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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 12-01-07, 10:41 AM   #1
anfieldmx5
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Lighting experience needed.

I plan to start commuting to work so I bought the Cat Eye EL-220 / TL-LD270 Light Set Combo
http://www.rei.com/product/745551

But I have been reading other threads and i am a little unsure. Are these ok? Do I need more light. How long do batteries typically last in these things? how much better are the more expensive lights and what is the main difference? How long do batteries last on those systems?

thanks for your help.
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Old 12-01-07, 11:56 AM   #2
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I'd get one more light to augment the rear, probably something with an extra-bright flash -- run one light steady and the other on a simple blink mode. Apart from that, I think you should be pretty good.
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Old 12-01-07, 12:01 PM   #3
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I have the same light set, and I'm planning to do the same thing BarracksSi is suggesting.

This is what I'm doing in the meantime.

I may get a brighter or secondary headlight eventually as well, as I share a pitch-black MUP with unlit pedestrians.
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Old 12-01-07, 12:26 PM   #4
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I have the same light set, and I'm planning to do the same thing BarracksSi is suggesting.

This is what I'm doing in the meantime.

I may get a brighter or secondary headlight eventually as well, as I share a pitch-black MUP with unlit pedestrians.
Love the festive / disco rear setup
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Old 12-01-07, 01:21 PM   #5
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As long as you're riding in areas that are lit reasonably well, you should be OK. But I don't think the Cateye is enough to see by in the dark.
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Old 12-01-07, 01:39 PM   #6
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The darker it is (less ambient light) the less light you can get by with to see or be seen. The more ambient light you have, the brighter lights you need to stand out or to see well.

I'm another that believes in auxiliary lighting, especially in the rear. If a taillight malfunctions, you won't notice until you check.
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Old 12-01-07, 09:14 PM   #7
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If a tail-light is bright enough you can see if it is running by glancing over your shoulder. If it is on and you do not see it get more/stronger lights. I use a one watt Xenon strobe. Can't recommend my 100 watt head-light for beginners.
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Old 12-01-07, 10:26 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by anfieldmx5 View Post
I plan to start commuting to work so I bought the Cat Eye EL-220 / TL-LD270 Light Set Combo
http://www.rei.com/product/745551

But I have been reading other threads and i am a little unsure. Are these ok? Do I need more light. How long do batteries typically last in these things? how much better are the more expensive lights and what is the main difference? How long do batteries last on those systems?

thanks for your help.
You're fine, but I'd take the suggestion re a 2nd light for the rear. When I started commuting I had this Cateye that was mounted on my hbs, but would pop off the mount all the time so I duct taped it. It would barely light the palm of my hand from arms length, but I felt safer than riding w/no light at all. When someone showed me a Niterider Trailrat I thought, surely the 2nd coming is just around the corner. The battery pack weighed 2 lbs! I still have that lamp though I've replaced the battery 2 times. It's 10-12 years old now and I use it for friends who want to go for rural night rides. I live just off the Natchez Trace Parkway in TN and it's got a 40 mph speed limit w/no commercial traffic allowed. The night rides are great.

Plan on spending 100.00 on your next hl to get something decent. The NR Road Rat is good, but has the lead-acid battery for around 70.00. I run the NR TR(100.00...the new one w/a lighter battery pack) w/a Universal taillight(55.00), but someone suggested on another thread the Planet Bike Super Flash is just as visible and cheaper. The Light and Motion Vega looks like it may be a good buy as it's self-contained w/no battery pack.

My thought in running the NR TR/UTL combo was not having to change batteries as the tl uses the same battery source as the hl and only uses about 1% of the power on blink mode. The stock bulb in the TR is a 10w halogen which is plenty bright, but may not have enough distance if you ride 18-20mph. I'm @ 13-17 depending on terrain so it's got plenty of throw for me. I use clear goggles. The claim is 2 hrs 20 mins run time, but effectively you get about 90 mins before it starts to fade. I've got a Cateye Opticube Sport which has 1 led and takes 2 aa batteries. I use it on blink mode during the day and as an emergency backup at night. Also, I've got 2 cheap generic blinkies w/5 modes from my lbs for 9.00 per. I clip them on my clothes one high and one low.

I've got 2 commuter rigs w/t same basic set up that were purchased over time. Budget yourself to get one piece per week/month or whatever, but the main thing is to get good quality lighting because your life may depend on it. There are bogus products out there, but if you follow the reasoned and experienced guidelines set by the majority of posters to this forum you'll be ok. That's one of the great things about this BF is that the BS products get sniffed out pretty quickly and the good ones touted hard.
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Old 12-02-07, 12:36 AM   #9
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Good stuff I have a cateye light that was retailed at like 40 bucks, I wish I would have put out more money for a good light. I am seen by drivers easily yes. Seeing the road on the other hand isn't as good. I don't have a rear light though I need one bad but I can't mount it on the side of my forks or on my stem because the bike is too big and I have the seat all the way down. I have the reflector bracelets for my ankles but need something that I can detatch at school but can be seen at night good. Any suggestions? Ok so last night I saw a biker at a very dark time at night. Going the wrong way, on the sidewalk and yes he did have a light to see with. Wanna know what his light was? A flashlight, well whats wrong with a flashlight? IT WAS IN HIS MOUTH!!!! Accident waiting to happen :-)
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Old 12-02-07, 12:52 AM   #10
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Thanks, i have been looking at the Dinotte 200L-AA-S for the front. Should I get this and more rear blinkies for the rear and my bag, or get a high power rear before one for the front?
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Old 12-02-07, 09:54 AM   #11
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Thanks, i have been looking at the Dinotte 200L-AA-S for the front. Should I get this and more rear blinkies for the rear and my bag, or get a high power rear before one for the front?
Get the Dinotte for the front and the generic blinkies for the rear/bag. Keep the Cateye rig mounted, too. The blinkies are cheap and you can get a bunch keeping one or two as back ups. And they're actually pretty bright. Set them on different modes. Then go for the rear light. Check this out: http://www.powerflare.com This is what I'm getting for this winter. It has a rechargeable version and someone here on BF got one and said it's annoying as hell to drivers...which is what you want. They're not cheap...I think about 80.00 for the rechargeable one. You're on the right track. Build your system one, two pieces at a time as you can afford. At the end when all is done you'll want to look like, in the words of my wife, "a low-level UFO".

BTW, there's a webstore http://www.brandscycle.com which has free shipping on orders over 50.00. Not sure about the Dinotte, but I know they've got the NR and LM Vega for cheap.
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Old 12-02-07, 10:02 AM   #12
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wow, that powerflare looks amazing!!! i'm getting one.

Also I have a problem with my leg rubbing against the twisty thing on the cateye rear mount when attatched to the seat tube. Any way to avoid this?
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Old 12-02-07, 12:14 PM   #13
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I think I have the same cateye kmac. I agree it is good for city use. not swell for out in less well lit areas, but still tennable. I beleive it's the model a step or two up fromt he one the OP posted.
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Old 12-02-07, 12:55 PM   #14
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wow, that powerflare looks amazing!!! i'm getting one.

Also I have a problem with my leg rubbing against the twisty thing on the cateye rear mount when attatched to the seat tube. Any way to avoid this?
Not sure of the mount(can't see it), but there may be a way to turn the light 90 degrees? Usually use zip-ties in the appropriate sizes and lengths for all my light mounting purposes.
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Old 12-02-07, 05:10 PM   #15
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Also I have a problem with my leg rubbing against the twisty thing on the cateye rear mount when attatched to the seat tube. Any way to avoid this?
You can cut it off - you're talking about the part that's like a giant zip-tie, right? - or you can tape it in place away from your leg.
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Old 12-02-07, 07:03 PM   #16
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The lights you have are probably enough for others to see you, but your headlight is probably insufficient to truly see in the dark. I disagree with the other poster arguing that ambient light increaes the light you need to see. Ambient light helps you see, but yes, it makes you less visible. A cheap "to see" setup would be to get the Sigma Sport Cubelight (I use the discontinued Ellipsoid myself) and swap out the stock 2.4 W bulb with a 5 cell Maglite Xenon star. Get good rechargeable NiMH batteries for that, and you should be able to see on the dark streets. For comparison purposes, the conversion I mentioned probably gives you 80 or so lumens. It's far brighter than any LED setup I've seen thus far, excluding the $$$ Lupine and Dinottes.
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Old 12-02-07, 09:11 PM   #17
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You can cut it off - you're talking about the part that's like a giant zip-tie, right? - or you can tape it in place away from your leg.
no it's the wheel thing you turn to tighten the unit.
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Old 12-02-07, 09:13 PM   #18
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The lights you have are probably enough for others to see you, but your headlight is probably insufficient to truly see in the dark. I disagree with the other poster arguing that ambient light increaes the light you need to see. Ambient light helps you see, but yes, it makes you less visible. A cheap "to see" setup would be to get the Sigma Sport Cubelight (I use the discontinued Ellipsoid myself) and swap out the stock 2.4 W bulb with a 5 cell Maglite Xenon star. Get good rechargeable NiMH batteries for that, and you should be able to see on the dark streets. For comparison purposes, the conversion I mentioned probably gives you 80 or so lumens. It's far brighter than any LED setup I've seen thus far, excluding the $$$ Lupine and Dinottes.
Just got the Dinotte off e-bay. I hope I like it.
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Old 12-02-07, 10:15 PM   #19
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I use the Cateye TL-610 at the back and it's plenty bright. Actually hurts to look directly at it.
Doubt it's anywhere near as insane as that powerflare though..
As for the tightening wheel, I mount mine at the top of the post so there's no rubbing issues.
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Old 12-02-07, 10:29 PM   #20
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Just got the Dinotte off e-bay. I hope I like it.
Good luck with the light! BTW, if you go to the Electronics, Lighting and Gadgets section, scroll down to the thread that says: 'Donitte 200L'(OP accidently misspelled Dinotte) the OP has some real close up pics of how he's got his rigged. He uses some sort of cell phone bag for the battery pack...looks pretty sweet and the pics are real clear. Anyway, post back when you get your light and let us know how things turn out.
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Old 12-02-07, 11:20 PM   #21
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Good luck with the light! BTW, if you go to the Electronics, Lighting and Gadgets section, scroll down to the thread that says: 'Donitte 200L'(OP accidently misspelled Dinotte) the OP has some real close up pics of how he's got his rigged. He uses some sort of cell phone bag for the battery pack...looks pretty sweet and the pics are real clear. Anyway, post back when you get your light and let us know how things turn out.
ordered the powerflare too.... jeeez I must be afraid of the dark subconsiously!!!!!! This has been an expensive day
I'll post some pics when it's all set up.
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Old 12-03-07, 04:14 PM   #22
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wow, that powerflare looks amazing!!! i'm getting one.
I've been around those products in use at emergency scenes. They do look impressive on their website, and they make decent substitutes for burning flares, because they throw lots of light out to the sides from street level (BUT they're not nearly as bright as a burning flare). Whether they'd make a good bike light seems dubious, though. Standing over one and looking down just from eye level, they aren't especially bright. And the helicopter pilots have told me they can't seem them at all from 100 feet in the air. But, I know there have been huge improvements in LED technology, so maybe the ones I see our VFD using are a bit outdated.
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