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Old 05-21-12, 01:12 PM   #1
dcrowell
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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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Old 05-22-12, 09:02 PM   #2
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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

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Old 05-23-12, 12:46 AM   #3
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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.

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Old 05-23-12, 01:11 AM   #4
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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.
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Old 05-23-12, 06:29 AM   #5
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Get this and the mount from the same place should work as well for the bars.
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Old 05-23-12, 10:03 AM   #6
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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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Old 05-23-12, 10:24 AM   #7
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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.
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Old 05-23-12, 11:46 AM   #8
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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.
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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Old 05-23-12, 03:51 PM   #9
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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..
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Old 05-23-12, 04:33 PM   #10
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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.
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Old 05-23-12, 04:46 PM   #11
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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.
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Old 05-24-12, 01:02 PM   #12
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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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Old 05-24-12, 03:42 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 05-24-12, 07:23 PM   #14
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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.
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Old 05-25-12, 01:08 PM   #15
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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.
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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