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  1. #1
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    Smile In praise of modern bike lights

    Maybe you have to have started riding back in the stone age to appreciate them, but modern bike lights are fantastic!

    When I think of the junk I've had to have on my bikes over the years... cheap pot metal parts to hold tail-lights on, generators that scraped up my tires, extra bulbs carried at all times because they blew out so often, heavy batteries, both chargeable and not, both generators and chargeable batteries that abruptly quit working in the middle of a ride despite following all of the manufacturers instructions.

    Now, there is the LED light. Works for hundreds of hours on two AA batteries...weighs next to nothing... costs so little I can have a headlight on either side of my stem, one high-beam and one aimed low. These little gadgets are the best!

  2. #2
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    ^^Word! Back in my student days, I commuted frequently at night with a cheap bottle generator from Sears (all I could afford at the time). I stupidly turned it off and went ninja down some of the long hills, though, because I kept blowing out bulbs and frying the generators with too much speed- and wasn't about to waste a good downhill run by riding my brakes all the way. We have it good now!

    And it was really fun to lose your light in the rain, when road grime made your tires a bit slimy and the generator wheel began to slip. Don't miss that at all.
    Last edited by rnorris; 10-10-09 at 11:13 AM.

  3. #3
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    yeah, no question. Vast improvements in the past ten even. So many choices. One can even use multiple lights as you have.

    Biachi had the Castro Model, a commuter with Gen. lights, it's gone now.
    Gee, I wonder why ?

  4. #4
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    when I first ventured out at night I used a Wonder Light, there wasn't too much to this light, Imagine a Mini mag with low batteries and you have the wonder light..

    To think I did 2 nighttime centuries with this light.. It probably put out somewhere close to 10 lumens of light but then again it was the 80's

    http://benscycle.blogspot.com/2009/0...cle-light.html

  5. #5
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhodabike View Post
    Maybe you have to have started riding back in the stone age to appreciate them, but modern bike lights are fantastic!

    When I think of the junk I've had to have on my bikes over the years... cheap pot metal parts to hold tail-lights on, generators that scraped up my tires, extra bulbs carried at all times because they blew out so often, heavy batteries, both chargeable and not, both generators and chargeable batteries that abruptly quit working in the middle of a ride despite following all of the manufacturers instructions.

    Now, there is the LED light. Works for hundreds of hours on two AA batteries...weighs next to nothing... costs so little I can have a headlight on either side of my stem, one high-beam and one aimed low. These little gadgets are the best!
    Yeah, and if you go up in price just a little bit, the Magicshine 900 from geoman is unbelievable for the price. $90 shipped, looks like a motorcycle headlight!

  6. #6
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Vast improvements in just the last 4 years, and significant improvement (in lower cost if nothing else) in just the last year. I'm with you.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  7. #7
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    My Niterider 15 watt halogen looks like a candle compared to the MTE P-7 light. They are going to get brighter and more battery efficient soon.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidad View Post
    My Niterider 15 watt halogen looks like a candle compared to the MTE P-7 light. They are going to get brighter and more battery efficient soon.
    An oncoming cyclist held his hands to his eyes and complained about my MTE P-7 the other morning. Tough, weakling. My on-road safety comes first.

  9. #9
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidad View Post
    My Niterider 15 watt halogen looks like a candle compared to the MTE P-7 light. They are going to get brighter and more battery efficient soon.
    Thing is, LEDs are pretty much an electronic chip, from the pointof view of manufacturing. As with ICs the power ( usefulness ) gets approximately twice as good for the same money every 18 months. The improvements in battery technology is impressive as well, nice time to be an all weather biker.

  10. #10
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Agreed. The new LED lights are absolutely incredible, in terms of light output as well as energy efficiency. I can remember bike commuting in college back in the 1970s with essentially nothing other than a weak battery-powered light that strapped to my leg. It's amazing that I didn't get run over or wreck hitting a pothole or sticks. You can buy LED lights now for less than $100 that are better than lights that cost hundreds of dollars just a few years ago.

  11. #11
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    Indeed! I have an old Night Sun dual beam that cost too much, and weighs a ton. It worked, and got me through years of commuting, but now I have a MS.
    Amazing, and cheap.
    WANTED: Not a darn thing. I've got it all. Life is good.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member SlimAgainSoon's Avatar
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    I think the next big development will be in usability -- more high-powered LEDs designed for bikes (ala the Magicshine), instead of flashlights being zip-tied to the handlebars.

    It is amazing the light you get from these things.

    Would be nice to get longer burn time.

  13. #13
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    What would be REALLY nice would be lights actually DESIGNED for bikes, for use on roads - I'm thinking actual proper reflectors with beam cutoff and a beam that gets brighter farther away from the bike. These are available in countries where they're mandated, but not so much in the US - and I haven't seen any that were as bright as a P7, except for a few German HIDs that are > $1000, last I checked.

    The current lights are far better than what's come before, and I love my Magicshine light, but they're all pretty much flashlight reflectors with round beams, which would be illegal on a car.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimAgainSoon View Post
    Would be nice to get longer burn time.
    Get a dynamo , you won't have to worry about run time.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmorey View Post
    An oncoming cyclist held his hands to his eyes and complained about my MTE P-7 the other morning. Tough, weakling. My on-road safety comes first.
    So you don't care about temporarily blinding those drivers and other cyclists comming toward you, as long as YOU "feel" safer? How would YOU like a temporarily blinded driver comming around the corner behind YOU? THAT make you feel safe?

    Light can be a weapon. Shining too bright of a light into someone's face is an aggressive move and you should be ready for the consequences. It's against the law to not dim your lights for oncomming traffic for GOOD reason.

  16. #16
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RapidRobert View Post
    So you don't care about temporarily blinding those drivers and other cyclists comming toward you, as long as YOU "feel" safer? How would YOU like a temporarily blinded driver comming around the corner behind YOU? THAT make you feel safe?

    Light can be a weapon. Shining too bright of a light into someone's face is an aggressive move and you should be ready for the consequences. It's against the law to not dim your lights for oncomming traffic for GOOD reason.
    Just learn how to look away from a bright light.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  17. #17
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    I agree. I just got a Cygolite TridenX for my handlebar and a Cygolite Mitycross 350 for my helmet.

    Awesomeness,

    LesMcLuffAlot

    Heading out for a night ride in 20mins.....hehehehe....
    Last edited by LesMcLuffAlot; 10-15-09 at 07:38 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmorey View Post
    An oncoming cyclist held his hands to his eyes and complained about my MTE P-7 the other morning. Tough, weakling. My on-road safety comes first.
    Haha, I get blinded by car drivers who decide not to dim their high-beams. I usually point my CatEye strobe at them. It usually works, but sometimes drivers remain obstinate and continue breaking the law, though perhaps unwittingly so in most cases.

    I have an AXA dynamo setup, with B&M front light and DToplight Plus condenser'd tail light. Of course, I also have the CatEye strobe, plus an Arvenir LED flasher clipped on my belt behind my back.

    Now I just need an LED flasher that I can attach to my (vertical) rear fender...and a new reflective vest.

  19. #19
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmorey View Post
    An oncoming cyclist held his hands to his eyes and complained about my MTE P-7 the other morning. Tough, weakling. My on-road safety comes first.
    Having been on the receiving end of a super-bright headlight, I'll echo RapidRobert's complaint.

    I was hoping to ride home after the 4th of July fireworks a couple years back and ended up on the MUP next to Arlington Cemetery. My light wasn't bad, I could see where I was going and the walkers I wanted to pass. But, as soon as I got hit with a top-notch light, I couldn't see a damned thing more than three feet away. I dismounted and pointed my light right ahead of my front wheel to keep from running over any of the walkers and to keep from falling off the side of the path.

    Yup, that's right -- I sometimes had to shield my eyes and look at my feet to make sure I stayed on the pavement.

    My Dinotte 200 is easy to tip down when I'm closing with an oncoming trail or road user, and I usually hear them say thanks when we pass. As much as I want the performance of their 400 (and similar lights), I'm not sure if I want to be stuck with the rigid mount.

    I sure like the directed light of the B&M dynamo headlight I have on another bike, though.

  20. #20
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rnorris View Post
    ^^Word! Back in my student days, I commuted frequently at night with a cheap bottle generator from Sears (all I could afford at the time). I stupidly turned it off and went ninja down some of the long hills, though, because I kept blowing out bulbs and frying the generators with too much speed- and wasn't about to waste a good downhill run by riding my brakes all the way. We have it good now!

    And it was really fun to lose your light in the rain, when road grime made your tires a bit slimy and the generator wheel began to slip. Don't miss that at all.
    I didn't have to worry about blowing my headlight out on down hill runs after adding a tail light, and I wasn't cheap in getting bottle generators, that's all that was available at the time when I used them, and I don't miss having to disengage the generator when climbing steep hills either.

    Yes, today's bicycle lighting options have come a long way from my early commuting days.

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