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Old 06-05-06, 06:38 AM   #1
Big_joe_euro
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The honest truth about high powered LED lights

I'm interested in spending a decent sum on a good rechargealbe LED light to get to & from work. While there are heaps of 12 volt Halogen lights - all claiming long battery life and massive beam spread- the most recent reviews I have read appear to lean toward the newest LED technology particularly for battery life and robustness. I understand that some of the more progressive lights are bringing out 3, and 5 watt LED lights in the coming 12 months?

My gripe is that they all seem to be over USD350 - I can't believe they cost too much to make?

Any crystal balling on the future of lights suitalbe for a hard core commuter / road trainer?

thanks
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Old 06-05-06, 07:09 AM   #2
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IMO, LED lights are a good price/performance ratio at the very bottom of the spectrum...in the $50 or less range. Above that, there are lights that offer similar performance for similar cash....but offer better off-axis lighting, something LEDs cannot do well by nature.

At $350....look at HID lights....nothing else. I bought my Blowtorch 2.0 for $300, and that thing is retardedly bright, as in brighter than the headlights of some cars....and I get 4hr burn times on the water bottle battery. I heard that there are a few sales going on under $300 for a few Niterider models right now online....so go look around.

Oh, and Light & Motion has a "better" HID than niterider...as in more light spread. However, as bright as HID lights are, I am afraid of blinding motorists with it, so I actually do think the Niterider is "better" in that sense, being that it has a softer off-axis light spread, while having a nearly daylight intense beam straight ahead.
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Old 06-05-06, 07:13 AM   #3
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Also try searching the Forums for earlier threads discussing pros and cons of various bulb types (LED vs. HID vs. halogen).

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Old 06-05-06, 07:44 AM   #4
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LED systems do not cost that much to make. If you look at the bare components used in those things, you will see that there are at most $50 worth of parts. It probably costs them another $30 to manufacture in China, then they turn around and sell their super-fly light system for a nice tidy 200% profit.

At least, that's the opinion of a pessimistic DIY-er...
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Old 06-05-06, 07:52 AM   #5
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3w luxeon leds cost ~$10 ea RETAIL.

4amp-hr li ion batteries go for ~$40.

these expensive LED lamps are for the more-money-than-brains crowd.

while they do put out some nice white light, theyre not THAT bright. a cheap mr11 or mr16 light is probably going to work better for a commuter.

and as earlier poster stated, if you've got 300 bucks for lights you should look at hid.
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Old 06-05-06, 08:26 AM   #6
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I've had good luck with plain old ordinary rechargeable AA batteries in my LED headlight.
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Old 06-05-06, 08:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker333
3w luxeon leds cost ~$10 ea RETAIL.

4amp-hr li ion batteries go for ~$40.

these expensive LED lamps are for the more-money-than-brains crowd.

while they do put out some nice white light, theyre not THAT bright. a cheap mr11 or mr16 light is probably going to work better for a commuter.

and as earlier poster stated, if you've got 300 bucks for lights you should look at hid.
All this talk about lights made me wish I waited to buy, until I saw this tidbit. I paid $122.50 for my Cateye Doubleshot off of ebay, brand new in box! This seems like a STEAL now. As for the light, I am VERY happy with it, I use it ONLY on road/paved trail, but have found that I can easily go at average daylight pace without a worry. It is also quite light and robust. I give it :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Based upon reviews found on BF, I felt this light would be the best; it comes with helmet mount as well (I prefer the handlebar meself).

Good luck with the purchase!

Kerry
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Old 06-05-06, 08:42 AM   #8
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The truth about LED's ?

HID's are more efficent, more light, better run time. In a few years an HID bulb could wear out from the number of hours or the number of starts, but they take lots of abuse, like 24 hour off road racing. The light is not ruined when the bulb wears out, you just replace the bulb.

See the first post in the thread "light selection guide" for more infomation and links to nightime beam photos of all kinds of lights. It has an excellent comparison of the pro's and con's of different bulb types.
There is even a chart that lets you compare price, run time, power, etc. of different lights.
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Old 06-05-06, 08:57 AM   #9
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batteryspace.com has HIDs complete with LiIon batteries for $220. Nothing will make you as happy as an HID. I have one of theirs and if it died I'd order another before I took my shower after the ride.
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Old 06-05-06, 10:03 AM   #10
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Way down the road I expect to see some MR16 and MR11 LED bulbs with 20 to 32 separate low-power emitters in them built into a bike headlight. To have much higher efficiency then 3 and 5 watt single LEDs. And a better life span then the HID bulbs. I am a DIY type with a 50 watt system that blows enough light out to the sides to make heavy night traffic fun.
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Old 06-05-06, 09:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken cummings
Way down the road I expect to see some MR16 and MR11 LED bulbs with 20 to 32 separate low-power emitters in them built into a bike headlight. To have much higher efficiency then 3 and 5 watt single LEDs. And a better life span then the HID bulbs. I am a DIY type with a 50 watt system that blows enough light out to the sides to make heavy night traffic fun.

Halogen/LED combos have been on the market for a few years.
Check the Lupine lights product web pages.

http://www.lupine.de/en/products/products.html

The Otto 8 is a combo light, just what you are talking about.
They also have a 4x3 watt LED light too, brighter than any other LED bike lights.

I've seen others too, another really nice one was from Supernova . I think they have an LED and
HID combo too. http://www.supernova-lights.com/en/index.html

The Lupine HID light is equal to 65 watts halogen. It's brighter than my MR16 50 watt light, and my 55watt car headlights. And has a nicer beam shape too. You can pick from two beam widths. Supernova has a light that is much more powerful than the Lupine HID.

Lupine………. Wilma 8 4x3W LED ………………. Otto 8 25W SR 12° 3W LED
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Old 06-06-06, 01:06 AM   #12
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^^^ The above lights are all well out of the price range of the average biker. They are from 500 to over 1000 dollars apeice.

I'm quite happy with the Cateye Triple Shot. It has a nice bright light that is of a tempture that doesn't get washed out easily by street lights. I've found that with the white light of LED's I can see much better than with the yellowish light of halogen. I suspect this is because of the high pressure sodium street lights here which give a yellowish light, thus blending with the halogen. The white LED light gives a very nice contrast.

Battery life with the Triple Shot is decent too.

It can be found for 229 euro at the following link.
http://www.bike-components.de/catalo...da481ee0948c8e
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Old 06-06-06, 05:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Any crystal balling on the future of lights suitalbe for a hard core commuter / road trainer?
I think the future is dynamo-powered LED. Dynamo hub with Solidlights 1203D. There is a review here and some comments and comparaison with the Lumotec at the cyclingplus forum (search for 1203D). Very expensive but it's a "install and forget" thing. No bulb to change, no battery to charge, ever. Peter White sells Inoled brand.
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Old 06-06-06, 05:18 AM   #14
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The Cateye Doubleshot has a brighter spot (intended as the helmet mount light of the combo) and the Triple puts out more light, but as a wide flood so does not seem as bright.

So if you ride in pitch black like forest trails, then I prefer lights like the double on my helmet to let me scan the terrain, but in more developed areas, the flood may suit you better. The double is also preferred by a couple of road riders I know because from the handlebar it focuses a long beam of light on the road and allows them to ride at speed when out on country roads (we have reduced winter daylight here at the moment)

Actually, both together would make an excellent combo, but my girlfriend would have to agree to a rasie in my 'allowance'.
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Old 06-06-06, 05:21 AM   #15
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The ones that 2manybikes has, maybe, cause he's a rich mofo. But for the rest of us poor folk, roughly 1/3rd of the people so far in this thread have a high powered HID light. Do the exchange rates on $229 euro and you'll have a HID light too.
A decent one.. that's not stuck on by velcro and duct tape.. yea yea you batteryspace users are happy, I get it, I have plenty of friends happy driving a hyundai too, it's just as comfortable as a civic or camry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
^^^ The above lights are all well out of the price range of the average biker. They are from 500 to over 1000 dollars apeice.

I'm quite happy with the Cateye Triple Shot. It has a nice bright light that is of a tempture that doesn't get washed out easily by street lights. I've found that with the white light of LED's I can see much better than with the yellowish light of halogen. I suspect this is because of the high pressure sodium street lights here which give a yellowish light, thus blending with the halogen. The white LED light gives a very nice contrast.

Battery life with the Triple Shot is decent too.

It can be found for 229 euro at the following link.
http://www.bike-components.de/catalo...da481ee0948c8e
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Old 06-06-06, 05:22 AM   #16
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You're a grown man, you can buy your own toys. Does she really want to put a price on your health and safety?

Quote:
Originally Posted by radical_edward
Actually, both together would make an excellent combo, but my girlfriend would have to agree to a rasie in my 'allowance'.
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Old 06-06-06, 05:44 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_joe_euro
My gripe is that they all seem to be over USD350 - I can't believe they cost too much to make?
No way am I spending more on a light than I did on my bike.
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Old 06-06-06, 05:46 AM   #18
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Thanks to everyone who has provided their thoughts on the LED issues and costs involved.

I'm still interested to know if anyone believes that the new 7watt and 12 watt LEDS expected before the end of the year - will be the way of the future?

I heard that KNOG from Australia is bringing out a new high powered light - launched at the taipei fair - they are the guys that make the silicon frog light-

any news would be great!

thanks

Big Joe
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Old 06-06-06, 06:12 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
You're a grown man, you can buy your own toys. Does she really want to put a price on your health and safety?


I do already have an extreme amount of wattage, but of the SLA/halogen bulb type. I am experimenting with home made LED clusters too.
I also have a small SLA/mr11 commuter system as well as all the usual blinkies.

The argument that this whole lot of lights could be superceded by a nifty LED system will come to a swift halt, as I have played the price of saftey card a few too many times. I will likely sneak in the duo over the next few months.

Frankly, I don't blame her for keepng the clutches on my purse strings (we are mutually saving for a number of things). I get a fair amount of bike pocket money, that I can still blow on new rubber and other small components. As well as paying in to our mutual savings, I pay a little extra that we keep track of so I can make big bike purchases now and then. If I don't do this, I would just give it to my LBS in small installments.

I am radical_edward, and I am an addict....

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Old 06-06-06, 06:50 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
A decent one.. that's not stuck on by velcro and duct tape.. yea yea you batteryspace users are happy, I get it, I have plenty of friends happy driving a hyundai too, it's just as comfortable as a civic or camry.
batteryspace.com does still have the individual components for DIY types like me, but they also now have complete kits ready to go, with high speed smart chargers, LiIon packs in bags, proper handlebar or helmet mount, etc.
OK, the switch on the handlebar mount is a little less than totally polished. Still, I'll take it given that it's more than $100 cheaper than the next closest thing, and for the most part (other than I think a custom reflector on one maker's stuff) all HIDs are the same, they all use lamps and electronics from the same manufacturer.
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Old 06-06-06, 07:02 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
batteryspace.com does still have the individual components for DIY types like me, but they also now have complete kits ready to go, with high speed smart chargers, LiIon packs in bags, proper handlebar or helmet mount, etc.
OK, the switch on the handlebar mount is a little less than totally polished. Still, I'll take it given that it's more than $100 cheaper than the next closest thing, and for the most part (other than I think a custom reflector on one maker's stuff) all HIDs are the same, they all use lamps and electronics from the same manufacturer.
Is all that really worth an hour's worth of salary?
I think if I ever go home made, it'll end up costing several times MORE than what's out there since I'll want to have it polished and home made as well as having all the features I want in it.
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Old 06-06-06, 09:27 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
^^^ The above lights are all well out of the price range of the average biker. They are from 500 to over 1000 dollars apeice.

I'm quite happy with the Cateye Triple Shot. It has a nice bright light that is of a tempture that doesn't get washed out easily by street lights. I've found that with the white light of LED's I can see much better than with the yellowish light of halogen. I suspect this is because of the high pressure sodium street lights here which give a yellowish light, thus blending with the halogen. The white LED light gives a very nice contrast.

Battery life with the Triple Shot is decent too.

It can be found for 229 euro at the following link.
http://www.bike-components.de/catalo...da481ee0948c8e

All true. One can spend $1400 if you want to. I also have no problem with the Triple shot light.

However, for the price of a triple shot you can get an HID light that is much brighter and has an hour longer run time. You just get more for your money. That's where the market place is today, HID is a better value. Part of the reason (only part, not all) is HID bulbs are more efficient than LED bulbs, I don't know how that can change.

When I bought my Lupine there were no other bright lights that would go for 7-8 hours, that was a couple of years ago. Now there is a 12 hour Nightrider HID on the market. The most efficient bulb is still the most efficient bulb.
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Old 06-06-06, 09:38 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
Is all that really worth an hour's worth of salary?
I think if I ever go home made, it'll end up costing several times MORE than what's out there since I'll want to have it polished and home made as well as having all the features I want in it.

Don't forget I ordered mine first.


Quote:
Originally Posted by radical_edward
I am radical_edward, and I am am addict....
Meetings at my house Wed. night at 7:00 pm. Bring snacks.
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Old 06-06-06, 09:50 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manybikes
Don't forget I ordered mine first.




Meetings at my house Wed. night at 7:00 pm. Bring snacks.
Is it ok if I get there a bit late? It takes a while to chew through the restraints.
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Old 06-06-06, 10:06 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
Is all that really worth an hour's worth of salary?
I think if I ever go home made, it'll end up costing several times MORE than what's out there since I'll want to have it polished and home made as well as having all the features I want in it.
Hmm, I don't make $100 an hour. Also, depends on your frame of mind. I'll always prefer to own something that I made myself, regardless of how it looks, as long as it performs OK, and even if in the end it costs the same. I prefer to create more than consume.
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