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  1. #1
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    Bike lights - do you use 'em because you CAN or because you HAVE to?

    I'm impressed with the panoply of home-grown budget as well as high-end commercial setups over here on the lights forums.

    Makes me wonder -

    Do you ride with your incredible (or not so incredible) setup because you HAVE TO (meaning it's so dang dark out with cars where you ride) or because it's FUN?

    Furthermore, are you an engineer?
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  2. #2
    n00b-sauce
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    I have lights because I wish to be seen, and I have as bright as I can afford. If I knew how to rig some better one's up on the cheap, I would. But, not an electrician at all...
    I like to ride bikes. I miss living in the city though, where it was all a bike's ride away. City dwellers: appreciate it. :D

  3. #3
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
    Do you ride with your incredible (or not so incredible) setup because you HAVE TO (meaning it's so dang dark out with cars where you ride) or because it's FUN?
    I needed something that would run all night and light up the highway. Three cree R2s and a dyno for 500lm. You can get by on a 1w led but damn it makes things so much easier and safer having the road lit up for 30-40m. I did a 210km ride last week, last 100km in the dark. No way would I have done that without decent lights on board. But yeah it is fun.
    Now Im getting into mountain biking and you really need all the light you can get there. But thats fun too.

    Im a physicist.

  4. #4
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    I needed something that would run all night and light up the highway. Three cree R2s and a dyno for 500lm. You can get by on a 1w led but damn it makes things so much easier and safer having the road lit up for 30-40m. I did a 210km ride last week, last 100km in the dark. No way would I have done that without decent lights on board. But yeah it is fun.
    Now Im getting into mountain biking and you really need all the light you can get there. But thats fun too.

    Im a physicist.
    Which dyno are you using??

  5. #5
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Shimano 3n71 hub dynamo on the road bike, just ordered a 3n70 for the MTB.

  6. #6
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    I think that DC requires lights, but I'd use them anyway, and at all hours of the day, too. Lights at night are obvious enough; during the day, the idea is to stand out from all the background clutter (including all the cars parked along every block) and in tree-shaded areas.

  7. #7
    Dead Men Assume...
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    I have lights for both reasons since I ride long-distances at night through a variety of settings from trail to city. And like others if I can home-brew better ones on my own I would.

  8. #8
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    dc (md & va) law requires lights only at night [www.waba.org/areabiking/bikelaws.php ] but I think that like auto running lights during the day, anything that helps visibility is a plus.

  9. #9
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
    I'm impressed with the panoply of home-grown budget as well as high-end commercial setups over here on the lights forums.

    Makes me wonder -

    Do you ride with your incredible (or not so incredible) setup because you HAVE TO (meaning it's so dang dark out with cars where you ride) or because it's FUN?

    Furthermore, are you an engineer?
    I could get by with 200 lumens which you can get from just about any system. But I decided long ago that just getting by was just getting squished Dark roads and a weak light aren't really a problem. Urban riding...most of my riding...calls for lights that can compete with all the other light sources we scared little monkeys feel we need to keep the tigers from eating us. You can easily see the ground and cars and other stuff in a city but that's no guarantee that the cars can see you. I'd rather confuse the tigers so that I can live to swing from a tree another day My current system is way over the top but that's where the fun part comes into play

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  10. #10
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirrus Rider View Post
    Which dyno are you using??
    Tire driven bottle and bottom bracket type dynamos work as well.
    Hub dynamo advantages:
    No tire slip when wet.
    Won't wear out the sidewall of the tire.
    Less drag than tire driven dynamos when engaged.

    Hub dynamo disadvantages:
    Must be built into a wheel.
    Some drag even when lights are off. The more you pay for it the less the drag when off.
    Expensive.
    High theft item, bike thieves will cut the tire and rim to steal it if secured with a chain or cable lock.

    Tire driven advantages.
    No drag when disengaged.
    Weight is much less than hub types.
    Cheap, no one will steal it.

    Tire driven disadvantages:
    Special tires with dynamo tracks molded in the sidewalls prevents excessive sidewall tire wear and slip.
    Lights can dim and go out when the tire is wet or covered in ice. Special tires reduce this problem.
    Noise produced by dynamo wheel riding on tire sidewall when engaged. Noise is worse with special tires noted above.
    Dynamo alignment with tire must be precise.

    Typical usage by riding behaver.
    Commuters will use either type according to there commute times and conditions.
    Winter commuting in the dark both ways; hub dynamo has the advantage.
    Commuting in the dark one way; tire driven type will be fine.

    Touring. tire driven so no drag when disengaged. Lights are only used when running late to the next scheduled stop and it got dark on your group.

    Competitive events including riding long distances at night. Hub dynamo is required.
    Last edited by n4zou; 05-01-08 at 09:54 AM.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member acroy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
    I'm impressed with the panoply of home-grown budget as well as high-end commercial setups over here on the lights forums.

    Makes me wonder -

    Do you ride with your incredible (or not so incredible) setup because you HAVE TO (meaning it's so dang dark out with cars where you ride) or because it's FUN?

    Furthermore, are you an engineer?
    Yes I am an engineer, and suffer under the delusion that whatever a commercially available product can do, I can make lighter, better, cheaper. I am usually wrong...

    I use bright lights because I need them for safety, to be seen and to see with. I commute a lot in the dark on poor roads that often have hazards: fresh potholes, roadkill, debris, oil or paint spills, hardware spills (image a 10lb box of nails spilled out of the back of a truck...) etc.

    Currently using 2 hi-power Fenix lights. I cannot build a better system for the price, i've tried. The fenix lights are 100% reliable, very bright, lightweight, durable, simple...
    cheers
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Intheloonybin's Avatar
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    I use a light through the winter out of necessity, and will fire it up on strobe during the day while downtown sometimes. The majority of my ride does not need it during the day though. For weight savings, I usually take the light off if I won't need it to or from work.

    I am an HVAC and electrical instructor and am sure I could build something, but chose to buy a NR trinewt. I like it so far. It lights up the road way better than the trailrat I had before.

  13. #13
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acroy View Post
    Yes I am an engineer, and suffer under the delusion that whatever a commercially available product can do, I can make lighter, better, cheaper. I am usually wrong...
    LED technology is advancing so rapidly manufacturers aren't even trying to utilize the latest high power emitters. I myself have upgraded one of my LED lights twice in the last 4 months. Building your own is the only way you'll be able to have the brightest LED light. Go ahead and build that LED light! The commercial manufacturers are years behind.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Pig_Chaser's Avatar
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    I use my lights out of necessity. At these nothern latitudes, I ride in the dark both ways at certain times of the year. Of course we're now in the time of year I use sunglasses both ways

  15. #15
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    I have always ridden with some kind of light to avoid road hazards. Since becoming a mining engineer I have worked up to a set of lights you could fry an egg on.
    This space open

  16. #16
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    Because I have to. I work the evening shift 2 nights a week, which gets me out at 9:30pm. I like to be seen and I also like to see where I'm going. My commute takes me through some streets that are not lit by street lights and a 2-mile bike path with no lights...just trees on both sides.
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  17. #17
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    I'm not an engineer.

    I ride with uber bright lights because:
    (1) it forces automobiles to see me (they can't ignore me)
    (2) it's safer.
    (3) and it's more fun to ride that way.

  18. #18
    Boosted Mr2 henria86's Avatar
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    i ride with lights on to work an from work.. cause i work in NYC.. bunch of crazy cabbies an soccer mom's..
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  19. #19
    Seņor Wences jwbnyc's Avatar
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    Lights significantly increase your visibility, which is a necessity when riding in heavy traffic at night. Cars will actually cede you the right of way at night if you are running enough light - mainly because they don't know what you are until you are past them.

    Lights are also a necessity in those situations where there is not enough ambient light to see where you are going and what you might be running into.

    I use them because I have to. The alternative is just way too dodgy.

    It's always amazing to me that cyclists run at night without lights: sometimes quite experienced cyclists at that.

    Oh. Not an engineer.

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