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  1. #1
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    Loweís Task Force Flashlight (with pictures)

    I finally broke down and bought the Loweís flashlight everyone has
    been raving about. I figured even if it wasnít quite as good as the
    hype, itíd still be good, and if not I could simply return it.

    Until now my headlight has been a Planet Bike 5 Beamer. OK little
    light, but certainly nothing to write home about. I found it passable
    for 15MPH or so on the road, and near useless off-road.

    I got the Task Force light Saturday. Sunday, I rigged up a mounting
    bracket using an old headlight bracket from a worthless Bell light
    that I no longer have. Some dremeling, a zip-tie and itís pretty
    secure. I wonít be surprised if it requires a second zip-tie in the
    future, but it seems plenty secure with just the one. Since I didnít
    have any reusable ties around Iíll be cutting this thing every time I
    want to use the light off the bike, I figured Iíd give it a go with
    just one.

    Anyway, the light is amazing. The throw for the primary spot is as
    far as I could ever need it for a bike light, and damn impressive for
    a flashlight as well. Short of breaking out high-power spotlights, I
    canít imagine doing much better. Itís also got a good amount of
    (spill?) off to the sides, letting me see right in front of the tire
    as well as off to the side. I tested it out with a quick trail ride
    on the dirt bike trail around the property, and was very impressed.
    That same trail is simply unrideable with the 5 beamer (I tried, just
    to compare).

    I took some snapshots of the difference in the lights, but my sub-par
    photo shooting combined with my lack of tripod and the long shutter
    time didnít give the best results. Still, I think itís good enough to
    get the point across, even if they wonít win any photography awards.

    Hereís the 5 Beamer shining on the Quonset hut from ~25í.


    Hereís the TF doing the same shot:

    Hereís the 5 Beamer shining into the yard:


    Hereís the TF doing the same shot:

    The pics really donít do it justice, although the reflect each light
    poorly, to be fair. In that last shot the fire pit on the left was
    perfectly clear, the side of the hut was visible, and the trail (leafy
    section in front of the ramp) was lit up enough to feel comfortable
    riding into it at full speed from that distance. The ground was also
    plenty lit right to my front tire. My poor camera skills are not
    doing this thing justice.

    The best way I can think of to relate the difference is this: If I
    had the PB light on and turned on the TF in addition, it completely
    overrode the PB, to the point where I could hardly notice if I turned
    it off. If I had the TF light on and then turned on the PB, there was
    no noteworthy difference. For now Iíve got both on there, but I
    expect the PB light may be deemed pointless next to this beast and
    removed. That would allow me to use the bracket from that light to
    make a road bike TF holder. Otherwise Iím off shopping for Ruland
    collars. Or off to ebay to find some cheap bike light holder saved
    from a dead light. Iíd just buy another of these cheesy Bell lights
    for the holder for the road bike, but it doesnít fit on the oversized
    bar.

    Tonightís commute home will be ~10 miles, 7 or 8 of which will be
    offroad. 5 miles of the off-road will be powerlines, with a couple
    miles of dark, fully tree-covered, very rough and sometimes muddy 4x4
    truck & dirt bike trails thrown in. That will be the real test, of
    both the bracket (will 1 zip tie suffice?) and the light. Based on
    what I saw on my own trails last night, Iím optimistic.

    Iíll keep you posted on how it fares tonight.

    Dan

  2. #2
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    Dan: what did you pay for this flashlight?

    Would it be small enough that you could have TWO of them on your handlebars?

    Seems very bright for a flashlight bought at a regular store, a good find!

  3. #3
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    The light was $30. I'm blown away - I've paid more for far lesser lights. As far as I know they are only available @ Lowe's, and you need the one that says "60x brighter" - that designates the Cree LED. I can upload a picture of the packaging if you'd like.

    You could certainly fit 2 on your bars, although one really is enough for most uses. The pictures don't do it justice - this thing is bright! Here's how it looks on my 29er





    It'd be easy to add another where the Beamer 5 is now. I don't think I'll need to though. The ride home will tell for sure. Iíve got a multi-tool to loosen the screw and rotate the clamp if need be. The Beamer is angled lower out of necessity, due to the lesser beam. I may be losing the Beamer 5 altogether, as I donít think it will add anything in the presence of the brighter TF light. It didnít seem to on my trail
    around the house. That will also be tested tonight. The muddy, rocky, rooty, leafy truck & ATV trails toward the end of my commute will be the real test. They're entirely covered with trees, so there is no moon or star light - it'll be just the flashlight to navigate the mess. I'll let you know how it works out.

    My mounting setup uses an old bell light bracket I had lying around, but SMS has a good setup to build a bracket using electrical conduit clamps that wouldn't cost more than a couple dollars, and will look sharp and be rugged. It can be seen partway down this page http://nordicgroup.us/s78/flashlights.html

    I plan to make one for my road bike, since this bracket is too small to fit over the oversized road bars. I'll report back on how it holds up.

    Anyone want to guess how this setup will fare in the woods tonight, or if that single zip-tie will survive the bumping and jostling of the trails on the way home?

  4. #4
    uke
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    ^ Zip ties are less than ten cents each. Unless your flashlight isn't worth a dime, this is not the time to cheap out with one tie.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  5. #5
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    Iím not concerned with the cost of zip ties. I'm concerned with making the bracket weaker by putting another set of holes in it further back. I can't go farther forward due to the mounting hardware, so the only place for a second is toward the back of the bracket. I'm concerned about the integrity of the bracket if I install a second tie and the requisite set of holes. I've got a few hundred zip-ties at home, that's no big deal. Here's a pic that will give you an idea where the second tie would have to go, and maybe help you understand my concerns about making the bracket weaker:


  6. #6
    Senior Member teacherbill's Avatar
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    I use zip ties to hold my halogen driving lights on my OCR2. They have become my newly "styled duck-tape."
    Bill from Sebastian

    Mongoose Cruzbike Conversion
    Giant OCR2
    "Pain is only temporary. Quitting is forever." Lance Armstrong

  7. #7
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Why not just X two zips over the bar itself, for redundent(sic) insurance?

  8. #8
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    How about the model number of the light, as they have several on their website that look like your's.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Fredmertz51's Avatar
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    Get the one with the black rubber o-ring around the front outside of the lens as shown in the picture. Looks to be #225285
    Last edited by Fredmertz51; 10-20-08 at 07:56 PM.
    Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Fredmertz51's Avatar
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    Just to muddy the issue, Home Depot has a Husky 2-D Cree with even more Lumens. Ugly as sin. Don't know if its on the website yet, but the stores have them.
    Last edited by Fredmertz51; 10-20-08 at 07:50 PM.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Fredmertz51's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanKMTB View Post
    I’m not concerned with the cost of zip ties. I'm concerned with making the bracket weaker by putting another set of holes in it further back. I can't go farther forward due to the mounting hardware, so the only place for a second is toward the back of the bracket. I'm concerned about the integrity of the bracket if I install a second tie and the requisite set of holes. I've got a few hundred zip-ties at home, that's no big deal. Here's a pic that will give you an idea where the second tie would have to go, and maybe help you understand my concerns about making the bracket weaker:

    You can always use a hose clamp. Lots stronger and is thinner and wider so less stress on the bracket.
    Last edited by Fredmertz51; 10-20-08 at 08:30 PM.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    A backup light is good to have, even if it's your old light that suddenly got outclassed. I'm hanging on to mine until I get something better to replace it with, even if I don't use if much anymore.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanKMTB View Post
    I finally broke down and bought the Loweís flashlight everyone has
    been raving about. I figured even if it wasnít quite as good as the
    hype, itíd still be good, and if not I could simply return it.

    Until now my headlight has been a Planet Bike 5 Beamer. OK little
    light, but certainly nothing to write home about. I found it passable
    for 15MPH or so on the road, and near useless off-road.

    I got the Task Force light Saturday. Sunday, I rigged up a mounting
    bracket using an old headlight bracket from a worthless Bell light
    that I no longer have. Some dremeling, a zip-tie and itís pretty
    secure. I wonít be surprised if it requires a second zip-tie in the
    future, but it seems plenty secure with just the one. Since I didnít
    have any reusable ties around Iíll be cutting this thing every time I
    want to use the light off the bike, I figured Iíd give it a go with
    just one.

    Anyway, the light is amazing. The throw for the primary spot is as
    far as I could ever need it for a bike light, and damn impressive for
    a flashlight as well. Short of breaking out high-power spotlights, I
    canít imagine doing much better. Itís also got a good amount of
    (spill?) off to the sides, letting me see right in front of the tire
    as well as off to the side. I tested it out with a quick trail ride
    on the dirt bike trail around the property, and was very impressed.
    That same trail is simply unrideable with the 5 beamer (I tried, just
    to compare).

    I took some snapshots of the difference in the lights, but my sub-par
    photo shooting combined with my lack of tripod and the long shutter
    time didnít give the best results. Still, I think itís good enough to
    get the point across, even if they wonít win any photography awards.

    Hereís the 5 Beamer shining on the Quonset hut from ~25í.


    Hereís the TF doing the same shot:

    Hereís the 5 Beamer shining into the yard:


    Hereís the TF doing the same shot:

    The pics really donít do it justice, although the reflect each light
    poorly, to be fair. In that last shot the fire pit on the left was
    perfectly clear, the side of the hut was visible, and the trail (leafy
    section in front of the ramp) was lit up enough to feel comfortable
    riding into it at full speed from that distance. The ground was also
    plenty lit right to my front tire. My poor camera skills are not
    doing this thing justice.

    The best way I can think of to relate the difference is this: If I
    had the PB light on and turned on the TF in addition, it completely
    overrode the PB, to the point where I could hardly notice if I turned
    it off. If I had the TF light on and then turned on the PB, there was
    no noteworthy difference. For now Iíve got both on there, but I
    expect the PB light may be deemed pointless next to this beast and
    removed. That would allow me to use the bracket from that light to
    make a road bike TF holder. Otherwise Iím off shopping for Ruland
    collars. Or off to ebay to find some cheap bike light holder saved
    from a dead light. Iíd just buy another of these cheesy Bell lights
    for the holder for the road bike, but it doesnít fit on the oversized
    bar.

    Tonightís commute home will be ~10 miles, 7 or 8 of which will be
    offroad. 5 miles of the off-road will be powerlines, with a couple
    miles of dark, fully tree-covered, very rough and sometimes muddy 4x4
    truck & dirt bike trails thrown in. That will be the real test, of
    both the bracket (will 1 zip tie suffice?) and the light. Based on
    what I saw on my own trails last night, Iím optimistic.

    Iíll keep you posted on how it fares tonight.

    Dan
    I am especially interested in run time.

    Looking forward to your report

  14. #14
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Looks like they have more than one 225285

  15. #15
    Senior Member Fredmertz51's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Looks like they have more than one 225285
    When I type in 225285 into the Lowe's website only one comes up for me. Here's the Cateye mount I use. At the LBS for approx $5. Hose clamp $1
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Fredmertz51; 10-20-08 at 09:08 PM.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    For non-oversized handlebars (25.4mm or 26.0mm), you can also use a Wald #40 steel flashlight holder if you want to be all retro and stuff A layer or two of inner tube over the barrel of the light may be needed to eliminate rattling.

    http://www.amazon.com/Wald-Flashligh.../dp/B000AO3H24

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Why not just X two zips over the bar itself, for redundent(sic) insurance?
    Good idea, thanks. I think I may do that, at least for the intermediate. Eventually I think I'm going to convert to the conduit clamp style mount from SMS (a poster over @ r.b.t.). Here's a picture of his design, which I plan to copy almost exactly http://nordicgroup.us/s78/images/homemadebracket.jpg

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    How about the model number of the light, as they have several on their website that look like your's.
    The model # is 225285, but unfotunately that isn't enough to go on. That is the same model # they used on the previous version of this light, which wasn't nearly as good a beam, nor was it nearly as bright. I beleive the old one was a Luxeon bulb, where the new one is a Cree. The giveaway that you have the right light is the packaging. The new one says "60x Brighter", where the old version (with the same part #, for reasons unknown to me) says "30x Brighter".

    Here is a picture of the light in it's packaging:


    As you can see, the "60X Brighter" is plain to see if you're in the store. I don't know how you'd go about ordering one online and making sure you got the right light.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredmertz51 View Post
    Get the one with the black rubber o-ring around the front outside of the lens as shown in the picture. Looks to be #225285
    While this is correct, you still need to be sure the packaging says 60X Brighter, rather than 30X brighter, lest you be left with a Luxeon when hoping for the ultra-bright Cree.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredmertz51 View Post
    You can always use a hose clamp. Lots stronger and is thinner and wider so less stress on the bracket.
    Good idea. If I don't manage to get my hands on some conduit clamps to copy SMS's idea soon, I may do that, or at least cross over the bars with another pair of zip ties. I'm hoping to pick up some conduit clamps today though, which would make all this null and void. Still a good idea for anyone reading this in the future who doesn't want to go the conduit clamp route.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
    A backup light is good to have, even if it's your old light that suddenly got outclassed. I'm hanging on to mine until I get something better to replace it with, even if I don't use if much anymore.
    This is a good point. I have a very small LED on my keychain that I could use in a pinch for very slow riding and being seen, but it's really insufficient. Generally I settle for backup batteries, but in this case a backup light could be smaller and lighter than 2 extra C cell batteries.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Fredmertz51's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanKMTB View Post
    While this is correct, you still need to be sure the packaging says 60X Brighter, rather than 30X brighter, lest you be left with a Luxeon when hoping for the ultra-bright Cree.
    You're right. I bought one of the 30x's when they first came out, and just recently bought the 60x. The 60x has the o-ring around the lens, as does the website picture. Thats what I was going by.
    Last edited by Fredmertz51; 10-21-08 at 06:59 AM.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by UberIM View Post
    I am especially interested in run time.

    Looking forward to your report
    Unfortunately I haven't carefully monitored the time I've used this so far, so the best I'll be able to do on this set of batteries is estimate my use so far, and keep track from here on out. I'll time the next set exactly.

    In the mean time, there is someone over on another forum who tested it with rechargeable 5000mAh NiMH cells. He got 4.5 hours of "good bright light followed by a dwindling faint light for another while". 4.5 hours from a rechargeable is respectable indeed, I may end up taking the rechargeable route on this thing in the future. The Duracell batteries that come with the light are 7000mAh, so I think you can expect 5 hours 45 minutes or so from the batteries that come with it. Then again, I also read that Alkaline are horrible in runtime due to poor high drain performance, so who knows.

    What I do know is that I have a 45 minute commute home last night, in addition with about an hour of playing with it on Sunday and helping a friend fix a flat on her car, and the beam seems the same as when the batteries were new. So Iíd say Iím currently @ 1:45 or so and going strong, Iíll keep you posted and try to time it exactly on my next set of batteries.

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    Here's my night ride tested, on and off road review of the light:
    On the road, it's great. Definitely all I need for as fast as I can
    spin that SS 29er, which is probably in the 20MPH area. I'll test it
    in the 30ish zone on the road bike when I get a chance, but overall
    I'm quite happy with that single light as an on road light.

    Off road, it's fine for the easier stuff - normal power line trails,
    biking and hiking trails, etc. In the real rough stuff, like the
    truck & ATV trails with very uneven ground, it's passable but not
    ideal. There is one section of that trail where I'm riding through
    the mud, with a few inches of water on top just to make sure I can't
    actually see what I'm riding on. In that section I'm riding around
    trees that hang into the trail, over fallen trees and branches,
    avoiding rocks and navigating the ruts from the truck tires. In that
    stuff, I'd have liked a second light pointed almost directly in front
    of the bike. I'm not sure if another of these would do the trick, or
    if the beam would be too concentrated at such close range. The 5
    beamer may have done the job, but I wanted to do that section with
    just the TF to test it out, and there's no stopping and putting a foot
    down once you're into that stuff to fiddle with lights. I'm thinking
    my AA LED Minimag may be the perfect light to throw a wide beam
    directly in front of the bike. More testing to come soon.

  25. #25
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    tks to OP regarding this flashlight... just got back from the local Lowes and was able to get the last one on the shelf... the unit clam shell is marked '60X' as previously posted...

    this is a beefy unit and could also be used (in a pinch) to thwart any untoward behavior by strangers...

    i was initially disappointed when i inserted the batteries and the light would not power on... then i looked inside and saw that a small white sticker labeled with 'C' size batteries and orientation had lodged across the front terminal behind the light... a quick poke with a chopstick removed the sticker and i was rewarded with a truly brilliant focused light...

    this is now my brightest flashlight in the house...

    i wonder how long fresh 'C's will last? (edit: i now see the data in previous msgs - tks!)

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