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Thread: Bike light for flashaholic-in-training?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Bike light for flashaholic-in-training?

    Hi guys,

    Fall has arrived, and darkness is creeping in on us earlier and earlier by the day here in Norway. My flashaholic-in-training needs a new light for her bike, and I thought I'd see if I could pick your brains for what might be a good choice.

    Probably not very surprising, but reliability is my main concern. Not just electronics, but also details like proper mounting. I wouldn't want a light that could jump off or tilt down if she's doing 30-40 km/t downhill in otherwise total darkness.

    It's a plus if the mount itself can easily and rapidly be taken off (thinking about theft of the bike), but not if it compromises the reliability of the mount.

    Internal battery is workable, but user-replaceable 18650 would mean I could always have a fresh battery for her. Micro-USB recharging would allow her to grab a fresh charge if visiting a friend, either by borrowing power from them, or using her own power bank. Both of these are secondary to reliability.

    Best I could come up with on my own was Fenix BC21R or BC30. The BC21R does both use 18650 and allow for charging, but I'm not sure if the mount would be as reliable as I'd like. The other Fenixes are also possible.

    The application probably gives you an idea of the rest of the usual checklist, like flood/throw, need for waterproofing and so on.

    Both specific recommendations and wise words on the topic will be highly appreciated.

    Edit to add; Budget-wise, there's no fixed limit. If the quality is good, I have no problem spending $100 on this, can go above, but spending money isn't a goal in itself.
    Last edited by terjee; 10-03-2017 at 02:54 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Bike light for flashaholic-in-training?

    I have the BC30. It's really nice. I wanted something with more capacity than a single 18650 for longer rides but I wasn't crazy about running a cable to a battery pack elsewhere on the frame. That's just more to take off when I want to remove it. The BC30 gives me the capacity of 2 x 18650 and the ability to swap in the latest high capacity cells.

    Something I didn't expect to appreciate was the beam shaping optic but it's actually nice. Gives you throw at the top of the beam so you can illuminate objects further away but the area right in front of you is nice and diffuse so the whole path is illuminated.

    The UI is nothing special but unlike handheld lights or headlamps it doesn't matter so much. There are several modes to either extend run time or crank up the brightness and that's all that matters to me.

    The attachment mechanism is admittedly just a plastic ring with a dovetail that the light slides on to but importantly, the tightening bolt is actually a steel bolt with a thumb screw. I have another bike light with a flimsy plastic "strap" that you feed into a threaded ring to tighten and I feel like I could strip it easily with just my hands. The mechanism on the BC30 feels much more robust. The plastic tab you push to release the light from the mount feels a little flimsy but I've fiddled with it a lot and I don't think it's going anywhere. As a safety, you could use a rubber band or zip tie to lock the little slot in place by wrapping it around the body of the light but it's probably unnecessary.

    In general, I would recommend it and I know of no better option in a similar configuration.

    Cheers!

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Keitho's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike light for flashaholic-in-training?

    Flashaholic training means getting a Zebralight. Sorry, I don't make the rules! 😀

    When riding, I use a SC600FdIII+ on my bar (flood), and an SC63w on my helmet (spot flood). Sorry, rule 2 of flashaholic training: if 1 light will suffice, then get two!

    The argument for Zebralight, especially while biking: there isn't a more weight efficient light, period. Electronics are potted, the anodizing is famously durable, and the UI is great. Efficiency is very hard to beat. The only downside I've seen for cycling during daylight: the strobe mode is full brightness, and drains the battery almost as fast as steady-on. It doesn't have USB charging.

    My bar mount is a Amazon USA item B0168H0EPY, $7. It is easy to find cheap mounts for a lightweight flashlight that work well. Mounting heavier lights gets trickier. My helmet mount is a leftover from an exposure Diablo, so I can't recommend a good one of those from my recent experience.

    Good luck, and ride safe!

    https://i.imgur.com/ahReRwO.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/UCKLU0H.jpg

  4. #4
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Bike light for flashaholic-in-training?

    I completely endorse Keitho's suggestion! I have been ridding on and off-road using Zebralights for years now, for me, it's the best of both worlds. You get a flashlight/Headlamp AND a bike light. Get a bar mount and a SC 62,63,64 ~doesn't matter which one, great beam profile for road biking (along with good run times). Add an H600 and you a unbeatable combo off road. I use an H600W and H600FC for mountain biking ~unbelievable combo! Oh, and do yourself a favor, get the "W" models with warmer tint -you won't regret it!

  5. #5
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Bike light for flashaholic-in-training?

    Haha, we've gotten four Zebralights in the last month or so, and it looks like the spree will continue. ;-)

    Looks like I'll probably get both a Fenix and some additional Zebras, and see which ends up where/on which bike.

    She already has a Zebralight headlamp, but it's AA (I'm not thrilled about powerful 18650 lights for reading in bed etc), but I'm thinking an 18650 one would be more suitable for bike headlamp.

    I'm always going for the W or c versions. Soooo much nicer tint, so I quite agree. :-)

    About F/non-F versions. Floody on handle, head can be either floody or the spot+flood? Or better with both floody?

    Any additional words or ideas on helmet mounting?

    And just for the record; We're neither insane nor filthy rich, I just know the Zebras will serve nicely for other uses as well, such as hiking, general safety, power outage and so on, and should last for years, so it's more of an investment and so on. Hmm, on second though, I might just be preaching to the choir here, so never mind. :-p

    Many thanks for the input guys!
    Last edited by terjee; 10-04-2017 at 02:14 PM.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Keitho's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike light for flashaholic-in-training?

    Hey, your reasoning is airtight terjee, it worked for me!

    I use a flood on my bar, illuminating the 15' or so in front of my wheel, and a spot flood (63w) on my helmet, aiming slightly further away. A key for me is quick 1 hand adjustability of the mount to tweak aim points.

    I'm a bit stumped on a good helmet mount to recommend. I've been using a mount for years that came with an Exposure brand light, but it is close to $40 to buy separately on Amazon--inconceivable! I hope someone has some good ideas to help you.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Bike light for flashaholic-in-training?

    I did end up ordering a Fenix BC21R. What drove me to it above BC30/BC30R was the support of both micro-USB charging (powerbank, friends-houses) and 18650. With the BC30/BC30R, it would have been either/or, and the BC21R should be powerful enough. It also has a quick-detachable mount, which – if secure enough in use – seems like a good solution to avoid the light being easily stolen. The BC30/BC30R is probably a bit overkill for her needs anyway. Not to mention that I started leaning more and more towards Zebra being the primary solution.

    The light has arrived, and it seems to be better quality than I feared, so I'm hopeful.

    I also ordered about half a dozen different mounts to see what can be worked out with Zebras, which have not arrived yet. Serendipitously enough, I figure I can recycle this whole situation into an excellent excuse for grabbing some extra Zebras as well. Good timing with new lights coming out. :-)

    Many thanks again guys, I was really leaning towards the BC30/BC30R, but I think Zebra as primary and BC21R as secondary/alternative option is a better choice.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic fneuf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bike light for flashaholic-in-training?

    I've seen Exposure mounts available on ChainReactionCycle, sigmasport.co.uk & various ebay dealers. Sometimes at "reasonable" prices (as in not totally a robbery for magisterial molded plastic...).

    Could you list the mounts you have ordered? I'm interested to see your "shopping cart" before trying to upgrade my current twofish lockblocks.
    Last edited by fneuf; 11-04-2017 at 05:41 PM. Reason: plural

  9. #9
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Bike light for flashaholic-in-training?

    Quote Originally Posted by fneuf View Post
    I've seen Exposure mounts available on ChainReactionCycle, sigmasport.co.uk & various ebay dealers. Sometimes at "reasonable" prices (as in not totally a robbery for magisterial molded plastic...).

    Could you list the mounts you have ordered? I'm interested to see your "shopping cart" before trying to upgrade my current twofish lockblocks.
    Thanks! I'll check it out!

    I don't mind sharing my "shopping cart", but please do realise I have no idea what I'm doing. ;-)

    Basically I set out to order cheap versions of a few different types, to learn more about what works, what doesn't. Also, none of these have arrived yet. IOW; Don't take any of this as a recommendation, they might all be horrible. ;-)

    Anyway, list so far:
    https://www.banggood.com/Bicycle-Bik...r_warehouse=CN
    https://www.banggood.com/Wholesale-U...r_warehouse=CN
    https://www.banggood.com/Bike-Bicycl...r_warehouse=CN
    https://www.banggood.com/Torch-Clip-...r_warehouse=CN
    https://www.banggood.com/Wholesale-F...r_warehouse=CN
    https://www.banggood.com/360-Degree-...r_warehouse=CN

    The aim for now is just to learn more about what'd work well for mounting Zebras to the handlebars.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Bike light for flashaholic-in-training?

    I actually have bought the Exposure Toro Mk9 and the Strada but the Strada doesn’t get used. For the tail I got the Garmin Radar and the Exposure Blaze reAKT... very impressive and I ll soon do some videos for my YouTube channel with the lights in action
    Steve Bryant

  11. #11

    Default Re: Bike light for flashaholic-in-training?

    I had better success this velcro mount. You can cut the excess length off and it's a quick guaranteed fit . Not a big fan about those dedicated bike lights with matching holsters that only work with the dedicated holder. Can't switch in a different light.

    https://www.batteryjunction.com/twof...caAoeQEALw_wcB

  12. #12
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Bike light for flashaholic-in-training?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth_Cholo View Post
    I had better success this velcro mount. You can cut the excess length off and it's a quick guaranteed fit . Not a big fan about those dedicated bike lights with matching holsters that only work with the dedicated holder. Can't switch in a different light.
    Interesting! I originally didn’t consider velcro as I suspected it wouldn’t hold the light from tipping with vibration, but the rubber there looks like it might be stable enough?

    So far she’s gotten a dedicated light, but icy roads means she hasn’t been able to test it that much yet. Considering switching to a zebra or similar, and such a holster might then be very handy.

    Many thanks, both you and everyone else!

  13. #13

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    Default Re: Bike light for flashaholic-in-training?

    For the last five years I have been using a fenix tk-15 with a Velcro helmet mount and rechargeable 18650 batteries. The set-up is very light weight, projects out about forty yards, lasts six hours, and automatically points the light to the direction of my eyes.

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