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Old 11-11-07, 02:45 PM   #1
soma5
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"Bright enough" rear lights

I've recently started riding at night and I've come to realize that those little red LED blinkies, which are fine when used in low-traffic situations where it is quite dark, are not so good in traffic. The much larger red taillights of cars, coupled with light pollution from headlights, renders the little blinkie quite invisible. I know a lot of folks will argue this, but consider that many drivers are 1)older, 2)fatigued, 3)possibly inebriated and then you get the picture. I would like some recommendations on brighter rear lights. I see that DiNotte makes one for $140 or so but I'd rather stop well before reaching that price range if possible.

Thanks.

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Old 11-11-07, 03:27 PM   #2
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My favorite less expensive rear light is the PlanetBike Superflash. In strobe mode, it's probably about as bright a rear taillight as you're going to find without going into Dinotte territory. My current commuting setup has the Superflash strapped to the back of my helmet; On the back of the rack I have a PlanetBike 3-led light (pretty bright as conventional blinkies go) on steady and a Cateye LD-600 on random flash. Haven't been hit yet . (This combo also keeps away elephants. I have not seen an elephant during my commute while using these lights. I also haven't seen any elephants on any other bike ride, so YMMV )

I have a Dinotte 200L up front which has become my light of choice (it replaced a 10W Planet Bike Alias which is now on my fixie). I should have bought a Dinotte taillight at the same time when they had their no-charger/batteries sale.
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Old 11-11-07, 03:41 PM   #3
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A Mars 3.0 would be better than a PBSF in this situation. But I don't know if you would find it adequate. The new Cateye TL-LD610 and LD1100 are supposed to be very bright compared to previous models. Do a search on this forum and you will see some reviews.
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Old 11-11-07, 05:40 PM   #4
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I have just used steady red 1w led strapped to my helmet. I used a broken led, so my next light will be much brighter.
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Old 11-11-07, 06:41 PM   #5
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Another vote for the Superflash. As far as cheap-ish, battery-powered lights go, it's pretty good!
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Old 11-11-07, 07:04 PM   #6
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The Niterider rear tail-light used to be the gold standard before the DiNotte, and it's still quite good. I have one, and I feel pretty safe in traffic. I might go for the DiNotte anyway, though. Or wait for just-as-good but less expensive competitors to emerge, which is inevitable.
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Old 11-11-07, 08:10 PM   #7
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As far as the cheaper lights go, I would consider the PBSF and Mars 3.0 pretty well tied but different. The PBSF seems to be ultimately brighter but is confined to a fairly narrow viewing angle. At much of an angle the Mars seems better. Keep in mind I've never had the two together at the same time (I' know...), but I'm pretty confident. Tried them apart a few times each

Now that I have a good way to mount one on a helmet, I am going to buy a PBSF to augment my Mars 3.0. One on bike, one on helmet...not sure which will go where. Up high on the helmet is good though, especially in traffic. In many instances, I'll bet it would help more than a Dinotte alone on your seatpost.

Last edited by tdister; 11-11-07 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 11-11-07, 09:27 PM   #8
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Attach two or three SuperFlashes behind your rear rack. That way, you'll get:
– a bright enough taillight, that compares favourably to the intensity of car brake lights;
– a wide "resulting taillight", which is very useful for visibility;
– redundancy.
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Old 11-12-07, 01:41 AM   #9
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Attach two or three SuperFlashes behind your rear rack.
+1 Gagnon

I have two superflashes and a dinotte. If I were on a limited budget, I would go with three superflashes. They are bright, great mount and great battery life and an excellent value.
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Old 11-12-07, 02:03 AM   #10
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2-3 Superflashes here
two on seat, one on back or one on seat and one on back/pack
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Old 11-12-07, 03:36 AM   #11
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Having both the Planet Bike Super Flash and and Cateye TL-1100 I can confirm that the Cateye is much more visible, especially in low light conditions.
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Old 11-12-07, 06:06 AM   #12
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Having both the Planet Bike Super Flash and and Cateye TL-1100 I can confirm that the Cateye is much more visible, especially in low light conditions.
I also just picked up a TL-1100 and I think it is bright enough for me. It was reasonably priced at $37 too.
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Old 11-12-07, 07:28 AM   #13
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I used to think my PB Blinky1 was plenty bright. Then I thought my Cateye LD-1000 was bright enough. And along came the SuperFlash, and it was good enough. But now that I have my Dinotte, I have seen the light! Uh, what was the question?

Last edited by flipped4bikes; 11-12-07 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 11-12-07, 10:03 AM   #14
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Now that I have a good way to mount one on a helmet, I am going to buy a PBSF to augment my Mars 3.0. One on bike, one on helmet...not sure which will go where. Up high on the helmet is good though, especially in traffic. In many instances, I'll bet it would help more than a Dinotte alone on your seatpost.
I'd put the PBSF on the bike and the Mars on the helmet. Since you've already noticed that the PBSF has a narrower viewing angle, it would do a better job while aimed in a specific direction, and a stable platform like the bike would be better than the helmet.

The Dinotte (and any others in its class) is pretty amazing, though.
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Old 11-12-07, 10:27 AM   #15
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After I got a Dinotte for myself, I bought one for my wife's commuter to replace the 5 blinkies I thought was "good enough." After seeing how bright it was and how much better cars could see me, I couldn't let her ride with anything less.
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Old 11-13-07, 07:49 AM   #16
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After I got a Dinotte for myself, I bought one for my wife's commuter to replace the 5 blinkies I thought was "good enough." After seeing how bright it was and how much better cars could see me, I couldn't let her ride with anything less.
What 5 blinkies did you have that were not good enough? If they were older models or really cheap I could understand. But if you had 2 or more Mars 3.0's, PBSF's, Cateye TL-LD600's, Knog Frog's, etc., I cannot imagine them not providing overwhelmingly safe illumination.
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Old 11-13-07, 10:26 AM   #17
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I have just used steady red 1w led strapped to my helmet. I used a broken led, so my next light will be much brighter.
Here you go.

Seoul 2.5-watt RED LED on star circuit board from mouser.com $4.60 + shipping.
http://www.mouser.com/search/refine.aspx?Ntt=889-r32282

3W 19-Mode Universal Regulated Circuit Board for Flashlights. $4.26, shipping is free!
http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.7882

Doing it yourself, priceless!
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Old 11-13-07, 10:35 AM   #18
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One Mars 3.0, two of the $6 Performance blinky jobs, some other generic one on the helmet, and a Target special. I'm sure when a car gets close enough that it was enough to get noticed. But I didn't realize how much further you could get a car's attention with the Dinotte.
Still, tons of cyclists do just fine without one.
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Old 11-13-07, 10:44 AM   #19
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I use the CatEye LD1000 and get feedback that I can be seen. It's pretty bright and at $35 +/- it's tough to beat. At this price I've considered getting a second and mounting one on each of my bags.
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Old 11-13-07, 04:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
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One Mars 3.0, two of the $6 Performance blinky jobs, some other generic one on the helmet, and a Target special. I'm sure when a car gets close enough that it was enough to get noticed. But I didn't realize how much further you could get a car's attention with the Dinotte.
Still, tons of cyclists do just fine without one.
Check the "Are lumens cumulative?" thread -- it may be that a bunch of dimmer lights just aren't as visible as even just one brighter light.
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Old 11-13-07, 06:07 PM   #21
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The Niterider rear tail-light used to be the gold standard before the DiNotte, and it's still quite good. I have one, and I feel pretty safe in traffic. I might go for the DiNotte anyway, though. Or wait for just-as-good but less expensive competitors to emerge, which is inevitable.
I have the universal tailight by Niterider, and I'm quite happy with it.
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Old 11-13-07, 06:25 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by kf5nd View Post
The Niterider rear tail-light used to be the gold standard before the DiNotte, and it's still quite good. I have one, and I feel pretty safe in traffic. I might go for the DiNotte anyway, though. Or wait for just-as-good but less expensive competitors to emerge, which is inevitable.
Don't believe the add copy from Nightrider that is published in mail order catalogues, it's around 8 years old, maybe more. It was true when it was first printed. That has not been true for a few years.
The PB Superflash is much better from all angles, so is the Cateye TL-LD 1000. That makes the new version of that Cateye even better. And so are a few others.
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Old 11-13-07, 06:58 PM   #23
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Anyone have pics of the nitrider taillight in action?
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Old 11-13-07, 07:23 PM   #24
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I have the Cateye TL-LD1000 on two of my bikes and I'm very happy with them. In fact so much so I ordered the TL-LD1100 to replace my MARS3 on another bike. I'm not real happy about the MARS mounting. In NY state the law requires that either the front or the rear light must be seen for 200 ft from the sides in addition to the front and rear visibility that is also by law required. Now I have never seen anyone get stopped or bothered by the PD for not having the side visibility , but it is a very good feature. My better half and I often ride together and we use them in the daylight and plain and simple ...they work well.
Update 11/14: The 1100 blows them all away at under $40. Twice as bright as the 1000.

Last edited by dmac49; 11-14-07 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 11-14-07, 11:44 AM   #25
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Anyone have pics of the nitrider taillight in action?
There are plenty in the forums this same thing gets discussed every year. There are even videos.
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