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  1. #1
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    Smallest cheap helmet light out there? (In addition to MagicShine on bars)

    I ordered a MagicShine for my bike and am excited to get it.

    I also want a little helmet light to flash cars with so they don't turn in front of me. But I don't want a monster light for this.

    Any recommendations out there for a little helmet mounted light that isn't too expensive?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Do you want one with a flashing/strobe mode? What battery size?

    For AA batteries and a flashing mode available, the Fenix LD20 Premium Q5 is reportedly about as good as the venerable L2D it replaced. If flashing/strobe and lots of brightness levels are not important, the TerraLUX LightStar 220 is reportedly otherwise as good as the Fenix at about half the cost.

    If you want to go the 18650 lithium ion battery route, the ShiningBeam MG L-Mini II 18650 comes with and without a flashing mode and has a regulated voltage output favorably reviewed on CandlePower Forums. If you want it to be a narrow beam "thrower" (more practical on a helmet light than a mounted light), see if they have the Turbo Head for it back in stock.

    Some other posters have liked some of the Romisen models, but I do not recall which ones.

    For flashlights using the P7 LED (may be a bit heavy/short run time), see THIS THREAD.

    You do have a good tail light already, right? If not, the PlanetBike Superflash continues to be a good moderate cost one. If you get it on sale for about $30 or less and are OK with the mounting method, the Vetta TSL-C is notably brighter than the Superflash (albeit without the Superflash's excellent, distinctive flash pattern). The undisputed champs for tail light lumens are the Dinottes with the 501B Ultrafire in red a close second.
    Last edited by Giro; 02-05-10 at 04:39 PM.

  3. #3
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Cateye uno with helmet mount.

  4. #4
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    Princeton Tec aurora bike
    3 AAA, $20, if still available
    a wide angle "be seen" led light
    can also use it camping as a headlight with included strap
    light is unregulated, fairly long battery life on low mode, has a slow blink mode

  5. #5
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    Thanks for the posts. The Fenix light is an overkill for me, as I already have a very bright light on the handlebar. The Cateye uno looks nice, but I don't see a helmet mount. I think I'll likely be going for the Princeton Tec light. They make some good camping lights.

  6. #6
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    I've got a Princeton Tec EOS Bike that I have had for years and have been very happy with. It comes with a neat mount for bike helmets, and uses 3 AAA batteries. I use rechargables. Great for reading the bike computer, street signs, or flashing motorists who look like they don't see me.

  7. #7
    I am a caffine girl colleen c's Avatar
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    I use to have a Power Beam 5 led light mounted on my helmet held with rubber band. It worked well to get attention. After I got my MS light, I continue using it on my helmet until one day, my battery died because I forgot to charge it. I now went back to a P7 which is a overkill but it serve as a backup when needed. If anything, I thought about mounting the P7 on my handlebar next to my MS light and go back to the Powe Beam on my helmet, but the super bright light working along with my MS light works so well that I don't think I'm gonna change that.
    "Difference between a well dressed cyclist riding a two wheeled bicycle and a badly dressed cyclist riding a Recumbent is only a-tire"
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  8. #8
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    TerraLUX LightStar also provides backup for about $25.

    Quote Originally Posted by bryroth View Post
    ... The Fenix light is an overkill for me, as I already have a very bright light on the handlebar. ...
    You should still consider something like the TerraLUX LightStar 220 because it also serves as a backup to your MagicShine (which I also have). Most cyclists who cycle at night find out sooner or later their primary light fails (batteries run out, light falls off bike, light is stolen, etc. etc.). You can routinely run the TerraLUX at low ("100 lumens", in reality probably less). When the need arises, switch it to high ("220 lumens", also in reality probably less). With the TerraLux (or the equivalent) you get a genuine backup headlight for only about $25. The high setting on a helmet light such as this is also useful in daylight to awake stupefied motorists from their cell phone induced distracted driving.

    One known failure mode for the MagicShine is if the electronics in the battery pack get wet, the light fails. The best way to avoid this is the standard method to waterproof electronics, apply a conformal coating. Most folks do not have that around the workshop (I do), so you may want to search out what other posters have done to protect the electronics from water.
    Last edited by Giro; 02-06-10 at 04:12 PM.

  9. #9
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giro View Post
    One known failure mode for the MagicShine is if the electronics in the battery pack get wet, the light fails. The best way to avoid this is the standard method to waterproof electronics, apply a conformal coating. Most folks do not have that around the workshop (I do), so you may want to search out what other posters have done to protect the electronics from water.
    Mine died completely. I found a matching circuit board and replaced it. Then I covered the whole battery with liquid tape AND I got a spare battery and waterproofed it too. I've also extended the cable and run it along the frame to my rear pannier where I keep the batteries (the panniers are waterproof).

    I also have the Terralux220, it's inexpensive, powerful but due to its length it'd be awkward to mount on a helmet, too dorky even for me I carry one in my pannier in case a need off-bike light.

    I'd rather consider one of the Princeton Tec or Petzl headlights.

    Adam

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    Mine died completely. I found a matching circuit board and replaced it. Then I covered the whole battery with liquid tape AND I got a spare battery and waterproofed it too. I've also extended the cable and run it along the frame to my rear pannier where I keep the batteries (the panniers are waterproof).

    I also have the Terralux220, it's inexpensive, powerful but due to its length it'd be awkward to mount on a helmet, too dorky even for me I carry one in my pannier in case a need off-bike light.

    I'd rather consider one of the Princeton Tec or Petzl headlights.

    Adam
    Really? Terralux too big?!? You're definitely doing it wrong.

    The Terralux is perhaps the perfect size (about as long as your palm) for helmet mounting - one thick rubber band does the trick, or you can even cut a segment of inner tube, cut two holes through the walls in each end, and loop the light through it. It works flawlessly.

    I'm very experienced with PricentonTec & Petzl headlights, as I tried nearly all of them for running (not cycling) and was dissatisfied with the output - I could easily outrun the light on foot. On bike, they were completely useless for seeing the road.

    The Terralux is definitely the way to go for a "to-see" light. All the other bike-specific offerings are horrendously overpriced in comparison. You'd have to pay $100+ for a bike-specific light with similar lumen output compared to $30 on Amazon for the Terralux.

    I commute on roads with mixed pitch-black segments and high-carlight areas using only one Terralux, and it works great.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post

    I'm very experienced with PricentonTec & Petzl headlights, as I tried nearly all of them for running (not cycling) and was dissatisfied with the output - I could easily outrun the light on foot. On bike, they were completely useless for seeing the road.
    I think you are missing the point. We are talking about a secondary light to put on the helmet. OP already has a good light on the handlebars and just wants a secondary on the helmet. Nobody expects to use it as a primary unless there is an emergency and the primary fails.

  12. #12
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    Might be too much, but looks like a nice one. http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...ni-1081/Detail

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammond9705 View Post
    I think you are missing the point. We are talking about a secondary light to put on the helmet. OP already has a good light on the handlebars and just wants a secondary on the helmet. Nobody expects to use it as a primary unless there is an emergency and the primary fails.
    Even so, I would NOT use a Petzl headlamp or a Princetontec even as a backup. It's not worth it, when you can pay the same price and get a light that's equally convenient that packs 4x more light output and can clearly be used as a primary in case of emergency.
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  14. #14
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
    Even so, I would NOT use a Petzl headlamp or a Princetontec even as a backup. It's not worth it, when you can pay the same price and get a light that's equally convenient that packs 4x more light output and can clearly be used as a primary in case of emergency.
    60hrs battery life is somewhat more convenient than 6.

  15. #15
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    Small. Cheap. Bright.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    60hrs battery life is somewhat more convenient than 6.
    Not when those 60 hours is completely useless on a bike. Seriously - I outrun my Petzl Tikka+ AND the $80 Petzl MyoXP on FOOT (I'm primarily a runner). I can't even use it for running, let alone cycling at 10mph. Plus, the hotspot is miniscule. I tried and returned 6 different LED strap headlights from REI before abandoning all of them in sheer frustration during running, and that's at a max speed of 11-12 mph on foot.

    I use a Fenix L2D strapped to my head for running. Lights this size are perfect for a backup, IMO. I would only use the Petzl lights for walking or doing errands around the house. Definitely not recommended for cycling - it's pretty much useless, and definitely useless the moment a car headlight washes out your vision.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Romisen RC-C6 II Q5 Flood-to-Throw LED Flashlight

    I like this one as a helmet light, uses cr123a batteries.. This is super small. very lightweight, has 2 modes but is fully adjustable from flood to throw.. I use it about halfway between and only use in medium mode for best burn time.. It is rated 2 hours in high mode and 8 hours in medium mode.. When the battery gets depleted it goes into a slow flashing mode which is great for being seen..

    http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...6-II-Q5/Detail

  18. #18
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
    Really? Terralux too big?!? You're definitely doing it wrong.
    I won't even try. For me it's too big Something half of third of the size would be OK.

    Adam

  19. #19
    Senior Member bryroth's Avatar
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    I don't see helmet mounts for any of these flashlights. Are there helmet-mount options, or is it up to the cyclist to rig something home-made? I'm thinking the easiest option for a secondary helmet-mount light might be to just go to the lbs for something.

  20. #20
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bryroth View Post
    I don't see helmet mounts for any of these flashlights. Are there helmet-mount options, or is it up to the cyclist to rig something home-made? I'm thinking the easiest option for a secondary helmet-mount light might be to just go to the lbs for something.
    Generally I think people do pretty well with taking an old inner tube, cutting it to length, cutting holes in either end, then threading it through vents in the helmet. 5 minutes and zero dollars, and it's as good as most any other helmet mount you'll find.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  21. #21
    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bryroth View Post
    I don't see helmet mounts for any of these flashlights. Are there helmet-mount options, or is it up to the cyclist to rig something home-made? I'm thinking the easiest option for a secondary helmet-mount light might be to just go to the lbs for something.
    The easiest option has been mentioned. A rubber band will do the trick. A thick one or maybe two thinner ones. Put it around the light and let the rubber band drop through a helmet vent. Pull the rubber band up through another helmet vent and loop it over the other end of the flashlight. Done. I put my Fenix through a section of tube to add some tackiness but that's not necessary. With either a Fenix or a Terralux, you can't even feel it up there. Someone mentioned redundancy too, always a good idea, front and back.
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  22. #22
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    Yup - that rubber band vs inner tube mount is amazing. It's rock-solid, easy to get on-off, and uber-cheap and replaceable. Plus, the inner tube version is nearly indestructible (in my hands) if you use a good quality tube remnant - that's some good rubber!

    I wouldn't be able to commercially design a better, lighter, more stable one. I rode with a bunch of guys with older-gen $400 NiteRider systems helmet-mounted, and they marveled at how effective and stable my budget solution was. (The $28 Terralux was equally bright and whiter than their $400 lights - I think they were sufficiently convinced that they were going to buy this light themselves, as they asked me repeatedly as to what it was and where to get it.)
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