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Old 07-22-08, 08:36 AM   #1
bakhurts
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Cheap lights

Anyone know of a reasonably cheap and durable head and tail light for casual commuting
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Old 07-22-08, 08:41 AM   #2
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Anyone know of a reasonably cheap and durable head and tail light for casual commuting
There's tons of them. Go look at the Electronic forum for lots of ideas on adapting other lights or building your own.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:21 AM   #3
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Anyone know of a reasonably cheap and durable head and tail light for casual commuting
http://www.rei.com/product/765703
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Old 07-22-08, 10:57 AM   #4
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Anyone know of a reasonably cheap and durable head and tail light for casual commuting

If it's simple "see me" visablity you want then stick with reflectors or reflector tape. If it's night
road vision you want then look at DIY with small auto lights and a proper small battery.

Any light that uses AA/AAA batteries can't produce enough lumens ,or candlepower, to do
much ,if any, good so save your money.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:50 AM   #5
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http://www.dealextreme.com/products.dx/category.905

I have a set of the "5-LED Bike Safety Tail Light",one red one white,on my daily commuter. Picked them up at the now defunct Discovery Channel store for a set of cheap lights that I could leave on the bike. I've used them for about 2yrs in all weather;no failures,decent batt life,decent brightness. Not as good as my Cateye 520/PB Superflash combo,but you did say cheap.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:06 PM   #6
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The rear facing Planet Bike Superflash is probably one of the best lights available under $100...and it's only $17.00.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:39 PM   #7
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I guess we need a clarification on the OP's idea of "cheap"

Under $100?
Under $50?

Under $100 you can get the superflash for the rear light, then something like a P7 flashlight (plus batteries and charger) from deal extreme and have a pretty good setup.

Under $50 would proably mean a combo deal from REI or similar bikestore.
http://www.rei.com/product/765703?cm...%20Light%20Set

is a decent one. The headlight isn't going to allow you to go 20 mph in pitch blackness, but for general city night riding, it should be just fine.

Under $20? You'll be probably hitting your nearest walmart for one of their combo deals.
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=1913329

The headlight is probably not much use, but if you just interested in complying with the law (if you have such a law) that would cover it.
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Old 07-22-08, 03:24 PM   #8
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The rear facing Planet Bike Superflash is probably one of the best lights available under $100...and it's only $17.00.
+100!
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Old 07-22-08, 09:22 PM   #9
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not sure what i want. definitely <50 for fronnt and rear lights. battery operated. reliable. want to be able to see the road at night.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:26 PM   #10
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The rear lights you can usually get pretty cheap with good quality. For city riding I have cheap Viewpoint blinkies that go for $5, and they work pretty well. The superflash I've heard raving reviews about, but I don't usually ride in unlighted areas so insane amounts of lighting isn't my priority.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:27 PM   #11
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i picked up front and rear knog frog lights for $22. not sure how well they work but i tested out in my basement and it seems like they'll see me. not sure how well i'll be able to see, but when i go for a night ride i'll let you know
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Old 07-22-08, 09:28 PM   #12
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It's a tall order to see the road for <$50.

My suggestion:

Viewpoint Flashpoint ($15 @ performance)
Coleman MAX 2AA flashlight ($25 @ walmart)
Twofish lockblock ($7.50 @ fenix-store.com)

That's about the best you're gonna get for <$50. Hope that helps!
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Old 07-22-08, 09:30 PM   #13
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Well we also need to get some priorities straight... are you going to be riding in unlit or dimly lit areas with low and high speed traffic (backwoods?) Or is this going to be large cities with bright lights and heavy traffic.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:39 PM   #14
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large city riding. some trails where there is no light. one kid coming back from school stuff fairly late at times on neighborhood roads.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:40 PM   #15
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for riding around town, on neighborhood streets or lit bigger roads, I'm using 2 of the $15 viewpoints from performance up front -- it makes a small patch of light in front of me, a tiny bit of peripheral spotlighting from the reflectors, and definitely makes me visible -- I can run one solid and one strobe if I want - they take 4 AAA batteries, but these have lasted for several months so far


I've got several different red blinkies, a bell, a couple different cateyes, a schwinn -- I've got no preference between them

on my black bike I also have 4 reflectors on the backside as well as the light (and pedals) -- I definitely want to stand out


I also picked up a couple clip on single LED lights at Walgreen's a few weeks back for $1.99 each - I keep them in my backpack in case I ever need an emergency light
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Old 07-22-08, 09:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bakhurts View Post
large city riding. some trails where there is no light. one kid coming back from school stuff fairly late at times on neighborhood roads.
With large cities you don't need to worry as much about lighting the road/extreme visibility as just getting seen. A few blinkies on the rear and one or two lights in the front should be adequate.

Personally I just go without headlights, the streets I travel at night are lit brighter than day. I have one blinkie in the back with chase mode on to remind people I'm there and to provide some visibilities in the smaller streets I have to go through.
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Old 07-23-08, 04:02 AM   #17
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IMO, LED lights and a little creativity have greatly reduced the need for the $100+ bicycle lights of yesterday.

Gone are the days of Mac Truck style halogen lights with lunch-box or water-bottle sized battery packs; units that provided a two spectrum light and cost $300 or more.

Frankly, the availability of good, affordable, powerful LED hand-held flashlights is just too irresistable. The disparity between a good/affordable hand-held flashlight and and expensive so-so bicycle specific light is so great that bicyclists really need to explore either making their own flashlight mounts or buy a ready-made mounting hardware for hand-held flashlights.

Really, the bicycle light manufacturers are just charging a huge premium for the mounting system. You might pay $50 for a good bicycle light which is no better than a good $10.00 flashlight. That means the mounting hardware value is $40.00 and that is just too much.
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Old 07-23-08, 04:21 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyeast View Post
It's a tall order to see the road for <$50.

My suggestion:

Twofish lockblock ($7.50 @ fenix-store.com)

That's about the best you're gonna get for <$50. Hope that helps!
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU wyeast!

I have long wanted to buy the Twofish flashlight mount, but Twofish was so poor at sales and marketing that they were nearly impossible to find. For a long time, their only sales outlet charged $6.00 for the product and $15 to ship it. If your ordered two guess what - $12 for the products and $30 for shipping! What dillweeds. I wrote to the company president to suggest they find another sales channel and it looks like they finally did. Twofish has some clever products, but their marketing and distribution has been really bad. You get the impression that Twofish has a brilliant mad-scientist producing cool products and then leaving the marketing and distribution to his unemployed cousin.

I notice that Fenix does not charge for standard shipping, so you can get the mount for $7.49 or a 3-pack for $15.99. That is a good deal. I am ordering some today.

Thanks for advising about the availability at Fenix.
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Old 07-23-08, 07:32 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowGray View Post
With large cities you don't need to worry as much about lighting the road/extreme visibility as just getting seen. A few blinkies on the rear and one or two lights in the front should be adequate.

Personally I just go without headlights, the streets I travel at night are lit brighter than day. I have one blinkie in the back with chase mode on to remind people I'm there and to provide some visibilities in the smaller streets I have to go through.
It is a fallacy to think that because there is lots of ambient light in cities you don't need much light on a bike...much less no light Because there is so much ambient light, you need much more light to compete with all of the other light sources. A motorist's (or cyclist's) eyes are being bombarded with the light equivalent of a Spinal Tap concert and aren't as likely to pick up a dim little light weaving along the side of the road. You need something that goes to 12 to make sure that you can be seen over the visual din that we humans feel is necessary to keep the saber toothed tigers at bay.

In other words, you need more light in cities, not less. Riding without lights is just a good way of getting a memorial grease spot dedicated in your honor.
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Old 07-23-08, 07:38 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike View Post
IMO, LED lights and a little creativity have greatly reduced the need for the $100+ bicycle lights of yesterday.

Gone are the days of Mac Truck style halogen lights with lunch-box or water-bottle sized battery packs; units that provided a two spectrum light and cost $300 or more.

Frankly, the availability of good, affordable, powerful LED hand-held flashlights is just too irresistable. The disparity between a good/affordable hand-held flashlight and and expensive so-so bicycle specific light is so great that bicyclists really need to explore either making their own flashlight mounts or buy a ready-made mounting hardware for hand-held flashlights.

Really, the bicycle light manufacturers are just charging a huge premium for the mounting system. You might pay $50 for a good bicycle light which is no better than a good $10.00 flashlight. That means the mounting hardware value is $40.00 and that is just too much.
LEDs have a long way to go to match the performance of an overvolted MR16 halogen system. Commercial systems can't even begin to compete on price or light output...although they are lighter. Big deal if they put out 8 times less light. I have a system that puts out 24 times the light of most commercial systems...flashlights included...for about the cost of the premium system. It even puts out 3 times more light per lamp (and I have 3 lamps) than an HID system at about 1/3 the cost.
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Old 07-23-08, 07:42 AM   #21
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I notice that Fenix does not charge for standard shipping, so you can get the mount for $7.49 or a 3-pack for $15.99. That is a good deal. I am ordering some today.

Thanks for advising about the availability at Fenix.
I just ordered a flashlight from Fenix, and liked finding they sold the lockblocks too. Getting the third one for an extra $.99 when you buy 2 makes it too hard to pass up the third one, doesn't it?
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Old 07-23-08, 07:56 AM   #22
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It is a fallacy to think that because there is lots of ambient light in cities you don't need much light on a bike...much less no light Because there is so much ambient light, you need much more light to compete with all of the other light sources. A motorist's (or cyclist's) eyes are being bombarded with the light equivalent of a Spinal Tap concert and aren't as likely to pick up a dim little light weaving along the side of the road. You need something that goes to 12 to make sure that you can be seen over the visual din that we humans feel is necessary to keep the saber toothed tigers at bay.

In other words, you need more light in cities, not less. Riding without lights is just a good way of getting a memorial grease spot dedicated in your honor.
LOL, Spinal Tap and "Goes to 12" in a post regarding bike lights. I thought I'd seen it all. I was wrong.

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Old 07-23-08, 08:14 AM   #23
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I have a cheap Cat Eye, I think, that I was using for a while as a front light. It was mainly a "be seen" light, but I didn't really realize that until one night I decided to cut through MUP and suddenly found myself completely blind. I almost hit a guy walking his dog. Then I found myself in a subdivision that I didn't meant to go to, but I couldn't see the path, so I ended up taking an offshoot by accident. After that I started shopping around for a better light. REI had a CygoLite NiteRider (sp?) for sale for around 70 bucks. I did some checking and verified that that was a pretty good deal, and I've been very happy with it. I've been back on the MUPs in the dark a couple of times with it, and, if anything, it shows me too much. Bats seem to love swooping into my headlight beams to grab bugs, and I would just as soon not know about that.

So the short answer is that I would recommend re-examining your budget or re-examining your priorities. Really seeing at night without other sources for under $50 may be tricky, but the flashlight/mount solution may be your best bet.

As for "reflectors will do," I don't think I buy that. At the very least a good rear light is in order. But regardless of whether or not you find that to be the case, it's worth looking into your local laws. Most places require headlights and tailights which are visible at a certain distance, so that's something to keep in mind as well.
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Old 07-24-08, 04:31 PM   #24
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http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...estore_ID=1034 has some reviews that seem good. I am not sure how the commuters here feel about them.

I have also posted this question in the lights forum.

thanks
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Old 07-24-08, 05:07 PM   #25
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I'm still sticking by my picks.
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