What Lights do I need for the 36ONE MTB Challenge is a question we often get asked.  The 36ONE MTB Challenge, is a unique ride in the sense that you start at 18:00 at night, and have to ride 361 km thereafter.  Every rider will need lights for at least one full evening.  Those that are a bit slower, or have encountered technical or physical difficulties en route, will require lights for a second night.

For the 36ONE MTB Challenge, you should have three lights, each serving a different purpose:

  • Your primary handlebar light,
  • A red tail light, and
  • A front backup light.

Photo by Extreme Lights.

Primary Handlebar Light

The Extreme Lights Endurance Cycle Light was designed specifically for ultra-long distance races at night time, such as the 36ONE MTB Challenge.  It has three unique features that will benefit you:

  1. Beam Pattern & Distance:

The Endurance Cycle Light has a wide beam pattern with a concentration of light in the middle.  The hotspot in the middle enables you to see a great distance ahead (up to 223m).  The wide flood on the sides allows you to see “through” the corners.  This is ideal when you are coming down a pass.  Rather than having your light pointing over the cliffs on the side of the road (where your handlebar is pointing) you can already see where you need to turn to as you approach the corners.

The Extreme Lights Endurance Cycle Light was designed specifically for ultra-long distance races, which take place throughout the night, like The 36ONE MTB Challenge.

  1. Runtimes:

Exceptional battery life.  The standard 5200 mAh 4 Cell Cycle Light Battery pack will last you the entire first night with runtimes as follows:

  • LOW mode (40 hours) is fine to use on flat and uphill terrains.
  • MID mode (10 hours) is great for fast flats and normal downhills.
  • BOOST mode (2.5 hours) should only be used if you are chasing down steep descents at great speed, and need maximum light.
  1. Handlebar Mount:

Our specialised XP Quick Release Cycle Light Clamp is 100% secure and does not move around on your bike.  It will not move around over bumpy terrain, so you won’t end up looking at your front wheel.  Once adjusted to your handlebar width, it secures to your bike within seconds.

Rear Red Tail Light

You need to be visible from the rear, as there may be vehicles on the road, this will also indicate to fellow riders where you are.

The Two Eyes Red Tail, powered by two AAA batteries, is super bright – even during daytime, with an amazing runtime of up to 60Hours on its dancing mode.

The Two Eyes Red Tail Light provides up to 60 hours of light in its flashing mode.

Backup Light

The purpose of a backup light is to:

  • Get you home safely if your primary light fails (due to crash, damage or running out of battery)
  • Let you work on your bike when you have technical problems en route.

A backup light has to have its own batteries. The Extreme Lights Basecamp Headlamp is ideal. We suggest this light specifically because it’s small, super lightweight and won’t add any strain to your neck during long riding hours. You can keep it in your rear pocket, and wear it on your forehead, beneath your helmet, in case of an emergency. It comes with 3 AAA batteries in the box.

With run times of 120Hours, it will be more than sufficient to get you through to your next checkpoint safely.

The Basecamp Headlamp is ideal for unforeseen circumstances, like fixing a puncture when you will need a hands free light directed at what you are looking at.

Do I Need An Extra Battery? 

There are a few different aspects to the 36ONE MTB Challenge, and depending on which race category you fall under, you can determine if you’ll be needing an extra battery for your adventure.

The 2 Person Relay riders will have the chance to charge batteries between legs, or will only ride partly at night. As you can either ride leg 1 & 2 (3 & 4) or leg 1 & 3 (2 & 4).

The 4 Person Relay riders will only need one battery each as you won’t be on the route for more than 6-8 hours for each 80-100km section.

The Half starts at 06:00 and while it is dusk still when you start, you won’t need lights for more than 45-60 minutes and as such you should have enough light to finish the race. The slowest half riders might be finishing just under 15 hours, meaning you only need a light for ±3 hours.

The Challenge, for those of you taking on the full 361 km solo or in a team, its best you think about getting a secondary battery. Riders aiming at finishing in record times, you probably only need a backup headlamp, but we always suggest having an extra battery in one of your boxes, in case you have a breakdown along the way. Intermediate to slower riders will DEFINITELY need a secondary battery. Around half the riding group of The Challenge will go over 24 hours into the race and will ride into the second evening.

Spare batteries from Extreme Lights come in 3 mAh models: 6 800mAh, 5 200mAh & 4 400mAh.

We have three Battery Packs available with different capacities.  Housed in an awesome Neoprene Pouch, small and compact and are all compatible with all our lights.

  1. 4 Cell Panasonic Cycle Light Battery 6800mAh
  2. 4 Cell Cycle Light Battery 5200mAh
  3. 4 Cell Lishen Cycle Light Battery 4400mAh

The bigger mAh battery, the longer runtimes.

Remember to be on the lookout for your 10% Extreme Lights Discount Coupon in the next 36ONE MTB Challenge newsletter, which will be sent to all the race participants.

A Rundown Of Everything You Need:

The Endurance+ Cycle Light, that comes with its own 5200 mAh Battery and XP Quick Release Clamp, the Two Eyes Red Tail Light, backup Basecamp Headlamp & an extra Battery.

Extreme Lights will also have a support stand during the event, if you have any light issues along the way, we’ll sort you in a flash!