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Old 01-25-11, 12:43 AM   #1
shmeeg
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Is 3 tails and 2 front lights a good dawn/dusk commuter light setup?

I've been researching lighting on here and I am a bit overwhelmed by how many choices there are and can feel myself getting forumitis! I know I don't need a $300 handlebar light with power pack, but man some threads make it sound like I do. Currently I only have a Mars 3.0 tail light on the bike. I have a L&M Vis 360 and Planet Bike Blaze/Superflash 1W combo in the cart on Amazon. Is that too much? I have an 11 mile commute each way on city roads w/ 11 intersections to cross. It's not exactly 'dark' when I leave in the morning or return in the evening but there is very heavy traffic at both times. I'm more concerned about being seen than using the light to see where I'm riding. I figure a blinky on the frame, on my backpack and helmet should light me up like a xmas tree and the helmet light should give me some directional light for the intersections. The Blaze would just be redundancy on the handlebars. It's just a little over the $150 mark I had in mind. Suggestions/comments? Thanks!
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Old 01-25-11, 01:11 AM   #2
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I don't think i'm quite qualified to answer this but one thing I do want to ask is how fast do you usually bike? The speed definitely have a good determination to how much lighting you need. I'm kinda reluctant to say 110 lumen is sufficient if you bike really fast, but I'm pretty sure someone else can give you a better answer.
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Old 01-25-11, 09:28 AM   #3
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Almost as important as actually being noticeable is feeling comfortable with whatever you select. Your selections dont seem too bad depending on how they are mounted and used. The Vis seems decent, if a bit pricey for the light you get. Personally I am not fond of helmet mounted rear lights since drivers seeing them depends on the angle of my head (especially if they are only glancing at the road while they put on makeup, eat, text, tweat, twittle, talk and listen to the Morning Zoo...)

Here are some other ideas.

There is nothing wrong with the PBSF, it has been well regarded since it first appeared, but there is a new sheriff in town and his name is PDW Danger Zone. Twice as bright with much more side visibility. There are videos of them side by side in other threads/you tube.

Up front there are self contained lights that put out more than 100 lumens for less than the Vis. Cygolite's Expilion 180 is $100 for 180 stated lumens and lots of modes. Or Sigma has the PowerLED for $80 and 300 lumens with a 3 hr runtime. And there are others (I didnt mention the NiteRider versions because of the cost of replacement batteries). It is worth mentioning that at $80 you are in the 500 Lumen, 3.5hr neighborhood of the Gemini (for many of us there is no such thing as too many Lumens )

You can also get more light for longer with a decent 18650 flashlight. At ShiningBeam.com and SBFlashlights.com you can get a XP-G light (300 Lumen or more) that will run 2 - 3 hours on a good cell for $25-$45. They also sell bar mounts or get a TwoFish . At SB you can "build your own" if you want a light with a flash mode (select a 5 mode drop in).

HTH
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Old 01-25-11, 12:58 PM   #4
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In response to the title, I run 3 Planet Bike Superflash tail lights. One is on the seat post, one is on left seat stay, and the other is on the back of the seat bag. Typically, cars give me wide berth after dark. On the front, I have a MagicShine 900 on the bar, a Cygolite Expilion 250 on the helmet, and a little Cateye blinky on the bar (which is probably washed out by the MagicShine). So far, so good. I've had several comments about how visible I am, coming or going.
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Old 01-25-11, 01:48 PM   #5
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You don't have to be super bright to get notice but rather unique and different than other bicyclist. More important to stand out than to blend in. I've gotten so used to seeing typical bicyclist at night with their lights set up so similar that I usually see the rider before even seeing their lights. However when I come across a rider with something unique and different from the other riders, that makes me take notice of them right away.

You do need a brighter light if you are riding into or away from the sun at Dawn or Dusk. Something that blinks will be helpfull. That being said, the 110 lumen might be on the dim side if the Sunlight is right behind you.
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Old 01-25-11, 03:02 PM   #6
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You don't have to be super bright to get notice but rather unique and different than other bicyclist.


In reality, no matter what you do, SIDSY is the first thing they say...
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Old 01-25-11, 04:12 PM   #7
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The Planet bike taillights are good at night, but in dimdaylight conditions I would look into the Dinotte 140. I have friends who have them and they are brighter han a cars brake lights and easy to see in the day time.
A good quality flashlight shold be good on the front.
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Old 01-25-11, 05:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Plutonix View Post


In reality, no matter what you do, SIDSY is the first thing they say...
yeah, I agree on that one. I wonder just how many times it's been wriiten in police and insurance report with that excuse? Another reason why I love to blast them with my Airzound regardless. Sight and sound!
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Old 01-25-11, 10:59 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I checked around the bike shops in my area and actually went with a NR MiNewt.250 for the handlebars and will keep shopping for helmet mount/body lighting. I would like some more blinking action, specifically for the late afternoon when I am riding into the sunset and I imagine it's harder to see me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheungupdt View Post
I don't think i'm quite qualified to answer this but one thing I do want to ask is how fast do you usually bike? The speed definitely have a good determination to how much lighting you need. I'm kinda reluctant to say 110 lumen is sufficient if you bike really fast, but I'm pretty sure someone else can give you a better answer.
I have a bit of climbing, and get caught at most of the lights so I only average around 16mph.


Quote:
Originally Posted by doctor j View Post
In response to the title, I run 3 Planet Bike Superflash tail lights. One is on the seat post, one is on left seat stay, and the other is on the back of the seat bag. Typically, cars give me wide berth after dark. On the front, I have a MagicShine 900 on the bar, a Cygolite Expilion 250 on the helmet, and a little Cateye blinky on the bar (which is probably washed out by the MagicShine). So far, so good. I've had several comments about how visible I am, coming or going.
Thanks, I was thinking of a similar setup. Good to know I'm on the right track

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidad View Post
The Planet bike taillights are good at night, but in dimdaylight conditions I would look into the Dinotte 140. I have friends who have them and they are brighter han a cars brake lights and easy to see in the day time.
A good quality flashlight shold be good on the front.
I did look at that one online yesterday, I just don't know if I can justify spending that much on a tail light only at this point. I'm on the fence. I was hoping to cut it off at $150 total for lighting, that would definitely put me over!
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Old 01-26-11, 12:48 AM   #10
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I did look at that one online yesterday, I just don't know if I can justify spending that much on a tail light only at this point. I'm on the fence. I was hoping to cut it off at $150 total for lighting, that would definitely put me over!

I understand, but this is worth the money. I hate to put it this way, but what is your backside worth?
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Old 01-26-11, 01:39 AM   #11
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Given that you're in heavy traffic with many intersections, consider some dedicated side lighting too. Amazon.com has the Fibre Flare in yellow, and there's also the Bikebrightz from bikebrightz.com. I have one of each, and they're both OK, with the Fibre Flare being better but also more expensive and more obvious to thieves. In either case, try not to expose them to direct tire spray... under the top tube or on the seat tube are good locations. Both take AAA's, so you can run rechargeables and keep the operating cost down.

I also like tires with reflective sidewalls, and reflective legbands. Both of them give the viewer good visual cues as to what you are (a cyclist, and a human) if they have their headlights on so there's some light to reflect back. You can also get a neon-lime reflective vest from HarborFreight.com for only $5, which you can put on over anything.

Oh, and I can vouch for the DiNotte 140 being worth the money. If you're riding into the rising or setting sun, there's no such thing as overkill, and one collision will make a DiNotte look like pocket change anyway, so talk yourself into it if possible

For extra lights, a couple companies market AAA-powered bar-tip lights, here's Trek's take on them: http://bontrager.com/model/06988 They suck down batteries quickly, so swap freshly-charged AAAs into them weekly. But they do their job, check this out:

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Old 01-26-11, 07:45 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by shmeeg View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone. I checked around the bike shops in my area and actually went with a NR MiNewt.250 for the handlebars and will keep shopping for helmet mount/body lighting. I would like some more blinking action, specifically for the late afternoon when I am riding into the sunset and I imagine it's harder to see me.
For the rear, aside from that already mentioned, consider the WF-501B solution. As is, it makes for a bright tail light with good runtime - I think only the Dinotte is brighter. To make it blink, get the drop in module.

There are several threads here with mounting ideas and beamshot comparisons.
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