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Old 09-14-07, 08:51 PM   #1
tri42
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Best value for a taillight

What's a good taillight ( READ: brightest, most visible ) without spending a lot of money. Relative newbie here who's concerned about not being seen.
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Old 09-14-07, 09:14 PM   #2
varuscelli
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Planet Bike Super Flash. Most bang for the buck. Always on sale somewhere, should be able to get it for $20 or less, shipped.

Check out this review on the CandlePower Forums (and search "Planet Bike Super Flash" on this forum for more info and accolades):

Two Rear LED Bike Lights - A Joint CPF Review
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Old 09-15-07, 12:36 AM   #3
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+1 on the SuperFlash.
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Old 09-15-07, 03:41 AM   #4
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Thanks for the quick responses and info !
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Old 09-15-07, 06:57 AM   #5
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Thanks for the quick responses and info !
You're welcome!

I recently went through your same exercise to find a good tail light. I wanted the DiNotte tail light (approx $150 US). I bought the Planet Bike Super Flash (less than $20 on sale). Someday (perhaps), the DiNotte. For now, the Super Flash.

I also have the Cateye TL-LD1000 (another nice tail light, probably not quite as effective as the Super Flash in a few ways and more more expensive than the Super Flash). But you will have read about the Cateye in the review on CandlePower Forums that I linked.
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Old 09-15-07, 07:07 PM   #6
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Blackburn Mars 3.0.
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Old 09-16-07, 01:29 AM   #7
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Blackburn Mars 3.0.
I have both the Mars 3.0 and the Superflash, and the Superflash is worlds brighter and more visible at night than the Mars 3.0.

EDIT: Please see post number 11 for corrections.

Last edited by Ziemas; 09-16-07 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 09-16-07, 07:34 AM   #8
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I have both the Mars 3.0 and the Superflash, and the Superflash is worlds brighter and more visible at night than the Mars 3.0.
The Mars 3.0 is more than adequate and is available at my LBS. I run with two taillights anyway for redundancy and more visibility. I like the wide viewing angle and wraparound lens that gives side visibility.

I am not saying the Blackburn is better. But the group I ride with is very safety conscious and several of them bought Mars 3.0's after they saw mine.
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Old 09-16-07, 08:02 AM   #9
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I have both the Mars 3.0 and the Superflash, and the Superflash is worlds brighter and more visible at night than the Mars 3.0.
I use the Super Flash but have never seen the Mars 3.0 actually being used. I know that the Mars 3.0 gets very good reviews, though, from what I've read about it.

My question is, "How do the Super Flash and Mars 3.0 compare in terms of side visibility?" I've been curious about the side panel (amber?) on the Mars 3.0 and whether it makes a better side visibility light than the Super Flash.

I am currently running both a Super Flash and the Cateye TL-LD1000 to help more with my side visibility (I'm not overly concerned with extra weight on the bike, but want good visibility).

This is how my rear lights are currently set up. Shot it diffused daylight indoors, this doesn't really show the overall night look very well, but does show how they're set up and a bit of the side visibility. I run the Super Flash in blinking mode and the TL-LD1000 solid.

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Old 09-16-07, 09:06 AM   #10
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I couldn't find that Super flash anywhere near me (in Dallas). So went with the Cat Eye TL-LD1100 from REI. Cost more but so far it makes me feel alot better riding.
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Old 09-16-07, 10:13 PM   #11
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I stand corrected. After doing some testing last night I've found that the Mars 3.0 is much more visible than the SuperFlash from the side due to the amber flasher, and much more visible during low light conditions such as dusk due to it's larger bank of lights.

Where the SuperFlash excels is in total darkness where the small but powerful light is noticeable due to not only it's power, but also it's odd flashing pattern.

In conclusion I'd say for riding when it's not pitch black out the Mars 3.0 is more visible than the SuperFlash. During pitch dark the SuperFlash is a bit more noticeable due to it's odd flashing pattern.

NOTE: I've noticed previously that during daytime or in low light conditions the Cateye TL-1000 is more visible than the SuperFlash, yet during pitch dark the SuperFlash is much more noticeable than the TL-1000.
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Old 09-16-07, 10:53 PM   #12
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I stand corrected. After doing some testing last night I've found that the Mars 3.0 is much more visible than the SuperFlash from the side due to the amber flasher, and much more visible during low light conditions such as dusk due to it's larger bank of lights.

Where the SuperFlash excels is in total darkness where the small but powerful light is noticeable due to not only it's power, but also it's odd flashing pattern.

In conclusion I'd say for riding when it's not pitch black out the Mars 3.0 is more visible than the SuperFlash. During pitch dark the SuperFlash is a bit more noticeable due to it's odd flashing pattern.
Wow, Ziemas, those are interesting findings and great info to post. That's the first I've read of anyone doing an actual comparison of those two tail lights. (Just to ask...were both tested using equally fresh batteries? Had to ask that, in case it might be a factor if you've been running Super Flash for a while.)

Your findings might also provide some justification for someone to run both the Mars 3.0 and the Super Flash (kind of like I'm doing with the Super Flash and the TL-LD1000).

Out of curiosity, can you give an approximate size/weight comparison of the two? Is the Mars 3.0 much larger than the Super Flash?

And just to add (not personal experience, but from reviews read), those who complain about the Mars 3.0 say the batteries are a pain in the butt to change (tiny and inconvenient screws?) and the attachment clip (?) leaves a lot to be desired (several people complained about losing theirs on the road). Again, that's just from reviews read.
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Old 09-16-07, 11:17 PM   #13
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They both had fresh batteries, and they are almost the same size with the Mars 3.0 being slightly bigger and heavier but not by much.

As for the batteries in the Mars 3.0 that is a problem. It has a bone headed design which indeed uses a tiny screw to fasten the battery compartment. It's an absolutely horrible design.

The mount seems quite good and is similar to the SuperFlash as a tab slides into the bracket.
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Old 09-16-07, 11:38 PM   #14
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Good info, Ziemas. Glad you posted your comparisons and comments.

On the Super Flash mount, I seem to recall a couple of threads I searched though where others had said they had lost their Super Flashes on the road, too (just as those who had the same comments about the Mars 3.0). But in looking at my Super Flash, it seems like a pretty solid snap-in mount. Doesn't really seem to me it would come loose easily if snapped properly into place, so I dunno what to make of the road loses...
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Old 09-16-07, 11:44 PM   #15
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Good info, Ziemas. Glad you posted your comparisons and comments.

On the Super Flash mount, I seem to recall a couple of threads I searched though where others had said they had lost their Super Flashes on the road, too (just as those who had the same comments about the Mars 3.0). But in looking at my Super Flash, it seems like a pretty solid snap-in mount. Doesn't really seem to me it would come loose easily if snapped properly into place, so I dunno what to make of the road loses...
I go over many cobblestone roads every day and have never lost a light, and neither has my wife. I think the vast majority of cases where a light is lost are due to user error.
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Old 09-17-07, 05:31 AM   #16
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I couldn't find that Super flash anywhere near me (in Dallas). So went with the Cat Eye TL-LD1100 from REI. Cost more but so far it makes me feel alot better riding.
When you recieved the item did the package specify the model 1100 and when you looked at the physical unit was it stamped/labeled model 1100?

Thanks.
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Old 09-17-07, 11:13 AM   #17
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You could build this for sub 20$ cause it cost me like 10eu excluding the tin and cells.


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Old 09-17-07, 01:37 PM   #18
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When you recieved the item did the package specify the model 1100 and when you looked at the physical unit was it stamped/labeled model 1100?

Thanks.
They do have one out there, supposedly "with even brighter LED's that the previous model."

TL-LD1100
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Old 09-17-07, 02:10 PM   #19
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I also recommend the PB super flash. In multiples - one on helmet, 2 or 3 on bike. I got mine for 14-16 bucks on sale.

Also, lithium AAA batteries, although expensive, ensure max light output with long life and minimum hassle.
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Old 09-17-07, 04:09 PM   #20
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You could build this for sub 20$ cause it cost me like 10eu excluding the tin and cells.


Very creative!

But does it come in both Cinnamon and Wintergreen -- or Cinnamon only?
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Old 09-17-07, 05:04 PM   #21
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When you recieved the item did the package specify the model 1100 and when you looked at the physical unit was it stamped/labeled model 1100?

Thanks.
Yes it specified it was the TL-LD1100. They also had the 1000 there. And yes it says 1100 on the light itself.

btw.. It's BRIGHT.. Wife was riding behind me the first time I used it. She said WOW that's bright. And it was 95 and sunny at the time.

Last edited by DodgeRam; 09-18-07 at 05:23 AM.
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Old 09-18-07, 03:52 AM   #22
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My wintergreen tin was really nasty (forgot some candy in there). More info on the light:

Its not water proof (yet).
1w Red led (luxeon) (5eu)
2x 1.2v AA cells for 2.4v direct drive.
i used arctic silver5 to create thermal contact with the tin (which i sanded with a scotch-brite pad)
And some generic luxeon lens for around 2eu.

I used a dipole switch cause thats what i had. and the batt cradle was like 30cents. probably cheaper in the states.



Also for all you superflash users. how is the led cooled?
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Old 09-18-07, 05:10 AM   #23
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I stand corrected. After doing some testing last night I've found that the Mars 3.0 is much more visible than the SuperFlash from the side due to the amber flasher, and much more visible during low light conditions such as dusk due to it's larger bank of lights.

Where the SuperFlash excels is in total darkness where the small but powerful light is noticeable due to not only it's power, but also it's odd flashing pattern.

In conclusion I'd say for riding when it's not pitch black out the Mars 3.0 is more visible than the SuperFlash. During pitch dark the SuperFlash is a bit more noticeable due to it's odd flashing pattern.

NOTE: I've noticed previously that during daytime or in low light conditions the Cateye TL-1000 is more visible than the SuperFlash, yet during pitch dark the SuperFlash is much more noticeable than the TL-1000.
You beat me to it. I was going to test my Mars 2.0 and 3.0 tonight against my buddy's Superflash. I turned them on yesterday afternoon in bright sunlight and they were much more visible during the day than I expected.

I ride in pitch black in the winter with a group. I have both Mars for redundancy and better visibility when it is pitch dark. I got a view of our group from behind once. It was a sight to see. Everyone had their light in the brightest flashing mode and many have two tailights. You cannot believe how much visibility a group like that creates. It looks like a fire scene with all the firetruck lights and police car lights flashing. Motorists probably think they are approaching a bad accident scene!

I have 2 Mars 2.0's and the plastic tab connecting the seat post bracket to the light has broken on both, in less than a year. I use the clip-on bracket and secure it to my saddle bag with twist ties.

I have not used the 3.0 long enough yet to comment on it's durability. But I like the seat post bracket better since the clip-on bracket slides in to it instead of using a small plastic tab that can fail. I have seen comments that battery life is very short and others say that it is easy on batteries. Again I have not used it enough to know. I just put brand new batteries in mine so I will have first hand experience this winter.

I was torn between the Superflash and Mars 3.0 but chose the Mars mainly because of availability from my LBS.
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Old 09-18-07, 05:18 AM   #24
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I have been using a Bell LED flashing taillight from Wal-Mart both in city traffic and on rural roads. A friend saw me riding and even came up behind me in his vehicle one night without knowing who the cyclist was. He said I was visible from half of a mile away. If find cars generally go into the left lane to give me plenty of room. The Bell unit costs less than $9 and has six or seven modes with different light patterns. It runs a long, long time on 2 AAA batteries.
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Old 09-18-07, 11:44 AM   #25
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As for the batteries in the Mars 3.0 that is a problem. It has a bone headed design which indeed uses a tiny screw to fasten the battery compartment. It's an absolutely horrible design.

The mount seems quite good and is similar to the SuperFlash as a tab slides into the bracket.
Until it breaks off (the Mars that is) - has happened to a lot of people.

My vote is for the Superflash - no contest.
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