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eminva
07-06-2011, 10:38 AM
Here are a couple of the old threads:

http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?315-Looking-for-advice-on-front-bike-light-to-see-by

http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?201-Lighting-for-commuting-bike/page2

I think there may have been more, but I couldn't find them. My only suggestion is to be careful about how you aim the thing -- I have gotten occasional complaints from joggers and other cyclists that I was blinding them. I try not to do that and I have resorted to temporarily moving the aim of the light when there is oncoming traffic and restoring it when they have passed. For this reason (and others) I have avoided helmet lights.

Liz

CCrew
07-06-2011, 12:11 PM
Slightly off the already weird topic, but I'd appreciate tips from night trail commuters on what lights to get, and any other tips (besides watch out for critters). Next winter, I want to start riding home after dark (can't get off work early enough to get through the trails before full dark). Do you use both a helmet-mounted light and a big handlebar mounted light too?

In a word:
http://www.dinottelighting.com/

Not cheap. Work flawlessly. I've had the same set with the same batteries for 2+ years. I run either an 800 or 400 on the handlebars and a 400 on the helmet. Also run the taillight

zombies fear me :). Police have stopped me and asked, because they've never seen a bike as visible. Seriously, as a commuter that rides at night regardless of the season this is the best $ ever spent. And I flinched when I did it but never regretted once I started using them. I spent this much in cheap lights easily before I got to this point

DaveK
07-06-2011, 01:29 PM
In a word:
http://www.dinottelighting.com/

Not cheap. Work flawlessly. I've had the same set with the same batteries for 2+ years. I run either an 800 or 400 on the handlebars and a 400 on the helmet. Also run the taillight

zombies fear me :). Police have stopped me and asked, because they've never seen a bike as visible. Seriously, as a commuter that rides at night regardless of the season this is the best $ ever spent. And I flinched when I did it but never regretted once I started using them. I spent this much in cheap lights easily before I got to this point

I was next to someone on the Conte's ride who had one of these taillights and even during the day it was insane, bordering on blinding. Perfect.

If they ever send back my Magicshine battery from the recall I may buy the Magicshine taillight with Y-connector they are selling now. They've had the battery for two months though, I'm not expecting it back anytime soon. I still love that light though, especially now that it's less likely to catch my house on fire.

Greenbelt
07-06-2011, 01:48 PM
Thanks! Lots of great ideas for early Christmas presents here.

My biggest complaint about the cheap "see me" lights I've been using is the lack of weatherproofing in their design. It's like they were engineered for dry conditions only. I finally found a set of good mid-price lights now that are much more waterproof, but probably not bright enough for full night on unlit trails. It's nice to hear that these more expensive lights will actually last a long time -- I'll use that in my rationale anyways...

CCrew
07-06-2011, 02:26 PM
If you go the Dinotte route I will say that the 800 on high is pure overkill. I bought it because after the second deer collision I wanted something that either A: would let me see them 100+ yards out, or B: freeze them in their tracks. It's totally effective at both, but the 400 on the handlebars works also with the 400 on the helmet and allows you to spot them and if you track with your head you can keep them illuminated and it usually keeps them frozen in place. You understand how the Bubba's spotlight deer when illegal hunting. If you don't have that to contend with there are cheaper lights. Keep in mind that having two lights is pretty important if you depend on them to get to where you're going. With just one, it dies and you're in the dark. I always carry a 120lumen LED flashlight as a backup. If nothing else I can hold that in my teeth and use for a flat repair.

I went to Dinotte's from twin halogen NiteRiders. Huge difference.

eminva
07-06-2011, 02:40 PM
I am just trying to imagine what these would be like. Do any local bike shops sell them? Could they demo them one evening when it starts to get dark early?

I often wish the light I have were brighter, especially west of Gallows Road, but I am reluctant to increase the wattage since I have already gotten complaints. And if I added a helmet light, I'm not sure I'm coordinated enough to shut off the helmet light and redirect the handlebar light at once in the face of oncoming traffic. Also, the beginning part of my commute is on the streets of DC which has a different set of issues (visibility).

Thanks.

Liz

CCrew
07-06-2011, 02:51 PM
I am just trying to imagine what these would be like. Do any local bike shops sell them? Could they demo them one evening when it starts to get dark early?

I often wish the light I have were brighter, especially west of Gallows Road, but I am reluctant to increase the wattage since I have already gotten complaints. And if I added a helmet light, I'm not sure I'm coordinated enough to shut off the helmet light and redirect the handlebar light at once in the face of oncoming traffic. Also, the beginning part of my commute is on the streets of DC which has a different set of issues (visibility).

Thanks.

Liz


I've never seen them in a bike shop.. Not to say they're not, just I haven't seen them. Might be worth an email to them and ask if they know of any stocking DC dealers.

I'll happily demo them for you one day depending on schedules. If you do the WABA class tomorrow are you riding? I'm debating doing it if only to realize I'm doing it all wrong :-)

As to the helmet light, I've found that a tight beam pattern light is pretty much neutered by simply looking down and to the right of the trail.

ronwalf
07-06-2011, 03:27 PM
You understand how the Bubba's spotlight deer when illegal hunting.

Is this where you mount bayonets on the tips of your aero-bars?

CCrew
07-06-2011, 03:47 PM
Is this where you mount bayonets on the tips of your aero-bars?

Unless you're in WV. Then you simply shoot the mechanical deer and they arrest you for both poaching AND destruction of government property.

And that's actually true - they do that.

eminva
07-06-2011, 05:45 PM
If you do the WABA class tomorrow are you riding? I'm debating doing it if only to realize I'm doing it all wrong :-)

Oh dear -- here I was thinking that I was a little beyond this class, and yet, you ride . . . what did you say, 1200 miles a month? This is triple my mileage. If you think you might be doing it wrong, what must it say about me and the rest of us?

In all seriousness, I have heard good things about the class, but I have had a hectic few days and though I will be on the bike tomorrow, thought I might head home and chill right after work. But I think you are downtown so maybe I could check them out sometime (not 2:30 a.m.).

Liz

dbb
07-06-2011, 07:26 PM
I saw a rider yesterday with a skewer mounted rear light that was powered by magnets on the spokes. It was on when the bike was moving. A product called Reelight. Found it at Amazon in a couple of models. While I can't see it as my primary light, it looks like it might make it up to the secondary or tertiary position.

acc
07-07-2011, 07:44 AM
Thank you for this thread, I read through it yesterday and decided I needed to add some lights just to ride through twilight. I think I'm fairly safe without lights around eight o'clock in the evening but after reading about lights I added a Blinky Superflash on the back and a Cateye on the front. I just want to be seen by traffic as the sun is setting and the shadows are growing longer. So thanks for the discussion, I probably wouldn't have thought of it on my own.

ann

americancyclo
07-07-2011, 07:57 AM
Do any local bike shops sell them? Could they demo them one evening when it starts to get dark early?

CycleLife in Georgetown sells the NiteRider MiNewt lights. I work on Capitol Hill and live in Falls Church, just off the trail. I'd be happy to meet up sometime if you want to see what the MiNewt 250 USB is like.


I am reluctant to increase the wattage since I have already gotten complaints.

Ignore them. If you can see them and they can see you, then you're both safer.

Riley Casey
07-07-2011, 09:48 AM
Couple of observations based on my night riding and driving experiences - all on road, almost never on trail FFIW. I find that if I have any lights focused far enough ahead that they are blinding oncoming riders / runners then the light is not really illuminating the road well enough to be of much use in avoiding trouble. Bike lights that I have tried really only throw about 30 ft with any real power and after that its a marker light rather than a head light. I don't care to spend money on marker lights because I have found that other bikes and runners will see just about any headlight against a dark background without difficulty. What I am most concerned about in the presence of cars however is how well the drivers see me and cars carry lights that are far more powerful than anything I could hope to carry on a bike so I prefer to add reflective stuff like tire strips and reflective vests to take best advantage of that disparity.


snip ... My only suggestion is to be careful about how you aim the thing -- I have gotten occasional complaints from joggers and other cyclists that I was blinding them. I try not to do that and I have resorted to temporarily moving the aim of the light when there is oncoming traffic and restoring it when they have passed. For this reason (and others) I have avoided helmet lights.

Liz

DCLiz
07-07-2011, 10:39 PM
I'm looking forward to when these become commercially available (to use in addition to a front and rear light, of course):

http://vimeo.com/23544972

Here's the GGW write-up:
http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/11200/project-aura-a-gorgeous-take-on-bicycle-lighting/

Dirt
07-11-2011, 07:14 AM
I've tried most bike lights on the market and owned lights from 8 or 9 different manufacturers over the last 20 years. I have some very strong opinions on the matter. Please keep that in mind.

The Dinotte lights are very, very good. I've had good luck with their customer service too. Light In Motion lights have proven reliable, durable and a pretty good value. Their customer service is okay. I've had trouble with Night Rider... both in durability and customer service. The lights work very well when they're working though. They lasted a year or so before they start having issues.

By far the best system I've used for commuting, mountain biking and endurance racing comes from Exposure. http://exposurelightsusa.com

I use a Diablo1 and a Flare for commuting. The Diablo is too powerful on most settings, so I use the middle setting on the road and the lowest setting on the trail and make sure to aim it down so I don't blind people. It is small, light and super bright (900 lumen on high, 300 on medium, 150 on low). I like that there are NO CABLES or external batteries. The handlebar and helmet mount are PERFECT. If I were buying a light just for commuting, I'd look at the Joystick. It is smaller, lighter and has plenty of power for riding on the roads.

The Flare tail light is tiny, powerful and the rechargable batteries work fantastically. I get 15-20 hours out of a charge and they come with a very good smart charger. The mounting system is brilliant.

The durability is amazing. I have used the Diablo 200+ days per year for the last 3 years and it has NEVER shown a sign of weakness. It has NEVER stranded me. Never had a bad charge. Never given me a moment of worry. The Flare has been in use for a little over a year and it is perfect.

For off-road riding and endurance racing, I use a Toro on the handlebars and a Diablo2 on the helmet. That combination has proved the lightest, most effective system I can imagine. There are add-on batteries you can get that double or quadruple the battery life (depending on what you need). I can't imagine a better system.

Here's the best part.... Their customer service ROCKS! I cracked a plastic mount for the handlebars on my Diablo. It was my fault. I tried to remove the light when it was -10F. Plastic breaks instead of bending in those temps. I called exposure and they sent me out a bag of 3 replacement parts next-day mail and didn't charge me at all. They just asked that I return the broken one.

To my knowledge, these lights are only available from the web site listed above. They seem like they are expensive when you first look at them, but when you look closely, they are an extremely good value.

My New Project: My next commuter will have a generator system built into the wheels and frame. The German company Schmidt makes amazing systems. Supernova makes great lights to go with the Schmidt hubs. Yes, they are expensive, but imagine never having to charge batteries again. You'd never have to worry about running out of lights. Seems perfect to me. The construction is dead sexy too. http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/lightingsystems.htm

Hugs and kisses,

Pete

DismalScientist
07-11-2011, 10:29 AM
For the cheapskates out there (myself included), I buy a 250 lumen flashlight and handlebar mount for about $12 at www.dealextreme.com. Haven't had problems yet, but my fingers are crossed.

ronwalf
07-11-2011, 12:35 PM
My New Project: My next commuter will have a generator system built into the wheels and frame. The German company Schmidt makes amazing systems. Supernova makes great lights to go with the Schmidt hubs. Yes, they are expensive, but imagine never having to charge batteries again. You'd never have to worry about running out of lights. Seems perfect to me. The construction is dead sexy too. http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/lightingsystems.htm


Are you looking at the asymmetrical version? I bought the IQ Cyo from Peter White. Besides the standard dynamo-goodness, I love the sharp vertical cutoff when I'm biking on the trails. Just like a car headlight, it keeps most of the light on the trail and out of oncoming sets of eyes.

That might be a downside on the road, so I keep a PB Blaze in blink-mode on my handlebars to "wink" at cars.

DaveK
07-11-2011, 12:41 PM
Still hoping to get my Magicshine recall replacement by the start of the afternoon darkness. I don't really need good "I can see you" lights until I'm commuting in the dark since I live in the city. I just need "be seen" lights now.

I'll repeat myself though - for the price (and assuming it doesn't catch your house on fire) there isn't a better light in the world. 550 measured lumens for under $100.

Dirt
07-11-2011, 01:01 PM
Are you looking at the asymmetrical version? I bought the IQ Cyo from Peter White. Besides the standard dynamo-goodness, I love the sharp vertical cutoff when I'm biking on the trails. Just like a car headlight, it keeps most of the light on the trail and out of oncoming sets of eyes.

That might be a downside on the road, so I keep a PB Blaze in blink-mode on my handlebars to "wink" at cars.
That's exactly what I'm looking at. I was just getting ready to pull the trigger on a system when I broke the frame on my commuter. All efforts went into replacing that. I still haven't come up with a good replacement yet.

I like that Peter White sells the tools needed to use the fork ends as the + and - terminals for the light with internal cable routing. It is expensive and time consuming to do that, but a totally elegant way to set up the lights. The idea being that the quick release wheel will be truly quick release and not require you to unplug the lights before removing the wheel.

DaveK: I love the idea of the MagicShine. It is definitely the most bang for the buck. I'm also happy that your house didn't burn down.

brendan
07-11-2011, 11:38 PM
DaveK: I love the idea of the MagicShine. It is definitely the most bang for the buck. I'm also happy that your house didn't burn down.

Heh. The newer battery boxes seem substantially better constructed.

Brendan

DaveK
07-12-2011, 01:17 PM
Heh. The newer battery boxes seem substantially better constructed.

Brendan

I'll probably have to buy another light at this rate - I emailed the company to see if my shipment had gotten to them and if they had sent me a replacement and I got this back -


Hi David,

While we wish we could, we are not sending out confirmations that we received customer's claims or the status of the replacements because that would add another expense to this already overwhelming cost and reduced the money we would have to buy more batteries.

We are working our way through the 7600+ claims received so far but it will take several months to complete this recall process.

Thanks,
Geomangear

Translation - we won't tell you if we even have your light. I do feel bad for them being a small business and getting caught up with shoddy parts. You get what you pay for, I guess. I got two good seasons out of a light I paid $85 for though so I really can't complain. I may even get it back before this winter, but I think I'll have to buy something else pre-emptively.

RESTONTODC
07-12-2011, 03:51 PM
I also rode with the MJ-808 with the newer MJ-828 LCD battery pack on handle bar during the last winter. I haven’t seen any recall for the MJ-828 LCD battery pack.

It's a bright light. I don’t need a brighter light unless I want to blind the recumbent friends or riding at 3 AM like CCrew. I'm very happy with it since I paid only $80. There is no support for it. With the price, I will get a new one every two years.

My partner rides the Dinotte 800 light and it’s brighter than mine but he rarely uses the high beam.

MCL1981
07-20-2011, 01:35 PM
Being the tinkering person that I am, I have a different plan for lighting the night. I'm going to work on this in the next few weeks once I'm mobile again (just had back surgery yesterday...).

This on the front
http://www.strobesnmore.com/sound-off-500-lumen-led-par36-flood-light.html
http://www.strobesnmore.com/able-2-led-flasher.html

This on the back in red
http://www.strobesnmore.com/strobes-n-more-e4-super-led.html

I'm going to put two small 12 volt batteries in series on the rack in the back to run the system at 24v to keep the amps down. Small control panel on the handlebars which turn the rear on and off and also switch the front between off, on, and flash.

DaveK
07-20-2011, 01:41 PM
I have got to see this when you're done... of course I think I'll be able to see it no matter where I am.

Dirt
07-20-2011, 01:50 PM
Best wishes to heal after your back surgery.

My next lighting project involves a generator hub: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/schmidt-sl.asp

MCL1981
07-23-2011, 01:16 PM
Thanks. I'm sore as hell. As soon as I can get around enough to work on it, I'll be lighting the night and post pictures.

SONEPHETH
08-10-2011, 02:18 PM
If they ever send back my Magicshine battery from the recall I may buy the Magicshine taillight with Y-connector they are selling now. They've had the battery for two months though, I'm not expecting it back anytime soon. I still love that light though, especially now that it's less likely to catch my house on fire.[/QUOTE]


My Magicshine battery die when I rode in the rain but I just use the battery from my Traxxas radio control car. Its waterproof, I had to solder the Traxxas connector on the wire coming from the light.

KLizotte
08-16-2011, 10:59 PM
By far the best system I've used for commuting, mountain biking and endurance racing comes from Exposure. http://exposurelightsusa.com

I use a Diablo1 and a Flare for commuting. The Diablo is too powerful on most settings, so I use the middle setting on the road and the lowest setting on the trail and make sure to aim it down so I don't blind people. It is small, light and super bright (900 lumen on high, 300 on medium, 150 on low). I like that there are NO CABLES or external batteries. The handlebar and helmet mount are PERFECT. If I were buying a light just for commuting, I'd look at the Joystick. It is smaller, lighter and has plenty of power for riding on the roads.


This is a very useful thread for me since I am now looking at upgrading my lighting system. I'm leaning very much towards Exposure in order to avoid DiNotte's cables/battery pack. I currently have a 250 lumen MiNewt which I find too weak so am concerned that the medium setting on the Diablo of 300 lumens may be too weak as well (I'd prefer to use the 3 hr setting most of the time to ensure it doesn't die on me). The Strata at 600 lumens in normal mode for 3 hours is looking good.

I'm also interested in a Dymotec bottle setup but can't seem to find a lumens listing for their models. Anybody have any real world experience with Dymotec dynamos? How bad is the drag? My bike isn't worth spending mega bucks on a super fancy dynamo system.

Thanks,

Kathy

FFX_Hinterlands
08-17-2011, 08:31 AM
Kathy,
About a month ago I asked the twitter world (http://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/bikes4RestOfUs) and came up with this post on Lovely Bicycle.
http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2010/11/fondness-for-bottle.html

Here's a test of dynamo output:
http://www.myra-simon.com/bike/dynotest.html

I'm on the fence between rebuilding a perfectly good wheel with a dynamo hub or just installing a bottle dynamo. Velo Orange has a cheap $20 dynamo and Velo Fred has the mid-grade $30 Axa bottle dynamo. The B&M seems to be one of the best ones out there from an adjustment, drag and slippage perspective. The good news is if you buy switched lights you can always add a hub dynamo later and keep your lights.

If anyone is wondering I'm thinking about the B&M Lyt (25 Lux for $50). You can get a cheapie 10 lux basta light at velo fred for $17. I think 10 lux is about the same output as 1 watt Planet Bike Blaze? The decent $100 lights are about 40 lux if you're going fast in the dark.

Tom

OneEighth
08-17-2011, 08:44 AM
Rather fortuitous that this thread popped back up. I use a Stella and was pleased with it until yesterday morning when it started turning itself off despite having a fresh charge and not being run on high. That's less than one year's life. I just can't recommend them after that. Nothing worse than playing in traffic at 0-dark-thirty and having no light up front.

CCrew
08-17-2011, 09:28 AM
Rather fortuitous that this thread popped back up. I use a Stella and was pleased with it until yesterday morning when it started turning itself off despite having a fresh charge and not being run on high. That's less than one year's life. I just can't recommend them after that. Nothing worse than playing in traffic at 0-dark-thirty and having no light up front.

N+1 silly :)

Dirt
08-17-2011, 09:50 AM
I've got two endurance rides in the next month or so... both of which will require some serious light duration, rather than power. I'm going to be investing in Exposure's add-on batteries to boost the run time on the lights I've already got. That should get me the kind of run time that I need.

OneEighth
08-17-2011, 09:52 AM
N+1 silly :)

True, true.
You'd think I would have taken that to heart by now.

DaveK
09-10-2011, 10:08 AM
Update - When I got home Friday I found a much-updated Magicshine battery pack waiting for me at the door. I charged it overnight and I am still in my house and not currently on fire.

MCL1981
09-26-2011, 02:09 PM
Could the generator be connected in parallel to a battery?

ronwalf
09-27-2011, 08:28 AM
Anyone else have light creep? First I had my 1/2 watt Blaze and superflash. Nice light for the rear, but the 1/2 watt Blaze is a bit anemic for a front light.

Then I got a dynamo and a IQ Cyo (plus tail light), but I kept the blaze and superflash as supplemental blinkies. Life was good, and this setup sorta made sense.

Then I bought lights for my wife - a Romisen RC-N3 flashlight and mount (bright, but not the best optics for cycling), and a Radbot 1000 (same mount as a Superflash, good for interchangeability!) for the rear.

I decided my wife wasn't biking enough so I confiscated them. Now I'm up to three headlights up front, 2 tail lights and carrying a spare. Now I'm pondering helmet lights....

americancyclo
09-27-2011, 08:39 AM
Next you'll be investing in yards of LightTape (http://www.lighttape.co.uk/) to sew on to your clothes!

Riley Casey
09-27-2011, 03:44 PM
Ain't no such thang as too much light - or too much reflectivity. Helmet lights really do rule particularly in tandem with handle bar light. I can ride pretty much as fast at night as in the day on relatively bad suburban streets and on the unpaved section of the CCT now that I have both. Highly recommended, +1, etc.

KLizotte
06-28-2016, 01:31 PM
This is an updated article about the best lights available according to their tests. Has some helpful website links to other comparison sites as well.

http://thesweethome.com/reviews/best-commuter-bike-lights/

mstone
06-28-2016, 07:03 PM
This is an updated article about the best lights available according to their tests. Has some helpful website links to other comparison sites as well.

http://thesweethome.com/reviews/best-commuter-bike-lights/
:-| <-- my face when the article devotes more attention to how pretty their top choice is than to the beam shape

Don't be surprised if you piss people off riding the trails with a high aimed round beam. They may even rant through a whole thread at you.

dplasters
06-30-2016, 04:20 PM
Anyone know of headlights that use a mount to get them off of the cockpit? I'm only aware of three, Specialized Elite and Expert and the Garmin Varia. Surely there are other options.. right?