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Thread: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic jawnn's Avatar
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    Question Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    I am looking in the number 31 issue of bicycle times at a review of the LIGHT & MOTION GLOBE 700 for $300!

    It say it gives you 700 lumens for 90 minutes with a 20 degree beam.

    I just tested my new Nitecore EC20 $45 and got more light than than this offers. But the beam may not be as narrow? It does appear to give me 960 lumens for more than 90 minutes (closer to 2 hours) with an Ortronic 3400 cell.

    Does any bicycle light compare to the Eagletac G25C2? what is the beam angle? and lumen count on the high setting, not the trubo setting? and run time?


    I don't understand why people think the Niterider lights are so good. they do not compare to the new bike lights for road use.

    I learned a lot on this thread, but I would like to know more about lights made for bicycle road use.
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...empature-light

    Is it possible that the Fenix BC30 ($100 on amazon) actually can sustain the Turbo: 1200 lumens / for 1h 50min ??

    what is the beam angle?
    Last edited by jawnn; 12-08-2014 at 01:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic jawnn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Is it possible to calculate the throw from the beam angle and the lumen count?

    I am just not finding the data....this is the only one with a review and there is so mush stuff there I do not see the beam width.
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...eagletac+G25C2

    Now I get to ride home 5 miles in a blistering storm! and stay home sick for several days.
    Last edited by jawnn; 12-10-2014 at 01:24 PM.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Steve K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Part of the problem as a bike light consumer is that there are no standards for how to measure a headlight beam pattern. Most manufacturers don't offer any sort of information about their beam pattern. There are a few people who have made an effort to provide some sort of comparison between lights, but they are very few in number. The only one I can think of is Peter White, of Peter White Cycles. He sells a number of dynamo and battery powered lights, although these are mostly lights designed for road use and largely with beams that comply with the German standards.

    I make my own lights, so I don't have any data to offer regarding commercially made lights. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Flashaholic jawnn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Thanks, I would like to see some of your home made lights

    I had a Cateye EL300 once it was horrible. waste of money. But that was before LEDs were developed enough for really bright light.
    Last edited by jawnn; 12-12-2014 at 11:30 AM.

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    Flashaholic* Steve K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    my latest project is a dynamo light with two LEDs and a fairly powerful standlight that uses a 100F supercap for energy storage:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/kurtsj...7649424813991/

    an earlier light was a modified Cateye Micro II that was converted to a Cree XR-E LED. The circuit could be made a bit simpler now. One thing I liked about this conversion is that the Cateye had a nice battery holder and good mounting system. Plus, I had two of them, so it made sense to make use of one (plus I'd have a spare set of parts).

    When designing the lights, I generally tried to make the beams similar in width to the commercially made dynamo lights that I own. These commercial lights are all the old incandescent designs, but that is all that was available when I started bike commuting. I was very happy to see white LEDs develop when they did. Before a powerful white LED was made, I put together a headlight made of amber, blue, and green 5mm LEDs. It was an interesting project and a fair bit of work, but it just wasn't good enough. Things have progressed quite a bit since then!
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/kurtsj...7628920533643/

    An earlier dynamo light that uses 4 Cree XR-E LEDs uses a standlight powered by a AA nicad, and senses dynamo speed so that it can switch from a low brightness with 2 LEDs to a bright mode with 4 LEDs powered. The speed sensing feature allows it to draw 6 watts from the dynamo above 14mph or so.

    I do my own dynamo taillights with standlights, but I don't have as much documentation. Here's a schematic, followed by a few photos of the board.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/kurtsj...57617009273346
    It's a bit unique in that I wire it in series with the headlight instead of in parallel. This does allow me to get a rather bright taillight, with about 1 watt of power delivered to it.

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    Flashaholic* mcnair55's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Here in the UK a decent cycle light will cost you around about the 300 plus mark,the lads that train daily would never go near a torch stuck on the handle bars.
    Diagnosed with Grumpy Old Man Syndrome

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    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    The problem with using a typical flashlight as a bike headlight is that of poor light distribution. My experience using the PD35 with a somewhat broad hotspot was that I had to choose between lighting the foreground or the distance. Lighting the foreground was decent for slow riding or making frequent turns but left little margin for reaction to unexpected obstacles and hurt night vision since the pool of light right in front of you was so intense. Lighting in the distance was great on the roads, but was doubtlessly annoying to pedestrians and motorists and made seeing anything reasonably close difficult.

    A well-designed bike light works on principles similar to a car headlight - it essentially tries to produce a fairly constant light pattern over the ground in front of you, casts some light to the side, and also cuts off most of the light that would uselessly be thrown vertically - redirecting it down and to the side. Of course there's a lot more R&D effort involved in this than producing a basic reflector or TIR optic with a far smaller potential market, so the price of these units will tend to be higher and the availability much more restricted.

    I spent the ~$100 it took to acquire the Fenix BC30 and have been pleased with it. The light distribution is so much better than the PD35 I had previously strapped to the handlebars and the kick in output - especially the momentary "turbo" - is nice. It produces a somewhat trapezoidal beam angled downward with useful light in the distance, intermediate, and immediate foreground. It seems to be intended for all-around use; I have a mount on my mountain bike and my road bike and routinely swap it between the two. It's not an ideal offroad light since it lacks throw to the side, but that's what a helmet light is for.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* mcnair55's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    The problem with using a typical flashlight as a bike headlight is that of poor light distribution. My experience using the PD35 with a somewhat broad hotspot was that I had to choose between lighting the foreground or the distance. Lighting the foreground was decent for slow riding or making frequent turns but left little margin for reaction to unexpected obstacles and hurt night vision since the pool of light right in front of you was so intense. Lighting in the distance was great on the roads, but was doubtlessly annoying to pedestrians and motorists and made seeing anything reasonably close difficult.

    A well-designed bike light works on principles similar to a car headlight - it essentially tries to produce a fairly constant light pattern over the ground in front of you, casts some light to the side, and also cuts off most of the light that would uselessly be thrown vertically - redirecting it down and to the side. Of course there's a lot more R&D effort involved in this than producing a basic reflector or TIR optic with a far smaller potential market, so the price of these units will tend to be higher and the availability much more restricted.

    I spent the ~$100 it took to acquire the Fenix BC30 and have been pleased with it. The light distribution is so much better than the PD35 I had previously strapped to the handlebars and the kick in output - especially the momentary "turbo" - is nice. It produces a somewhat trapezoidal beam angled downward with useful light in the distance, intermediate, and immediate foreground. It seems to be intended for all-around use; I have a mount on my mountain bike and my road bike and routinely swap it between the two. It's not an ideal offroad light since it lacks throw to the side, but that's what a helmet light is for.

    Excellent post and I just wish others were aware of not just sticking a torch on a bike as you see the recommendation when in all honesty they have not a Danny La Rue (clue) of what they are talking about.
    Diagnosed with Grumpy Old Man Syndrome

  9. #9

    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    The problem with using a typical flashlight as a bike headlight is that of poor light distribution.
    It really depends on the beam width, and the shape within the beam. And the height you wish to mount the light at.

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edocaster View Post
    It really depends on the beam width, and the shape within the beam. And the height you wish to mount the light at.
    Perhaps one could find a satisfactory compromise with a wide enough beam, but there remains the fundamental problem of the hotspot being brightest in the foreground falling off as it reaches further into the distance. I ride some of the biggest frames on the market and even mounting the light at ~1m it was a problem; at lower heights this seems like it would be even more pronounced.

    Even a relatively crudely shaped beam like the BC30 flattens out the perceived brightness over some distance such that you can look further down the road without your pupils wanting to constrict due to the sunlight-like intensity immediately (and uselessly) in front of you. Short of throwing an uneconomical number of emitters at the issue, I do not believe that tweaking single-axis light distribution ala most reflectors and TIR optics (nor simplistic 2-axis elliptical TIR's) will solve this problem in a satisfactory way. I considered and rejected such a build myself.

    Take a look at some of the discussions in the Transportation Lighting forum. Headlights are designed to distribute the bulk of their light into the intermediate and far distance zones for well-founded reasons - that's where you need the light in order to be safe. While cyclists are not operating at anywhere near the speeds that highway-capable automobiles are, the demands are similar, and they're also operating on the same roads. I realize that there is often a sense of discomfort about the lack of light immediately in front of the driver - or in this case, cyclist - with any standard headlight distribution. But this is for the reasons alluded to earlier - you can't really use it when in motion at speed, it tends to contract the pupil, and related to the first point it also it tends to draw the eye away from where it needs to be ... down the road detecting hazards that need to be addressed with early corrective action. Brighter and brighter light sources seem to best distribute those additional lumens to the side to aid situational awareness rather than piling on the lux in the usual frontal hotspot.

    I will grant that there could also be the issue of riding style. I ride in a mixed suburban environment with variable streetlight intensity, random visibility, on a variety of surfaces (artery streets with medians and multiple lanes each way, residential side streets, paved walk/bike paths), and typically at maximum sustainable speed - in my mediocre condition on a mountain bike I can sustain a 15 MPH average for an hour. For the most part, I need to be able to see intermediate and long distances in order to react to my environment and to be seen by others. I can see how riding slower, offroad, in open areas, generally in a straight line, or under more static conditions might reduce one's demand for a more headlight-like beam pattern; but I doubt that this would be broadly preferable.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

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    Flashaholic jawnn's Avatar
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    Question Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    I ride partly on the trail and part on the road. I don't like wide beams, unless they are close.

    I foolishly got as nitecore EC20, it has a darker center than the ring around it. So it works well with my Sunwayman D40A that has a better beam at the second to highest setting of 610 lumins. And these two together are set at about 15 to 25 feet, lower than my handle bars, so the light is stretched out.


    But I still need my wide beam Magic shine with a wide angle lens for closeup illumination.


    What is the beam width or throw of the Eagletac TH25C2?

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    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by jawnn View Post
    I ride partly on the trail and part on the road. I don't like wide beams, unless they are close.
    Light cast to the side in a headlight design is low-intensity for up-close illumination and to improve peripheral visibility. It is certainly not anywhere close to primary hotspot intensity.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  13. #13

    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    Perhaps one could find a satisfactory compromise with a wide enough beam, but there remains the fundamental problem of the hotspot being brightest in the foreground falling off as it reaches further into the distance.
    Of course, it's a compromise, but many, many car headlights over-illuminate the foreground too, even when adjusted optimally. Sometimes pointlessly, as the driver may not even be able to see the patch of ground immediately before the car.

    If the goal is to create absolutely even levels of illumination then, yes, you need to shape the beam - and the light will have to be mounted at a very specific height and angle too.

    But that goal may not actually be what other riders want. Many riders in urban traffic want a 'scorched' foreground, as it helps announce their presence (e.g. ahead of the bike rounding a corner) better than a very even beam which doesn't show up in a high ambient light environment. It's a heck of a lot kinder than pointing the light at eye level, and still affords useful 'to see by' illumination.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* mcnair55's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edocaster View Post
    Of course, it's a compromise, but many, many car headlights over-illuminate the foreground too, even when adjusted optimally. Sometimes pointlessly, as the driver may not even be able to see the patch of ground immediately before the car.

    If the goal is to create absolutely even levels of illumination then, yes, you need to shape the beam - and the light will have to be mounted at a very specific height and angle too.



    But that goal may not actually be what other riders want. Many riders in urban traffic want a 'scorched' foreground, as it helps announce their presence (e.g. ahead of the bike rounding a corner) better than a very even beam which doesn't show up in a high ambient light environment. It's a heck of a lot kinder than pointing the light at eye level, and still affords useful 'to see by' illumination.
    Not having that about over illuminating the foreground that is total hogwash,having done quite a lot of rally driving as a younger man I would require as much light as possible so my car I had headlights and four Cibie Oscars bottom two of which were slightly angled outwards for more foreground light.On my daily driver of today I still require as much light as possible and foreground lighting is a real plus living in a rural area with deer around when it gets really dark.I want and demand a blanket of light.
    Diagnosed with Grumpy Old Man Syndrome

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    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edocaster View Post
    But that goal may not actually be what other riders want. Many riders in urban traffic want a 'scorched' foreground, as it helps announce their presence (e.g. ahead of the bike rounding a corner) better than a very even beam which doesn't show up in a high ambient light environment. It's a heck of a lot kinder than pointing the light at eye level, and still affords useful 'to see by' illumination.
    I found that bright foreground illumination constricted my pupils a tad and encouraged target fixation whenever something was finally illuminated brightly enough to be seen, thus I greatly prefer the immediate foreground to be minimally illuminated. Throw that in with the greatly diminished distance illumination and I decided it was a bad plan to continue riding with a simple parabolic reflector flashlight. I'm riding in the more open and less crowded suburbs, so visibility is less of an issue than, say, cruising through downtown with dense rows of parked cars and swarms of pedestrians.

    With compact and inexpensive LED bike lights approaching vehicle automobile levels of performance I would not be surprised if there's some regulation in the area eventually, and I would expect automotive regulations to be the model.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edocaster View Post
    Many riders in urban traffic want a 'scorched' foreground, as it helps announce their presence (e.g. ahead of the bike rounding a corner) better than a very even beam which doesn't show up in a high ambient light environment. .
    On the forum here you will find a review if you have not already, of a ne Specialised Flux Expert bike lamp
    It does both of the above. Wide foreground illumination but also a seperate switch for proper high beam for long distance to. "announce their presence (e.g. ahead of the bike rounding a corner) "


    Sent from my iPhone using Candlepowerforums

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    Flashaholic* tandem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Has anyone checked out the Cygo-Lite products? I picked up for my all-season commuting wife a Cygo-Lite 800.

    Compared to her 2xAA "2 watt" cycling light, it's amazing, even when set to lower output (as she normally will I suspect).

    What I liked about it is the light uses 1x18650 (supposedly Panasonic) cell in there. Unfortunately they have a proprietary non-removable plastic case around the cell, likely to include a protection circuit, but at least there's the possibility of replacement when the cell runs out of life, or the probability they'll still be using the same power system a few years out. USB charging.

    Under $120 in the US, $129 in Canada at MEC.

    Of all the output modes there's a flashing mode which is a hybrid steady-light with a quick flash that looks like it'll be very usable; I *think* it maintains steady output but the pulses are higher output so you aren't losing sight of the road.

    Was going to check out the Fenix product but delivery time frames too long by the time I got around to looking at lights for XMas.

    Once the gift is opened I'll do some beam tests and photos.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic jawnn's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    the cygolites look like just another off road torch.

    Quote Originally Posted by tandem View Post
    Has anyone checked out the Cygo-Lite products?
    Last edited by jawnn; 12-27-2014 at 11:53 AM.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic jawnn's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    I did not find anything at all about this specialized light on the forum, but say pictures of it and a youtube review. square reflector does not mean that that it has a good beam shape for the road.

    i saw another review of very expensive lights, but all for off road use.

    I think the Ixon IQ has the best beam shape.


    Quote Originally Posted by NeilP View Post
    On the forum here you will find a review if you have not already, of a ne Specialised Flux Expert bike lamp

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    I just typed Flux Expert in the search box

    This thread came up first
    Second was

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=389052


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  21. #21
    Flashaholic jawnn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Do you know for sure that it does not blind drivers in the opposite direction lane?

  22. #22
    Flashaholic jawnn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Has any one seen a better way to modify a torch to keep the spill from blinding drivers? Or know of a torch that does not blind drivers?

    Too bad this torch does not maintain the 960 lumins long, even if it does stay on the highest setting.
    Last edited by jawnn; 12-27-2014 at 11:59 AM.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Assuming you have looked at the last link I posted, then another option is the

    Busch +& Mller Lumotec IQ range

    Yes they are Dynamo , but would be easy enough to use a battery power supply

    Or run two or more lights,one low and wide the other pointing down the road more. Have the long distance one on a remote switch.


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  24. #24

    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    I use amber pill bottles selected to fit my lights in diameter and cut to fit by length, to both control spill affecting oncoming traffic and to provide a strong side output for cross traffic:

    An earlier version on twin headlights:



    Later version shining onto garage door:



    And the one on the helmet light:



    I have also mounted a fresnel lens in front of narrow beam lenses to flatten the beam with a hood to cut off the too high part of the beam.

    A removable system for road and trail should be easy to set up.

    BrianMc

  25. #25
    Flashaholic jawnn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    The plastic does not melt? I tryed tape on the ec20 torch and it started smoking right away.

    I found this beam pattern for the new specialized lights

    Does not look very good to me. not that I can tell for sure with out using it.

    Last edited by jawnn; 12-29-2014 at 12:37 PM.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic jawnn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    Looks like the Busch u. Mller Lumotec IQ2 Luxos is the one to try, but I can't find a review on it.
    How is the beam pattern for not blinding drivers?
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 07-13-2015 at 10:07 AM. Reason: Unecessary use of color & size tagging

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    I have not tried any of them..I am looking too . I just have a 1200lumen DeNoitte lamp that is 4 years old at the moment.
    I want to upgrade too, to a non dazzle type.

    Also keep an eye out on the e-bike.ca web site.
    they don't have any non dazzle high / dip beams lights yet...but they are developing one. I had an e-mail fem Justin there just the other day.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    I don't have the IQ Luxos, but I have used, and am currently using a B&M headlight (dynamo powered) on my two commuting bikes. I can say that B&M pays a lot of attention to beam shape and do a really good job of cutting off the top to keep from blinding on-coming cyclists. It has become my pet peeve on my commute to have an oncoming cyclist w/ his (or her) crazy bright new headlight that has a lovely ROUND shape that puts most of the light in the ditch and in my eyes. But in America.... more is MORE!!

    John

  29. #29
    Flashaholic jawnn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle lights verses flash lights?

    If you find any one that has tried the Specialized lights tell us about it.

  30. #30
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    Default Bicycle lights verses flash li

    Been looking around for a light kit for my bicycle. im normally a automobile driver and i know how the vast majority of bikes are invisible. and as the nights are getting darker earlier now it would be nice to have signal lights Anyone have any ideas? i have only found some cheap signal lights on dealextream for 10 but they only have rear signal lights and a very annoying horn. im looking for something with both front and rear indicators hopefully a brake light not that concerned about it and a headlight.

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