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  1. #1
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    Opinions on my prospective light setup.

    The variety of lighting solutions these days and the knowledge base to go with it are truly staggering. I've researched the issue for a few months. Rather than ask about descriptions of various lights and $$, info which is plentiful enough, I've pretty much decided on what setup I think will work for me. Before I pull the trigger, tho, I'd just like to get a few opinions from you guys with real-world experience in night riding.

    My riding habits: This will be my first season to ride at night. I ride both road and mtb, pretty much equally. I ride alone, I don't race, and I don't commute. I ride the road 3 times a week, for 1-2.5 hours, sometimes on a state park road(slow and safe), sometimes on a mixture of neighborhood and rural highways. I ride the MTB twice a week, on trails that are not too busy, partly technical, partly fast fire road, with the typical loop being 16 miles at 1.5~2 hours. Any rides other than these would be special occasions, which i could schedule during the day, or simply skip.

    My light factors(as I see them), in order of priority:
    1) safety - i wanna be able to a)SEE, and b) be seen when i'm on public roads
    2) runtime - i don't wanna have to carry spare batteries, and i don't wanna run out on my typical rides.
    3) price
    4) weight and bulkiness
    5) durability - i break stuff a lot

    After much research, I'm thinking of getting the Cygolite DualCross 7 Li-Ion for the bars, and the L&M Stella 180-L to mount on the helmet. This combo seems to suit my needs in all categories, at least from my reading and research. The LED/Li-Ion combo seems to solve weight and runtime issues. This is close to the top end of my price range...i.e. It'll hurt, but I'm willing to invest if it works and will last a while.

    So, I'd simply like to know if those with night riding experience would share their opinion of whether or not this setup would work for my needs? Anyone care to share?

    TIA
    I'm not a hero. I'm just a coffeeshop.

  2. #2
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    http://www.coloradocyclist.com/product/item/PRNQRT25
    You could get the Princeton Tec Switchback 3 on closeout at Colorado Cyclist for $214.99 plus shipping instead of the L&M Stella. The PT SW3 would be superior at that price. I am assuming the cheapest price for the Stella is $279 or full retail of $299. I just got one and like it a lot. I do road riding only but I think it would be more than adequate if you have a bar and helmet mount combination.

    Light & Motion Solo Logic MV Li-ion is on sale at Nashbar for $199. Lists for $279
    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...Front%20Lights

    2 L&M Solos would be a lot of light at $199 each. If LED is your criteria, get 2 PT SW3 or 2 Cygolite Dual Cross @ $185 each according to Price Point.

    I would think the setup you are contemplating would do the job.

    http://www.gearreview.com/2007_led_lights.php
    Go here for light reviews if you have not already.

    Have you verified where you are going to mount the battery for the bar light. That is not an easy proposition for some carbon aero frame tubes.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  3. #3
    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    The Princeton Tec seems great at everything except for weight. It's a porker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MIN View Post
    The Princeton Tec seems great at everything except for weight. It's a porker.
    Relatively speaking, yes. However, this is my first time to wear a helmet mounted light and I did not notice the weight on a 40-mile road ride. The battery seems heavy in my hand compared to other lights but the weight is a non-factor in my jersey. I demonstrated the Light and Motion Stella prior to purchasing the PT SW3 via mail after only having read reviews with no actual personal experience. I am happy so far.

    With the type of riding you are doing I would be tempted to purchase 1 L&M or 1 PT SW3 and see if that is enough light for you. It may be if you have good night vision, especially the L&M. Just a thought. You can always order the other one if you need to.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  5. #5
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    Great info, thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
    You could get the Princeton...instead of the L&M Stella.
    The stella would be my helmet-mounted component. Are you suggesting the PT SW3 for the helmet also, or did I misunderstand your suggestion? That's an excellent price, however, so perhaps it would fit in my scheme as my bar light instead of the cygolite. The price is right, and it looks like it puts out more light than the dual cross, with a weight penalty(which is ok).

    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
    Light & Motion Solo Logic MV Li-ion is on sale at Nashbar for $199. Lists for $279
    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...Front%20Lights
    Are these suitable for helmet mount?

    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
    2 L&M Solos would be a lot of light at $199 each. If LED is your criteria, get 2 PT SW3 or 2 Cygolite Dual Cross @ $185 each according to Price Point.
    LEDs aren't really my main criteria, the lights i settled on just happened to be LED since they fit the bill nicely. I'm definitely not opposed to halogen or HID(although likely out of my price range).

    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
    I would think the setup you are contemplating would do the job.
    I appreciate the answer to my question

    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
    Have you verified where you are going to mount the battery for the bar light. That is not an easy proposition for some carbon aero frame tubes.
    Actually, no, thanks for that the nudge.

    Also, I should have mentioned the prices I was looking at as well, for comparison sake. With the %20 coupon on top of some sale prices, I can get the Stella 180-L for $216, and the dual cross for $160, shipped.
    I'm not a hero. I'm just a coffeeshop.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barneco View Post
    Great info, thanks!



    The stella would be my helmet-mounted component. Are you suggesting the PT SW3 for the helmet also, or did I misunderstand your suggestion? That's an excellent price, however, so perhaps it would fit in my scheme as my bar light instead of the cygolite. The price is right, and it looks like it puts out more light than the dual cross, with a weight penalty(which is ok).



    Are these suitable for helmet mount?



    LEDs aren't really my main criteria, the lights i settled on just happened to be LED since they fit the bill nicely. I'm definitely not opposed to halogen or HID(although likely out of my price range).



    I appreciate the answer to my question



    Actually, no, thanks for that the nudge.

    Also, I should have mentioned the prices I was looking at as well, for comparison sake. With the %20 coupon on top of some sale prices, I can get the Stella 180-L for $216, and the dual cross for $160, shipped.

    The L&M Solo and PT SW3 would be ideal for use as either handlebar or helmet mount and both come standard with both mounts.

    Where is the 20% coupon at? If it is Nashbar that makes the L&M Solo an unbelieveable value. I went for the LED but the Solo puts out a lot more light for the price. The bulbs are $20 a piece and some users have reported them lasting less than a season. If the PT SW3 had not been enough light I would have been kicking myself for not going with the L&M Solo.

    The reason that I brought the mounting issue is that my neighbor just got into cycling and I gave him so valuable pointers when we were trying to fit lights. I had my Light and Motion Vega on the bar and my new PT SW3 for him to test on both the bar and helmet.

    He has FSA bars that are big and flat/oblong. The Vega mount, which should be the same mount as the Solo-verify that, would just barely fit on the bar next to the stem. Since it is self-contained there is no battery to mount. The PT SW3 was another story. The light unit needed a longer bolt because the standard bolt was not long enough. It appeared from line of sight and aligning with a longer bolt that did not have the right threads, that a longer bolt would work.

    Because he has a Cannondale Synapse with oversize, aero carbon bars, we could not find a good place to mount the battery on the frame. There were derailleur cables running along the bottom of the top tube and the seat tube and down tube were so narrow there was not enough base there to mount the larger sized PT SW3 battery. Remember this has a 5-hour capacity on high and 10-hour on medium. The L&M Solo li-ion battery is smaller and has enough capacity for you, but I am skeptical whether it would mount on his Synapse either. We may have been able to mount the PT SW3 battery under the handlebars or stems but it was late and we did not get around to trying that.

    He decided to purchase a NiteRider Minewt X2 Dual. The mounts are elastic straps like the Dinotte mounting system and fit his bars okay. He was skeptical if they would stay aligned if he had to mount them at a certain angle on the bars for proper beam alignment, but I am confident it will work okay. The small battery mounted under his handlebars or stem, sorry I forget which. He paid $199 and is going to have to purchase an extra battery for around $105 online. It is $150 or more from Niterider. Hopefully they will design a bigger capacity battery. The Dual uses the same battery as the single so the run time on max is only 1:45. He will be mostly riding in a group so he can get by on low or if he manages the setting between high and low to stretch run times. He ran out of juice on his first ride because we hit chip and seal roads and the ride took much longer than planned. It sound like you would need the extra battery if you went with that setup.

    Hope this helps. I am not expert but I have been reading and studying and would have went with the L&M Solo if I had not ran across the PT SW3 on closeout at CC. Nashbar had it for $189 with an additional 20% coupon when I ordered the PT SW3 (from CC) so the delivered price (for the Solo from Performance) including shipping was around $156.
    Last edited by dekindy; 10-15-07 at 05:16 AM.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  7. #7
    Senior Member kleng's Avatar
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    I believe the Cygolite Dual Cross is a good choice. It has a tiny Li-ion battery, good output, 3.5hrs duration on high intensity, recharges in 3 hrs and a reasonable price. I mount my battery under the bar, so I've still got room for HRM's and different hand positions, its also a very good fit under the stem.




    If you want more juice look at the TridenX.

  8. #8
    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    I ordered a Dual Cross 300 Lith-Ion today from Performance. It's got a good combination of light weight, output and battery life.

    Kleng- how long do you charge your unit for? Does the charging automatically shut off when fully charged?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
    Where is the 20% coupon at?
    My fault, it was a performance coupon. 6002834

    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
    The reason that I brought the mounting issue is that my neighbor just got into cycling and I gave him so valuable pointers when we were trying to fit lights.
    Excellent info and, from what I've seen, an often overlooked factor. Thanks for passing that info along.

    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
    Hope this helps. I am not expert but I have been reading and studying and would have went with the L&M Solo if I had not ran across the PT SW3 on closeout at CC. Nashbar had it for $189 with an additional 20% coupon when I ordered the PT SW3 so the delivered price including shipping was around $156.
    Very much so. Thats a crazy price you got from Nashbar. If I could get that price, it'd be a no-brainer.
    I'm not a hero. I'm just a coffeeshop.

  10. #10
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    You are welcome. There is a 10% coupon available now. So at the current discounted price it would be $191 full delivered price on the Solo.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  11. #11
    Senior Member kleng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIN View Post
    I ordered a Dual Cross 300 Lith-Ion today from Performance. It's got a good combination of light weight, output and battery life.

    Kleng- how long do you charge your unit for? Does the charging automatically shut off when fully charged?
    Yes it automatically shuts off and goes into trickle charge mode.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIN View Post
    I ordered a Dual Cross 300 Lith-Ion today from Performance. It's got a good combination of light weight, output and battery life.

    Kleng- how long do you charge your unit for? Does the charging automatically shut off when fully charged?
    You will love the Cygolite DualCross Pro. Good choice for getting that one and not the regular DualCross. The Pro edition is only $20 more but you get double the light. Awesome deal IMB. (In my book!)

    I will be getting it also!

  13. #13
    Senior Member kleng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grun View Post
    You will love the Cygolite DualCross Pro. Good choice for getting that one and not the regular DualCross. The Pro edition is only $20 more but you get double the light. Awesome deal IMB. (In my book!)

    I will be getting it also!
    Cygolite should do a Dinotte and offer an upgrade to the latest technology LED's, I would love to increase the output of my Dual Cross 300 without having to buy a new unit as I really like the small li-ion battery and the compact "in front of the stem" mount.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kleng View Post
    Cygolite should do a Dinotte and offer an upgrade to the latest technology LED's, I would love to increase the output of my Dual Cross 300 without having to buy a new unit as I really like the small li-ion battery and the compact "in front of the stem" mount.
    Holy Crap Kleng, could you imagine if they did that?
    Like a dropin mod, would be so easy.

    The thing is if you were to get a pair of Wolf-Eyes, tactical weapons lights, you could do that.

    http://www.pts-flashlights.com/produ...9-103-105-6324

  15. #15
    Senior Member kleng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grun View Post
    Holy Crap Kleng, could you imagine if they did that?
    Like a dropin mod, would be so easy.

    The thing is if you were to get a pair of Wolf-Eyes, tactical weapons lights, you could do that.

    http://www.pts-flashlights.com/produ...9-103-105-6324
    Grun

    Maybe I'll do a home mod with my spare Dual Cross 300 Ni-mh light head, can you recommend which leds I should get.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kleng View Post
    Cygolite should do a Dinotte and offer an upgrade to the latest technology LED's, I would love to increase the output of my Dual Cross 300 without having to buy a new unit as I really like the small li-ion battery and the compact "in front of the stem" mount.
    Yah right.. I did ask about the upgrade of the LED's and pointed out the newest LED's to Cygolite and they (perhaps this was just one tech CSR) basically told me the only way to get more light is to upgrade and by a new light and that they don't do upgrades.

    Design wise the Cygolite is nice looking but Dinotte's upgrade setup makes the light future proof by returning the light they take out the old and out in the new and you're good to go again. I'm sure there will come a point in time when the LED's at max. power with all the upgrading years down the road that Dinotte may stop the upgrading because the light unit may be too hot but by then I think at low/350mA you may have ~200lms. and high at 500lms.
    Zero_Enigma

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kleng View Post
    Grun

    Maybe I'll do a home mod with my spare Dual Cross 300 Ni-mh light head, can you recommend which leds I should get.
    Yeah, sure. Look out for something maybe in Cree Q5, or Q2. They are a bit better than before (P4).

  18. #18
    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grun View Post
    You will love the Cygolite DualCross Pro. Good choice for getting that one and not the regular DualCross. The Pro edition is only $20 more but you get double the light. Awesome deal IMB. (In my book!)

    I will be getting it also!
    I got the 300 Lith-Ion and not the Pro actually.

    The only place that carries the Pro model is BeyondBikes and I hear they are sketchy so I took advantage of Performance 20% off sale on Friday. (One day only.)

  19. #19
    Senior Member kleng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grun View Post
    Yeah, sure. Look out for something maybe in Cree Q5, or Q2. They are a bit better than before (P4).
    Grun and Zero Enigma

    I think the replacement should pretty straight forward, looking at the pics, I'll need to desolder the led star and then replace it with the more powerful units.

    The existing units look like Luxeon 5w leds
    http://www.led-tech.de/en/High-Power...620_49_43.html

    Do you think I'll need to replace the led driver circuits as well. Is their anything else I should be aware of?



    Last edited by kleng; 10-07-07 at 03:31 AM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member kleng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grun View Post
    Yeah, sure. Look out for something maybe in Cree Q5, or Q2. They are a bit better than before (P4).
    Grun and Zero Enigma

    Do you think these will work, I was thinking of 2 of these, one in each side. Which do you recommend ?

    http://www.luxeonstar.com/item.php?i...=7007-PWC-10-3

    or

    http://www.led-tech.de/en/High-Power...80_121_78.html

    or

    http://www.led-tech.de/en/High-Power...46_120_77.html
    Last edited by kleng; 10-07-07 at 03:12 AM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Kleng,

    I did not know that the insides of the Dual Cross was LED stars. I thought they used LED emitters. If it's stars then it'll be easier to work with. The best LED's now are by CREE with thier Q5 bin or SEOUL with thier P4 bin. Both can be found at DealExtreme with free S/H. The Cree Q5 is ~100-114lm @ 350mA (1W) which I suspect is what the Dual Cross runs at on low. The Seoul P4 U-bin I think is ~90-100lm @ 350mA but I do know it tops out ~220-240lm @ 1000mA. The Cree Q5 is more expensive right now. The SSC P4 is cheaper.

    I do not think you will need to change the LED driver unless you want to totally mod the light control options as well but to keep it simple you're only changing the LED so IMHO nothing is wrong with the current driver. You're just getting a brighter light at low power for what you used to get at mid-power so your battery lasts longer.
    Zero_Enigma

  22. #22
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Kleng: Got more shots and angles of the opened Dual Cross? Better yet got a mould of the housing? Thinking of fashioning somehting like that.
    Zero_Enigma

  23. #23
    another cat...FAB! stevesurf's Avatar
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    Dinotte. These are the lights with the the best brightness, low weight, runtime, simple mounts and customer service! I had their least expensive light on the Friday Central Park ride and there were some that asked me to dim it as they were so bright!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesurf View Post
    Dinotte. Friday Central Park ride and there were some that asked me to dim it as they were so bright!!!


    Did you tel them to "dimm off!" LOL I just checked out their website, and that back light seems to be VERY bright, ar they really that bright?
    <img src=http://www.dinottelighting.com/images/Photographyk_S.jpg>

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    Quote Originally Posted by professorkev View Post
    Did you tel them to "dimm off!" LOL I just checked out their website, and that back light seems to be VERY bright, ar they really that bright?
    <img src=http://www.dinottelighting.com/images/Photographyk_S.jpg>
    Yes, the tail light is that bright. My buddy has one and my group asked him to dim it because it was blinding people in the group.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

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