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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 04-27-09, 07:42 AM   #1
divecon2k4
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headlight for commuting?

Ok, the last thing on my list so I can start commuting on my bike is headlight. I'm looking to spend around $125 maybe $150. I have a 11 mile ride and will be leaving home around 400 to 415AM the route for the most part is lit by street lamps but the part that's not is almost pitch black. The LBS has a NR USB, not sure if that is the model name or not, light with 115 lumes for $120 but was dead when I stoped in so I couldn't really see how bright that is. So I'm looking for some opinions on this light or other lighting options.
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Old 04-27-09, 08:02 AM   #2
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Ok, the last thing on my list so I can start commuting on my bike is headlight. I'm looking to spend around $125 maybe $150. I have a 11 mile ride and will be leaving home around 400 to 415AM the route for the most part is lit by street lamps but the part that's not is almost pitch black. The LBS has a NR USB, not sure if that is the model name or not, light with 115 lumes for $120 but was dead when I stoped in so I couldn't really see how bright that is. So I'm looking for some opinions on this light or other lighting options.
Cheapest and brightest you can get are the P7 MTE lights from DealExtreme. Get the 2 mode since the 5 and 7 mode have weak drivers and tend to switch modes due to road impacts...at least mine does. You'll need an 18650 battery and charger and some kind of mount. Look here for details on what I did and other ideas.

The draw back for the P7 is that they won't last long...about an hour...on high with the 18650 battery. Get multiple batteries or go with Turboferret's external system.

Two lamps (one on the bars and one on the helmet), batteries (at least 4), and mounts will cost you about the $120 that the Niterider system costs. You have to add a little sweat equity but you'll still end up with a much better system for that money.
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Old 04-27-09, 08:43 AM   #3
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The NR USB is a decent choice. I went with a Dinotte 200L myself, and liked it so much I eventually bought a 140L taillight, though a PB superflash is "good enough" on the back. I just got the 140L because I want a searchlight on the back for fog and heavy rain.

The Dinotte goes on sale on their website for $100 (if you supply your own rechargable batteries and charger) occasionally. Try looking at their website at 6AM - for some goofy reason when I was shopping they'd put it on sale only until like 7AM.

I tried the flashlight route but found it very much lacking. I bought $25 flashlights and they both crapped out within a couple of months, the first one in 2 weeks. I determined that I'd have to spend $80 or so to get reliable, and since I can get a proper bike light for $100 I didn't feel that the kludgy method of using flashlights was sensible, for me.

You can get a heck of a lot of light from flashlights for $80, but I've never needed more than 200 lumens, in fact I am almost always running the 200L in 50% or even 25% power mode.

Also the runtime on the flashlights was pretty bad, I really wanted 3 hours.

I also didn't like that the flashlights cycle through all kinds of strobe modes and such. If I'm on low power and want to kick it to high (or vice versa), I don't want to have to cycle through 4 strobe modes to get there. The Dinotte sensibly separates steady and strobe modes, so when you're in steady mode, pushing the button just changes power. You have to hold the button for 6 seconds to switch to strobe modes, which totally makes sense to me.
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Old 04-27-09, 09:39 AM   #4
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The NR USB is a decent choice. I went with a Dinotte 200L myself, and liked it so much I eventually bought a 140L taillight, though a PB superflash is "good enough" on the back. I just got the 140L because I want a searchlight on the back for fog and heavy rain.

The Dinotte goes on sale on their website for $100 (if you supply your own rechargable batteries and charger) occasionally. Try looking at their website at 6AM - for some goofy reason when I was shopping they'd put it on sale only until like 7AM.

I tried the flashlight route but found it very much lacking. I bought $25 flashlights and they both crapped out within a couple of months, the first one in 2 weeks. I determined that I'd have to spend $80 or so to get reliable, and since I can get a proper bike light for $100 I didn't feel that the kludgy method of using flashlights was sensible, for me.

You can get a heck of a lot of light from flashlights for $80, but I've never needed more than 200 lumens, in fact I am almost always running the 200L in 50% or even 25% power mode.

Also the runtime on the flashlights was pretty bad, I really wanted 3 hours.

I also didn't like that the flashlights cycle through all kinds of strobe modes and such. If I'm on low power and want to kick it to high (or vice versa), I don't want to have to cycle through 4 strobe modes to get there. The Dinotte sensibly separates steady and strobe modes, so when you're in steady mode, pushing the button just changes power. You have to hold the button for 6 seconds to switch to strobe modes, which totally makes sense to me.
Niterider Trailrat 2.0 and Universal taillight combo. 10w Halogen w/90-100 'functional' minutes. This combo is around 150.00. http://www.brandscycle.com has them for free shipping. Also, check http://www.amazon.com or http://www.pricepoint.com I've seen the HL for as little as 75.00 and the TL for as little as 42.50 on either of those sites. I run 2 TRs on the front as my commute is 17.5 mi and I work 2nd shift, so every homeward leg is in the dark. Erring on the side of caution I use the taillight off of the TR I DON'T use for my HL. I swap out batteries/lights every week. In addtion to the UVTL I use 3 PBSF blinkies, too. MY wife says I look like a low level UFO, but I take it as a compliment.

Just keep in mind the Trailrat and UVTL are being 'phased out' and replaced by the 'Minewt' HL, but as yet there's no adaptor for a taillight for this unit. Lots of people don't think 10w of brightness is enough, but I find it adequate for my needs. Admittedly, sometimes I add the 2nd one for a 20w beam and it IS much better, but more than I require at my cruising speed.

Oh yeah, I use a Cateye Sport Opticube 1.0w led w/blink or steady mode. I run it on blink mode for daytime riding along w/a PBSF, too.

In my riding experience I've seen and spoke w/people who have lights out of the Dinotte collection and they are AMAZING. As my lights fizzle all my replacements will be the Dinottes. The HL or TL are SO bright they're irritating...and that's a GOOD thing. And you can use rechargable AA batteries w/them.

Good luck w/whatever you choose.

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Old 04-27-09, 10:02 AM   #5
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Very happy with my Cygolite Rover II LED, I think I paid around $125 on sale at REI last fall. Very bright, rechargeable battery goes better than a week between charges.
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Old 04-27-09, 10:40 AM   #6
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Performance has the NR trailrat select 15w on sale for $109 I'm leaning towards this one but I will look into those other ones mentioned. I have a cateye blinky mounted on the bike and planning on a PBSF on the mess bag.
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Old 04-27-09, 01:37 PM   #7
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I start out in the dark and sometimes make it back in the dark too. I'm very happy with my Cateye Supershot Plus. It's bright enough for me that I see what is up ahead and is a self-contained unit that just snaps in and out of the mounting bracket. It's in your price range too.

Just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents.
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Old 04-27-09, 05:51 PM   #8
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The Dinotte goes on sale on their website for $100 (if you supply your own rechargable batteries and charger) occasionally. Try looking at their website at 6AM - for some goofy reason when I was shopping they'd put it on sale only until like 7AM.
did you use the batteries that comes with it, or get your own if so what ones do you use. now that I looked into DiNotte it sounds like just the think I'm looking for thanks for the info.
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Old 04-27-09, 07:50 PM   #9
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I agree with cyccomute above. The P7 flashlights and handlebar mounts are the way to go. You would have to pay $200+ to get anything as bright that was made specifically for a bicycle. Follow Cyccommute's link to the thread.

When my old bike light that my wife got me as a gift dies, I'm going to get a P7 myself. I've personally seen them in action, and they are BRIGHT and rugged, and much less expensive than something like a Dinnote or NiteRider light with similar brightness.

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Old 04-28-09, 06:48 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the help. I ordered the DiNotte 200L AA last night, they were on sale so that pretty much sealed the deal for me also nice to know that if the batteries go I can stop just about anywhere and get fresh ones. I'll be glad when it arrives so I can almost forget about Chicago traffic! Thanks again to everyone who posted
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Old 04-28-09, 10:17 AM   #11
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about the AA batteries for the Dinotte. strongly suggest rechargeables. you will go through a ton of batteries otherwise. I have 200L as my headlight on helmet. Commute daily and go through the battery in short order every other day to recharge. AA's are about 1.5 hours run time for me YMMV. Regardless what everyone says about do it yourself lights I went with Dinotte. yes $$ but I don't care. I had a Trailrat 2.0 and the battery died twice in the year I had it. They did replace it the first time but 2+ weeks waiting for a new battery was not acceptable. I did not bother this last time I replaced it. I now have a new Dinotte 400L dual on my handlebar to replace the Trailrat and wow does it light up the night. Even my Dinotte 200L was several times brighter than the Trailrat this 400L is truly amazing. Now I can ride at any speed on my commute and see the road clearly. My safety is more valuable than skimping on cheap lights.
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Old 04-28-09, 12:20 PM   #12
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about the AA batteries for the Dinotte. strongly suggest rechargeables. you will go through a ton of batteries otherwise.
Yeah I saw that on their website but I was but I ment as a last resort. What brand of rechargeable batt are you useing I have some energizer rechargeables that we use in the digital camera that should work for now but would like to have a couple sets handy.
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Old 04-28-09, 01:09 PM   #13
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I use this Sony charger:



It does a very good job. I use the batteries that came with it, a set of Energizers and a set of Duracell. They all seem to work well.
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