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Old 04-10-12, 10:45 AM   #1
SanChoe
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Need help choosing headlight on $250-$300 budget.

Building up a new car-replacement ride. I was totally unaware how much I could spend on a good bike light!

Will be doing a daily commute in the pitch dark, often in heavy rain, with little or no street lighting. This will be probably the most important component of the rig; needless to say I don't want to muck it up. I'm a little overwhelmed with the options, and I need it by Sunday.

I've looked over the MTBR 2012 light shoot-out, which was informative, but I figure I'd troll the community for recommendations.

Important:
- Brightness.
- A wide, even beam with minimal 'bright spot'.
- Excellent waterproofing.

Not important:
- Shock resistance.
- Battery life.
- Weight.
- Happy to buy used.

Like I said, I can afford around $300. Will gladly do the footwork looking for deals on more expensive suggestions.

Any help would be awesome. I don't like this feeling of shooting in the dark on something so critical :X


Edit: Things I've stumbled on that look good:
Dinotte X-ML 3
MagicShine MJ-880

Last edited by SanChoe; 04-10-12 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 04-10-12, 11:48 AM   #2
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I'll not suggest any specific light but will suggest considering running two lights for redundancy. Some will put one the bars and have a helmet mounted light.
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Old 04-10-12, 12:02 PM   #3
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a Shimano Dyno Hub and wired LED or Halogen lights wont have a battery life problem.

build around a Sturmey archer dynamo Hub drum brake combo
and you add 1 all weather brake
Alfine dyno-hub is center lock so there is the Disc option.

More $ .. German Schmidt Hub, (lower Watts of electrical resistance, pedaling)
and eDelux LED headlight, B&M taillight.

[ I run my Lights Low on the bike , since I break out the Cycle Rain Cape
when it lets loose .. and the cape won't drape over the lights.]

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-10-12 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 04-10-12, 12:35 PM   #4
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I'll not suggest any specific light but will suggest considering running two lights for redundancy. Some will put one the bars and have a helmet mounted light.
I've got a cheap headlamp I'll be carrying with me, good suggestion.


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Alfine dyno-hub is center lock so there is the Disc option.
Hummm. This will be my first set of discs. Doesn't look like these are compatible with Avid BB5's. Down the road when I'm savvy with discs I'll do this as an upgrade. Seems like a very smart option.
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Old 04-10-12, 01:07 PM   #5
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Edit: Things I've stumbled on that look good:
Dinotte X-ML 3
MagicShine MJ-880
IMO, I don't think you can go wrong with that MagicShine, or the Dinotte either. Just make sure you back them up was some good rear lights too. Also, something on the helmet would help out even more.

Other than that, you go to go..
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Old 04-10-12, 01:52 PM   #6
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I'd take a serious look at one of the newer MagicShines, and run a flashlight as a backup. I don't think reviews from more than a year or so ago are valid anymore, they've made HUGE changes in their design lately and the newer ones are much more durable.

That said, I have a nearly 3 year old MagicShine 900 and the only thing that's failed on it for me is the extension cable. The original battery was still working when I sent it back to GeoManGear for replacement, I also have an aftermarket 8 cell battery for it, both still run every day and runtime and brightness are good.

The new ones look great but I can't justify buying another light when my existing one works so well.
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Old 04-10-12, 02:06 PM   #7
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I'd take a serious look at one of the newer MagicShines, and run a flashlight as a backup.
Yea I gotta say from my research they look pretty darn good for the dollar. I think the MJ-880 might end up being the one.
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Old 04-10-12, 02:22 PM   #8
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I got the Cygolie Expilion 400, very bright for a compact unit. I got the Portland tail light at the same time, very bright.

http://www.amazon.com/Cygolite-Expil...4089144&sr=8-1

Last edited by OKIE_55; 04-10-12 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 04-10-12, 02:51 PM   #9
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I got the Cygolie Expilion 400
Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm looking for something brighter than that.
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Old 04-10-12, 04:34 PM   #10
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Two of these and 4 batteries and charger. http://www.intl-outdoor.com/shadow-6...ght-p-132.html
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Old 04-10-12, 04:42 PM   #11
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For ideas, check these out.

http://reviews.mtbr.com/2012-bike-lights-shootout
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Old 04-10-12, 05:48 PM   #12
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I am please with my Gemini Olympia. Love the intuitive programming in all mode including strobe. The 6 cell claim 3.5 hours and I get 4 hours. The beam is wide with a touch of throw without a hotspot. Price is $250 for 4cell and $270 for six cell.

http://www.action-led-lights.com/col...gemini-olympia
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Old 04-10-12, 06:19 PM   #13
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Phillips Saferide? It may not be as powerful as some others mentioned, but it doesn't waste a bunch of what it puts out either.

And something to consider (which has been pointed out to me, but I have as yet to actually ride in these conditions at night) is that during fog, rain, or snow, a bright and powerful light on your helmet may very well hinder you as much as help. Something to do with the light being bounced back at you...
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Old 04-10-12, 06:24 PM   #14
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OP, you should just save yourself the trouble and go ahead and get the Dinotte XML3.

It's US made, with a 2 year warranty.

The 1200+ is very nice too, 90 bucks more, but with more output it is a little more future-proof.

This guy makes a fine headlight, but there may be a long wait due to supply/demand:

https://sites.google.com/site/designshinelighting/
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Old 04-10-12, 08:22 PM   #15
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...This guy makes a fine headlight, but there may be a long wait due to supply/demand:

https://sites.google.com/site/designshinelighting/
According to his blog, a batch is in assembly. http://www.designshinelighting.com/blog.php
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Old 04-10-12, 09:16 PM   #16
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I just replaced my old DiNotte 600L with a new DiNotte XML-3. It's plenty bright, but it has the same flaws as the old 600L:
Weak cables that will break
Batteries that will lose runtime as they age (normal for most batteries)
Doesn't have a "shaped beam" like B&M lights, it's strictly a floodlight

On the other hand, it's brighter than any dyno-powered light (I have a B&M Cyo IQ and SON hub also), and DiNotte has excellent customer service.

I also managed 3.5 years out of my old DiNotte lights before replacing them, and at $289 for the XML-3, it fits your budget... and there's no waiting list.
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Old 04-10-12, 09:55 PM   #17
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I was cautioned, as someone mentioned above, against getting too bright a light for rain riding.

While I was shopping around I called action led lights on a whim to ask some questions. That guy was fantastic. We talked about my needs and he recommended one of their clearance Gemini P-7s with upgraded XML LEDs and a horizontal beam spreader. This should provide as much light as I'll be able to use in the rain and excellent peripheral visibility (just what I was looking for).

His advice saved me from myself. I was shopping for much too powerful a light for my purposes (counterintuitively, there is such a thing). His son is also a night-commuting Portlander and this is precisely the setup he uses. Can't get a much better recommendation than that.

Thanks everyone for your help. I guess the best isn't best for everything
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Old 04-10-12, 10:39 PM   #18
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According to his blog, a batch is in assembly. http://www.designshinelighting.com/blog.php
Yes.... but sorry to say, completely pre-sold for build #2. Impossible to keep up with demand with a light like this. Cheers.
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Old 04-11-12, 07:37 AM   #19
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Quote:
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His advice saved me from myself. I was shopping for much too powerful a light for my purposes (counterintuitively, there is such a thing).
If there is, I haven't seen it yet. My light's only about 450 lumens, but at times I'd need more.

You don't HAVE to run on high all the time. I run at 50% most of the time, but occasionally I want more. Fog and rain are when I want the most light.

I've heard people saying that you shouldn't use high beams in fog, and in a car that's true, because high beam is not only brighter, it's aimed higher, so it splashes a lot of blinding light off the fog and right back at you.

This doesn't happen on a bike, you can turn the light all the way up then tweak the aim to minimize back scatter.
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Old 04-11-12, 08:28 AM   #20
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Exposure lights. I think they have a sale underway now. I have their Joystick model as a helmet light. I pair it with a Dinnotte 600L (commuter) or 200/AA (road). I like Exposure's helmet mount better than Dinotte's. Also, the Exposure lights are self-contained, rather than the external battery Dinotte uses (although that may cause maintenance problems down the road). Very happy with my experience with both the Dinotte and Exposure products and companies.
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Old 04-11-12, 09:43 AM   #21
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I checked out that designshinelighting, and IMO, they are HOT!!

They can be mounted on the helmet too, and they are pushing a true 1300 lums..



That makes my opinion of running big lums not only up front but on the helmet too, very valid..

My set up of 1600 socalled lums forward on the helmet, and 300 socalled lums rearweard, and this is just on the helmet
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Old 04-11-12, 09:50 AM   #22
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I have really enjoyed my NiteRider MiNewt 600. Got it on sale for $120. I can't imagine anyone would need more than two, let alone one (I commute TO work in the dark).

Comes with helmet mount and bar mount.
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Old 04-15-12, 01:01 AM   #23
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At Costco today, I saw a 3-pack of CREE LED flashlights (nominally 200 lumin each). I thought about buying them but they ran on AAAs. Still, very impressive at the price point. Throw in some Two Fish mounts and you've got a decent setup for $60!

$240 buys a lot of AAAs.
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Old 04-17-12, 07:22 AM   #24
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Amoeba - the simplest "light" form



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Old 04-21-12, 10:04 AM   #25
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I have really enjoyed my NiteRider MiNewt 600.
I have used the MiNewt through this winter for commuting on side streets that are completely dark. It is bright and reliable even in the rain.

Here are a few things I learned from using it:
  • The light charges from a USB port. I can easily ride with it in the morning, charge it while at work, and use it for the return trip.
  • I keep it on the bicycle during the day with a flashing mode so cars can see me better.
  • I keep next to it a PDW 1W LED Cosmic Dreadnought 110 Headlight. This is for redundancy. I also use it in flashing mode at night next to the steady light from the MiNewt.
  • The battery life of brightest light is 1.5 hours, before it starts dimming.
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