold

Asking the hive for an experienced recommendation on a replacement headlight. I’m looking for headlight for trail use that is water-resistant (ie works in hard rain, probably IP6), has good battery life in cold weather (-10 C), and can be mounted upside down with a GoPro mount. Ideally, it is compatible with Garmin’s light network feature. The GoPro mount means it’s out of the way on a dual Garmin-above-GoPro-below mount and it’s on the bike year-round.

I had such a device, the Bontrager ION 800 RT, but it gave up over the weekend during a long ride. I’m not sure if it was the 7 or so hours of heavy rain that did it in, but it had worked well giving 80+ minutes of bright light in -10 C, in snow or not, and shorter, rainy rides for the past 15 or so months. (Coincidence or not, but my Bontrager Flare tail light also died that day. While the ION pretends like it is charging, the Flare has moisture in the lens and appeared complete dead.) The network feature is nice because it’s nice to be lazy when entering a long tunnel or night falls and I don’t need to turn on the light or turn it off when there’s adequate light once again. But Bontrager/Trek doesn’t seem to be making this product anymore.

The Bontrager replaced a Light & Motion Trail light. That worked great until it dropped below 10 C and then the battery life was about 20min. I tried several recommendations from the mfg, but whether it was the type of battery or the lack of any semblance of insulation, nothing extended the life (kudos to L&M for the support). Some of the other highly rated lights are not water-resistant. Annoying, it is rare to nearly non-existent that reviews of trail headlights do not consider using the light in wet conditions (ie including the water resistance, or IP rating) nor do they consider using the lights in cold weather.

Recommendations? What are you using?

By the way, when it’s really dark, like pre-dawn rides now and through winter, I supplement the handlebar light with a helmet-mounted light that works fantastically in wet & cold (a Lupine Piko).

Have you tried Exposure lights? Only the smaller ones fit the gopro clip mount though, i think Diablo or Axis are the largest battery ones that fits. Only gets around -2 or -3 here at worst, so cant personally comment on -10 but they are very waterproof and the batteries last a long time without degraded runtimes. The Joystick I recently replaced was about 4 yrs old, used multiple days a week, replaced it with a new Axis

EDIT: just checked their site for specs and looks like there is a gopro style mount for the bigger ones now, right there on the front page

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@jezza323, thanks for the recommendation. I was looking at them but didn’t want to commit without other comments. On your reply, I emailed Exposure and they were quick to reply with helpful info, suggesting either the Mk11 or the Mk14. I don’t get the Garmin integration but that is not a deal breaker. And honestly, it was sometimes distracting, though not a bad distraction, as I would be fascinated by when it turned on and off (simple toys for simple minds :slight_smile: ).

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I’ve got multiple Exposure lights (Trace, TraceR and Sirius) on gopro mounts (front and back) and it is interesting to see that they now have a mount for the Strada.

The Strada has a remote button that you can try and place somewhere convenient on your handlebars, if it’s mounted under the bars. I run mine on one of the duel settings so it works nicely as a Hi/Low light.

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Garmin ut800 possibly and got one a couple months back. Have it in my road bike and even though it is an older light have been happy with it paired with the 530 and radar. Battery life is pretty solid for me.

Non light network as a backup I still have my Cygolite Dash Pro– 600 Lumen Bike Light.

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I just bought these for my 3 hour night race.
Outbound lighting
They worked great and the beam pattern was better than any bike light that I’ve ever used.

seeing that new mounting option, ill definitely be getting a strada when i need a new one, probably wont be for another 5 yrs though!

Pretty happy with my Lezyne lights. No problems down to -25c (haven’t ridden colder than that) not that I haven’t needed to ride more than 45 mins at that temp so battery life may be shortened vs spec. https://ride.lezyne.com/collections/led-lights-performance/products/1-led-16-v204

Thanks for the ideas. I was looking at the Garmin UT800, @ericallenboyd, but the lack of updates from Garmin concerns me.

@J_Bone, that looks like a great light but it doesn’t fit my spec: upside down, GoPro mount, fully contained (for me, this is a must-have). A similar disqualifier for the Lezyne: no GoPro mount to “hide” it under my Garmin.

I just placed the order for an Exposure Race Mk14. I liked the Mk11, but the additional weight was too much. My now-dead light is 123 grams (according to the kitchen scale), the Mk14 is 186g and the Toro Mk11 is 236g. At some point, grams add up. Besides, I have a helmet light to supplement.

All, thanks again.

[small edits to add “down” and weights]


I’m in the market as well. Probably will go with exposure or glow worm. Has anyone here had any experience with the later? I’m also considering Light and Motion.

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I have the Light & Motion Trail 1000FC. It worked great until it got real cold (for the L&M, below 10 C, but its performance was consistent 10c through -15c) and then the life was 10-20min. It’s on my bike right now until the Exposure comes, but I’ll have to admit I’m looking forward to the 2k+ lumens of the Exposure. I want to add that L&M support was terrific.

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I have that light as well, so far it’s been really solid. Year two, admittedly I don’t use it that often. I have another L+M 1000 lumen wire free light and the combination of the two is enough for short and less intense trail rides. I’ve been invited on some epic 3 hour night rides that will begin and end in the dark so I need a robust system. I wreck on I’ll bring the FC 1000 as a back up at least, or maybe maintain it as a helmet light? Thanks!

Have used the Exposure Joystick (can’t remember which mk I have, either 11 or 12) in -16C in Finland in winter, also works in UK weather so wet and cold, wet and not very cold, wet and warm or just wet. I have the unit set on a program that gives 24hrs on the low setting, this is more than enough for riding in snow because of the reflected light.

My helmet has a gopro mount and I’ve a gopro to Exposure conversion mount.


Lezyne GoPro adapter $6

Or $2.99 if you’re in the US


My wife and I have several gloworm lights and friends use them too. We mountain bike year round, so most of our weekly rides during the winter require lights.

I’m somewhat of a flashlight enthusiast, so I’m very particular on lighting. Overall Gloworms with the neutral LED option are very nice lights.

I’m currently using a TrailLED DS that’s been modified with high CRI Samsung LEDs on my helment and an Acebeam EC65 that’s been modified with the same LEDs on my bars.

Acebeam has a couple products that will hopefully be out soon. These look promising for high powered lighting options. I personally like the ability to ride full speed on trails at night, and this typically requires a few thousand lumens.




I use a nite rider lumina micro 850

Cool and good luck. Its an old light so no updates needed and just works fyi

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I am sure you will enjoy it :slight_smile: They are very solidly made lights

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It does come with a GoPro mount and they also have an additional GoPro mount. They also have the hangover which is for the helmet but can be used on the bars and it’s self contained.

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I just discovered Outbound lighting. $305 for a helmet and bar mounted lighting system MUSA. This looks tough to beat if it’s quality. Anyone tried it?