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Old 04-17-07, 09:14 AM   #1
devildogmech
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Dumb light question

Hey all,

Sorry to be asking, but the search function seems to be down....

I need a light and blinkie (mine went bye-bye long ago). At the store there is a cheap-o schwinn combo for $16.... Should I even bother? What is the minimum light you would buy? I'll be spending at least one return trip at night per week.

What about computers? I know they are just for info, but I think one would be nice... What kind would you sudgest?

Thanks

Billy

Again, sorry for the stupid q's
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Old 04-17-07, 09:34 AM   #2
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Cateye has some great LED blinkers. I have the LD1000 (on my seatpost) and LD150 (on my camelbak) and both are good. The LD1000 is expensive though...

For cyclometers, Cateye Astrale is the standard, but for commuting i'd probaby recommend the Planet Bike Protoge 8.0. You probably won't need a cadence reading for commuting, but it does have a built in thermometer which can be handy. It can usually be found for $20 at most bike shops.

http://ecom1.planetbike.com/8001.html
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Old 04-17-07, 09:41 AM   #3
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Hey Billy,

I'm afraid I know nothing about lights but I know a bit more about bike computers so I can give you my opinions on those. The way I see it you have two choices to make the first choice is wireless or wired, I personally go for wireless as they're easier to mount but I have recently seen some people make a really smart job of mounting a wired kit, so if you go for wired spend a little time thinking about how to mount it and run the cables nicely. Your next choice is whether to go for a cadence sensor or not, a cadence sensor can be handy when training but is probably unnecessary on a commuter bike. I would also recommend getting the one with the least functions as even the most basic computer will tell you the things that you want to know like avg speed, max speed, time and distance.
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Old 04-17-07, 10:48 AM   #4
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For rear blinkies the Planet Bike Superflash is a good choice.
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...0Rear%20Lights
For the front, it depends upon if you want to see, or just be seen, the level light you expect (lighted urban roads, dark country roads, dark trails, etc) and the speed you expect to be moving.
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Old 04-17-07, 10:53 AM   #5
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Given your name, Devildogmech, I feel you might have fun and save money by going through the total geekiness thread. Building your own lighting system should be right up your line. For $50 or better you can build a rechargeable head and taillight system that is better then most commercial types. On a bike 'puter about all I use is time, trip and total mileage, speed, and rarely Max speed. $20 - $25 or so.
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Old 04-17-07, 10:54 AM   #6
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How much light you need depends on how often you need to use it, and how dark it gets where you ride. A $16 combo is probably only good for a "be seen" light, don't expect it to illuminate your path to any great degree. I usually recommend at least a 10W halogen light or a 1W LED light as a minimum for the headlight. A 5+ LED blinkie for the rear is a good start.

EDIT: Just responding to the previous poster; a DIY light is a great idea if you have the knack for building things!
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Old 04-17-07, 10:54 AM   #7
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I have a schwinn rear blinkie from target, and I love it. VERY bright. It has 4 LEDs and is powered by 2 AAAs batteries, ~$6 or $8, came with batteries.

I have a Bell el-cheapo headlight, now that wasn't worth it. It has 4 AAs, and an incandescent bulb... not bright, and heavy. Hard to keep aimed, cause the batteries tilt the light as it vibrates. I'll be looking for a slimmer LED headlight soon. It doesn't light up the night... but it's enough to see the sidewalk infront of me at midnight on my commute.... just don't ride 20+mph, and don't turn too fast (kinda narrow beam).

I have a Cat-eye for about $30, basic MPH, Avg., trip, odometer, ride time, clock, max speed... i think that's it. Easy to use, easy to read. I've only had it for ~350miles though. No light for night riding... not sure if any have that.
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Old 04-17-07, 11:05 AM   #8
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Planet bike superflash. It should be about $20. Much better buy than the Schwin at $16.


I have a Cateye LD1000 and don't use it anymore, in preference to the SF.
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Old 04-17-07, 12:06 PM   #9
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I third the planet bike superflash. Very bright especially on the flash setting. I blinded myself a couple times looking straight at it.
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Old 04-17-07, 12:33 PM   #10
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I usually ride early mornings with a group, which starts when the sun is providing just enough light to safely ride without a light and blinkie. I live 7 miles from the starting point so I must ride in the dark. I tried one of the cheap bike lights as well and had the same experience as you. I wanted a light that did not weigh much and provided enough light to actually see where I was going. I looked around some of the flashlight forums and everyone was impressed with the Mag-Lite Mini-Mag 3-watt LED flashlights. I subsequently purchased a 2AA Mag-Lite 3-watt LED flashlight for $24.73 and mounted it with an EMT conduit hanger and a plastic handlebar clamp from a dead blinkie. That flashlight is everything I wanted in a bicycle light for the type of riding I am doing with the group. I was so impressed I made a second mount and use the same flashlight on my commuting and touring bike. Small peaces of inner tube rubber are glued inside the hanger to prevent scratching the flashlight and a thumbscrew allows removing the flashlight without tools. Here is a photo of my flashlight on my commuting and touring bike. Be sure and note the amber blinkie up front as this flashlight is not a good "be seen" light.
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Old 04-17-07, 01:19 PM   #11
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For the rear I'd buy 4. One for the frame, one on my helmet, one on my bag, and one for my Camelbak. For the front - personally - that any thing less than 10W equivalent is a waste of time, money and your life!

Think of it this way: In an urban environment, you are competing for attention in a light dense world. Lot's of people think that you need lots of light for off-road riding but I've found that I need just as much for riding on the road. If people are pulling out in front of you because they don't notice your lights, there's something wrong. I want (and get) people to stop and try to figure out what that bright thing coming at them is.

Me, I use 75 watts out of 4 different light heads. People will wait for a long time at a stop sign because they don't know if it's a train or a bus coming at them. I try to make choo-choo sounds to keep them guessing
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Old 04-17-07, 01:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I try to make choo-choo sounds to keep them guessing
LOL! You need to get one of them novelty wooden train whistles!
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Old 04-17-07, 01:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devildogmech
Hey all,

Sorry to be asking, but the search function seems to be down....

I need a light and blinkie (mine went bye-bye long ago). At the store there is a cheap-o schwinn combo for $16.... Should I even bother? What is the minimum light you would buy? I'll be spending at least one return trip at night per week.

What about computers? I know they are just for info, but I think one would be nice... What kind would you sudgest?

Thanks

Billy




Again, sorry for the stupid q's
First no such thing as a dumb question except the one that is not asked.

As far as what light to choose, you need to figure out what kind of conditions are you going to be riding in after sunset. Do you need a light that is more for the oops I got caught after dark in the city with the street lights? Or do you need a light that allows you to go out after sunset & ride on state or county highways & allows you to see well in front of you? All lights will at least be enought to allow others to see you & allow you to see what is in front of you if you're in the city limits with the street lights on, even the cheapo lights. If you're going to ride on purpose at night away from the city then you need a light that will safely allow you to see what is in front of you & allow others to see you.
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Old 04-17-07, 02:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
Planet bike superflash. It should be about $20. Much better buy than the Schwin at $16.


I have a Cateye LD1000 and don't use it anymore, in preference to the SF.
I've been giving away all of my TLD1000s and Vista lights that I have replaced with the PBSF to folks around here who need them. The only rear lights I am hanging on to are my Mars 3.0s, but I may give those away too, since the PB will hang on my panniers just as well.
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Old 04-17-07, 03:36 PM   #15
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n4zou, I like the set up on your handlebars.
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Old 04-17-07, 08:54 PM   #16
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The Planet Bike Superflash and Cateye TL-LD1000 are two very interesting contenders. I have both on my bike and they have survived rain, snow... and even a few sunny days.

– The Superflash is about half the price (or less) than the LD1000. It's also smaller, so if you have a crowded environment, it's an advantage.

– The Superflash flashing mode is really attention-grabbing. Great for foggy or cloudy days, but I won't use the flashing mode at night, unless I travel on Las Vegas Casino street. By comparison, you can use the LD1000 with one row steady and one row flashing at night.

– Both can be rigged onto a rear rack with a little ingenuity. In theory, you could bolt the LD1000 on the flimsy reflector bracket that comes with most racks, but I would not recommend it unless you live in a world of perfectly smooth roads. I used an aluminium angle bracket and bolted the LD1000 and secured it with 2 zip ties; I clipped the Superflash onto the angle bracket (I saw a slot for that) and secured it with a tiny bolt. Nothing obvious, but it works.

– The LD-1000 seems waterproof so far. As for the Superflash, the results are mixed at best. I have fenders.
The LD1000 and Superflash I have on my seatpost are protected by my rear end, so even riding through a 1 to 1.5-hour downpour, no problem. On the other hand, I have a Superflash and a LD1000 behind my rear rack, so they are exposed to rain, car splashes and some midst from the wheel; the LD1000 has no problem, but the Superflash failed. It worked again once I dried it. So now the Superflash lives in a plastic bag, which makes it as useful, but less pretty.
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Old 04-18-07, 07:45 AM   #17
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Thanks for all the info guys! I had to ride home from work last night (<1 mile) in the dark, on a major Highway - US 41. Not Fun... A blinkie and Light would have made me feel much better. I'm going to go the the LBS this weekend and pick up either or (better price being the determining factor) the PB-SF or the Cateye ...

Much apreciated!

Oh, and while I would love to tinker around in the garage whith my soldering iron and LED's, 1) my wife would kill me and 2) as a full time college student, with what time????

Thanks again ya'll
Billy
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Old 04-18-07, 08:18 AM   #18
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Nashbar is having a sale and the Planet Bike Alias is on sale...

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?sku=15456

I think i'm going to have to order one.
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Old 04-18-07, 08:22 AM   #19
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Nifty... I think that would be a little out of my price range... I've been looking at http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?sku=11266 and http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?sku=18959. I wont be doing a whole bunch of night riding, so I just need enough light to keep from getting plowed over....

Thanks
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Old 04-18-07, 08:33 AM   #20
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Quote:
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n4zou, I like the set up on your handlebars.
Thanks! I like it too. It's 1/2" PVC plumbing pipe with black electrical tape wrapped around it. 4 EMT conduit hangers with pairs bolted back-to-back with short 1/4" screws and nuts. If the PVC pipe shatters from an accident the tape will hold it together so you don’t have sharp shards of plastic flying around and it look good. Small peaces of inner tube rubber are glued to the interior surfaces of the hangers to prevent scratching the handlebars and allows the hangers to grip the handlebar and pipe firmly preventing slippage.
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Old 05-10-07, 11:01 AM   #21
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Thanks for all the advice guys, I finaly got around to getting the light and blinky... Even got a CamelBack (It's on sale! ) Went to NashBar, used the link from the site so we get a %5 kickback... And used a %10 discount code... All in all not a bad deal.....I'll post some pics when they come in...

Billy
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Old 05-10-07, 07:28 PM   #22
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My minimum lighting system has gone up over the years of commuting. I started out with not much more than the cheapy you say. Now my minimum would be a TLD600, TLD1000 or Super Flash tail light and an EL500 + EL400 headlight. Actually I would run with just a good flashing headlight and a TLD600.
My current setup is a L&M Vega + EL500 headlights and TLD600+TLD1000 taillights. This is for a mostly urban ride with lit roads.

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Old 05-10-07, 07:44 PM   #23
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My whole lighting system cost $100! And that includes a Cygolite 12.5 watt dual beam light so you an actually see the road, a Vistalite Xenon amber flasher mounted on the front to attract attention (no longer made but there are other subsitutes), a Cateye TLLD600 mounted vertically for greater side visiblity and on the steady mode, barend lights flashing to conserve the button bats, and superbright reflective ankle straps.

I'm the 2nd most lite up person I've seen riding a bike at night in the town where I live. I am thinking of adding next fall a 2nd Cateye LD600, and mount both on the stays about the same lever as a car's rear lights; and then add the Superflash onto the seat tube where the Cateye is now.
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Old 05-17-07, 11:22 AM   #24
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They're GREAT!

Thanks for all the input y'all. The PB lights are just the ticket! The headlight is bright enough for everyone to see me coming, and for me to see where I'm going for the short stretch with out street lights... And the Super Flash is really aggressive! I'm almost worried some idiot will "home" in on it and wipe me out (kinda like a drunk driver hitting a stopped police car with the lights on). I took a video out in the dark garage, to give an idea of what I get.... I'm happy with it!







Hope you like the video!

Thanks y'all!
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Old 05-17-07, 06:51 PM   #25
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headlight appeared way dimmer then the taillight; the headlight was so dim I couldn't even tell you had one!
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