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Old 01-22-12, 10:02 PM   #1
amgarcia 
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Sub-$100 headlight for city riding

I'm looking for a sub-$100 headlight. Bang for my buck is what I want, but I'd also like the option of trying to mount it lower using the Paul Gino mount, so it has to fit there. I was originally looking at flashlights, but using the mounting options made me uncomfortable. I don't want a light moving around while I ride.

I'm currently looking at the following:

Cygolite Expilion 350

NiteRider MiNewt.350 Cordless

Any suggestions on these? I like that they're both USB-chargeable, since I'll be on the computer (or near one) at school quite often.
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Old 01-22-12, 10:24 PM   #2
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The MiNewt 600 cordless is popular. It's $108 at Amazon. The mounting options for torches on bars is not a problem; I've tries several and the surprisingly, the $2 U shaped piece of rubber is the best mount. I have a bar extender. Poke around the other threads and the under $50 thread. If you can find a solid mount, the Shiningbeam S-Mini is an excellent light. And it uses off the shelf 18650 batteries. I've never thought about mounting a torch lower. It might be interesting to try. I am an advocate of two light sources: one on the bars, one on the helmet.

YMMV
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Old 01-22-12, 11:08 PM   #3
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If you can find a solid mount, the Shiningbeam S-Mini is an excellent light. And it uses off the shelf 18650 batteries.
Off the shelf batteries are a negative for me. How much could I get rechargeables and a charger for?
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Old 01-22-12, 11:17 PM   #4
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I like the MagicShine MJ808. A lot brighter than either the Cygolite or Niterider for the same price. Can't recharge on USB though.

http://www.geomangear.com/index.php?...roducts_id=295
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Old 01-22-12, 11:22 PM   #5
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I like the MagicShine MJ808. A lot brighter than either the Cygolite or Niterider for the same price. Can't recharge on USB though.
The separate battery pack is a HUGE negative for me. Seems harder to detach for quick runs in buildings on campus, and it would be near impossible to attach it to my fork. I'm hoping for a self-contained solution.
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Old 01-22-12, 11:22 PM   #6
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+1 on the MagicShine or a quality clone. They do well and last for hours on a full charge.
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Old 01-23-12, 12:02 AM   #7
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I have the Cygolite Expilion 350, actually 2 of them. The Expilion is well made, relatively small, light, has excellent mount. The light is more than adequate for commuting. It also has a removable battery and you can buy a spare one from Cygolite.

The reason I got 2 is I am a believer in having backups... if one conks out I still have another to fall back to. Bonus is I mostly use them in medium mode which means longer run times. I have been getting around 4 hours run time at medium before the low battery warning indicator starts flashing. Admittedly this is shorter than the advertised 6 hours at medium but I have been using the lights in sub zero (celcius) conditions.

Here is an image of the 2 Expilions at medium mode (the 3rd brightest out of 4 steady modes) compared to the light produced by a streetcar:

Last edited by cyclocommuter; 01-23-12 at 12:09 AM.
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Old 01-23-12, 12:42 AM   #8
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The MiNewt 600 cordless is popular. It's $108 at Amazon...
+1 on the MiNewt 600. I "always" ride with it now on strobe mode. The other week, I had a motorcyclist stop me wanting to know about it. He said he could see it a quarter mile away. It is said to have half the power of an automobile headlight.
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Old 01-23-12, 04:50 AM   #9
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Off the shelf batteries are a negative for me. How much could I get rechargeables and a charger for?
Flames are $10 and I've been using this $7 charger without any problems. It's easy enough to carry spare batteries and have very long run times as long as you can stop to replace the battery.
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Old 01-23-12, 05:37 AM   #10
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I am surprised they don't sell red lens filters for use as a brake light. A flashing red strobe that you could see 1/4 mile away? Awesome.
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Old 01-23-12, 09:46 AM   #11
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Flames are $10 and I've been using this $7 charger without any problems. It's easy enough to carry spare batteries and have very long run times as long as you can stop to replace the battery.
Well, how do you attach your light for quick removal? I heard the Two Fish holder moves around while riding.
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Old 01-23-12, 10:09 AM   #12
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Well, how do you attach your light for quick removal? I heard the Two Fish holder moves around while riding.
I use two of these to hold my 18650 lights: http://www.dealextreme.com/p/univers...cle-mount-8274

The light I bought from dealextreme only lasted a few months, but these are still holding up years later.

And to make it easier with two lights, I currently have them mounted on one of these: http://www.minourausa.com/english/ac.../sg300s-e.html

I also use the $7 charger a1 posted, but the dealextreme batteries eventually died. I bought some 2400mah batteries from Solarforce and I've never had to worry about them.

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Old 01-23-12, 09:56 PM   #13
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I use two of these to hold my 18650 lights: http://www.dealextreme.com/p/univers...cle-mount-8274

The light I bought from dealextreme only lasted a few months, but these are still holding up years later.

And to make it easier with two lights, I currently have them mounted on one of these: http://www.minourausa.com/english/ac.../sg300s-e.html

I also use the $7 charger a1 posted, but the dealextreme batteries eventually died. I bought some 2400mah batteries from Solarforce and I've never had to worry about them.
Those mounts are interesting. I'd like to see some more options, maybe something where the entire mount comes off quickly.
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Old 01-23-12, 10:22 PM   #14
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I am surprised they don't sell red lens filters for use as a brake light. A flashing red strobe that you could see 1/4 mile away? Awesome.
That would be one of these.

http://store.dinottelighting.com/din...-mount-p5.aspx

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Old 01-23-12, 10:45 PM   #15
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Those mounts are interesting. I'd like to see some more options, maybe something where the entire mount comes off quickly.

Here are some pics o my seteup. I highly recommend this bar extender. Get two and you can put whatever bar you want from the hardware store on it.

I'm not sure if the S-Mini is too narrow for the univeral U mount. I'm at work; bike is at home. The twofish on the bar is wobbly. It's a bit wobbly on the helmet but since my riding position changes as I ride, I'm not too concerned.
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Old 01-23-12, 10:49 PM   #16
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I've started to strongly lean to the Niterider Minewtt 600 Cordless. Any votes for or against?
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Old 01-24-12, 12:57 PM   #17
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I've started to strongly lean to the Niterider Minewtt 600 Cordless. Any votes for or against?
Check the reviews on Amazon, etc. Some folks seem to have had problems with the mounts... also the battery is not user replaceable.
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Old 01-24-12, 02:51 PM   #18
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I have been commuting in the dark (20 miles round trip) with the Light & Motion Urban 300 five months. Bright, internal battery, decent run time for its size, compact, durable, water resistant, USB charging, great customer service. The 300 runs around $120 which I know is slightly above your limit. It's very bright for only having a 300 lumen rating, I guess the scientifically test the actual lumen output from their lights AND publishing them, might account for the actual lower rating. Their site has some cool beam tests.
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Old 01-24-12, 05:49 PM   #19
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FYI, an 18650 is only very marginally "off the shelf"; I've never seen a brick-and-mortar store with one. That being said, they're readily available online, and there are a number of different battery chemistries to choose from depending on application. The Lezyne Power Drive and Super Drive lights, while they come with their own self-contained batteries, are field-replaceable. There's a thread somewhere where someone contacted one of the Lezyne engineers, who said that it is possible to get more than the advertised runtime by swapping for a higher quality battery.

http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.asp?Item=100069085

Any owners who can chime in on this or the Power Drive (its little brother)?
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Old 01-24-12, 07:25 PM   #20
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I got the new CygoLite Expilion 400, works great. $104.36
And like said above, the mount is fantastic.

http://www.amazon.com/CygoLite-Expil...7454618&sr=8-1

Last edited by OKIE_55; 01-24-12 at 07:28 PM. Reason: add info
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Old 01-24-12, 11:06 PM   #21
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That would be one of these.

http://store.dinottelighting.com/din...-mount-p5.aspx

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Nice!
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Old 01-25-12, 08:30 AM   #22
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The best bang for your buck would be a lightweight LED flashlight powered by a 18650 battery. For less than $100, you could buy two flashlights (one for your bars, one for you helmet), a couple Two-Fish lockblock mounts, a battery charger and several 18650 batteries. If you don't mind spending a little more, the Lezyne Super Drive is a very bright, self-contained light and can be bought on-line for about $100. It also runs on 18650 batteries, and you could extend your run times significantly by buying a charger and some spare batteries.
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Old 01-25-12, 05:10 PM   #23
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upvote for what tarwheel wrote! I've got about 6 18650s that I bought from DX, numbered (magic marker on scotch tape on the outside) that I keep in rotation to use with my 2 LED flashlights from DX.

Regarding the charger, I always get nervous about the cheapo $5-10 chargers for lithium batteries, so about a year ago, I went out and bought a REALLY nice, microprocessor-controlled, high-end charger for my 18650s: the Pila
http://blackforce.stores.yahoo.net/bach.html
(no financial interest, just a satisfied customer)
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Old 01-29-12, 11:24 AM   #24
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The best bang for your buck would be a lightweight LED flashlight powered by a 18650 battery. For less than $100, you could buy two flashlights (one for your bars, one for you helmet), a couple Two-Fish lockblock mounts, a battery charger and several 18650 batteries. If you don't mind spending a little more, the Lezyne Super Drive is a very bright, self-contained light and can be bought on-line for about $100. It also runs on 18650 batteries, and you could extend your run times significantly by buying a charger and some spare batteries.
tarwheel, I am catching on to that real quick! ..First I was running the real cheapos..$1.50 cheapo Power Beams.. Then I happened to get some 5W 270lu flashlights, for around $4 each..Wow!!! Not only do they light up, they even look cool too. Moving ahead, I am saying if measly little 270lum flashlight can do this good, I ordered a 1300 lum flashlight powered by one 18650 battery. It hasn't arrived yet.But, judging what a 270lum $4.00 light can do, a $25 1300lum should be even better.. Plus, I plan on running double too. All my bikes are road bikes. No funny looking bags, panniers and stuff, so my lights got to look cool like the bike and me...
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Old 01-29-12, 12:29 PM   #25
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Um, if that lumen rating is accurate (doubtful) off of a single cell, you'll have very little run time...
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