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Old 02-24-09, 05:19 PM   #1
duke_of_hazard
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Is 100 lumens enough?

I have owned the Fenix L2D for more than a year now. I almost never run it on turbo mode. The 100 lumen mode is plenty bright in pitch dark conditions. Is there any point to me getting more lights if I never even use the turbo mode on my fenix? I ride all on city roads, so most of the time the light is washed out by street lights. But in abscence of street lights, 100 lumen mode is very bright.
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Old 02-24-09, 05:29 PM   #2
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Is 100 lumens enough?
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The 100 lumen mode is plenty bright in pitch dark conditions.
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Is there any point to me getting more lights if I never even use the turbo mode on my fenix?
If you think it is enough then surely it is ?
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Old 02-24-09, 05:31 PM   #3
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This depends on how much you value your safety and how fast you want to ride in the dark?

For me, I remember the days of the days of the wonderlite that probably put out about 10 lumens at best.. Now when I ride, I have a P7 and Q5 thrower in addition to a helmet light, all total around 700-800 lumens.. I consider this optimum for my safety on the road..

I would recommend to use the turbo mode, get some good nimh batteries and carry an extra set just in case you need them..
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Old 02-24-09, 05:33 PM   #4
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depends on how good your eyes are and how reflective your surrounding is.
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Old 02-24-09, 06:18 PM   #5
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Lumens are like bicycles... you can never have to many.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:28 PM   #6
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How fast are you riding?
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Old 02-24-09, 11:40 PM   #7
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How fast are you riding?
15 mph
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Old 02-25-09, 12:13 AM   #8
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It just depends on weather you want to avoid the pothole in the road or just hit it.
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Old 02-25-09, 02:22 AM   #9
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In my opinion, at 15mph you need more than a 100 lumen to avoid obstacles on the road.
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Old 02-25-09, 02:55 AM   #10
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15 mph
Would you go faster with more light?
Its hard to get a nice wide beam that overpowers moderate street lighting. 400 lumens +
You are in the large gap between see and be seen.
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Old 02-25-09, 09:13 AM   #11
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When the asphalt a mile hence starts to melt, THEN you have enough lumens.
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Old 02-25-09, 10:03 AM   #12
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When the asphalt a mile hence starts to melt, THEN you have enough lumens.
No. When the ground underneath the pavement melts to the mantle, you might have enough

duke_of_hazard, the amount of light you need to see where you are going is very different from the amount of light that other road users need to see you. In a urban setting, 100 lumens gets lost in the traffic lights, headlights, walk lights, overhead lights, signs, etc. pretty easily and pretty quickly. Just because you can see the road doesn't mean that you can be seen. Powerful lights demand respect and trick people in cars into thinking that there is something coming that may cause them damage. They are less likely to pull out in front of you if they think you are a train
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Old 02-25-09, 11:03 AM   #13
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No. When the ground underneath the pavement melts to the mantle, you might have enough

duke_of_hazard, the amount of light you need to see where you are going is very different from the amount of light that other road users need to see you. In a urban setting, 100 lumens gets lost in the traffic lights, headlights, walk lights, overhead lights, signs, etc. pretty easily and pretty quickly. Just because you can see the road doesn't mean that you can be seen. Powerful lights demand respect and trick people in cars into thinking that there is something coming that may cause them damage. They are less likely to pull out in front of you if they think you are a train
Good points , I had not thought about that.
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Old 02-25-09, 12:35 PM   #14
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Even with the L2D on turbo oncoming headlights overpower the eyes (yes, me not looking into them) and the pavement in front of me becomes a black void.
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Old 02-25-09, 01:17 PM   #15
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Good points , I had not thought about that.
And he's dead on. My ~500lumen HID gets this effect, but, I'm often wishing for more.
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Old 02-25-09, 02:03 PM   #16
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No. When the ground underneath the pavement melts to the mantle, you might have enough

duke_of_hazard, the amount of light you need to see where you are going is very different from the amount of light that other road users need to see you. In a urban setting, 100 lumens gets lost in the traffic lights, headlights, walk lights, overhead lights, signs, etc. pretty easily and pretty quickly. Just because you can see the road doesn't mean that you can be seen. Powerful lights demand respect and trick people in cars into thinking that there is something coming that may cause them damage. They are less likely to pull out in front of you if they think you are a train

I can testify to that; With my P7 I now have cars waiting to back out of their driveway. Even with the L2D Q5 they would pull out. I can only imagine the kind of respect cyccommute gets with his setup.
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Old 02-25-09, 04:04 PM   #17
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I can testify to that; With my P7 I now have cars waiting to back out of their driveway. Even with the L2D Q5 they would pull out. I can only imagine the kind of respect cyccommute gets with his setup.
They react something like this



and bravely run away
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Old 02-26-09, 11:52 AM   #18
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As much as I agree with the general consensus in geneeral, more lumens = better ride, if you're happy with your FENIX on HI, you should run it that way.

I think the fears of not being seen with 100 lumens up front are overblown. Consider that most "to be seen" cheaper bike lights don't even approach 50 lumens, and they're perfectly adequate for approaching vehicles to see you.

The mega-lumens come in handy for YOUR better visibility. Unlike some on the forums, I believe that you should run just enough to make your ride enjoyable or at worst, tolerable. The FENIX is so great because it's so dang convenient - on/off in 2 seconds, and drops into your pocket. If you lose it, get another one for $50 or a knockoff Romisen for $25. I find myself using one Fenix on the head nearly exclusively for short local commutes.

My take - if you're happy with 100 lumens, run 100 lumens. It's simpler, cheaper, batteries will last longer, and perfectly safe. (Although you're probably the first I've seen who has the option of going Turbo and doesn't do it!)
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Old 02-26-09, 07:18 PM   #19
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100 lumens is not enough for street-lighted roads. Neither is 200 lumens.
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Old 02-26-09, 09:57 PM   #20
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I am under the impression that "be seen" lights are dimmer than "to see" lights. Some of these posts give me the impression it is the other way around.
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Old 02-27-09, 02:15 AM   #21
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I am under the impression that "be seen" lights are dimmer than "to see" lights. Some of these posts give me the impression it is the other way around.
It depends where you live/ride.

Out of town you don't need as much light to be seen as you do in town.

Obviously anyone giving advice is going to link their advice to their location/experience.

Traffic density is fairly low where I cycle, especially at night so my rear lights are set up to be seen, but my front lights are set up for unlit empty roads.

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Old 02-27-09, 09:55 AM   #22
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I am under the impression that "be seen" lights are dimmer than "to see" lights. Some of these posts give me the impression it is the other way around.
It's a common mistake. I see it all the time in the urban setting I ride in...or I should say that I don't see it However, if you think it through, you can see the logic. In a rural setting, there are few other sources of light. A small light can be seen of a very long distance because it's the only one out there. No background to compete with. Mountain bikers usually have powerful lights to see objects that they are riding over but their needs are different from those of us riding on roads.

In an urban setting, there are...literally...hundreds of light sources that your lights have to compete with. It's extremely easy to get lost in the background. A puny little 'be seen' light is drowned out by all the other lights and isn't seen until those that you want to see it is right on top of you...not a good thing And considering that most drivers aren't looking for bicyclists during sunlit hours, they really aren't expecting some idiot on a bicycle in the middle of the night You need something powerful and obnoxious to get their attention. Most bicyclists get that for their taillights and light up like a Christmas tree...I do But most of them miss the point for the front light and go with 'whatever'. Considering that getting hit from behind is a small fraction of the car/bike collisions while getting hit from a left turning car or a car pulling out from a cross street or driveway is a much higher percentage of car/bike collisions, you'd think that lighting up the front would be obvious but...
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Old 02-27-09, 01:25 PM   #23
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I disagree with the notion that you NEED megalumens up front to be seen.

I'm in LA, surrounded by car traffic, and the vast majority of commuters here are casual ones who only use cheapo LED front blinkers. I see 'em in traffic instantly, even with probably 50 lumens or less. The red rear blinkies are even more noticeable - the PB superflash is actually nearly overpowering at night if you pull up behind it, at that's likely no more than 50 lumens as well.

For sure though, those measly 50 lumens are worthless for you to see with, especially with oncoming car traffic. The 220 lumens of FENIX is more than enough for 15mph in traffic, and I could see how a conservating person could get by with 100 lumens (barely). While I agree that your bikelights are more challenged with carlights to compete with, the reality is that there's also more ambient light thrown by the carlights; it's not like you go blind as the cars go by.

I'd be happy to run thousands of lumens in the countryside with sparse traffic, but here in LA with moderate-heavy car traffic, you're just asking for some PO'D motorist to heckle you.
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Old 02-27-09, 02:08 PM   #24
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Although I agree in theory that more light should garner more motorist attention, in practice it hasn't played out that way for me.

When I use my HID on the road, I aim it at a pronounced downward angle to avoid the legal and safety implications of spraying glare at everyone. You guys probably do too.

When I use my little 1-watt LED I basically set it dead level since it's maybe 40 lumens tops.

From a being-seen standpoint, I'm not sure there's much difference at motorist eye level between a LED aimed at you and a HID aimed downwards.

But that doesn't completely explain it. The last time I was cut off by a motorist claiming not to see me, I was running my old over-volted 25W halogen system against a totally dark background in a residential sidestreet. Go figure.
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Old 02-27-09, 05:52 PM   #25
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I disagree with the notion that you NEED megalumens up front to be seen.

I'm in LA, surrounded by car traffic, and the vast majority of commuters here are casual ones who only use cheapo LED front blinkers. I see 'em in traffic instantly, even with probably 50 lumens or less. The red rear blinkies are even more noticeable - the PB superflash is actually nearly overpowering at night if you pull up behind it, at that's likely no more than 50 lumens as well.

For sure though, those measly 50 lumens are worthless for you to see with, especially with oncoming car traffic. The 220 lumens of FENIX is more than enough for 15mph in traffic, and I could see how a conservating person could get by with 100 lumens (barely). While I agree that your bikelights are more challenged with carlights to compete with, the reality is that there's also more ambient light thrown by the carlights; it's not like you go blind as the cars go by.

I'd be happy to run thousands of lumens in the countryside with sparse traffic, but here in LA with moderate-heavy car traffic, you're just asking for some PO'D motorist to heckle you.
Do you see other riders with weak lights because you can see their lights or do you see them because you are looking for them? As cyclists, we watch for other bicycle riders...whether in our cars or on our bikes. We are just more aware of the other cyclists than most road users are.

I've never been hassled about my lights. I get comments but for the most part, drivers are expecting something much much larger when I go by them and they tend to be shocked by what they were waiting for. But they aren't PO'd about how bright my lights are. If anything, they are a little thankful because nobody but a true psychopath (and there are few of them, thankfully) really wants to cause harm to a fellow human. Hurting someone with an automobile is not an experience that anybody wants, trust me, I know.
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