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Old 10-12-06, 10:21 PM   #1
mattkime 
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I need to be seen and hear! Recommend bike lights and bells.

The days are getting shorter and night is coming sooner. I need lights on my bike. What is going to get the job done at a good price? I need lights only for a mile or two of my commute. The rest of the trip is well lit. Also, I'm not getting lights so much to see but to be seen. I need a headlight, I need a tail light. And while we're talking about it maybe I should contemplate a bell as much as a hate the idea.

What do you recommend?
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Old 10-12-06, 11:12 PM   #2
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A bell? How about an airhorn!

I guess you could just look at nashbar.com or performancebike.com and look at reviews and search by price from lowest to highest. They have some discount codes in the coupon forum too. If you really want to be safe, though, try not to be too frugal.
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Old 10-13-06, 12:17 AM   #3
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The Cateye EL-300 is old technology, but will last really long and is brighter than most others reviewed at most sites.

i've read a dozen reviews and this is what i've heard:

it uses 5 hipowered LEDs with focused beams, running off 4AAs that have a run time of 160 hours.

people say it's more than enough for city streets to be seen by and fill in the gaps between street lights, but you'll need a little more lighting for pitch black roads or areas with no lighting and tree cover.


still, on sale for 20 bucks it looks to be a steal. i'll let you know what i think when it arrives.
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Old 10-13-06, 07:41 AM   #4
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Check out the Total Geekiness thread in the Commuter section if you're up to building your own setup. I run a 20w headlight, amber strobe tail light, and 12v car horn from a 12v 8amh battery.
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Old 10-13-06, 08:18 AM   #5
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The only way to be heard thru a bubble of glass, and over cellphones/radio/screaming-brats-in-the-backseat, is to get yourself one of these:

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Old 10-13-06, 08:29 AM   #6
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Airzound. Like that picture above. I demonstrated it while riding my bike side-by-side with another guy yesterday. He nearly crashed. I blasted it when my boyfriend was mowing the lawn with his back to me. He jumped two feet, spun around and had a wtf?? look on his face. Yesterday I prevented a left hook by blasting someone.
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Old 10-13-06, 08:43 AM   #7
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I was just going to suggest the AirZound. I have & use one, works great. Here is where you can order one: http://www.hostelshoppe.com/cgi-bin/...ory=1015625493
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Old 10-13-06, 08:51 AM   #8
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An Airzound will even make female teenage drivers scream because they are startled by it. Had one buzz me too close on my commute, I think by mistake, not on purpose. I hit the button sent out the blast & heard her scream.

The punk in the passenger seat gave me a dirty look cause I made his girl scream. Maybe he was jealous cause I made her scream with the blast from an air horn from a bicycle & he is not able to make her scream in bed.
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Old 10-13-06, 09:04 AM   #9
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A traditional bike bell works very well for pedestrians and cars with windows down. However, for most cars you need to scream ;o).
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Old 10-13-06, 10:30 AM   #10
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Loud horns startle people, they freeze usually right in front of you. I prefer something more pleasant that causes them to turn around, look and then think about how to avoid a collision with you.
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Old 10-13-06, 05:11 PM   #11
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I like the Cateye El-500 for a headlight, and the Blackburn Mars 3 for a tail light. I especially light the Amber flashers that offer great side lighting. Both offer good battery life. (Cateye just introduced two new LED headlights that offer even more power, but I'm waiting for some citizen reviews.)

Both are on sale at Nashbar. I applaud your smarts, in wanting to use proper lights.

As far as a noise maker, I prefer a whistle for urban traffic. (Never used it on a pedestrian) They're cheap, and they work. Problem: They May or may not be legal in your state. "Check local laws before ordering".
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Old 10-13-06, 05:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geo8rge
Loud horns startle people, they freeze usually right in front of you.
I don't use the horn-of-death for peds and such, and actually, I usually only use the horn-of-death in 2 quick warning bursts to stop left hooks, pull outs, and even potential buzzers.

It really works.
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Old 10-13-06, 06:39 PM   #13
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I have a bell AND and airzound. The bell is for the bike path. The airzound is for traffic. On the bike path, there's no need to be rude, but in traffic you really want to be heard.
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Old 10-13-06, 07:07 PM   #14
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As for lighting... the bottle battery systems work pretty well and it is hard to beat 20 to 30 watts of light on a bike.

I use a Niterider system and am quite pleased with the quality of light (the price was outragous however). I also back up my great system with a good system of battery powered lights and flashers. And I back that up with a cheezy little generator system. One way or another, I will have lights when I commute.

I have yet to get the Airzound, but I have heard it and it is on my list. As far as peds and MUPs go, I talk to the peds and tell them I am coming, and thank them for moving and wish them good days and all kinds of positive stuff like that... seems to work just fine.
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Old 10-13-06, 07:13 PM   #15
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Anyone got a picture of a airzound mounted on a bike?
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Old 10-13-06, 11:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattkime
The days are getting shorter and night is coming sooner. I need lights on my bike. What is going to get the job done at a good price? I need lights only for a mile or two of my commute. The rest of the trip is well lit. Also, I'm not getting lights so much to see but to be seen. I need a headlight, I need a tail light. And while we're talking about it maybe I should contemplate a bell as much as a hate the idea.

What do you recommend?
To start with, even on the well-lit sections of the ride, you should still run lights.

Regarding taillights, how about a Planet Bike Blinky 5. It's a pretty powerful taillight, and it's also a real reflector too. And it's pretty affordable. The main drawback is that it's designed to mount onto a round tube such as your seatpost. Would that work for you, or would it be obstructed by a bag or something?

For a "see-me" headlight, a small LED headlight is a start. One option I'm playing around with is a $30 LED flashlight from Lowes Hardware, clipped into a $5 Wald flashlight holder on my handlebar. The flashlight has a 3-watt Luxeon LED and uses two C cells. Your local bike shop can get the flashlight holder for you, ask for J&B Importers part #93107 for a black one. This is not the most elegant-looking setup, but you can always think about it.


3-Watt Lowes LED flashlight in Wald #40 flashlight holder, next to a NiteRider dual-beam system

I'm also a fan of reflective legbands since they catch peoples' attention by moving when you pedal. Reflective vests like highway workers use (ANSI Class II or Class III) are nice since they go over any layers you need, and don't need frequent washing. And if you don't mind putting reflective tape on your commuting bike, you can make use of your fenders, cranks, rims and frame to make your bike reflective.


ANSI Class III vest


Reflective tape on my commuting/mountain bike


DOT Class 2 Conspicuity Tape on my touring bike's fenders. You can get this from large auto-parts stores and trim it to fit stuff. The oval reflectors are DOT reflectors that reflect well from the direct rear.

Last edited by mechBgon; 10-13-06 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 10-15-06, 09:20 AM   #17
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Yes an Airzound can startle. When I use it on the MUP I use it far enough back if people are startled & freeze they have enough time to unfreeze & move. Because I use it far enough back no has been startled & do not freeze up. This also may have something to do with the fact the MUP parrallels the insterstate where there is noicse from traffic, including car & truck horns so they may be desensitized by an airzound. In the sections of the trail where there are blind curves I use it at the beggining of the section because I can not see them & they can not see me. The curvy sections usually have 2 to 4 curves to navigate.
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Old 10-15-06, 11:25 AM   #18
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In a life or death, left hook, right hook situation, I'm not going to get distracted by sounding a horn, I'm going to concentrate on riding and not getting hit. Most cases of near misses with me is not a case where people don't see me. They know I'm there and they intentionally cut me off because they are in a car, I'm on a bike and they are bullies. Sounding a horn of death will not change their behavior and suggesting, in a loud voice, where they can stick thier Hummer is much more satisfying.

I do use a "ring-ring" bell to announce my presence. The signature tone is almost universally recognized. I've had pedestrians in front of me move over and they never even looked behind them, since they knew exactly what was behind them.
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Old 10-15-06, 05:44 PM   #19
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Anyone have any pictures of the cateye EL500's beam on a street? I've been interested but I'm hesitant to purchase one without seeing its power for real.
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Old 10-15-06, 05:54 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kill.cactus
Anyone have any pictures of the cateye EL500's beam on a street? I've been interested but I'm hesitant to purchase one without seeing its power for real.
When Cycling Plus magazine road tested it they complained that the bright part of the beam is much too small. "About the same size as a large squirrel". they said.


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Reflective tape on my commuting/mountain bike
Don't park your car on the side of the road in the dark unless your bike is on the back !!
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Old 10-15-06, 06:40 PM   #21
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Really? (the beam size)

That seems weird to me, why would a company want the beam to be fixed at such a small size. Sure the intensity and distance will be increased but still.

So how does a setup with both an ELHL500 and an ELHL300 running at the same time sound? I'm talking like when I'm in pitch blackness with tree cover (sometimes I have to bike at night on residential streets). The HL300 would be aimed closer to me at the ground while the 500 is out far reaching.
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Old 10-15-06, 06:51 PM   #22
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If you don't have an oversized handlebar, then how about a Planet Bike Insight 15W. I'm getting one for my little sister.

It has high/medium/low settings, plug-&-forget smartcharger, and a battery that fits a waterbottle cage. Yeah, it's a little more money than your $60 HL500/HL300 proposal, but you won't have to keep buying batteries, and it will dominate the LED lights in letting you see where you're going.
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Old 10-16-06, 07:55 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
In a life or death, left hook, right hook situation, I'm not going to get distracted by sounding a horn, I'm going to concentrate on riding and not getting hit. Most cases of near misses with me is not a case where people don't see me. They know I'm there and they intentionally cut me off because they are in a car, I'm on a bike and they are bullies. Sounding a horn of death will not change their behavior and suggesting, in a loud voice, where they can stick thier Hummer is much more satisfying.
Actually the Airzound IS very satisfying. You may not use it in a moment of life or death, but you can certainly use it to express displeasure at bully driving. And the looks you get are priceless.
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Old 10-16-06, 09:00 AM   #24
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http://tinyurl.com/ym5za8

Air Zound at nashbar 18.95
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