Monday, June 10, 2013

CREE XM 1200 Lumen Headlamp Review

Hello and Welcome,
A while back I purchased my first real rechargeable headlamp, the CREE XM 1200. I say "real rechargeable" because I have used rechargeable batteries in my ZeFal head and tail lamps. But this lamp has a rechargeable battery pack. It also comes with a band for wearing the lamp on your head. But unless you have a tiny little head ( and I don't) it is really very uncomfortable. It also comes with a charger and a pouch with a Velcro strap for attaching the battery pack to your bike or whatever. I did not purchase the lamp to wear on my head, so I don't really give a rip about the head gear.

Above: The lamp mount is simple enough. It has a half round base with a hook front and back. Using a supplied rubber O Ring around the bars connecting front and rear to the base it holds the lamp in place pretty well. I thought the included O ring was a little too fat for the front hook, which is slightly obscured by the power supply wire. I chose to use a smaller diameter O Ring for mine.

Above: Here I have attached the battery pack to the stem, letting the pouch rest against the head tube. I am riding on mostly smooth and hard packed surfaces, so I do not need to be too careful. I did wrap the power supply wire around the handlebars a few times to take up the slack. When using the headlamp on the L.L. Bean bike or the Single Speed / Fixed Gear Bike Flat Lander I can stash the battery pack and excess power cord in the front rack top bag. Which does look a "bit neater" if that sort of thing matters to you.

Above: The charger is great. It has an indicator light that turns from Red to Green when the the battery pack is fully charged. I would recommend removing the battery pack from the pouch during charging. And I never place the battery pack directly on a table top or counter top. I like to set the battery pack on a ceramic coaster during charging.

Above: Here is a better view of the base and O Ring. Although I have no desire to wear the lamp on my head.. I should mention that during a recent power outage I used this little lamp to light up our living room. It did a wonderful job. And I only had it on the low and medium settings. The strobe or flashing setting is extremely bright and would be a really effective emergency signal light. And despite "one negative review" it charges and holds a charge just fine. Like any rechargeable You do not want to leave it outside in cold weather.

Above: Other than a very small sheet of basic directions this is what you get. The headlamp with supply cord, the charger and the battery pack and the battery pouch with Velcro strap. And of course the head gear for those of you with tiny little heads that might want to use that feature. Did I mention how small the headband is?...ltms

Above: The CREE XM 1200 Headlamp mounted on the L.L. Bean. About Performance... Don't let the small size fool you! This little lamp lights the road unbelievably well. Riding at night I remember thinking to myself "this lights up the road better than the headlamp on my 1969 Yamaha scrambler." (a motorcycle I once owned many many years ago) What really amazed me was seeing the headlamp on strobe setting light up reflective road signs during the day! In all fairness, I was on a heavily tree lined road at the time.

Above: I used the quarter (for scale) to give you a better idea of the actual size of the light. I know I was surprised by how small it was when I first opened the box. But it made me a believer out of me. And did it for not as whole lot of cash. Now I doubt it matchs up with lights that cost 2 to 4 times the price. But I suspect it will come a lot closer than you think.

Above: A few pics from recent local rides to local lakes. Above White Lake from my Diamondback Overdrive 29'er.

Above: Same lake a little farther down the road.

Above: White lake (same day) and a view back down the road from which I came. Standing on the shore just west of the White Lake Inn.

Above: Duck Lake earlier that same day. This is the private beach for the back lot owners. I never use this beach anymore. But the back lot owners association does a wonderful job maintaining it.

Above: A boat crossing the channel into the deep end of Duck lake. Much of Duck lake is very shallow. A pontoon boat or flat bottom boat is the best way to go on this lake.

Above: A ride to Alderman lake (also a local lake) on another day. This lake is smaller but more natural. I have snorkeled here in the past. This was taken from the boat launch. Alderman lake would be a good place to kayak. Although Wildwood lake in Holly Mi would be even better. Memorial day weekend and the Alderman lake parking lot was empty.
Above: The road towards home from Alderman lake. The new 29'er has been perfect for riding on and off the roads here. It is pretty much the only bike I ride anymore.
Until next time, Please RIDE SAFELY and remember to Always.....RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE


  1. Great Review Hugh, glad to hear you are loving the 29'er nice to have a bike that go on or off pavement

    1. Thanks Ryan,
      Yes I think the Diamondback 29'er works perfectly for the type of riding I do. Some of my favorite short cuts are off road. And even though I have as much right to use them as anyone else. There are some two lane asphalt roads around here I just do not feel safe riding on. As my "drivers ed." teacher once taught me.... "dead right or dead wrong, your dead either way."

  2. You might want to check out the "new and improved" battery holder I got to replace the original. WELL worth the $5. Post at

    I think I'd pass on the lens, however.

  3. Thanks Steve,
    That battery case looks like a sweet deal for 5 bucks. I don`t want to think about why it is so cheap though. But I guess that's what makes it ok "We just do not think about it". And I did say "We" because I am as guilty as the next guy it that regard.

  4. Good timing on this review! I have been looking for a light to take out on tour. I don't want to ride at night but once on a tour I got caught after dark trying to get into Santa Fe. No light. Not gonna happen again!
    Thanks Hugh!

    Is this available through your bike shop??

  5. Thanks Jim,
    Funny you should ask. Once you use the link in the upper right column to jump over to the store. The departments are listed on the left. Lights (or light sets) is the fifth category from the bottom. You will find this light on page two of the lights section.
    I am "night blind", so if I am going to ride in the dark a good headlamp is an absolute must.
    I am purposely not adding word links to new posts for a few days. This way my regular readers (who may not be fond of them) do not have to see them. Thanks for leaving a comment.
    Cheers, Hugh

  6. OK, I ordered up! I think I got the same one that you reviewed. Either...I'm sure I am going to get a light that will be handy if I get stuck out again after dark and one that will be handy in the camp for scary story time!!

  7. Hey Thanks Jim,
    I appreciate your support. Just be careful with the strobe or flashing setting, it is incredibly bright. My favorite thing is the charger. When the light on the charger turns green... your done. It doesn't get much simpler than that.
    Cheers, Hugh


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