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  1. #1
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Powerful uncontrollable LED lights - like cell phones - technology gone awry

    I just experienced my own "uber-geek-lighting" jerk moment. And the problem is - I was the jerk.

    This story starts several years ago. I was "partnered" with a well-heeled PBP qualifier aspirant on a 600k ride. It was my role to set a pace, call out turns in advance and generally offer my expertise and knowledge of the route and cycling to help get this guy a chance to complete the 600k and go to France for the big show.

    The brevet started at 4:00am and a fairly large group of riders started together and stayed pretty much together until day light. It was quite a light show, with many of the riders with high quality light systems for the year, 2007.

    Later on everyone would select their own pace and pair off into groups of two or three and others - eventually rode solo.

    As evening fell at the 300k mark, I realized that my "partner" was indeed outfitted with a powerful helmet mounted light. From memory, I believe it was some 2nd generation Dinotte product rated at 140 lumen - as least as far as I can remember.

    Since this cyclist was following my lead, two potentially unwarranted lighting attributes came to my attention. One aspect being the blinding intensity of the helmet mount light when ever it reflected off my eyeglass mirror. The other being the constant changing of light and dark coverage areas produced in my selected road path as his light responded to his selected points of interest.

    Last week, I was riding a paved bicycle trail using a dual-Dinotte setup. One light, with a flood lens was pointed down enough to start it's flood lit are to be three foot in front of my bike. The other light, with a spot lens, was pointed to show it's hot spot about 20 feet out.

    Both of these lights appeared "pointed" downward. Yet, when I encountered oncoming cyclists about 5 feet off axis, (opposing bike lane) they all had to shield their eyes. Some of them were obviously pissed off.

    This makes me wonder quite a bit about what the future holds for "well-equipped" brevet riders that may or may not be involved in large group rides, and more over - may or may not be faced with an onslaught of ever more high-powered lighting systems wielded by clueless or cyclist traveling in the opposite direction.

    It is my contention that most manufactures - even those aiming for the cycling market - are not offering a wide enough margin for convenient dimming of lighting systems and that the cycling community as a whole is headed in the wrong direction toward more and more powerful, but less truly optimal cycling situations.

    I can't wait for a couple Magic Shine 1200 riders meet on a cliff section of single-track along the Colorado river and they both go over the edge - blinded by the light!

    Don't misunderstand me. I want to aim at least 100 lumen from the top of my helmet into the face of a driver at every urban intersection. And my own experience suggests having 200-400 lumen aimed at a patch about 40 feet out from your bike should give most people some reaction time to debris or turns.

    But this idea about meeting up against a multi-lens 900+ lumen cyclist jamming out in a near 180 pattern sounds a lot like "I'll be listening to a teenager on a cell phone stuck in a grocery checkout line." Not a good experience.

    Please add negative reactions to my commentary below.

  2. #2
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    Those uber-lumen lights can indeed be overkill for a lot of situations. 900 lumens is hella bright.

    Still, it's NOTHING compared to an oncoming car light, not even on high beams. I ride a lot on a road in Norcal where there is oncoming traffic at 30-40mph as well as numerous cyclists with a range of lights at night. I'm pretty sure I've seen at least a few Magicshines out there - they look light motorcycle headlights when they're coming, and when you're in a car pulling out onto the street with a cyclist oncoming, you tend to wait for them because you expect something going 40mph, then you realize it's a bike when it's puttering along at 15mph. That single hi-powered spot was probably equal and likely even less in brightness to an oncoming car without hi-beamse. When I see those bike lights, my first reaction is "wow - that's a great, safe light", not "that's blinding." The dual headlights of the cars put out a ridiculous amount of light over a wide area, even with the cutoff filter.

    From my personal observations, I really approve of those hi-lumen lights for cyclists riding on well-trafficked road with fast car traffic. I wasn't blinded in any way by that oncoming cyclist, but it got my attention quick. I actually wished more cyclists used those sorts of lights on roads where cars go 40+mph - I think it would prevent the common situation of cars abruptly pulling out from side roads into your path.

    For MUPs or bike-only lanes where cyclists are passing each other only feet apart, when an oncoming cyclist/ped is coming, you should turn your light down to med or lo. 900 lumens on a MUP to somebody walking in the opposite direction and having no other carlights to adjust their eyes is definitely blinding. Same with mountain bikes - turn those crazy lumens down if you know there's somebody coming your way up ahead, or at least cover your light a bit when they come by.

    I also don't think you need uber-powered lights in dense urban traffic (<30mph). I use a FENIX 200 lumen light and I feel that's plenty bright without blinding - any brighter, and I would probably start annoying cars whenever I stop at an intersection. But once the I start moving fast and the cars go 40+, you need more light for more distance warning - I would definitely be more comfortable with more lumens on those roads. (A Dinotte rear as well for those fast roads.)
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  3. #3
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    As I've said many times, what we need is NOT brighter lights, it's BETTER lights. Manufacturers seem to just keep pumping more lumens into products. Why? BECAUSE IT'S CHEAP AND PEOPLE LIKE TO BUY THINGS WITH BIGGER NUMBERS THAN THE NEXT GUY.

    What we need is a light with probably about 600 lumens, but with a proper road cutoff optics set. AFAIK, nobody makes them. There are german lights with cutoffs, but they seem to all be either 80 lumen generator lights or 1200 lumen HIDs.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    As I've said many times, what we need is NOT brighter lights, it's BETTER lights. Manufacturers seem to just keep pumping more lumens into products. Why? BECAUSE IT'S CHEAP AND PEOPLE LIKE TO BUY THINGS WITH BIGGER NUMBERS THAN THE NEXT GUY.

    What we need is a light with probably about 600 lumens, but with a proper road cutoff optics set. AFAIK, nobody makes them. There are german lights with cutoffs, but they seem to all be either 80 lumen generator lights or 1200 lumen HIDs.
    I agree completely! When I was in the automotive industry I did an in-house study on the illumination requirements for automotive headlights, i.e, what does the driver need to see. I think the requirements for a good bike light are very similar to those for a good EU-style automotive low beam, with two exceptions: some "leakage" above the cutoff to make sure signs are readable and for a "be seen" function, and for a lot of the light going up at the sides, so someone or something entering the roadway from the side can be seen well. It could be bright for motorists in the opposing lane, but not until they are considerably off-axis to the bicycle light. We cyclists are too focused on bright pencils of light in front of us. Or rather, our lights are too focused into bright pencil beams in front of us.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    As I've said many times, what we need is NOT brighter lights, it's BETTER lights. Manufacturers seem to just keep pumping more lumens into products. Why? BECAUSE IT'S CHEAP AND PEOPLE LIKE TO BUY THINGS WITH BIGGER NUMBERS THAN THE NEXT GUY.

    What we need is a light with probably about 600 lumens, but with a proper road cutoff optics set. AFAIK, nobody makes them. There are german lights with cutoffs, but they seem to all be either 80 lumen generator lights or 1200 lumen HIDs.
    For that to be a surefire solution, all riding areas would also need to be completely flat. My commuting route includes an uphill approach to this intersection...



    ...and even the finest uber-cutoff beam doesn't help. In fact, it's rather the opposite, because the light below the cutoff is just that much stronger, and that's where *I* am, since the vehicles facing me are peeking over the ledge there.

    Solution: don't stare into the headlights. I can sit in the left-turn lane facing two lanes of oncoming traffic here, which might be well over 8000 lumens depending on the vehicles (yay, 3500-lumen HIDs plus fog lights!), and while it's not something I look forward to, it's not the end of the world. Welcome to the public roadways.

    And my own experience suggests having 200-400 lumen aimed at a patch about 40 feet out from your bike should give most people some reaction time to debris or turns.
    40 feet? Wow. When I'm jamming down the debris-strewn shoulder of a dark highway at 22mph, I'm covering that distance in a little over one second. I can't believe you think that's a safe operating margin. I like something more like this:



    Yet, when I encountered oncoming cyclists about 5 feet off axis, (opposing bike lane) they all had to shield their eyes.
    Bike lights put out their light from a small aperture. It doesn't have to be powerful in absolute terms to look intense. For example, I had an oncoming cyclist shield her eyes from my bar-mounted 140-lumen Fenix L2D while coming towards me on a 2-lane road in evening daylight. What do we infer from that, then?

    Also, realize that the off-road market is a big reason those higher-powered lights exist. If you did have a road beam with a sharp cutoff, etc, it wouldn't work well for an off-roader whose bike is constantly pitching up and down, left and right. When I'm heading into a G-out at the bottom of a gully at 25-30mph, I really WOULD like to be able to see up the other side before I get there I'm not sure how much of a market there is for a 600-lumen light that's not well-suited to off-roading.

    That said, you could look into the NiteRider Pro series, which are custom-programmable. If you want 600 lumens on HIGH and 50 lumens on LOW, you can have that. On the dual-LED version, you can also tune your spot and flood beams independently. I have one of the latter, and it currently has "Road" and "Off-road" programs loaded, so I can run just the spot beam on road (100 low, 600 high), and both spot & flood off-road (200+200 low, 600+600 high). Very nice. Not cheap, of course



    Oh, and silly me, I forgot I'd actually done a couple videos exploring this subject. Here's one: Dodge Caravan versus ~850 lumens of bike lights in a flood+super-throw configuration (DiNotte 600L plus Dereelight DBS V2).


  6. #6
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Not much comparison there, the car is definitely more irritating than the bike.

    BTW, what taillight is that?
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  7. #7
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    I was taking a pic of my B & M Ixon when this car came by.

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    I can point my truck headlights in such a way that the low beams blind oncoming traffic. I can also properly point my low beams so that I can still see, yet so can other drivers. All it takes is a screwdriver.

    Same for bike lights. I can take a powerful LED spot light beam and blind others, or I can point the spot light differently and not blind anyone.

    The technology is fine. The malfunction comes from the USERS.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    BTW, what taillight is that?
    It's a Nova BULL in double-flash mode. They're baby-sized LED strobes for emergency vehicles, with around 130 lumens of output and a beam pattern that spreads into a horizontal bar:



    In extra-dangerous conditions, like trying to cross highway exits in a 60mph zone, I'll sometimes use one of the more aggressive strobe patterns. Here's another video featuring the Nova at longer highway range:



    This is another out-&-back video, with the return leg allowing a direct comparison of the bike's headlights to some cars as they come alongside. Again, that's the DiNotte 600L (a fairly floody beam) plus the DBS V2 (very directional spot beam tracing out ahead ~200 feet for major debris like lumber and rocks). The camera never does much justice to this stuff, unfortunately.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    What we need is a light with probably about 600 lumens, but with a proper road cutoff optics set. AFAIK, nobody makes them. There are german lights with cutoffs, but they seem to all be either 80 lumen generator lights or 1200 lumen HIDs.
    I have the B&M Ixon IQ, it's gotta be somewhere in the 250-300 lumen range, has a perfect cutoff and on low is around 80-100 lumens. The higher end B&M's would probably be in the 350-450 lumen range, with dual light setups available.
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  11. #11
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seagull01 View Post
    I can point my truck headlights in such a way that the low beams blind oncoming traffic. I can also properly point my low beams so that I can still see, yet so can other drivers. All it takes is a screwdriver.

    Same for bike lights. I can take a powerful LED spot light beam and blind others, or I can point the spot light differently and not blind anyone.

    The technology is fine. The malfunction comes from the USERS.
    Car beams have a cutoff. Most bike lights do not, they're round beams. Yes, you can aim the bike light so that there's a reasonable amount of spill above the horizon, but to do so you have to aim the lights lower than some of us would like. I'd like the center of my beam somewhere in the 50 to 80 foot range, but if I do that there's too much light above the horizon.

    The very fact that Germany made a law requiring lights with full cutoff indicates to me that there's a difference. And all you have to do is to look at beam shots of something like the Ixon IQ to see that it makes a pretty big difference.

    Also, if a round beam was "good enough" for the road, car beams wouldn't have cutoffs either.
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    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    If I'm not mistaken, 10wheels posted a frontal shot of his Ixon above, and if no one told me "yeah, this light has a cutoff" I don't think I'd catch on when viewing it from the front. I think it's the typical bike-light problem... small opening = intense impression.

    Has anyone here approached your favorite bike-light company to suggest a road-specific beam, out of curiosity? I did bring up the topic to DiNotte in my own fashion, asking if they could make a super-throw version of the 400L headlight. They said no, it was as focused as it could get, and no, I could not drop in alternative optics, kthxbye.

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    I'm not sure if 10wheels has the Ixon or the Ixon IQ, which have pretty different optics and emitters. Either way, it's very much an aim thing, even more so on the lights with road style cutoffs, as they tend to put most light right at the top of the beam for distance. With my mid fork mount and proper aim, I barely put enough light upwards to highlight the reflectors on parked cars

    Here's my Ixon IQ, on high, with the tripod set @ ~36" (pretty low even for recumbent riders), (manual control all settings the same, 1 sec exposure) at normal riding aim, then aimed up one foot.




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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    I was taking a pic of my B & M Ixon when this car came by.

    IXON, I wasn't expecting to compare it with a car, but this one just happened to drive up as I snapped the pic.

    I also now have the IQ, but no pics with it.
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    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
    I'm not sure if 10wheels has the Ixon or the Ixon IQ, which have pretty different optics and emitters. Either way, it's very much an aim thing, even more so on the lights with road style cutoffs, as they tend to put most light right at the top of the beam for distance. With my mid fork mount and proper aim, I barely put enough light upwards to highlight the reflectors on parked cars

    Here's my Ixon IQ, on high, with the tripod set @ ~36" (pretty low even for recumbent riders), (manual control all settings the same, 1 sec exposure) at normal riding aim, then aimed up one foot.




    If that's the change caused by a one-foot adjustment in aim at that distance, then it looks like even a slight hump in the road will bring the most intense part of your beam up into the eyes of oncoming people, and a slight dip will limit your ability to see down the road. I guess this is why some cars have auto-leveling headlights

    At any rate, that looks like one possible solution for the thread's original poster's own use. In the bigger picture, I think he needs to remember that the off-road market calls for the opposite of what he wants: lots of output, lots of fill light. It's rather harsh to wish mishaps on them...

    I can't wait for a couple Magic Shine 1200 riders meet on a cliff section of single-track along the Colorado river and they both go over the edge - blinded by the light!
    ...but as a guy who rides off-road with other users of 1200+ lumen systems, I'm afraid his wish isn't likely to come true, as it's not difficult to maintain one's bearings with that much light on tap.

    As a practical design solution for light manufacturers, I'd suggest a light mount that actually aims the light down with a quick flip of a lever or something. Some of you have already seen this video, which shows the respective effects of dropping a Seca 700 to 25% power, versus actually aiming it down, versus both at once:



    The Seca is claimed to have a shaped beam with a cutoff, but I'm afraid the cutoff exists only in the minds of their marketing department The light pattern is distributed somewhat "top-heavy" in the beam, though... for a production light, it reaches down the road fairly well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    If that's the change caused by a one-foot adjustment in aim at that distance, then it looks like even a slight hump in the road will bring your light up into the eyes of oncoming people, and a slight dip will limit your ability to see down the road. I guess this is why some cars have auto-leveling headlights
    Yup, raising my light one foot will put it right into the eyes...of a 3 foot tall person.

    Basically I took the light at standard aim and placed the camera on tripod, 6 inches above the cutoff, then raised the beam so the cutoff was 6 inches above the camera.
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    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
    Yup, raising my light one foot will put it right into the eyes...of a 3 foot tall person.

    Basically I took the light at standard aim and placed the camera on tripod, 6 inches above the cutoff, then raised the beam so the cutoff was 6 inches above the camera.
    See this photo again. The camera was 6 feet off the ground for this shot, yet it's right in the hot spot of the headlight beams here. Note how the oncoming car that's actually coming down the hill is far less of a problem:



    All it takes is a bit of a rise in the road to send your excellent, well-constructed beam up at a sufficient angle to hit someone in the eyes. Shamelessly borrowing from John Allen's reflector site, but for a different point:



    If that rider's coming towards the car, or your bike, they are effectively zero feet tall when your light comes into view. I'm not saying the Ixon IQ's beam isn't a great effort, but every day I ride up to that intersection in the photo and get a fresh reminder of why beam cutoffs don't always work. It's a reality.

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    Hi, I just wanted to add in my support for the OP's original post.

    I played the Lumens game for a while, and have found that what I really want is a better shaped light. Otherwise, it's rather mystifying to me how a Lumotec Cyo (200 -300 lumens in a very shaped beam with a distinct cutoff) with a Dinotte 200L helmet light gives me about the same light coverage as a $600 Dinotte lighting system that puts out 800 lumens that also makes it more difficult to see stuff off to the side.

    I think it's the beam pattern - put a really bright spot on the road and your pupils close a little and you can't see the surrounding area as well.

    The other night I forgot my front light (still had the rear lights) and ended up biking home later than I thought and was surprised to find that 80% of my ride was actually completely ok with no front light (well - other than that other people might not see me) which is just...weird. How is 800 lumens only 20% better than no light at all?

    And though it kinda contradicts what someone else wrote, I've personally found bikers lights on an otherwise unlit section of the trail to be far more blinding than car headlights from the road next to the trail I'm on. I think it might be that a bigger light with the same lumens is easier on the eyes than a smaller light with the same lumens, as well as the "cutoff" thing. A tiny source of bright light is blinding than a bigger one that's more spread out.

    My ideal light would -
    1. Have a nicely shaped beam that *evenly* lights up the road in front of me, so the road 5 feet from the bike is lit up (to my eye) the same as the road 20 feet from my bike. This is for me, not other people, but so far I've found a more even beam much, much, much more pleasant to bike and see with.
    2. Have a cutoff so I'm not blinding other people on the MUP. I have to admit this is tricky though - not only is there the "only on a flat road" issue, I own a Cyo and I found mounting it on the handlebars that I either had enough reach, or (as Mechbgon mentioned) the brightest part of the light would hit people in the face. It's only worked fairly well for me in that regard since I remounted down on the top of the fork, and even there it's a bit of a tradeoff between more reach or risking hitting people in the eyes on the non-flat sections.
    3. Have a switch that controls whether it's in -
    a. Full fill, mountain bike mode
    b. Partial fill with a cutoff for road biking mode
    c. No fill, Narrow beam with a cutoff for MUP / Bike Path riding mode

    With modern lights that use several LED's, seems like the "fill" LEDs could be controlled separately from the main beam. And while the main beam could have a cutoff, a separate LED could be used to fill in the light above the cutoff if you wanted it for mountain biking.

    And while I'm wishing,
    4. A light that autolevels itself *while* biking so it keeps the road lit up but doesn't hit anyone in the face. ;-)
    5. A blinking LED that's just bright enough to be seen next to the main LED for road riding - the bikes I see on the road with a blinking light (well one that's bright enough) next to a steady light always seem like the most visible lights to me while I'm driving.
    6. A light head that's not *tiny* so if you do hit someone in the face with it, it's less intense on their eyes.

    The Niterider 1200 lets you control the spot and flood beams separately, and that's pretty cool. It's getting closer at least, but it doesn't have shaped even light distribution or an actual cutoff.

    Someone is going to tell me it's to complicated or expensive or something, but we're currently talking about $700 lights! The Lumotec Cyo ($130, dynamo) proves that bike lights have have specialized optics with a very controlled beam with a cutoff. The Seca 700 proves that it (EDIT - I don't mean a cutoff, I mean "a shaped beam with multiple LED's") can be done with multiple LED's. Why not have one LED that does a non-fill road pattern with a cutoff, and other LED's that are controlled separately to provide fill when appropriate?
    Last edited by PaulRivers; 04-05-10 at 11:59 PM.

  19. #19
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I don't really see any reason why a proper beam cutoff should cost much more than a plain round beam. Really all you need is for the LED to fire down instead of out, then to have a flat/curved reflector below it. That's the way the Ixon does it, and it's not like the reflector is made out of diamond or anything, it's just a different shape case and reflector.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    I don't really see any reason why a proper beam cutoff should cost much more than a plain round beam. Really all you need is for the LED to fire down instead of out, then to have a flat/curved reflector below it. That's the way the Ixon does it, and it's not like the reflector is made out of diamond or anything, it's just a different shape case and reflector.
    I would assume it takes a fair amount of engineering to design the optics to create the beam pattern you want, if nothing else.

  21. #21
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    The factory mounting system on the MagicShine MS900 (O-ring wrapped around the bar) makes it pretty easy to manually dip the light if I meet somebody coming the other way on the MUP at night. But I doubt it would be necessary if oncoming riders didn't seem to insist on staring straight into the beam.
    Quote Originally Posted by MajorMantra View Post
    Cycling (taken to the typical roadie extreme) causes you to cough up your own soul as every fibre of your worthless being sings in choral agony. Once you embrace the pain everything is dandy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jefferee View Post
    The factory mounting system on the MagicShine MS900 (O-ring wrapped around the bar) makes it pretty easy to manually dip the light if I meet somebody coming the other way on the MUP at night. But I doubt it would be necessary if oncoming riders didn't seem to insist on staring straight into the beam.
    You've only like 5 degrees to the side of them on the MUP - where else are they supposed to look? Are they supposed to look away from the trail so they aren't looking at the direction they're biking towards?

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    Quote Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
    I'm not sure if 10wheels has the Ixon or the Ixon IQ, which have pretty different optics and emitters. Either way, it's very much an aim thing, even more so on the lights with road style cutoffs, as they tend to put most light right at the top of the beam for distance. With my mid fork mount and proper aim, I barely put enough light upwards to highlight the reflectors on parked cars

    Here's my Ixon IQ, on high, with the tripod set @ ~36" (pretty low even for recumbent riders), (manual control all settings the same, 1 sec exposure) at normal riding aim, then aimed up one foot.




    Wow, that is an awesome comparison shot. Thanks!

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    One nitpick:

    The Seca 700 proves that it can be done with multiple LED's.
    In my personal experience, the alleged "cutoff" on the Seca is imaginary. It's not any worse on a viewer than my Dodge Caravan, but it sure ain't no BMW 5-series If you re-view the video I linked earlier...



    ...the initial aim of the light is where it needs to be, to actually see well down the highway with it.


    Touching on another tangent here: when I was shooting the video shown below, I was (obviously) observing the traffic coming north on Monroe Street. A cyclist came up the street amid that traffic, wearing a yellow jacket. He was less than 100 feet from me before I conciously registered him. His headlight? Some little bar-mounted light that didn't have a lot of "stray" output. Give that dude a "hella bright" MagicShine or better, with all that horrible, unwanted light spreading all over the place, and I would've seen him from blocks away.

    Remember, folks... some of us ride in actual traffic And if that's you, then don't worry excessively about your light's effect on motorists, unless you have something truely over-the-top like a Lupine Betty (or a Dereelight DBS high beam ). If you ride both MUP and roads, then as a practical recommendation, I'd suggest having a small light for the MUP segment, and a high-powered one for the road segment.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    One nitpick: In my personal experience, the alleged "cutoff" on the Seca is imaginary. It's not any worse on a viewer than my Dodge Caravan, but it sure ain't no BMW 5-series
    Here's what I wrote - "The Lumotec Cyo ($130, dynamo) proves that bike lights have have specialized optics with a very controlled beam with a cutoff. The Seca 700 proves that it can be done with multiple LED's."

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaand...wow, it does sound like I said the Seca had a cuttoff. Weird, 'cause I was specifically trying to avoid that when I was writing...but it sure sounds like that's what I was saying when I reread it. Hmm. Well...go figure. Since I won't have mine until Thursday (and have NO problem believing the cutoff is completely imaginary, plus I've read the same thing elsewhere).

    I may have to add a note to my post.

    What I was trying to say was that the Seca proves that you can shape a beam that uses multiple LED's. In other words, you could create a shaped beam light with more than one LED in it. It may not actually have any cutoff, but everything I've read (plus using one in person once) have said that it does succeed in evenly lighting the road with the light.




    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    Touching on another tangent here: when I was shooting the video shown below, I was (obviously) observing the traffic coming north on Monroe Street. A cyclist came up the street amid that traffic, wearing a yellow jacket. He was less than 100 feet from me before I conciously registered him. His headlight? Some little bar-mounted light that didn't have a lot of "stray" output. Give that dude a "hella bright" MagicShine or better, with all that horrible, unwanted light spreading all over the place, and I would've seen him from blocks away.

    Remember, folks... some of us ride in actual traffic And if that's you, then don't worry excessively about your light's effect on motorists, unless you have something truely over-the-top like a Lupine Betty (or a Dereelight DBS high beam ). If you ride both MUP and roads, then as a practical recommendation, I'd suggest having a small light for the MUP segment, and a high-powered one for the road segment.

    Wow, that is some truly hellacious traffic!

    A while back someone insisted they "needed" dual Dinotte 800's because the path they went through "had some crazy golf carts on it" at night. I couldn't believe it. And now that's what I think of when someone says they "need" more light...well, your video certainly shows a different situation!

    However...I, uh...well, now I feel a bit like you're suggesting that because you once hunted grizzly bear, everyone *needs* an elephant *** to go squirrel hunting. ;-) Most people wouldn't even think about biking in that kind of traffic!...myself included. :-)

    I'm not sure the solution is entirely "more light" - I mean, even in those conditions does any one light need more than 400 blinking lumens? I don't really know, I'm just sure there's a limit at some point.

    In that situation, the amount of light around you necessitates that you put out a large amount of light just to keep up with it. In other situations, the kind of light that makes you visible there is just completely obnoxious overkill (like on an unlit MUP).

    Which is why I'd like to see more adjustable light! :-) Something where you could hit a switch and make it a light with a cutoff (Mostly for MUP's, paths, oncoming bikers...it really sucks to blind some girl walking her golden retriever around the lake. Eventually we might be reaching the amount of lumens that it will be needed for not hitting cars, but I have to admit it's not as big of a concern right now, at least not in the conditions you're riding in, LOL). Something that could be used for mountain biking, or road biking. In traffic, or on a dark unlighted trail.

    Right now the choices are pretty crappy. You can turn down your light, but then you can't see as far. You can't just turn off the flood and still have a narrow beam down the path (the Niterider is way better in this regard, though it misses my next point). The light beam pattern is almost always uneven rather than being evenly lit so that the far away stuff is the same brightness as the close stuff (it's hard to describe why this is a big deal, but having gone back and forth it's made a huge difference in my comfort level and ability to see things while riding).

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