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Review: Gloworm G2.0 MTB lights are bright, custom controls shine brighter

gloworm g2 mountain bike lights review riding action
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To be fair, the original Gloworm X-series lights are great, but the new G2.0 series improves upon almost everything we liked. And what isn’t upgraded simply carries over, making these some of the best, easiest to use, and most customizable mountain bike lights on the market.

Standout features like swappable lens elements to customize the beam pattern and a new app to adjust the output for each setting raise the bar for the category. And, of course, high output from a lightweight, easy-to-mount head unit brings it all home to create a top pick for night riding.

Here are the tech details and our riding impressions of the Gloworm G2.0 X2 and XS/XSV mountain bike lights…

What’s in the box?

gloworm g2 x2 and xsv mountain bike lights unboxing contents shows whats included

Both lights come with the head unit, battery, short and long cables, charging brick, spare lens elements, handlebar mount, bolt-on GoPro-style mount, helmet mount, and various tools and straps to adjust it all.

Shown above and directly below is the two-lens X2. The larger three-lens XS/XSV lights have all the same parts and accessories, but get the larger light head and battery.

closeup view of gloworm g2 x2 and xsv mountain bike lights and parts

The X2 comes with three lens elements. To swap them, simply unbolt the front cover and pop the old ones out. Regarding lens orientation, it definitely matters which way the Wide lens is rotated…the ridges should be vertical when installed.

You can check out the actual beam pattern comparisons in my original review of the 1st gen X2, which includes a video showing how to swap the lens elements.

closeup view of gloworm g2 x2 and xsv mountain bike lights and parts

The XS/XSV models come with Spot (x2), Honeycomb, and Wide lens elements. It’s worth experimenting a bit to find the right beam pattern for your trail conditions and personal preferences.

Light output depends on which model you choose. There’s the single 2000-lumen 2-LED X2 model that’s the smallest, lightest option. The 3-LED XS steps up to 2,800-lumen max, and a more powerful 3-LED XSV model bumps that to 3,600 lumens.

closeup view of gloworm g2 x2 and xsv mountain bike lights and parts
The lights come with a bolt-on GoPro-style mounting prong.

Two batteries are offered – 5,000mAh and 10,00mAh – and you can get either with the X2 and XS. The XSV is sold only with the larger battery. Run times on max range from 90 minutes to two hours, with lower power settings lasting much longer…up to 11 hours!

closeup view of gloworm g2 x2 and xsv mountain bike lights and parts
The USB-C power port is on one side, and the handlebar clamp mounting point is on the other. The power/mode button is on the back.

Usually, we say buy the brightest light you can afford because they end up coming with the biggest batteries, and thus get the longest run times. But we really like Gloworm’s quasi-a la carte approach because, honestly, 2000 lumens is plenty, but having that bigger battery pack is nice. That said, 2800 and 3600 lumens are pretty darn cool – even if they are overkill most of the time, it’s nice to have once in a while.

Glowworm G2.0 X2 & XSV Actual Weights

gloworm g2 x2 and xsv actual weights for lights and accessories

With the 2g GoPro-style mount attached, weights are:

  • X2 headlight – 72g
  • XSV headlight – 116g
  • 10,000mAh battery – 354g
  • 5,000mAh battery – 192g

gloworm g2 x2 and xsv actual weights for lights and accessories

Mount and accessory weights are:

  • Helmet mounting points – 33g
  • Handlebar mount – 24g
  • Long cable – 43g
  • Short cable – 15g

We prefer the helmet mount, and used official GoPro stick-on base mounts to stick to our helmets, which works great on something like the Fox Mainframe or Specialized Tactic 4 that has a broad, flat top center. Or any helmet with integrated GoPro mounting options, like the Kali Lunati. This saves you from fumbling with Velcro straps, but Gloworm includes those, too, so you have everything you need to hit the trail.

The shorter cable works for handlebar-mounted setups where you’re strapping the battery (with included Velcro straps) to the top tube or stem. The longer one has plenty of length for helmet mount setups and stowing the battery in your hydration pack.

Gloworm G2.0 beam pattern & brightness

X2 beam/output comparison

gloworm g2 x2 beam brightness comparison

Out of the box, the X2 comes with the Spot and Flood lenses installed. Like the XS/XSV below, this gives them a middle-of-the-road beam pattern that’s not too broad, not too narrow, with seemingly equal light distribution throughout.

It’s a great starting point for any rider, but to reiterate, it’s worth experimenting with the different glass. Check out our X2 beam pattern comparison for this model in our original X2 review. Above are the stock low/medium/high brightness levels, click image to enlarge.

XSV beam/output comparison

gloworm g2 xsv beam brightness comparison

Stock low/medium/high settings for the XSV…definitely a lot brighter. We’ll have a video review embedded here soon that shows the brightness levels cycling through on the trail soon…

Gloworm G2.0 app customization

how to customize gloworm mtb light output and levels with smartphone app

While I really like the new USB-C cables compared to the prior, proprietary designs, the biggest improvement for the new ones is the addition of Bluetooth connectivity and their Smartphone app.

While it can take a second to pair it, and sometimes too long to create a new profile (and you have to create a new profile…you can’t edit the stock light profile), once it’s connected it’s super easy to adjust each level and see the output in real time. You can set up multiple profiles, too, so you could have one for commuting and one for trail riding, letting you add or subtract modes to shorten the button cycling when you don’t need them.

gloworm battery displays

The new G2 batteries show battery level, mode, and remaining battery life in hours for each mode. I do wish there was a button on the battery to check its level without having to plug the light in, but it’s still a great feature.

UPDATE: The battery has an accelerometer and will display % remaining by simply placing the battery on its non USB end for a couple of seconds. This will activate the OLED display, which will stay on for about 30 seconds and has minimal impact on battery life.

Gloworm G2.0 XSV review

gloworm g2 xsv mountain bike lights review

Other than total output, everything I’m going to say about the XSV light set here applies to the X2, which we were also testing simultaneously.

What I’ve liked about Gloworm’s lights for years is their compact size, excellent output, long battery life, and ease of use. None of that’s changed, and the connectors and customization get better.

gloworm g2 xsv mountain bike lights review

gloworm g2 xsv mountain bike lights review

The remote connects with the lights, and you’ll have to do this each time you plug in the light to the battery. It only takes a second, just hold either of the buttons down within 10 seconds of plugging the light into the battery and it’s paired.

The remote straps to your handlebar and sits in easy reach for switching modes or powering the light on and off. The G2 version adds gray buttons (the prior one was all black), so it’s a bit easier to see what you’re tapping at a glance, too.

gloworm g2 xsv mountain bike lights review

For a 3,600 lumen, three-LED light, the XSV is remarkably compact and lightweight. Which is good, because I don’t like adding weight anywhere, least of all the top of my head.

It may look like it sticks up kinda high, but I haven’t had any problems catching it on branches or anything. As shown, with a stick-on mount on my helmet, there’s no built-in breakway mechanism, but I suspect the tiny bolts holding the mount to the light would snap if I wrecked hard enough. For those more concerned about this, go with a helmet that has a breakaway “GoPro” mount built-in, as those usually have a breakaway design.

gloworm g2 mountain bike lights review riding action

If the light was great from the prior Gloworms, it’s even better now because there’s more of it. I rode with the light in a stock Medium setting most of the time, which is plenty…and would be the equivalent of the High setting on the X2.

I’ve since upped the Medium setting a bit in the app, meaning I’m pretty much never using High. Combine that with the larger battery pack, and it’s tons of light with tons of run time. I made Low even lower as a backup for getting out of the woods in a pinch.

gloworm g2 mountain bike lights review riding action

I like the helmet-mounted location because it gets the light up and over some obstacles, helping illuminate dips and drops better.

There’s really not a ton more to say that a few good pics won’t illustrate better:

gloworm g2 mountain bike lights review riding action

gloworm g2 mountain bike lights review riding action

If you’re looking for a killer set of mountain bike lights that puts out great light quality and color, from a brand that’s proven itself over many years of use, and allows you to customize the output to your liking, Gloworm’s latest G2.0 series is definitely worth a look. That they’re fairly priced compared to the competition makes them even harder to ignore.


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2 years ago

“ I do wish there was a button on the battery to check its level without having to plug the light in, but it’s still a great feature.”

If you hold the battery in an upright position it will display how many bars (1-10) remain. Not as accurate as the percentage when plugged in but it gives you a good idea of what’s left.

I bought two of the XSV’s and they are fantastic lights! Super bright and much more user friendly than the previous gen Gloworms.

Michael S
Michael S
2 years ago

I have the X2 Adventure version of these lights. An additional nice thing for bikepacking/touring is that one can also power the light with any external USB-C power bank that supports the Power Delivery (PD) standard. With 3rd party batteries, the Gloworm app can’t see the charge level, but many batteries have a built-in indicator for that; the other app functions all work. One also doesn’t have the full weather-proofness of Gloworm’s USB-C connector system (but I carry my batteries – Gloworm and 3rd party – in a top tube bag).

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