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Old 11-22-10, 04:59 AM   #1
banton
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Lightbulb Bike light buying guide - Categorizing different lights

For a long time I've been dumbfounded regarding bike lights. Most of them don't have any kind of comparable information apart from the price, and for us who live in countries that actually get dark, the light might be _the_ most important safety device there is.

So, I did what every mad commuter would do: Went to the shop to buy lights, put them on a faux-handlebar (ie. a pitchfork) and took photos of the light patterns for comparison.



You can find my blog post about it here: http://bit.ly/bikelights

I also tried to categorize the bike lights in order to truly compare them irregardless of their price. I would be awesome to have an independent party to investigate the bike lights similarly like car safety is tested, and to have some kind of unified scoring on different lights as most riders can't test them out in real environments before purchase.

Thoughts and comments on the categorization would be highly appreciated! What other values as brightness and light pattern should we take into consideration?

Keep riding!
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Old 11-22-10, 05:11 AM   #2
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http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/headlights.asp
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Old 11-22-10, 05:23 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by bobdell View Post
I like Peter White, his winter tire article is brilliant - but his light article has the same problem as the manufacturers. It's not comparable from the box, there's no information about the angle (ie. how wide/long the light pattern is), no information on the brightness (in lumen for example) and therefore the battery life comparison becomes trivial, as we don't know whether it is 4 hours on 400 lumen or 4 hours on 100 lumen, where the other would be 4 times as good on identical light patterns.

We could also do a similar comparison about dishwashers, apply dirt identically to plates and wash them a few times and put them in 400 different dishwashers, measure their energy efficiency, wash results and water consumption.. but that would be stupid That's why they have the A to F scale (at least in Europe).
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Old 11-22-10, 06:28 AM   #4
BetweenRides
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'It would be awesome to have an independent party to investigate the bike lights similarly like car safety is tested, and to have some kind of unified scoring on different lights as most riders can't test them out in real environments before purchase...'

http://reviews.mtbr.com/blog/category/lights-shootout/
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Old 11-22-10, 06:41 AM   #5
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Almost there, but since 99% of cyclists won't buy a light for over $100 makes that article quite limited to those people. Also, the data they have is comparable in spreadsheets, but not very usable for a normal consumer, or do you think it is?

Of course, it shouldn't be so that consumers would have to compare photos of light patterns on blogs either, the boxes should have something kind of "Class A bike light, 90 lux up to 50 meters, Class AA battery" or something like that which is truly comparable. This would require a standard or something to be developed.
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Old 11-22-10, 07:43 AM   #6
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CPF has a bike light database. Has some of the current lights as well as obsolete ones for comparison.
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