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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 12-03-06, 08:33 PM   #1
turbominnow
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Light choices, spend 200 or 400

My round trip is about 26 miles. Part of it is unlit single lane road that then opens up to a wide shoulder. It gets fairly busy. There is also some cross traffic through an industrial secion where folks are turning into driveways. I have already decided aganist HID's. Here is my delima. I can order a PB super blinkie and a 5W dinotte for 200 from nasbar or I can get the full ultra Lith/ion 5w head 3w tail with two batteries and charger from dinotte for 390.00.

PB super blinkie and a 5W dinotte
-cheaper
-must change batteries out everyday on the headlight
-High quality tail light but not nearly as bright as the 3w dintte
-can change out batteries along the route incase I forget to charge them


ultra Lith/ion 5w head 3w tail
-expensive
-no excuse to get hit due to lack of light
-nearly 3 times the run time
-with two batteries I could upgrade later and purchase two more lights for another bike
-if the battery goes dead in the field there is no back up

Go cheap or go all out?
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Old 12-03-06, 08:36 PM   #2
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http://www.bicyclelights.com/

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Old 12-03-06, 08:46 PM   #3
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If you haven't checked out Nite Rider then do so on line. I'm using a lighting system that came in under $80.00 It has a battery capacity of 2-1/2 hours. Very bright halogen, re-charge time is 9 hours so overnight is nothing. A blinking Red Vista light velcored to my seat post is very visible to the rear...Good luck on the ride.
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Old 12-03-06, 08:59 PM   #4
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The better brighter lights you have the safer you are. In the rain and with a car coming at you it's hard to see the ground without a powerful light. If you have thin small racing tires it's important to see the little stuff. Regarding the tailight, how much value do you assign to being easier to see?
Always get more run time than you need for things like a flat tire, or reduced run time in the cold.
Always carry a back up light. Even if it's just a small "be seen" light.
Changing batteries is one more thing to do to get ready for a ride. Rechargerable is nice.
If buying brighter lights does not cause any hardship, like not paying the rent, etc. spend more.
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Old 12-03-06, 09:23 PM   #5
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Spend the $$.
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Old 12-03-06, 11:40 PM   #6
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Hi Turbominnow,
Would suggest getting the Niterider Trailrat 2.0 and an NR Universal Taillight from brandscycle.com. The HL is 99.95 and the taillight is 54.95 w/free shipping. Then go to the niterider.com website and order a bulb for 19.99 plus shipping. The taillight is visible in daylight and can be seen from 1000 feet in the dark...it is extremely bright. Comes w/an adaptor. You need a torx for the headlight screws to replace the bulb, but NR sends you a free one w/t bulb. Also, get a Cateye 1LED Sport for emergency light in case the NR goes out and you'll have at least SOME lighting and visibility. They're 14.99 and available @ nashbar.com or your lbs. An emergency rear blinkie for around 9.00 at any lbs or the aforementioned online stores and you're in for under 250.00.

If you decide on this rig be aware the TR burn time is short for the first few charges and then goes up. The UTL saps up some of the time...so figure on about 1.25 hrs with the HL on and the UTL on blink mode. Mount the Cateye on one side of the stem and the TR on the other. Use the cheap blinkie as a back up and alway have backup batteries for both the cheap blinkie and the Cateye. I've been using this rig for years and my commute was 21 mi rt.

My commute is 38 mi rt now so I use an expanded version. Hope this is helpful.
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Old 12-04-06, 07:56 AM   #7
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I would recommend the Dinotte tail light as #1 highest priority and then a HID front as second.

If money was tight, I would go with 3 super flashes for the rear and then as good of a front light as you can affford.
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Old 12-04-06, 08:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColorChange
I would recommend the Dinotte tail light as #1 highest priority and then a HID front as second.

If money was tight, I would go with 3 super flashes for the rear and then as good of a front light as you can affford.
I agree:

I run the L&M ARC HID in the front and the Dinotte in the rear. I am quite visible. There is no substitite for bright lights when it is dark out. Spend the $$$ as your life might depend upon it.
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Old 12-04-06, 08:34 AM   #9
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In that price range, definitely go for a HID setup. Check out www.batteryspace.com for some good deals on HID.
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Old 12-04-06, 08:37 AM   #10
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One of those dual 5 watt LED setups is just about as bright as a HID in terms of visibility. In terms of beam width and projection, a HID still wins, for now.

I've heard of Cree LED modules going up to 100 lumens/watt or more. In that case, they easily beat out HID's in terms of brightness but I've yet to see those released, maybe in a few more years.
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Old 12-04-06, 10:15 AM   #11
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I had heard good things about the Cygolite Dual Cross, and pulled the trigger today... it's 189 initial price at performance, take an additional 20% off with the current coupon, and then 10% back in points it seemed like a fair deal for the light which then comes out to $133.02 if you count the points.

It runs for four hours on high on a charge, and they claim it's as bright as a 20 watt halogen.

I know the L&M HID is the business, and while I would love one I just could not justify the expense... it's absolute madness that I almost justified three-hundred bucks on a headlight

Starting to commute this week, I'll post some review-ish stuff if I have any thoughts once I get it and have it running through a few different scenarios.
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Old 12-04-06, 10:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superslomo
I know the L&M HID is the business, and while I would love one I just could not justify the expense... it's absolute madness that I almost justified three-hundred bucks on a headlight
slomo:

I used to agree that 300 bucks is way to expensive for a light, until a car pulled out in front of me, because my 15w halogen was hard to see. I have had no such problems with the HID.

Also, one should look at the marginal cost of the HID versus an alternative light. I got a second L&M HID for $262. Therefore I have to look at how much safety an extra $130 will provide. For me, it was a no brainer. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 12-04-06, 10:40 AM   #13
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I'm riding in the city, so the need for seeing is less than the need to be seen... I won't say I wasn't tempted, but I think I'm going to see how this light works, and if it's not enough I can just return and upgrade. It seems like the more that I look at the stuff, the more reasonable the price starts to seem. I try and look away before I just click away, buying stuff in a stupor/trance

The added runtime was also significant, four hours with the option for quite a bit more, is a big plus for me. As a final difference, I need this for short-hop errands as well as starting to commute this week, so the bulb life with all those on-off cycles seemed problematic for HID.

The OP mentioned a number of LED options, and I just wanted to interject with a different option that would come in at less cost than the Dinotte, and might give a better result... of course, YMMV.
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Old 12-04-06, 11:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tibikefor2
I used to agree that 300 bucks is way to expensive for a light, until a car pulled out in front of me, because my 15w halogen was hard to see.
IMO, if a driver finds a cyclist's lit 15W halogen "hard to see" from any distance where the car poses a hazard to the cyclist, then that driver is completely blind, and no light that could be mounted on a bike will make a whit of difference.
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Old 12-04-06, 11:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
Spend the $$.
Really, tell me more...
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Old 12-04-06, 11:38 AM   #16
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Really, tell me more...
I knew this guy right, he didn't, and... yeah... you know.
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Old 12-04-06, 12:24 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by dobber
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Those are some decent prices on nicely powered lights. What did you get from them? Any reviews?
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Old 12-04-06, 12:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCRyder
IMO, if a driver finds a cyclist's lit 15W halogen "hard to see" from any distance where the car poses a hazard to the cyclist, then that driver is completely blind, and no light that could be mounted on a bike will make a whit of difference.
I do not agree as the 40W equivalent HID is increadible bright, with a wider beam pattern, which makes it hard too miss.
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Old 12-04-06, 06:37 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by slvoid
I knew this guy right, he didn't, and... yeah... you know.

Yeah, we know.
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Old 12-04-06, 09:50 PM   #20
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Go for the better system. I have seen several pictures of setups at that power level and was not impressed with the amount of light going to the sides. Please add in a Xenon strobe (Allelectronics and others).
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