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Product Review Cleanskin Duo 2200 lumen and Cleanskin Solo 1000 lumen LED lights

Discussion in 'General MTB Discussion' started by Dozer, Nov 21, 2017.

By Dozer on Nov 21, 2017 at 2:17 PM
  1. Dozer

    Dozer Heavy machinery. Staff Member

    Welcome to the next exciting review on products provided to us by our friends at Mountain Bikes Direct. We've teamed up with one of Australia's best online mountain bike stores to bring you in depth reviews on the latest and most intriguing parts and accessories you can purchase for your bike.

    The values shared by the staff at Rotorburn and Mountain Bikes Direct are the same; we have a huge passion for mountain biking! It's our pleasure to be in a great position to test, review and share our in depth details on some great products available from Mountain Bikes Direct.

    Cleanskin Duo 2200 lumen front LED light

    IMG_6404.jpg IMG_6405.jpg

    Item: Cleanskin Duo 2200 lumen front LED light
    Purchased From: Mountain Bikes Direct (Click here for the product page)
    Purchase Price (approx): $89.95
    Usage: All cycling disciplines

    Product outline: The Cleanskin Duo 2200 Lumen light is for mountain biking and / or road cycling at night. The twin beams offer an amazing spread and great forward lighting making whatever ride you do very well lit.

    Pros: So easy to setup, well presented constructed, great battery life, excellent full beam performance, has great mounting options and generous cable length.
    Cons: Has a blinking setting that is way too bright to use in traffic making it a useless. The battery straps are fine but a little primitive.

    Fitting: There’s two options; one is a straight up GoPro mount that screws to the base of the light then slides and clicks into your GoPro mount on your helmet. The other option is to use the curved rubber based mount on your handlebars being bound tight with the strong rubber ring or using the same ring to mount it to your helmet with the included curved mount base that velcro straps through the vents of your helmet. It’s very versatile mounting options will suit any application you have, even for using it just as a light.

    Summary: Lets face it, you need a good amount of light to see what you’re doing on a mountain bike trail or on the road. You can be considerate and run your light on a lower setting so it isn’t as bright in oncoming traffic’s eyes but nah, you want to light the place up. With that said, I trialled the light on it’s lowest of three settings and being the twin beam meant I had good enough vision forward and enough light on the edge of the trail to see what was coming up with the light mounted on the top of my helmet and the battery zipped up in my jacket side pocket. The lead is long enough without using the available 60cm cable extension but it does get a bit tight every now and then. It’s worth noting that I wear glasses for close work and haven’t got great night eyes but don’t wear glasses when riding.

    I tested the low setting on a short descent then a climb and found it wasn’t enough brightness on the descent. Luckily though, the high setting is ace and I have plenty of light forward and to the side with this light mounted on my helmet. It would operate just as well mounted to your handlebars but I prefer to run the light in my line of sight; hence the helmet mount.

    The Duo has four settings all of which have a pretty bloody good estimated battery life. The high setting will run for over 3 hours, the middle for 15 and the low for 30 hours. There’s a strobe setting that can last for four hours but you’d have some sort of brain malfunction if you had that blinking in your view for more than one minute. To test the battery claims, I’ve run the light only on the high setting for a few rides after a full battery charge and I’ve got a full hour one night, two days in a row I had a forty minute ride and the final ride that week was thirty minutes. I charged it after those rides using the provided wall charger and it took about five hours to get a green light saying it was charged. In my experience with heaps of lights, thats about the time it takes to charge the 8volt Li-on battery.

    On the trail, the high setting is bloody brilliant. The light forward is great and doesn’t hinder your plans to ride top speed into a section plus the lighting provided by the Duo two lenses gives great lighting to the side of the trail, thats really important to have forward and side awareness, crucial actually. Naturally though, there is not enough light coming from anything you can safely wear that will light the night doing a top speed. For example, a nearby hill I ride on my roadie is close to a 80km speed coming back down. My Garmin did say I was doing 75km with no wind but I was not super comfortable with the lighting, it wasn’t strong enough that you could avoid something on the road or an animal but hey, you’re doing well to miss that stuff at that speed in broad daylight.
    IMG_6442.jpg IMG_6443.jpg

    It’s also water resistant meaning you can ride in the rain, very much a necessary feature for commuting.

    I’ve used so many different sorts of lights over the years and always found the cheaper Ebay style lights to be pretty good and a lot less than other top end lights claiming superior performance. The Cleanskin lights are very much a better light than anything under $100 though, the box comes with everything you need to light, mount, charge and store your lights. It’s very neat, has very well covered cables with no areas seemingly missing that expert touch in finish and it performs brilliantly. It’s very light on your helmet too, the light and battery weigh 330 grams meaning you’ll barely notice it. So would I say that lights have stayed the same size and weight over all these years but now perform better? Yes and no, the introduction of LED is the big factor in this one that makes the Duo the best light I’ve used. I’ve had Ayups, Cree’s, tried a Magicshine and all sorts of underpowered heavy crap in between. The Cleanskin Duo is most certainly on par with the top end stuff and it’s under $100!

    Now, to make this review even more in depth, I’ve been spending time testing and comparing the smaller Cleanskin Solo 1000 lumen LED light. Read on!

    Cleanskin Solo 1000 lumen front LED light
    IMG_6409.jpg IMG_6410.jpg

    Item: Cleanskin Solo 1000 lumen front LED light
    Purchased From: Mountain Bikes Direct (Click here for the product page)
    Purchase Price (approx): $49.95
    Usage: All cycling disciplines

    Product outline: The Cleanskin Solo 1000 Lumen LED light is for mountain biking and / or road cycling at night. The single beam light offers a very small compact package to light up your ride.

    Pros: So easy to setup, well presented constructed, great battery life, USB charging, has great mounting options and generous cable length.
    Cons: The single beam is not as fantastic as the Duo beam, has a blinking setting that is way too bright to use in traffic making it a useless. The battery straps are fine but a little primitive.

    Fitting: There’s two options; one is a straight up GoPro mount that screws to the base of the light then slides and clicks into your GoPro mount on your helmet. The other option is to use the curved rubber based mount on your handlebars being bound tight with the strong rubber ring or using the same ring to mount it to your helmet with the included curved mount base that velcro straps through the vents of your helmet. It’s very versatile mounting options will suit any application you have, even for using it just as a light.

    IMG_6438.jpg IMG_6440.jpg

    Summary: Firstly, I won’t compare it to the Duo beam, they are two different lights. The Solo is better used as a light on your helmet or handlebars in areas where you may have some extra lighting from street lights or even another light on your bike or helmet. It is quite capable as a stand alone light but is better with some assistance. As you’d imagine, the single beam offers great spot lighting; a single point that is well light forward of the light. It has great performance in tighter areas of a heavily wooded trailas you’re not getting light echoes from the surrounding trees that you don’t especially need lit up. I wouldn’t recommend this light as a bar mounted light though, it needs to be moving and lighting up what you’re seeing as the single beam is very direct.

    Similar to the Duo, the battery life is fantastic. The 4.2V Li-on battery on high beam alleges to last for close to five hours, the middle setting is twenty and the low beam is thirty eight hours! Thats a huge battery life! I’d like to think you’d probably charge it at least once a week if you’re commuting though, you’d surely forget to charge it after a week or so riding and then it’s light’s out. ;)

    Now, the comparison between the Duo 2200 lumen and the Solo 1000 lumen. I’ve included some photos but it’s quite tricky to showthe huge difference between the low and high settings but you can see the extra spread from the Duo 2200 lumen. I tried to focus the beam on the same part of the trail just to match it even.

    What have they got in common? They use the same excellent mounting options, both have the same cable lengths, both are an LED light, both have the same Cleanskin build quality.
    What are the differences? The Duo is two LED’s, the Solo is one meaning the Duo has more spread, they have different batteries, the Solo is lighter.

    What light should I buy? The Solo is great and has a place in the market for people looking for a substantial light that will get them to and from their destination comfortably. Think of commuting, basic trails without features breaking up the trail and even riders in a group of people all using good lights. The Duo is very much more of a performance light with lasting battery power even with the Duo LED offering more of a wide view and blowing the bark off tree’s with it’s power. My suggestion is very obvious, the Duo is for the rider needing the extra light, the Solo is for the rider just needing a light. Still, the Solo is far better than the other lights I’ve used in that stupidly low price range so it holds it’s ground as a player in that field. The Duo is a light for roadies doing long dark rides and all-mountain epics for hours on end.

    IMG_6416.jpg IMG_6419.jpg

    I would not waste your effort researching top end lights when this setup from Cleanskin kicks so many goals. Even for the riders among us doing solo 24 hour races, you can absolutely afford to have two or three spare charged batteries to get you through an overnight race and you’ll have tons of cash left over.

    See the full range of Cleanskin products available at Mountain Bikes Direct here.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2017

Comments

Discussion in 'General MTB Discussion' started by Dozer, Nov 21, 2017.

    1. DMan
      DMan
      Good review Dozer but I want to check the run time on the Duo. So you say 1hr on high, then 40min, then 30min with a full charge inbetween?

      Edit. My bad, that's how long you rode for each time on high and they didn't fail...
    2. Dozer
      Dozer
      I plan to do a follow up review on all the gear but this one especially, I want to try to do a ride with the thing running from a full charge to emptying the battery and see just how long it will go for. I figure a four hour night ride would empty the battery and the old legs. ;)
    3. hifiandmtb
      hifiandmtb
      Gee lights have advanced a lot...and dropped hugely in price. Thanks for the review.

      I use my Moon light around the house, spotting possums & generally working out "what the fuck was that?" every now & then. That Solo unit is damn cheap, especially to use it as a torch along with its raison d'être.
    4. slimjim1
      slimjim1
      good review. May grab the duo for the bars to go with the exposure diablo on the noggin :whoo:
    5. Nambra
      Nambra
      Was thinking similarly. Dozer, how do think a bar mounted Duo and a helmet mounted Solo would play together? Would the Solo be lost in the supernova brightness of the Duo and be otherwise useless? Or would it complement the Duo when on lower brightness settings?
    6. Boom King
      Boom King
      I prefer to go with more power on the noggin, as the light goes where you're looking, which may be different to where the bars are pointing. Duo up top, Solo down low for mine.
    7. link1896
      link1896
      Beam angles are more important imo, and colour temperatures need to match. I run flood off the bars, spot on helmet.

      Good review btw, lights are a tricky/complicated matter.

      The price sure is compelling.
    8. Boom King
      Boom King
      That's too intricate for a mere novice like me.

      For something that looks exactly like a Gloworm X2, the Duo will be my next purchase when I need a light.
    9. Dozer
      Dozer
      I didn't include this info in the review, it was part of my long term update.
      I wouldn't combine the two, the Duo is far superior and made the light impression that the Solo put out utterly void, you couldn't tell if it was on or off when I switched it on and off. I did think the Duo on a low setting to conserve battery with the Solo on a high setting would balance out but nope, it makes no difference, the Duo is much more evident.

      I'm all for running any light on my helmet and never found much use for a light on the bars for the reasons you said, the Duo is a perfect helmet mounted light. So light, so cheap and such great performance.
    10. RichJS
      RichJS
      1) Set up Cleanskin brand name
      2) Get yet another chinese manufacturer of Gemini Duo clones to paint your brandname on the light
      3) Sell thru Australian online store
      4) Profit

      I see a review on mtbdirect site saying the purchaser discovered a brand name light (presumably the original Gemini) that's exactly the same but pricier. There's a few teardowns of different Duo clones around that say otherwlse. Case looks same, LEDs might be the same - or not, sure, Optics are cheap and often a personal preference but the differences start to become greater from there. Just how much have the cloners skimped on the internals to save money? Does it have the same 10-100% programmability per setting? How's the battery - not just today, but 50 cycles from now? There's fair chance a light half the price comes with cells WAY cheaper. Waterproofing of both light and battery as good?

      I'm not saying that these cleanskins are horrible, or that the gemini lights are perfect. But you get what you pay for. And there are so many chinese light designs out there that aren't just cloning a reputable model that surely Cleanskin could have chosen something more original? (As an aside, the "solo" Gemini Xera lightsets were on "clearance" a while back from another major Aus online store for $50 each, which was a steal.)
      Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
    11. Dozer
      Dozer
      It sounds to me as though you own a set of these Gemini lights (which I've never heard of) and you're a bit upset that the Cleanskin light is by all accounts just as good but you paid heaps more for something that performs really well.
      I have no answers to what you're suggesting but I can say that for the price Mountain Bikes Direct are asking for the Cleanskin range, I won't be looking elsewhere. They turn pitch black into day, they have a great battery life, they are from an Australian store and they are bloody cheap! Tick after tick after tick.
    12. droenn
      droenn
      My first thoughts too were that they look like rebranded lights that pop up all over the place.

      Most reports of those kind of lights are that they do work great, at the start, but often aren't so reliable down the track. So will be interesting to see how they hold up (especially battery life and connectors), vs lights that are way more expensive (Exposure, for instance) and are known to be reliable for years.

      Cheers for the review though, they are tempting at that price.
    13. Boom King
      Boom King
      It's a price v. quality equation.

      My Solar Storm cost around $30, works great and is still working. I can buy 10 of them for the price of a "quality brand" equivalent, so I figure I won't end up behind. I'd think the Cleanskin will offer similar eeconomics.
    14. Richo82
      Richo82
      They are on sale in the Black Friday / Cyber Monday Promo at the moment ...
    15. rowdyflat
      rowdyflat
      Look its the same old story = you get what you pay for .Dozer dont tense up and get defensive, I appreciate all reviews.
      If you prefer unreliable stuff w. poor batteries go ahead.
      For me there is plenty of Chinese junk in our landfills , very little is recycled properly overall.
      I have good eyesight and dont need 2200 lumens .
      I like Cateye , pay twice as much, they dont fail and the batteries properly managed ie dont leave them flat for months over summer , last about 5-7 years and I can get a new ones.
    16. Dozer
      Dozer
      Sorry, I didn't intend to come across that way, just being matter of fact I guess. ;)

      I haven't used Cateye stuff for forward lights but have had their rear lights, not LED stuff though.
    17. redbruce
      redbruce
      Max output of a single Cree XM-L2 is 1198 lumen @3000mA.

      If you look at claimed run times for 4400mAH battery, it is evident it isn't 2200 lumen either, same as cheap ebay units claiming same.
    18. rowdyflat
      rowdyflat
      Yes my Cateye is 600 lumens on high and that seems plenty.
      i have to wonder whether 2200 is correct ?
    19. redbruce
      redbruce
      As my simple math shows, almost certainly not. I guess would have been nice to see and add credibility to review.

      Anyway to add, quality lights using Cree XM-L2 generally quote 1500-1700 lumens for twin setup, not 2200-2400 lumen.

      So an entirely reasonable and probably a subjective indicator of quality (note cheapies also generally run second hand ex laptop batteries)

      Anyway, I started with magicshine gear 10 years ago as it was cheap and got us going, so fit for purpose at the time.

      In that time we (son and I) have had one out of 4 lights fail and 3 out of four chargers and battery fail. rest still works.

      We started dong 24 hr races. I now run a 1200 and 1500 Gloworm setup with panasonic batteries (but no longer do 24hr races, he has girl friend and car!) because life is short and time off the bike at my age, is long, and as a tradie, junior cant afford to compromise either.
      Last edited: Nov 24, 2017

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