Review: Extreme 2K and Extreme 1200 bike lights

Although the days are getting longer with summer approaching, riding in the dark is still something many of us will do. Whether it's pre-dawn training or a “just-because-you-can” night ride you'll want a dependable and effective light.
Based in Stellenbosch and having been active on the site for a good few years Extreme Lights are no stranger to most Hubbers. What began life as a hobby for Hannes Zietsman has developed into one of the leading names in adventure lights.

Hannes is a keen mountain biker and trail runner who also happens to have a background in engineering. His passion for his products and light technology in general is abundant having gone to great lengths to share his knowledge in many a discussion.

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Left: Extreme 2K, Right: Extreme 1200

Over the last few months we've been testing the Extreme Lights 1200 and 2k to see how they perform. The lights were tested as a combo as well as individually.

Specifications: Extreme 2k


  • Model nameExtreme 2K Cree XM-L2
  • Configuration3xCree XM-L2 on copper heat sink
  • Light output1800 lumens
  • Modes and runtimeHigh: 1800, 5h00
    Low: 400, 15h00
    Strobe: 1800, 10h00
  • BatteryPanasonic 4-cell, 6 800mAh
  • Weight0.738 kg
  • PriceR 1,795.00 (Currently on special offer at R 1,495.00)


Specifications: Extreme 1200


  • Model nameExtreme 1200 MKII
  • Configuration1*CREE XML
  • Light output900 lumens
  • Modes and runtimeHigh: 900, 4h00
    Low: 200, 12h00
    Strobe: 10h00
  • Battery4400mAh battery
  • Weight0.726 kg
  • PriceR 975.00 (Currently on special offer at R 795.00)

Mounting


Both lights come standard with a o-ring type mounting system and each is supplied a number of different size o-rings. I’m always a little concerned with o-ring type mounts maintaining position through bumpy terrain. With the right o-ring selection this was never an issue with only minor adjustments required after one or two big bumps.


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Extreme 1200 using a pull-tab style o-ring

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Extreme 2k using a standard o-ring (both types are included)



Extreme Lights also offer a quick release swivel clamp which comes standard with the Extreme 2k. This clamp design gives a tighter grip on the bars with a quick release mechanism as well as the ability to swivel the light right and left. While this gives a solid fix on the bars I missed the ability to easily adjust the light angle depending on the road surface.

The battery packs are contained in soft neoprene pouches with sturdy velcro strapping. These were easily attached above or below the top tube of various bikes. The rubbery neoprene adheres to the frame and made for a grippy fit with no sliding or movement mid ride.

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With two battery packs on a dual-sus frame space was limited. Placing one above and the other below the top tube did the trick with no movement issues.

On the bike


The lights were tested on multiple bikes and on a variety of terrain: on tarmac, gravel district road, jeep track and technical single track. While not overly technical, my 2014 Trans Baviaans provided the final testing ground for their performance and endurance.

Extreme 2k


The 2k casts a nicely distributed light with enough of a focussed beam or “hot spot” to confidently navigate most terrain.


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Extreme 2k on high mode: 1800 lumen.
Photo specs: ISO800, 18mm, f3.5, 1/10sec

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Extreme 2k on low mode: 400 lumen.
Photo specs: ISO800, 18mm, f3.5, 1/10sec


The all important battery life was the really impressive aspect for me. The 2k with a 4-cell Panasonic battery has a claimed battery life of 5 hours on full brightness. I clocked 06h10 on full power before the lights went out.

In the combination setup the 2k was used as my primary light due to both it’s battery life and broader coverage.


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Extreme 1200


The 1200 casts a more focussed beam with less light distribution. Because of this the light was excellent for lighting up specific areas with a beam that allowed you to see further up the road. It was tested in a handlebar mount as this is my preference, but could easily be strapped to your helmet to light up your line of vision.


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Extreme 1200 on high mode: 900 lumen.
Photo specs: ISO800, 18mm, f3.5, 1/10sec

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Extreme 1200 on low mode: 200 lumen.
Photo specs: ISO800, 18mm, f3.5, 1/10sec


The battery life of the Extreme 1200 MKII was again impressive. The 1200 comfortably surpassed it’s claimed 4h00 battery rating on full power clocking in an impressive 05h02 runtime.


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The Combo


Although either light can comfortably be used as a primary light I found the 1200 to be an excellent companion to the 2k. In a dual light setup with the combination of the wide beam from the 2k and focussed beam from the 1200 provided near day-time confidence on windy downhills and technical sections.


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Both lights on high mode.
Photo specs: ISO800, 18mm, f3.5, 1/10sec

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Both lights on low mode.
Photo specs: ISO800, 18mm, f3.5, 1/10sec


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Overall


If I had to pick one light the Extreme 2k would be my go-to light for any type of ride. The impressive battery life coupled with the wide beam makes for a dependable and highly effective light unit.

On a budget the Extreme 1200 provides excellent value. Although sporting a more focussed beam it is still a very capable primary light. Add to that a 04h00 run-time on full power (05h02 in my case) it’s value offering you’d be hard-pressed to beat.

However, given the option (and budget) the combination of the two lights was a real winner for me. Not only for the dual light effectiveness, but also the peace of mind knowing you’re packing a 10-11 hour battery life on full power if used alternately.






2 Comments

Dirkitech, Sep 23 2014 12:01

interesting review- and appreciated!

 

By any chance will there be a review/comparison between the 3k and the models just below it in lumen output?

extremelights, Oct 08 2014 10:30

Hi Dirkitect.

 

We are in the process of designing our 2015 range. The Extreme X range. The 3k will be replaced with the Extreme X7 in a few months time. The review took longer than we expected so having one for the 3k will not make sense. 

 

You can read the post on what will change in next years range here. 

 

For that reason we are running a sale on most of our lights. 

 

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