Bike tail light for city use

trailblazer295

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Hey all

As I'm getting more into cycling and riding after work which usually results in riding at sunset. I live in the city so lighting to be seen by cars is important. I intend to use my Quark lights as headlamps once I narrow down a half decent mount for them. I'm still having trouble finding a good tail light solution. I tried a cheap light off ebay last year that features laser beams to draw lines on the road behind me. Now brightness wise it seemed good but the mount was cheap and after one tumble it snapped off. I'm in the process of trying to rig up a new mount but I'm keep my eyes open for a better option to invest in. I know my forward lighting will be sufficient for me to see where I am going, make myself visible and I can see other cars and react accordingly. But when they are behind me it's harder. As a driver in the city I know at night you have light hitting your eyes from all angles and one small red light doesn't really stand out at any distance until you are on top of the bike nearly. I rarely see tail lights with lumen output so it's hard to know how effective they are. We all now how over used "super bright LED" is. Now I do ride in the suburbs and not downtown which helps. I want something that will grab the attention of drivers so they are aware of my presence well in advance. Considering this is my safety I don't mind investing in a quality tail light. I do have a rear luggage rack on my bike and intend on buying a storage bag to strap on it as well if that makes a difference. I also plan to purchase an Osprey raptor 6 hydration pack and put a basic clip light on that as well. Can't have to much rear lighting in the city.
 

Chenery88

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I highly recommend Exposure Lights - their Flare rear is about 75 lumens on a RCR123. They also do a great helmet light called a Joystick (front) which you can use to power a helmet mounted flare style light...attached to the back of your helmet
There are a couple of versions...one is non rechargeable.
Usual constant on or it does a lovely on strobe effect where it pulses very bright but stay lit in between the flash...also visible from the side. It is one of those it hurts to look at it. Using it traffic gives me a very wide berth.

I also have a Moon Comet rear...not as piercing but also cheaper and rechargeable...about 30 lumens...again a spread out beam pattern so visible at side. Has three brightness levels and a flashing mode...

I have both on the seat post and love them...30/75 lumens don't sound like much but as these are shining in your eyes they hurt to look at....check them out on YouTube. ;)
 

Steve K

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the DiNotte taillight is reputed to be a very overpowered taillight that is truly obnoxious to folks behind you. Assuming that they aren't blinded and run you over, they will notice you. :)

My experience is with more conventional commercial taillights.

The Planetbike Superflash is pretty good in terms of visibility. I had some trouble after a few years of the light spontaneously turning itself on or off, usually when I hit a good bump. Due to this, I shopped around for another light....

...and bought a Cateye TL-LD630.
http://www.cateye.com/en/products/detail/TL-LD630-R/
It seems roughly as bright as the Superflash, but the mechanical design seems better. It turns on with a 2 second press of the switch, so a brief bump can't turn it on or off. It is powered by a single AA cell, which I like. The Superflash is powered by two AAA's, which I didn't like as much. Your Battery Preferences May Vary.

The Cateye taillights are pretty good quality for a mainstream manufacturer. Not the biggest or most expensive, but certainly good.
 

127.0.0.1

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consider the redzone 4 or 8

seriously. I have been riding for many years and thought deeply about this before purchase,
and I got an rz4 and did some comparo, and chucked my dinottes and pbsf's

it is the ultimate (mounting, programming) some say charging is a hassle
but the end caps do pop off super easy with thumbs pushing

https://www.niteflux.com/buy/red-zone-4/

it is unbelievably bright and the silicone-as-a-flood-lens is genius. super visible
 

TREKIE

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I had the same problem with that ebay light that projects the lines behind you. My case wasn't even a spill - I am just getting into riding a recumbent tadpole trike and I was tinkering on it and broke the cheap bracket for that light! I contacted at least a dozen sellers on ebay to see if I could purchase just a bracket - of course not - I had to buy another just to jet a mounting bracket.

instead, I bought a Planet Bike tail light. It is small, but seems very bright. I liked the fact that there was a nice mounting bracket, made for the rear rack, that I bought for the Planet Bike tail light.
 

Steve K

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consider the redzone 4 or 8

seriously. I have been riding for many years and thought deeply about this before purchase,
and I got an rz4 and did some comparo, and chucked my dinottes and pbsf's

it is the ultimate (mounting, programming) some say charging is a hassle
but the end caps do pop off super easy with thumbs pushing

https://www.niteflux.com/buy/red-zone-4/

it is unbelievably bright and the silicone-as-a-flood-lens is genius. super visible


I've seen discussions of the Redzone lights in the forum before, but don't think I've seen them sold or advertised in the US. Maybe I'm just too good at ignoring advertising??
It's interesting to compare the optical design of the Redzone relative to the Dinotte or the Superflash. The Redzone has diffusers over the LEDs, sending light in all directions, while the others use optics to direct most of the light behind the rider.

My riding & commuting is primarily on rural roads without many intersections. I use tail lights that put most of the light directly behind me, since that's where most threats are coming from. For heavy urban traffic, it seems reasonable to think that threats are in all directions, therefore the best tail light would be one that radiates in all directions. Does this match people's experiences?
 

127.0.0.1

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I've seen discussions of the Redzone lights in the forum before, but don't think I've seen them sold or advertised in the US. Maybe I'm just too good at ignoring advertising??
It's interesting to compare the optical design of the Redzone relative to the Dinotte or the Superflash. The Redzone has diffusers over the LEDs, sending light in all directions, while the others use optics to direct most of the light behind the rider.

My riding & commuting is primarily on rural roads without many intersections. I use tail lights that put most of the light directly behind me, since that's where most threats are coming from. For heavy urban traffic, it seems reasonable to think that threats are in all directions, therefore the best tail light would be one that radiates in all directions. Does this match people's experiences?

light directly behind you fine, but the rz put light to the sides as well. you do get noticed a whole lot more
(I test this stuff ...how visible is a bike light from a motorist perspective....rz has no equal in combined ease of mounting, and s**ttons of red light) I place it on a highway bridge and then go drive 3 miles out and back and can see this and pick
it out amongst car taillight (I am of the school that bike lights should never blink...I won't discuss that, but
a solid tail is far easier for a motorist to look at and prepare for careful timing and passing of cyclist. if the cyclist makes one
move or mistake a solid light you can tell what is going on...if it is blinking and the cyclist moves a tiny bit it takes much longer to fgure out 'how is that cyclist moving up ahead, steady, weaving, what ???)

rz is still somewhat of a hobbyist feel to it. when you pop the caps, you are exposing delicate led and circuit.

in usa rz ship from kentucky, so they are aussie but have local ship point

it has an 18650 inside, glued down

reviews in the interwebz often speak of the older model redzone, this is the newer
carbon fiber one I am speaking of

----
I have never seen advertising for it, I stumbled upon it and after careful consideration and then receiving the light
and actually using it....it has nothing close to it. it is a rare item and costs 100 bucks but wow what an ideal design (to me)

all I can say is I would def not recommend something I only half-like. I was settled on dinotte tails previously, this blows
them away because it is a tiny self-contained package with awesome mounting, with the greater than 180degree flood.

on high on solid in bright sun you stand out among traffic easily. and can be seen from miles away.
dinotte does that too, but from the side, nope. nothing beats the RZ in side visibility. no way no how
rz is pure stop light red. looks like a pickup truck brake light with the two leds spaced out to
the ends of the tube. really noticeable. ymmv


no I don't sell them, and for road riding, back a few years ago I experienced the awesome 'dinotte effect' which
is drivers actually giving you some respect. this is even better because of the >180degree vis
 
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mechBgon

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I had the previous generation of Red Zone 4. I loved how it sprayed light in every direction. Even FORWARD. Unfortunately one day it stopped turning on. NiteFlux said they'd replace it with the next-gen RZ4 or RZ8, but never came through. So while the "hand grenade" light-dispersal pattern is tops for city riding especially, be aware that you may not get any help from them if you have a problem.

If you want something else, the Hotshot SL is worth a look for its power-to-cost ratio if money is an issue at all. They have an optional rack mounting bracket for it. The Hotshots are very directional so you would want it rigidly mounted to keep it aimed on-target, not hanging from a flexible bag loop or something. When riding towards the sun on the horizon, you want all the punch you can get.

The SL differs from the regular Hotshot in a couple ways. Smaller, lighter battery, and fewer flash modes (steady-burn, full-intensity flasher, and intermediate-intensity triple-flash, but no "random" or "zoom" mode). For back roads in complete darkness I do like using the "zoom" mode since it's not so hard on the viewer's eyes.
 
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Dry-cell

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I didn't take the time to read all the posts in this thread, but here's what I use...
A Bell Muni Helmet, I have a slightly older model which has two led lights at the back and they run on 392/384 button cells. The newer models don't have the led lights but you can attach a rear flasher to the back via the strap. http://www.bellhelmets.com/en_ca/cycling/helmets/muni

I also use a SuperFlash Turbo from PlanetBike, which is attached on the seat post. It has a quick release on the bracket mount, so you can take it with you when entering a store or something. It runs on 2 AAA batteries.
http://www.planetbike.com/page/

I use TwoFish Unlimited flashlight lockblocks for mounting my two Fenix LD20 flashlights on the handlebars, I think their absolutely great and are inexpensive. http://www.twofish.biz/bike.html

Edit: I had purchased my TwoFish lockblocks from http://www.foursevens.com when I bought an extra Fenix LD20 flashlight from them. They come in a pack of three, I bought two packs.
 
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mcnair55

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Good choice you have so far by the members,and you can still nip into a decent cycle shop and see there range.UK shops are good for proper cycle lighting so your request over here would be sorted in about 5 minutes.
 

Norman

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Are you near a Mountain Equipment Co-op?

Check out the Portland Design Works Danger Zone. It's pretty bright, and has on, slow- & fast-flash patterns. It's not the typical blink pattern, so it should be easily noticeable.
http://www.mec.ca/product/5025-442/portland-design-works-danger-zone-led-rear-light

If you're going to put it on a rack, it's supposed to be compatible with Planet Bike mounts. Otherwise, they sell a rack bracket.
http://www.mec.ca/product/5022-750/portland-design-works-radbot-1000-rack-bracket/
 

zs&tas

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i ride in lots of traffic and use a blackburn mars 3 , it has a angular optic and side leds for visibility in all directions. i can highly recommend it. i have also attached a cheap silicone light to my helmet. and keep a spare in my pack. for very little money these little silicone lights are worth picking up as throw away units. they work and you can carry spares on you as they do not weigh anything.
 

idleprocess

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Check out the Portland Design Works Danger Zone. It's pretty bright, and has on, slow- & fast-flash patterns. It's not the typical blink pattern, so it should be easily noticeable.
http://www.mec.ca/product/5025-442/portland-design-works-danger-zone-led-rear-light
I had one of those (then lost it in depressingly short order - that's the last time I mount a decent tail light on the tail pack). It was bright and its pattern was decidedly non-rhythmic to draw attention and also discourage fixation. It was a heck of a lot more visible than the cheap 5mm LED model I'm using now. It directed most of its light rearward, but managed decent spill - had no difficulty telling that it was on with a quick glance backwards!
 

Savvas

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I had the previous generation of Red Zone 4. I loved how it sprayed light in every direction. Even FORWARD. Unfortunately one day it stopped turning on. NiteFlux said they'd replace it with the next-gen RZ4 or RZ8, but never came through. So while the "hand grenade" light-dispersal pattern is tops for city riding especially, be aware that you may not get any help from them if you have a problem.

Hi MechBgon,

I too am a Niteflux RZ 1st gen owner. I would encourage you to get back to RZ about your non-functioning light. I know that they place great value on customer relations. I'm not sure how complaints or warranty issues are handled but I know (from talking to him) that the business owner, (David I think) has had a number of family problems that may have caused your issue to be overlooked. You can email him directly from the company web site I think. It's quite a small outfit and the owner often deals with customers personally and directly.

Savvas.
 

CPFBiology

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the DiNotte taillight is reputed to be a very overpowered taillight that is truly obnoxious to folks behind you. Assuming that they aren't blinded and run you over, they will notice you. :)

My experience is with more conventional commercial taillights.

The Planetbike Superflash is pretty good in terms of visibility. I had some trouble after a few years of the light spontaneously turning itself on or off, usually when I hit a good bump. Due to this, I shopped around for another light....

...and bought a Cateye TL-LD630.
http://www.cateye.com/en/products/detail/TL-LD630-R/
It seems roughly as bright as the Superflash, but the mechanical design seems better. It turns on with a 2 second press of the switch, so a brief bump can't turn it on or off. It is powered by a single AA cell, which I like. The Superflash is powered by two AAA's, which I didn't like as much. Your Battery Preferences May Vary.

The Cateye taillights are pretty good quality for a mainstream manufacturer. Not the biggest or most expensive, but certainly good.

I use the SuperFlash, but want something brighter.

Even the revamped version isn't good enough.

Do you know how bright the DiNotte 400R is compared with the 300R? Would the 400R be overkill?
 

alpg88

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after being almost ran over few times, i came to conclusion, cars pay no attention to your tail or healight, all the close calls happened when cars were turning, they basically look at your side while they turn, there is nothing there to make them notice you before they turn, so i'm building a special light, that will be mounted on seatpost tube, where water bottle mounts, it will have 2 leds mounted at 45*, looking at the ground, on each side, when i'll be on intersection, i'll press a button, and 2 leds will light up (my plan to use 2 2900k xml) area under me, for 5 or so seconds, long enough for me to clear intersection. than they'll go out. my plan is to use a transistor\capasitor circuit to acheve timed on off. it should not blind car drivers, but will make them notice me.
 
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idleprocess

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The average American driver has been trained to look for other cars (and to a lesser extent pedestrians) and uses mental shortcuts to rapudly scan the roads for such. Anything that's not a car might not register even though it falls within the field of vision.
 

alpg88

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yea that is pretty much what i experienced, well i guess i'll have to make sure they notice me. bright light being steady one thing, drivers may not pay much attention, bright light turning on right next to driver, should grab their attention faster.
 
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