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Thread: what kind of bike light?

  1. #1

    Default what kind of bike light?

    Im looking for a bike light, im not sure exactly what I want though. I have read a little bit about the problems with LED lights, but I think for the amount and type of riding I do it will be fine.

    -My top speed is around 18 mph for a casual ride
    -city, and bike trails (unlighted)
    -looking for runtime of 3 hours regulated light, not neccessarly more

    At this time, I like the looks of the princeton tec EOS bike, I think I want something more "throw-orientated". Plus it will double as a headlamp, which I really like.

    People that use bike lights, what do you think?

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Planterz's Avatar
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    Default Re: what kind of bike light?

    I've been pretty happy with my Light and Motion Vega. Runtime on max isn't 2 hours like they advertise (more like 1:15), but it's perhaps too bright on max anyway (lights the road nicely, but gets rather hot). On lighted roads I keep it on low (8 hours runtime) and on unlit roads I use the mid level (4 hours runtime). It's a pretty smart light. When batteries are getting low, it'll step down to a lower level to conserve juice (plus the switch LED starts blinking), just like a HDS does. Plus it has a thermal protection (so if it gets too hot on max it'll step down to mid to cool down), and a battery cutoff circuit so you don't over-discharge the NiMH batteries. Very good output regulation too. It uses PWM (pulse width modulation) to "dim" the light, and combined with the regulation circuit, you get constant output on all levels throughout the life of the batteries. Charging is easy too, just plug in the adapter. I chose the Vega over most of the other high-power LED lights because a lot of them are set up like HID lights, with wires to external batteries. I like the fact that the Vega is self-contained.

    The only problem is that it's not cheap. I got mine on special for about $155 shipped. Cheaper than the Exposure lights though (which look very, very nice, but very expensive--HID expensive).

    Here's a good thread discussing bike lights.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...ad.php?t=91473

  3. #3

    Default Re: what kind of bike light?

    Thanks for the info, but I should have stated I am looking for a budget light... I will read into that thread though.


    Around $30 would be most appealing to me, if I can find something decent in that range. (maybe im being too cheap)

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* Planterz's Avatar
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    Default Re: what kind of bike light?

    Quote Originally Posted by sphynx_000
    Around $30 would be most appealing to me, if I can find something decent in that range. (maybe im being too cheap)
    http://flashlightreviews.com/reviews...ght_luxeon.htm
    http://www.amondotech.com/index.asp?...OD&ProdID=1048

    Should be bright enough for commuting. Feed it with 2500mAh NiMH rechargables and you should running nicely. Avoid those cheesy multi-led lights like Cateye makes. These aren't very bright, have no regulation circuitry (so even the brightest ones are dim after a few minutes), and have yucky blue tint.

    You could also always take an existing flashlight and mount it in a Twofish Cyclopblock. http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...hlight=twofish
    Last edited by Planterz; 04-23-2006 at 03:41 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: what kind of bike light?

    Lots of good looking suggestions here. I like that Nuwai bike light alot. However, it would be nice to get something that has other uses too (like a headlamp). Im thinking that the EOS may be a little underpowered, but a SL PP would probably do the trick, (iv been waiting for a reason to buy one anyways).


    People that own a SL PP, do you think it has enough spill/flood for biking?

    EDIT: Looking at beamshots again, I dont think the SL would work well for a bike, unless used in conjuction with another light.
    Last edited by sphynx_000; 04-23-2006 at 10:30 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: what kind of bike light?

    With lights on a bike the mantra seems to be "there are lights for you to see, and lights for you to be seen". Trust me if you want to be seen get a light bright enough to see.

    I have a dinotte 5w headlight in center and a pair of 3w brinkman nylon body 3aaa torches, clamped with lightweight aircraft SS clamps on each bar end of my old but well maintained Trek hybrid. Total of 11watts of Luxeon light and the whole shebang weighs 460g with batteries loaded plus the clamps, which are super light. Run time is a bit short especially on the brinkmanns but so are my trips. I like 3 lights spread out because the human eye tracks moving light much more accurately with the orientation spread wide. Also have Cateye's 10 led rear flasher. The bar end lights are good throwers, and cross their beams at about 75 ft ahead. The dinotte is a flood. Real ****ing bright, I was impressed by its output.

    In your case on a budget I'd buy a pair of the 3w 2aa torches going around the dealers forums and clamp them to my bars. Probably $50 altogether.

    I guess I have about $275 in lights, it was painless because it was incremental. If I did it again I think 2, possibly 3 5w dinotte's would be (and still might be) the way to go. I like the dinottes because they are light and use common AA batteries, though as mentioned it would be nice if they were self contained.

    (to the other user, the beauty of 2 pc construction is that if you have a light and good quality bike, on top of your handlebars is not a good place for a massive power source. ****s with the bike's handling, though 1 vega is not too much burden to bear. I liked the output of the dinotte, and got it for $150 buy it now from ebay- seller has since raised price to $170)


    You know, though, I got hit by a car last year- actually nudged from behind and knocked into a pickup's tailgate edge, landed face up in the traffic lane with a couple bruises and a badly bent rim, the guy who hit me didn't even slow down. Ther guy behind him did, thank goodness, or I'd have been roadkill.

    I have no medical insurance. A broken leg or arm and an ambulance trip could easily have penalized my bank account and/or credit rating to the tune of around $15k.

    If you are on a road with traffic at all, find the brightest light you can at the price you are willing to pay. Then forget it and double that and really consider SAFETY. Is your life or a permanent limp or a $15k medical bill worth saving a few bucks on? It WILL likely make the difference between commanding respect from motorists and them pretending you are not there.

    I can now realistically see spending $500 on a bike light. Don't forget the taillight. Performance bike has a flashing LED, with I think 9 led's for $20 but it's often as low as $12.99. Every bit as bright as my $35 cateye, just a bit flimsier.

    If you have $200 and still have a few $$$ to buy batteries for it I think I would try the Elektrolumens 4x3 bike light. A bargain for that kind of output.
    new! improved! shorter signature.

  7. #7

    Default Re: what kind of bike light?

    In my experience, 2 cell incandescents are just not bright.

    Get a 4 AA type that uses a standard flashlight type flange base and replace the bulb with a 4D/lantern xenon bulb. Unfortunately, you'll only get two hour with this setup, but the whole thing cost like $12 + NiMH batteries & charger.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: what kind of bike light?

    You mentioned a SL PP. Did you mean the SL PP Lux version? I have one and I think it would be a GREAT bike light. It has very good throw and a good spill beam for biking. Due to the tapering shape of the case, mounting it may be a bit harder than a straight cylindrical shape, but nothing that couldn't be made to work.

    I do a lot of biking, though not much at night. The only night riding I've done is off-road - with a UK 4AA eLed on the bike [before I had my SL, which would be much better] and a Princeton Tech Yukon HL headlamp. A light on the bike and a headlamp is a good combo. The PT Apex looks like it would be a great headlamp for a lot of things, including biking. At about $60 it is above the price range you mentioned, but both this and the SL PP Lux [~$30] can take a lot of hard use and still shine wonderfully. They are quality products and very good values.

    I read a lot of the bike-light threads and I don't think any combo for under $100 that this would run would be better. Plus you could get a lot of use out of these two lights other than biking!

    Good Luck in your search and with your riding.

  9. #9

    Default Re: what kind of bike light?

    Most of my flashlight use is on bicycles--I spend about 5 hours/week riding in darkness.

    The Princeton Tec EOS is a great headlamp for walking/hiking/running, but it doesn't put out enough light for me when cycling, where the higher speeds require more lumens. It does, however, have a good flash mode, which I like in dawn/dusk settings.

    I don't own the Streamlight PP, but from what I've read I'm wondering about the beam pattern, like you. I don't like too focused a hotspot when riding, since that messes with my night vision more than anything else, and I'm afraid that the contrast between it's hotspot and spill would be too high, but that's just conjecture.

    I just acquired the Dinotte 5w mentioned above, and I love it. While I'm always playing around with different combinations, my favorite right now is the Dinotte on my handlebars, always on; a Streamlight Strion on my bars, slightly defocused, turned on for high speeds, or when I'm worried about getting a driver's attention, and a Fenix L2P on my helmet using a an L1 body with a single NiMh AA cell. I also have a flashing Photon Freedom on the back of my helmet, and two different CatEye red flashers on the back of the bike.

    I'm not sure if this is proper etiquette, but I am selling a NiteHawk Raptor 10 watt halogen setup, listed over in the sell forum, in your price range. It's not versatile, in that you'd only use it on a bike, but it has good output, and good runtime. I'd still want to couple it with a helmet light, mostly because you want to be able to see things that aren't directly in front of you.

    Good luck! Night cycling is a great experience--there's a hightened awareness mixed with a certain calm (at least in areas w/ no cars).

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: what kind of bike light?

    batvette, I almost got hit by a car last winter. And that's with a 5W Lux (SF U2) on the handlebars, a LuxIII with great throw on my helmet, a couple of LED flashers (front and back), and reflective-wear all around.

    In looking around at other bikers while I'm on my car, I think a blinking light attracts more attention than a bright, steady light.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: what kind of bike light?

    Get something with at least a LuxeonV or two Luxeon III LEDs on the handlebars to see with. A helmet light to look at drivers as they notice a moving light easily to see you. I use a MillerMods L1P (1.7 watt single NiMH AA) light on my helmet.

    This summer, I am building a four Luxeon K2 8AA "2D Mag" using four McR 20mm reflectors. 400 lumens of punch along with a wider beam spread should do it for me. My bicycle is a recumbent so the Mag will fit under the front boom that sticks out for a perfect location (I HATE 2-piece lighting!)

    Concerning the rear flashers, if you want to get noticed... use two of them. I use the Cateye 10 LED rear flasher loaded with lithium AA cells for brighter and more consistant output. Added a auto-leveling Planet Bike 3 LED flasher on the rear of my helmet. Two flashers generally flash out of sequence making you very noticable and annoying to drivers. The wider spread between cranium and butt gives the appearance that you are much larger vehicle. From what I remember, two flashing sources gives drivers a much better ability to figure out how far away you are. The Planet Bike flasher stays level (pivots) and uses one AAA battery. I run lithium AAA cells in mine (of course!) A third flasher is backup and runs alkaline which I change out every six months since it is rarely used.

    Since I have that large recumbent seat, add reflective tape for an extra touch of "hey, you!" Don't forget the tires that have reflective sidewalls (I look like a rolling freak show but have never been hit)
    Peak Pacific AAA UP brass (EDC) E01 (keys), Peaks, Arcs, Fenix, Q5 Aspheric HA-III Mag etc.

  12. #12
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: what kind of bike light?

    I don't normally ride for 3 hours at a crack, more like an hour and a half at most...
    But for lighting I use my Fenix L1P powered by a 2500mAh NiMh. It runs for my whole ride easily and a spare battery or two doesn't take up much space, so 3 hours would be easy if you're willing to stop riding to change the battery.

    As for my mount, I use a couple of wraps of electrical tape around the handlebars to prevent abrasion and a big rubber band to hold the light to the handlebars. Cheap but effective, and I can put one every bike I regularly ride.

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