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  1. #1
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    I'm ready to buy lights...

    I got home from the store a little while ago & thought it would be nice to ride but I dont have lights. Now that the weather is getting nice, I think it's time. I am reading reviews of multiple lights on a few different online catalogs & a lot of the affordable lights are said to lack actual seeing power. Seems a lot of them are more for people to see you the cyclist than for you the cyclist to see the road.

    Can anybody recommend a few affordable (sub-$50) lights that will help me see where I'm going? The closest I have found yet is the Planet Bike Blaze 1Watt Headlight for $40 on Nashbar or $59 on Jenson with a tail light. The reviews seem to be good but I'd like some other options as well. Looking for maximum value, like most people do.

    Thanks in advance...

  2. #2
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Maximum value will be the Magicshine light from Geoman.. Spend a little more $$ get a lot more light.. Most lights in the price range are more for being seen than seeing the road.. Here is a link:

    http://www.geomangear.com/index.php?...roducts_id=180

    Others can chime in but it is a great light for under 100.00...

  3. #3
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    I think the Princeton Tec Eos bike is pretty good for the price.

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    I think the best and safest light set-up for the money right now is the MS900 from Geoman (c. $90 US) and DiNotte tail light (c. $89 right now + AA batteries and charger). That being said, Geoman has been saying a new MS tail light is imminent. There's really no detail available about it yet, so I don't know if it'll be a better value than the DiNotte.

    I have said before, most riders seem to ignore their rear lighting. I think a highly visible rear light is more important than a good front light. If you can only afford one light, get the best tail light you can afford. Strap a flashlight on for a headlight if you have to. Among cheap/lights I already had, I've used my Minimag AA LED, Makita 9.6V, Task Force 150L. They all were adequate for low-ish speed road riding.
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    Senior Member wrafl's Avatar
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    Check out also the Cygolite Milion for headlight, available for $89.00 with free shipping on e bay. Got one and I was surprised by it's brightness. For tailight, the Planet Bike Superflash is bright enough and you can even mount 2 of them. One on flashing mode and the other on steady.

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    I bought a Planet Bike "1/2 watt blaze" with the tail light. The tail light is great, but the headlight is only for being seen. I tried one Bell that was around $20 and a little better, but not much. I'm now using another Bell that is pretty good for seeing where your going. It came with a tail light and sold for under $25 for the set. It's black (they also make a gray one) and on it it reads Lumina, long oval beam, 180'-75-150. (The 75-150 stands for the hours the batteries should last turned on non-blinking or blinking.)

    BTW, I'm using Lithium batteries and it seems to be brighter.

  7. #7
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I don't recommend < $50 lights if you need them to see by, because for not much more you can get very good lights.

    I have a MS900 and it's been very good. You do need to treat it a bit with kid gloves - the lighthead is OK but the battery isn't waterproof, and the power cable has a tendency to fray if you aren't careful with it.

    I also have a P7 flashlight, which I had started to think was the way to go over the MS unless you needed the runtime, but in the last week it's gotten the random mode change disease that seems to hit them. It's only about 6 months old and the switch is getting flaky - it'll be OK for a day or two, then it'll switch modes every time I hit a seam in the pavement. I've had it apart looking for obvious faults but haven't found the cause yet.

    I still like the flashlight - a P7 is bright enough that I find medium mode enough to see by (it's far brighter on medium mode than the Blaze is on high) and in medium mode it'll probably last close to 2 hours. But the unreliability is irritating. It seems to be spotty, there are others who have had them longer without problems, and I'm sure this is just a bad connection - if I can find the source, I should be able to fix it.

    GeoMan has a P7 flashlight too, MagicShine branded. It might be worth buying from them for a few bucks more than getting all the bits from DealExtreme - you'll get it fast and they will stand behind it better than DX will.
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    i was in the same boat as you a month ago.

    after reading reviews, i went with the planet bike 1w blaze and superflash combo for 60 bucks. if price is a barrier and it seems it is for you and was for me, it seems like the best deal i could find for a good combo.

    on amazon. fantastic so far.

    i will add that the 1w is usable as a primary light on unlit suburban roads that are in decent shape, not just to be seen. ive ridden around here at a decent clip (sub 20mph but around 17-18) but if you are planning on really booking at night, or riding on terrible roads or any offroad, you may want to look into something more powerful like the 2w blaze or the lights suggested above.

    also, being tied down to an internal battery is a negative IMO. i carry two spare charged sanyo aa eneloops and two aaa eneloops in my saddlebag so i won't run out of juice.

    as mentioned, the superflash rear taillight by PB is great. i have it latched onto my saddlebag and it stays on and i have ridden down stairs with it. i am also considering a second one suggested above, one to keep on steady and one on flashing. i currently use it flashing.
    Last edited by idiotekniQues; 05-19-10 at 01:36 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    i dont use my bike to commute or plan on doing a lot of after dark riding so I am going to have a hard time justifying 80+ on a light. Like I said in my OP, I am hoping to find something sub-$50but if there is something close or slightly over but performs that much better, I could likely be persuaded. Just not looking to double my target price range. Just looking for something for that occassion that I do have the urge to ride at dusk/dark.

    Thanks for the tip above about getting a good tail light too, I wasnt going to ignore tail lights altogether but hadnt really spent much time looking at them. Maybe I will check out that Planetbike combo & see how that goes...

  10. #10
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    Looked into the 2W and it seems like for the extra money, it might be worth considering... its only another $10 so why not go with it...

  11. #11
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Yeah, for casual/budget use it seems like the 2W Blaze and a SuperFlash is the way to go.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Yeah, for casual/budget use it seems like the 2W Blaze and a SuperFlash is the way to go.
    On a budget, I would guess this combo might work OK. Personally, I wouldn't bet my safety/life on it though. About half my riding (which equals about 25 miles per week) is in the dark. Increased exposure = increased risk, so I personally wouldn't take my chances with this setup. Consider the cost of good lights part of the cost of cycling. For me, if I couldn't afford decent lights, I wouldn't ride in the dark.

    My light set-up: MS900 ($90) + DiNotte 140L ($89) (I bought the Eneloop battery pack w/charger at Costco on sale for $20 which powers the DiNotte). You could get an excellent setup for both night and day time riding for less than $200.

    Geoman said here on another forums that the tail light will be available on 05-21-10. No word on specs or cost yet. However, the DiNotte 140L is a 3w LED which is the same as the new MS tail light. Given MS's pricing history, it'll likely be significantly less than the DiNotte 140L with speculatively about the same output.

    I also just noticed Geoman is selling the MS900 plus (the one with the waterproof MS1400 battery) for $89.99.

    A word on visibility: visibility is more than lighting. I also use a decent reflective vest (I've learned over time and with experience the $5 Harbor Freight vest is the best value/performance vest available) and have adequate reflectors.

    How much is your life and/or health worth?
    Last edited by hopperja; 05-19-10 at 09:51 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CNY James View Post
    i dont use my bike to commute or plan on doing a lot of after dark riding so I am going to have a hard time justifying 80+ on a light. Like I said in my OP, I am hoping to find something sub-$50but if there is something close or slightly over but performs that much better, I could likely be persuaded. Just not looking to double my target price range. Just looking for something for that occassion that I do have the urge to ride at dusk/dark.

    Thanks for the tip above about getting a good tail light too, I wasnt going to ignore tail lights altogether but hadnt really spent much time looking at them. Maybe I will check out that Planetbike combo & see how that goes...
    i am pretty much the same as you, not a lot of after dark riding or commuting here.so i don't do much after dark riding, mostly like you said, a few casual dusk/evening jaunts.

    although i now want to ride most of the manhattan greenways at night and then take detours into the city itself. in my situationat least, for the greenways the 1w is still fine. for the city, i dont even need the 1w for light but just to flash so people can see me, as the city is well-lit. it's to be seen.

    but yeah, you HAVE TO GET A taillight. when i have my superflash on suburban roads, cars coming behind me give me a nice WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE berth. that thing works well. for the city i bought another $10 cateye red taillight and clip it to my rear collar or backpack.

    oh and with reflection. i guess it depends where you are but i dont think a reflective vest is mandatory. depends on your area how cars are, etc... if you are out in a very rural area where cars tear around at night, not used to bikers, or no shoulders, it might be a good idea just for that kind of night riding. for me, i just put several reflective strips on the back of my helmet. plus my saddlebag has a reflective strip, and the SF on it. nice thing about shcwalbe marathon tires is they have a reflective sidewall strip. i feel pretty good with this setup.

    but visibility to vehicles is key key key.

  14. #14
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    I checked out the Planet Blaze 1W vs. the 2W in a bike shop side by side and didn't see that much of a difference. But then, it's $10, and maybe it's $10 difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan View Post
    I checked out the Planet Blaze 1W vs. the 2W in a bike shop side by side and didn't see that much of a difference. But then, it's $10, and maybe it's $10 difference.
    my friend bought the 2w after seeing my 1w blaze in action. he says he mostly uses the low setting on the 2w and it is just fine, but likes having the 2w mode in case. not sure what the 2w's lower mode is though compared to the 1w.

  16. #16
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I agree, the Blaze is not really a great choice, but if it's all you can afford, I'm willing to say it's barely not a waste of money. I do think that for less that twice the amount you can get a heck of a lot more light, but it's up to the OP.

    I have bought lights that were an utter waste of money. I have a Planet Bike SuperSpot that I used for 5 minutes. It's $35 utterly wasted. I rode about 1/4 mile with it, decided I couldn't even see by it, turned around and came back and put on my old light. It was supposed to be awesome by all reviews, but it totally sucked.

    I haven't seen a Blaze but people say they're alright.

    But personally, if I can't afford at least a 200 lumen headlight and a Superflash, I just won't ride at night. If I can't afford a P7 or equivalent light and a Dinotte 140L or equivalent taillight, I won't ride in adverse conditions (heavy rain/fog/snow).

    I think you're probably looking at the $80 range for a P7 flashlight, mount, batteries and charger and a Superflash or equivalent (I did a review of the DealExtreme superflash clone recently, it's pretty respectable and is $3.50 - if you're ordering a P7 flashlight and accessories from DX, you can pick that up at the same time. It'd probably be more like $70. But you'll have a 3 or 4 week wait.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Can anybody recommend a few affordable (sub-$50) lights that will help me see where I'm going?
    This thread suffers from the same short comings that any internet product review suffers from - objective, comparable standards and terminolgoy.

    For one thing, your question fails to qualify what you mean by "see where I'm going." And the other aspect of a cyclist's vision needs relies of the specific speed they are traveling and the specific surface type they are traveling upon.

    In the long distance forum - I always remind readers that "distance" is not the only measure of any give ride's difficulty. In this forum, a paralell admonisgment of not basing a lights "seeable" characteristics on power or lumun rating alone applies.

    Two of the most important features regarding the relative success of lighting during a bicycle ride have to do with a lighting systems mounting, adjustability and beam dispersion. Its unlikely that cheaper systems will account for all these things well.

    Still, everyone's imput is of value. All posts make an attempt to prioritze a feature and promote a particular perspective.

    I've analyzed a few aspects of my limted night riding needs and ended up with a wholly different idea about when, where and how to use the several lights I own. For one thing, at least for me, was the mounting of one light head near my left handlebar area so I could rapidly adjust it's spot beam to the area I wanted for any changing conditions.

    Up until a couple of weeks ago - I assumed lights should always be monted on the center of the handlebar. But now I realized that it was more important to be able to adjust the spot than to lock it on a particluar angle or line. Of course, depending on the light used - this may or maynot be a matter to most of you.

    My point being, each cyclist's use of a given lighting system - and their own needs - reveals the best and worst features.

  18. #18
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    I'd go with a Terralux or two for $28 if the Magicshine is out of reach.

  19. #19
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    If 60.00 is drop dead price, I would look at getting a romisen light w/ 18650 cell / charger which will still be under 60.00 in price w a lockblock to mount the light.. a 250 lumen Q5 will still blow away a 2watt led..

    The new romisen is quite nice.. the RC-C8 II Flood to Throw light.. Fully adjustable from wide flood to tight spot.. Long run time, 3 modes.. High - Low - Flashing.. This light also can use 3-aaa cells.. Have not done runtime test on 3aaa cells..

    The flash mode is very useful, about 120 flashes per minute, not close to seizure inducing like many other lights.. The light itself is a little big for helmet light but is still doable..

    http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...h-C8-II/Detail

  20. #20
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    I know where you can buy a slightly used MagicShine for $70 shipped.

  21. #21
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    This thread suffers from the same short comings that any internet product review suffers from - objective, comparable standards and terminolgoy.

    For one thing, your question fails to qualify what you mean by "see where I'm going." And the other aspect of a cyclist's vision needs relies of the specific speed they are traveling and the specific surface type they are traveling upon.

    In the long distance forum - I always remind readers that "distance" is not the only measure of any give ride's difficulty. In this forum, a paralell admonisgment of not basing a lights "seeable" characteristics on power or lumun rating alone applies.

    Two of the most important features regarding the relative success of lighting during a bicycle ride have to do with a lighting systems mounting, adjustability and beam dispersion. Its unlikely that cheaper systems will account for all these things well.

    Still, everyone's imput is of value. All posts make an attempt to prioritze a feature and promote a particular perspective.

    I've analyzed a few aspects of my limted night riding needs and ended up with a wholly different idea about when, where and how to use the several lights I own. For one thing, at least for me, was the mounting of one light head near my left handlebar area so I could rapidly adjust it's spot beam to the area I wanted for any changing conditions.

    Up until a couple of weeks ago - I assumed lights should always be monted on the center of the handlebar. But now I realized that it was more important to be able to adjust the spot than to lock it on a particluar angle or line. Of course, depending on the light used - this may or maynot be a matter to most of you.

    My point being, each cyclist's use of a given lighting system - and their own needs - reveals the best and worst features.
    this is the wordiest post you could have made to tell me like 2 things:

    1. you need more information about my riding style to determine what would be suitable equipment.
    2. there is more to a light than its output capabilities

    I can understand where you guys are coming from about spending $100, $200, $1000000 on lights. But many of you can also justify spending 2,000+ on bikes. I cant. I was told by several people that I had to buy a bike at 1000+ with 105 or better components or I wouldnt like riding. I spent $500 and got a lightly used bike with Sora and love it. You have to buy $150 pearl izumi shorts or your ass will hurt after 3 minutes. I spent $40 on specialized shorts and can ride for an hour+ with no discomfort. I'm not going to say that I couldnt get better equipment (lights included) at a higher price but I also recognize that I may not need a runway signal light to do some casual riding at dusk/nightfall. Thank you to those that responded with answers that recognized this aspect of my request.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by CNY James View Post
    i dont use my bike to commute or plan on doing a lot of after dark riding so I am going to have a hard time justifying 80+ on a light. Like I said in my OP, I am hoping to find something sub-$50but if there is something close or slightly over but performs that much better, I could likely be persuaded. Just not looking to double my target price range. Just looking for something for that occassion that I do have the urge to ride at dusk/dark.

    Thanks for the tip above about getting a good tail light too, I wasnt going to ignore tail lights altogether but hadnt really spent much time looking at them. Maybe I will check out that Planetbike combo & see how that goes...
    The reason why so many people suggest spending a little more money on a front light is because for 50% more money, you get 400% more light. You can also see the road ahead of you like 1000% better. Seriously. $50 is the price point between "people can see me, and I can ride on roads where I could ride without a light if there was no traffic" and "I just hop on my bike and ride and don't worry about it, maybe I got a tiny slower at worst" above $50.

    They've also tried to play the "I'm going to save some money" game. They buy a $40 light. It's not good enough. They buy another $50 light to "save money". It's also not good enough. At this point, had they simply bought a brighter light in the first place they would have spend the same money. Even if they upgrade later - a $40 light is 50% the cost of a $80 light.

    You really do need a rear blinky, as someone mentioned. I like the Planet Bike Rack Blinky (doesn't actually require a rack).
    http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Bike-30...4470443&sr=8-2

    The Planet Bike Superflash has gotten a lot of good reviews to.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CNY James View Post
    I can understand where you guys are coming from about spending $100, $200, $1000000 on lights.
    If you can afford $50, you can afford $100. Don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

    If you plan on doing a fair amount of night riding, you should consider something like the $90 Magic Shine.

  24. #24
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I'll agree that buying too cheap of a light is a mistake. I've spent more on ****ty lights than I have on good ones, over the years. It's best to go ahead and buy something good the first time. I think the MagicShine is a good deal, providing that you can treat it gently. It doesn't have to be coddled, but the battery isn't waterproof and you can't abuse the wiring or it'll fray. I know people who beat the crap out of everything they own and then complain that it's garbage when it breaks. If this is you, look at Lupine for 6 times the price for essentially the same thing; it'll stand up to more abuse. But if you're OK with treating things like an investment, the MS is good value.
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  25. #25
    Gimme back my gears!
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    This isn't on Costco.com - you'll have to go in-store to buy:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...y-lights-setup

    2x200 Lumen Flashlights for $19.99, no waiting for shipments from China - If you don't have a Costco membership then use this as an excuse to offset the cost or go with a friend who has one.

    /thread

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