Bicycle Tint preference for road riding.

Tint preference for road riding

  • cool

    Votes: 13 30.2%
  • neutral/warm

    Votes: 30 69.8%

  • Total voters
    43

defloyd77

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May 10, 2007
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I just recently lost my P100A2, which I used for my bike light. Honestly it got the job done perfectly and one thing I like about using a flashlight vs. a bike light is the versatility of it being an EDC so I think I'm going to buy another. I've noticed that the P100A2 comes in neutral now, which I'd greatly prefer as an EDC, but I'm unsure about neutral for a bike light. My only neutral is my AA Quark, I've used it as a bike light and it kinda appeared that the neutral was absorbed more than my cool white lights, but that may be due to beam pattern and what not.

So I'm asking you guys, do you have a tint preference.
 

1 what

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Jul 6, 2007
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Australia
I've had a couple of cool white CREE's and recently built a warm white P7.
To me it doesn't look as bright as the cool whites but it makes the countryside (I ride "bush tracks") look so much nicer. I fancy the better greens give a better depth of vision. I'm in the process of putting together a double P7 unit in warm white so I guess thatr illustrates my opinion.
 

Wuss912

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Warmer colored led's also make you look more like a car which seems like a good thing...
 

BrianMc

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I suspect that our color vision under low light conditions changes as we age. I have discovered that my eyesight has vastly improved with adjusting my diet for food intolerance and reducing deficiency issues. Colors have more 'punch' night vision acuity has returned to some earlier level (as good as 20 years ago? Maybe, how can I tell, way better than a year ago.)

So selection of tint is likely very personal and not a static thing. No one needs to feel they aren't 'normal'. Few of us are the average height, so small vision differences between us are to be expected.

Preferences may also be a function of the amount and type of road debris, the color of the typical road surface ridden, average road ligting, and other hazards regularly seen (or not?).

That said, I think that not being mistaken for a distant and fast moving car rather than a-nearly-on-top-of-you-and-soon-to-right-in-front-of-you, bike can't be good...
 

ElectronGuru

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In my experience, blue tints stand out more, but they also glare off wet pavement. :sick2:

A better way to stand out is reflective tape/clothing + more lumens. I prefer a high output (500L+) neutral with a wide beam pattern.
 

syc

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Jun 10, 2008
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I suspect that our color vision under low light conditions changes as we age.

Its actually been studied, and younger people generally have more tolerance for the glare that results from the cold/blue tinted lights. The warmer tinted lights cause less discomfort glare, especially for older eyes. No doubt diet can mitigate some of these effects, but the overall trend is pretty well documented.

That said, I think that not being mistaken for a distant and fast moving car rather than a-nearly-on-top-of-you-and-soon-to-right-in-front-of-you, bike can't be good...
As I understand it, blinking lights get people's attention very well, but make it hard to judge speed and distance. So if you have a steady light, others can figure out your distance and speed reasonably well.

If you want to make your lights uncomfortable for older drivers, as well as confusing them about your speed and distance, use bright, flashing cool tinted lights. People will see you from far away, but that doesn't mean they'll have an easy time dealing with that fact.

The best setup in terms of personal safety and being eyesight friendly to others seems to be a steady, warm/neutral tint with a sharp beam cutoff to avoid blinding oncoming traffic.
 

jtr1962

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Nov 22, 2003
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Flushing, NY
What is typically considered the border between neutral and cool? I'm asking because low 5000Ks seems about perfect for urban cycling. Anything cooler looks too blue. In some circles this is considered a neutral tint, but in others it's considered cool. All I know is that warm tints are just about useless for city riding, at least to my eyes. They require more photopic lumens for the same apparent brightness as a cool tint, but since they make fewer lumens for any given power input you actually lose twice (first in actual lumens, second in scotopic lumens). They tend to lull me to sleep. They kill peripheral vision. They also have the same effect on me as sodium lights-namely that it feels like there's a layer of gauze over my eyes. I do like the way one of my flashlights with a neutral high-CRI P4 brings dimension to back yard, but by the same token I find it's actually worse than a cooler, lower CRI light in urban streets and sidewalks. Just not enough warm colors there to make the better CRI useful, and the yellowish cast makes things look dimmer. A lot of tint perference depends upon where you're riding.

As for blinking lights, maybe a blinking light in conjunction with a much higher output steady light is the best combination. The blinker gets people's attention while the steady light allows them to judge how rapidly you're closing.
 

BrianMc

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Nov 4, 2009
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My setup tends to fit comments here pretty well. I figure I will be replacing LEDs over time with newer more efficient ones and can warm them up as I age. :grin2:

Hopefully, future warmer ones will be as efficient as current cool ones.

I am currently using an amber Xenon strobe on the helmet with a neutral side of cool white headlight day or night off a front brake mount. I also run a flashing and one non-flashing SuperFlashes on the seat stays and a flashing one on the back of the helmet. So the attention and focus aspects are adressed as is the warmer/cooler light on the front.

A sharp beam cut-off isn't needed with only 100 lumens or so, as most of it gets concentrated on a smallish area. It is a bit better than a be-seen light, but not by much. I want more, but not as rude/crude as my old 14W 500 lumen HID aimed to the right, but 500+ lumens for dark county roads . Combining a low beam with good cut-off and a thrower high beam in one light is a challenge as shown in the Road light design thread:

https://www.candlepowerforums.com/threads/214561

So I am preparing to order the parts for a spot/flood dual light system with the hi/lo menu modes of Taskled drivers and some thoughtful aiming of the lights to provide enough different adjustments to get the light I need without burning my neighbors' retinas. :poof:

Cree XP-G's in Cree XP-E narrow 6-8 degree optics appear to be both floody and throwers. So I am tempted to just aim the low beam down and to the right some.

This thread has me thinking that a warmer bin for the low beam and the R5's for the high. Any comments? :thinking:
 

znomit

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I've always run WH so don't know any better.

But I'll tell you what I hate... :scowl:
...the lush green grass on the side of the road seems to stand out really brightly when the road is wet. A light with less green would be good.
Maybe the Multi coloured MCE without the green would be an improvement?
 

BrianMc

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I've always run WH so don't know any better.

But I'll tell you what I hate... :scowl:
...the lush green grass on the side of the road seems to stand out really brightly when the road is wet. A light with less green would be good.
Maybe the Multi coloured MCE without the green would be an improvement?

I assume you mean that the black hole of light absorption that pavement is when wet, as compared to the blinding return off green vegetation at the more sensitive frequencies for our eyes, makes for bad iris response, a form of glare making it really hard to see that
:oops: pothole. :poof: :sick2: :hairpull:

Been there.
 

ElectronGuru

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I've always run WH so don't know any better.

A light with less green would be good.


WH is a bit green:


egemao.jpg
 

defloyd77

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Wisconsin
Thanks a lot for all of your input guys! I decided to give neutral a try, I just got my new P100A2 minutes ago, however I won't be able to try it on my bike tonight as we now have snow on the ground and my bike hasn't been winterized.
 

BillyNoMates

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Tried an experiment last night: I was riding with a setup using High CRI (typ=90) Rebels. I usually ride with a neutrals (I'm not a fan of cool tints), but the warm lights are different yet again....

I noticed several things on my ride home. Firstly the road were wet, but I was still getting plenty of light being reflected back to me - even on the sections where the tarmac is smooth and I usually don't get much of a reflection in damp conditions.
On the places where the tarmac is anything bit smooth, I found that the pot-holes were much easier to spot and the texture of the road surface was revealed in much more detail than with the neutral set-up.
Grass on the verges looked green and the amount of back-scatter from water droplets on the grass was significantly lower (a definite benefit). The leafless bushes looked brown rather than the grey I've been accustomed to. There was one section where I was able to determine where the tarmac merged in to the brown sludge at the side of the road - this is something that has always caused problems for me in the past....

The output may not be quite as bright, but I think that, for me anyway, the benefit tips in the favour of better CRI. However for some riders particularly with single-emitter setups the high CRI LEDs may not generate sufficient light for all riding conditions.
 

znomit

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Ok, after a few rides way out in the wops I've decided my next build will have a red led to help pick out rabbit and possum eyes. By far the most dangerous thing on the road. Yes, even worse than soccer moms.
 

BrianMc

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Ok, after a few rides way out in the wops I've decided my next build will have a red led to help pick out rabbit and possum eyes. By far the most dangerous thing on the road. Yes, even worse than soccer moms.

In Canada and the US, 'Wops' is used for Italians like some use 'Kiwi' for New Zealanders, or 'Hosers' for Canadians ('Canucks' is better). I assume you mean 'boondocks, 'sticks', 'country', or some such, and didn't mean a ride through an area with a high percentage of ex-patriate Italians. :D

Is a red front light legal in New Zealand? It is one of the few restrictions on bike lighting in Indiana (no blue at all and no red to front). So would one or two red-orange LED (XR-E) sneak you by the law and get you where you need to be? There is also amber XR-E, which may have enough red in it to pick out retinas, as well as increase detail depth perception. :thinking:

BTW, here in Southern Indiana it is the suicidal tree rats (aka squirrels). They try to go THROUGH the wheels! A carbon fiber front fork and a spoke-caged squirrel make for spectacular shattered forks and usually lay the rider up for months with numerous fractures. The rider becomes a poster child for taking the bus. Another reason to love steel and 36 spokes which make it likely the dastardly deed is deflected. Also skunks intent on eating grubs in lawns threaten a hosing to passing cyclists at night and don't like HID lighting much. Fortunately Pumas have been long eradicated (my speed training would be a lot further along, if they were still indigenous, I suppose). :rolleyes:
 

znomit

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In Canada and the US, 'Wops' is used for Italians like some use 'Kiwi' for New Zealanders, or 'Hosers' for Canadians ('Canucks' is better). I assume you mean 'boondocks, 'sticks', 'country', or some such, and didn't mean a ride through an area with a high percentage of ex-patriate Italians. :D

Is a red front light legal in New Zealand? It is one of the few restrictions on bike lighting in Indiana (no blue at all and no red to front). So would one or two red-orange LED (XR-E) sneak you by the law and get you where you need to be? There is also amber XR-E, which may have enough red in it to pick out retinas, as well as increase detail depth perception. :thinking:

"outinthewops: (out·in·the·wops) n.
a.Colloquial New Zealand expression describing an isolated or remote place - A place far away from everywhere else."


I think if the red is close enough to the white they won't be distinguishable as separate beams by oncoming traffic. Its been done before by StevelK in his nice big light.

I think I need to go find some bunnies and possums and shine my rear lights at them, see how effective it is. I managed to pick a possum out when he was hiding in long grass the other night, nothing but a red dot.
 

BrianMc

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Just back from the boonies or countryside with farms and some clusters of housing that might be called a village. So not quite out in the wops? Likely the National Forest two counties west, qualifies. I love these colloquialisms. Thanks. Keep them coming.

Thanks for the red or amber + white link. So if the XP-G's are too white...

If I read the max current on the XP-E red and ambers right, it is 500 mA so two in parrallel could handle 1 A max. Their Vf combined would be about 1.1 Ohm. Added to 3 Xp-G's at 1 A 3.3 Vf each for 9.9, is 11 Vf total and the Bflex needs 1 volt above output to stay in regulation, for 12. I don't expect ot run at full power much, and I with power level warning on, I won't be draining the last dregs of the NiMH 12 volt at full power, so that looks feasible to stay in regulation. I assume they would have about the same heat output combined as a fourth XP-G?
 

Nubo

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Dec 23, 2004
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To me the issue of "tint" can be gimmicky. What we're really after is good color rendition across the spectrum. By focusing on "tint" the manufacturer is free to simply move the peak of an unbalanced spectrum around. Things will hopefully get better over time. The last decade saw phenomenal increase in output for LED. So phenomenal, who cared about CRI? :). Wasn't that long ago that someone had a DIY for monochromatic torquoise LED bike light, because it gave the most "scotopic bang for the buck".

Once the excitement over the big LED advance settles down and these advances are taken for granted, the quality of the light will be a more determinative factor in the marketplace. Especially if LED makes more inroads into interior lighting.

I find my LED bike light somewhat better than the HID I had been using. Things are still a bit ghostly though, and still get washed out by ambient lighting and headlights in a way that incandescent did not. But, they always turn on without a hassle, don't sputter over bumps, and blaze away for 5 hours on an impossibly small battery pack.

I think I was born at a fortunate time. As my eyes get older, the bike lights just keep getting better and better! :)
 
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