Excellent thread and excellent links!
Excellent thread and excellent links!
Last edited by cobra-ak; 01-20-2006 at 06:43 AM.
K2-MS; A2; E2D; E2L; Minimag 2AA LED; (2)Streamlight Twintasks 123's; Nite-ize Modified Minimags; Element Luxeon AAA, Brinkmann Maxfire 123's; a bunch of yellow Ray-o-vacs AA's
On my kids bikes and scooters I have beens using some of my collection of COSTCO Luxeon Flashlights which seem quite waterproof and are otherwise virtually indestructable. They have been left outside attached to scooters for months at a time without apparent ill effects. I had used the rubber straps from Nite-Ize to attach these flashlights, but they have mostly deteriorated and broken. I have ordered some of the flashlight holders from http://www.qualitychinagoods.com/ . I am sure these will be fine for bikes, but doubt they will work on scooters.
Don't bother with those holders. The two I bought broke within a few weeks of installing them (and city use only). I've been using two-fish lockblocks ever since I got them. Simple design, easy to adjust, etc. Highly recommended.
So far, I've been using a Pila GL3 and a SF U2 with the lockblocks (sometimes both at the same time ). There's some cheaper bike-light systems, but I figured I already have spent enough $$ in lights that I don't need a dedicated system (I don't do a lot of hard-core trail riding either, so regular flashlights do the job well).
I also have a set of LED blinkers from Nashbar, BTW. Don't forget to add as much reflective stuff on you and your bike. Even with all that light/reflective stuff (and a helmet light) I almost got hit by a car back in Dec.
I've only just spotted this thread!
I feel obliged to add www.lumicycle.com to the list of suggestions here. After all we in the UK spend most of our time buying lights from abroad - it's only fair that you should look at some of ours!
I got a set of these lights about 5 years ago because I had a section on my commute which was completely unlit (went past the end of an airfield runway) and I had been knocked off by a driver who pulled out in front of me, looked at my (perfectly adequate) Cateye light and said "Oh, I suppose you HAVE got lights then...".
Mine are the original NiMh bag pack with zip tie mounts on the handlebars. At the time they were easily the lightest and most compact "serious" bike lights available. I have 2 x 5w lamps, although I've never yet needed the backup. This gives a run time of 8hrs+ and far more light than you actually need for commuting - it's ample for road riding, at speed, in pitch dark.
The original system uses overdriven MR11 halogen capsules (up to 50w!) in neat little machined aluminium capsules about the size of 35mm film containers. Having revisited the site recently I see that they now have quick release mounts, a selection of colours, Li-ion battery packs and a HID option!
I have found my lights to be of extremely high quality and know others with the same experiences. I bought them in the first place because of the good reviews in the mountain biking press - they were outdoing the major manufacturers for features and price.
Worth a look if you have the traditional CPF love of low volume, technically advanced lighting!
My two favourites: Lupine Wilma (four 3Watt-Luxeons) an Lupine Edison (16/10 Watt HID) with LiIon-packs. Hard to beat in quality and brightness (in price too).
Just read in Lupine.de forum that Wilma uses four UX0 binned Luxeon IIIs.
The inner parts are very nice also.
Cateye EL-300, 5 LED opticube
I use this light and it's ok, but it would be better if it was modded with 5 underdriven Lux 3's.Originally Posted by TORCH_BOY
I use LED bike lighting and have been doing so since Nov 2002,
Started with a BB500 Luxeon minimag on my helmet, moved to BB500 R2H in mid-2003 and it worked well. 500mA to an R bin Luxeon worked to around 16MPH with no problems. Looked a little odd, but it worked well.
Tried the Fenix L1P and loved the size, it worked well on my helmet but was not bright enough. Hence, the MillerMods L1P was the stock Fenix replacement. Hmmm, 500mA to an R bin producing 1.7 watts (I know it works!) with 75 minutes runtime sucking 1.7 amps. If it starts to quickly dim, I click the switch for the 5-ohm "low" setting which gives me enough time to get home.
A Planet Bike 3 red LED flasher that "auto-levels" running a single lithium AAA is strapped to the back of the helmet. A Cateye 10 or 12 LED flasher being fed 2AA lithiums attaches to my rear rack and is very blinding. Cars prefer to change lanes than get retina burns from those flashers.
Any more improvements for 2006? Sure! The 60 lumen MillerMods Fenix works amazingly well, always startles drivers when I look at them and is useable to see with as well as being seen. My dream is for a TWOH bin (at 350mA) Luxeon K2 humming along at 500mA. 100 lumens of helmet light but I have to wait for the dream bin to materialize. My hope is by September, 2006 (when dreaming, dream BIG!)
Riding around in Turkey at night is an interesting experience. Yes, there is some crazy traffic but the drivers are used to bicycles mixed in. I would feel a lot better by adding a frame mounted light to my recumbent to really light up the road. Yes, another mod is coming my way! So far, a bored HA-III 2D Mag and 8AA to 2D adapter have been ordered. My plan is to get one of Andrew Wynn's BAM! "drop-in mods" in the four Luxeon K2 SWAH flavor. 400 lumens when pushing the four K2's at 700mA each (9 watts) The four LEDs will be fed through four IMS 20mm reflectors to have decent throw and a nice wide beam with spill. The BAM will adjust the output by turning the Mag head and has three different outputs 400 lumens at 9 watts with over 2 hours of runtime on 8AA 2500's. 240 lumens at 4.4 watts with over 4.5 hours of runtime or, on low--60 lumens at 0.9 watts with 25 hours of runtime.
Normally, I plan on running the 240 lumen setting and 400 lumens in heavy traffic. If I don't pay attention, the 60 lumen low will bail me out.
The point of the mods is to not look to expensive, a Mag on a bike is not "normal" but it does not seem expensive. Some nut threw a 2D Mag on a bicycle! As long as they don't see it in action or worse, get nuked by 400 lumens I should stay in the background.
My stock Fenix L1P is velcro strapped to a friends helmet, she likes the light and it works much better than her cheapo Wally World special. Aurora 2AA Jupiters work well on my families bikes, they have decent throw and the bluish color is easily noticed by drivers.
I thought I was one of the few that used LED flashlights for bike lighting (although heavily modified flashlights) Time to fire up the MillerMods L1P on the helmet and hit the road... the night beckons.
Peak Pacific AAA UP brass (EDC) E01 (keys), Peaks, Arcs, Fenix, Q5 Aspheric HA-III Mag etc.
I have looked at either finding/buying an LED headlight or modding my existing Vistalite Nightstick 10 watt MR-10 bulb to run LED, but no success so far. All I have been looking for is longer run time as my 10 Watt Halogen on a helmet mount has a good enough beam to ride up to 38MPH (61KPH) in a 12 hour mountain bike race last summer. I need a similar beam, helmet mounted (makes a big difference off road - I consider handlebar mount a n inefficient waste of light and battery), about 6 degrees spread with little/dim spill.
In reading other threads and web sites of people that tried, it seems LED is not as efficient as HID, and only just about equal to halogen (but for twice the price). HID systems for sale seem to be overkill for me as they are often trying to impress you with a wall of light, when you only need a spot on the trail. Too broad a beam spends too much time lighting up the leaves hanging over the trail and wasting my battery. I could use a seven watt HID, but they all want to sell $300 twenty watt systems. So I am staying with my perfectly good Vistalite, though I just ordered a new battery (mine are a couple of years old and have been mistreated so they only have 45min run time anymore) and a 20 watt bulb just to try out (it was $2.5 with the battery). I think LED still has a way to go for true off-roadability without spending well over the $75 I spent on my lights. The Cateye Doubleshot system looks good, as does the Blackburn system, but seem to be only the same performance as mine for over $150.
I have yet to find a handlebar mount for a Mag size torch that could hold it steady over terrain at speed.
If I could find a more efficient Xenon or Krypton MR-10/11 6V bulb, that would be ideal for now.
Here it is. The only one I use.
Ti-Sundrop, McLux PD, Mule, 2x Surefire C2s, A2, L2, L1, 6P, E2O, E1E w/MT, E1W, ARC-P - Chris Reeve Sebenza
I ride aggresive singletrack at night.
Light and Motion ARC HID, Best one around. I got mine for 265. You just have to be patient and check online superstores like Jenson, etc.
I've used a Light&Motion ARC HID for several years now and it really is very good. Even if you don't think you need that much light to see by, the other side of the equation is that motorists take notice. Not that you are blinding them (I have never had anyone flash high beams at me), but the color temperature, brightness, and point-source nature of the light get their attention and more importantly, changes their behavior from "oh, it's just a bike", to "this is something I need to reckon with". It dramatically cuts down on bad behavior at intersections, especially. And part of the effect comes from the considerable amount of light that some claim is "wasted" in the sidespill. I don't see it as waste at all, except possibly overhead, but there is more than enough light to go around. Their smart charger does a good job at keeping the NiMH battery pack up to snuff. It's nice to have a reliable 3 hours of serious light, time after time. I often need 2 to 2 1/2 hours of that runtime.
I have long used a Vistalite strobe for the rear. Recently I became aware that the strobe isn't nearly as bright as it once was -- it has seen a lot of flashes in the seven or so years I've used it -- and they don't make them anymore. I have just changed to a Cateye LD1000 LED tail light. Extremely bright and visible for well over 180 degrees. Still, the lion's share of the light is directed in a fairly narrow zone to the rear (and 2 smaller ones to the side). That does make it carry WAY down the road, but thinking of maybe frosting or faceting a couple of the "lenses" to make it a just a bit more omnidirectional. Other nice things are that it has 2 separately controllable banks of LEDs, and gives decent runtime off of rechargeable AA's.
I am looking for a 4-AA LED solution to act as a backup for my headlight. There are some parts of my current route that are better taken without a single-point-of-failure as far as lighting is concerned -- need at least enough light to safely come to a stop if the main light goes out.
The Vistilite HOT Halogen bulbs have a nice white color until the battery starts to run down. The directions say to recharge once the beam starts to turn yellow.
The replacement bulbs I got from Batteryspace didn't fit nor were they near as white.
I ride amost exclusively trails at night. The best defense for night riding on the road is not to do it. I ride less than a kilometer on paved road and a few more km on unused dirt roads to get to the singletrack trail. The beam on my helmet mount can be flashed at a driver of a car very quickly (and for only a millisecond) with a simple head movement to make them behave.
I am doing a one day ride across Michigan this summer that starts in the early dark that requires lights, but since I will finish before dark, I only want something small, handlebar mounted, removeable, and light to comply with the rules while I ride safely in the 300+ rider group for the first few dozen miles in the morning.
Last edited by Blindasabat; 03-07-2006 at 05:25 PM.
When I was using my Vistalite and needed replacement bulbs, I finally found them at Reflectalite.com. Their GH44 was a good replacement for the 6V 10W bulb I needed. Would make a decent bulb for a custom flashlight if I ever get around to it.Originally Posted by Blindasabat
For mountainbiking at night I currently use a Niterider Digital pro 12E mounted to my handlebars which is a dual beam halogen unit with many brightness levels and modes. I combine that with a Marwi Nightpro Extreme on my Helmet which is a 10 watt HID. The HID alone provides enough light to ride efectively at night, but the cool white color is not perfect for color rendition, but when combined with the halogen bar lamp it is easier to make out colors and depth perception is improved so it takes less effort and consious concentration to see where you are going. So with both lights running I can ride as fast at night in thick woods as I do during the day.
Nubo!Originally Posted by Nubo
OK? I'm waiting. And, er, expect to be 3-5 years older, and, er, just waiting,....Originally Posted by Geogecko
I made a luxeon 1 watt bikelight for my city bike a couple of years ago. My issues were not having to deal with batteries, so I'm using a 2 watt Sturmey-Archer dynohub. I made a circuit using 3 supercapacitors, a voltage regulator, and a rectifier. The dynohub puts out about 6v AC. The circuit rectifies it, charges the super caps, and then goes through the regulator to the luxeon. I have a fraeon (sp?) optic on it. I am very satisfied with its performance. I have to ride about 100 yards for the caps to charge (the light comes on right away, it is always usable as long as you are in motion). After the caps charge, it will burn for several minutes when you aren't moving. The AC dynohub causes it to pulsate at lower speeds, but the caps keep it from going out, it pulses between a dimmer/brighter state. I actually like the pulsing, I believe it makes me more visible to traffic. I am embarassed to say that I have yet to make a proper housing for the light and the circuit. I intend to machine a proper housing, once I get my lathe up and running (I have to do some house wiring first). I want to redo the circuit board such that it is long and thin, so it will fit in the fork steering tube. I believe I could put two 1 watt luxeons on the circuit, but I've been happy with one. I need to hook up a tail light to the circuit. I am currently using a generic battery powered LED taillight. Most of my riding is in the well lit town, but I have ridden on paved unlit trails, and the light is good enough. I would like to upgrade the generator hub to a 3 watt Schmidt unit, and get more power out of the setup. I may get a proper etched circuit board made and try to sell a few, but I've been to busy with other things and my current unit works. I also have a Red Alert flasher on the bike. They don't make them anymore but they are really cool. You have a magnet on the spokes, and the light is mounted to the fork or rear seatstay. The light has a coil and 3 LEDs in it. Everytime the magnet goes by the light, it generates enough electricity to flash the LEDs. No batteries are involved. I have an amber one on front, and I was also given a broken red one for the rear. The red one is more sophisticated, it has a flasher circuit and some super caps in it, so it stays lit when you aren't moving. I wish they still made them. I managed to get them from a nice guy in the Netherlands. I sent him some euros and a hard to find (in the Netherlands) bike accessory.
I'm new to the group here, but I've been lurking on occasion for a year or so. I plan to make some flashlights. I have an Arc flashlight from their first run (I got a factory second) and, you won't believe this, I found a Surefire Ultra 2 on one of my late night bike rides. I hadn't been keeping up with flashlight tech since I got the Arc and made the bikelight. The U2 got me interested again, I was very impressed with it. I wouldn't have purchased a U2 before, but now that I have one, if I were to lose it, I would buy another. Of course, I also have an old maglight that I found, a minimag that is broken and somewhere, I hope to find my old 2D maglight. It has sentimental value to me (serial 20196201 BTW). I might have lost it, as I haven't seen it in years. I want to convert it to a 1w luxeon and use a Tadiran DD cell in it, just to keep it for emergency use. I'm getting off topic.
I used to use a Niterider 15 watt light, with the bottle shaped pack. It was a great light, but the battery was a hassel for me. I really like the generator setup. Especially the dynohub. I think my dynohub was made in 1975. I got it on ebay for $20. Had it made into a wheel for $100. I'm a bit of a bike nut, I want to make some city/urban/commuter bikes that are already equipped with lights and fenders and such. Currently my day job keeps me busy though.
I ride about 20km a day return 5 days a week - I have two options when it comes to which path I take:
1. Sydney's busiest & most dangerous motorway the M4
2. The back alley cycleway that's a great place to sell drugs and mug people
When I'm in a hurry I take the M4 but when I want a workout I take the undulating cycleway which is largely unlit. Either way I need enough light to either a) scare junkies away or b) compete with car lighting so they see me in the breakdown lane.
I used to use a Nuwai 5w held on with cable ties & high density sponge to the top tube but it was no use on the M4 other than as a flasher. At night when the car's lights stop coming up from behind and your eyes have adjusted to the brightness you actually need a good light to see stones & glass on the road - at 50 - 60km/h (my motorway speed for most of the ride) you don't want a flat.
So then one morning I woke up and realised I needed more light. I now have my MAG85 taped to the top tube with duct tape and high density sponge between the metal bits - it's daylight in front of me and drivers not only notice me but they stare in amazement. It's run time of 37mins suits me ok but I am hoping to get those C Lions so that I can use a smaller, lighter 3C and a cyclopblock to get 1/2 the wieght and 1 hour run time. No commercial bike light I know of puts out 1000 lumens and at about $200 with FM battery holder it's a bargain.
Kromeke, there is a company here in the UK making possibly similar items. I haven't used them, and they look a bit expensive to me for what they are, but I guess any light is better than no light...Originally Posted by kromeke
Thanks for that info. Different company, similar device. Red Alert has a US patent on theirs, so that may be why I can't find the Goodbye Batteries product here. When you say expensive, how much is it?
never mind, I found the pricing page.
Thanks agian for the link.
I have been using Starfire dual beam from Jetlites this winter. They work great in cold temps and is solid made with IP 68 thread lock connectors.
13,2V NiMH batterypack
Easy to go from 6W and up to 32W
6W:6hrs 9W:4hrs 12W:3hrs,20mins 20W:2hrs 32W:1hr,
I've just bought an USE Exposure enduro turbo. http://www.use1.com/exposure/
Much too bright for my comuting needs but drivers give me much more respect when I blind them. Guess they think I'm a motorbike.
Website tells me it has 2 5w luxeons, one spot (lights up the building opposite where I work even with the street lights on) and one flood (which does a great job of lighting up all the potholes I have to ride over). No idea of the more technical aspects but it's a great light and the little I've used it off road has really impressed me plus there's no cables. The only down side is it cost me £270 ($470 US)(still, I managed to save nearly £100 of the retail price).
I can tell you these points:
1. have had them for ~8 years now
2. still on original bulbs
3. they have been used for many 24 hour mtn bike races
4. I don't think you could tear them up if you tried. All wires are reinforced and bolted into place.
5. all hardware is aluminum or stainless steel
6. idiot-proof operation
7. very sleek looking, great lines/cosmetic appeal
8. the optional quick-release mounts have been copied by prectically everyone else, but none has the quality/durability/toughness of the original TC model
I consider the lead-acid the low end battery, the nimh the mid range (yes it's lighter, but performs much worse under high load conditions), and the nicd the best. Yes, the plain old nicd. It's much more durable and tolerant of over-discharge, which WILL happen to you eventually.
These babies shows up on ebay fairly often. Compare the ebay photos with the CURRENT photos on TC's web site. If the pics match, then you are good to go. The light head is indestructible, and the battery can easily be rebuilt cheaply. That makes the ebay purchases a very good deal. I got a $300 set there (I have 4+ total sets) for about $90. I had to replace 1 broken bulb ($25) and I had a working set of lights.
But if you want a specific recommendation, I'd get the s10 with the lead-acid battery and upgrade to the quick-release mount. It retails for only $100 plus about $15 for the mount. This will provide you with a tremendous light for cheap. They also have a crash-warranty, and provide extra parts for cheap if you are in a race.
Originally Posted by Fazookus
This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
Be prepared for the truth.
Does anyone make a Mil-Std. 1913 Rail handlebar mount? I was thinking a weapon light might work, like the Surefire X200.
I was looking at such an alternative too perhaps with weaver/Picatinny mounts for quicker detachment. However all weapon mounts I know of require paralled mounting of the flashlight instead of perpendicular as required by the handlebars.Originally Posted by Overload
So I thought I would try to find some straight 25 or 30mm diameter, 0 degree inwards bend bar-ends, then place them at the centre of the handlebar with two flashlights mounted underneath them for crash safety.
Mounted on the first bar-end would be the SF L6 pointed at the ground with an extra set of 17670 to give it an endurance of about 4 hours on constant on. The second would be an M4 with Z46 bezel and XM10 pressure switch tailcap pointed straight ahead at traffic. Tapping on the pressure switch would flash the light at cars to signal my approach. Otherwise, the M4 would be deactivated to conserve battery.
This solution was costly and slightly complicated and if I fell off my bike doing stunts or other such things, the metal mountings would not break-away like the plastic ones of dedicated bicycle lights and major damage would be done to my flashlights.
Also, flashlight weapon mounts are a controlled item here so I can't legally use them on a bicycle. I ended up ordering a helmet-mounted Jet Lites Blast HID with an option for handlebar mounting in case I wanted it. Should arrive next week.
Right now I'm depending on a C3 tied to a metal ruler and spare cyclocomputer mount. Works okay but is definitely a compromised solution.
The Exposure lights look damn nice, but whoah are they expensive. The Enduro Turbo is the kind of light I've pondered building myself, with both a focused spot and a wide angle flood, amd multiple output levels. The Joystick looks more reasonable (for a commuter like myself), but I have no reason to not stick with my L&M Vega for the time being.