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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 08-21-05, 09:10 PM   #1
EastCoastCoder
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Headlights in the dark

Is a Planet Bike Bright Spot 3 good enough for night commuting (on some poorly lit side streets)? If not, I can still exchange it - but then I need some advice on which light to order
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Old 08-22-05, 05:27 AM   #2
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Probably not. You need a "real" light to see on dark, poorly lighted streets.
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Old 08-22-05, 06:05 AM   #3
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Don't like any of them. best is
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

Swap for something else. I think their lights are to be seen but not to see while riding at night.
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Old 08-22-05, 08:47 AM   #4
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What's the cheapest light I can get that is good enough?
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Old 08-22-05, 09:05 AM   #5
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Define "poorly lit"? How fast do you want to go?

I have a CatEye 3-LED light that's mostly a be-seen light, but it provides some path illumination when necessary, including some sections of unlit and poorly lit multi-use path. However, I do have to pay very close attention and/or slow down considerably.

I have no problems on the street.
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Old 08-22-05, 09:09 AM   #6
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See all the gory details at http://www.mtbr.com/spotlight/lightshootout/

Bottom line: cheap lights == slower speeds at night. better lights == faster speeds at night.
So choice between low cost or low riding speed. Nothing to prevent you from starting with a weaker light and when get funds change light and enjoy the extra speed that new light allows.

I think most of us compromise on lights at first and slow down until we can afford the top $400 to $500 lights.

My take on the best:
Nightrider 50. $50, 7 watts, good for 10-12 mph

Light and Motion Commuter, $80, 10 watts, good to 15 mph
http://www.nashbar.com/results.cfm?c...it=y&pagename=

Performance duo, $150 10+20 watts, good to 20 mph
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=4320

Light & Motion Lion, $470, good to 25 mph
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=4320

When you're ready for the top end lights and can handle the speed, then study carefully the light comparison pages. Good sales can be found in the winter as bike stores regularly have specials in the middle of winter as most don't bike then and don't visit the stores.

Until then, do as most of us do and get the best you can for your current budget. Don't forgot the cheapest initial cost could turn out to be expensive as you have to keep on buying disposable batteries. Cheaper than fuelling up a car, but still a nuisance. If you can get rechargeable battery, that's the most economical way to go.

Good luck.
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Old 08-22-05, 09:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
See all the gory details at http://www.mtbr.com/spotlight/lightshootout/

Bottom line: cheap lights == slower speeds at night. better lights == faster speeds at night.
So choice between low cost or low riding speed. Nothing to prevent you from starting with a weaker light and when get funds change light and enjoy the extra speed that new light allows.

I think most of us compromise on lights at first and slow down until we can afford the top $400 to $500 lights.

My take on the best:
Nightrider 50. $50, 7 watts, good for 10-12 mph

Light and Motion Commuter, $80, 10 watts, good to 15 mph
http://www.nashbar.com/results.cfm?c...it=y&pagename=

Performance duo, $150 10+20 watts, good to 20 mph
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=4320

Light & Motion Lion, $470, good to 25 mph
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=4320

When you're ready for the top end lights and can handle the speed, then study carefully the light comparison pages. Good sales can be found in the winter as bike stores regularly have specials in the middle of winter as most don't bike then and don't visit the stores.

Until then, do as most of us do and get the best you can for your current budget. Don't forgot the cheapest initial cost could turn out to be expensive as you have to keep on buying disposable batteries. Cheaper than fuelling up a car, but still a nuisance. If you can get rechargeable battery, that's the most economical way to go.

Good luck.

Good post, the link to the light comparison photos is what most people want to see I think. There are many lights reviewed at mtbrider.

All good lights, there are other good lights too.

I want to reinforce the rechargeable battery idea. Over the cost of one season or even less you may save money compared to using replaceable batteries. The more you ride at night the more you save going rechargeable.

I did what almost everyone does, just like you describe, I upgraded over time to better, more expensive lights. In hindsight I would have saved a bunch of money, if I bought a better light earlier on. For some reason that is not human nature. If I just went out and bought a 10w HID first I would have saved enough to but another one.

I get all the mail order catalogues. It seems that most of the time Performance Bike, and Nashbar have a decent rechargeable halogen light in the "Sale" section of the catalogue for a reduced price.
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Old 08-23-05, 03:34 PM   #8
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Most LED's are under powered and inadequate for night use other then to be seen. You can get a Cygolite Metro that has 13 watts of power but useds 6 D bats (either throwaways or rechargeable) for only $48; or step up to the Rover NiMh Extra that has 16 watts rechargeable but cost $78.

I have the Metro and like it just fine.
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Old 08-23-05, 04:16 PM   #9
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I just bought a 10 watt road rat made by nite rider on performance. Love it. I bought one of those LED lights as a backup. Let's just say I hope I never need it (way too dim). I only paid $60.00 for my halogen light. Good deal.
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Old 08-23-05, 04:22 PM   #10
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Tomorrow I should be receiving at work the $150 (for less) Performance light linked by HiYo (I love online coupons...). The way things are going at work it looks like I need today. <grubmle>
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Old 08-23-05, 04:26 PM   #11
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Enjoy. The earlier versions of this light had problems with the connector between the battery and the light being too lose. Now it is very tight. You might think you need a pliers to disconnect but a jiggle back and forth will do the trick and no pliers is needed.
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Old 08-23-05, 06:39 PM   #12
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I'd recommend a http://www.zyro.co.uk/lupine/products.asp?code=LUNMLI for your helmet light and a http://www.bikelights.com/Products/arc_liion_ultra.htm x2 for your standard handle bar lights. Now, this might not be enough to shut down solar powered streetlights in your area so you could (with minimal weight) add this 12v badboy http://www.creativevideo.co.uk/gimme..._ultradaylight. The only issue you might have is mounting, but I'm positive someone here could help you jerry rig something. That's a combined, what, 50 watts of HID lighting power. Now, go forth and ride at the 50 miles per hour you do during the day with your safe lighting (*sarcasm*)

I'd recommend the Lights and Motion light honestly, although I think if you were to set up with what I suggested you'd not only get a ticket, guaranteed - you'd also have every UFO fatalist following you and trying to shoot a picture of your flying saucer (considering I think you'd create a star burst in your region with that kind of lighting).

Another high point, reptiles would follow you thinking you were the sun! See, now you'll be a god! Ra.
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Old 08-23-05, 06:42 PM   #13
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Wait, I found a better helmet light!

http://www.modulom.com/english/prodotti/shine150.html

Now, you'll be seen and see!
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Old 08-23-05, 08:17 PM   #14
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I'm super new to biking yet and my headlight isn't even here yet, but for what it's worth I spent like five hours on Sunday reading message boards and reviews and all kinds of stuff before I settled on this:

http://www.bikemannetwork.com/biking...THEDCYG/LT7804

The next choice would have been the Light and Motion Commuter, but for about 20 more bucks I got a double light with 15 more watts!
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Old 08-23-05, 08:52 PM   #15
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I have a Careye EL300 light on the handle bars and a Plinet Bike spot at the bottom of the left fork. The light on the bottom of the fork gives good light imediately in front of me, and the one on the bars gives some light further out. This gives enough light for 12 mph in the dark. I may add another on the other fork. These lights are not expensive or heavy, and are cheap on batteries.
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Old 08-24-05, 12:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Enjoy. The earlier versions of this light had problems with the connector between the battery and the light being too lose. Now it is very tight. You might think you need a pliers to disconnect but a jiggle back and forth will do the trick and no pliers is needed.
Got it a couple of hours ago and boy are you right. Tight squeeze there, but not "OMG am I gonna break this" tight. It was a bit of task to get the thing mounted on the Dahon, let me tell you. I'm not 100% certain I like the mounting (the battery placement being at issue) but I don't have much choice. I could use another Velcro strap or two (I guess I'll get some locally). Pics to follow when I get a chance, I suppose. I like how the mounting bracket for the lights themselves allow me to put them almost directly in the middle of the handlebars.
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Old 08-24-05, 01:20 PM   #17
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I've got one of these:
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...TOKEN=37704918

I'm quite pleased with it. Plenty of light to see with,single compact unit,waterproof,good battery life,common AA batteries(you can use rechargable ones),and way cheaper than those halogen jobs. Plus for the same price you get a red blinky included.
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Old 08-24-05, 01:47 PM   #18
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I've been using the Performance Viewpoint dual setup for about a year now (most during the winter but I also enjoy riding at night in the summer). 90% of the time I've used it, I've been only using the 10W bulb. With that amount of light, I've felt comfortable on all but the fastest downhills. The 4 hour runtime they quote is real and may be conservation. I've gone at least 3.5 hours without having to recharge. The setup is reasonably light and I can make the battery pack fit on my frame along with my Road Morph pump and two water bottles. It's tight but it works (54cm compact frame). Extra velcro straps would be nice but I just use a large twist tie (came on some computer stuff I bought) to hold the extra battery wiring to the frame. The plug for the battery is very tight. I have a small flat blade screwdriver that I use to pry it apart. I would replace it with a sealed automotive connector but if it ever breaks, I don't want my warranty voided. I'd recommend this light, especially in lieu of the 20% coupons out there (I paid around $100 for mine during a sale last fall). If I see the same deal again I'll be buying another setup so I don't need to swap it between my commuter and road bike and I can always have a charged battery then.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-24-05, 02:50 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Don't like any of them. best is
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

Swap for something else. I think their lights are to be seen but not to see while riding at night.
Ya ever seen one of these?
Planet Bike Insight 15 W
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=
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Old 08-24-05, 05:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murel
I'm super new to biking yet and my headlight isn't even here yet, but for what it's worth I spent like five hours on Sunday reading message boards and reviews and all kinds of stuff before I settled on this:

http://www.bikemannetwork.com/biking...THEDCYG/LT7804

The next choice would have been the Light and Motion Commuter, but for about 20 more bucks I got a double light with 15 more watts!
New to cycling and already made a wise buy with that Cygolite 25watt Night Explorer for under $100! Jolly good show.
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