If you can afford an HID light, I'd highly recommend one. They throw quite a substrantial amount of light out there. Check out the MTBR light shootout for a good idea of the differences. If you come along a good discount coupon from an online retailer, you can pick one up for a pretty good deal.
The headlight provides great lighting, for the price, and the tail light can be seen for over a mile at night (it's really bright). The downside, for me, is the strap on battery (mounts to top tube) if I had it to do again I would probably go for a bottle rack battery. And the battery charging is very proscriptively stated, as if not following the instructions, to the letter will kill the battery.
Overall I like it a lot and for about $130.00 it was a bargain.
Second on the HID. I have a NR HID with a nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery that has a four hour life with a 2.5 hour charge. The charger is automatic so I can plug it in when I get home and if it sits on the charger all night, no big deal. NiMH batteries don't develop a memory either, charging a battery that is only 30% discharged won't hurt it. My morning commute ends about 20 minutes before sunrise and I really appreciate the HID beam on the completely dark part of my commute. More than half of it has no other source of light at all, no streetlights, nothing. You can get some nice halogens for less than half the price. IMHO, getting a good battery such as NiMH or a lithium is the most important feature.
3rd the HID. Do it now, or do it later.assuming your gonna ride at night much in the future.
I tried the cheaper Halogen route first. Snag'd a Cygolite Explorer for like $79 from $129 a couple years ago. 25 watt(10,15,25watt settings). Takes like 17 hours to charge and you get aprox 1-2 hours of true light time(depending what of 3 power levels you choose). I also race 12/24 mtb races, and it just wasn't up to it. Not even close. Barely enough for a local trail ride. In comparison, my Nite Rider Storm HID($299 at Pricepoint) last 5.5hrs, and charges in like 3 hours. Also, the light an HID puts out is amazing compared to anything else avail. Its not even close.
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