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Old 03-09-17, 12:43 AM   #1
Bikewolf
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Light in darkness

I noticed some bikers seem to have some kind of 'flash light' on the steering wheel of their bike. I believe these are specifically made for bikes. I'd like to add one in order to have a better view on the (distant) road in darkness. Safety concerns really. Something really reliable/durable.

Can anyone give me some advice, experience? Especially, which brand(s) do you recommand?
Rechargable battery or not? Luminosity? ...
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Old 03-09-17, 01:48 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bikewolf View Post
I noticed some bikers seem to have some kind of 'flash light' on the steering wheel of their bike. I believe these are specifically made for bikes. I'd like to add one in order to have a better view on the (distant) road in darkness. Safety concerns really. Something really reliable/durable.

Can anyone give me some advice, experience? Especially, which brand(s) do you recommand?
Rechargable battery or not? Luminosity? ...
Most bikes don't have a "steering wheel." However, there are a lot of choices out there for bicycle lights. One of my favorites has been lights made by a company named "light and motion." Most bike lights have several modes - high, medium, low, and flash. I have a light and motion Urban 850. It is a few years old but still works perfectly. Technology in the lighting industry is developing quickly and prices continue to come down (although you might experience sticker shock if you're a first time buyer - but believe me, it was only a few years ago that we were paying twice the price for half the light.) This is the L&M bicycle light that I would recommend for most riders today for general riding conditions:

Urban 800 Fast Charge - Light & Motion

I use the L&M on my helmet. The front light on my commuter bike is powered by a hub dynamo so that I never worry about batteries. The L&M light referenced above is an enclosed rechargeable lithium battery and has newer technology that allows "fast charging." Lots of lighting discussions in the "electronics, lighting, and gadgets" forum. Be prepared to get lots and lots of different suggestions.
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Old 03-09-17, 02:10 AM   #3
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I like Cateye volt lights. I like their mounts and that I can easily get another mount to put on different bikes. I have the Volt 800 which is plenty of light on the dark road I ride on. I recommend a steady on light and rechargeable if you are riding on a dark road. Flashing works okay on well lit road, IME. Try not to use a slow flash mode as it is really hard for anyone to judge your speed when using that mode.
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Old 03-09-17, 07:41 AM   #4
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You should definitely get some lights. Headlight and red tail light. You have lots of options! Batteries or rechargeable or several kinds of generator, at all levels of price. You can put it on the fork or the handlebars or your helmet.

FWIW, I have the Cygolite combo kit with USB rechargeable head and tail lights,
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Old 03-09-17, 09:13 AM   #5
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As usual with these types of threads, most people recommend what they have, if they like them and it works. I run all Cygolite lighting (Expilion front, 2 Hotshot Pro 80's rear), and besides their performance and features, I highly recommend them because of their excellent mounts. They stay rigid, meaning the lights are always adjusted the same way every time you take one off and put it back on. I DO NOT recommend L&M lights because of their rubber strap mounting methods. In my opinion that's an extremely poor method for mounting lights to a bike.
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Old 03-09-17, 09:24 AM   #6
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FWIW there's a sub forum devoted to lighting and other bike gadgets.

Bike lighting is a big subject in it's own right, and you can spend anything from $10 to hundreds (plural) on bike lighting. If you're serious about lighting the road well enough to ride by, it'll cost real dough. OTOH if you're mainly interested in being seen by oncoming cars then any number of low cost lights will do the trick.
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Old 03-09-17, 09:52 AM   #7
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...it'll cost real dough.
No, it doesn't. $15 to $20 buys a lot of light. The light may not have the polish of higher end lights and perhaps it isn't built to last as long, although this particular light has severed me very well since the fall of 2015. I have others that have been ticking along since about 2010.

But in terms of output, the above are brighter than a lot of very expensive lights. I have an Cygolite Expillion 800 that I purchased for $130 at REI about 4 years ago. The $20 light above is brighter than the Expillion at it's brightest setting. I had a Princeton Tech "be seen" light that I paid $70 for about 10 years ago and the $20 light is about 100 times better.

No, the mounts aren't the best. But there is a work around for that that's not too expensive. I even converted the Expillion to that kind of mount. It drives the cost of the light up to a budget bustin' $35 and a bit of sweat equity.

There's no need to spend "real dough" nor to suffer with "be seen" lights. The above $20 light will not only let you be seen but will let you see where you are going. They are cheap enough that you can gang them up and still come out ahead. I have 2 on the bars and one on a helmet.
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Old 03-09-17, 09:54 AM   #8
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I noticed some bikers seem to have some kind of 'flash light' on the steering wheel of their bike. I believe these are specifically made for bikes. I'd like to add one in order to have a better view on the (distant) road in darkness. Safety concerns really. Something really reliable/durable.

Can anyone give me some advice, experience? Especially, which brand(s) do you recommand?
Rechargable battery or not? Luminosity? ...
There are lights specifically made for bikes, but there are also much cheaper general purpose lights. I use a flashlight like this, and affix it securely to my handlebars with interlocked hose clamps. I find that the zoomable head is able to adjust the beam width so I get coverage I like without wasting light up in the air (bouncing off of street signs) or in drivers' eyes. If you go with a light like that you want to find a kit that comes with a charger and a battery, and then also shop for one or two high-quality 18650 batteries (they're like AAs on steroids) for like $7-10 each, and you should be set for under $30.

Another lower-cost option is a "magicshine clone", like this. The head is very light and goes on the handlebars, and has a power cable going out to the bigger battery case which you attach to your frame somewhere (some people cut the top off a waterbottle and keep it in the bottle cage, maybe along with a patch kit etc). These are bright enough, but have a VERY narrow beam, making a bright circular spot about a foot in diameter ~10ft in front of you. If you get this you will want to get a spreader lens. That spreads it out either in the wide or long direction (depending how you rotate it in there), according to your preference.

If you're riding at night you will also want a bright red blinking tail light. It's easier to get something decent for not much $ here, since you only need light to be seen, not light to see by. I've used PlanetBike Blinky, it's pretty good. But I think the favorite light out there is any model Cygolite Hotshot. Very much worth the $30-ish they cost.
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Old 03-09-17, 11:17 AM   #9
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As usual with these types of threads, most people recommend what they have, if they like them and it works. I run all Cygolite lighting (Expilion front, 2 Hotshot Pro 80's rear), and besides their performance and features, I highly recommend them because of their excellent mounts. They stay rigid, meaning the lights are always adjusted the same way every time you take one off and put it back on. I DO NOT recommend L&M lights because of their rubber strap mounting methods. In my opinion that's an extremely poor method for mounting lights to a bike.
I haven't had any problems with the L&M rubber strap. In fact I like it because it is so easy on, easy off. Great for charging. Transfers between different bikes and helmet without any additional mounts or hardware. What problems have you had or foresee?
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Old 03-09-17, 11:31 AM   #10
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Lezyne Mega Drive on handlebars, Cygolite Hotshot Micro and Hotshot Pro on seatpost, NiteRider Lumina Flare 650 front and rear light on helmet.

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Old 03-09-17, 11:55 AM   #11
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I'm perfectly happy with Chinese lights costing $30. I'm also pretty happy with my Cygolite Metro 550. But I doubt someone who has only just discovered that there's such a thing as bike lights is likely to want to dosh out $50+ for a headlight.
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Old 03-09-17, 12:04 PM   #12
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I'm perfectly happy with Chinese lights costing $30. I'm also pretty happy with my Cygolite Metro 550. But I doubt someone who has only just discovered that there's such a thing as bike lights is likely to want to dosh out $50+ for a headlight.
I have had the Chinese lights, they are plenty bright. My issues with those lights has been with them changing modes or going off when I hit the slightest of bumps. I've also had problems with battery packs and some the individual rechargeable lithium cells. Also, I found that the very bright light spills all over and can be annoying to oncoming riders or traffic.
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Old 03-09-17, 12:04 PM   #13
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No, it doesn't. $15 to $20 buys a lot of light. The light may not have the polish of higher end lights and perhaps it isn't built to last as long, although this particular light has severed me very well since the fall of 2015. I have others that have been ticking along since about 2010.

But in terms of output, the above are brighter than a lot of very expensive lights. I have an Cygolite Expillion 800 that I purchased for $130 at REI about 4 years ago. The $20 light above is brighter than the Expillion at it's brightest setting. I had a Princeton Tech "be seen" light that I paid $70 for about 10 years ago and the $20 light is about 100 times better.

No, the mounts aren't the best. But there is a work around for that that's not too expensive. I even converted the Expillion to that kind of mount. It drives the cost of the light up to a budget bustin' $35 and a bit of sweat equity.

There's no need to spend "real dough" nor to suffer with "be seen" lights. The above $20 light will not only let you be seen but will let you see where you are going. They are cheap enough that you can gang them up and still come out ahead. I have 2 on the bars and one on a helmet.
I think a more appropriate statement would be: if you want a light to see by, that is also self-contained and easily moved between bikes, it will cost real dough. I like to use one light to see with, and I like that I only have to deal with one (forward) light that needs to be charged, that I can easily move between bikes with additional mounts, and can be easily removed and thrown into my charging station box for charging.

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I haven't had any problems with the L&M rubber strap. In fact I like it because it is so easy on, easy off. Great for charging. Transfers between different bikes and helmet without any additional mounts or hardware. What problems have you had or foresee?
I keep my lights specifically aimed so as to reduce or eliminate blinding of motorists and other road users. I don't want to have to mess with that over and over again every time I mount the light or move it to other bikes. Cygolite mounts fit that requirement very nicely, and they are easy to tighten and STAY tightened. I've had cheap bike light mounts that always want to come loose. The Cygolite mount never comes loose. The light also doesn't vibrate or bounce around, like my BT speaker does with a rubber strap mount.
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Old 03-09-17, 12:21 PM   #14
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Helmet bungee-cord mounted Cree flashlight.
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Old 03-09-17, 01:51 PM   #15
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I think a more appropriate statement would be: if you want a light to see by, that is also self-contained and easily moved between bikes, it will cost real dough. I like to use one light to see with, and I like that I only have to deal with one (forward) light that needs to be charged, that I can easily move between bikes with additional mounts, and can be easily removed and thrown into my charging station box for charging.



I keep my lights specifically aimed so as to reduce or eliminate blinding of motorists and other road users. I don't want to have to mess with that over and over again every time I mount the light or move it to other bikes. Cygolite mounts fit that requirement very nicely, and they are easy to tighten and STAY tightened. I've had cheap bike light mounts that always want to come loose. The Cygolite mount never comes loose. The light also doesn't vibrate or bounce around, like my BT speaker does with a rubber strap mount.
The rubber strap on my L&M is really tight. I have no problem with it bouncing around. It is my secondary light and mounted on my helmet. It pivots very easily so I can reach up and turn it to the side to keep the beam out of the eyes of oncoming riders on the MUP. Pivot back when they have passed.
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Old 03-09-17, 02:58 PM   #16
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Sorry, didn’t notice there was a sub forum (me newbie). And ‘handlebar’ is what I meant, of course.

Thank you all for your sound advice.
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Old 03-09-17, 03:47 PM   #17
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still love my original magicshine

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Old 03-09-17, 04:05 PM   #18
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I think a more appropriate statement would be: if you want a light to see by, that is also self-contained and easily moved between bikes, it will cost real dough. I like to use one light to see with, and I like that I only have to deal with one (forward) light that needs to be charged, that I can easily move between bikes with additional mounts, and can be easily removed and thrown into my charging station box for charging.
Self-contained? I haven't really seen the need nor do I find the Expillion to be superior to the other lights I use. It certainly doesn't have the run time of the Magicshine clones and, at $135 per, even I can't justify having more than one of them. The o-ring mount on the Magicshine (and clones) works and it's easy to move from bike to bike but, I do agree that there are better mounts out there. The Mawri mount that I linked to is far superior even to the Cygolite mount which is why I converted my Expillion over to the Mawri mount.

The Mawri mounts cost about $10 each. Even with 4 bikes with 2 mounts each on them, that's only an extra $40. A helmet mount costs about $5 so, all in, I've spent about $100 for lights and mounts. I still have 3 lights that are brighter than the Expillion for less money.
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Old 03-09-17, 04:10 PM   #19
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The o-ring mount on the Magicshine (and clones) works and it's easy to move from bike to bike
The heads on those things are feather light, so an O-ring is quite sufficient to hold it still. All the weight is in the battery pack which gets situated elsewhere.
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Old 03-09-17, 08:12 PM   #20
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Self-contained? I haven't really seen the need nor do I find the Expillion to be superior to the other lights I use. It certainly doesn't have the run time of the Magicshine clones and, at $135 per, even I can't justify having more than one of them. The o-ring mount on the Magicshine (and clones) works and it's easy to move from bike to bike but, I do agree that there are better mounts out there. The Mawri mount that I linked to is far superior even to the Cygolite mount which is why I converted my Expillion over to the Mawri mount.

The Mawri mounts cost about $10 each. Even with 4 bikes with 2 mounts each on them, that's only an extra $40. A helmet mount costs about $5 so, all in, I've spent about $100 for lights and mounts. I still have 3 lights that are brighter than the Expillion for less money.
Expilion 850 is $90 max, other versions are less. The Metro 850 is less than $60. I don't want to deal with external batteries and wiring, and I find the daytime flash and night pulse modes of the Expilion to be superior to modes on other lights.

They're also designed, engineered and assembled in the USA, which might be important to some people.

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Old 03-10-17, 10:52 AM   #21
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still love my original magicshine

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I use a second generation Magicshine and it's great.
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Old 03-10-17, 11:09 AM   #22
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I've owned a set of the eBay/Chinese CREE lamps with the separate battery pack. While they were quite bright, the battery didn't last very long, requiring a charge twice a day (once at work and once at home). That in itself was a PITA, but then there was the charging wire that failed which required minor surgical splicing, and then the cable from the battery failed, and again, more surgery. The mounting was also a hassle. In the end I just gave up, or rather, it gave up.

I'm currently running two 'self-contained' units. One requires charging once a day as I run that one at full power. The other at night time flash, and then day time flash. Much simpler.

In terms of how much power you need, more is better.
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Old 03-10-17, 11:25 AM   #23
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I've owned a set of the eBay/Chinese CREE lamps with the separate battery pack. While they were quite bright, the battery didn't last very long, requiring a charge twice a day (once at work and once at home). That in itself was a PITA, but then there was the charging wire that failed which required minor surgical splicing, and then the cable from the battery failed, and again, more surgery. The mounting was also a hassle. In the end I just gave up, or rather, it gave up.

I'm currently running two 'self-contained' units. One requires charging once a day as I run that one at full power. The other at night time flash, and then day time flash. Much simpler.

In terms of how much power you need, more is better.
Great example. I just never wanted to deal with all that hassle. My Expilion 700 light is now going into its 4th season, and I still only have to charge it about once per week, depending on how much I use the night pulse mode. Never more than once per round trip commute.
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Old 03-10-17, 11:55 AM   #24
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Expilion 850 is $90 max, other versions are less. The Metro 850 is less than $60. I don't want to deal with external batteries and wiring, and I find the daytime flash and night pulse modes of the Expilion to be superior to modes on other lights.

They're also designed, engineered and assembled in the USA, which might be important to some people.
I beg to differ on the price. The MSRP on the Expilion 850 is $112. I bought mine several years ago and it was more expensive. That said, I still have 3 lights with solid mounts for less (or almost the same) price as a single Expilion. And, as I only run lights on high, my external 2S2P battery pack runs the lights I use at a higher output for longer. The Expilion 850 runs on high for about an hour. I get 2 to 2.5 on an external battery pack.

Frankly, I'll gladly deal with wires to get more run time and much more light. Personally, I only use the Expilion during the transistion times in the fall and spring when I don't need 2 hours of lighting to get to work and, more importantly, back.
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Old 03-10-17, 12:55 PM   #25
PatrickGSR94
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Location: Memphis TN area
Bikes: 2011 Felt Z85 (road/commuter), 2006 Marin Pine Mountain (utility/commuter E-bike), 1995 KHS Alite 1000 (gravel grinder)
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MSRP hah, anyone who pays that is too gullible. The 850 is $90 or less all over the internet. I'm actually thinking of picking up a Metro 850 now that I see it for less than $60. It's basically the same as the Expilion with 2 fewer modes I think, which are 2 modes that I never use. An 850 lumen self-contained light with a great mount for under $60 is a smoking deal.
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