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  1. #1
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    Bike Lights Recommendations?

    I have a set time that I can ride in every morning. The trail I go on is tree covered and each day the sun is coming up a little later it seems. Which means each day the beginning of my ride is more and more in the dark. I've seen that there are lights that you can put on to your handlebars. I was wondering if anyone had a recommendation on which light to get? I want one that helps me see what's in front of me versus just making sure to be seen, so I assume I would need a brighter one. Any recommendations?

  2. #2
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    I'm partial to Dinotte and NiteRider products. Illumination power and cost have a direct relationship.

    p.s. I use my front light during the day ALWAYS, and on stobe mode. At night, it goes solid. Taillight is always on strobe mode, irregardless of the hour of the day. (Correction: if riding in a group or on a mup, I nix the daytime lights.)
    Deut 6:5

    ---

    "Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia'".
    - Vizzini during his "battle of wits" with the Man in Black

  3. #3
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    I've got a knock off china CREE XML LED head lamp MagicShine knock off http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    its bright (although doesn't put off as much as it claims) and cheap... I wouldn't use it off road without a second AND figuring out a better mount system, as it stands they use a rubber band and just on road chatter/bumps it will slowly rotate and point down at the street... I use it in blink mode on the street until dark... it's made my late eve rides doable (it's hot in TX and i'm not a morning person)


    also check out mtbr.com they've got a great section for headlights (both DIY and prebuilt)... tons of options
    mtbr clyd moderator

  4. #4
    Senior Member Black wallnut's Avatar
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    When needed I use one from Planet Bike, have two actually. However for a bunch less money you can take a small LED bright flashlight and attach it to your handlebars with a wrist band silicone rubber I think the stuff is called.


    Mark

  5. #5
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    PhotoJoanne and I both have the Magicshine MJ-808 lights. We've been VERY happy with them. We, too, ride in the early mornings and before it gets light. We usually only run them on medium and have plenty of light. I prefer the original beam pattern. Mrs. PJ prefers the wider pattern with the $4 optional lens.

    http://www.action-led-lights.com/col...men-bike-light

    Also, I'm very happy with this company. We had one light fail within the warranty period. They sent me a new light head immediately, no questions asked.
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    I just recently started having to ride in the morning. At 5am it is pretty dark outside. After some research, I went with a Night Rider Lumina 650 for the front. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 This thing is super bright and I am easily able to see where I am headed and what if anything is in the road. On the rear, I went with a Portland Design Works Danger Zone tail light. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Very happy with my purchase.
    Last edited by B8888S; 08-07-13 at 10:47 PM.

  7. #7
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    I bought a $30 headlight from my LBS and it's total junk. I hit a crack in the pavement and the front end, cap and batteries all went flying. I taped it back together and it works but it's just not bright enough for anything over granny speed.

    If you are serious about getting a good light then call Peter White at peterwhitecycles.com. He's pretty much the guru when it comes to bicycle lighting. It might be a bit pricey (say $100) but you'll get a light that is USB rechargeable, that actually lights the road in front of you and is set-up so that it doesn't blind oncoming traffic. His website has photos of different headlights beams in the dark, which is very enlightening.

    http://peterwhitecycles.com/headlights.asp
    Currently riding a 1995 Trek 730 Multitrack converted to 26" wheels.

  8. #8
    Hey Charlie Pedal Faster
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    Quote Originally Posted by donalson View Post
    I've got a knock off china CREE XML LED head lamp MagicShine knock off http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    its bright (although doesn't put off as much as it claims) and cheap... I wouldn't use it off road without a second AND figuring out a better mount system, as it stands they use a rubber band and just on road chatter/bumps it will slowly rotate and point down at the street... I use it in blink mode on the street until dark... it's made my late eve rides doable (it's hot in TX and i'm not a morning person)


    also check out mtbr.com they've got a great section for headlights (both DIY and prebuilt)... tons of options

    I just got one of these used on a 22mile night bike ride on unlit streets. Worked great.

  9. #9
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starkmojo View Post
    I just got one of these used on a 22mile night bike ride on unlit streets. Worked great.
    ya they are nice for the street... plenty of light from it even on low
    mtbr clyd moderator

  10. #10
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    I bought one of these last night:

    http://www.lightandmotion.com/bike/urban550.html

    Used it this morning. Worked well, but there were walkers/joggers on the trail in the dark and it seemed to piss them off when they were coming at me. Is there some sort of dark trail head light etiquette? The upshot was when coming from behind I didn't have to yell as they looked back and moved over when they saw the light shooting out in front of them.

    Is 550 lumens on a rechargeable USB battery a decent setup?
    Last edited by Jarrett2; 08-08-13 at 09:07 AM.

  11. #11
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    Then it's doing its job!
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  12. #12
    That guy from the Chi Chitown_Mike's Avatar
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    I have this on the back and a cheapo light on the front. Since I live in a big city with plenty of street lights I don't need a designated "head light" but I want to be seen so I run them on blink mode. I always run the rear on blink when on the road at any time. It's really bright and I like that!

    http://www.amazon.com/Portland-Desig...d+design+works
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

  13. #13
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    For rear, I went with:

    http://www.amazon.com/Cygolite-Hotsh...ef=pd_sim_sg_9

    Very happy with it, too.
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    So do you use these during the day or just for night rides? The salesperson was pushing me to get a rear blinking red light as well, but at this point I'm not doing much road riding much less road riding at night.

  15. #15
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    So do you use these during the day or just for night rides? The salesperson was pushing me to get a rear blinking red light as well, but at this point I'm not doing much road riding much less road riding at night.
    if I'm on the street my rear blinky light is on... its big and super obnoxious... there is no saying that a car didn't see it... they might be able to say it induced a seizure... but that's another story lol
    mtbr clyd moderator

  16. #16
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    I run this one for the rear, bright as crap which is a good thing, 4 modes. 2 blink and 2 solid at different power output. The 2nd mode is my fav when alone at night, it puts out a nice flood of red light behind the bike about 8 ft long and 4ft wide plus a strobe pattern. #1 mode is what I'd use in the day if fog or rain is near.

    $30 but is usb rechargeable
    http://www.niterider.com/solas-2-wat...le-tail-light/

  17. #17
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    I agree. I use it on the street almost always. Never on the MUP, unless at night.

    We have a local century coming up in just over a week. It will be almost all streets, with some in a construction zone on the 101 (Highway on the coast North of Los Angeles). I'll be running mine AND my wife's Hotshot on that ride. Sorry, I'll be Uber-Fred if it means being seen.
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  18. #18
    That guy from the Chi Chitown_Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
    Sorry, I'll be Uber-Fred if it means being seen.
    Truth. I'd rather be purposely seen than become part of an accident scene.

    I light that my rear light is very bright even in the day and seizure inducing like Donalson's light.
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

  19. #19
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corwin1968 View Post
    If you are serious about getting a good light then call Peter White at peterwhitecycles.com. He's pretty much the guru when it comes to bicycle lighting. It might be a bit pricey (say $100) but you'll get a light that is USB rechargeable, that actually lights the road in front of you and is set-up so that it doesn't blind oncoming traffic. His website has photos of different headlights beams in the dark, which is very enlightening.

    http://peterwhitecycles.com/headlights.asp
    I'll second this recommendation. Most of my bikes now have dynamo hubs to power the lights all the time, but I do have a backup battery-powered LED taillight on each bike, and for the two bikes without dynamos, I use a Busch & Müller Ixon IQ battery-operated light. It's not cheap, but it's designed to light up the path ahead of you without blinding oncoming cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians. The beam is shaped like a car's low beam, with a cutoff, and it throws light evenly across the entire path, instead of having a bright spot right in front of the bike as with many cheaper lights.

    If you're doing this kind of ride on a daily basis, consider a dynamo light. B&M's Lyt light (about $40) is fine for use on trails where you won't be competing with car lights; for around $200 you can get a good front wheel with a Shimano dynamo hub. There's a large initial outlay, but for me, it's worth the expense to know that my lights will simply work, without having to worry about keeping batteries charged.
    Public accountability: my Beeminder weight loss graph.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Lanovran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    ...there were walkers/joggers on the trail in the dark and it seemed to piss them off when they were coming at me....

    Is 550 lumens on a rechargeable USB battery a decent setup?
    I have the same light, and I love it. Rechargeable + waterproof + easy mounting + bright as heck = I am a fan! If the joggers are getting ticked off at you, perhaps you have the light aimed a bit too high up? Are you using it in high, mid, or low mode? I find that the lower level of light is pretty sufficient even late at night in the city, so I've only rarely ever used the highest brightness mode.

  21. #21
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    On a dark trail, you actually need less light than a rider on the street. Your eyes adapt quickly and you can see the trail with a less bright headlight. I run my headlight on 1/4 power, which is about 250 lumens. It's better to point it downward so you don't shine as much light into the eyes of oncoming bikers or walkers.

    Dark rural roads need less light, too, until a car comes the other way and crests over a slight rise in the road. Then the road is very dark, but there's a bright light in your eyes from the car. A strong bike light pointed down toward the road makes a big difference.

    In the city, street lights limit your night vision, and there's still dark sections on every road. And you need brighter lights so the cars will see you. I run my 1000 lumen Dinotte at full power, so there's a pool of light on the road in front of me.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Lights that list their brightness in lumens (instead of watts) tend to be higher quality lights.

    For trails only, and limited slower speed (maybe 12-14 mph max) riding in the street: A self-contained, rechargeable light with a minimum of about 200 lumens would work great. You can run it on blink when riding on the street before sunset, too.

    For general riding on the street, at least 500-600 lumens is a good goal. I used to ride with much less light, but it's not nearly as good. Self-contained lights may have smaller batteries, for a shorter run time on high power. The lights with separate battery packs and a cord usually can go for more hours at a time.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 08-08-13 at 07:42 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanovran View Post
    I have the same light, and I love it. Rechargeable + waterproof + easy mounting + bright as heck = I am a fan! If the joggers are getting ticked off at you, perhaps you have the light aimed a bit too high up? Are you using it in high, mid, or low mode? I find that the lower level of light is pretty sufficient even late at night in the city, so I've only rarely ever used the highest brightness mode.
    I've been rolling full blast. This morning I came up with an idea to just roll the light down towards my tire if I have oncoming walkers/joggers. They didn't complain today. I'm really digging the light though. It gives me confidence to run 16-17 MPH on a dark, wooded trail with no surprises.

  23. #23
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    I've been rolling full blast. This morning I came up with an idea to just roll the light down towards my tire if I have oncoming walkers/joggers. They didn't complain today. I'm really digging the light though. It gives me confidence to run 16-17 MPH on a dark, wooded trail with no surprises.
    I'll drop my hand over the light head for oncoming pedestrians on a dark trail. Just trying to be courteous.
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  24. #24
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    Just a heads-up for anyone wanting a rear light - the cygolite hotshot is an Amazon Cyber Monday Week deal starting tomorrow (TUESDAY) at 2:40 pm Pacific. It's not saying what the price will be, but if you're in the market, may be worth a look.

    Linky
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  25. #25
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Rear blinky lights are cheap... I have quite a few and now generally ride with them day and night... I've started riding road with a front strobe... just too many bike related deaths where I live... that said, I like Nightrider products - I have a Lumina 650 and two Lumina 700's. I only use one light when night riding on bike trail but if I mountain bike, I use all three with two on the handlebars and one on the helmet. I'm thinking of getting an even bigger light... but I need to justify the expense...

    Also when riding a multi use trail I generally point the light to the right; not straight ahead so not to blind runners and other riders... night riding is becoming very popular... also a note: please wear bright clothing... I don't get the obsession people have with wearing ninja black at night; especially runners!
    ______________________________________________________________

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