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Old 10-17-07, 09:52 PM   #1
Idioteque
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cheap cat eye lights, worth it?

so, i'm completely broke and 50 bucks is probably most i can afford. I have school from 9-5 basically everyday and have to find a way to ride at night...

so the question is,

will i just be wasting my money on this

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...TOKEN=70956712

or is there hope still?
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Old 10-17-07, 09:55 PM   #2
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ok this looks more promising http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=4320
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Old 10-17-07, 11:12 PM   #3
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It'll get you by, especially if your route has streetlights anyway.
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Old 10-18-07, 12:47 AM   #4
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It'll be fine.
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Old 10-18-07, 02:35 AM   #5
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I have that first light you posted, as long as there are street lights it does the job fine
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Old 10-18-07, 05:15 AM   #6
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Not wasting your money on the tail light, front light will only help you be seen, not see. The cheapest serious headlight that I am aware of is the Nite Rider Road Rat for $79.99, L&M Solo that sells for $129.99 and the Dinotte 200L Pro Series that runs on rechargeable batteries for $169.99 with batteries/battery charger and $149.99 if you already have batteries/charger. Of course, you can look for discounted prices.

If you are inclined to build your own or have someone that will help you with the soldering, etc, you can build your own and fit your budget. Consult the Total Geekiness sticky thread at the top of the page for lots of idea.

Go here and read about some.
http://www.crw.org/CheapLights.htm
http://www.geocities.com/b1rdjx88/light.html
http://www.rf.org/farmers/aa4hs/bikelight/
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Old 10-18-07, 05:19 AM   #7
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You might take a look at the Blackburn Voyager 3.0 and 4.0.
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Old 10-18-07, 07:33 AM   #8
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Check out the cygolite nite rover...you can get 12W (6W fl and 6W sp) halogen and 3 or 4 hrs run time for about $69.
Nite Rover Xtra will get you 16W halogen (6W fl and 10W sp) with longer runtime due to bigger battery for about $79.
Great lights for the money, IMO.
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Old 10-18-07, 08:32 AM   #9
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I would go with the cygolite nite rover instead.
I have had both and the HL-EL500 is virtually worthless on a trail. On the streets it is almost completely washed out. The cygolite worked much better until I destroyed it and then tried the cateye.

However, my next light will most likely be one of the new leds like a dinotte 600L but that is out of the price range specified.
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Old 10-18-07, 09:41 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ModoVincere View Post
Check out the cygolite nite rover...you can get 12W (6W fl and 6W sp) halogen and 3 or 4 hrs run time for about $69.
Nite Rover Xtra will get you 16W halogen (6W fl and 10W sp) with longer runtime due to bigger battery for about $79.
Great lights for the money, IMO.

I think I looked at this, it has been awhile. But if my memory is correct the handlebar bracket that comes with it fits 26mm bars and you have to purchase a separate bracket for 31mm bars.
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Old 10-18-07, 12:54 PM   #11
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There are plenty of new Luxeon LED headlamps out there that you can strap to your helmet. You might spend half that $50 on a decent 3 watt with a clean spot throw of up to 250 feet. I have a River Rock K2 and love it. The other benefit is you can see where you want to see instead of where the bike points.

Then, you take the remaining 25 bucks and buy one of those cheaper "be seen" lights and strap it to your handlebars so that you have a legitimate "headlight". I have a Zefal one with a very bright halogen lamp and combination amber led that can flash, costs about 20 bucks. The halogen actually has a decent flood spill to it so in tandem with your headlamp you have your entire area in front of you covered. Problem solved.

I can absolutely guarantee you that combination of lights will light your way better than one single headlight that's anywhere in the $50 range.
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Old 10-18-07, 01:09 PM   #12
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I have that headlight also and find very dependable and useful.
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Old 10-18-07, 06:43 PM   #13
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I like that headlight. Dead reliable. It works for me!
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Old 10-18-07, 07:50 PM   #14
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My neighbor, riding buddy, has that light and he is very happy with it for street riding. I have the next smaller one and his is a bit brighter. They are certainly a "to be seen" light but they also allow you to see some of the road ahead. Nice to remove them for using as a flashlight too.
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Old 10-18-07, 09:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idioteque View Post
so, i'm completely broke and 50 bucks is probably most i can afford. I have school from 9-5 basically everyday and have to find a way to ride at night...

so the question is,

will i just be wasting my money on this

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...TOKEN=70956712

or is there hope still?
If you're going to use cheap lights, then get yourself a safty vest just in case. I like these because they can fold into your pocket.

http://www.jogalite.com/index.cfm?fu...one&product=48
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Old 10-18-07, 10:06 PM   #16
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fenix flashlight!
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Old 10-19-07, 09:27 AM   #17
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I have two of the EL-500 headlights (the one in the first link) and three of the LD-170 tail lights. They are okay, but I think you'll eventually end up buying something better after you struggle to see the road. For being seen, they're okay.

For not much more money you could get the Cygolite Night Rover like was mentioned, or, if you want longer battery times in addition to having enough light to see the road, the Cygolite Hi-Flux 100 looks promising. http://cygolite.com/2-Products/3-Hiflux100.htm You get 25 hours runtime on high and the equivalent (LED) of 10 watts of halogen light for about $70. This would be much brighter than the EL-500. I have the Dinotte 200L and it drowns out the EL-500 completely when I use them together. I also have a 3.5 watt halogen light, and even that is a lot brighter than the EL-500.

Also, the PlanetBike Superflash for $20 is much brighter than the LD-170 tail light. I have 3 of the Cateye tail lights, but in my experience one Superflash is superior to all three.

This combination, while more expensive, is cheaper in the long run since you'll probably end up upgrading your lights anyway if you do much night riding.
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Old 10-19-07, 03:15 PM   #18
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Last night I saw a guy mtn biking with one of these.
It was awesome. He made 3 for a little less than 200 bucks.
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Old 10-19-07, 07:17 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by ccd rider View Post
There are plenty of new Luxeon LED headlamps out there that you can strap to your helmet. You might spend half that $50 on a decent 3 watt with a clean spot throw of up to 250 feet. I have a River Rock K2 and love it. The other benefit is you can see where you want to see instead of where the bike points.
I'm finding a few of those $20 one-watt LED headlamps that are decently bright, especially the ones from Dorcy. (available at Wal-Mart and Lowes). The worst thing I've found about them is that it's easy to break the headlamp "bracket" if you have an oops, but then you can use the remains as a hand-held flashlight. I use one as a work light in the construction industry, and several of these survived three story drops on my hard-hat, but the bracket each time was shrapnel.
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Old 10-20-07, 09:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ModoVincere View Post
Check out the cygolite nite rover...you can get 12W (6W fl and 6W sp) halogen and 3 or 4 hrs run time for about $69.
Nite Rover Xtra will get you 16W halogen (6W fl and 10W sp) with longer runtime due to bigger battery for about $79.
Great lights for the money, IMO.
I agree with this also. Cygolite gives you a lot of light for the money and they work. I bought the cheapest 12 watt Cygolite called the Metro (no longer in production) for $49 and it's about 5 years old now and has been hit with downpours without any problems. Whats totally weird is that the original bulbs still work! After 5 years of jarring pavement and being used about a 150 nights out of a year with an average of 1 hour of use per night...well as you can tell it's nothing but luck because normally those bulbs would have died by now. Dual beams are the way to go too because if a bulb does burnout on a ride you still have another beam to light your way whereas with single bulb systems your riding in the dark.

There are some sales going on, you can get the 16 watt Cygolite Rover Xtra for $80 at: http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/165...=23&zmap=16524

There is also this that uses a longer lasting LED bulb with a claim light output of 10 watts halogen, but my experience has been that those 10 watts from an led is closer to about 6 watts halogen; but this light is cheap at $55 and uses regular batteries that will last a long time (you can buy rechargeable D cells). http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/157...=23&zmap=15780

And then there's this one on sale for $66: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006JHYZO/...O&linkCode=asn

Those are 3 good choice hoovering around your price range, just find the one that fits your needs. Any of those 3 lights would make the Cateye look like a dim candle!!

Also when you get the cash later add a flasher to the front, either amber or clear; flashers attract attention to you so a driver will see you quicker; these can be purchased between 15 to 25 dollars. I have an 10 year old Vistalite Xenon flasher that originally was my rear flasher but I moved it to the front and took off the red lens and put the extra amber lens it came with on. And then last week I added a BLT Flare DX LED clear to my lighting arrangement that I wear on my helmet. That completes my front lighting, the only thing I'll ever do now is replace lights when they break.
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Old 10-21-07, 07:16 PM   #21
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Those CygoLite's look cool, but I'm gonna build me a complete system on my bike that's run off of a single battery. The one Grasshopper showed us looked pretty cool to me. Best of all, I think I can simplify it a bit for my installation. Not sure what the Buckpuck actually does, as I can do the same with a resistor pack, zener diode, and a transistor and have rock-solid light output for as long as my battery's holding out. I can also use a smaller 7.2V lithium polymer battery.

Last edited by lectraplayer; 10-21-07 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 10-21-07, 08:10 PM   #22
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I suggest you mount a flashlight to your handle bars, as a flashlight can serve multiple purposes. Mag light is $25 or so. As to visibility get a cheap yellow rain coat for the winter, and a cheap white shirt for the summer.

These guys have cheap bike stuff.
http://www.dealextreme.com/
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Old 10-23-07, 06:06 PM   #23
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I suggest you mount a flashlight to your handle bars, as a flashlight can serve multiple purposes. Mag light is $25 or so. As to visibility get a cheap yellow rain coat for the winter, and a cheap white shirt for the summer.

These guys have cheap bike stuff.
http://www.dealextreme.com/
I personally want more light than that. I, myself am in a debate between a lensed "fog-light" (50W) with a wide beam, a light that uses MR-16 bulbs (good for multiple wattages and beam spreads), or that thing that Grasshopper showed us. I'm wanting enough light to go way fast on a dark, rainy night. LED's will adorn my bike in a way similar to a car or a motorcycle, making visibility easy. Once I decide my forward light, the rest of my system will be easy to complete.

Note: some states, such as Alabama requires that you have both a forward light and a tail light for night riding.

Man, this Deal Extreme looks SWEET!

Last edited by lectraplayer; 10-23-07 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 10-24-07, 05:29 AM   #24
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Here you go, maybe the price is right. Use LOT107 at checkout.

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...Front%20Lights
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Old 10-24-07, 06:45 AM   #25
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Here you go, maybe the price is right. Use LOT107 at checkout.

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...Front%20Lights
$50 only?

www.dealextreme.com is your friend.

Given that the Canadian dollar is par right now the prices listed pretty much are the same give or take right now.

$6.50 USD 3.6v - 9v regulator @ 800mA free s/h
$3.50 CDN 6xAA battery holder (check RadioShack or any electronics store for cheaper, make sure it's got a 9v end and not wires for easy snap on/off)
$1.50 CDN 9v battery clip
$12.00 USD Seoul SSC P4 U-bin LED @ 240lumens at 1A/1000mA x 2 with free S/H
$4.00 USD Toggle switch rated at 3A (more then enough for 2xLED. It's good for 3 LED's at 1A each but the regulators are 800mA and not 1000mA (AKA 1A)
Free - Look for network cable around on the ground, campus, friends, or you could buy some cable from the store if you needed.
Free - thermopaste (most computer people have some and rarely use the whole tube you only need a touch)
$3.00-$5.00 Aluminum heatsink ~2 inches (ask for a 486 computer heatsink sans the fan which costs more but if it comes with the fan for the same price take it tho you'll have no use for the fan)
$1.50 x 2 5 degree or 15degree or one of each lenses.
$0.25 x 2 LuxIII or LuxV holders (has to be this one for the lenses to mount on.)

Search around for small screws once you get the LED's. You'll want screws 3mm or slightly less as my digi-caliper registers then you can screw the LED down. This is the cheapest option. However the best option is to get Arctic Silver Adhesive but that's ~$10-12/tube set and you'll only need to use about a pea size amount of the 10mL tubes which makes it the most expensive item unless you wish to build more lights later or can sell the unused portions.


You supply the 6xAA be it rechargeables or cheap alkalines. The 800mA regulator is giving you 80% brightness of the LED. At 800mA you're getting 192lm from each LED. The lens are about 85% effecient so that gives you 163.2lm with each lens per LED. So with two LED's and the lenses you're getting 326.4lm of light or equivlent to a 20W halogen give or take. That is blinding bight on the cheap build.

$36.00 total. Borrow a soldering iron and solder from a friend and it's rather simple to build for all noobs and rookies. If you want more features then that is going to need more work. The build is strictly ghetto and for fairweather use. If you want to waterproof it on the cheap then break out the gun tape and tape it up or build your own enclosure. I'm just giving you the basic build and what you do with it after is up to you. At $1.50/lens it's the cheapest I can find. You may want to get 2x5 degree and a 15 degree and swap it around if you want. Tho 2x5 degree will be good. I use 5 and 15 degree myself. I mounted my setup with zipties. If you find an enclosure to put this in and can fashion a mount then you can do away with the zipties.

The rest of the savings is pizza money. In the day it'll look uber ghetto and not win any good look points but at night when you turn that on you'll be the brightest on the block (unless you get some pro rider with expensive lights around) and can with this ride ~25kph. Note the regulator can only handle 1 or 2 LED's only. Anymore and you'll be outside the 9v range. The LED's are driven at ~3.5v so 2 x 3.5v = 7v. The regulator is a BUCK regulator. That means you need more voltage in power the LED's. The regulator will keep the light output stable. You can use 6 x 1.5v alkalines = 9v or 6 x NIMH batteries which off the charger are ~1.40v = 8.4v. This is a lot better then a $50 light which will not be as bright and probably in the ~5-10W halogen class. I think 10W is probably stretching it.

Hope this helps. Here is an image of my setup (not fully updated yet) to give you an idea how simple the build it and how skeleton it'll be before you improve on it.

Good luck.

Last edited by Zero_Enigma; 10-24-07 at 06:50 AM.
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