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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 09-06-09, 08:54 PM   #1
Blue Demon
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Great light for commuting

I wanted a light for commuting, that did not necessarily throw a searchlight beam, but was good for twilight times. It had to make ME visible, rather than enable me to see. I watched other very visible commuters, and decided that the light needed to be white, very bright, and flash. Ideally, I also wanted a rechargeable model. My current light was the antithesis of all this, and only seemed to last for about 2 hours on a new set of batteries.

Enter the Planet Bike Blaze 1-watt. Very white light, very bright, has 1/2-watt, 1-watt and flash mode. The flash mode is also a pulse flash, making this light even more obvious to night-blind motorists. I aim it about 5-6 yards ahead of me, and it lights up road-signs half a mile ahead. It has a good lateral dispersion, too. Not rechargeable, but I am now using rechargeable batteries. Has already gone over 2 housr with no sign of failing.

I tried this against all the bike lights at LBS, and it was the brightest. Not sure how it will work in full dark, but looks good so far. Excellent for rain, twilight, fog and various low-light conditions. For full dark, maybe combined with a high-intensity spot?

Ironically, the really bad light I am swapping out... was also a Planet Bike.
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Old 09-06-09, 09:08 PM   #2
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I wanted a light for commuting, that did not necessarily throw a searchlight beam, but was good for twilight times. It had to make ME visible, rather than enable me to see. I watched other very visible commuters, and decided that the light needed to be white, very bright, and flash. Ideally, I also wanted a rechargeable model. My current light was the antithesis of all this, and only seemed to last for about 2 hours on a new set of batteries.

Enter the Planet Bike Blaze 1-watt. Very white light, very bright, has 1/2-watt, 1-watt and flash mode. The flash mode is also a pulse flash, making this light even more obvious to night-blind motorists. I aim it about 5-6 yards ahead of me, and it lights up road-signs half a mile ahead. It has a good lateral dispersion, too. Not rechargeable, but I am now using rechargeable batteries. Has already gone over 2 housr with no sign of failing.

I tried this against all the bike lights at LBS, and it was the brightest. Not sure how it will work in full dark, but looks good so far. Excellent for rain, twilight, fog and various low-light conditions. For full dark, maybe combined with a high-intensity spot?

Ironically, the really bad light I am swapping out... was also a Planet Bike.
Yeah, the PB Blaze is a real good LED HL for the money. I've been using Niterider Trailrats for years to great satisfaction. 10w Halogen puts out a pretty intense beam...cars dim their lights when approaching me at night. Had a Cateye Opticube Sport for years that just got stolen. Replaced it w/a 'frog' wrap-around that seems to be bright enough for daylight running. I always use an LED as an emergency back-up, but the NRTRs function as my primary lighting source. Have a NR Univesal taillight, too used in combo w/a couple of PB Superflash blinkies. They're great. Reflective sidewals, spoke inserts and hi-vis clothing makes for a stress free commute. Now if we could just do something about the rain...
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Old 09-06-09, 09:30 PM   #3
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gets tons of reviews on the MEC site
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...294155727#tab2

Also they have a 2 watt led light now too
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1252294155726
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Old 09-06-09, 10:09 PM   #4
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They make a 2-Watt one now? Aww geeeez More is ALWAYS better.

I did look at the Niteriders, though. Awesome lights, but because they are made for trail-riding... no flashey function.
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Old 09-06-09, 10:14 PM   #5
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what are you running on the back side?
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Old 09-06-09, 10:42 PM   #6
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I also have the Blaze and highly recommend it.
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Old 09-06-09, 11:42 PM   #7
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It's a "be seen" light tho, nothing more. I have one... Have found the strobe to be very effective with vehicle traffic.
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Old 09-06-09, 11:43 PM   #8
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I like my flea.
http://www.blackburndesign.com/lights.html
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Old 09-06-09, 11:59 PM   #9
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not questioning you liking the light but the site says:

The lightest, brightest rechargeable cycling light in the world - now with solar and USB charging.

...at 40 lumens? Don't think so.

gotta say the solar charging is kinda cool though.
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Old 09-07-09, 05:36 AM   #10
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Just stick with the PB Blaze that you have. It sounds like it will work just fine for your needs. Just don't forget to have something for the rear as well.
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Old 09-07-09, 06:36 AM   #11
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Hm, I have a Magicshine P7 which is wonderful, but my backup light (Nashbar Brilliant II) is a little weak and I could use a better one. I bought a Planet Bike SuperSpot (also a 1 watt) a few years ago, and it's without doubt the most useless waste of plastic I've ever owned. Pitiful beam, light spread all over to the point where there's only enough to see by to go maybe 5-8 MPH safely. This is a SPOT??? The $18 Nashbar is way better.

I do like Planet Bike in general and if they do make a good cheap LED I would get one.

I'd definitely be interested in the 2W version if anyone has any US source for one. It's not even listed on Planet Bike's website. I note it's on back order - maybe this hasn't actually hit the streets yet?
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Old 09-07-09, 06:53 AM   #12
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You may want to check your laws. In Minnesota and many other states, a flashing front light is illegal.
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Old 09-07-09, 08:21 AM   #13
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my backup light (Nashbar Brilliant II) is a little weak and I could use a better one.
Certainly you are familiar with the PB Superflash and the Dinotte taillights?
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Old 09-07-09, 08:48 AM   #14
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Certainly you are familiar with the PB Superflash and the Dinotte taillights?
He was referring to a front, be-seen, flasher.
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Old 09-07-09, 09:47 AM   #15
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He was referring to a front, be-seen, flasher.
Ah yes, sorry.
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Old 09-07-09, 10:08 AM   #16
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You may want to check your laws. In Minnesota and many other states, a flashing front light is illegal.
I don't really think I would care. It may or may not be illegal here, I have never checked. But, I will keep doing it regardless until such time as I actually get a ticket for it. I think most cops are just shocked to see a rider not going ninja. Unless you are otherwise causing some kind of hazard my money is on the cops leaving you alone.
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Old 09-07-09, 10:36 AM   #17
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Certainly you are familiar with the PB Superflash and the Dinotte taillights?
The very two lights that I run on back. I also run a PB Protege 9 computer. I was talking about front lights though, and I would like to find a decent $30 backup LED light. Huh, the Blaze is $40. For that kind of money, I agree with other posters, get a P7 from DX. I will probably do that myself. I went with the Magicshine P7 as my primary because it uses 4 18650 lights for a 3 hour runtime (8+ in low mode).

The flashlights with a single 18650 don't run long enough to use as a primary light. My commute is close to an hour in the winter, and a light rated as 30-60 minutes will probalby only run for 20 minutes when it's 0*F out, so I'd probably have to swap lights at least once, maybe twice, during my commute. NO WAY.

Those with two 18650s are too long and clumsy on the handlebar. But in low mode they'd run fine for most commutes and would still put out a bunch more lights than any of the current $40-$50 bike lights, for about the same money, and have the option of kicking up to higher output for a while.

Although, by the time you get a 2 cell P7 ($50), a couple of 18650s ($10) a mount ($5) and a charger ($8), you're up to $70+, and for $20 more you can get the Magicshine and have a nicer total package and twice the runtime, and not have to take the batteries off the bike to charge them.

If you can save up the money and spring for $90 for the MagicShine, you WILL be satisfied and it will last years. I've spent way more than $90 personally buying crappy $20 and $30 lights that I could barely see by. I think in the long run you'll spend less money buying a better system up front.
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Old 09-07-09, 11:37 AM   #18
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The very two lights that I run on back.
I thought so, my memory sucks. In fact, for all I know, it was a recommendation by you that clued me in to those two lights. The Dinotte is possibly the best piece of cycling equipment I own based on effectiveness.
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Old 09-07-09, 06:53 PM   #19
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what are you running on the back side?
I have a PB blinkie on my seatpost, and I attach another blinkie to my jersey; higher up, easier to see.
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Old 09-07-09, 07:40 PM   #20
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I don't really think I would care. It may or may not be illegal here, I have never checked. But, I will keep doing it regardless until such time as I actually get a ticket for it. I think most cops are just shocked to see a rider not going ninja. Unless you are otherwise causing some kind of hazard my money is on the cops leaving you alone.
I understand what you're saying. Just riding down the street, it seems like a petty technicality that cops wouldn't bother with.
However if a cager tangles with me after sundown, I don't want to be saddled with negligence based on a technicality. I'm usually not a safety nanny, but for this situation riding in the dark, legal compliance with a solid beam seems preferable.
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Old 09-07-09, 07:53 PM   #21
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They make a 2-Watt one now
strangely I don't see the 2-watt one on PB's website
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Old 09-11-09, 11:48 AM   #22
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+1 for the PB Blaze
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Old 09-11-09, 01:50 PM   #23
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You may want to check your laws. In Minnesota and many other states, a flashing front light is illegal.
I didn't know that. I use flash at night--it's really eye-catching.
Many other cyclists around here use flashers, too.
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Old 09-11-09, 02:15 PM   #24
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If your looking for a reasonably priced rechargeable light, REI has last years model of the NightRider Mini-Newt on closeout for $60 something dollars. The design was changed this year, to include a low battery indicator light. If I know the runtime of a light, lack of battery indicator isn't a deal breaker for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daredevil View Post
not questioning you liking the light but the site says:

The lightest, brightest rechargeable cycling light in the world - now with solar and USB charging.

...at 40 lumens? Don't think so.

gotta say the solar charging is kinda cool though.
I have a flea and I hate it, the blinky is actually nice little compact blinky, fairly bright and perfect for a helmet. The headlight stinks, I only keep it as an emergency backup.

Blackburn had to come up with a new way of charging the light, because they've gotten a ton of complaints about the original charger design. Their customer service has been excellent about it though.

For the same money, you could get a PB Blaze.

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I didn't know that. I use flash at night--it's really eye-catching.
Many other cyclists around here use flashers, too.
I pretty sure the law is only in regards to white lights. If you put an amber lens on the blinking light, it should be OK. Cars have amber lights on the front, that blink when they are used as directionals.

Dinnote actually makes a amber lensed blinky. Which is probably overkill, unless you have disposal income and can afford spending that kind of money on something that is just a "be seen" light.

Last edited by DX Rider; 09-11-09 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 09-11-09, 02:46 PM   #25
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For the blaze, i see a 1/2 watt and a 1 watt.
But I don't see a 2 watt. Any links?
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