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LAUNCH AND REVIEW

Outbound Lighting Hangover & Trail Evo Review

Words Deniz Merdano
Photos Deniz Merdano
Date Nov 20, 2020
Reading time

The Outbound Recipe

Quite a few ingredients go into a good night riding set up. It is a surprisingly easy recipe to mess up. Ask just about anyone who ordered themselves cheap lights from Amazon, the problems are many: unreliable electronics, poor integration, flimsy connections - and some are flat out fire hazards. Like my grandfather used to say: "I'm not rich enough to be cheap". Don't gamble on your night riding experience.

Outbound is a small, new player in the high-end light game. Designed and assembled in the USA, they have a utilitarian quality to them. While most of the other big lighting companies take design clues from tactical equipment, Outbound has Detroit design lines that remind me of the beauty of 70s muscle cars. The design, purchasing, marketing, technical, customer service and sales departments are run by a total of TWO people - that's an impressive amount of multitasking.

Hangover Helmet Light

100 gram (3.5oz) self contained helmet light.

Outbound Lighting's Hangover has 6 horizontal LEDs that put out approx. 1000 lumens of power. Tom at Outbound insisted on underlining the fact that lumen values do not represent the trail performance of a light. The shape and pattern of the light is what separates a centrally bright but spotty fire starter from a usable one.

Before MIPS, we had helmets that fit well and stayed put while we threw ourselves down the trail. And while it added a much-needed safety feature, MIPS made helmets a little wobbly and top heavy. Adding a light to the top of the helmet made matters worse and created a strobe like effect on night rides with certain light/helmet combinations. To make helmet lights weigh less, manufacturers moved the battery packs off the lighting units and asked us to store them in our backpacks attached with long cumbersome cords.

I said 'no' and mostly stopped riding at night. Self-contained units do away with those problems. Weighing in at 100grams, Hangover is barely noticeable. Outbound adopted the excellent GoPro mounting standard for their lights which makes any combination of light attachment possible on just about any surface.

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Easy GoPro integration on to the Smith Forefront 2 Helmet.

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A big, tactile button controls the Hangover. Four LED indicators let you know the status of your battery's remaining charge.

Hangover on the Trail

With a single, thick-glove friendly button, it took mere moments to get used to the operation of the light. Outbound uses the same power/mode button and LED indicators for all their lights, which makes the operation across all platforms extremely easy.

There are four modes you can choose from:

  • Adaptive - a smart mode that allows for eyes to adapt to the dark as it gradually reduces the output brightness.
  • High - Full speed ahead
  • Medium - Half speed ahead
  • Low - Crawling speed

I found the Adaptive mode to work really well on solo night rides with no other light sources. My eyes adapted to the illumination of the forest and although the light gradually got dimmer over the course of 2 hours, I perceived none of that decrease in output.

High Mode worked well in group ride situations where everyone had bright lights that they forgot to turn off and looked right in your eyes at a trail head. In situations like that, your eyes have no time to adjust to the darkness between stopping to regroup and leaving again to become a glowing group of mountain bikers flying around in the forest.

Medium mode worked well for climbing and gave me the confidence to attack technical trail features on the way up and see all the bears that are waiting behind every tree (not a fact but it sure does feel that way on solo night rides). And finally, Low mode was too dim to ride on singletrack but was great for mechanicals on the trail and riding on the road amongst cars to and from the trail.

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All the modes and how they affect Hangover run time.

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Trail Evo Handlebar Light

There is a new sheriff in town, boys. She is powerful, bright and has 9 LEDs with a flood beam pattern to light your way. I love everything about this light. The design, the details, the output, everything. The button and UI are identical to the hangover so the trail light experience translates well between both lights.

At approximately 2000 lumens, it is a bright light with a soft light beam and a gentle fall off. What sets this light apart is in the details:

  • Rubberized Magnesium cast body with very low heat conductivity. The light never gets hot to the touch.
  • USB-C interface with a stopper. No, you cannot damage the USB port by inserting the cable upside down. You can also not force it in more than necessary because it has a bump stop.
  • Incredibly fast charging: the Trail Evo can charge to 80% charge in 2 hours.
  • Hours and hours of play time.
  • Tripod head like attachment system.
  • Cable management hooks.

So far on a single charge, I have managed to squeeze 4 hours of runtime without sacrificing brightness! Outbound lights also use pass through USB charging, allowing you to charge as you ride. So you can squeeze hours of bike-packing run time if you carry an external USB battery pack. Brilliant!

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Plenty of light diffusion here

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Pass through cooling vents keep the Trail Evo cool.

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More vents.

Trail Evo is a self-contained unit with no external battery pack to deal with. It makes planning night rides easier and eliminates points of failure in the system by getting rid of cables and connections. The light unit is about the size of a small orange and fits in fanny packs or backpacks with ease. There is a sturdy 31.8 or 35mm handlebar compatible mounting base with a swivel head that accepts the rectangular piece on the light body.

You hook the side of the piece in the groove and the brass button gets depressed to activate the locking lever. Very much like tripod heads of the photography world, so I needed zero time getting used to it.

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The base is made out of cast magnesium and feels solid.

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The unit clicks into place and can be adjusted tool free up and down. I had no issues with slippage.

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The Lever stays out of harm's way.

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The Trail Evo centered on the stem.

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Couldn't resist the "2003 S-Works on the Japanese Maple leaves in my yard" photo.

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Plenty of gnar to be found if you know where to look.

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My go-to light setup.

Conclusion

Outbound will put the Hangover on your head for 132 USD / 175 CAD and the Trail Evo on your bars for 245 USD / 320 CAD

The “Evo DH Package” with both lights: the Trail Evo and Hangover, costs 365 USD / 477 CAD.

The guys at Outbound want your business for life. If you have a problem, they will replace your faulty light under warranty for 3 years and fix it or upgrade it past that period. They will probably also take you on a trail ride and buy you a beer if you happen to be in their neighbourhood. These guys are really passionate about making awesome lights. They don't care how many sleepless nights they have to put up with if it means they are putting out the best product on the market and learn from customers all over the world.

It is awesome to see two guys take on a saturated part of the market and knock the ball right out of the park. You are doing your night riding a disservice if you are not at least demoing Outbound Lighting products...Oh yeah! they will be demo'ing lights out of their North America touring Sprinter Van too (ed note: insert Covid asterisk here).

OutBound Lighting Website

PS - I would love to see a speed sensitive light output mode. I think it would work great for people who don't want to switch between modes on the trail. Also maybe voice commands to change light settings while riding. GoPros work really well with this.

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Comments

TristanC
+4 Todd Hellinga Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman Angu58
TristanC  - Nov. 20, 2020, 5:02 a.m.

I've been using a Hangover and the old Trail Edition for about a year. I ended up killing both lights after an ultra race because I rode through two thunderstorms - it looked like condensation got into the units and must have bridged some circuitry. That said, they worked great during, and Outbound replaced both lights, and only asked for the failed units back so they could tear them down and see if they could improve them.

9/10, would trust to watch for cougars at 3am in the middle of nowhere again.

Reply

FlipFantasia
+2 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman
Todd Hellinga  - Nov. 20, 2020, 6:13 a.m.

I got my Outbound DH package (Trail/Hangover combo) a month too soon it seems! The Trail light is awesome too for those that don't mind the traditional external battery setup. The beam pattern and overall light quality is so much better, being able to see more of the trail with way less hotspots is highly preferable to the more spot focused lights I've used in the past. The outbound package really transformed my night riding experience and made it much easier to see the whole trail and other obstacles adjacent to the trail in a way that more traditional spot focused lights just can't compete with. The Evo looks really good, if it came out 2 months ago I probably would've gone that way!

Reply

blaklabl
+1 Pete Roggeman
blaklabl  - Nov. 20, 2020, 7:32 a.m.

I'd like the new EVO (I have an Outbound Hangover & Trail light now), but need the ability to attach to bars with a GoPro mount.

Reply

skooks
+1 Deniz Merdano
Skooks  - Nov. 20, 2020, 7:47 a.m.

Do you think the outbound is sufficient in terms of brightness and run-time ?

Reply

denomerdano
0
Deniz Merdano  - Nov. 20, 2020, 10:34 a.m.

Hangover manages 1.5h and the Evo close to 4 hours of run time in the northshore conditions.

Most of our riding is slow speed uphills to fast downhills. 40mins of climbing for 10 mins of descending.. 

So 40 mins of low power light use to 10 mins of full power. 

Easy to get 2+ hours out of a light with that calculation

the math will be different for your trail network for sure.

Reply

slyfink
+2 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman
slyfink  - Nov. 20, 2020, 8:37 a.m.

Man, I love the look of that Hangover. I've always preferred a spot on my head (for the ability to see far down the trail), and a flood on my bar (for contrast and to illuminate the middle ground), but I'm starting to see the limitations of that theory: you need to be able to see at least some detail off to the side of the trail in the middle to far distance to pick your lines well. Just last night I tried to cut a flat corner inside and tight, and didn't see the log in the apex. I slid out onto my knee cap and shoulder... fun. but I digress. 

I would have already bought the Hangover, but I have to admit I'm worried about the run time, and how it would be impacted in the cold - I ride my fat bike regularly in the winter, down to about -18°C (0°F). I don't suppose the cell is replaceable out on the trail is it? It would be sweet to be able to carry and extra cell or two in my pocket and do a trailside replacement as needed...

Reply

CRA
+1 Pete Roggeman
Chris Anderson  - Nov. 20, 2020, 9:13 a.m.

I rode mine all last winter in temps down to -30 C! Like all batteries, super cold temps will affect battery life a bit, but I've been super happy with the Hangover. It has a USB C charger, and the light still runs while it's plugged in. I haven't done it but in theory I guess you could bring a small battery pack along as back up and charge it on the go as well.

Reply

khai
+1 Pete Roggeman
khai  - Nov. 20, 2020, 9:33 a.m.

"I don't suppose the cell is replaceable out on the trail is it? It would be sweet to be able to carry and extra cell or two in my pocket and do a trailside replacement as needed..."

Both the Hangover and Evo are sealed units but have pass-thru charging - no swappable batteries but you could hook up an external powerbank to extend your ride time.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Deniz Merdano
Pete Roggeman  - Nov. 20, 2020, 2:22 p.m.

This is an underrated feature. Very cool to have.

Reply

khai
+2 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman
khai  - Nov. 20, 2020, 9:30 a.m.

I have a Hangover and when the package arrived at my US mailbox ripped/empty (way back before COVID was a thing), Matt shipped a new one to me up in Canada so I wouldn't have to make the trip a 2nd time.  It's been a fantastic light and I was really happy to get rid of the external battery pack.  I have a damned near indestructible Ay-Up light mounted to my bars, but if it dies or gets lost I'd replace it with an Evo without hesitation.

Reply

denomerdano
0
Deniz Merdano  - Nov. 20, 2020, 10:49 a.m.

Damn excellent customer service!

Reply

DanL
+2 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman
DanL  - Nov. 20, 2020, 9:44 a.m.

Good lord - this looks like it's hit so many points 

- rugged exterior with easy to deal with UI and buttons

- great mounting options making it simple to set up and simple to grab-and-go

- self contained battery with pass thru charging

- DH kit is similar price point to some single lights

Voice commands? Well, it would be amusing to turn your riding buddy's lights off as they passed you I guess - that's how the bluetooth button for gemini's work.

Reply

denomerdano
+1 Pete Roggeman
Deniz Merdano  - Nov. 20, 2020, 10:50 a.m.

Voice command is totally my wishlist item.

I'm sure I'll be told a million reasons why it's not feasible but I dare to dream

Reply

DanL
+2 Pete Roggeman Angu58
DanL  - Nov. 20, 2020, 11:37 a.m.

"SET PHASERS TO KILL"

Reply

Mike-E
0
Mike-E  - Nov. 20, 2020, 5:27 p.m.

Wondering if you can run the hangover on it’s own.  Is there enough light output?

Reply

Mike-E
0
Mike-E  - Nov. 20, 2020, 5:27 p.m.

Wondering if you can run the hangover on it’s own.  Is there enough light output?

Reply

denomerdano
0
Deniz Merdano  - Nov. 20, 2020, 5:40 p.m.

I've run the hangover on its own. And although it was manageable, I wanted more light for the fast flowy trail I was on.

Reply

Bad-Sean
0
Sean Chee  - Nov. 21, 2020, 3:35 a.m.

Not hard at all but it would add a decent slice of development cost to an already expensive light. 

The way I would do it initially is have it run via an app on your phone. Reducing the processing power needed in the units. Android and ios have great voice recognition stacks that you're not going to beat unless your name is amazon. 

Connect to the light with Bluetooth low energy. This opens up the possibility to also having a handlebar based button for your head lamp. The additional hardware in the lights would only add $2 to the BOM.

Reply

tashi
0
tashi  - Nov. 20, 2020, 10:17 a.m.

This is an incredibly uncritical review, are these lights really this awesome?

Does anyone have a significant amount of time on these yet?

Reply

denomerdano
+1 HuckGnarris
Deniz Merdano  - Nov. 20, 2020, 10:54 a.m.

They work really well for ME! 

I haven't put the lights through a whole winter of riding yet, I will definitely do a follow up post in a couple months

Reply

troy
0
Troy  - Nov. 20, 2020, 3:39 p.m.

YES! I have the Hangover and the Trail and they kickass. I've used NiteRider for years, but the way these perform and the light output is so much better. I used to ride with two Niterider 750s on the bars and the Outbound Trail is so much better and super durable. The Hangover is really light and does a great job. Low profile too compared to others.

Reply

tdzride
+1 Pete Roggeman
tdzride  - Nov. 20, 2020, 11:30 a.m.

How does the beam pattern of the Trail EVO compare to the Light and Motion Sea comp? You guys keep throwing awesome light reviews out there I can't make a decision!

Reply

denomerdano
0
Deniz Merdano  - Nov. 20, 2020, 11:38 a.m.

I've played with the LM Seca and the beam pattern is pretty damn close. For me, the decision would be self contained unit vs battery pack. 

If you don't have means to immediately charge after a ride, having multiple battery packs would be a plus for the Light and Motion.

Reply

denomerdano
0
Deniz Merdano  - Nov. 20, 2020, 2:56 p.m.

I may have thought you said Seca race. Seca comp seems to be a self contained piece. I'm sure AMajor has more time on that light than me.

Reply

skooks
+1 Pete Roggeman
Skooks  - Nov. 20, 2020, 11:56 a.m.

I just ordered an EVO. It seems like the perfect bar-light solution to me. I am going to stick with the seperate battery pack solution for my helmet light since  I am heavily invested already. I actually like the ability to run high lumens, extremely long run-time, and tiny, lightweight light-head for helmet use.  If Outbound comes out with a brighter, longer run-time Hangover I would definitely be interested.

Reply

denomerdano
0
Deniz Merdano  - Nov. 20, 2020, 12:28 p.m.

Awesome. Let us know how the whole process works for you.

Reply

Andeh
+2 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman
Andeh  - Nov. 20, 2020, 12:58 p.m.

I already own a Hangover, and ordered an Evo.  In terms of run time, my night rides are usually about 2-2.5 hrs.  I leave my bar light on low for the climbs, and keep the headlight off for those.  Then descending I turn both on high.  I haven't had any issues with them running out, but last night my bar light (L&M Taz 2000) had the red indicator on by the end.  The Hangover was still green (had about 45 mins of use on adaptive).

Reply

Xorrox
+2 Pete Roggeman DadStillRides
Brad_xyz  - Nov. 20, 2020, 2:03 p.m.

I have the Hangover and Trail (not Evo) versions and have been using them extensively for the last month.  I really like these lights but a few things keep me from loving them:

  • The Hangover has been great and works well with the built in GoPro mount on my helmet.  However, one morning it just flashed briefly when I tried to turn it on and then was completely dead.  Plugging in the charging cord fixed the problem instantly (when I got home after only riding with my bar light) and the problem has not come back.  I'm guessing the inrush current from the light turning on tripped the battery short circuit protection - I sure hope this does not happen again otherwise I may need to start carrying the charging cord and a USB battery pack to reset it again.
  • The Trail (not EVO) is a good light but has a few flaws in my opinion 1) The rubber mounting strap does not mount it securely enough so it moves down or bounces around on a true downhill track. 2) The light needs a shade so that it does not blind you when you are weighting the front of the bike. 3) The LED battery / mode indicators are too bright at night on the trail.

Reply

FlipFantasia
+1 Deniz Merdano
Todd Hellinga  - Nov. 20, 2020, 2:39 p.m.

get a gopro bar mount and forgo the rubber strap, doesn't move at all

Reply

Xorrox
+1 Deniz Merdano
Brad_xyz  - Nov. 20, 2020, 2:44 p.m.

There is a GoPro mount for the Trail (none Evo) light?? If so I wish I had known that when I ordered the light!  I will have to check that out.

Reply

FlipFantasia
+2 Deniz Merdano HuckGnarris
Todd Hellinga  - Nov. 20, 2020, 3:34 p.m.

yeah, came in the kit...will try and remember to grab a pic when I get home tonight, was in the carrying case.

Reply

FlipFantasia
0
Todd Hellinga  - Nov. 23, 2020, 12:15 p.m.

sorry I forgot to grab a photo, but there's just a single screw under the rubber strap that you can remove, then there was a 3d printed gopro adaptor in the kit I received that simply screws into the hole on the bottom of the light. very simple and straightforward replacement.

Reply

HuckGnarris
0
HuckGnarris  - Nov. 20, 2020, 8:54 p.m.

Based on other comments on the CS I bet money if you emailed them about that Hangover issue they'd replace the unit for free and figure out what's going on for you. I'd be curious to see what they say to that.

Reply

Ddean
+3 Pete Roggeman Skooks JVP
Ddean  - Nov. 20, 2020, 2:11 p.m.

I ride with last years Ultimate DH kit. ADORE IT.

I personally dont mind cables, especially on the helmet where its easy to throw the battery in your back pocket or pack, but I understand the preference to not to if you dont mind fewer amp hours on the helmet light. To me, its simple math: if you want battery power you have to carry that weight somewhere and its better to have good power connected via cable than less power carried on your helmet (big battery vs smaller battery).

The quality of my Ultimate DH kit is incredible. The light is powerful and relentless. Ive had zero issues. 10/10 for me

Reply

Ddean
0
Ddean  - Nov. 20, 2020, 11:50 p.m.

Following up on this I wanted to check out the battery situation of these new un-corded lights - I cant find it anywhere. This is surprising to me as battery power is one of the most critical aspects of the equation. Perhaps Outbound justifies this by having the abi;lity to charge during the ride via USB? This way perhaps they can make lightweight lights (using smaller batteries) and if run time isnt great, buy the spare and cord it and have tons of power? 

The batteries on my Ultimate DH are 6400mAH on each the helmet and the bars. The battery pack alone weighs far more than the Hangover light and battery (and mount!). Math suggests that Hangover gives up a ton versus the helmet mount from the Ultimate DH (which is a Road Edition with a gopro mount mated to the bar mount trail edition).

Perhaps the new un-corded set up with a spare battery (or two) would be the ultimate in flexibility - bring the spare(s) when you might need them - dont if you wont and enjoy no cords?

All this talk of lights makes me want to get out and use them soon!

Reply

FlipFantasia
0
Todd Hellinga  - Nov. 21, 2020, 11:49 a.m.

Unfortunately with the hangover the usb port is on the front on the underside of the led's so not sure how well this item below Matt's working on for the Evo would work for the hangover...that being said, I find that low on the trail is fine for most road and single track climbing, leaving the hangover off until the descent. With this option on the evo you'd be able to save a lot of juice on the helmet light for when speeds increase.

"One other thing we are working on is an inexpensive DC5521 to USB converter so that people can use their old trail packs as additional power sources for Evo if they upgrade. Similar to what magicshine has, but wanting it without extra cables and stuff."

https://forums.mtbr.com/lights-night-riding/outbound-lighting-trail-evo-discussion-1158145.html#post15093013

Reply

skooks
0
Skooks  - Nov. 22, 2020, 1:16 p.m.

There's some great discussion on MTBR from Outbound Lights on how the hangover compares with external battery lights. According to OL, the hangover is not intended to compete with these. The EVO should pair well with them though.

Reply

DadStillRides
0
DadStillRides  - Nov. 26, 2020, 7:03 p.m.

Would be interested to hear how you guys would compare the hangover to your beloved blackburn dayblazer 1100

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