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  1. #1
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    Cheap, low-maintenance lights?

    Since I bought a bike for my girlfriend, I've been loaning her my (expensive) lights. I'd like to get her a set of lights of her own. The tail light is easy, it'll be a PB SF, PDW Danger Zone, or PDW Radbot. They all have good runtime and decent performance.

    So, I need the equivalent features in a headlight. I've owned a few PB Blaze headlights, and they always quit working. AA or AAA battery use is a requirement. It needs to be less than $50. It can be a "be seen" light, as she's really only doing neighborhood riding, and we have street lights.

    Suggestions?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    Not from me as I value my life and so "$50 be seen lights" never rate in my view. That same applies to the view that they are local "well lit neighbourhood roads" so better lights are not needed. The best light I have ever come across is the sun and that does not seem to help much on local neighbourhood roads. My last "I didn't bother to look" was on a local street in daylight ...



    So for me, nothing short of decent quality lights all the time, such as DiNotte 400L or a Busch & Mueller Lumotec ICQ Senso. These may be a bit over the top but I would be considering a decent set of 200 lumen torches at least as one example.

    Andrew
    Last edited by Aushiker; 05-23-12 at 03:09 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post
    Since I bought a bike for my girlfriend, I've been loaning her my (expensive) lights. I'd like to get her a set of lights of her own. The tail light is easy, it'll be a PB SF, PDW Danger Zone, or PDW Radbot. They all have good runtime and decent performance.
    I have to question the "good runtime" on the latter two. My Radbots had dismal runtimes, and the Danger Zone I tested ran down in about 14-15 hours. The 1/2-watt SuperFlash does have good runtime.

    In the headlight department, I'd like to suggest a 2AA LED flashlight, but the reality is they go through batteries quickly because they're designed for high power. That doesn't jive with the "low-maintenance" goal. A dynamo hub and dyno-driven headlight would be perfect, but you'll be looking at $50ish for a B&M Lyt with a standlight, plus $40ish for a dynohub, and you'll have to rebuild the front wheel too. So there goes the budget idea.

  4. #4
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    So whats the deal? Expensive lights are essential to your driving but 'not required' for your girlfriend?
    Motorists can't tell if you're only 'driving in the neighborhood' - so don't expect them to be any more attentative or considerate, and streetlights will only make anything except a high powered headlight harder to pick out. Suggest you stick to bike paths or don't play in traffic after dark without something thats up to the job.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Get this and the mount from the same place should work as well for the bars.
    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.
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  6. #6
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    Blah. You guys are gonna make me spend the money on another dynohub, B&M Cyo, and Toplight.
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  7. #7
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I actually got a chance to play with a PB Blaze the other day at an REI. I can't believe that in this day and age people pay money for such a horribly underpowered light. I honestly wouldn't give you $10 for one.

    IMO, an 18650 based flashlight up front, a Cygolite Hotshot in the back. About $75 total including 2 batteries and charger.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  8. #8
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    I actually got a chance to play with a PB Blaze the other day at an REI. I can't believe that in this day and age people pay money for such a horribly underpowered light. I honestly wouldn't give you $10 for one.

    IMO, an 18650 based flashlight up front, a Cygolite Hotshot in the back. About $75 total including 2 batteries and charger.
    Don't laugh, but I went not only for the Blaze, I had the Planet Bike Beamer too... The 2W Blaze died a good death. The wifee got mad at me one day, and slung a helmet with the Blaze attached to it, it died!! I still got the Beamer. I let the wife walk the dog with that light!!

    I wouldn't dare put either one of them on any of my bikes again!! If you don't know, you don't know. When I purchased the Blaze and the Beamer lights, I didn't know!!
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  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    PB super-flash seem OK, I have the 1W.. tons of rear blinkies..
    red LED's were apparently easier to make
    so they preceded the bright white ones by years.

    1/2 watt superflash of course has longer run time , the 2W, shorter..

  10. #10
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post
    Blah. You guys are gonna make me spend the money on another dynohub, B&M Cyo, and Toplight.
    You should have hung on to that D600.

    There's a sale over at action-led-lights.com right now. The seller is the largest MS dealer in the US now, and the only US Gemini seller, he's a decent fellow and stands behind his warranty (1 yr on all gemini, 1yr-heads / 6mo-batteries on MS). He sells at ebay too for going on 3 yrs now, here. Prices are better at his website, he's got 2 or 3 good headlights for ~$100 or less. The "std" MS 808E XML package is $75 shipped. More than the 50 you specified but most everything below this price point is junk.

    The Cygo-lite Expilion line is decent for a no-external-battery type light. A 350 costs about the same (or more) as a MS 808E but only about half as much light.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Get this and the mount from the same place should work as well for the bars.
    I second the suggestion of this flashlight. You can even get it for a few dollars less from Dealextreme. I use one mounted on my helmet and love it. The build quality is nice, and it can be powered by rechargable AAA batteries, although I use a recharbale 18650 Li-ion cell. To mount on a helmet, all you need are a few zip ties.

  12. #12
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
    You should have hung on to that D600.
    I replaced the Dinottes because they weren't quite working right anymore. Cables were fraying, batteries weren't holding much charge, that sort of thing. Dinotte gave me a good deal on replacements, but I had to send the old ones back.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member scoatw's Avatar
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    Romisen RC-C8 II R2. OK I have to ask. what kind of runtime are you getting on this and on what kind of batteries. 3 AAA's doesn't sound very promising to me. I wouldn't waste my money on the CR123 or the 18650. you can't recharge them, can you ? if you can't recharge a battery it's not worth having IMO. LED'S suck the juice out of a battery and its difficult to find a decent LED flashlight that gets a good runtime of three hours or more. I had an old Romisen RC-N3 that I bought in 07, but i wore it out. I was getting close to five hours on that before it would dim out on me.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    I have no direct experience with the RC-C8. It's just been recommended to me by socalridier and others way back when I first started seeking input on a 'budget' light set-up. Never got around to picking one up, as I ended up getting a Trustfire rated at 510 lumens instead. The RC-C8 meets the bullet points of being less than $50 and run off of AA or AAA.

    Also, I asked the same question about the runtimes between the 3xAAA and the 18650- the `18650 gets the nod in both output and runtime. AFAIK, all 18650 cells are rechargeable, but some are 'protected' and others aren't, as well as capacity will vary.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoatw View Post
    Romisen RC-C8 II R2. OK I have to ask. what kind of runtime are you getting on this and on what kind of batteries. 3 AAA's doesn't sound very promising to me. I wouldn't waste my money on the CR123 or the 18650. you can't recharge them, can you ? if you can't recharge a battery it's not worth having IMO. LED'S suck the juice out of a battery and its difficult to find a decent LED flashlight that gets a good runtime of three hours or more. I had an old Romisen RC-N3 that I bought in 07, but i wore it out. I was getting close to five hours on that before it would dim out on me.
    I use rechargeable 18650 cells in mine - unprotected trustfire cells from dealextreme. On medium the with a freshly charged battery the light output started to dim after ~4.5 hours when I tested it at my office desk. I don't know the runtime with 3 AAAs, but if the ratings of typically NiMH AAAs are equal in accuracy to those of 18650s, the three AAAs runtime should the ~2.5 times less, which would be a bit under 2 hours.

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