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Old 08-21-11, 12:49 PM   #26
a1penguin
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I have a maybe 500 lumens floody P-7 on the bars and a throwy 250 lumens Q5 on the helmet. Cheap Chinese flahslights so that I don't mind if they don't last, get dropped or water ruins them. Li-Ion 18650 rechargeable batteries. Spare battery in the seat bag. Two PBSF for the rear. I have a small frame bike and flashlights take up less space. I don't want a large clunky battery bag with *wires*. I'm adding a Knog Beetle/Frog on the front fork to have some flasher in front to help improve distinguishing me from four wheel vehicles. I'm not sure how I'll like the flashing. If I'm riding at night, I care more about not crashing or getting hit than I am about the additional weight. My $100 investment has served me well.
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Old 08-21-11, 07:38 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post

However, my experience is such that I have come to realize that powerful lights actually make a cyclist less safe in very dark areas because the peripheral area of darkness cannot be seen at all. This means that the contrast created by running lights on high power all the time can leave a cyclist more susceptible to dangers or conditions emerging from darkened areas. Of course, as long as the cyclist uses a matching high-power helmet light this aspect of night riding is minimized.
Less safe is subjective. Just because the rider might be more vulnerable to peripheral issues does not mean they are less safe on the whole.

In other words, there's something to be said for strong lights that cast brightly and thoroughly down the road. By illuminating items in front of the bike.....that certainly lends itself to awareness of hazards in the path you are riding. And, unlike things from the side, your forward moving path does not deviate. You are always riding into something ahead of you and therefore it makes sense to see what might be coming up as clearly as possible. Having sufficient time to react to potholes or other potential road hazards is greatly enhanced by creating enough definition to identify them as such from longer distances.

Also, I think helmet lights are only partially beneficial for peripheral issues. They can certainly detect them more readily than an ostensibly forward aiming headlight, but they are limited by the relative speed of the user's neck! You can only turn side to side just so fast (and eyes that follow accordingly), and when doing so it's easy to lose focus on what's directly forward (in a sense the front then becomes the ironic "periphery") . That doesn't stop me from doing so as I do have a powerful headlamp, but I'm realistic about whether it can keep me safe from side related issues as each turn of the wheel goes by. Murphy's Law dictates at some point that one can fully expect a rabbit, for example, to blast in from the opposite side of where you turned the headlamp last! In that regard, it makes sense on rural highways to focus more frequent turns of the head to the right side of the road....as one is closer to that side when riding.

There may be an ideal balance, but I think it's going to vary due to riding conditions, road speed, the rider's eyesight in general, and the random nature of anything that might pose a danger. Regardless, I think there's a trade off.....whether lighting up brightly and seeing more definitively, or dialing down to see better at night overall. And since there are arguments both ways about which is better for seeing, the tiebreaker goes to being seen.....and the brighter lights win.
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Old 08-22-11, 11:51 PM   #28
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Ok, get a Shiningbeam S-Mini, an 18650 cell, a lockblock, and a Cygolite Hotshot. Total weight on bike: about 160 grams. On Medium, the S-Mini will do at least 8 hours or more on one 18650, and you can carry spares at 45 grams apiece if you want. The Hotshot is a monster. Bonus: the lights can be shoved in your pocket if you have to park outside.
These two lights seem to be without peer in terms of lumens per ounce. I certainly thank you for pointing them out to me. While maybe not ultimate, this combo seems way more than enough for serious night rides.
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Old 08-23-11, 01:41 AM   #29
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I'm not familiar with the beam from an EOS but if you added a flashlight with some throw - instead of another expensive all purpose light - you may find that the Dinotte 200 is all the "general light" you need
I've thought of doing just that. The Fenix LD20 some time ago was the rage, is it still working well as compared to something more recent. I would plan on using it on my helmet to replace a priceton tec EOS.
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Old 08-23-11, 09:14 AM   #30
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Less safe is subjective. Just because the rider might be more vulnerable to peripheral issues does not mean they are less safe on the whole.
........... seeing more definitively, or dialing down to see better at night overall. And since there are arguments both ways about which is better for seeing, the tiebreaker goes to being seen.....and the brighter lights win.
Well - I agree, that there is a flaw in my conclusion - as to claiming that running a dimmer light can or is safer than running bright lights all the time.

However, I am basing my comments and arguing for dialing down really bright lights based on my actual riding experience. My riding experience, which is longer all night rides on rural roads are fatiguing. And it seems to me - that bright lights can actually cause a type of eye strain by simply creating the harshly lighted, contrasting view scape. This is most often found on roads with light colored pavement.

I will continue to believe that there is benefit to maintaining my night vision during these rides. Whether or not it is actually safer to do so -I don't know.
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Old 08-23-11, 12:49 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
Well - I agree, that there is a flaw in my conclusion - as to claiming that running a dimmer light can or is safer than running bright lights all the time.

However, I am basing my comments and arguing for dialing down really bright lights based on my actual riding experience. My riding experience, which is longer all night rides on rural roads are fatiguing. And it seems to me - that bright lights can actually cause a type of eye strain by simply creating the harshly lighted, contrasting view scape. This is most often found on roads with light colored pavement.

I will continue to believe that there is benefit to maintaining my night vision during these rides. Whether or not it is actually safer to do so -I don't know.
I would agree with your clarified assessment. Though I would say I think my eyes have adapted to how bright the lights are and I no longer notice any eye strain. When I first transitioned from yellow incandescent to a much higher lumen LED I almost gave up on it.....I felt it was too bright and my eyes were reacting negatively. But I had a lot invested so I tried a couple of things:

- Dimming down until I got used to it. Fortunately there are 3 different levels on my light and so I just gradually worked my way up to high.

- Wearing yellow lens sunglasses. Not the softer amber kind....I mean bright yellow. It provided a balance between cutting some of the glare from the road reflection and still having enough light for the clarity needed to see definition.

Between the two I was able to get to the point where I now ride on high....and can't imagine dimming down again. I no longer wear the yellow lenses, but I do use clear....primarily for flying bugs at night but I notice it also takes a bit of the edge off of the brightness.

Have I reached this stage at the expense of reduced night vision? I would think so. But without belaboring the arguments from my previous reply, I would add one other thing to a rationale for using bright lights.....how well they illuminate things (esp. from greater distances) that might have something reflective on them. For example......riders or joggers with reflective jackets, the reflectors of a parked car, or a pertinent street sign.
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Old 08-23-11, 01:43 PM   #32
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"Ultimate" by definition is highly dependent on usage. What might be optimal in the woods can be different than for the street. For instance, my helmet mounted 18650 flash is great for peeking around bends in the woods or on MUPs, but I have little use for it on typical city streets (less well lit rural ones would be different); conversely I have little to no need for tail lights in the woods/on MUPs, but run 2-3 of them on the street between the trail and home.

There are other factors such as riding into the sun versus with it at your back - and wildlife. One long, flat, wooded. fast MUP section I ride is prone to opossums darting about. If you crank the lights up to 11, you can see them better, but with a bright helmet light you have to keep your head down. If you dont, it can stun the bats and they end up crashing into you which is a bit creepy.
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