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Tag : ebike headlight

23 Mar 2017

Supernova M99 Pure Review

UPDATE 10-23-17

Although this has little to do with the M99 Pure, I have another post about my ebike if you’re interested about my upgrades….

UPDATE: 5-21-17

I recently changed the mounting of my M99 Pure. Why? Well because I wanted to bring the headlight closer into the bike in the event of a crash. Also I wanted a longer stem to bring my riding position a bit more forward. So in searching online I found that none other than Supernova offers two stems that extend the reach of my arms to the handlebars but also offers an elegant mounting solution for the M99 headlights! The Promax 90 is the one I purchased. Installation is a snap and I could not be more pleased with the mounting solution for the M99 headlight as well.

Supernova Promax 90 for their M99 line of headlights

As you can see the Promax 90 stem allows mounting the M99 units directly to the stem keeping the light out of harm’s way should you (I) crash!

My prior mounting solution for the M99 unit places it much further away from the stem.

Side view of the Promax mounting solution.

Side view of my former mounting solution.

How I mount my cell phone to my bike’s handlebar stem.

UPDATE 4-18-17

Someone had asked me on a bike forum if I could compare the Supernova lights to others on the market. I thought a better comparison is how they compare to car headlights/taillights. So here is a side by side comparison made during dusk.

The Supernova M99 is using its daytime running LED lights since it’s not dark enough for it to switch automatically to the headlight mode. It gives you a good idea how it compares to a car’s headlight’s low beam.

This gives you an idea how bright the Supernova’s E3 2 tail light is compared to an automobile’s rear tail lights at dusk.

UPDATE 4-1-17

I wanted to update my post regarding Supernova products. After installing their M99 Pure on my Haibike Sduro Fullnine RC I decided to purchase one of their E3 Taillights. Since none of the US retailers had the blue color I opted to buy directly from Supernova in Germany. I was fully prepared to wait a while for shipping/customs/etc but to my pleasant amazement the items were delivered in four days from Germany to the Bay Area in California via UPS’s international service!

Supernova E3 2 Tail light in black.

I’m old school and like to work on things myself for two reasons. First there is a satisfaction I get installing or working on my gear and second I know the job will be done to my satisfaction. (most of the time…LOL) Like so many others I had chosen to purchase aftermarket battery powered lights for my bike, both the headlight and tail lights. Since my girlfriend’s Haibike Trekking came with a headlight and taillight installed so she could simply use the light keypad on the Sduro line I was envious. It was then I decided I was tired of recharging different lights on my ebike (with its own friggin battery!) and took the plunge. Installing the M99 Pure on my ebike was straightforward. But installing the tail light was different.

I had installed a Thule Pack and Pedal rack on the back of my eMTB so that I can carry different items. I had to fabricate a mount for the tail light and ascertain how to route the wires from the motor through the frame and then integrate it into the rack.

The top tube of the Sduro and the down tube at the head stem are solid with only two small holes between them. So fishing the wire from the top tube to the down tube was tricky and took some time. If you look closely you can see I routed the tail light wire on the left side of the bike into some chemical tubing to prevent the wire from fraying.

I routed the taillight wire up through the Pack and Pedal left brace. (Oh and the water bottle cage bosses were custom fabricated by moi using truss clamps and are NOT part of the Pack and Pedal rack.

My fabricated mounting bar for the Thule Pack and Pedal rack with my blue Supernova E3 2 tail light installed. I also purchased and installed their red reflector as well.

It’s really tough to tell from any photograph how bright a light is in real life. I can simply say that their tail light is bright and waterproof.

I also purchased directly from Supernova their Supernova SL Carbon Central Handlebarmount. It fits a Haibike Sduro handlebar perfectly keeping the M99 centered and securely mounted…typical German stuff! The white bit you see is some PVC tubing I used to shim the mounting bracket to the carbon tube. The bracket is designed to fit a 31.8mm shaft and the carbon tube is 26mm. Why buy their version? As you can see the aluminum mounting brackets are super thin so I could perfectly center the bracket between the head stem and display mounts.

Profile view of my mounting configuration.

Original Article on the M99 Pure

Supernova M99 Pure

Why is Mark posting an article about a flippin ‘ebike light’ when his site is about photography!!???? Well because life isn’t just about photography and after all this is my blog and I can write about whatever I want! LOL. In truth I tend to be an early adopter of ‘things’ having to do with light. Photographic strobes in particular and now ebike lights. I had researched ebikes for a year and a half before ever riding one. They intrigued me since I’ve raced motorcycles all of my life, first motocross and then closed course racetracks. But alas age caught up with me and rather than endangering the lives of my fellow racers I decided to hang up my leathers and knee sliders….sigh.

Once I actually rode an ebike at Pedego Avila Beach I was SOLD. And not the throttle kind but the power assisted pedal type. (you must pedal) I ended up purchasing my bike locally at Motostrano in Redwood City, CA. Joe, the owner along with his primary mechanic Luis are good fellas. Of course after getting my bike I wanted to add some things like a rear rack for a full suspension bike (not easy) and some lights since I like to ride off road at night. (and on the street too)

Apparently there are two schools of thought on lights for bikes; those who use a light primarily to be seen and those who use lights to SEE at night. I am from the latter school although I also want to be seen too. For a headlight several items were MUST haves for me:

  • The ability of the headlight to use my ebike’s battery as its source of power. I didn’t want to have to charge another light for my bike
  • Being able to use the light button on the Sduro’s existing control pad to turn the light on and off
  • The ability to bolt the light onto my bike rather than having a rubber or silicon band holding the unit to the handlebars
  • Most important, a wide and bright beam pattern of light. Not a pinpoint light.

Supernova includes wire clips to install the unit but I have always preferred to solder my connects and then shrink wrap the wires. Sano!

It’s necessary to drop the motor to install the wiring into the OEM harness, but it’s no big deal to do so. The most difficult part is arranging the wiring harnesses back so that the engine will pivot back up to clear the engine bolts.

This is the Sduro 4 button controller. As you can see the upper right button controls the light you install into the main harness system. I installed the M99 Pure to take advantage of this OEM button.

Searching online through Amazon and other sources produced a wide selection of bike lights. Some 1600 lumen, but all of those used an external battery pack. Some had separate diffusion lenses to spread the light. What I found that matched my needs/wants was the Supernova M99 line of lights built in Germany specifically for ebikes. Being light greedy I first purchased a M99 Pro from Joe which puts out 1600 lumens using its high beam. But I failed to read the fine print to determine the voltage the Sduro line of bikes output for lights from the built in wiring. The Pro must have 24v minimum to work. I called Yamaha America to find out what voltage their Sduro line of bikes output is and they didn’t even know Yamaha USA has a electric bike motor! Since Haibike is produced in Germany but USES Yamaha motors (along with Bosch) Yamaha USA has no information. So I ran my own voltage test on the Sduro’s light line output controlled by the built in switch; the output is 6v DC. So I exchanged the Pro version of the M99 for the Pure version which is rated at 6v. (BTW Supernova responded to me that none of the current Sduro line will work with the M99 Pro)

Daytime running lights. You don’t need to run lights at all. Just don’t press the light button on the keypad.

The Supernova M99 Pure works FLAWLESSLY on my Haibike Sduro! The light pattern is just what I wanted, bright and wide much like my former street motorcycles on low beam. The correct way to mount to unit is parallel to the ground since Supernova’s design points the main beam of light downward as to not blind oncoming viewers. It automatically changes from daytime running lights (ala Audi’s LED running lights) to regular headlight when going through a tunnel or when it becomes dark. If you’re worried that the headlight doesn’t activate until it’s too dark, not to worry, it’s engineered to come on well before it gets too dark. I’ve only had it installed for two days and the power drain on my battery is null. And the best part is the illumination and beam pattern. Nice and wide.

A moonless sky on the bike path where I live. Wonderful light pattern and illumination.

Aiming the angle of light on my garage door to match a car’s low beam angle.

I write this because ebikes are relatively rare in the USA right now and reviews of the Supernova line are even more scarce. And yes they’re expensive…..but that’s OK for a headlight that ticks all of my requirements.