Touring - Lights
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I'm doing a modifie version fo the northern tier and will be having longer days than I normally do and have come to grips that I my run into a situation where i need a light. I've often carried a cheap cateye halogen for tunnels and worst worst case secnario, but ahve never used it for anything but a long tunnel. I do have a tail light. However, I think if I were actually forced to ride at night, i'd want somethinga bit better.
Money is only a factor in that thats money I could use for something else. This is not something i plan to or want to use and would only be used to getting to the next campsite (so battery life over an hour or so shouldn't be needed). I will have a handlebar bag so I can't bar mount, but i'd be willing to rig something to the front rack. I'm not adverse to helmet bags. However, I'd like to see and be seen.
Any advice? What do others use?
04-29-06, 11:37 PM
The commuting thread has a massive amount of info on lights, usually stronger than you would want but some not. An LED flashlight seems good enough and cheap.
Your sig seems very applicable :P
My only real light experence is from night mountain biking. Three headlights seems a bit extreme (plus might nightriders are long dead)
04-30-06, 12:10 AM
I would recommend using two CatEye HL-EL500 headlights attached to the two sides of the front rack. They are bright LED lights, waterproof, and give you 20 to 30 hours of use on one set of AA batteries. You should be able to find them for 40 to 50 USD each. They will give you light strong enough to see, but not so strong that they impact your night vision.
I commuted for a time using one Cateye HL-EL500. I would definitely say it was marginal but doable....two would probably be fine. However, if you do not intend to use the lights daily, one vega or dinotte ultralight would be perfect, I think. Lots of light and low weight.
05-01-06, 04:05 PM
look at this nifty gadget:
which would allow you to use a flashlight as a bike light when you needed it.
05-01-06, 04:53 PM
Frog lights by Knog. amazing.
Well, I'm borrowing a Niterider Evolution Smart from a friend. I think it should do the job, and best of all the price is right :)
05-02-06, 09:53 PM
With regards to headlights usable for touring, I think there are only two options :
– A powerful LED-based headlight which uses standard batteries.
I have A BLT Super Doppler which is focussed and which can also be rotated sideways by about 15 degrees. It's great to highlight signs, what comes after a curve, etc. and has both a steady and flashing mode. The Planet Bike Beamer 5 is more convenient (uses 2 AA batteries instead of 3 AAA ones), but not as powerful.
I heard good comments about the Cateye EL-500 but have never seen one live. Some folks with good eyesight ride all night with 2 EL-500.
– A dynohub
The Schmidt or the new Shimano dynohubs offer very good light without much drag. I have used a Schmidt with dual Lumotecs (see Peter White's website (http://peterwhitecycles.com) for details) for 3.5 years and it's great. Light output of a single Lumotec is 2-3 times more than what you get from the BLT Super Doppler. And I recently upgraded my headlight with a Schmidt E-6 and let me summarize the upgrade in one word: Wow!
All other options seen on the Commuting forum don't really work for touring. Rechargeables cannot easily be recharged on the road and rechargeable batteries loose power over time. IOW, if you think you'll use your light once per two weeks, it's more than likely it won't work by then.
Taillights and rear end visibility
I think it's a more important factor to consider. After all, if your headlight is too weak, you can slow down, but your taillights must make you visible to cars and trucks driving by at 100 km/h.
The Cateye LD-1000 seems to be a current favourite. It throws light in most directions so it's a great commuting light. However, rear illumination is not the greatest.
For highway illumination, the [url=http://blt-lights.com/rearLedLights.htm]BLT Red Flare DX throws a little more light than the LD-1000, but most importantly it throws a good beam within 15 degrees, so it's more efficient for warning high speed drivers The Ultra Wazoo has similar brightness but cannot be bolted easily.
However, the best one, I find, is the BLT Rear Super Doppler. Since it's basically a red "headlight", it has a very powerful beam on axis. It's the only taillight I can effectively use as a flashlight. There is one problem with the Rear Super Doppler: it mounts well on a seatpost, but not as well behind a rack.
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