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Old 10-26-06, 10:46 PM   #1
newbojeff
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Adding a helmet light to handlebar-mounted light?

I've been using the Night-Sun Team Issue handlebar mounted lights for years now. It is 10W low-beam and 30W high beam. I've been very satisfied with this light, but a couple of things are making me consider adding a helmet-mounted light:

- Just like I think I should have 2 blinkies in the back in case one goes out, it would make sense to have 2 forward-facing lights.
- The wires from my battery broke where they emerge from the water bottle battery. Would make sense to have a back up light in case one needs repairs.
- Easier to move from bike to bike. Though I may get another Team Issue set to put on a second bike anyway.

It seems to me that if I have 30 W coming from the handlebars, I should have something equally strong coming from the helmet. Does it make sense to add a helmet-mounted HID or is that overkill? Will that significantly improve visibility down the road (beyond the directionality that a helmet-mounted light would provide)?
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Old 10-27-06, 12:58 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by newbojeff
It seems to me that if I have 30 W coming from the handlebars, I should have something equally strong coming from the helmet. Does it make sense to add a helmet-mounted HID or is that overkill? Will that significantly improve visibility down the road (beyond the directionality that a helmet-mounted light would provide)?
30w Helmet lamp would be overkill. I find the helmet lamp usefull and in two ways. I have a 3 strength LED on it so on 1 LED it is fine to see the bars and controls. 3 is fine for doing repairs on the bike. Then there is the halogen spot light. Only good for about 50 yards but ideal for seeing where the Fixed light doesn't illuminate. Surprising thing is that the spot is only a 2w bulb. Perfectly adequate and strong enough.
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Old 10-27-06, 05:26 AM   #3
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I have a ARC HID on the bars and the Dinotte spot on my helmet. It really is a great combination.
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Old 10-27-06, 08:42 AM   #4
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If you ride off-road, a helmet light is a real help because you can look around corners and way down the trail. In traffic, it's easy to accidentally blast people in the eyes with your helmet light, however, so that's a drawback.

If I could have any helmet light, it would be an L&M ARC HID but even a 15-watt halogen with a spot beam is quite a help when off-roading.
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Old 10-27-06, 11:37 AM   #5
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Mech, you've thought about this alot. I'm only on-road. Would you add the L&M ARC HID in my situation? Let's assume that money is a moderate obstacle (though having better lighting is an easy sell to my wife). Is there a more "modest" helmet light you'd consider?
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Old 10-27-06, 12:24 PM   #6
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I have the same headlights as you. In the near future, I plan on adding a Petzl Tikka XP (~$45 US) headlamp and running it on flash mode during my commute.

With its 1 watt LED it's plenty bright, and useful for aiming at side street traffic, fixing a flat, etc.

Plus, it will also be useful for backpacking, night runs, etc.

Last edited by SSP; 10-27-06 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 10-27-06, 01:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbojeff
Mech, you've thought about this alot. I'm only on-road. Would you add the L&M ARC HID in my situation? Let's assume that money is a moderate obstacle (though having better lighting is an easy sell to my wife). Is there a more "modest" helmet light you'd consider?
For on-road, I'd put the best light on the handlebar. One way that you can see obstacles is the shadows that they cast, right? Bright object with dark shadow = high contrast, easy to see. Well, a light that's above your eyes won't cast visible shadows on stuff lying on the ground, or on potholes.

I see this all the time when using both types of lights off-road... when the bar-mounted light hits a rocky section of trail, it shows the rocks well because of the shadows they cast. The helmet light doesn't.

Counterpoint: stuff suspended above the trail, like a log that's 1-2 feet above the ground, will show shadows from a helmet light. But for road riding, you're mainly up against potholes and random debris right on the ground, thus the bar-mounted light makes more sense to me.

There's also that problem I mentioned about antagonizing people with your helmet light. I have to turn my head a little to see in my helmet mirror, and I have to time it to match breaks in oncoming traffic so I don't beam anyone. An L&M ARC would be pretty harsh to get beamed with.
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Old 10-27-06, 03:11 PM   #8
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Thanks. What would you use for a helmet light if you've already got something good on the bars, as I do?
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Old 10-27-06, 03:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by newbojeff
Thanks. What would you use for a helmet light if you've already got something good on the bars, as I do?
For traffic riding? None, actually. Anything good enough to seriously improve my vision (like a powerful halogen or an HID) is also a double-edged sword that I have to be careful where I point it. I'd put the additional light on the handlebars. I've actually done that with my HID and my 32W halogen sometimes for road riding.
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Old 10-27-06, 03:50 PM   #10
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I don't think that a helmet light is overkill. I've commuted for about three years with an Arc on the handlebars and a Niterider Cyclone HID on my helmet. I don't think it's too much light, I've never killed anyone with it and I like that people see me coming. Another good thing (besides what's already been mentioned) about a helmet light is it's helpful if you need to fix a flat or other mechanical in the dark.

This year I'm riding without a camelback so I'm just going with the Arc on the bars, Schmidt dynohub for an LED headlight and fender taillight, LDL1000 on seatpost, Planet Bike blinky back of the helmet and finally a little Cat Eye EL120 for the helmet to be seen above parked cars and fences by oncoming side traffic.

(Edit) Oops, forgot... OP if you have 10/30 watt halogen lighting on the bars you should probably go with 10-15 watts halogen on the helmet. I don't think it's good for the helmet light to overpower the bar light. Eventually, the next thing would be to upgrade the bar light to HID.

Last edited by Duggle; 10-27-06 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 10-27-06, 04:37 PM   #11
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I use a DiNotte on my helmet and I like that it can be seen over parked cars. Drivers waiting to pull out of a driveway will see the helmet light way before they see my handlebar light.

It is also helpful when I have a car tailgating me when they're trying to use the shoulder to pass traffic. I do a quick look or two back at them and they tend to back off when I've got the light on.
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