Review: Extreme Lights XP3 and XP7 bike lights

It's been a dry winter in the Cape, making it all that much easier to leave the house to stretch the legs in the dark. This winter I've had the XP3 and XP7 to keep me company.
Extreme Lights XP7 XP3 12.jpg

Extreme Lights are a well established supplier making LED lights for a wide range of applications and founder Hannes Zietsman has been passionate in developing the company's products. Even while I had the XP3 for testing there was an update to the model.

We've been testing the Extreme Lights XP3 and XP7 to see how they perform.

Specifications: Extreme XP 7


  • Model nameXP7 Ultimate Cycle Light
  • Configuration7xCree XP-L LED
  • Light output3000 lumens
  • Modes and runtimeBoost: 3000L, 2hours
    Mid: 800L, 10 hours
    Low: 250L, 35 hours
    Pulse: 800L, 15 hours
  • Battery5200mAh 8.4V
  • Weight424 grams
  • PriceR 2,250.00


Extreme Lights XP7 XP3 11.jpg

Extreme Lights XP7 XP3 7.jpg


Specifications: Extreme XP3


  • Model nameXP3 Performance Cycle Light
  • Configuration3xCree XP-L LED
  • Light output2100 lumens
  • Modes and runtimeBoost: 2100L, 2,5 hours
    Mid: 750L, 10 hours
    Low: 200L, 40 hours
    Strobe: 750L, 15 hours
  • Battery5200mAh 8.4V
  • Weight383 grams
  • PriceR 1,850.00


Extreme Lights XP7 XP3 10.jpg

Extreme Lights XP7 XP3 1-2.jpg


Mounting


Both lights come standard with the new clamp quick release mounting system. Our XP3 still uses the familiar O-ring system but all current models will ship with the new clamp mechanism. I was very impressed with the clamp system. It held the light firmly in place without any bobbing around in the rough stuff. The clamp also allows for on the move adjustment (with some force) of the light's angle. The light can swivel on the clamp, a feature I used to look for wildlife in the bush and to turn away from the eyes of oncoming riders.


Extreme Lights XP7 XP3 13.jpg

Extreme Lights XP7 XP3 8.jpg


On my previous Extreme Lights products, the cable from the light to the battery was unnecessarily long for mounting on the bike. The XP7 and XP3 both come with a much shorter cable, which doesn't require wrapping around the bike to prevent it from hanging freely. Should you need a longer cable, there is an extension cable provided in the box.

The battery packs are contained in soft neoprene pouches with sturdy velcro strapping for easy attachment to a bicycle frame The rubbery neoprene adheres to the frame and makes for a grippy fit with no sliding or movement mid ride.


Extreme Lights XP7 XP3 15.jpg

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Operation


Both the XP7 and XP3 are operated through the button on the rear of the light. The operation of the light is simple and intuitive. The only gripe I had was with the length of time the button needed to be pressed to turn the lights on or off but Extreme Lights have informed me that the timing of this function has been reduced. Double pressing the button activates the strobe mode.

Extreme Lights XP7 XP3 7.jpg

The rear button also acts as the battery capacity indicator. The button remains green while the charge is above 50% then turns orange and later red when the battery only has 10% charge remaining.

On the bike


Both the XP7 and XP3 saw a lot of action on my midweek rides up and around Table Mountain.

Extreme XP 7


Unlike the Extreme 2K and 1200 we tested last year, the XP7 and XP3 did not have a noticeable spotlight beam and better mimics natural light than the previous models. This has helped to reduce blindspots and unnecessary shadowing. In short, the quality of the light produced by the XP lights is greatly improved.

I've always found that a light on the helmet is needed to comfortably ride single track. However, with the XP7 and XP3, I didn't feel as unsighted and managed to ride comfortably on single track with just one light mounted on the handlebar.

I spent much of my rides on the lowest light setting while the the middle setting was useful on slower single track, where the added intensity helped to better cast the light around bends. Although, considering the claimed battery life, there's no harm in using the middle setting as your default.


Extreme Lights XP7 XP3 2.jpg

Extreme Lights XP7 XP3 1.jpg


The Boost mode truly lit up the night but unfortunately it comes at a cost to battery life. When tested only in Boost mode, I managed to get around 90 minutes before the light automatically switched itself to a lower setting mode. The light could be forced back into Boost but as I still had some distance to ride, I decide not to chance it. Despite this, Boost mode is a great option to have when hurtling downhill, where every metre of vision is welcome. The medium and lowest settings claim to hold out for 10 hours and 35 hours respectively while the Boost mode is supposedly good for 2 hours.

Extreme XP3


The XP3 is very similar to the XP7 in that it has a good natural light feel. The XP3 however has 4 less LEDs and, as you would expect, it struggles to match the intensity of the XP7. That being said, it holds its own and is perfectly adequate for most jeep track and moderate single track riding. Having less LEDs, the claimed battery life is improved over the XP7 with 2.5 hour in high, 10 hour in medium and 40 hour in low and should see you through an all night mission.

Extreme Lights XP7 XP3 19.jpg

Overall


Extreme Lights have done a great in updating their bike light offerings. Both lights get a big thumbs up from me but if I had to pick one light it would be the XP3. It produces great quality light with an impressive battery life.






8 Comments

MTB_Dude, Jul 28 2015 10:48

Thanks for the informative review Nick.
 
Anyone have any feedback on the XPi Integrated Cycle Light?
 

Bat, Jul 30 2015 08:19

Ordered my yesterday, and received it today. What good service. Had old Rider night light (1000 luminous) and just comparing the two, there is no comparison. Got the XP7 for Trans Baviaans. Will do night ride next week again to test properly and will give feedback.

Barry Stuart, Sep 11 2015 10:26

Which light would you guys recommend for pre-dawn road rides? I'm assuming I don't need a hell of a lot of lumens as it's mostly for visibility and the few areas where there aren't bright street lights and I guess more light comes with more weight.

Monark, Sep 11 2015 10:37

I cannot praise these lights enough!! I have the xp1 which is the entry level model that sells for 950 and it is far better than my old light which was made by an international brand.

Awesome product

Nick, Sep 11 2015 10:42


Which light would you guys recommend for pre-dawn road rides? I'm assuming I don't need a hell of a lot of lumens as it's mostly for visibility and the few areas where there aren't bright street lights and I guess more light comes with more weight.
 
Hi Radman
 
Of the two in the review, I'd recommend the XP3. It sounds like the XP7 would be overkill for your needs.
 
But it sounds like the XP1 might be sufficient for your needs. Or even the XPi which is a single unit including the battery and light. However, it doesn't have as an impressive battery life as the other lights.

Nick, Sep 11 2015 10:43

Ordered my yesterday, and received it today. What good service. Had old Rider night light (1000 luminous) and just comparing the two, there is no comparison. Got the XP7 for Trans Baviaans. Will do night ride next week again to test properly and will give feedback.

 

So, how did the light serve you at Trans Baviaans?

Barry Stuart, Sep 11 2015 10:51

 

 
 
Hi Radman
 
Of the two in the review, I'd recommend the XP3. It sounds like the XP7 would be overkill for your needs.
 
But it sounds like the XP1 might be sufficient for your needs. Or even the XPi which is a single unit including the battery and light. However, it doesn't have as an impressive battery life as the other lights.

 

Thanks, Nick. SP1 on sale at the moment looks like a good option.

Bat, Sep 11 2015 08:05

So, how did the light serve you at Trans Baviaans?


the light was above expectation. I used it most of the time on medium, but on fast down hills switch in on bright which gave me such confidence. Sometimes almost felt guilty how bright the light was compared to the other riders around me, but i am sure they also benefited from it. Unfortunately I decided Grootplaas still during day time, as it really would have benefited me here. One of by better investments.