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View Full Version : Looking for advice on front bike light to see by?



Just161
11-10-2010, 01:57 PM
Every so often during winter I end up biking in really dark patches, particularly the Mt. Vernon Trail. Most of my commute and errand-running is in the city, where my CatEye five-LED light works just fine at making me "seen." But it's not so great at "seeing" the trail ahead in the dark. Last winter, I wrapped a camping headlamp around my helmet with breadties, which worked ok but was pretty inelegant! (besides, I want the headlamp for other things)

The problem is, sometimes I need a light to "see by." I want this light to be removable, ideally can use the same handlebar mount as my blinky CatEye, or mount on my helmet, and not cost too much. Nearly all my riding is for less than an hour, and only rarely in spots where it's super dark.

It looks like I've got two choices: 1) a souped-up CatEye type thing, runs on AA batteries or some such, maybe $50, or 2) a more powerful variety with a big rechargeable battery and a wire connecting the two, maybe $150.

What should I do? Do I have my choices right? Any advice?

Dirt
11-10-2010, 06:53 PM
Exposure Joystick.

A little more money than you're talking about, but it is truly an amazing light.

http://exposurelightsusa.com/?gclid=CIGEqY7Gl6UCFQo65Qod2A2rJg

phatpat
12-01-2010, 02:52 PM
I ride home on the NE branch anacostia trail, which gets pretty dark. I've had good luck using a helmet mounted Niterider minewt mini usb. About $100, but well worth it.

Arlingtonrider
12-01-2010, 04:41 PM
I'll give a second on the Exposure Joystick. Awesome light and great people at the company that sells them.

skreaminquadz
12-01-2010, 07:16 PM
I completely agree with the Exposure Joystick. I bought it on Sunday, received it on Tuesday. Light installs easily, is very secure and puts out plenty of light for commuting. I'm very pleased with it and highly recommend the Joystick.

Blind Pilot
12-03-2010, 10:43 AM
High powered LED flashlight mounted on Twofish lockblock. My particular flashlight is a 220 lumen Terralux LED flashlight, which runs on 2 AA batteries. With my rechargables, I get an hour-plus on high. My evening commute this time of year is well after dark and largely on the MVT and this solution has worked for me the last two years. The flashlight cost me less than $30 incl. shipping, and the Twofish lockblock is maybe $10 w/ shipping.

If you want something more bike specific, a lot of people on bikeforums.com rave about he MagicShine light sold on geomangear.com.

DaveK
12-03-2010, 12:17 PM
If you want something more bike specific, a lot of people on bikeforums.com rave about he MagicShine light sold on geomangear.com.

I have a Magicshine light and love it, however you can't currently buy them as the battery packs have been recalled. Something about catching fire... I still use mine every day. The only drawback is that there is no direction to the beam pattern. They put out a measured 550 lumens (900 is wishful thinking but 550 is still pretty damn good) but there's no cutoff to help avoid blinding people. I still love my light and would recommend them to anyone, once they fix the whole spontaneous combustion thing. They run about $90 IIRC.

Incidentally, to the people who pass me and complain about my light being too bright, sorry but I don't feel like riding in an unlit area with only a Knog Beetle light on the front of my bike (as seen on Mt Vernon last night) is a great idea. I try to shield it with my hand but sometimes you need both hands on the bars.

brendan
01-03-2011, 12:10 PM
Note that the magicshine light's mount (IIRC, copied from another bike light manufacturer) uses an o-ring to secure it against the handlebars. If that's where it's mounted, then you can do what I do (when I remember) which is to rotate it down toward the wheel when approaching oncoming cyclists/pedestrians in especially dark areas where it's going to be more blinding. I also run it on low full-time.

Brendan

OneEighth
01-04-2011, 08:19 AM
The Light and Motion Stella is a decent headlight. Unless you've got lots of clutter on your bar and stem, you should be able to mount the battery to the stem and the light just off center of the handlebar. Works on a helmet, too, as it is relatively light. The light swivels left to right on its base and has three settings: flashing, low, and high.

skreaminquadz
01-04-2011, 11:40 AM
Note that the magicshine light's mount (IIRC, copied from another bike light manufacturer) uses an o-ring to secure it against the handlebars. If that's where it's mounted, then you can do what I do (when I remember) which is to rotate it down toward the wheel when approaching oncoming cyclists/pedestrians in especially dark areas where it's going to be more blinding. I also run it on low full-time.

Brendan
Very true - I was able to easily tilt the light down when approaching someone. This also proved to be one of the more annoying things about the light. Due to how easy it was to move, it moved every time I hit a hole or bump in the road which required me to re-adjust the light.

Mykeru
01-04-2011, 02:39 PM
Exposure Joystick.

A little more money than you're talking about, but it is truly an amazing light.

http://exposurelightsusa.com/?gclid=CIGEqY7Gl6UCFQo65Qod2A2rJg

I wonder, if I bought an "exposure joystick" what that would appear as on my billing statement...

CCrew
01-04-2011, 05:52 PM
Might want to take a look at the Gemini lights.
http://gemini-lights.com/

Basically the Magicshine in a UL listed package without the associated battery recall.

I run Dinotte's, but they're substantially more than your stated pricing. Pretty much a standard that others are judged by. I think they come with a zombie killing certification too, they sure do piss off the ninja joggers! :)

Riley Casey
01-05-2011, 02:15 PM
I bike after dark in Silver Spring and NW DC on streets that are poorly lit and which are often raked by headlights intermittantly adding to the confusion. I have found that the only safe way to negotiate those streets is with a combination of handle bar and helmet lights with the handlebar light focused about 25 feet ahead and the helmet light about 12 feet ahead. Otherwise I run into potholes much more than I care to.

americancyclo
07-06-2011, 12:41 PM
I've had good luck using a helmet mounted Niterider minewt mini usb. About $100, but well worth it.

I'll second this. For about $100 you get a solidly bright light that slips off and easily fits in your pocket. no extra batteries or cabling. I use this in the winter and recharge it by USB at my computer each day. It's done charging in 4 hours, and there's always a spare USB cable around. No special chargers or battery packs needed.

Greenbelt
07-06-2011, 01:36 PM
I bike after dark in Silver Spring and NW DC on streets that are poorly lit and which are often raked by headlights intermittantly adding to the confusion. I have found that the only safe way to negotiate those streets is with a combination of handle bar and helmet lights with the handlebar light focused about 25 feet ahead and the helmet light about 12 feet ahead. Otherwise I run into potholes much more than I care to.

Thanks, this is what I was thinking also for the trails. A bar-mounted light plus a helmet light so I could also scan more easily from side to side. Also appreciate the specific light suggestions on this thread very much.