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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 05-11-11, 06:32 PM   #1
darb85 
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lighting?

Can anyone reccommend some decent lights to commute with? I was looking at lights and action but wondering if there was anything else out there people seem to like.
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Old 05-11-11, 06:52 PM   #2
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How much do you want to spend? Lighting is dependent only on your budget.
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Old 05-11-11, 06:58 PM   #3
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Depends on your environment, how fast you ride, how long your ride is, how your own night vision is...
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Old 05-11-11, 07:05 PM   #4
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Lots of people swear by Magicshine. Bright and inexpensive. I have multiple light systems, each with its own merits. I have the Light and Motion Vis 360 which is a helmet light front and flashing rear with side lights. I like this light because where ever I point my head, there is light. It weighs next to nothing, so I rarely notice it on my helmet. My second light I just got is also a Light and Motion Stella 200. I like this light for a handle bar light. It is bright enough and the unit itself looks well made. I like to use these two together, because they compliment each other. If I turn my head at least there is still a light pointing forward for cars to see. I also have a Nite Rider MiNewt X2 which is a great little light. I am amazed at its size and the light it throws out. For rears I use 3 Planet Bike Super Flashes. There is no doubt I can be seen. This could be overkill for some, but it depends on your needs and budget. I come from the school of thought that I need the lights to be noticed but also bright enough that I can see where I am going.
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Old 05-11-11, 07:07 PM   #5
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For long term use i would suggest using dynamo hub and B&M headlight.


Another one is Cateye HL 530N which brighter than older model.
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Old 05-11-11, 07:48 PM   #6
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Depends on your environment, how fast you ride, how long your ride is, how your own night vision is...
Agreed, it also depends on how well lit your route is, whether you just need to *be* seen or actually see the road. I use a homebuilt dynamo lighting setup, it's plenty bright enough and cost less than $100 total.
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Old 05-11-11, 07:48 PM   #7
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Depends on your environment, how fast you ride, how long your ride is, how your own night vision is...
and also on whether or not you are riding under streetlights. do you only need to help the cars see you or do you need help to see the road?

you can spend $50, you can spend a few hundred, or anywhere in between....
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Old 05-11-11, 08:22 PM   #8
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I do a lot of riding at night.

You need a minimum of 500 lumens out the front. Lumens out the front are pretty much all lies from the manufacturers. mtbr.com had a light shoot out that really shows what the good stuff is.

Look at Dinotte for some good stuff. Lupine is the best. Magicshine is sort of the bottom of the barrel.

What you REALLY do need though is a very bright taillight. The brightest ones out there are Dinotte and I'd recommend either the 200 or 400L. They are incredible, change driver behavior in your favor big time and really up the safety margin.

Good lights cost money. Doing it half way is really not a great idea IMO.

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Old 05-11-11, 08:44 PM   #9
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I have a DiNotte 600L, DiNotte taillight, and the 200L. They are great lights, and a really good company. Kinda pricey though.
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Old 05-11-11, 08:51 PM   #10
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I do a lot of riding at night.

You need a minimum of 500 lumens out the front.
Quote:
Magicshine is sort of the bottom of the barrel.
Quote:
What you REALLY do need though is a very bright taillight. The brightest ones out there are Dinotte and I'd recommend either the 200 or 400L.


WOW!!! OK then.
Anyway, you'll find that many people will recommend Planet Bike Super flash or RADBOT 1000 for the rear and Magicshine or Cree/P7 lights with mount (front) from Dealextreme or ShiningBeam (to name a few). I have all of them and (except for the P7 lights) am very happy.
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Old 05-11-11, 08:53 PM   #11
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To go the opposite of big cash I have been impressed with the Blackburn Mars 3.0 combo, I bought two off Bonktown when they were up. One is ok but with two it does a nice job and is a very bright the settings are nice 1. steady beam 2. steady beam w/ side led flashing 3. strobe The rear lights it comes with are mediocre at best they cover a wide angle but not very bright. I am a big fan of the Superflash for the rear.

I also have a Magicshine that I use on occasion for commuting but it's mainly for the trails.
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Old 05-12-11, 02:11 AM   #12
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Nuther Dinotte user here using a pair of 400L, one helmet mounted, the other on the handlebars. Lights up the dark German forests on my route like a mofo. As Schwinnrider says, they're on the pricey side but hella worth it. A set of 400L on the front is plenty if you commute on streets/paths. If you're like me and commute on trails under a forest canopy with no lighting then a set up with some lumens is whats needed.
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Old 05-12-11, 03:54 AM   #13
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I use the NiteRider x2 duals as well. 300 lumens. I can comfortably ride 20-23mph in pitch black with these lights. Their usually much cheaper on ebay compared to buying anywhere else it seems like. my back light's aren't great, but i plan to upgrade them within this coming week at most. I have a Princeton Tec Swerve LED tail light(it say's 2.5 watt but I don't think it is.) and a Cat-eye LD 610. It's much brighter than the other one. both run about $17-$25. $100+ for the Niteriders.
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Old 05-12-11, 06:45 AM   #14
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Personally I think if I was starting out right now I'd go with a flashlight up front, probably this model:
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/ultrafi...-1-18650-55241
and probably a pair in the back like the PDW Radbot 1000 AND a PDW Danger Zone. I believe you need TWO taillights.

That flashlight with batteries and charger would be about $40. The two taillights are $30 or so each. If I had to get just one it'd probably be the Radbot.

I run with Magicshine front and back. I would have to try the Radbot + Danger Zone combo in adverse conditions to know if I'd trust it. I use the Magicshine tail as my primary light in the back because I do ride in dense fog and heavy rain and snow, and I know that it can punch through pretty well.

If I decided I didn't trust that, a Lightman strobe might be used as a supplemental light in adverse conditions.

IMO the Magicshine is a good light with only one real drawback; the wiring is a bit fragile. To combat that I just buy extra wire; Deal Extreme has replacement Y cables and extension cables for about $3, so I just buy 3 or 4 of them, try to be careful, and when one frays out after 6 months of use I just drop in a new one. I'm currently experimenting with a strain relief that I think is actually going to work pretty well. The main problem is that there's a tendency to twist the connectors when you get them apart and after months of twisting, the wires inside start to break loose of the strain relief and get all twisted together. Trying to remember to twist the other way occasionally might help too.

I've been using the MagicShine for close to 2 years now and I'd buy it again, particularly the newer models, and particularly the taillight; if you already have the headlight, the taillight for $30 is unbeatable, it's as bright as the Dinotte 140L (the LED and lens look identical). But the flashlight is hard to argue with, and I use one as a secondary light and a backup.
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Old 05-12-11, 07:37 AM   #15
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I'm a big believer in reliability in bike lighting. But then I ride in a rural area with lots of dark country roads. You lose a light (and it's happened to me) and you are stuck as in STUCK. If my light dies on a ride, I'm pretty much constrained to needing someone to come and get me. On a moonless night, on a dark country road with no lights, you can't see anything. It's not safe to ride because you can't see any hazards and because you are also now invisible to oncoming traffic. For this reason, I do carry a spare. For my lights, I want something that has been put together well from the start and in which I have no need or worry about having to do mods or backups to make it safe and reliable. Murphy strikes at the most inopportune times....

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Old 05-12-11, 08:06 AM   #16
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Depends on your environment, how fast you ride, how long your ride is
+1

Give us more information on your commute and we can make recommendations based upon your unique conditions.
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Old 05-12-11, 08:08 AM   #17
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I'd agree with that.

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Old 05-12-11, 09:36 AM   #18
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I'm a big believer in reliability in bike lighting. But then I ride in a rural area with lots of dark country roads. You lose a light (and it's happened to me) and you are stuck as in STUCK.
Yup, I agree. I've had my headlight die before. At the time I had a Dinotte 200 up front, and a 140L in the back. The ONLY way I was able to proceed was to move my 140L to the front and ride slowly by the red light of the taillight.

I now run with a P7 flashlight as backup to my MagicShine. The only time the MS has failed me was when I forgot to charge the battery for too many days in a row, but I don't care if I had a $1000 light, I'd still have a flashlight as a backup.

As a bonus, I use the P7 in flash mode when I get to areas where I feel that left cross and pullout collisions are an increased risk. Having one light on constant and one in flash mode is quite visible but I think less irritating than just a light in flash mode (during daylight times; obviously at night you can't run with just one light in flash mode anyway).
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Old 05-12-11, 09:44 AM   #19
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I do a lot of riding at night.

I highly recommend a hub dynamo , and wired head and taillights..
or at least the headlight, since the Led's in taillights draw little power
and particularly in blinky mode.. have a long battery life.
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Old 05-12-11, 09:46 AM   #20
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8 mile commute one way. Need to see as much as be seen. 4 miles is on a busy rode so visibility is key as well. Rest is on an unlit MUP(hence the need to see part) I can spend about 350 on the front lights and the rear well, I want a bright one or a few bright ones. I ride about 17-18mph average. Will be commuting in Michigan winters as well as summers. Summer probably wont see much light use due to the fact that it doesnt get dark until 10:00, but the winter is a different story.

Lights and motion seem to be nice, but wasnt sure. Ill check out the above suggestions.



Thanks!

Brad
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Old 05-12-11, 10:51 AM   #21
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I have very good night vision and my old Spiderfire Q5 cree light still works great for me. I have a Planet Bike Superflash for a taillight.

I have watched drivers come up behind cyclists with Dinotte taillights and hold their hand up in front of their face. Blinding a driver to the point that he holds his hand in front of his face as he approaches never seemed like that good an idea to me.
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Old 05-12-11, 10:54 AM   #22
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8 mile commute one way. Need to see as much as be seen. 4 miles is on a busy rode so visibility is key as well. Rest is on an unlit MUP(hence the need to see part) I can spend about 350 on the front lights and the rear well, I want a bright one or a few bright ones. I ride about 17-18mph average. Will be commuting in Michigan winters as well as summers. Summer probably wont see much light use due to the fact that it doesnt get dark until 10:00, but the winter is a different story.
I think your first decision is to choose whether your primary lighting should be dynamo or battery. Either way, you will want a primary and backup front and rear light. Battery is going to be cheaper initially and has greater potential for illumination, but given your conditions a dynamo can work well. The major disadvantage to the dynamo is that you will not be able to stay within budget to get the wheel, primary lights and backup lights. But, you will probably be happiest with it in the long run because you don't have to worry about charging batteries (which can become cumbersome in the middle of winter) and is always available to turn on during the freak dark storm that blows through on what was expected to be a bright day.

If you decide on dynamo, Harris Cyclery sells a high quality complete dynamo wheel (http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/light...no.html#wheels) for $180. For primary front light I would recommend the Supernova E3 Pro (http://aebike.com/product-list/super...6-m20684-qc30/), one of the brighter dynamo lights since you will be riding on an unlit MUP. If you want to go even brighter, you can get the E3 Triple (http://aebike.com/product-list/super...6-m20685-qc30/). To see how powerful these lights are, look here for beam patterns comparing the two (almost at the bottom of the page): http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/headlights.asp. For a secondary front light, I would get one of the flashlights recommended by other posters above. For rear, you can get a dynamo light to be your primary rear light, the Supernoa E3 Rear (http://aebike.com/product-list/super...6-m20686-qc30/) and use a Radbot as a secondary and for blinkie purposes. You could also skip dynamo in the rear and just use two blinkies (one Radbot and a a planet bike as a secondary). The batteries on these things last forever, even rechargeable, although the battery on the Radbot needs recharging sooner than the Planet Bike, but I like the power and pattern of the Radbot more.

If you decide on battery, I do not have experience with DiNotte but I have been very happy with the MagicShine (bar mounted) as primary with a flashlight (helmet mounted) as backup. I used it all winter on my commute, which included 4 miles of an unpaved and unlit trail with pretty rough conditions. If you go this route, I would recommend purchasing from Geomangear (http://www.geomangear.com/index.php?...gr6s94egatv2k0). They have excellent customer service. There has been a problem with some MagicShine batteries, but those who purchased through Geomangear are getting theirs replaced for free whereas those who purchased through Dealextreme are stuck with dangerous batteries or must purchase a new one on their own. For the back, two blinkies (one Radbot and one Planet Bike).
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Old 05-12-11, 11:48 AM   #23
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Yup, I agree. I've had my headlight die before. At the time I had a Dinotte 200 up front, and a 140L in the back. The ONLY way I was able to proceed was to move my 140L to the front and ride slowly by the red light of the taillight.

I now run with a P7 flashlight as backup to my MagicShine. The only time the MS has failed me was when I forgot to charge the battery for too many days in a row, but I don't care if I had a $1000 light, I'd still have a flashlight as a backup.

As a bonus, I use the P7 in flash mode when I get to areas where I feel that left cross and pullout collisions are an increased risk. Having one light on constant and one in flash mode is quite visible but I think less irritating than just a light in flash mode (during daylight times; obviously at night you can't run with just one light in flash mode anyway).
What I do (as well for safety) is use the Light and Motion vis360 on the helmet as well as a Dinotte 1200 on the bars. If the Dinotte goes out then I can get home, albeit slowly, on the vis360. The vis360 also allows me to make sure I get a light on cars at intersections and also has another red flasher out the back. Getting the attention of cars in cross intersections is a big deal - I find that aiming the helmet light at the driver's window really helps.

Light and Motion is coming out with a brighter light for the helmet with no rear flasher called the Solight which looks interesting but my new helmet light this year is going to be the Lupine Piko - a phenomenal light at very light weight and 550 lumens.

You just cannot underestimate the importance of good lighting at night. The hazards from both road issues (pot holes) and traffic are different and the your visibility to other drivers is reduced significantly unless you do something about it. The difference between excellent lights and marginal/less reliable lights is not that much especially when you compare it to some of the possible outcomes. Do it right, see well and be seen well is the key.

J.
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Old 05-12-11, 05:52 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by darb85 View Post
8 mile commute one way. Need to see as much as be seen. 4 miles is on a busy rode so visibility is key as well. Rest is on an unlit MUP(hence the need to see part) I can spend about 350 on the front lights and the rear well, I want a bright one or a few bright ones. I ride about 17-18mph average. Will be commuting in Michigan winters as well as summers. Summer probably wont see much light use due to the fact that it doesnt get dark until 10:00, but the winter is a different story.

Lights and motion seem to be nice, but wasnt sure. Ill check out the above suggestions.



Thanks!

Brad
Brad

I moved to California from Maine, so I have commuted in all weathers (and lack of weather here in CA). I also have an 8 mile commute which is in the dark both ways in the winter time. Here is what I have, and am pretty happy with:

I have a dynamo hub, this generates power for a headlight which I have always on, and is bright enough for me to see. Make sure that your headlights are LED - you get more light for the energy used from LED, and in cold weather, bulb life is short for halogen bulbs. The Dynamo also powers an always on tail-light. The specifics of the dynamo system are:
Schmidt hub
Supernova E3 headlight
Supernova 161 tail light

I also have battery powered lights which I put on the bike in the winter time, or when I know that I will be out late, but usually don't bother with them in the summer - those consist of:
Dinotte 200L headlight which I put in flashing mode
Dinotte 140R tail light - also in flashing mode
In flash mode, these lights will last over a week between charges (commuting daily).

I have gone through a lot of different lighting solutions before finally evolving to what I describe above, and am quite happy with it - the one thing that I wish was that somebody would make first quality dynamo driven lights with a flashing mode. I'd rather have the dynamo lights flashing and use the battery powered lights to see by.

Mark
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Old 05-12-11, 10:11 PM   #25
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8 mile commute one way. Need to see as much as be seen. 4 miles is on a busy rode so visibility is key as well. Rest is on an unlit MUP(hence the need to see part) I can spend about 350 on the front lights and the rear well, I want a bright one or a few bright ones. I ride about 17-18mph average. Will be commuting in Michigan winters as well as summers. Summer probably wont see much light use due to the fact that it doesnt get dark until 10:00, but the winter is a different story.
okay, for this scenario i'd recommend two headlights and two tail lights. up front, one blinky and a more powerful light to illuminate the road. i have a cygolite mitycross 350 on my helmet. love it. 500 lumens would be excessive for the road. based on my experience, i think 300+ lumens will do nicely. i do have a 500 lumen bar light, but i only use it for mtn biking.

i also have a planet bike blaze on the bar, which is a beast of a blinky. the blaze comes with a superflash for your seat tube, another good choice. it will light up the road dimly, in a pinch. the newer ones have more power and i'd have the 2 watt version, were it available at the time i purchased.

add another rear light for the left seatstay. there, i have a cateye TL-LD610, which i also like a lot. some say it's good to have one rear light on steady, the other on flash -- steady helps cars judge distance.

additionally, i have a small red light attached to the rear of my helmet and neon tireflies on each wheel. tireflies are cheap, but crazy bright and eye catching due to the random flashing while rotating. they require a schrader valve, but i use adapters anyway.

there are many other options, plenty of good brands. you can create the same setup with light & motion or dinotte or nightrider.... shop around, find a good deal or whichever combo flicks your bic...

seven lights. i'm a christmas tree.
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