Supernova Headlights & Taillights
Supernova is a German company making some of the finest bicycle lights you can buy. They are best known for their battery powered lights like the Airstream. The off road mountain biking crowd loves Supernova headlights, and for good reason. They're extremely well made and super reliable. For their battery powered headlights; Airstream and M33, click here.
Since 2007 they have been making lights for hub dynamos. The E3 Pro 2 dynamo headlight is very bright and has a big beam. If you can't see the road with this, you need to turn around and get back on the road. And the taillight is also very bright.
To see a variety of headlight beams including E3 Pro 2, see this page.
You can power the Supernova headlights with any 6 volt 3 watt hub or sidewall dynamo. The SON hub dynamo or the Dymotec 6 sidewall dynamo are both a perfect match for the Supernova E3 Pro 2 and E3 Triple The Sanyo and Shimano 3 watt hubs also work well. But do not try to use the cheap 1.5 watt hubs made by Shimano.
The Supernova headlight controls any of their optional taillights; one style for rear rack mounting, and another for mounting on a seatpost. Supernova headlights and taillights are designed to work together. You can use the headlights alone, or with a Supernova taillight. Of course other companies make dynamo taillights as well, but they shouldn't be used along with Supernova lights. I don't recommend mixing other brands of lights with Supernova lights. Other taillights are designed for AC, which is what dynamos output, not DC. The Supernova headlight converts the dynamo's AC output to DC, and send DC to the Supernova taillight. That's why you can't mix and match Supernova dynamo lights with other brands of dynamo lights.
The E3 Triple uses three very bright LEDs. This light has a large round beam and is not suitable for use in traffic, so Supernova only recommends it for use off road. It's an intensely bright beam, similar to HID headlights. The beam is big and round.
Supernova headlights should only be used with Supernova mounts. Other mounts may not be strong enough for the Supernova headlights.
There is no mount available that allows positioning the E3 at the fork crown with low profile cantilever brakes. Wide profile cantilever brakes can be compatible, if the yoke is positioned high enough. On larger frames a high yoke position shouldn't be a problem. Fork crown mounting with V brakes or disc brakes works very well with the included Multimount. And the optional Handlebar mount versions will work on handlebars (well duh) or on any number of mounts that replicate handlebars like the Cronometro Nob or other similar devices.
The E3 Pro 2 headlights shown here are all the Grey finish. But we also have these in Black, and Silver. All are anodized.
Supernova E3 Pro 2 (new for 2013)
All E3 Pro 2 headlights ship with a Black Multimount, regardless of the finish on the light itself. We still have a few Multimounts in Grey available for purchase, but we can't substitute a grey Multimount when you buy a new headlight. The headlight only comes with its included Black Multimount.
And of course we have the Supernova Handlebar Mount available. See below.
E3Pro 2, Grey with Multimount: $ 205.00
E3Pro 2, Silver with Multimount: $ 211.00
Supernova E3 Pure 3
The new (2014) E3 Pure 3 eliminates the switch. So the housing is much smaller. Since better quality hub dynamos all have extremely low drag, many cyclists run their dynamo powered lights "On" all the time, so why even have a switch?
Measures only 49mm front to back. Designed to mount at the fork crown on forks with a drilled hole. Compatible with sidepul caliper brakes, as well as disc brakes and most V brakes. Not compatible with old style cantilever brakes.
This headlight must not be used if you have a USB charger, like The Plug or the USB-Werk.
E3 Pure 3 with HSOP mount, Black Anodized, Part # SUP-N-P3-MBLK: $ 185.00
Supernova E3 Triple 2
The new E3 Triple 2 is brighter than ever. It's a great headlight for riding single track trails and 24 hour off road races. It's not a good headlight for riding on roads as the big round beam will blind oncoming car drivers and cyclists.
We stock this with the Multi-Mount, as shown in the photo above, and with the Supernova handlebar mount. And we stock Black Anodized, as shown, and Grey Anodized.
If you have a suspension fork, you'll want your E3 Triple 2 with a handlebar mount.
The E3 Triple 2 is compatible with all Supernova dynamo taillights. It should not be used with other brands of dynamo taillights.
Supernova E3 Triple 2, Black with Multi-Mount, Part # SUP-NTR2-BLK: $ 263.00
Supernova E3 Triple 2, Black with Handlebar Mount, Part # SUP-NTR2-BLK-KBM: $ 263.00
Supernova E3 Triple 2, Grey with Multi-Mount, Part # SUP-NTR2-GRY: $ 263.00
Supernova E3 Triple 2, Grey with Handlebar Mount, Part # SUP-NTR2-GRY-KBM: $ 263.00
The TL-2 has three bright LEDs, excellent side illumination, and mounts to a rear rack with the standard European light mount having two holes, 50mm apart. The Supernova headlight provides power to the taillight and also provides a standlight mode for a few minutes while you're stopped at a traffic light. We stock these in Black Anodized, Grey Anodized and Silver Anodized.
E3 TL 2 50mm Rack Mount, Black: $ 64.00
E3 TL 2 50mm Rack Mount, Grey: $ 64.00
E3 TL 2 50mm Rack Mount, Silver: $ 74.00
You may need a spacer kit because the wire extends forward on this taillight and you may need some space for it between the light and the rack.
Supernova Spacer Kit for TL-2 taillights, Part # SUPH161-SP-T: $ 3.12
New for 2014, the TL-2 is available with the wire coming off the bottom of the light. This makes mounting the light to many racks easier, since you no longer need to space the taillight away from the rack to make room for the wire. Since the wire points downwards, you'll want about 3/4" clearance under the light so as not to kink the wire. Black Anodized only.
TL-2 Taillight for rack mounting, Bottom cable connection, Black, Part # SUPN-TK2FR-BLK: $ 64.00
This version of the TL-2 mounts to a seat post. It attaches with a thick rubber "O" ring. Since it's easy to attach and remove, you also get a pair of the Supernova gold plated connectors for the wiring.
E3 TL 2 Seatpost Mount, Black: $ 71.00
E3 TL 2 Seatpost Mount, Grey: $ 71.00
E3 TL 2 Seatpost Mount, Silver: $ 71.00
Multimount CS and TS
The Multimounts are available separately. When you buy a headlight with the Multimount, it comes with the 10mm base on the headlight, and the CS version Multimount. But the Multimounts can be used with other brands of headlights, such as Busch & Müller and Schmidt, which have a 10mm mount built into their housings. The Multimount works very well on bikes with disc brakes and most bikes with V brakes. And if used along with the Caliper Mount pictured above, it works with caliper brakes.
Supernova no longer makes the Multimount in Grey, but only in Black. The standard Multimount CS is designed for a fork crown that has a 6mm hole all the way through, front to back. This is the version that is included with most Supernova headlights.
As of November, 2012, there's a new version, the Multimount TS that is designed for a fork crown having a 6mm x 1mm threaded hole at the front. The fixing bolt then goes through the Multimount TS and into the threads in the fork crown. Most crowns do not have a 6mm x 1mm threaded hole in the front.
Supernova Multimount CS Black: $ 22.50
Supernova Multimount TS Black: $ 18.00
New Handlebar Mount
This new mount replaces the earlier handlebar mount, which uses Cateye mounts as a base. This new mount allows any Supernova headlight to be mounted on a handlebar. If your headlight has the older Lefty Mount or the earlier handlebar mount, you will need to buy the 10mm base for your Supernova headlight.
Other brands of headlights may also work with this, but there can be some issues with compatibility requiring some modification to the light. So, don't just assume that it will work.
We have these in Black and Grey.
Supernova New Handlebar Mount, Black: $ 24.00
Supernova New Handlebar Mount, Grey: $ 24.00
Since the headlight is so easy to remove from the bike with the handlebar mount, you may want to take it off yourself when parking the bike. In that case you'll also want the Gold Plated Connector Set. See below.
New SL Carbon Handlebar Extension Mount
Supernova's latest handbar extension mount uses two minimalist clamps and a carbon center tube. This mount only fits the silly new oversized handlebars, 31.8mm. The center tube is 26mm in diameter. The two clamps fit on each side of the handlebar stem, placing the extra tube in front of the stem where you normally wouldn't be able to mount anything. The thin clamps take up only a few millimeters each.
Weight: 1 ¼ Ounces
Supernova New SL Carbon Handlebar Extension Mount: $ 42.00
161-T Taillight (2012 Version, On Sale)
The 161-T taillight mounts to a rear rack with a European style taillight mount. E3 161-T: $ 45.00 This is the sale price.
The 161-T is now also available in black.
These mounts have several holes. One pair of holes needs to be 50mm apart, left to right. The light will need to be spaced away from the rack mount since most mounts will interfere with the connecting wire, but we have spacers for this. If the rack's mount is large enough, you could also drill an additional hole in the center of the mount for the 161-T's wire to pass through.
Here's the taillight mounted to a Tubus rear rack. The rack has holes 50mm apart but doesn't have a center hole for the Supernova taillight's wire. I would need a hole almost 3/8" in diameter to fit the cable, and the mount on the rack is less that 1/2" high, so there would be very little material left after drilling a hole. Instead, I've used two 20mm long spacers to position the light far enough away that the wire can safely bend down and clear the mount.
Wiring the Headlight & Taillight
The E3 Pro headlight has two sets of wires attached at the bottom of the housing. One set has white insulation, and the other set has one wire with red insulation and a second with blue insulation. The white set are to connect the E3 headlight to the hub dynamo. There are two white wires, and it makes no difference which white wire you attach to which connector of the hub dynamo. Unlike some other dynamo headlights, the Supernova's housing does not ground to the frame, and so the fact that some hub dynamos do ground to the frame is irrelevant.
The blue and red set are to connect to the Supernova taillight. The taillight has a set of wires, blue and red, to attach to the blue and red wires from the headlight. They should be connected red to red, and blue to blue. However, Supernova has published a wiring diagram that shows red attached to blue, and blue attached to red. This is obviously an error. And we apologize for this incorrect diagram. If you attach red to blue, the taillight should not work. But it should not be damaged. Just attach red to red, and blue to blue, and you'll be fine.
The Supernova E3 Pro headlight converts AC (alternating current) from the hub dynamo into DC (direct current) for the LEDs. The output from the E3 Pro headlight to the taillight (red & blue wires) is also DC. The taillight cannot use the AC from the hub dynamo, it must receive only DC. The electronics that convert AC to DC are only in the headlight, not in the taillight. So, you must never attach the 161-T taillight directly to a dynamo. It can only be used when attached to the red & blue output wires from the E3 Pro headlight, or the E3 Triple.
Gold Plated Connector Set
Supernova quick release electrical connectors are available. If you want to be able to quickly remove a handlebar mounted headlight, or the seatpost mounted 161-T-S taillight, but leave the wiring attached to the frame, these little gold connectors are ideal. You get a set of two, that's enough for the power and ground side.
Set of two connectors: $ 16.00
That's not cheap, and you can get connectors from Radio Shack that will do the job. But these connectors hold together firmly, but still pull apart easily by hand, so once installed in your wiring, the connectors are not going to come loose no matter how many times you connect and disconnect them. Also, they will never corrode.
If you wanted to leave wiring in place on your fork for the hub dynamo to headlight connection, and wiring in place on the frame to the taillight, you would need three sets of connectors. That's one set in the wires to the hub, one set in the wires to the taillight positioned close to the headlight, and a third set in those same wires close to the taillight.
Why does the E3 Pro headlight flicker?
I don't know. But most dynamo powered LED headlights flicker at low speeds, and the Supernova is no exception. It's normal for the headlight to flicker when you're riding slowly. The speed at which it flickers depends on the outside diameter of the tire you're using. Don't worry about it. Nothing is being damaged, and you're even more visible to oncoming traffic with the light flickering than if it wasn't.
Switching on the Headlight at Speed?
It's possible to damage the electronics inside the E3 Pro and E3 Triple if you switch the light "ON" at high speeds. Let's say it's dark out, and you're speeding down a hill at forty miles per hour. You can't see where you're going and suddenly you remember, "I have a headlight! Cool!" so you switch it on. In rare occasions, this can overload the electronics due to the high initial power output of a hub dynamo.
While I seriously doubt that anyone would decide to turn on their light at high speed, (When would you be in such a situation?) it's possible, so it's something every user should be aware of.
This is not to suggest that there is any upper speed limit when using the E3 headlight. If the bike reaches a high speed with the light already switched on, there's no instantaneous rush of power into the electronics, and no possibility of damage. So if you're cruising along at 15 mph and decide to switch on the light, go ahead. Ride as fast as you like with the E3 switched on. Just do the switching at a moderate speed.
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This page updated: Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Peter White Cycles