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  1. #26
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    The moderators of this forum have unfairly cut my posts from the Magicshine thread here, describing technical flaws in other headlight comparisons and argueing against strobe headlight use at nighttime. All because ONE ignorant member can't handle it. THAT's how the bicycling community reacts to criticism. THAT's typical of bike club members and ANY criticism toward them and their precious helmets, precious helmet mounted lights shining into peoples' faces, and paranoid belief in overlighting to satisfy their personal belief that "more light equals more safety".

    So how can there be any real rational discussion of "etiquette" when the PC police here are biased against real alternative perspectives? There can't. Everyone's free to agree. Everything must be happy, happy, joy, joy. Incorrect and misleading information about how bright lights are is promoted because it's done in agreement with the beliefs of those people.

  2. #27
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    Robert;

    Feel free to revive this thread which I started to discuss the subject that was objected to in the Magicshine thread. The thread is titled "Lumens Lies" and might be considered more appropriate than the Magicshine thread for the things that you brought up there.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...05-Lumens-Lies
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post

    When your bike's aimed at the G-out at the bottom of a gully, and the other side is effectively well "above the horizon," it'll start to make sense
    I agree, anything goes if needed for off road riding. I believe though this is a discussion about lighting for road/street/urban riding.

    Another poster mentioned reading street signs. If too close or the sign is off to the side I cannot do that with car low beams, or on occasion even with high beams, either. It would help if more street signs were reflective. If done properly they are readable with a lot less light than usual. If I know I will need to read unlit signs I carry a fairly powerful LED flashlight in a jersey pocket. Sometimes actually easier with a bike as the headlight is easier to aim at the sign than a car headlight.

    Plenty of misaimed car lights around too. European car lights are required to have a much sharper cutoff than American ones. So far s I know American car beam shape standards are pretty much unchanged since the days of 35 watt 6 volt incandescent car lighting. Those were glow worms compared to most current car lights.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

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  4. #29
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    bmclaughlin807 I'm getting a magic shine. have you noticed more confusion from drivers because the light is so bright? where do you have it aimed? do you use the hi-power setting?
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    bmclaughlin807 I'm getting a magic shine. have you noticed more confusion from drivers because the light is so bright? where do you have it aimed? do you use the hi-power setting?
    I have a P7 headlight and it doesn't seem to confuse anyone. I do get more respect now than I did with my MiNewt. Maybe they think I'm a motorcycle?

  6. #31
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    bmclaughlin807 I'm getting a magic shine. have you noticed more confusion from drivers because the light is so bright? where do you have it aimed? do you use the hi-power setting?
    No, no confusion. The only people that seem 'confused' by it are ninja cyclists riding with no lights (or barely visible blinkies that you can't really see at all, anyway)

    I've got mine aimed about two car lengths ahead of me... there's lots of spill to illuminate signs and the sides, but the hot spot starts around 20-25 feet ahead of me and extends about 15 feet in the roadway. Mine is mounted upside down so it's hanging under the bars (mostly to make it less visible while parked)

    I've only had one person cut me off since I've been running the magicshine.... compared to about 1 a night before that. Most importantly, though... I have NO problem seeing road hazards... potholes, branches, snow, pedestrians, ninja cyclists, people getting ready to open their car door, etc.... It has prevented two collisions with ninja cyclists that I can say with pretty good certainty WOULD have occurred with my Cateye headlight.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  7. #32
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    almost bought the MiNewt, but then came across the Magic Shine here.

    so, I'm assuming with the Magic Shine I can skip the front strobe?
    I'm thinking to save battery life - to turn off the Magic Shine when the sun comes up and then just use the front strobe. Do you use it every day? Do you charge it every night?
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  8. #33
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    bmclaughlin807 I'm getting a magic shine. have you noticed more confusion from drivers because the light is so bright? where do you have it aimed? do you use the hi-power setting?
    Yes, people think I"m a motorcycle and give me a lot more room and wait when they normally would have pulled out in front of me. This is not a bad thing.

    Yes, I use high, when I'm on the gravel roads which are about half my commute, because I need all the lead time I can get for dodging holes. I often switch down to low when I get to pavement and am out in the sticks. I go back to high in town.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  9. #34
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    I can remark that every motorist who's ever commented on my Nova BULL or DiNotte 140 taillight has been praising it because it makes me easy to see, and/or wanting to know where I got it. That includes a Sheriff's deputy who stopped and waved me down so he could find out where to buy one for himself, and a man who stopped at the top of a hill on a dark county highway, turned off his truck, and waited for me so he could tell me how well I showed up, and how he wished every cyclist would use gear like mine.



    I find that the "noisier" the background, the more power is needed to (1) be noticable, and (2) see the road surface to avoid hazards. I like powerful lights off-road too, but this Tuesday I went off-roading with a 140-lumen light and could still see where I was going well enough to ride pretty fast, because it's the only light source around and my vision could adapt to it. On a city arterial like the one shown below, however, that same light won't even make a visible spot on the pavement at 100 feet out. When you're trying to dodge grimy black ice domes frozen to manhole covers at 25mph, despite having a faceful of automotive headlights to see past, it takes a bit of power.

    If there were a cyclist with a 2W PB Blaze coming towards you, would you see them in this traffic before turning left across their path?

    So I'm just stating the obvious: it's situation-dependent. MUPs are a situation I prefer to arbitrarily avoid, because a walker with no lights at all, navigating by the city's ambient "light canopy" alone, will have his night vision ruined by nearly ANY light source. And it's not like you can be 10-20 meters to one side as you approach eachother, MUPs are dinky. Forget it, I'm taking the street





    Really not that much excess "lift" in the beam, it's similar to an auto's low-beam. As RapidRobert said, the light does come from small apertures and can seem very intense, so partly as a placebo move, I will shut down some of the throw power when facing a car directly on a dark two-lane, so they see that "ok, he dimmed his lights, he's not high-beaming me." This also is their cue to check whether their high beams are off.
    I agree that a brighter light is needed in urban settings than in rural settings. Sure it's dark out there but it's also easy to see even a dim light from a long way off. There's far too much clutter from, literally, thousands of light sources in cities. You may be able to see the ground a little better because of the ambient light but other road users can't see lights that don't put out at least a significant percentage of the light that a normal car light puts out.

    The light from a bike light may emanate from a smaller point but road position also needs to be taken into account. Most of our riding time at night is done at the right hand margins of the roadway. This is further over than the passenger's side light of automobiles and those light shine further down the road than the driver's side does. I see little conflict with traffic in the other lanes. Even on left turns or stopped at stoplights, cyclist bias towards the right side of the lane...we're trained that way.

    There is also the lamp reflector geometry to take into account. If the reflector is narrow, the light won't spill into other lanes where it could be a problem for motorists. If the reflector is wide, the amount of light can't be concentrated enough to be a problem either.
    Stuart Black
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  10. #35
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    We have to stop that sticking to the right thing... I usually stay in the lane with the lights blinking and blazing.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    We have to stop that sticking to the right thing... I usually stay in the lane with the lights blinking and blazing.
    Unfortunately, in California it's the law. They try to get it changed every year or two, but nothing seems to happen.

  12. #37
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    I don't mind if motorists don't know what I am; if they know I'm a cyclist, many of them think "just a cyclist, OK to ignore." If they think I might be an emergency vehicle or a UFO with all those blinking lights, they'll be a lot more cautious.
    Absolutely. I've got enough light to make people wait for very long times without pulling out on me because they can't figure out what I am and how big I am.
    Stuart Black
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  13. #38
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    As dwilbur said, it's the law. By a right bias, I mean that we ride in the right wheel track or further right in almost all instances. I'm not afraid of anything but I don't think I want to ride a bike for any significant time in the left wheel track On turns, yes. But riding in the left track is going a little far on the 'taking the lane thing'

    On an unrelated sidenote: There's something funky going on with your posts. When I try to do a 'Reply with quote', I get sent to an error message page with this error message

    The following errors occurred with your submission
    The message you have entered is too short. Please lengthen your message to at least 2 characters.
    It only happens on your posts. Is there something going on with your moderator status?
    Stuart Black
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  14. #39
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    One thing I like about the Cateye headlight handlebar mounts, that are also used by Supernova, is the easy horizontal beam adjustment capability. It allows about a 10 degree side to side adjustment of the beam so it can be aimed to stay pretty much on your side of the street in town. Good design IMO. If properly adjusted easy to reaim while riding but with enough friction to stay where adjusted.
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  15. #40
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
    One thing I like about the Cateye headlight handlebar mounts, that are also used by Supernova, is the easy horizontal beam adjustment capability. It allows about a 10 degree side to side adjustment of the beam so it can be aimed to stay pretty much on your side of the street in town. Good design IMO. If properly adjusted easy to reaim while riding but with enough friction to stay where adjusted.
    The handlebar mounts from Batteryspace do the same. Very useful feature.
    Stuart Black
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  16. #41
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    My 2 cents on this topic is that lighting is relevant. If you're sporting 400 lumens on the bars and the helmet, you're set ... until someone with a 600 lumens rides up behind you. Then you end up riding in your own shadow. When riding behind someone at night ... keep your distance. Either that or dim your light.

    Dinotte taillights are TOO BRIGHT FOR NIGHT-TIME USE WITH OTHER CYCLISTS!!!!! DINOTTE TAILLIGHTS ARE WAY TOO BRIGHT FOR TRAIL USE WHERE YOU'LL ONLY ENCOUNTER OTHER CYCLISTS.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    As dwilbur said, it's the law. By a right bias, I mean that we ride in the right wheel track or further right in almost all instances. I'm not afraid of anything but I don't think I want to ride a bike for any significant time in the left wheel track On turns, yes. But riding in the left track is going a little far on the 'taking the lane thing'
    Riding in the left side of the lane may tempt a motorist to right to the right of you. Most motorists think we're nuts and wouldn't even consider riding a bicycle on a roadway. So they have no idea about what is dangerous and what is not. When "taking the lane" dead in the middle. When riding right ... leave at least 3 feet to right so you have some wobble room if a car get a little too close.



    On an unrelated sidenote: There's something funky going on with your posts. When I try to do a 'Reply with quote', I get sent to an error message page with this error message
    I'm experiencing it also. The workaraound is [Go to advanced mode].



    It only happens on your posts. Is there something going on with your moderator status?[/QUOTE]

  18. #43
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    This is why I like to wear a retroreflective vest. The light returning back to the driver is directly proportional to the light they shine at me; they high-beam me, I high beam them back (I have had many cars switch to low beams when they get near me, it really works!). My headlights serve only as a back-up in case their lights are not yet shining at me, and, just like with car headlights, all of my LEDs point towards the ground and never shine directly at the driver.


  19. #44
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearsquirrel View Post
    riding in the left side of the lane may tempt a motorist to right to the right of you. Most motorists think we're nuts and wouldn't even consider riding a bicycle on a roadway. So they have no idea about what is dangerous and what is not. When "taking the lane" dead in the middle. When riding right ... Leave at least 3 feet to right so you have some wobble room if a car get a little too close.
    I wasn't advocating riding in the left wheel track. I do so on left turns only. I might do so on a high speed downhill because I can out corner the cars. 'Taking the lane' depends on the situation. In downtown Denver traffic, I'm right in the middle of the lane because I'm moving at their speed. In other situations...higher speed traffic, more lanes, wider streets, narrow streets, etc...I'm where I feel is the safest for the situation.


    Quote Originally Posted by bearsquirrel View Post
    I'm experiencing it also. The workaraound is [go to advanced mode].
    That doesn't work. Reply or Reply with quote both send me to the same error page. It's only a problem on my lab PC (Piece of Crap) using Explorer. Not a problem on my Mac using Firefox. Unfortunately, I can't install Firefox on the lab PC...don't have the administrator rights
    Stuart Black
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  20. #45
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Llamero View Post
    This is why I like to wear a retroreflective vest. The light returning back to the driver is directly proportional to the light they shine at me; they high-beam me, I high beam them back (I have had many cars switch to low beams when they get near me, it really works!). My headlights serve only as a back-up in case their lights are not yet shining at me, and, just like with car headlights, all of my LEDs point towards the ground and never shine directly at the driver.
    I'm not a believer in passive lighting. There are too many situations...cars coming from side streets or cars coming over hills as examples...where the car's lights might not hit your reflectors until too late. There's nothing wrong with having reflectors as back up...and they are usually required by state laws...but, personally, I rely on active lighting over passive.

    Looking at your picture, I'd say your lights are a little high. It could be a trick of the camera. Mine are aimed about 2 car lengths ahead for the hotspot on the bars and about 2.5 car lengths ahead for the helmet light.
    Stuart Black
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  21. #46
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    True, but that holds for both the bike and the car. However, let me see if I can get anything more head-on from the video clips...



    That's at 0.4 mile, shot at 4x zoom... sorry it's not up close, but divided highway is divided highway If I go again out tomorrow night, I'll try to gratify y'all with something closer. Too bad I don't have a HD camera!
    Thanks for your photos, mechBgon. They clearly show what I have been saying about bicycle lights and possible interference with other road users all along. You clearly demonstrate that, for a relatively low intensity light like a bicycle light and the position of the bicycle relative to the automobiles, it would be very, very difficult to cause any kind of glare problem for motorists.

    On an interesting side note, the cutoff on the automobile lights that people obsess over doesn't seem make much difference as distance from the light increases. The lights from the car seem just a round as the light from the bicycle in both pictures. The cutoff may be important for close passing of other automobiles but as you get further from the light source, the cutoff becomes less important. Yet another thing we cyclists shouldn't worry so much about.
    Stuart Black
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    I'm not a believer in passive lighting. There are too many situations...cars coming from side streets or cars coming over hills as examples...where the car's lights might not hit your reflectors until too late. There's nothing wrong with having reflectors as back up...and they are usually required by state laws...but, personally, I rely on active lighting over passive.
    True reflectors do rely heavily on the angle that the headlights are coming from. But in a way ... so do lights. Those little LED "be seen" lights probably cannot be seen from the side. In that case, reflectors would help. Personally, I wrap my road bike frame with reflective tape at strategic points (seat stays, seat tube, fork legs). The "round" tube ensures that any light will be reflected back to the driver. In addition I wear reflective green Nathan Snap Bands on my ankles and wrists. Those can be seen from pretty much any angle.

    I bought some "Spoke-Lits" that provide and active blinkie light in the wheels. Actually they're more for fun to get the "solid light" effect when they spin up to speed. They are barely visible when you shine light on them.

    And myself, for night riding I DEFINITELY have another light on my helmet. It is the same TridenX that is on my handlebars and if I'm not sure if a car sees me (or they bright flash me) I put that thing right on their retinas and take it away. Do that a couple of times, and they will KNOW you are there.





    Looking at your picture, I'd say your lights are a little high. It could be a trick of the camera. Mine are aimed about 2 car lengths ahead for the hotspot on the bars and about 2.5 car lengths ahead for the helmet light.[/QUOTE]
    Last edited by BearSquirrel; 12-02-09 at 11:15 AM.

  23. #48
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearsquirrel View Post
    true reflectors do rely heavily on the angle that the headlights are coming from. But in a way ... So do lights. Those little led "be seen" lights probably cannot be seen from the side. In that case, reflectors would help. Personally, i wrap my road bike frame with reflective tape at strategic points (seat stays, seat tube, fork legs). The "round" tube ensures that any light will be reflected back to the driver. In addition i wear reflective green nathan snap bands on my ankles and wrists. Those can be seen from pretty much any angle.

    I bought some "spoke-lits" that provide and active blinkie light in the wheels. Actually they're more for fun to get the "solid light" effect when they spin up to speed. They are barely visible when you shine light on them.

    And myself, for night riding i definitely have another light on my helmet. It is the same tridenx that is on my handlebars and if i'm not sure if a car sees me (or they bright flash me) i put that thing right on their retinas and take it away. Do that a couple of times, and they will know you are there.
    I use what my state requires for reflectors...wheel reflector and rear red reflector. Don't what a lawyer saying that getting hit was my own fault because I wasn't using the proper equipment That said, I don't depend on them to be seen. Side reflectors are likely the least useful of the reflectors since the light hitting them may be coming from different angles (or not at all) depending on the situation. A car turning right on a yield, for example, would never hit the reflectors on a bike unless the bicyclist were in the crossing his lane. You can probably think of many others.

    I do use a leg light. This, I think, is far more effective for situations where a car is approaching from the side than reflectors. The up and down motion of the light catches the attention of motorists from behind too.

    I have experienced vehicles not seeing me from the side with LED lights. It's very disconcerting to have someone pull out in front of you with what you would consider brightish lights. I even tested them by parking my bike and walking across the road way to see how much light spillage there was to the side. They were totally black from across the street at a distance that I would have thought you could see them...about 100 feet. It was very enlightening It's also one of the reasons I still run halogen. Their side spill is huge and I seldom have issues with cars approaching me from 90 degrees seeing me.

    And I agree a helmet light comes in very handy for those situations where cars are approaching from your side.
    Stuart Black
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  24. #49
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Thanks for your photos, mechBgon.
    Certainly I seldom ride anything but city arterials and state/county highways (or mountain-biking off-road), so I'm not saying everyone should load up on extreme-output lights to ride the MUP on a near-collision course with people who have weak/non-existent lights. But in my environments, good lights matter, and are within the tolerance range of the other road users' lights.

  25. #50
    Embracing my inner Fred shuffles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    I figure that if they can see you from space you might need to dial it back a little...
    The truth is, they can see us from space whether we have a headlight or not.
    This is the Road Cycling forum. Let's keep it that way, OK?

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