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Jason B
08-28-2012, 08:09 PM
As the days grow shorter, I am looking for a decent small light that can easily interchanged to different bikes. I need front and back. Any suggestions??
Thanks

Certifried
08-28-2012, 08:27 PM
This is what I've got

http://www.rei.com/product/808602/light-motion-vis-360-front-and-rear-helmet-bike-light-system

not exactly cheap, but better than some other systems I've seen. It's not really heavy at all, and goes on whatever bike I'm riding (obviously). It has side lights too that are decently bright. I do, however, back this up with a bike mounted rear and front light (cygolite on front, not cheap either, and a cheap $30 light on the back). So, not sure what your price range is, others have far more experience if you post a price range you're looking at.

Bilsko
08-28-2012, 08:32 PM
As the days grow shorter, I am looking for a decent small light that can easily interchanged to different bikes. I need front and back. Any suggestions??
Thanks

Depends on what you're willing to spend - Portland Design Works has some good lights available for sensible prices. I use one of their rear 2-LED lights
http://www.ridepdw.com/

On the higher end, you could go with something from Light and Motion - the Vis360 attaches to your helmet, has both front, rear (and side) and is USB rechargable. It takes care of your switching between bikes issue, too.
At $100, its a mid to high range price for just a commuter light.

I've had bad luck with a Cateye front LED light - just a lot of trouble keeping it afixed to the handlebars without pointing straight down after I hit a bump. Too bad, because I do like their bike computers.

Bilsko
08-28-2012, 08:34 PM
This is what I've got

http://www.rei.com/product/808602/light-motion-vis-360-front-and-rear-helmet-bike-light-system

not exactly cheap, but better than some other systems I've seen. It's not really heavy at all, and goes on whatever bike I'm riding (obviously). It has side lights too that are decently bright. I do, however, back this up with a bike mounted rear and front light (cygolite on front, not cheap either, and a cheap $30 light on the back). So, not sure what your price range is, others have far more experience if you post a price range you're looking at.

Check Amazon b/c you can get it for closer to $100 (just don't confuse it with the Vis360+ which is a different model)

TwoWheelsDC
08-28-2012, 09:05 PM
I've been pleased with Cygolite Expillion 300 (http://www.rei.com/product/835277/cygolite-expilion-300-usb-bike-light) in the front. Several brightness settings including blinky, the brightest of which has gotten me through pitch black conditions, and it easily switches from my road bike to CX commuter. I think it's the brightest light Cygolite makes that doesn't require an on-board battery...I wanted a self-contained unit.

Both bikes have PlanetBike Superflashes out back...very pleased with them as well.

acc
08-28-2012, 09:54 PM
Please don't go cheap on lighting.

Spend whatever it takes to be seen.

I like helmet lights because I can immediately bring light into any direction I'm looking. And yes, I realize how incredibly silly they look. Fine. I really don't like the idea of a lot of blood on the ground. Especially if it's mine.

Don't forget to light up your rear. And not just because I like a good show.

And add a reflective vest to the mix just because it's fashionable.

Ok, that was a complete lie. But in these situations so much is at stake a giant yellow ArliingtonBikes vest could make the difference between you being around to take the trash out next week and you being something that's scraped up off the asphalt.

Every single time I come home from late night class sessions at GMU I count at least six bikes without lights. It makes me ill.

Another thing that you can consider is a lock that lights up in the dark. Fumbling with a combination in the dark brings back nights underneath the bleachers during high school. But that's another story for another day.

Be safe.
ann

5555624
08-29-2012, 05:28 AM
Please don't go cheap on lighting. Spend whatever it takes to be seen.

Agreed. My rule of thumb is that if it's bright enough for me to see and ride comfortably -- as in not "I can barely see, but if I ride 3 mph, I can find my way" -- on an unlighted trail, it's bright enough for me to be seen. Years ago, my NiteRider Digital Pro 12E lights cost more than my bike.


Another thing that you can consider is a lock that lights up in the dark. Fumbling with a combination in the dark brings back nights underneath the bleachers during high school. But that's another story for another day.

If your light is on your helmet, can't you just point it at the lock? While I sometimes wear a helmet light, my main light is always on the bike -- I always want a light pointing the direction I am going -- and there have been times a helmet light would be handy to grab something out of a pannier, unlock a lock, etc.

Jason B
08-29-2012, 05:43 AM
Thanks for the great advice. I stumbled across this link while researching the ones you suggested:
http://reviews.mtbr.com/2012-bike-lights-shootout
Sorry to ask, but what is the consensus, helmet, bar or both?
I have only used cheap bar lights in the past and I am trying to get a tad bit more serious this year.

eminva
08-29-2012, 05:49 AM
Here are some old threads where we discussed lights:

Here
(http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?905-Bike-Lights)
Here (http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?1405-Any-Light-is-a-Good-Light&highlight=diablo)

Jason B
08-29-2012, 06:16 AM
^^^^
Thanks for the post. They both were informative. It was good to remember that too many lumens is not necessarily a good thing, and positioning is equally important, for I too have been blinded by many lights.

acc
08-29-2012, 06:32 AM
Agreed. My rule of thumb is that if it's bright enough for me to see and ride comfortably -- as in not "I can barely see, but if I ride 3 mph, I can find my way" -- on an unlighted trail, it's bright enough for me to be seen. Years ago, my NiteRider Digital Pro 12E lights cost more than my bike.



If your light is on your helmet, can't you just point it at the lock? While I sometimes wear a helmet light, my main light is always on the bike -- I always want a light pointing the direction I am going -- and there have been times a helmet light would be handy to grab something out of a pannier, unlock a lock, etc.

99% of the time I wear a helmet. Last night I rode my bike from the GMU parking lot to my classroom saving myself a six minute walk. I did not wear a helmet. When I came out of class it was dark and I mounted my light on my handlebars before I unlocked the bike. Ok, not the brightest thinking but eventually I fumbled around and unlocked the combination.

Dickie
08-29-2012, 07:17 AM
I've been using a Cygolite Miticross for years now and really like it. VERY bright. It does require an onboard battery but it is easy to attach to a stem or bars with the velcro strap. I ordered extra handlebar mounts from their website for very little cost so I can switch between my various rides. They are still a pretty small company out of California so their customer service is actually really good. For the rear I use an arsenal of blinky lights on my back pack and seat bag, as well as a battery operated tail light attached to my seat post. Bicycling magazine just did a great review on headlights a few months ago.

vtben
08-29-2012, 07:51 AM
I have a Light & Motion Urban 300 light that I've been using on the MVT for the last year or so, in addition to a separate rear blinker. It comes with a helmet mount, but I found it a bit awkward so I just strap it around the handlebar. It's plenty bright for the trail and has a flashing mode for when I'm in the city.

The rubber strap allows for easy removal (provided you remember!) but is still grippy enough that it doesn't shift when I hit a bump. As an added bonus, it allows for easy adjustment of the angle of the light. When I see someone approaching I'll point it down, and then tilt it back up after they go by, so I'm not blinding anyone.

TwoWheelsDC
08-29-2012, 08:22 AM
One light I would NOT recommend is the Serfas HL-1.1. Gawd, that thing was terrible on multiple levels...I now generally avoid Serfas stuff just because of that light.

jabberwocky
08-29-2012, 08:43 AM
I have several Dinotte lights. My primary combo is an 800L front light and a 400L rear light. Both are impressive on the road. They are far from cheap.

KS1G
08-29-2012, 10:52 AM
I have several Dinottes and (after reading a post by Dirt last winter) a helmet-mounted Exposure Joystick (recently added the clip-on auxiliary tailight). For commuting, I like having 2 lights for more control over illumination, options (one steady, one flashing), ability to aim at or away from people & stuff as the case may be, and as a backup if one light fails. For tail lights, the cheap blinkies are not sufficiently visible to overtaking drivers. My minimal suggestion for tail lights would be Planet Bike Superflash or the rough equivalents from Performance and I think Portland Design has one as well. After subjecting them to the deluge Sunday (Reston Century), I can say they do hold up in the rain! And info - the cheap knock-offs from Dealextreme are NOT water resistant (fortunately, the knog-clone I had on my handlebar as minimal "be seen" light failed on and seems to be sort of OK after disassembly, cleaning, and drying out). If you want to be really visible to overtaking traffic, Dinotte's tail light is visible for at least 1/2 mile, and the Exposure products appear equally visible. Reflective gear is also useful, and required in Virginia (reflective bits on clothing and tail light don't count unless DOT-approved).

I thought about cost - Dinotte and Exposure are not cheap (but watch for their sales), and even cheaper lights add up over time. OTOH, the medical deductibles for one incident cost a lot more. Let alone lawsuit-avoidance. Anecdote - around 6-6:30 this morning, I encountered an abundance (counted over 10) of runner ninjas on the W&OD with no illumination or reflective gear other than the bits on the BACK of their shoes (therefore useless when I have to move into the oncoming lane to avoid their ninja budy who's occupying the side of trail I am sharing with him). Several were wearing black/dark clothing to complete their attempt at invisibility and stealth. The TWO runners I encountered with lights/reflective gear thought they were nuts, too.

jabberwocky
08-29-2012, 11:01 AM
If you want to be really visible to overtaking traffic, Dinotte's tail light is visible for at least 1/2 mile, and the Exposure products appear equally visible.I commute in Great Falls (land of the over-entitled dickhead), and the 400L taillight is worth every penny of its $209 asking price. Its brighter than most companies headlamps. I aim it at a downward angle and it brightly illuminates a huge swath of pavement behind me. Since purchasing it 4 years ago, I've never had a single issue with any car at night.

bobco85
08-29-2012, 12:15 PM
Here's my current set-up:

Helmet - headlight - Black Diamond Icon Headlamp - it requires a bit of fanagling, but if you have a visor attachment to your helmet, it will hold the straps in place. It's nice and bright (1 main light, or 2 smaller LEDs) with different settings (including dimmer capability) that you can play around with.

Helmet - taillight - Planet Bike Spok Tail - I attach it (velcro) to the top strap of my headlamp as it works as a nice backwards facing blinking red light for when you turn your head.

Handlebars - CatEye EL120 Sport OptiCube LED Headlight - it's pretty easy to transport, and works well as a blinking front light when on streets.

Seatpost - Planet Bike Superflash Tail Light - I can't recommend anything more than this, as I've actually been stopped by multiple people (including a police officer in Alexandria) asking where they can get one. It's visible for up to a mile away.

Front/Rear Wheels - Nite Ize See 'Em LED spokelights - they're pretty easy to attach/remove, and give a good amount of light for your sides. I've got green and amber for my front wheel and red and amber for the rear wheel. 2nd best part (the best part is actually being seen) is that you immediately become cool in the eyes of any kid (and most adults) when you have these spinning color wheels!

If you're going to be using multiple bikes, I'd recommend investing in good helmet lights and lights you can attach to your backpack/other bags. You could probably just use a frog light on whatever bike you are riding at the time.

Dirt
08-29-2012, 01:19 PM
Lots of good information folks. Great topic.

There are a lot of great lights out there! I've had the best luck with Exposure lights. I use a Diablo up front and a Flare in back. They've proved durable beyond anything I've ever used. My Diablo is starting its 4th season of 200+ days/year use. I seem to be the place that rear lights go to die. No other rear light has survived more than 4 months. The flare is over a year old going strong and the first one lasted 18 months. http://www.exposurelightsusa.com/

Some things to consider: If you're riding primarily in the hinterlands, like Jabberwocky, having high powered lights that can run for a long time at full power is a matter of survival. If you're riding a place like the W&OD or Custis trails, there really isn't need for a light that can vaporize a human target from space. Using them aimed high and at full power is definitely not being a PAL. I complain a lot about Ninjas (Other trail users in dark clothing with no lights or reflective gear) but hitting everyone with high powered lights isn't the solution to that problem. Slowing down and being ready for the unexpected is a much better choice.

On the street I have my Diablo turned up to medium setting (240 lumen) or high (600 lumen) if conditions are really bad. Once I hit the trail, I aim the light down a little and drop it to low power (125lumen). When I feel safe that I've got enough visibility and a free hand, I also shade my headlight from oncoming walkers and runners. I can't always do this, but I usually try.

Hope that helps a little.

Pete

KelOnWheels
08-29-2012, 02:57 PM
This is a great topic! It's getting dark earlier every day... :(

I need to get a headlight-for-seeing soon. I've got the Cygolite Expilion 300 on my wish list - think that'll do me?

My front be-seen lights are currently a Blackburn Flea, which has a seizure-inducing blinky mode that I use in traffic, and a Planet Bike Spok. The blinky mode on the Flea burns through the charge on it like crazy so I try to remember to charge it when I get home every riding day. It died on me on the way home Monday because I forgot, and the Spok was right behind it. (I think I bought the world's crappest 2016 batteries off Amazon.)

For taillights I've got a Planet Bike Blinky 3 (formerly on my helmet & currently on my bag until I get a new helmet it can go back on), a Spok Tail on the seat post and a Superflash on my seat bag. I think I'm going to stick some double sided tape in the clips on the Blinky & the Superflash because they've gone flying a couple of times.

For side lights I've got the Nite Ize disco spoke lights. The guy that fixed my frame on Thursday mentioned that these are made from VERY tough plastic and to be sure to check they're secure before riding because he's seen them twist round and destroy someone's fork. So that's probably a good thing to check.

krazygl00
08-29-2012, 03:11 PM
This is a great topic! It's getting dark earlier every day... :(

I need to get a headlight-for-seeing soon. I've got the Cygolite Expilion 300 on my wish list - think that'll do me?

My front be-seen lights are currently a Blackburn Flea, which has a seizure-inducing blinky mode that I use in traffic, and a Planet Bike Spok. The blinky mode on the Flea burns through the charge on it like crazy so I try to remember to charge it when I get home every riding day. It died on me on the way home Monday because I forgot, and the Spok was right behind it. (I think I bought the world's crappest 2016 batteries off Amazon.)

For taillights I've got a Planet Bike Blinky 3 (formerly on my helmet & currently on my bag until I get a new helmet it can go back on), a Spok Tail on the seat post and a Superflash on my seat bag. I think I'm going to stick some double sided tape in the clips on the Blinky & the Superflash because they've gone flying a couple of times.

For side lights I've got the Nite Ize disco spoke lights. The guy that fixed my frame on Thursday mentioned that these are made from VERY tough plastic and to be sure to check they're secure before riding because he's seen them twist round and destroy someone's fork. So that's probably a good thing to check.

I had the Blackburn Flea tail light model that was USB rechargeable, and it wouldn't hold a charge worth a darn so I returned it. As far as I'm concerned it is Planet Bike Superflash all the way (unless you get into some of the higher-end tail lights).

For my for-seeing light in front, I only have a handlebar light...a Cygolite something-or-other with the separate battery pack that is strapped to the frame. It does the job but there were and are problems with it. It was intended to be attached under the stem but it was a terrible design because it would only work if you had a reeeeeeallllllly long stem (like 120mm or more). But the power cable wasn't long enough to attach it anywhere else except maybe the head tube which was completely janky (technical term). So I ordered an extension cable which would have been even more jankeriffic (more tech-speak; sorry) because it was like 2 feet long; so I actually spliced the two cables together at a reasonable length and sealed it with heat-shrink tubing, keeping the jankitude as minimal as possible. The other problem I still have is that in blinky mode it does 5 strobe-type blinks fast enough that it is hard to count them, then a full 2 second pause and then another 5-strobe blinks. A lot can happen with driver attention spans in 2 seconds and this is far too long a pause. I'm looking to replace this light.

mstone
08-29-2012, 04:41 PM
Once I got a vis360 I decided I will never ride in the dark without a helmet light again. The ability to scan around is invaluable. I also keep lights on the bike.

eminva
08-29-2012, 06:09 PM
Just to be clear, does the rear light on the vis360 only operate in blinking mode? Is there no steady mode?

I got my Exposure Diablo in the mail today -- yay! That's going to be my handlebar mounted light. I was thinking about adding a helmet light to the set up and the vis360 looked promising, but I didn't realize it's gonna turn my head into a full time disco ball. I really don't like blinky lights and try to avoid using them. 75% of my commute is on trails (Custis and W&OD) -- what do people think -- would the blinky light be annoying? Thanks.

Liz

acc
08-29-2012, 06:29 PM
eminva, I know where you live. If I see you with a blinky light, I'll disable it.

Blinking headlights on the trails at night drive me crazy. We won't even go into what I'm doing on the trails at night, but whatever. The blinky lights on the back don't bother me, probably because they are lower.

OneEighth
08-29-2012, 06:50 PM
Please save the blinky for the road or intersections.
Congrats on the Exposure Diablo---those things are awesome!

FFX_Hinterlands
08-29-2012, 08:13 PM
Best cheap headlight anywhere: http://www.dontgethit.com/3waledbihe.html
Super bright but you need to bring your own rechargable AA x 4.

Certifried
08-29-2012, 08:14 PM
Just to be clear, does the rear light on the vis360 only operate in blinking mode? Is there no steady mode?


The front light has 3 modes, bright, not-as-bright, and blinky. The rear only blinks.

off2ride
08-29-2012, 08:41 PM
Wanna buy mine? I have 2 Cygolite Pace 295 Lumens each. Handle bar mount and helmet mounts available. Let me know off forum.
As the days grow shorter, I am looking for a decent small light that can easily interchanged to different bikes. I need front and back. Any suggestions??
Thanks

Dirt
08-30-2012, 05:15 AM
One more thing: If you wear a pack of any kind on your back, it often blocks view of a flashy light that is on the back of your helmet.

Go out with a friend and test your visibility. Have them look at what you look like or take a flash photo of you as you ride by. It will help you design your visibility.

I guess that's actually 2 things. Sorry. I suck.

PS: Dang! that's 3 things now.

PPS: I love to count! Muaahahahahahaha

vvill
08-30-2012, 07:17 AM
I have a couple of Blackburn Mars tail lights that I like a lot (had one, lost it, and bought two to replace it). Mostly because the mount fits large seatposts and is highly adjustable. I have two of the ever popular Planet Bike tail lights too but I find the mounting to be a bit below par so I don't use them 100% of the time. I've also got a little Serfas USB rechargeable taillight that's handy to keep for emergency lighting but you have to recharge it all the damn time (had a front light too, but lost it).

I also have an older 4xAA Blackburn front light that still works pretty well which is my go to on early mornings like today. It's not super bright, but adequate and very reliable.

When it gets really dark I have two Chinese/ebay style "tactical" flashlights. Very bright, and cheap for the lumens, but the light pattern isn't the best for biking and the mounts are a bit wobbly. They use 18650 cells. I also have a "night" helmet which has a Nashbar taillight mounted on the back (using heavy duty twist ties) and SOLAS reflective tape affixed to it. :D As far as helmet lights go, I really like having one because you can look at a car/motorist (or any other specific place) and see it light up. I have a cheap Bell one from Target/Walmart that's not too bright.

One of these days I want to make a custom gaudy light setup on one of my bikes (and leave it on).


Best cheap headlight anywhere: http://www.dontgethit.com/3waledbihe.html
Super bright but you need to bring your own rechargable AA x 4.

I like [browsing] their stuff a lot and I think the BikeArlington reflective straps come from these guys.

eminva
08-30-2012, 11:48 AM
Okay, so the survey results are in: people don't like blinky lights on the trail. And it appears the vis360 blinks. So that one gets crossed off the list. Thanks, everyone.

By the way, I mentioned earlier in this thread that I got my new Exposure Diablo last night. The Exposure USA (http://store.ibexsports.com/catalog/product/2011-exposure-lights-diablo-manufacturer-blem) website has the Diablo for sale for $199 with a "minor cosmetic blemish." I cannot even discern the blemish on my new light. So if you were thinking about a Diablo for the approaching season, this might be an option to save some cash.

Liz

Bilsko
08-30-2012, 12:20 PM
Okay, so the survey results are in: people don't like blinky lights on the trail. And it appears the vis360 blinks. So that one gets crossed off the list. Thanks, everyone.



the Vis360 has 3 settings for the front : Hi-Lo-Blink. The rear light is blink-only

Certifried
08-30-2012, 12:42 PM
Okay, so the survey results are in: people don't like blinky lights on the trail. And it appears the vis360 blinks. So that one gets crossed off the list. Thanks, everyone.
Liz
From what I've read, it's the front, bright blinky that everyone hates on a trail. I don't think the majority of people care about a rear blinky, though there are probably a few that do.

What I like to do on trails is turn off my helmet vis360. I still have the cygolite on the bars, pointed downwardish and 2 solid reds in the back. When I go out on roads, I'll leave the 2 solid reds on the rear but turn on my blinky-in-the-back vis360, leaving me with 2 front brights.

eminva
08-30-2012, 01:34 PM
Thanks, Certifried. On the W&OD, there are a lot of road crossings, and I was thinking a helmet light would be helpful there for visibility to cars approaching the trail crossings, as well as to see things off to the side of the trail if I think I see movement (I'm always anxious about deer out in my neck of the woods). So, I would hope to be using it on the trail.

I don't think it has to be super powerful -- I will have my Diablo on my handlebars so if I need all powerful light, I've got that. Any suggestions are welcome.

Liz

mstone
08-30-2012, 01:52 PM
I especially like the vis360 on the trails, because getting fixed-light equivalent coverage of the sides (where the deer are poised to jump) would require a honkin' big light. Instead I use the helmet light and scan, and just look down and right when passing someone head-on. The vis360+ model lets you turn off the back light if it really bothers you; I don't care that much. (People shouldn't be tailgating me in the dark on the trail in the first place. :-P )

Riley Casey
08-30-2012, 01:57 PM
Something about your post has me thinking that this may be your first season of commuting in the dark winter hours. Disregard the following if thats untrue. If true then please adjust your goals from 'minimum required' to absolutely essential and worth the big money even more than having a helmet. If you are invisible on the road you stand a much better chance of being dead. If you can't see where your going on a suburban side street or trail your either walking or finding the potholes needlessly. A really good head light plus tail light combo along the lines of those already suggested in the thread are really, really important for night riding. Also important, and one of those things that doesn't get put on the list until it bites you in the nose is a spare light. If you are commuting and have no other options for getting home at 6 pm in January you're pretty much stuck if your primary front light fails to come on one night. A spare such as a helmet light or even a $10 LED hardware store flashlight is a real life saver.



As the days grow shorter, I am looking for a decent small light that can easily interchanged to different bikes. I need front and back. Any suggestions??
Thanks

Bilsko
08-30-2012, 02:21 PM
Also important, and one of those things that doesn't get put on the list until it bites you in the nose is a spare light. If you are commuting and have no other options for getting home at 6 pm in January you're pretty much stuck if your primary front light fails to come on one night. A spare such as a helmet light or even a $10 LED hardware store flashlight is a real life saver.

Funny, I was just thinking about this yesterday afternoon, but in a slightly different context.

I grimmace every time I look out my window in the evening and see someone riding up MacArthur without a light (front or rear). My thought was to have a cheap $5 LED rear blinky on me at all times and give it for free whenever I encountered a lightless rider. Kind of like what WABA does with the seasonal light giveways, but all the time. It wouldn't be cheap and I suppose some people might not like being offered a free light, but it might help a bit.

I usually roll by the Waba give-outs, but I think next time I'll stop and pick up a light or two so I have some to hand out down the road.

vvill
08-30-2012, 05:25 PM
Okay, so the survey results are in: people don't like blinky lights on the trail. And it appears the vis360 blinks. So that one gets crossed off the list. Thanks, everyone.

By the way, I mentioned earlier in this thread that I got my new Exposure Diablo last night. The Exposure USA (http://store.ibexsports.com/catalog/product/2011-exposure-lights-diablo-manufacturer-blem) website has the Diablo for sale for $199 with a "minor cosmetic blemish." I cannot even discern the blemish on my new light. So if you were thinking about a Diablo for the approaching season, this might be an option to save some cash.

Liz

I don't actually mind blinky front lights as long as they're not too bright. And blinky rear lights are fine. I run with them on quite often.

As for the Exposure lights... endorsed by Pete AND Liz? I might have to get one now.


The great thing about being a night-riding cyclist is that when there's say, a snowpocalypse or derecho, and you need some flashlights, it's pretty easy to go to your bike room/accessories storage and come out brandishing 1000 lumens in two hands.

Arlingtonrider
08-30-2012, 07:11 PM
Add Kathy to that endorsement list, and I don't think Skreaminquadz will mind if I throw his name in as well. That's a great price for a Diablo.

Jason B
08-31-2012, 06:27 AM
Thanks everyone for the imput. Just to follow up after reading all the reviews, I went with the Lezyne super drive with the portLand tail light. Not as high end as many of the suggestion but a definite step up from my typical Dick's sporting good light I usually pick up. Besides I have been very impressed with both the Lezyne pump and their alloy levers. I'll keep your suggestions in mind when looking for a helmet light to compliment as we creep into the night.
Thanks again

OutsideTheLaw
08-31-2012, 03:09 PM
Another vote for the "dont' scrimp on lights" advice and another vote for Exposure, especially the Diablo. I've been using an Exposure Toro as my bar light (3 or 4 years now) and an Exposure Diablo as my helmet light (past two winters, and a blinker in the summer). The Diablo is expensive, but unbeatable, and not as expensive as an accident.

On the rear, I'm running the Planet Bike Superflash Turbo, and a Portland on the rear of the helmet. Much much cheaper and visible from a half mile behind.

Don't scrimp on lights.

rcannon100
09-07-2012, 10:47 AM
Just wanna join the echo chamber:

High power strobes on the trail suck: For oncoming traffic, when the strobe is on, all ya can see is white; then the strobe goes off and all you can see is dark; then the strobe goes back on again and ARGGGGHHHH!!! Turn the strobe / blinkers off on the trail, and if you use a high powered light, please point it down at the trail.

Second, I want to give counter advance to the "dont scrimp on lights." Consider what you are doing and these two options:

* If you use a high powered light on a trail, you zone of visibility will largely be where that light lights up the trail. Outside of the lighted zone, you will see nothing due to contrast. If, as some suggested, you are doing long distance on dark trails - seeing the bumps and goblins is probably a good thing. High power is good.

* If you use a lower powered light on the trail, it will not light up your path too well - its purpose is for others to see you - but you will be able to see both the lighted part of the trail and the trail outside of that zone. In other words, if you are biking largely in urban environments, where there are lots of light sources - the additional light from other sources give sufficient light and let you see more of what is around you - not just the zone your light lights up.

This is my strategy. I place two 3LED Planet Bike lights on my handle bar - it lights up the path a little - I can also still see where my lights do not light up the path - and the primary strategy is a double light configuration that cars can readily see. And they dont cost too much - largely cause they run on AA batteries probably.

And as we switch to night riding, dont forget your clear eye protection - you usually can get decent safety glasses at hardware stores for just a couple of bucks.

mstone
09-07-2012, 11:26 AM
The anti-strobe meme is getting a bit out of control. Are they optimal? No. Are they the end of the world? Also no.

Arlingtonrider
09-07-2012, 11:29 AM
Also, bright lights that are helmet mounted can be blinding and very annoying to oncoming riders. If you must use a bright helmet mounted light, it helps a lot if you look down and to the side of the trail when people are coming at you.

jabberwocky
09-07-2012, 01:02 PM
The anti-strobe meme is getting a bit out of control. Are they optimal? No. Are they the end of the world? Also no.

They're really fricking annoying on the trail though. Every taillight I've ever seen has a constant mode as well as a blinkie/strobe mode; I don't think its all that difficult to just switch it to constant if you're going to be riding a popular trail like the Custis/W&OD/whatever.

JorgeGortex
09-07-2012, 01:11 PM
They're really fricking annoying on the trail though. Every taillight I've ever seen has a constant mode as well as a blinkie/strobe mode; I don't think its all that difficult to just switch it to constant if you're going to be riding a popular trail like the Custis/W&OD/whatever.

For me its not the flashing tail lights... most aren't so bright that they blind me, its the flashing headlights, as other have mentioned. Just switched to low level constant if you must use a light on the trails. (Frankly, on the trails, I often just turn the headlight off as it is bright enough to see already.)

As for a headlight, I am using my Niterider Lumina (forget which version) and it is more than enough for street or trail. The flashing mode I use on the street really catches driver's attention as I approach cross-streets. I had one lady follow me on her bike, for awhile, b/c she said she felt safer with my light leading the way! Go Boocycle with Niterider!

JG

Certifried
09-07-2012, 01:25 PM
They're really fricking annoying on the trail though. Every taillight I've ever seen has a constant mode as well as a blinkie/strobe mode; I don't think its all that difficult to just switch it to constant if you're going to be riding a popular trail like the Custis/W&OD/whatever.

the Vis360 system I have does not have a constant mode for the tail light (helmet mounted). It's blinky in the back only.

Mikey
09-07-2012, 01:35 PM
I'll give the prick answer:

If blinky taillights bother you, ride faster.

;)

mstone
09-07-2012, 02:30 PM
So, obviously, there's disagreement over how annoying blinky taillights are. There's also an assertion that strobes are more attention-getting at cross-streets (and hey, many of our bike trails cross a lot of streets). The point is that there are a lot of factors here, like time of day, ambient lighting, which trail we're talking about, etc. Everybody needs to make their own decisions about what is the best/safest option for them. Certainly it's reasonable to raise the concern about strobes so people can consider it, but that's been done--now it's just beating a dead horse. Blanket statements like "on the trails it's bright enough to see without a headlight" are silly, as I guarantee on the dismal stretches of W&OD on a moonless morning/night you're not going to be seeing without a light unless you're a mutant. On the urban trails, it's a different story. I tend to keep the taillight in blinky on the trail for the simple reason that it lasts 5x as long that way, and at 5:30 in the morning in the winter dark east of Hunter Mill on the W&OD the cyclists aren't exactly packed nose-to-ass. (IOW, remember that light obeys the inverse-square law...)

Greenbelt
09-07-2012, 02:32 PM
the Vis360 system I have does not have a constant mode for the tail light (helmet mounted). It's blinky in the back only.

Yeah, I'm not too worried about people behind me with my blinky rear Vis360. Our trails aren't crowded, and if somebody's fast enough to catch me, they're fast enough to go around. Just call it and I'll happily yield and they can clear the path of critters in front of me!

Certifried
09-07-2012, 07:42 PM
Yeah, I'm not too worried about people behind me with my blinky rear Vis360. Our trails aren't crowded, and if somebody's fast enough to catch me, they're fast enough to go around. Just call it and I'll happily yield and they can clear the path of critters in front of me!

Exactly! and I won't turn the helmet mounted system off. I'm down to 1/2 a tail light and the Vis360. I've launched 2 off the back of the bike recently. 1 exploded and is gone. The Catseye exploded, but I was able to recover it, it just needs some electrical tape to hold it together now. So... my visibility is more important than some random person's drafting me comfort level.