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Thread: Bicycle Lights?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic
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    Default Bicycle Lights?

    Who here is a cyclist? And what do you use for lighting? Right now I have a Bell LED / Halogen combo headlight and a LED flashing taillight. What do you guys recommend? I'd love a Luxeon Star powered headlight...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    The current crop of Luxeon based bike lights are quite expensive. Rather than buy a dedicated unit I use a couple of good bright LED flashlights mounted on Twofish light mounts. With a spare battery cell for each, I have 3 full hours of very bright light, or more if I don't run them full brightness.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    I have tried several, Cateye HL1500 (4aa); HL1600 (5aa+rechargeable); HL500II (has optional DC adapter); Sigma Elllipsoid and several led-based lights (non-luxeon). They are all AA-battery operated but the 1600 and the 500II can accept an external 6V DC source. I found my favourite setup was to use two 500II running off a single 6V 4.2AHr rechargeable lead-acid battery which will give about 4 hrs run-time if both lights are switched on continuously together with a head-lamp.

    If you can get hold of a bike torch-clamp, you could also use your existing lights such as a 6P, 9P etc although the run-time would be much shorter.

    There are of course, other bike-specific lights which use their own battery packs which I avoid since they cannot function as normal hand-held lights.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    I have a generic 5 LED flasher in the back. I'm currently on the hunt for brighter LED's to upgrade the flasher. For the front, I just got a Princeton Tec EOS headlamp. The flash mode works great when I commute in at dawn. I don't have any experience riding in darkness, but that will change as I continue to bike commute into the fall. Headlamps are nice because you can look at cars that are stoping at side streets and make sure they see you.

    Jeff

  5. #5
    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    I just got a couple of flashlight clamps CPF'er Fat is selling. Nice thigns. I've gotten into the habit of cycling at night now... it can be addictive! I put my Pila GL3 on the clamp and I have enough light up to 15m or so ahead of me. I am not going super fast, so that's enough light. However, in the few times I've really gone fast, I felt the need of some longer-throwing light.

    I'm clipping an Inova 24/7 (on strobe) to the back of my pack. I friend wanted to see which light I was using and blinded himself when he turned it on.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Flash_Gordon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    PT also makes a version of the EOS specifically for bikes. Has a post mount and some type of other mounting options.

    The EOS is a great light and with this setup you can just slip the head off of the mount and carry away a good flashlight.

    Mark

  7. #7
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    First off, you haven't stated what "kind" of biking you are doing. The requirements of road biking versus mountain biking are radically different. Typically, you need a lot more light for mountain biking, unless of course, you like going OTB's (over the bars).

    NiteHawk has some interesting LED lights that they call their Emitter series. I think they are only 1W Luxeon's though, so they aren't really suited for mountain biking, at least, IMO. I have been in contact with one of their customer support guys, and he has been keeping me informed on their new products about to come out. Sometime within the next month or so, they should have a new design, probably using 3W or 5W Luxeon LED's. The only "official" thing I've been told, is that they will provide between 2x to 3x the amount of light their current Emitter's do.

    http://www.nite-hawk.com/intro_flash.html

    As someone else pointed out, these lights are expensive.

    Lupine also makes some nice lights. I believe they are using 4 3W Luxeon's in their brightest lights, putting out ~380 Lumens.

    http://www.lupine.de/en/products/products.html

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by saber
    For the front, I just got a Princeton Tec EOS headlamp. The flash mode works great when I commute in at dawn. I don't have any experience riding in darkness, but that will change as I continue to bike commute into the fall. Headlamps are nice because you can look at cars that are stoping at side streets and make sure they see you.
    I like the PT EOS headlamp also. I like the 3 levels of output and the regulated circuit. It has long replaced my Petzl Tikka.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    I'm looking for a brighter bike light also. Currently using a cheapie CatEye OptiCube in flashmode to be seen by autos. But with the days getting shorter I
    want something brighter, long lasting, and a system that is rechargeable.

    HID systems are pricey, but they would be the ultimate flashaholic lighting system for a bicycle. I'm thinking either LED or Halogen/Xenon.

    Other brands to look into:
    Light & Motion [ www.bikelights.com ]
    Cygolite [ www.cygolite.com ]

    And a review of some lights:
    http://www.mtbr.com/spotlight/lightshootout/
    Last edited by Screehopper; 09-02-2005 at 01:34 PM. Reason: Fixed the URL's...

  10. #10
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    Your brackets got included in your links...

    http://www.bikelights.com/

    http://www.cygolite.com/

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    ^ Thanks. I corrected the URL's in my original post.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Stanley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    I tried the EOS strapped onto my helmet once for a night ride. Normally I do off road, but because of lack of brighter lights, I only do roads at night. On a totally dark stretch, the EOS on high is sufficient for you to see up to about 3-4 metres ahead. The throw is ok, but anything further than that lacks clarity. I also had a Q3 mounted on my handlebar, which works great as a close range flood light to see where I'm going.

    If you're doing off road biking at night, I'd second the idea of much brighter lights, such as the ones from NiteHawk, as Gecko has suggested. There are many others out there too, and they are definitely not cheap... Another suggestion is to check out Wayne (Elektrolumen) 's page, he does bike light projects every now and then, and they are BRIGHT!!
    And God said, "Let there be light..."

  13. #13
    Flashaholic XenonM3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    Does anyone know the cost of the ARC HID bike light?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by greenLED
    I just got a couple of flashlight clamps CPF'er Fat is selling. Nice thigns. I've gotten into the habit of cycling at night now... it can be addictive! I put my Pila GL3 on the clamp and I have enough light up to 15m or so ahead of me. I am not going super fast, so that's enough light. However, in the few times I've really gone fast, I felt the need of some longer-throwing light.

    I'm clipping an Inova 24/7 (on strobe) to the back of my pack. I friend wanted to see which light I was using and blinded himself when he turned it on.

    GreenLED, how well do you like the Inova 24/7? I've been thinking of getting one.

    Bike lights: I rarely bicycle at night so the cost of an expensive light I could not justify. I have a Surefire L6 which I used to compare to several lights. It was brighter than all LED bike lights I found in my stores. I know there are some 3-4 luxeon models but they cost $$$. So I got a clamp from Fat and the L6 is fine in town. Donot think it would be good for mountain biking.

    =D~~ Kilted

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* Trashman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=4320

    I haven't found out how to make a click-on link, but you can copy and paste this address into your browser. It's for a Lux III bike like for 39.99. It's the Viewpoint Gen3. They claim on high it puts out as much light as a 10w halogen.

    Believe it or not, I actually have the Digital version of this light and have never even taken it out of the package! I got it for a "steal" of a price off of ebay.

    Personally, I'm using a Planet Bike Insight 15w bike light. I love it. It's really well built and the quick release is great.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by wasBlinded
    The current crop of Luxeon based bike lights are quite expensive. Rather than buy a dedicated unit I use a couple of good bright LED flashlights mounted on Twofish light mounts. With a spare battery cell for each, I have 3 full hours of very bright light, or more if I don't run them full brightness.
    If you've got the spare Luxeons, I'd go this route too. I used to think one light was OK, but I found that it takes two current lights to do a good job lighting your way if you're going faster than "slow". The twofish light mounts are great for hooking whatever you have to your handlebars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stanley
    I tried the EOS strapped onto my helmet once for a night ride. Normally I do off road, but because of lack of brighter lights, I only do roads at night. On a totally dark stretch, the EOS on high is sufficient for you to see up to about 3-4 metres ahead. The throw is ok, but anything further than that lacks clarity. I also had a Q3 mounted on my handlebar, which works great as a close range flood light to see where I'm going.
    I used this combo as well and it works fairly well with a R123 in the Q3, which is great for light up close. I'm still trying to find a better thrower to aim farther down the road so that I can feel a little more comfortable about what's ahead of me. With rechargeables in everything, I'm just throwing whatever I have at the job - a Q3, SL Jr. Lux and an LSH-P ought to do the trick.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by XenonM3
    Does anyone know the cost of the ARC HID bike light?
    Light & Motion ARC HID Ultra Li-Ion $530 6hr burn time
    Light & Motion ARC HID Li-Ion $400 3hr burn time
    Light & Motion ARC HID NiMH $350 3hr burn time

  18. #18

    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    I've been using my Nite Rider Digital Pro 12-E for a few years now and I've been very happy with it. Paid around $350 for it back then. Nite Rider lights are expensive but they're considered the best in the market. The light has two incandescent bulbs, a 20W + 12W. One of them is a flood, can't remember which. It draws power from a NiMh rechargable battery that fits nicely into a water bottle cage. It has several power settings (6W, 9W, 12W, 20W, 32W) and can be switch to strobe or SOS mode. I normall run mine on ether the 12W or 20W mode can it can easily last a two hours.

    Althought I do mostly street riding at nights, I still prefer to have a powerful light setup. And this light is more than capable for mountain bike riding. For me, the light is intended for me to see AND TO BE SEEN by others (especially vehicles).

    As far as the latest & the greatest, HID light is the king. Several bike light manufactures make them including Nite Rider, Cat Eye, Light & Motion. A friend of mine has a Niter Rider HID setup and it's BRIGHT & WHITE. I've also seen a cyclist with the Cateye HID setup and it seems even brigther & whiter. But HID doesn't come cheap. You can expect to pay between $400-500 for a HID setup from a reputable manufacture.

    I don't have much experience with LED bike lights but I don't think LED lights have enough lumens & throw to serve as a bike light.

    Thanks,
    Kenneth

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    www.turbocatusa.com

    Think of them like bikeflahaholics.


    I've got about $1500 worth of their lights. Everyone that sees them raves over them.
    This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
    Be prepared for the truth.

  20. #20
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    Smile Re: Bicycle Lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by turbodog
    www.turbocatusa.com

    Think of them like bikeflahaholics.


    I've got about $1500 worth of their lights. Everyone that sees them raves over them.
    How about a quick review of their low(er) end model? I only commute a half hour or so each way so I don't want to spend a ton of money but getting home alive IS a priority so I'd like to get something good

  21. #21

    Default Bicycle Lights?

    You may want to look at NightSun. I consider them to be like the Rolls-Royce of bicycle lights.

    This is thier top-of-the-line which I've been salivating over; the SpARC XC. It's a dual light using a 10w HID for low beam and a 35w halogen for its high beam. Its still cheaper than a SF M6 or 10x!

  22. #22
    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilted
    GreenLED, how well do you like the Inova 24/7? I've been thinking of getting one.
    I like mine very much. I kept it in my car for the longest time (for emergencies), but since I started riding my bike again I decided it would be a good signaling light. The clip is really strong and I don't think it would fall off your pack, your belt or back pocket.

    I usually "play" (cough, cough) use the strobe modes when I ride. There's this insanely bright white/yellow/red strobe that is definitely an attention-getter. There's also a yellow/red mode where the LEDs slowly come to full brightness and then slowly dim while switching colors. I use that a little bit too, but I like the rapid strobe better. I don't think I've ever used the red-only setting while riding. If I look back when I ride, I can actually see the lights flashing off cars, etc. I'm quite amused by it, can you tell?

    Although it wins hands down when you compare it with the "regular" bike strobes (there's no way a driver's missing the fast strobe mode), I think the 24/7 may be a bit overkill as a bike marker. You might use 2-3 of the modes while riding and that's it. Sure, you can use the other modes once you're off your bike, but you've also reached your destination and hopefully have other types of illumination. In that sense, it's a bit of a waste of a really versatile little light.

    Oh, and I'm not so sure about the waterproofness of it in case you ride under the rain...

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    I use an HDS U-60 mounted on my helmet with a twofish cyclopblock, and a modded mag 2C Tri-LuxIII mounted on the handlebars. I run both lights off on Li-ion cells and get about 2.5 hours of runtime on each light with the HDS on the 30 lumen mode, and the Tri-LuxIII putting out 120-150 lumens.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    I was mucking around with lights tonight. Surefire (9AN) was much nicer than my magcharger for riding around in the woods. But it died quickly. But then I thought, hey, why not a 35 watt HID? So, I thought of making converting a reflector, getting a big SLA, etc, but then it dawned on me, why not just taped (or mount) a x990 on the bike? About 6 lbs, but the beam is adjustable, huge lumens and 70 minutes of runtime. Plus, you can carry the spare battery for more runtime.

    It's a stupid bright light so you have to aim it low, but out in the woods, you can aim it wherever. It's amazing how lots of lumens help when it's pitch black.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    I ended up going with a Light & Motion ARC Li-Ion. Some day, I'd like to make my own, using LED's, but I think they got about another 6 months to a year, before they are efficient enough to compete with HID's. The only real bad thing about HID over LED, is that it's not an instant on type of thing. It takes around 20-30 seconds for the HID to warm up. After that, the light is pretty bright for mountain biking. I like it.

    EDIT:

    Someone powered one of those BL3000 LED's (I think that's correct), and it puts out almost 600 lumens (versus the L&M's 675), but that drew about 2.3A at 11.6V, and the L&M only took 1.3A at 11.1V. You almost need twice the battery to get the same run time.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    HIDs are much more efficient than LEDs are will likely remain so for years (it's a huge leap of faith to think that an LED will put out 2400 lumens at 35 watts any time soon ). Instant on isn't a big deal when you're biking. My biggest concern is blinding innocent bystanders, thus adjusting the head on an X990 is a reasonable idea.

  27. #27
    Flashaholic Geogecko's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by hector
    HIDs are much more efficient than LEDs are will likely remain so for years (it's a huge leap of faith to think that an LED will put out 2400 lumens at 35 watts any time soon ). Instant on isn't a big deal when you're biking. My biggest concern is blinding innocent bystanders, thus adjusting the head on an X990 is a reasonable idea.
    It's been said, or rumored (by Surefire), that 100lm/W LED's are just around the corner...so that's 3500 lumens for your 35 watt LED!

  28. #28
    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    Just got some twofish lockblocks. They hold my GL3 pretty tightly on the handlebar, and the straps are long enough that can hold a C-sized flashlight too. I like they're simple design. I still haven't had the time to test my Peli M6 out on the trails.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    I came across a comparative review of 2006 LED bike lights with beamshots and runtimes:GearReview.com.
    nisshin

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* Planterz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bicycle Lights?

    Very informative link, nisshin, thanks. I've got the L&M Vega myself and use it as a commuter light. I chose this one over all the other ones I could find because it's self-contained. I use my waterbottle holders to hold water (well, Mt. Dew more than water), so the external battery pack wasn't an option.

    I hope to some day make a custom LED light for my bike (I'm thinking dual 3Ws, one with a flood, one optomized for throw, running on NiHM AAs or Li-ion R123s), but for now the Vega suits my needs.

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