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Thread: Consensus on the best bike headlights? Please give me your top recommendations!

  1. #1

    Default Consensus on the best bike headlights? Please give me your top recommendations!

    Hello. I have spent too much time - in a good way! - in this forum reading about bike lights. Although I'd like to buy multiple lights to test and use, I just spent a lot of money on two new bikes and accessories, so I'd like to narrow down the dozens of recommendations I've seen in this forum to more of a consensus, if possible.

    My friends and I are looking for 3 reliable, simple, and powerful bike headlights that can be used for commute at night, especially in areas without streetlight. We have a budget of $100 for one light, a budget of $50 for a second, and a budget of $30 for a third light. Please share with me your top recommendations. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Steve K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Consensus on the best bike headlights? Please give me your top recommendations!

    I make my own dynamo headlights, so can't offer much advice regarding battery powered lights. My only suggestions are to get something with at least 300 lumens output and a relatively narrow beam. If possible, find one that has a beam that complies with the German StVZO standard.

    For a short while, I was shopping around for a light that is similar to what you are seeking. The Light and Motion lights looked pretty nice. Not cheap, but very good quality. This may only matter if you plan on doing a lot of riding at night.

    There is a web site where bike light performance characteristics are listed....
    http://wetestlights.com/
    This might give you a way to compare the lights that you are interested in, as opposed to the generally meaningless way that manufacturers describe their lights.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic angerdan's Avatar
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    Lightbulb best bike headlights? top recommendations!

    Quote Originally Posted by MaStAViC View Post
    reliable, simple, and powerful bike headlights
    can be used for commute at night, especially in areas without streetlights
    budget of $100 for one light
    budget of $50 for a second
    budget of $30 for a third light
    Please share with me your top recommendations
    5 questions:
    Which running time if battery powered ?
    Which energy source (external battery, internal bettery, dynamo) ?
    Which kind of charging (proprietary plug, USB plug, removable battery) ?
    Which kind of battery (non-removable, removable 18650, removable AA) ?
    Which mounting type (fixed mounting, fast removable, fixed mount with fast removable light) ?


    Budget $30:
    YinDing 900lm, which can also use the external battery pack of Magicshine or this $10 battery case for 4x 18650 cells:
    gearbest.com/diy-parts-and-tools/pp_119294.html

    Budget $50:
    Sigma Buster 600lm, for which is also an additionally external perpack available (to expand runtime):
    sigmasport.com/en/produkte/licht-systeme/powerleuchten/power/batterypack
    OR
    magicshine.us/product/mj-890-usb-front-bike-light/

    Budget 100€:
    knog.com.au/blinder-road-400.html?___store=usd
    magicshine.us/product/eagle-700-front-bike-light/
    magicshine.us/product/eagle-600-oled-front-bike-light/
    amazon.com/dp/B0054TP9IA/
    OR
    2x YinDing 900lm with two battery case and 4x 18650 cells for each battery case
    Last edited by angerdan; 06-24-2017 at 12:56 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: best bike headlights? top recommendations!

    I've only tried one but have been extremely pleased with it. That's the Fenix BC30.

  5. #5

    Default Re: best bike headlights? top recommendations!

    Proper optics >>>> more lumens.

    Philips used to be the hotness, but no longer in production. Spanninga took over the optics, look for their Axendo models.

    No experience with it, but the Ravemen PR series lights sound pretty impressive. I'd be getting one as my next light if I was in the market.

    http://www.ravemen.com/index.php?m=c...=lists&catid=8
    http://road.cc/content/review/221409...ns-front-light
    http://reviews.mtbr.com/ravemen-pr1200-bike-light-video

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Consensus on the best bike headlights? Please give me your top recommendations!

    i only have experience with one bike light specific manufacturer - cygolite.

    as a full time commuter, my first thought process was to ensure that i'd be seen. i purchased a cygolite metro 360 mostly for the steady pulse mode. it provides a constant stream of light and then randomly flashes the led to alert drivers to my presence. it was nice but it would often feel a little bit too washed out but not be enough for me riding around at anything over 13 mph. good light, water resistant - good battery life, rechargeable via mini usb and great customer service.

    my next purchase was a cygolite metro 1100 pro. 1100 lumens, much much brighter than the previous light, good spill and throw too. sitll has the steady pulse mode that i like so much and its the same size. my only concern with these lights is making oncoming drivers annoyed/disoriented with the amount of light that this puts out as there isn't a cutoff.

    i'm currently in the process of saving for a Lupine SL a 7 which boasts a 900 lux rating, a cut off beam and better battery life than my current set-up. i recognize that this light might be overkill but i haven't necessarily found a light that is a compromise of what i hate right now versus what i think i want - which is a cutoff beam pattern with a lot of light being thrown on the road.

    i tend to ride at night more often than not from work to home and i live in a city that isn't at all known for bike commuting.

    i have friends that use the bontrager lights as well as the light and motion lights with great success, but i'm less complacent and significantly more curious.

    i hope that helps.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic Keitho's Avatar
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    Default Re: Consensus on the best bike headlights? Please give me your top recommendations!

    As you can see, there is a huge range of choices, and your request for consensus will certainly not be met.

    As a full-time bike commuter (human powered; my motor is powered by burritos), I've successfully gone in two directions, at different times: cheap Chinese bike-specific lights, and higher quality flashlights. For road commuting, my wife successfully uses an item that is available on Amazon UK and US (probably other places too) that is about $25, "Shenkey" brand, ASIN B01IHIMJRS. They are cheap enough to mitigate the quality risk by buying and carrying a couple extras. She uses one on her bar and one on her helmet, which is plenty for road biking on unlit sidewalks and roads.

    I've recently gone the other direction, and use my collection of EDC flashlights on my bike/helmet. I switched mostly because I carry a higher quality flashlight for EDC and work, and have come to really not tolerate cool white, low-CRI light. It has helped feed my flashlight collecting habit, by giving me another excuse to "need" the latest flashlights. Part of my thinking: weight is important on the bike, and it is very, very hard for even a bicycle-specific light to beat a Zebralight flashlight in terms of lumen-hours-per-ounce. Lately for road commuting, I've been using a Zebralight floody flashlight on my handlebar, and a more spot-flood Zebralight on my helmet (SC600FdIII+ floody, SC63w spot-flood). On "high 2" setting, which is plenty of light, they last 90 minutes to 2 hours on the first 18650; I carry spare cells as backups, and for rides longer than 90 minutes. Each Zebralight is $79-99.

    Don't forget rear reflectors and rear flashing red lights (please use both). I combined flashlights and bike-specific products on the back of my bike: Planet Bike Radbot light/flasher, plus a Zebralight H502r (red) headlamp on "flash."

    For cheap Chinese bike lights
    Upsides: price per lumen.
    Downsides: is the quality of light (cool, odd beam artifacts, weird tint, low CRI; not an issue for most people), risk of quality problem or unexpected failure (mitigate by carrying spares).


    For flashlights as bike lights
    Upsides: great quality light, very lightweight, reduces my total gear investment (between EDC flashlights and bike lights)
    Downsides: price (justify it to yourself by comparing it to any major bicycle light brand), no cutoff beam (mitigate by aiming the light properly, and not using disco strobe modes; in places where cutoff beams are required by law, you're stuck--can't use flashlights), and limited options for larger battery packs (mitigate by carrying extra 18650's, ~48 grams each)

  8. #8
    Flashaholic angerdan's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Consensus on the best bike headlights? Please give me your top recommendations!

    Quote Originally Posted by srestrepo1112 View Post
    i'm currently in the process of saving for a Lupine SL a 7 which boasts a 900 lux rating, a cut off beam and better battery life than my current set-up. i recognize that this light might be overkill but i haven't necessarily found a light that is a compromise of what i hate right now versus what i think i want - which is a cutoff beam pattern with a lot of light being thrown on the road.

    I tend to ride at night more often than not from work to home and i live in a city that isn't at all known for bike commuting.
    The Lupine SL A has 900lm, so maybe around 200lx.

    But why don't you have a dynamo system on your bike? Or use an pedelec, where you can attach a DC light to the internal battery.
    For dynamo systems you can use two of these, if you're fast enough:
    en.bumm.de/products/dynamo-headlights/lumotec-iq-x.html

    You even can mount it upside-down, there head can be rotated inside the collar.



    Quote Originally Posted by Keitho View Post
    Don't forget rear reflectors and rear flashing red lights (please use both). I combined flashlights and bike-specific products on the back of my bike: Planet Bike Radbot light/flasher, plus a Zebralight H502r (red) headlamp on "flash."
    Flashing mode is less recommendable than solid/steady modes. Only steady light sources allow to predict your speed!
    Also flashing is disturbing more, because most people expect a moving vehicle with solid light and will lose attention from other parts of the area/traffic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keitho View Post

    For cheap Chinese bike lights

    Downsides: is the quality of light (cool, odd beam artifacts, weird tint, low CRI; not an issue for most people), risk of quality problem or unexpected failure (mitigate by carrying spares).


    For flashlights as bike lights
    Downsides: price (justify it to yourself by comparing it to any major bicycle light brand), no cutoff beam (mitigate by aiming the light properly, and not using disco strobe modes; in places where cutoff beams are required by law, you're stuck--can't use flashlights), and limited options for larger battery packs (mitigate by carrying extra 18650's, ~48 grams each)
    Only bicycle lights can have all upsides for cycling:
    • fast attach mount for removing the light while parking (and good weight balance)
    • (remote) control for easy and fast switching on/off
    • interchangable between several bikes
    • capacity display
    • modes optimized for cycling, in best case just high/low (no useless sos, strobe, etc.)
    • usually weather/rain proof


    Examples are:
    bumm.de/de/produkte/akku-scheinwerfer/parent/1922/produkt/1922qmla.html?
    bumm.de/de/produkte/akku-scheinwerfer/parent/196/produkt/196l.html?
    bumm.de/de/produkte/akku-scheinwerfer/parent/164/produkt/164bla-silber-164bmla-schwarz.html?
    trelock.de/web/en/licht/batterie/batterie-frontscheinwerfer.php
    Last edited by angerdan; 08-12-2017 at 02:31 AM.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic Keitho's Avatar
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    Default Re: Consensus on the best bike headlights? Please give me your top recommendations!

    Quote Originally Posted by angerdan View Post

    But why don't you have a dynamo system on your bike?
    ...
    Flashing mode is less recommendable than solid/steady modes.
    ...
    Only bicycle lights can have all upsides for cycling:
    • fast attach mount for removing the light while parking (and good weight balance)
    • (remote) control for easy and fast switching on/off
    • interchangable between several bikes
    • capacity display
    • modes optimized for cycling, in best case just high/low (no useless sos, strobe, etc.)
    • usually weather/rain proof
    Why no Dynamo for me? I prefer to use my pedaling power to get to and from work. Personal preference, and probably the engineer in me, I optimize my bike kit to make Calories into speed.

    Rear flasher vs steady? Please read a bit more on conspicuity studies. From the rear, I'm more concerned about being seen in time and identified as a cyclists than a driver being able to precisely judge my speed. Headlights: I agree, rarely use flash.

    My flashlights don't have remotes or capacity displays (I would buy flashlights that had those features if that mattered to me more than weight), but my flashlights and any decent flashlight chosen for cycling will be easy to attach/remove, well balanced, interchangeable between bikes, have appropriate modes, and be submersible/weatherproof. Of course many flashlights don't meet those criteria: they should not be used on a bike.

    I add my own personal requirements: low weight, and good beam shape, color, tint, and CRI.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic angerdan's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Consensus on the best bike headlights? Please give me your top recommendations!

    (you dont have to do a full qoute if you're regarding to the previous post)

    You mean this study?
    tigerprints.clemson.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3627&context=all_theses

    I did choose the brightest available rearlight below 100€. The Cateye Rapid X3 (TL-LD720-R) with 100lm. It's so bright, i just use it at 50% (50lm). And it is 180° visible.

    Low weight means low runtime/brightness for battery powered lights.
    How do you define a good beam shape?
    Color and tint will be color temperature. The Philips LED BikeLight Pedelec has 4.000K.

    The average bicycle lamp has around 6.800K and CRI 72.
    https://jtl.mytinysun.com/mediafiles...2BPB%2B328.pdf

    There's great site which tests lumen and runtime of lamps:
    http://wetestlights.com/result.php?query=Bike
    Last edited by angerdan; 08-12-2017 at 02:42 PM.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic Keitho's Avatar
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    Default Re: Consensus on the best bike headlights? Please give me your top recommendations!

    Quote Originally Posted by angerdan View Post
    (you dont have to do a full qoute if you're regarding to the previous post)

    You mean this study?
    http://tigerprints.clemson.edu/cgi/v...ext=all_theses

    I did choose the brightest available rearlight below 100€. The Cateye Rapid X3 (TL-LD720-R) with 100lm. It's so bright, i just use it at 50% (50lm). And it is 180° visible.

    Low weight means low runtime/brightness for battery powered lights.
    How do you define a good beam shape?
    Color and tint will be color temperature. The Philips LED BikeLight Pedelec has 4.000K.

    The average bicycle lamp has around 6.800K and CRI 72.
    https://jtl.mytinysun.com/mediafiles...2BPB%2B328.pdf

    There's great site which tests lumen and runtime of lamps:
    http://wetestlights.com/result.php?query=Bike
    Very well written, good work.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic angerdan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Consensus on the best bike headlights? Please give me your top recommendations!

    Quote Originally Posted by Keitho View Post
    Very well written, good work.
    Thank you.

    I see you prefer full quotes

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