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  1. #1
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    dinotte 300r vs "red zone 4"?

    the reigning champion in self-contained rear-lights, the dinotte 300r

    has anyone done a side-by-side with the niteflux red zone 4?

    300r red zone 4
    $200 $100
    135g 75g
    4-12 hours 8-100+ hours
    a few settings a lot of settings
    li-ion li-ion
    usb charge usb charge

    i wouldn't expect the RZ4 to be as bright as the 300r, but from what i can find the RZ4 may be better for city riding while the 300r may still be the king of the open road.

    another small detail that favours the RZ4 is the smooth finish, which should shed crud better than the 300r's ridged finish over the lenses.

    i'm kind of thinking that the RZ4 would be hard to beat, paired with a hotshot or moon shield/serfas TL-60 (as one reviewer called it, the ***** and hand grenade approach). but i can only tell so much without having the RZ4 or the 300r in front of me.
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  2. #2
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Actual weight for my 300R with a mount:



    My RZ4 is 101 grams including the mounting strap and neoprene block.

    I didn't own them both at the same time, but my feeling would be that the DiNotte 300R would show better from long range in daylight than the RZ4, but the DiNotte 140 would probably trump them both if aimed level (it has stronger centerline intensity than the 300R).

    When riding on the highway with both the RZ4 and the Hotshot at full flashing output, if I look in my helmet mirror, it's the Hotshot's flash pattern that I see coming back to me from distant reflective signs, not the RZ4 despite its higher lumen output. What the RZ4 does spectacularly is to create a big "blast zone" of red right behind the bike, since it's on my trunk bag. If I put it on the back of my helmet, it would be illuminating the back of my hi-vis jacket in a similar fashion, which would be a big visibility boost if riding in heavy urban traffic.

  3. #3
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    @mech - so you used to have a 300r, now you have a DZ4. anything you miss about not having the 300r? are you favouring the pairing of an RZ4 with a hotshot (eg hand-grenade & *****)?

    does the RZ4 induce the same change of motorist behaviour that i often hear mentioned with a 300r?

    from what i can tell, the RZ4 has nearly even light intensity from about 0-90 off-axis, horizontal and vertical... what i can't find, is what is that luminous intensity...? would be great if you could compare that brightness to the "beam" of a more common light.

    mounted on a seat-post, does the RZ4 cast a distinct shadow on the ground? for about how far? under street lighting?

    i keep hearing how great the RZ4 is... i'm just waiting for someone who's had a 300r to tell me it's really great and worth every penny
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  4. #4
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    and of course, when mechBgon personally endorses a light, that's worth more to me than a dozen other personal endorsements

    that said, i also like to hear anything mechBgon says about lights, not just endorsements.
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  5. #5
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    does the RZ4 induce the same change of motorist behaviour that i often hear mentioned with a 300r?
    My usual benchmark is whether motorists on the divided highway are changing to the left lane as a precaution when they spot me, and from how far away:



    I haven't tried the RZ4 by itself yet, it's been teamed with the Hotshot. So I can't say for sure.

    from what i can tell, the RZ4 has nearly even light intensity from about 0-90 off-axis, horizontal and vertical... what i can't find, is what is that luminous intensity...? would be great if you could compare that brightness to the "beam" of a more common light.
    I think I can do that; I'll need to determine the camera settings used for my prior photos (still got the same camera) and then I can shoot a living-room wall photo you can compare to my prior ones (including a 300R and a 140R). As you can imagine, the light is spread over a very large area so the lux value (intensity per unit area) won't be that high.

  6. #6
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    looking forward to the "beam" shots.

    teamed with the hotshot, how does it do on the highway test (compared to, say, a 300r)?

    any other observations about its strengths and weaknesses?
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  7. #7
    Senior Member minisystem's Avatar
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    FWIW, I was riding behind a guy in daylight a month ago with a 300r on his seat post. Holy crap, it was BRIGHT!

  8. #8
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    On my after-work ride this evening, I took some movie footage, and also propped the bike up against the guardrail and viewed it from about 200 meters to get subjective impressions. I was running the Hotshot, the RedZone4, and the Bontrager Flare bar-tip lights, all in flashing modes. The sun was probably within 15 minutes of going down, and it was overcast and lightly sprinkling rain, so it wasn't super-bright out.

    Subjectively, the Hotshot showed up best of the three at 200 meters in these lighting conditions. Since my bar tips aim dead-level, the Bontrager Flare lights were aimed right at me and showed up surprisingly well (but warning, they run out of battery power quickly). The RZ4 was certainly visible, but from the direct rear I judged it the weakest at that distance.


    ^ Here's the movie footage, and in retrospect, I regret that I didn't put the RZ4 on my helmet so it's easier to discern which light is which, and I should've shut off the bar-tip lights since they're not the item of primary interest here. But anyway, some remarks on the video:

    1. the car overtaking me at about 30 seconds does the typical "Evasive maneuvers, Sulu!!" lane change even though I'm waaaaay over on the shoulder already. I see this a lot.

    2. just taking in the big picture, I think overtaking traffic has a very good chance of noticing me from a long distance so they can put their damn cell phone down for a minute and drive.

    3. note when I pull into the turn lane and stop in the median at about 1m 20sec. I'm facing directly broadside to the camera there, and it's the RZ4's quad-flash that's still showing up, from the side view, at about 1/2 mile range, even to my crummy 640x480 camera.

    any other observations about its strengths and weaknesses?
    I can remark that the clip is very stiff and strong. I have confidence it won't fall off my trunk bag's loop. The button requires a very strong push, I wish they would've made that a little easier... you're flexing the light's casing to actuate the switch underneath, and that casing is made of something resembling a flexible epoxy block.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    I dredged up my old 300R thread and found the manual camera settings, so here are beamshots.

    Right-click the ones you're interested in and open each one in a new browser tab, then switch from tab to tab for comparisons.

    Planet Bike BRT5

    NiteRider Cherry Bomb

    Planet Bike SuperFlash

    PDW Radbot 1000

    DiNotte 140 on HIGH

    DiNotte 300R on HIGH

    NiteFlux RedZone4 on HIGH (note that it puts out 60 lumens in steady HIGH as shown here, but 200 lumens in flashing HIGH)

    Cygolite Hotshot on MAX

    Nova BULL powered by a DiNotte Li-ion battery pack. This is a weatherproof emergency-vehicle mini-strobe, about 120 lumens for the red model, and runs well on 9.6-15 volts. It's not made for bikes, so mounting it required creativity.

    Ultrafire WF-501B flashlight with native red LED (does not have a flash mode).

    The photos were taken at f8.0, 3.2 seconds exposure, ISO 50, auto white balance. The lights were running in steady-burn mode to allow general intensity comparisons. Distance to the wall is about 6 meters.

    My opinion is that the Hotshot is currently the value winner, at about US$35 on Amazon.com, provided it is carefully aimed. Small, lightweight, cheap, fairly powerful, adjustable, and good runtimes + rechargable.

    I think the RZ4's best role is as a super-wide-angle light for use on a bag or helmet, where you can't aim it precisely. At night, it should have enough power for just about any scenario, but I don't think it has enough raw intensity to nail 'em to the wall in broad daylight at long range. For that, I'd go with the Hotshot, DiNotte 140 or 300R.

  10. #10
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    I dredged up my old 300R thread and found the manual camera settings, so here are beamshots.

    Right-click the ones you're interested in and open each one in a new browser tab, then switch from tab to tab for comparisons.

    Planet Bike BRT5

    NiteRider Cherry Bomb

    Planet Bike SuperFlash

    PDW Radbot 1000

    DiNotte 140 on HIGH

    DiNotte 300R on HIGH

    NiteFlux RedZone4 on HIGH

    Cygolite Hotshot on MAX

    Nova BULL powered by a DiNotte Li-ion battery pack. This is a weatherproof emergency-vehicle mini-strobe, about 120 lumens for the red model, and runs well on 9.6-15 volts. It's not made for bikes, so mounting it required creativity.

    Ultrafire WF-501B flashlight with native red LED (does not have a flash mode).

    The photos were taken at f8.0, 3.2 seconds exposure, ISO 50, auto white balance. The lights were running in steady-burn mode to allow general intensity comparisons. Distance to the wall is about 6 meters.

    My opinion is that the Hotshot is currently the value winner, at about US$35 on Amazon.com, provided it is carefully aimed. Small, lightweight, cheap, fairly powerful, adjustable, and good runtimes + rechargable.

    I think the RZ4's best role is as a super-wide-angle light for use on a bag or helmet, where you can't aim it precisely. At night, it should have enough power for just about any scenario, but I don't think it has enough raw intensity to nail 'em to the wall in broad daylight at long range. For that, I'd go with the Hotshot, DiNotte 140 or 300R.
    Yikes! If I had to drive on any divided highways like you do or in heavy downtown traffic I'd personally throw any
    'best value' ideas out the window and go for 'most effective' instead! Anything that will reduce risks under those circumstances is worth whatever it takes! IMO the Hotshot, DiNotte 140 or 300R you mentioned are really the only ones that are at all effective. The others I'd personally use only on bike paths.

    Thanks very much for the post and comparison.

  11. #11
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    @mech - thanks for the new pictures!

    now that's on steady/high, 1.2W, 60 lumens total output? i wonder how that compares to high/flash, 4W, 200 lumens total output.

    i wonder if something like increasing the shutter time by 3.33x (to 10.66 seconds) would give an accurate representation of what the brightness would look like on high/flash....? (assuming that the power, or at least lumen ratings, are accurate - i'm not sure if that math is that simple) TBH, it looks pretty weak there.

    i want to like it... i want to like it enough to spend some money on it... but... i dunno... the 300r is only twice the price but i ride mostly sub/urban areas. i don't remember the last time i rode out of the city on a high-speed rural road or highway. intellectually, i'm thinking that high-speed rural or highway riding would justify the 300r (and it probably wouldn't hurt to pair it with a hotshot or similar), but the RZ4 (paired with a hotshot or shield/TL-60) should be more than enough for sub/urban riding... i'm also thinking the 300r really is too much for sub/urban riding (at night; but maybe it's just right for the day).

    if only i could walk into a local shop and check them out, side by side
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  12. #12
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    now that's on steady/high, 1.2W, 60 lumens total output? i wonder how that compares to high/flash, 4W, 200 lumens total output.
    That's a good observation, and a difficulty in portraying these lights with still photos. When it runs in flashing mode, it's putting out 3x the light in its flashes that it does in steady-burn. A video would work better to compare them, but I don't have the 300R anymore.

    Burton, ironically I feel far safer on the shoulder of that 60mph highway than I do amidst the iPod zombies and other MUP-dwellers I've ridden up and down Highway 195 since the '80s, and back then I was typically using reflectors and a dynamo headlight/taillight combo with a steady 0.6W incandescent taillight. I must've been a last-second discovery to many motorists, particularly when there were lines of cars to drown out my little lights and reflectors, but with a shoulder ranging from 5 to 10 feet wide, I was still out of harm's way (I do recall one close shave where someone was driving on the shoulder to let a line of cars pass... saw them coming in my helmet mirror and pulled off the shoulder onto the gravel. Thank you, guardian angels ).

    For me, the serious danger points on the highway are the first few exit ramps/lanes as I leave the city, because they get a lot of use and I have to watch for a gap in traffic sometimes. This is where the over-the-top daytime-visible lights are very valuable for giving lots of advance notice to overtaking traffic so they have time to assess the situation.

  13. #13
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    again, i'm just looking at numbers... it seems like the RZ4 (high/flashing) is comparable in intensity (not lumens) to a weak blinky, but a weak blinky that's always pointed in the right direction. is that a fair assessment?

    visible ≠ conspicuous

    daylight visible ≠daylight conspicuous

    if i'm going to spend money on a light, i just want to know that it's going to add to my conspicuity, and under what circumstances. i'm starting to get the impression that the RZ4 is "daylight visible" and "night-time conspicuous" but not quite "daylight conspicuous". at the same time, i'm thinking the 300r is "daylight conspicuous" and just plain obscene for sub/urban riding at night. if anyone (mech or anyone else) can comment on that, based on experience with the 300r, RZ4, or anything else worth mentioning...

    of course, by the same assessment, lights like the PBSF-turbo, radbot-1000, etc are just on the edge of providing daytime conspicuity, IF they're aimed properly (helmet mount = fail) and IF the target is within that cone of concentrated light (not a straight road = fail). if those conditions aren't met, the results range from "daylight visible" to "daylight useless".
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  14. #14
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Well, given that the DiNotte 140 and Hotshot both easily exceed the 300R in centerline intensity, the 300R is not that "obscene" for use in traffic at night. It's a decent all-around light, a bit large and klunky, but lighter in weight than a 140 and with simpler bike-to-bike portability. If you value the super-wide beam and want daytime conspicuity at long range for high-speed traffic, then 300R (or 140 if you don't need self-contained). On the spectrum from ***** to hand grenade, the 300R is the shotgun.

    Regarding the narrow-beam lights, if you do the math, a 10 beam covers an 86-meter wide cone at 500 meters, if I did my trigonometry right. Unless the aircraft is coming in on a very steep landing approach, or the submarine is surfacing really fast, it's going to cover most of the likely approach scenarios (on the highways I'm riding, anyway). Then again, helicopters... There is also the sad reality that many bikes passing through our LBS have their taillights aimed in irrational directions, mainly downward, so it's up to the owner to make sure their narrow-beam lights are being used to full effect.

    if those conditions aren't met, the results range from "daylight visible" to "daylight useless".
    True. I overtook one of the LBS owners on his morning road ride, and didn't notice his PBSF Turbo until I was within speaking distance. He had it clipped to his jersey pocket, so it was aiming just wherever. I told him he might as well leave it at home.

  15. #15
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    I've been test driving a pair of 12V 3W red tail-lights for the past couple weeks. I'm guessing about a 15 degree spread, but that pretty much covers anything immediately behind me. Started with one reverse mounted on the helmet and when cars started to crossover completely to the next lane to pass me - I kinda got the message that it might be too bright to be mounted that high. So mounted a pair behind the seat aimed at a spot on the asphalt about 20 feet behind the bike. The viewed light output is still more visible than anything else I've seen at any distance, but at night in traffic they come into their own - the entire lane behind me is painted with an intense red light for a distance of about 30 feet behind the bike. I've never felt so un-invisible!

  16. #16
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    i just read through this lengthy thread on CPF (where mech's name was mentioned) and put in an order for a RZ4.

    there's a strong temptation to also order a WZ5, but between niteflux's free shipping and NZ's idiotic methods of assessing and charging import duties, i'll try out the RZ4 first.
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  17. #17
    Randomhead
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    you broke their database

  18. #18
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Two things:

    1. I think that a sticky should be created for those beam shots that mechbgon put up (just not this entire thread). That way he can continue to update it as early adopter that he his acquires new products.

    2. That Ultrafire with the native red LED? Where might I get my hands on one? I have an idea on how to mount a flashlight pointing back, but have heard that using a red filter on a white emitter cuts down on the amount of usable light??
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
    Community guidelines

  19. #19
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    CPF is down a lot. They don't want you to talk about any lights expect those sold by their supporters. I much prefer budgetlightforum.com.
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

  20. #20
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    That Ultrafire with the native red LED? Where might I get my hands on one?
    Here you go: http://www.dealextreme.com/p/ultrafi...2-cr123a-20333 It's the most intense red light I've ever had. If it were aimed precisely, it could be good to have in dense fog.

    I have an idea on how to mount a flashlight pointing back, but have heard that using a red filter on a white emitter cuts down on the amount of usable light??
    It does, especially for an LED flashlight (as opposed to incandescent). I have a red filter for my Fenix L2D, and on Turbo it puts out about as much red light as a Planet Bike SuperFlash. If I were trying to read maps in a dark tent in the woods, then it would probably be awesome, of course

  21. #21
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    Here you go: http://www.dealextreme.com/p/ultrafi...2-cr123a-20333 It's the most intense red light I've ever had. If it were aimed precisely, it could be good to have in dense fog.
    Lemme bounce my idea off of you (or anyone else who wants to chime in)- what are your thoughts on using a Twofish (lock, bike, or cycle?) block to attach the light to this thing? And would you put that down near the drop out or up on the high side of the seat stay? I'm leaning towards the lower position, since it should be visible no matter what I have on the rack, while up high it could be (partially) blocked by a trunk or pannier.

    And apologies for the blatant hijacking...
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
    Community guidelines

  22. #22
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Lemme bounce my idea off of you (or anyone else who wants to chime in)- what are your thoughts on using a Twofish (lock, bike, or cycle?) block to attach the light to this thing? And would you put that down near the drop out or up on the high side of the seat stay? I'm leaning towards the lower position, since it should be visible no matter what I have on the rack, while up high it could be (partially) blocked by a trunk or pannier.
    I see a couple benefits to the low position, and one of them is that if someone pulls up right behind you in a turn lane or something, they won't be staring into a total laser-cannon light, it'll be down low enough to avoid blasting them at point-blank range.

    To attach the light to that cylindrical thing, I'm thinking you might be better off getting a block of wood and making your own pillow block. Then you can really cinch it down so the light doesn't get bumped off-target (or work its way off the end of the aluminum tube and get lost). You'd just need wood, some spade bits, a drill, and some screws. At that rate you might even be able to skip the aluminum mounting tube entirely.

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