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Old 06-08-11, 02:39 PM   #1
PaulRivers
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Looking for commuting light with most even beam pattern (no hot spots)

Looking for a new bike light with as even of a beam pattern as possible. My new commute route will take me around 2 lakes where my current high output lights seem to blind and offend pedestrians (the bike path is separate from the pedestrian path, but they're still next to each other).

I've noticed that if I can get a dim light with a lot of throw, that has a consistent beam pattern, I don't really need a whole ton of light in the city where there's a certain amount of ambient light.

So I guess I'm looking for something that -
1. Doesn't have hot spots in the beam pattern
2. Doesn't blind pedestrians - or at least a lower power mode that doesn't
3. Is wide enough to light up rabbits on the side of the bike path (a constant annoyance)

Not a dynamo light - I already have one, looking for a light for my road "racy" bike.

And fyi, my current setup is basically a Seca 900 on high with a Seca 1400 on medium - but pedestrians *really* don't like the 1400 being on. It's the only light I've owned where more than one walked has yelled at me that my light was to bright.

The closest I've found so far is the Cygolite TridenX -
http://www.cygolite.com/products/new...denX_Lion.html

It looks...evenish -


Does anyone have any other suggestions? I do need a light with some decent throw, I typically ride around 19mph when the path is clear or I'm on the road.
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Old 06-08-11, 03:17 PM   #2
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B&M has a battery-powered light that's optically the same as their IQ Cyo, though I can't recall the model name off the top of my head. That would have the advantage of the horizon cut-off, which would keep you from blinding all the innocent pedestrians whose path you cross.
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Old 06-08-11, 03:28 PM   #3
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B&M has a battery-powered light that's optically the same as their IQ Cyo, though I can't recall the model name off the top of my head. That would have the advantage of the horizon cut-off, which would keep you from blinding all the innocent pedestrians whose path you cross.
Ooooh, sorry, I should have mentioned - I've tried that one. I didn't think it was bright enough on high (though I think I tried the 40 lux version, there's a 50 lux version but no 60 lux version which is what the Cyo is rated at...). The other thing is that I do like *some* side spill light which it didn't really have...
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Old 06-08-11, 03:47 PM   #4
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I'll second what pdlamb said.
You need a light with more cut-off at the top, so the light goes on the road, not into the eyes of walkers, or drivers for that matter.
What are perceiving as "more" brightness is just light wasted up in the trees.

The B&M Ixon IQ is probably the best optics out there. Many lights are brighter, but without the bean control.

If, as you say, you are riding in urban areas with ambient light, it's very unlikely you need something brighter than the Ixon.
There are guys who descend pitch black mountain passes at 30mph with that light!

Tons of info, including actual photos of beam patterns, here:
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/headlights.asp
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Old 06-08-11, 04:00 PM   #5
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Phillips LED Bike Light. Probably the only one I know that might satisfy you. Pricey though.

(Review)
http://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/tes.../index_en.html

(Store)
http://www.bike24.net/p214244.html
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Old 06-08-11, 04:00 PM   #6
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I'll second what pdlamb said.
You need a light with more cut-off at the top, so the light goes on the road, not into the eyes of walkers, or drivers for that matter.
What are perceiving as "more" brightness is just light wasted up in the trees.

The B&M Ixon IQ is probably the best optics out there. Many lights are brighter, but without the bean control.

If, as you say, you are riding in urban areas with ambient light, it's very unlikely you need something brighter than the Ixon.
There are guys who descend pitch black mountain passes at 30mph with that light!

Tons of info, including actual photos of beam patterns, here:
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/headlights.asp
I've owned an Ixon IQ and sold it. If people are screaming down mountains with them, all I can say is...good luck.
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Old 06-08-11, 04:08 PM   #7
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I have a set of Blackburn X8's. One light is a spotlight and the other is a flood. I point the spotlight out ways and let the flood fill in the space out to the spotlight. They also come with a dimmer switch which I use to avoid blinding peds and fellow bikers.

http://www.amazon.com/Blackburn-Syst.../dp/B000WNNAU2

I've seen them for pretty cheap around the net. I got my set brand new for just over $100 online but I don't recall where. The place would liquidate inventory for biz's that had gone out of biz.
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Old 06-08-11, 04:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ediblestarfish View Post
Phillips LED Bike Light. Probably the only one I know that might satisfy you. Pricey though.

(Review)
http://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/tes.../index_en.html

(Store)
http://www.bike24.net/p214244.html
Thanks for the mention, and that looks very interesting...but...the thing is I have ridden with my dynamo light. And while I don't want to blind people...I also need *some* light off to the sides. I mean I've tried it. You try feeling comfortable while snaking through trees on a path through the woods - I like a little light off to the sides. :-)

Come to think of it, I suppose what worked best was the dynamo light + my Dinotte 200L...got enough side lighting. Not quite enough reach...
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Old 06-08-11, 04:29 PM   #9
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Trail riding is very different. If I had the inclination and funds, I'd get a Phillips LED Bike Light as my longer throw road beam and a regular high output bike light as a high beam when there's no one around to get annoyed.

They just don't make a super floody, long throw, shaped beam light equal to a car headlight just yet.
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Old 06-08-11, 04:35 PM   #10
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Trail riding is very different. If I had the inclination and funds, I'd get a Phillips LED Bike Light as my longer throw road beam and a regular high output bike light as a high beam when there's no one around to get annoyed.
To be clear, this "trail" I'm talking about is a paved trail through the woods.

I have a Seca 900 right now - that thing has some "throw". But people complain when I got by with it on "low"... :-( They don't complain with my Dinotte 200L on high...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ediblestarfish View Post
They just don't make a super floody, long throw, shaped beam light equal to a car headlight just yet.
That's...what I'm afraid of...just trying to find the closest possible light.

I feel like it might work if I could get a very floody but very even beam pattern...maybe...
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Old 06-09-11, 08:06 AM   #11
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I really like this little light. http://www.rei.com/product/807968/cy...usb-bike-light. No wires and lightweight, but a little pricey.

Very even and bright pattern (never have complaints re blinding), multiple output levels, has helmet and bars mounts, and runs a long time. Some people have complained the light mount is too tight, but it's easier to get the light on and off after a few weeks of use.
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Old 06-09-11, 08:54 AM   #12
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The closest I've found so far is the Cygolite TridenX -
http://www.cygolite.com/products/new...denX_Lion.html
Heh - when I saw the thread title, I planned to come in here and suggest the TridenX, but I see I've been beaten to the punch I have the previous model and love it - the illumination is broad and pretty even, the bright mode is BRIGHT, but it has plenty of low-power and flashing modes.

I'd also highly suggest helmet-mounting if you don't already. In my experience any light will feel brighter and more even if it's always pointing in the direction you're looking.
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Old 06-09-11, 09:43 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by JR97 View Post
I have a set of Blackburn X8's. One light is a spotlight and the other is a flood. I point the spotlight out ways and let the flood fill in the space out to the spotlight. They also come with a dimmer switch which I use to avoid blinding peds and fellow bikers.

http://www.amazon.com/Blackburn-Syst.../dp/B000WNNAU2

I've seen them for pretty cheap around the net. I got my set brand new for just over $100 online but I don't recall where. The place would liquidate inventory for biz's that had gone out of biz.
You didn't happen to run across any beam shots for them did you?
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Old 06-09-11, 10:21 AM   #14
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Nightrider Classic 12v 2 bulb halogen headlamp with a bottle battery pack
is a serious torch,
there are reflector/bulb options in various flood/spot patterns and wattages.
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Old 06-09-11, 10:22 AM   #15
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I really like this little light. http://www.rei.com/product/807968/cy...usb-bike-light. No wires and lightweight, but a little pricey.

Very even and bright pattern (never have complaints re blinding), multiple output levels, has helmet and bars mounts, and runs a long time. Some people have complained the light mount is too tight, but it's easier to get the light on and off after a few weeks of use.
Hmm...I went to REI last night and they had this light (charged) that I could turn on. Unfortunately, they didn't have a dark room that I could try it out in, and at this time of year it's still light at 9pm so I couldn't really try it out.

On the wall, the beam pattern looked focused like a flashlight for the 180 version (they didn't have the 250 version in their display case for some reason). It looked kinda to narrow and focused, but...who knows?
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Old 06-09-11, 10:26 AM   #16
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Another plus for the Philips LED Bike Light. Distinct top cutoff so it won't annoy oncoming people and it has a strong and wide beam for you to see by. But. It has a lot of artifacts in the beam. I got used to them and don't really notice, but it's by no means the most even.

For an even beam, you might want to look for a light with a multi-emitter LED, like a Seoul P7, Cree MC-E, or Osram SST-50. They tend to put out lots of light but not have a tightly focused hot spot. I started with a couple of the many P7-based flashlights that are cheaply available, and shielded them on top with a piece of heavy rubber innertube that sticks off the front a bit like the bill of a ball cap. That makes an effective cutoff and is durable since it's made of flexible material. It's long, about 2 inches in front of the light, but that's what it takes to block the light for a straight cutoff.

I also tried putting Scotch tape over the lens to make it more diffuse or more even. This worked too well for me, and the light was certainly even but didn't throw more than 20 or 30 feet ahead. Without the tape, or with tape over only the bottom part of the lens to generate a little more spill to the sides, I felt like the beam pattern was completely useful. Of course I still ordered the Philips, because you can never leave your setup alone.
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Old 06-09-11, 10:42 AM   #17
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Hmm...I went to REI last night and they had this light (charged) that I could turn on. Unfortunately, they didn't have a dark room that I could try it out in, and at this time of year it's still light at 9pm so I couldn't really try it out.

On the wall, the beam pattern looked focused like a flashlight for the 180 version (they didn't have the 250 version in their display case for some reason). It looked kinda to narrow and focused, but...who knows?
The beam is less focused than a flashlight. Most of the light goes out in an even cone (no hot spots) with just enough spread from the main beam for off-center lighting. Too much spread, and you'll start getting complaints from others. 95% of the light goes right where you need it - on the trail. I use it mostly as a helmet light, but it's just as good on the bars. Definitely recommend the the 250, unless you are running two lights, and even then, the extra power is nice to have.
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Old 06-09-11, 10:49 AM   #18
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Heh - when I saw the thread title, I planned to come in here and suggest the TridenX, but I see I've been beaten to the punch I have the previous model and love it - the illumination is broad and pretty even, the bright mode is BRIGHT, but it has plenty of low-power and flashing modes.
Yeah, I stopped by REI last night and they had the 600 version of the light there. The beam pattern looked promising, though the light from the light itself looked a little blueish. If they had had the 750 there I would have bought it and tried it.

I couldn't believe what a relief it was that it had both a "more power" and "less power" power button, lol. And 4 different power settings, so none of the "even the lowest brightness is to bright" stuff...hopefully.

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I'd also highly suggest helmet-mounting if you don't already. In my experience any light will feel brighter and more even if it's always pointing in the direction you're looking.
True, but I've used a helmet mounted light, and...I find it annoying...

I end up blinding people when I'm looking around at intersections. I can't look over to the side of me without being really, really, really obvious about it, lol. And it either adds noticeable weight to my helmet, or I have to be wearing a bike jersey/vest to hold the battery...I've done it, it's just annoying, trying to stay with a light where I don't have to.
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Old 06-09-11, 11:12 AM   #19
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The beam is less focused than a flashlight. Most of the light goes out in an even cone (no hot spots) with just enough spread from the main beam for off-center lighting. Too much spread, and you'll start getting complaints from others. 95% of the light goes right where you need it - on the trail. I use it mostly as a helmet light, but it's just as good on the bars. Definitely recommend the the 250, unless you are running two lights, and even then, the extra power is nice to have.
Thanks for your suggestion - I really do like the "all in one package", I'll give it a try when it's easier to find a dark night. :-)

Last edited by PaulRivers; 06-09-11 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 06-09-11, 11:17 AM   #20
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I would consider a Bikeray IV light. It uses 4 Philip Luxeon led and rated 1500 lumen. My guess is about 1100-1200 lumen OTF. The best I can describe the beam is "weird". It floody to the side but yet it has some throw. It has a very small hot spot. You can tilt it down to prevent blinding people and yet still get some good light out of it. The beamshot here show a hot spot but in reality it's more of over exposure in order for me to do the beam comparison test.


This wall beamshot was taken only four feet from the wall.


If I have it side by side with a MS900 and both are on high, I get the same glare from both lighthead but yet the BikerayIV is giving out over twice as much light out on the road. Here is my review:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...light-beamshot
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Old 06-10-11, 12:54 PM   #21
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I don't have vast experience with different kinds of lights but I do have a NiteRider Classic, a Smart, a MagicShine and some lesser led lights. I think the MagicShine is the floodiest of them and there is no real 'hotspot'. IMO without going to a European shaped beam light there is no way to avoid blinding peds with the lights easily available to American cyclists. Luckily I do not ride on MUP's or otherwise come in contact with peds. I keep my light aimed as far down as is practical but I suspect there is still enough light to annoy someone if they were to look at it. In another thread someone mentioned blocking out the upper part of the lens. I can't really see a downside to this. It could probably be accomplished with aluminum foil pretty easily. Just rub it on. Trial and error as to how much bulb to cover.

H
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Old 06-10-11, 01:49 PM   #22
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It's really difficult to use a symmetrical (conical) beam light in a way that does not show a blinding amount of glare to someone in front of the light. Just do some experiments with the beam starting all the way down, then aim it up bit by bit--go in front and check each time.

By the time you figure out the highest you can aim the light without massive glare, you'll find that the light is aimed way too close for any practical riding. Wide floody lights are the worst, since the shallow reflector means it doesn't take much angle to be looking right at the diode.

You can put a hood over the light to reduce up-angle glare it as a last ditch attempt, but those waste a lot of light though absorption and uncontrolled reflection.

It's kind of sad, we have all this raw lighting power to play with, but very primitive lens and reflector design for the beam shape with the majority of lights.
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Old 06-14-11, 12:30 PM   #23
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It's really difficult to use a symmetrical (conical) beam light in a way that does not show a blinding amount of glare to someone in front of the light. Just do some experiments with the beam starting all the way down, then aim it up bit by bit--go in front and check each time.

By the time you figure out the highest you can aim the light without massive glare, you'll find that the light is aimed way too close for any practical riding. Wide floody lights are the worst, since the shallow reflector means it doesn't take much angle to be looking right at the diode.

You can put a hood over the light to reduce up-angle glare it as a last ditch attempt, but those waste a lot of light though absorption and uncontrolled reflection.

It's kind of sad, we have all this raw lighting power to play with, but very primitive lens and reflector design for the beam shape with the majority of lights.
Well, I agree with you 100%...

My current thought is to try to match the average light levels already present with a even beam to fill in the gaps. I just want an even beam in front of me (but with decent throw) to fill in the gaps between lights.

Not annoying people with the light is a connundrum - I don't want to completely not throw any light towards them or I can't see them, but I don't want to blind them either.
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