Review: Ay Up Lights MTB Kit

Who:
Ay Up Lighting was born over two years ago and has developed into a world beater. We supply the lightest and coolest looking lights on the planet. No corner has been cut to provide a safe, reliable lighting system to suit the average Joe and the Elite racer. With weight, functionality, long burn, light output and low cost at the top of the design spec it took many months to evolve into what we have today. It will not stop there. We will continue to evolve the system for ever more. With a lifetime of engineering design, manufacture and systems experience behind us Ay Up Lighting can only get better. Our light has been designed to be a multi purpose unit.

Product Tested:
Ay Up MTB Kit


Ay Up lights: Pink has intermediate beam, Yellow has narrow beam

Website’s MSRP:
$ 465

Specs:
Twin light and helmet mount
Light neoprene storage belt pouch
Twin light and handlebar mount
Light neoprene storage belt pouch
One spare handlebar mount
Four spare light mounting bands
One 6hr on / off switched battery complete with neoprene mount anywhere pouch
One neoprene 6hr battery attachment strap, prevents movement
Two 3hr on / off switched batteries complete with neoprene mount anywhere pouches
One 110V – 240V Adaptor in neoprene pouch, to suit dual channel charger
One 12 Volt Dual Channel Lithium Polymer Charger – charge two batteries at once
One 12 Volt Adaptor (Cigarette Lighter Plug)
One extension cable 1200mm long, enables battery to be placed in backpack or pocket
One roll up pouch, all items fit snugly inside
One handlebar rubber packer kit to suit Diameters 25mm & 32mm bars
Handful of Ubeaut cable ties
Optional extra’s are –
Both sized batteries
Additional charger & accessories
Additional mounts


The whole MTB Kit

About Me:
6’1” 210lbs, 28 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys XC riding.

Testing Grounds:
Local trails & streets of Southern California

First Impressions:
Small and a bit overwhelming. My first thoughts was: Would these lights be powerful enough to light up the trail? The lights themselves were small and they wouldn’t be putting out a lot of light power, 300 lumens to be exact. To give you some perspective of really how small these lights are, below is a picture of one of the lights next to my Motorola Razr, a universally recognized phone if there is one. The Ay Up light’s length about the width of my Razr!


Length of light about the same width as my Razr

I was a bit overwhelmed with the number of pieces involved in this MTB Kit. There are easily 30+ pieces including zip ties, spare mounts, chargers and various other pieces. Sorting them all out took some patience comparing pictures from the internet to what was being provided. But once I figured it all out, the assembly was a snap.

Strengths:
The first thing I have to start with is size & weight. The Ay Up lights are small. As I mentioned before, the length of the Cree light set is about the same width of my Razr. The width of the lights is slightly wider than my stem’s width. This is a small light system. The 3-hour battery is not much bigger. The battery fits comfortably on my stem with room to spare. Having a short wire between the battery and the light is also nice because it means that there is less chance of entanglement (from stem to handlebar) or getting ripped off by a tree branch (when mounted on the helmet).


Out on a group ride with the Ay Up lights

I mostly rode with the 2 x 3-hour batteries. One went on my helmet connected to the narrow beamed lights and the other 3-hour battery went on my stem connected to the wide beamed lights which went on my handlebar. Ay Up claims that the battery plus the lightest come in at about 130 grams (light – 60grams & battery – 70grams). And although this is a significant weight, it doesn’t feel like much once you get used to it. In fact, I normally just mount the light & battery to my helmet at the trailhead even if I know I might not have to use it until an hour or so into the ride. I found that the weight seems to disappear after a few minutes and never bothered me. You also have the option of running the extension cable from the light on your helmet to a back pocket if you don’t like the battery on your helmet.

I found the lights to be very tough and the finish to be excellent. I’ve done everybody a favor here and crashed hard with the Ay Up lights. When I got up from my crash I was expecting to see some damage to the lights. Afterall, the bike got a few nicks, even on the handlebar. To my surprise, the lights were shining as brightly as ever. There was not one scratch on the shell or the lens of the light. I was pleasantly surprised.


Not turned on, but already mounted to my helmet, the Ay Up lights are that lightweight

I’ve also been pretty harsh with these lights. I toss them in my bike stuff bucket after I’m done riding, taking only the batteries out for recharging. I keep a variety of bike stuff in my bike stuff bucket including a shock pump and an aluminum hand pump. My bike stuff has been rattling around with the Ay Up lights for the last three months and the Ay Up lights still look brand new, or in ebay terminology: mint condition.


Mounted via zip ties. Very simple design, and easy to fix if anything ever happened

The Ay Up lights are powerful. I never desired more light output from these lights. I’ve cruised up to 25+ mph on the trail and well over 30+ on the street with these lights and I never wished for more reach. The light is plentiful, clean and clear. In fact on just about every ride I went on someone complimented the Ay Up lights. Even when I was on a solo ride, I passed two riders who went gaga over them commenting on how the light output of the Ay Up lights was drowning out their own set of lights as I overtook them on the trail.

I’m impressed with the neoprene sleeves for the different batteries. The battery always stayed in the battery sleeve as this made them quick and easy to mount. They battery sleeves are soft, durable and the velcro is easy to use. The battery sleeve also has a loop on the back for a velcro strap to mount to your bike’s stem. I see the battery neoprene case lasting a long time.


Neoprene sleeve holds the battery and the wide velcro strap keeps it in place on the stem

The lights can be adjusted separately. Each light is able to rotate 270 degrees for more beam coverage of the trail or pointed along the same angle for more power. I personally went with the latter as I found the beam coverage to be more than adequate. But if you prefer more beam coverage, the benefit of the two lights is that you can point one just in front of your front tire and the second light can be pointed further down the trail spreading your beam out.

Weakness:
I am a bit underwhelmed by the neoprene packaging for the whole light system. The neoprene sleeves for the batteries are great, as I mentioned above, but my thoughts on the neoprene packaging for the whole light kit differ vastly. The neoprene packaging that you “store” the whole light kit is difficult to use. It is especially difficult if you do not remember where everything goes. I could not, for the life of me, repackage everything back together so that it looked as nice and clean as it did the first time I received the lights. After a while I ended up just storing everything in an empty shoe box.

I also didn’t particularly like the handlebar rubber packer. This is the protective sticky rubber strap that sticks to your handlebar so you can mount the handlebar mount. The handlebar rubber packer left a bit of residue and began moving around underneath the handlebar mount. After a while, I removed the handlebar rubber packer and took cut a piece of tire tube and zip-tied the tube to my handlebars. I then mounted the handlebar mount and this worked perfectly for the rest of the testing period.


Handlebar Rubber Packer replaced with a tire tube zip-tied to the handlebar

Summary:
The Ay Up lights are an exceptional piece of equipment. They are light enough for the pro racer while also simple enough for the novice mountain biker to use. If you’re looking for an excellent blend of weight, simplicity, durability, beam output and price, then look no further than the Ay Up lights. They’ll be the ones for you.

For more info on the Ay Up MTB Kit, click here.

11 Replies to “Review: Ay Up Lights MTB Kit”

  1. Nice review – thanks. Have just ordered a set of these and I’m looking forward to seeing how they go on the trail.

  2. I have borrowed a friends Ayups and used them for a social ride and race at my local club and I am very impressed. I was only 20secs per lap slower on the track than during the day. Because I like the weight factor and nice design I have decided to purchase my own MTB kit last week and this is where my appreciation is begining to stop.
    I placed an email order last week since the voucher for 10% off did not register with the online ordering system. I patiently waited for three days for a follow up phone call from Ayup to give them my credit card details before I decided to contact Ayup to see where my order is at. All I got was a 10sec conversation “whats your name” and “Ill call you back” which left me feeling rather brushed aside. That phone call occured over 3hrs ago and given this experience where Customer Service doesnt appear to match product quality gives me the additional worry of the potential nightmare that could unfold if I ever needed to deal with Ayup from a Warranty perspective. For now I wait in hope for a satisfactory outcome…….

  3. what a mess ! cableties to mount ? rather amatuerish..how would you move it from bike to bike ? do you have to have the helmet mount on all the time ? again looks like cable ties.

    the lights would get dimm when the batteries run down as they are only using a resistor.

    the numbers of claimed output are vastly overstated given the specifications from the manufacturer of the leds that are being used.. at most one would get 260 lumens.

    battery runtime would only be 5.2hrs based on 2600mah battery drained at 500ma.

    the numbers therefore just dont add up !

    given what they are, no controller, cheap parts, etc they are grossly overpriced.
    there are many more lights out there with a lot more output and thus more value.

  4. Yo Jay,
    Whats lighter then zip ties?, besides you are given 2 handlebar mounts with the lights and additions are a nominal expense. The velcro based Gecko lite and battery helmet mount (not shown approx $14.00) is super simple, reliable and leaves only 8 patches of velcro on your lid when the lite isn’t in use.

    There is nothing cheap about the parts..JUST SIMPLE.
    The lights are BRIGHT and the batteries LIGHTWEIGHT. The charging is quick and safe. I’ll let you know in a couple of years when I might exceed the advertised charging cycles if that is an issue.

    The optional head lamp band is way cool too. When it heats up in Hawaii, I like to take some runs after the sun sets and having this thing on your head is hardly noticible except that it seems like you are running in daylight.

    You can beat the “american way” of complicated,expensive, and disposable by buying these lights

  5. yo william,

    whats lighter than zip ties ? not using them. they reek of CHEAP to me. Cannot see how having 8 velcro tabs on my helmet is simple – maybe to you. But to me NONE is what I would call simple.

    if you think the lights are bright, then good on you. they CANNOT be as advertised according to the manufacturer of the leds !

    all you are getting is a system which collectivly prob has parts totaling well under 100bucks, so a huge markup if you are paying 500! heck they don’t even have a decent controller, just a 1 cent resistor!

    as from above, good luck if you can talk to them if something goes wrong! they appear to be in it for the profit.

    oh by the way, as you cannot upgrade your lights, they ARE disposable… some other competitor lights CAN be upgraded.

  6. jay
    if you can find a twin light set up with the same sort of spec for the same sort of money please let me know so i can get some untill then please keep your narrow minded comments to your self just because it does not have a big name on it does not meet its no good if the set is very simple thats less things to go wrong

  7. I bought a AY-UP MTB kit and found them to be them to be perfect. I’m a keen 24hr rider and there-for have been on the look-out for a decent balanced package.

    I think the helmet mount is great. its so light i don’t even know its there. and the out-put is more than ample for fast descents. In my experiance zip ties are still the easiest and most convient way of mounting anything.

    To me my AY-UPs are the best. I reccoment them to any-one.

  8. First saw Ayups on the Hells Bells 24Hr race 5 years ago in Australia where I was using a pair of K2 Emmiters and a team mate the Ayups. The Ayups outshone and outperformed the K2’s easily (both with the same LED available at the time), though battery life was less in the K2 (which is not fair as I ran one K2 on 75%). It is not just the LED it is also the lens and reflector.

    Interms of build in a racing situation, simple and tough is fine. If a fancy mounting system or rubber O-ring breaks you bash something together; if a cable tie breaks, simple put another one on. K.I.S.S.

    As for the cheap parts – your nice expensive racing shoes cost less than $25 in parts, the Goretex jacket is made from fabric that is less than $40 per m, welcome to commercial reality. Good luck on the Ayup guys for noticing a gap in the light market and filling it. Go the Green and Gold.

  9. AWESOME GEAR: My V4 kit arrived last week. I am amazed at the output and battery life. 7.5 hours off the one battery charge (to 75% lux/rated output). Easily bright enough for my fast night work. Good vision to 50 metres measured on our fire trail.

    For hose before me who have made negative comments without actually trying the lights. PLease do yourself a favour, beg, borrow, or buy a set. Then make some constructive comments we can all use. Cheers.

    PS to Jay: A quick electronics lesson – All LED’s need to use a resistor, this is required to limit the peak voltage accross the diode junction. This also reduces the risk of the Lense shifting colour due to temperature cooefficient degredation. Try doing some more research.

  10. I have been running AY UP lights for over 2 years now. My whole reason for buying these lights was because of the Velomobile Quest that was being built for me. I got the AY UPs over a year before my Velomobile was delivered. I ordered the light set with two narrow beam lights and two 6 hour batteries as I wanted a light that I would not out run at 40 to 50+ mph. The AY UPs filled that need to perfection.
    Over 400 lumens, 7,500 to 8,000 lux per light set. I’m putting out with two pair over 800 lumens and 15,000 to 16,000 lux off the front.

    I added a third light set with red lens caps to the rear of my Velomobile as a flasher.

    About the batteries. They are rated at 6 hours. I have run them for just under 9 hours with no dimming what so ever. The battery with the built in flashing mode actually has three modes. High, low and flasher.
    It’s rated at 24 hours in the flashing mode. I bet it will do twice that.

    About my velomobile. It came with a Inoled Extreme light that is fine for a 10 mph cruising speed. My Velomobile also has running lights, tail lights, turn signals, brake light, interior light and horn.
    My next Velomobile will not come with the head light. The AY UPs are all I need.

    I have no problem with riding down the road in the lane in the middle of the night.
    With the AY UPs I am the brightest thing on the road.
    I also run them day and night and put over 7,000 miles on my Velomobile in it’s first year.

    While waiting a year for my velomobile I ran them on my Burley tandem and my Santana triplet.
    I ran them night and day on those bikes.
    Brilliant mounting systems with the handle bar mounts on both bikes and the Gecko mounts on the Velomobile. Very easy to move the lights from one bike to the other.

    I bet there is well over 10,000 miles on these lights and not the hint of a problem.

    I’ve run Nite Sun, Nite Rider and all sorts of lights. Nothing compares to AY UPs.

  11. I bought a set of Ay Up lights. They are an amazingly engineered and very bright. I think that they have an excellent product. I was very impressed with the overall design and the thought that went into the product. The packaging is second to none, and they are very bright with long lasting batteries. These are among the best lights you can get.

    HOWEVER, my advice is that you *should not* buy them unless you can source them from a bike shop because the company’s customer service is off the chart in terms of how bad it was.

    1. The web site is not clear and lacks guidance as to how to select the right product and options. Since they were so expensive I wanted to be careful with the purchase and so ordered a single battery system. When I got it I realized that I needed two batteries but I found that the charger would only do one at a time. When I asked to swap out the single charger for a dual and pay something extra the response was ‘too bad mate – no partial refund buy a dual charger and put the the single into a drawer’.

    2. When I ordered the second battery they forgot to ship it. Ten days later I called asking where it was and they said they would send it that week. No explanation. No apology. Great except my race started a week later. Had them send the lights to me in Canada but never got the second battery in time for the race. They couldn’t be bothered sending them expedited mail and it took 2+ weeks to arrive.

    3. Paying was a joke. The first time I tried using my Paypal. Their site would not accept my Paypal to ship to New Zealand. So I used their option of calling and leaving my credit card on their answer phone. I never heard a thing and after another 5+ attempts I got to speak to someone who said that the credit card number wasn’t received.

    The hassles of ordering, poor support, and negligent shipping make this my absolute worst experience shopping for bike gear online. It is a real shame that they don’t take their customer service as seriously as their product design. Reminds me other other companies in the past who have gone out of business in spite of excellent products.

    So, if you can find the lights in your LBS buy them. Otherwise the benefits of the lights compared to the problems of dealing with the company don’t make it worthwhile getting them.

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