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Old 02-24-12, 11:47 PM   #1
Tohtruck
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Safety/Visibility Headlight and Tail Light Suggestions

I am looking for decent inexpensive (I really don't want to spend much at all) lights for the bicycle I am about to purchase.

I would ideally like a headlight and a tail light. Something very low-profile. I don't want a giant beaming lazer cannon.

I live in New York City. So there is a decent amount of street lights and ambient light. But I would like something extra just to be a bit more visible to motorists, pedestrians, and other cyclists.

The primary goal is safety (as well as being cheap).

I don't particularly plan on riding during bad weather (rain, snow, extreme cold... in fact I probably won't be riding much at all during the frigid east coast winters) but it would be ideal if the lights were somewhat weatherproof at least through rain conditions.

Here are the lights I am currently considering:

http://ecom1.planetbike.com/3042_1.html

http://www.knog.com.au/gear-lights/frog-strobe.phps

Being able to see what's ahead of me (if I were ever to ride through dark conditions) would be an added bonus, but not an extreme necessity. The primary focus would be added visibility and safety.
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Old 02-25-12, 12:25 AM   #2
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You want to show up in New York City traffic with the equivalent of a pocket keychain light? Not very realistic. I'd go with at least a Planet Bike SuperFlash in the rear, or my favorite nowdays, the Cygolite Hotshot. In front, something like a 1-watt Planet Bike Blaze, which has the SuperFlash flash pattern available for daytime visibility.
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Old 02-25-12, 01:03 AM   #3
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mechBgon knows his stuff, but I also know that the OP is on a really tight budget. An alternate to the PBSF would be it's Sette Glo clone, which I'm sure nashcommguy will heartily endorse. And this is probably the Sette version of the Blaze. Upside is they both use AAA cells instead of the pricier coin types.

It could be worse- he could've posted a link to the Zefal combo from Wally World.
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Old 02-25-12, 09:26 AM   #4
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mechBgon knows his stuff, but I also know that the OP is on a really tight budget. An alternate to the PBSF would be it's Sette Glo clone, which I'm sure nashcommguy will heartily endorse. And this is probably the Sette version of the Blaze. Upside is they both use AAA cells instead of the pricier coin types.

It could be worse- he could've posted a link to the Zefal combo from Wally World.
PBSF is inexpensive - the half-watt original and Stealth models are going to be under $20 as the Turbo gets a head of steam in the marketplace. I give a +1 to machBgon's suggestion with the comment that tail lights that are very good are relatively inexpensive.
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Old 02-25-12, 10:00 AM   #5
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If size and cost are a big deal to you, then why not get a set of Blackburn Fleas or Axiom Sparks? They are USB rechargeable, small, and bright for their size. You can get them for about $20 each if you shop around. I have used my fleas daily for a year or two and I'm very happy with them.

I would never want to use them exclusively, but hey, to each his own.
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Old 02-25-12, 10:10 AM   #6
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mechBgon knows his stuff, but I also know that the OP is on a really tight budget. An alternate to the PBSF would be it's Sette Glo clone, which I'm sure nashcommguy will heartily endorse. And this is probably the Sette version of the Blaze. Upside is they both use AAA cells instead of the pricier coin types.

It could be worse- he could've posted a link to the Zefal combo from Wally World.
Oh yeah, 30.00USD and you're covered OP. The Glo for the front and 2 316 blinkies for the rear. One high and one low.

Btw, these are 'be seen' lights. If you want a front light with which to see go to www.nashbar.com and get the Niterider Cordless 150 for 70.00USD. DON'T use it on strobe mode in the city...it's too bright. You'll cause someone to have a seizure. On steady the lowest setting is plenty unless you're a ***** to the walls commuter @ 20 mph.

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Old 02-25-12, 12:33 PM   #7
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I live in the city and work in the city. It's been my experience that in the city you need more light not less. Otherwise you just sort of blend into the background lights. Until I learned that lesson, I had just as many close calls with cars as unlit people do.

If you really want to be cheap, go stealth and don't waste your money on those lights. If you really want to be seen, get better ones. That middle ground stuff won't help you either way.
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Old 02-25-12, 12:54 PM   #8
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+1 This ^^^^ Most drivers don't speed towards bright lights! In fact, instinct would dictate just the opposite reaction. As soon as you're faced with a bright light, you instinctively hit the brake. How hard you hit the brake is usually determined by both the degree of brightness and the speed at which it approaches. Either the light source appears to get larger, become brighter, or both.

The only problem there is, the light being so bright as to become blinding, and actually becoming a hazard to road safety.

I guess the question becomes:

At what point does bright light, become too bright to maintain safe transport for all?
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Old 02-25-12, 02:49 PM   #9
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I think tsl summed it right on the button. When I started out and saw where I needed some lights, I got some minor ones. The more I rode in the wee dark hours of the morning and evening, along with city and rural road traffic, better lighting was not a choice, I had to get something different and better. Now, with better lighting, I see a VAST improvement in the way the other vehicles see me. I see them jump back, when they were getting ready to take my right-of-way, and stop when they see me coming. I contribute all that to my lights. The choice of the type and kind of lights is up to the rider. For myself, I am running double flashlight torches up front, helmet light, in rear, strong blinky on the bike, one on my helmet, and sometime one or two on my leg. Up front, I am burning.

I am running blinky mode in the daytime.
I started with some of those lights that are being suggested, and I quickly saw where I was way undergunned.

Luck and safe commuting to you.
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Old 02-25-12, 03:07 PM   #10
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+1 This ^^^^ Most drivers don't speed towards bright lights! In fact, instinct would dictate just the opposite reaction. As soon as you're faced with a bright light, you instinctively hit the brake. How hard you hit the brake is usually determined by both the degree of brightness and the speed at which it approaches. Either the light source appears to get larger, become brighter, or both.

The only problem there is, the light being so bright as to become blinding, and actually becoming a hazard to road safety.

I guess the question becomes:

At what point does bright light, become too bright to maintain safe transport for all?
You must have a Ph.D!!!

I just started pushing bright lights, and believe you me, the cars are slowing down, giving me way, in others words, they give me respect on the road. I contribute all of that to the BRIGHT LIGHTS!!

Since I KNOW, I am pushing some powerful beams up front, I MAKE sure I aim them DOWNWARD, about 20 some feet in front of me. Even with that, I am still bright, bright, and bright!! This mornig at about 5 am, pitch dark out, I leaned my bike up against a pole. I walked about 50 feet out in front, and even though I did not look directly at my lights, them dam things are bright.

Now, on to the balance point of blinding others, opposed to being seen and respected for their place on the road. I am almost positive, that 96% of the bicycle riders that are running POWERFUL LIGHTS, don't aim them to blind others..Even so, the momentary discomfort to others, can't hold a candle to our safety. Remember now, 96% of us with bright lights are responsible. So, I don't think that is a problem.

When I pulled out merging into traffic and have to take the full lane, and traffic is doing 60mph in a 30mph zone, I want to be seen. My rear blinkys are doing a great job, but I am going for more back there too. None of us want to be that one lying on the ground and somebody saying "oh, I didn't see them"... None of us!!!
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Old 02-25-12, 03:29 PM   #11
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Now, on to the balance point of blinding others, opposed to being seen and respected for their place on the road. I am almost positive, that 96% of the bicycle riders that are running POWERFUL LIGHTS, don't aim them to blind others..Even so, the momentary discomfort to others, can't hold a candle to our safety. Remember now, 96% of us with bright lights are responsible. So, I don't think that is a problem.
It depends on the environment too. In a busy city scene, don't worry about "blinding" motorists. Give 'em both barrels so you show up against the "noise." Every car coming towards the camera in this shot could have its high beams on, and it still wouldn't "blind" anyone:



On a pitch-dark 2-lane country highway, start worrying about it. In that scenario, I have a small light running at low power (about 200 lumens) and aimed at the pavement about 20 meters out, and a "big gun" (>1200 lumens) aimed out fairly level. When the oncoming cars appear, I shut down my "high beam" (or cover it with my hand) and they get the cue to shut down theirs. I don't need to have enemies on dark country highways that I ride frequently.
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Old 02-25-12, 06:20 PM   #12
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Imixg3jrJS8
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Old 02-25-12, 07:37 PM   #13
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So, yeah, I like the Cygolite Hotshot, I didn't know they had USB rechargeable lights. Rechargeable lights are what I would ideally want then.

Likewise, I also like the Blackburn Flea.
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Old 02-25-12, 08:32 PM   #14
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I run a Radbot 1000 for a rear light, and one of the Dealextreme Chinese 'tactical' lights for a front light. They are economical, but I am happy with their performance.
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Old 02-25-12, 10:08 PM   #15
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So, yeah, I like the Cygolite Hotshot, I didn't know they had USB rechargeable lights. Rechargeable lights are what I would ideally want then.

Likewise, I also like the Blackburn Flea.
I have a Hotshot, which is advertised at 2 watts, but out of all my rear lights it is clearly the weakest. It is not as effective as my NiteRider Cherrybombs, or either of my PBSFs (a 1/2 watt Stealth and a 1 watt Turbo) and it is also weaker than my Radbot 1000. Out of all these lights, the best is the PBSF Turbo. The Hotshot was very disappointing.
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Old 02-25-12, 10:23 PM   #16
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I have a Hotshot, which is advertised at 2 watts, but out of all my rear lights it is clearly the weakest. It is not as effective as my NiteRider Cherrybombs, or either of my PBSFs (a 1/2 watt Stealth and a 1 watt Turbo) and it is also weaker than my Radbot 1000. Out of all these lights, the best is the PBSF Turbo. The Hotshot was very disappointing.
Not to question your mental faculties, but I have to ask- did you play with adjustments at all? From what all I've read, the Hotshot 2W is the current gold standard for bang for the buck.
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Old 02-26-12, 01:37 AM   #17
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I have a Hotshot, which is advertised at 2 watts, but out of all my rear lights it is clearly the weakest. It is not as effective as my NiteRider Cherrybombs, or either of my PBSFs (a 1/2 watt Stealth and a 1 watt Turbo) and it is also weaker than my Radbot 1000. Out of all these lights, the best is the PBSF Turbo. The Hotshot was very disappointing.
I own every light you named, and the Hotshots I own are visibly more powerful than any of them. In fact, the center of the Hotshot's beam is brighter than the formidible $200 DiNotte 300R (I Ebay'ed mine after getting a Hotshot), and even the 400R (according to a BF member who owns both). I wonder if you're using the weak triple-flash mode, or have a defective light.
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Old 02-26-12, 01:42 AM   #18
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i got a schmidt Dyno Hub. and eDelux LED headlight ,
and a B&M toplight line plus taillight, wired .

Having lights is just getting on the bike and pedaling.
there is a standlight capacitor in both lights..

NYC a battery light like the Planet Bike or Cateye stuff should do ,
+ they come off to not get stolen.

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Old 02-26-12, 02:59 AM   #19
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What about this one?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-2-0-Sola...ht_3459wt_1105
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Old 02-26-12, 04:38 AM   #20
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I have a Hotshot, which is advertised at 2 watts, but out of all my rear lights it is clearly the weakest. It is not as effective as my NiteRider Cherrybombs, or either of my PBSFs (a 1/2 watt Stealth and a 1 watt Turbo) and it is also weaker than my Radbot 1000. Out of all these lights, the best is the PBSF Turbo. The Hotshot was very disappointing.
I use an old 1/2 watt PBSF, Radbot 1000 and the Hotshot. I've noticed that the Radbot has more of a flood pattern and the Hotshot has a much more concentrated beam. Off-angle, the Radbot is much more visible, but when viewed from directly behind, the hotshot is insanely bright. The PBSF is there just as a backup and isn't even worth comparing to the other two.
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Old 02-26-12, 09:09 AM   #21
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Maybe I have a dud Hotshot and need to return it, or I'm not understanding how to adjust it - - stdlrf11, mechBgon and no1mad you all have me thinking! I'll play with it this afternoon and see what I can do. I hope you're right, because so far I'm the only person that thinks it blows I'll post after I "experiment". I sure like the usb charging as opposed to the AAA's.
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Old 02-26-12, 09:14 AM   #22
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Not to question your mental faculties,
Hahahaha!! Have you been talking with my wife?
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Old 02-26-12, 09:30 AM   #23
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I stand corrected - I read the instructions at the Cygolite website and played with the unit. I had it at about 1/3 power It will take several hours for my eyesight to get back to normal Never look directly into a Hotshot 2w beam
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Old 02-26-12, 11:56 AM   #24
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I love the PDW DangerZone
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Old 02-26-12, 02:23 PM   #25
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Lights are one of the items I feel you get what you pay for----if you buy a bicycle specific light. A lot of forum members swear by the tactical flashlights available at online vendors like DealExtreme. If I was looking for a headlight on a budget, I'd buy a bright flashlight, a handlebar mount, and be much better off than buying a cheap bike light.
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