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-   -   The best headlights under $50 thread (http://www.bikeforums.net/electronics-lighting-gadgets/435347-best-headlights-under-50-thread.html)

ModoVincere 07-01-08 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ziemas (Post 6980671)
Please let us know how it turns out for you.

+1

K1NJO 07-01-08 11:35 AM

Definitely. And thanks guys for the heads up on flashlight alternatives.

dekindy 07-01-08 11:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ziemas (Post 6970634)
This light with a Two Fish holder would be great. You'd have enough money leftover for a charger and batteries too.

http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...CREE-Q5/Detail

So how does the Romisen compare to the Fenix? Has this replaced the Fenix and is now the new "gold" standard of recommendations? How much history and/or reviews are available on this brand?

Ziemas 07-01-08 12:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dekindy (Post 6980764)
So how does the Romisen compare to the Fenix? Has this replaced the Fenix and is now the new "gold" standard of recommendations? How much history and/or reviews are available on this brand?

The Romisen lights I have (two of them) are quite good quality, although not quite as nice as the Fenix lights. For their cost they are an excellent value, especially the ones which ShiningBeam is having made with brighter LEDs such as the Q5. These are not available at DX; they can only be bought at the US based ShiningBeam.

There are many, many threads on Romisen lights on CPF.

daredevil 07-07-08 10:23 PM

Darn you Ziemas, now I need to go buy one of these Romisen's. :p

215 lumens for 25 bucks? Wow. How long will it run at that with AA's, do you know?

Ziemas 07-07-08 11:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daredevil (Post 7018726)
Darn you Ziemas, now I need to go buy one of these Romisen's. :p

215 lumens for 25 bucks? Wow. How long will it run at that with AA's, do you know?

As a matter of fact I do. :) Contact the seller for more info; he's very responsive.

It runs about 4 hours, and its brightness is at least 110+ Lumens using AA. For 215 lumens I'd assume you'd need CR1213 cells.

http://www.cpfmarketplace.com/mp/sho...d.php?t=179032

wyeast 07-09-08 12:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ziemas (Post 6977874)
The RC-N3 uses a CR123A battery, which looks like the below photo.

Psst. That's a CR2, not a CR123. :innocent: 123's are a little longer, but also a bit more common than CR2's (as far as flashlights are concerned anyway)

http://img235.imageshack.us/img235/2...r123bigze2.jpg

My wife uses a couple of Inova Bolt 2AA's on lockblocks. Not as bright as the XR-E lights, but they've been rock solid dependable for her on daily commutes.

This weekend I'm gonna try out a Coleman MAX 2AA XR-E light on a night ride. If it turns out well, you could get two and lockblocks for just a touch over $50.

beowulf7 07-09-08 09:13 AM

I'm also interested in K1njo's exp. w/ the flashlights. I recently purchased a new bike and am looking for headlights as well. I was thinking of bike-specific headlights, such as the Cateye that's been mentioned in this thread. But I may also have to consider a flashlight and figure out a way to mount it. It seems to give more light for the buck. Too bad battery life would not be 30-80 hrs. on 2-4 AA batteries that the Cateye would give, but you'd get a lot more light for it. Decisions, decisions ...

For taillights, I assume you're going w/ the traditional blinky-blinky red lights.

wyeast 07-09-08 01:31 PM

Most commonly recommended mounting method for a flashlight is using lockblocks by TwoFish. This is a product originally marketed for mounting a u-lock to your handlebars. It's basically a rubber block with a couple of velcro straps. One strap goes around the handlebar, the other goes around the light. Pressure on the rubber block keeps it from shifting around.

You generally get pretty good results with a 2AA or smaller light. Larger lights can be made to fit, but you'll find they'll bounce around a lot more.

You're right that flashlights tend not to have as long a runtime as dedicated bike lights. Part of that is the battery pack, part of that is the strength of the light. It's not that the Cateye is necessarily more efficient than a flashlight is, it's that it's running at a lower power. Also, many manufacturers (flashlights as well as bike lights) tend to be overly optimistic on battery life - using ratings literally till they fade into nothingness. A common practice on the flashlight boards is to consider battery life as rated until the light fades to 50% power - a much more useful number.

Dedicated bikelights have their own mounts, often featuring quick release so you can take the lights with you when you park them. They also usually have a blink mode - many flashlights do have this as well, but they're often on higher priced multi-mode lights.

For short-midlength commutes a 2AA light serves quite well - especially when paired with a long-running blinky light like a Planet Bike Beamer5. Solid light to see the road and to provide a reference point for vehicles, blinking light to get attention. Particularly with the AA's you can run rechargables which both gives you better runtime (usually) and eases the hassle of buying alkalines every few days.

One downside to using rechargables is that with many lights, you get little warning when they run flat. Unless you have a routine down where you know when the batteries tend to go and recharge them before that point, you might get surprised because NiMH's run pretty strong until they're nearly exhausted - unlike alkalines which gradually fade the whole way.

On a fairly well-lit commute through the city, the blinky can be your backup light. My wife carries a second flashlight as her backup - each with their own lockblock so she can use both on a really rough night when she wants extra light. :thumb:

The Inova Bolt 2AA / Beamer5 combo has run on my wife's bike daily for around two years without fail, so I have no problem recommending it. Others can chime in with other lights they've used (I have no experience with any other than the Inova on bike duty) - I often see Fenix coming up, but they're close (or over) $50 usually. Like I said, I'm trying a new Coleman light this weekend, so I'll be able to see at least if it flickers or something bad when on a bike.

Taillights, yeah most of us use red blinkies. Most common ones I see recommended for brightness are Planetbike Superflashes, Blackburn Mars, and Performance Viewpoints. The Dinotte is a whole 'nother breed - basically it's a flashlight-caliber red light, but it's also much more expensive than the others, so it's your call which way to go. My wife runs a Mars because it mounts on her bike better. I have two Viewpoints - one on the rack trunk, the other on the helmet.

Hope that helps!

beowulf7 07-09-08 10:00 PM

I'm thinking of this HL/TL set that froze mentioned (currently selling for $40 shipped).

wyeast 07-09-08 11:17 PM

As far as "be seen" lighting goes, it's an alright combination. A 5-LED front blinker is pretty solid. The 3-LED rear is only sorta average, and N-cells can be a little tricky to find in a pinch.

This Combo set from Blackburn is another one worth mentioning. The Quadrant (HL) has only 4 LED's, and it's rather bulky as blinker headlights go, but it serves it's purpose well enough, and I rather like the unusual 2-steady 2-flash mode it has - still attracts attention, but you still have 2 steady lights for visual reference.

And the Mars rear (imho) is superior to a 3-LED light.

Another one worth considering are this Planet Bike Combo, both the Blaze and Superflash will be brighter than the Cateye counterparts. The superflash you're a little limited by the light's narrow viewing angle - not ideal if you're not mounting to the bike (like on a messenger bag or someplace where it can potentially be aimed away from traffic)

beowulf7 07-10-08 12:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wyeast (Post 7033511)
As far as "be seen" lighting goes, it's an alright combination. A 5-LED front blinker is pretty solid. The 3-LED rear is only sorta average, and N-cells can be a little tricky to find in a pinch.

This Combo set from Blackburn is another one worth mentioning. The Quadrant (HL) has only 4 LED's, and it's rather bulky as blinker headlights go, but it serves it's purpose well enough, and I rather like the unusual 2-steady 2-flash mode it has - still attracts attention, but you still have 2 steady lights for visual reference.

And the Mars rear (imho) is superior to a 3-LED light.

Another one worth considering are this Planet Bike Combo, both the Blaze and Superflash will be brighter than the Cateye counterparts. The superflash you're a little limited by the light's narrow viewing angle - not ideal if you're not mounting to the bike (like on a messenger bag or someplace where it can potentially be aimed away from traffic)

Cool, some more choices. Thanks for the links. Both are in the ~$32 range, which is slightly cheaper than the $40 Cateye combo. You said both of these sets are brighter than the Cateye? What about real-world battery life - how would they compare? Also, is there any theft deterrent on how they're installed or does one always need to remove the lights when leaving the bike in a public area? Thanks!

Chief&Champ 07-10-08 01:36 AM

I've recently purchased the super efficient Cateye HL-500. (Sarcasm doesn't transmit very well through the internet...)

The photos of the Romisen have attracted my attention as well, I think I may be converting to the flashlight system rather than the expensive (unless you get the HL-500) bike dedicated ones. Anyone know if ShiningBeam ships to Canada?

wyeast 07-10-08 01:50 AM

Particularly with 5mm leds, it's pretty easy to compare based on numbers of emitters. Once you start getting into more powerful Luxeon, Seoul, and Cree emitters it starts getting goofy with efficiencies.

One difference is that in the past few years Nichia came out with higher efficiency 5mm LED's, which boosted their brightness. But in general you're looking at apples vs apples. So to do a blow by blow

Headlights: Cateye vs Blackburn vs PlanetBike

The Cateye will likely be brighter than the Blackburn due to 5 vs 4 LED's. The PlanetBike Blaze, is a 1/2 watt single-emitter which will be pretty comparable (if not somewhat brighter) to a 5-LED cluster like the Cateye. Overall all three are pretty similar, the Blackburn is behind by an LED, although it does feature that slightly unusual blink pattern. Battery life I would expect to be similar with all three, given the similarity of emitters and power consumption - meaning the Blaze will last about half as long, since it's only using 2AA instead of 4.

Taillights:

This is where the Cateye combo starts to fall behind. The LD270 is going to be outclassed by both the Superflash and Mars in terms of sheer brightness, as well as using an uncommon battery cell type - you won't be able to wheel into a 7-11 on a rainy night to replace a dead battery in the middle of your commute. The Cateye has only 3 LED's, so yeah, it uses less power, but N-cells have about 2/3 the capacity of AAA's, so it's about a push.

Battery life is rated at around 100 hours for each, but again, that's probably measured till the lights are completely dead - you'll probably find yourself wanting to replace them sooner than that to maintain brightness. With the AA/AAA lights, you could use lithium or NiMH batteries, which run at a more constant voltage until they're dead (unlike alkalines which run steadily down). You get less warning when they go out, but you'll also get much more life between battery changes.

Theft:

Absolutely take the lights with you. None of the lights in this price range are "theft-proof" - they will all have relatively easy mounts to remove. Heck, more than once I've heard of someone stealing the mount even though the light was already taken off by the owner. Many of the lights are basically a belt clip that slides into the mount on the bike.

beowulf7 07-10-08 10:25 AM

^ Excellent info. and comparison, wyeast. Thanks!

znomit 07-10-08 03:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wyeast (Post 7033874)
Particularly with 5mm leds, it's pretty easy to compare based on numbers of emitters. Once you start getting into more powerful Luxeon, Seoul, and Cree emitters it starts getting goofy with efficiencies.

One difference is that in the past few years Nichia came out with higher efficiency 5mm LED's, which boosted their brightness. But in general you're looking at apples vs apples.

Without ripping a light apart to see whats inside it, the best indicator of brightness is battery type and runtime. A 100hr light will be a third the brightness of a 30hr light(of course this goes out the window with flashing lights).

wyeast 07-10-08 05:16 PM

That only works as long as you're comparing emitters with the same efficiency, and it'll depend on whether or not the light is regulated. (usually rates a shorter battery life, but the light is near-constant brightness the whole time, vs longer life, but most of the last half is uselessly dim)

Ziemas 07-10-08 11:00 PM

[QUOTE=Chief&Champ;7033851]I've recently purchased the super efficient Cateye HL-500. (Sarcasm doesn't transmit very well through the internet...)

The photos of the Romisen have attracted my attention as well, I think I may be converting to the flashlight system rather than the expensive They do ship to Canada, and for only $2.95.

They'll also ship to countries not listed if you email and ask. Latvia wasn't listed on his list of countries shipped to, so I emailed and asked if he'd ship to me. He did no problem. Quickly as well.

http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...plate/faq/Page

prtyich 07-13-08 06:50 PM

I bought a Planet Bike Superflash for the rear, and a Planet Bike 1 W white Blaze headlight. Any opinions on these?

Michel Gagnon 07-14-08 12:03 AM

I have two Superflashes in use for the rear end, so if one were to fail, I'm covered. I haven't seen the 1 W Blaze yet, but the 0,5 W seems well designed.

Both of these lights require that you seal them with electrical tape around the case opening. Otherwise, they are OK in very light rain, but not in a downpour.

BoiseShwin 07-14-08 08:50 AM

I was told this morning by a colleague that the Serfas CP-1000 Ultrabright Combo Pack is worth the $. You can get it for under $40.00. Anyone else used this setup?

wyeast 07-14-08 01:17 PM

*shrug* seems to be about par for a decent "See me" setup. The other combos bounced around were going for $30-40 on Amazon, so pricepoint is about in there as well.

Last weekend I ran the bike on the Night Ride w/ the following lights up front:

(1) Inova Bolt 2AA (about $35-40) aimed low (about 15' in front on the road)
(1) Coleman MAX 2AA Cree XR-E ($25 @ Walmart) aimed mid (about 30' in front on the road)
(1) Task Force Cree 2C (about $30 @ Lowe's) aimed straight ahead

The MAX's beam pattern was very similar to the Inova, except brighter. The Task Force has a very narrow hotspot, mainly useful for lighting up distant signs. The weight balance makes it hard to aim down, so it's really only useful in that capacity. I put the lockblock at the center of weight (just behind the head), and slung it under the handlebar to keep it in place. The other two 2AA lights stayed in position with a Lockblocks on top of the handlebar.

All three lights performed ok on the 45-60 minutes I rode with them. None of the lights flickered or went out from being jostled on the bike, including one boneheaded 0-mph crash because I accidentally re-clipped standing at a red light. :roflmao2:

The Inova's a known quantity (having run on my wife's daily commuter for years), the MAX is a very good deal if it proves to be as reliable. The switch is a lot more touchy than the Inova's (you can't lock it out) so it can be tricky if you are carrying your lights in a bag when not in use. If you can store your bike in a secure location (like in your room/office) during the day, leaving the light mounted will reduce accidental light-ups.

And with all three lights on at the same time, I got remarks about how bright I was lighting up the road from other riders. :D Not bad for under $100. Even two would do an excellent job lighting up the road under most conditions. One would be fine in most cases so long as you're not expecting sudden rough pavement or have a lot of headlights in your face.

I'd take pictures, but uh... I lost the MAX that same night. :notamused: Not the fault of the bike setup, it was in my pocket at the end of the ride and fell out in the crowd. :cry: Photos will have to wait until I can get it replaced. :(

beowulf7 07-14-08 03:46 PM

^ Bummer about losing a light. :( But kudos on all those lights while you had them! :)

Shiggs 07-14-08 08:16 PM

I have this: http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-13001-SI...6088107&sr=8-2

That is my review.

Yan 07-14-08 11:17 PM

How does this one compare to the Romisen suggested above?

http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...50-Cree/Detail


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