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  1. #1
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Any decent headlights for under $50?

    For my first lighting set, I picked up this Zefal LED front/rear light set from Walmart for 20 bucks: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Zefal-LED-...-5620/14264318

    The tailight is good. Nice and bright, and the blinky patterns really help get your attention in the daylight. The front light in flashing mode also seems good for daytime use. But for night use, the front light is AWFUL! It barely looks like a candle shining on the road in front of me. Get what you pay for I guess.

    So before my next night ride I'm thinking I really need to upgrade this front light. Is there anything available for around $50 or less that actually puts down good, usable light to let you see road hazards at 10-15 mph? I'm thinking rechargeable would be preferred.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
    90's-ish KHS Alite 1000 MTB, *hybridized*

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    i bought a coleman 110 lumen aaa flashlight anad cobbled a mount together from some old reflector mounts. And it works like a champ. very bright, and has a good spot beam with decent flood around the edges. The flashlight was 18 bucks at wally mart. I inherited a planet bike blinkie, that is very bright, and can be seen from a looong way off. I also bought some rayovac aaa rechargeables, 2 packs, which gives me 2 re chargeables for thhe blinkie, and two sets of aaa's to power the flashlight. one set on the flashlight last for about 3 hours before you get noticebaly dimmer, so i just swap em out at about 2 hrs. works great for me.

    and as far as light throw, at 15 mph, the light is more than enough, i can outrun it at about 26 on the downhills though lol. but i can adjust it to throw light as far as i would need even at those speeds. its pretty bright.
    Elitists suck.

  3. #3
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    This one. light , battery, charger, mount, free shipping.

    http://www.tmart.com/Q5-3-Mode-LED-B...0_p124037.html

    A friend has one, it is super bright.

    I have three similar lights and they all rock.
    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 05-28-12 at 06:18 PM.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
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    Senior Member puckett129's Avatar
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    I got a great deal on a couple of small "tactical" flashlights from Deal Extreme (www.dx.com). Grab one of their flashlight/handlebar mounts and some rechargeable batteries specific to that light and you will have lots of light for the price! I regularly use $100+ lights at work and these are just as bright. It seems they ship directly from China, so you'll have to wait a week or so for them to arrive, but at these prices who cares?

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    I'm going to recommend you get a lithium-ion powered light as opposed to a AA one, not because they're more compact (they are), or brighter (they are) or have longer battery life (they do), but because it is easier to get a bright one for cheap. Once you have a battery/charger, there's a world of lights and LED drop-ins that are open to you.
    I also would recommend skipping the dealextreme/DX/KD/Tmart route and going directly to Solarforce: http://www.solarforceflashlight-sale...LF&s=45&id=423
    I've had hosts/drop-ins from Dealextreme (the Ultrafire 501-B, which many of their 18650 lights are built on) and it is terrible. The Solarforce L2* series are much better hosts and hardly any more expensive, and the SF batteries are way higher quality (and much less likely to be old/discarded laptop cells with a new wrapper, as Ultrafires are known to be). Additionally, Solarforce hosts are compatible with a bunch of different parts. I have a lantern head, its quite useful. Also, shipping from Dealextreme is the worse. I've ordered stuff in January and had separate parcels arriving from March to mid April. KaiDomain is a bit faster, and solarforceflashlight-sales is a bit better still. You can also find Solarforce stuff from US dealers such as SBFlashlights and Lighthound, though the markup on them is a bit higher.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Scrabbler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by puckett129 View Post
    I got a great deal on a couple of small "tactical" flashlights from Deal Extreme (www.dx.com). Grab one of their flashlight/handlebar mounts and some rechargeable batteries specific to that light and you will have lots of light for the price! I regularly use $100+ lights at work and these are just as bright. It seems they ship directly from China, so you'll have to wait a week or so for them to arrive, but at these prices who cares?
    This is good advice. I would recommend a light that also has a "flashing" mode, but there are plenty so it shouldnt be hard to find. You'll get a lot of bang for the buck there.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    If you either don't want or not interested in 'converting' over to the 18650 format, then my suggestion would be this from Shiningbeam, as well as the mount from them as well. You could save a couple of bucks and order from DX, but it will take at least 3 weeks to arrive after you order.
    Last edited by no1mad; 06-13-12 at 12:44 PM.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    There's a who thread about this: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...nder-50-thread.
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

  9. #9
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianstew View Post
    i bought a coleman 110 lumen aaa flashlight anad cobbled a mount together from some old reflector mounts.
    110 lumens? That sounds extremely dim to me. Are you sure that's right?
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
    90's-ish KHS Alite 1000 MTB, *hybridized*

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    If it runs of AAAs that's about the appropriate output. Anything more will give terrible battery life.

  11. #11
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    It would be really nice to see some actual beam shots of some of the lights being recommended. Personally I haven't seen a single light with an output less than 500 lumens that I'd consuder suitable for cycling anywhere there are no streetlights to provide minimal lighting assistance. And beam spread is just as important as output if any light is to be considered effective.

    For bike paths and streets with streetlamps a couple Blackburn Voyager 2.0 lights work for me. For downtown traffic or unlit drives I want over 2,000 lumens.

    Everything is relative. In complete darkness a firefly can light up your hands. To a motorist driving - its just another bug on the windshield.
    Last edited by Burton; 05-29-12 at 07:49 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
    110 lumens? That sounds extremely dim to me. Are you sure that's right?
    Yes. 110 lumens. And no, not dim. Maybe dim is relative, as im sure some have super duper bright headlights, but i can see great on a moonless night with no streetlights, even at downhill speeds.
    Elitists suck.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    This one. light , battery, charger, mount, free shipping.

    http://www.tmart.com/Q5-3-Mode-LED-B...0_p124037.html

    A friend has one, it is super bright.

    I have three similar lights and they all rock.
    You claim this comes with a mount (which they are calling a bracket), then why are they trying to upsell with another mount?
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
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  14. #14
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    hmmm a bit more than $50 but maybe I should go for 2400lm!

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/3x-CREE-2400...-/350494926463
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
    90's-ish KHS Alite 1000 MTB, *hybridized*

  15. #15
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    Does not go to 2400 lumens. Not even close, probably 1200 in reality. Its still a lot of light. Its a clone/rebadge of the Magicshine MJ-816E, you can find lots of real world performance reviews online, most people are pretty impressed with them.

  16. #16
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Yeah I read several places that it doesn't get to the advertised light output, but it's still a whoolllllllllllllle heckuva lot better than what I have now!
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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  17. #17
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    it is super bright.
    Any guess on lumens? 100? 200? 500?
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    OP has a be seen light, see the road in the dark + a see by light.

    'planet-bike super-flash' seems to be OK, 1w..
    1/2w has 2x battery time, 2w has half.

  19. #19
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    I got a CREE 5 watt headlamp off E-bay with the rechargeable battery and zip tied it to my helmet for $16 delivered. It's very bright I use it along with my Magic shine and can see really well on dark bike paths and mid to well lit streets. Its not as bright as the MS, but is way brighter than anything you'll get at the bike shop for under $50. I also like the safety of having something bright on my head when I look at a driver. I can see their face from a distance that I can tell if they see me or not before it's too late. I have had it on my helmet daily for 3 years, commute rain or shine 95% of my work days.

  20. #20
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    check out the TerraLUX LightStar300.

    FWIW, i held my LightStar300 next to a Moon X-Power-300 and the Moon won, but it's several times the price.
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  21. #21
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    See this post:
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...=#post14043976

    Very bright, < $40. 3 week delivery time. I like this particular flashlight. I've had troubles with others but not this one, and it's cheaper than the others as well.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  22. #22
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    See this post:
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...=#post14043976

    Very bright, < $40. 3 week delivery time. I like this particular flashlight. I've had troubles with others but not this one, and it's cheaper than the others as well.
    Hey that looks pretty nice. I wonder if the mount that came with my current Zefal light would work with that one. Would you mind measuring the diameter of the handle grip there in the middle where the logo is? It looks like the 30mm diameter shown is up at the LED housing end. Thanks.

    hmm 90 minute life on Medium setting, that might not last long enough for some of these evening group rides I've been going on. Might have to get two. Or a different model that uses two of those rechargeable cells perhaps, or a 26650 cell?
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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  23. #23
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    dang sooo many choices... this one uses either 1x 26650 or 3x AAA. My Zefal light uses 3x AAA so this one might be about the diameter as my current light:

    http://www.dealextreme.com/p/raysoon...119962?item=26
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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  24. #24
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
    Hey that looks pretty nice. I wonder if the mount that came with my current Zefal light would work with that one. Would you mind measuring the diameter of the handle grip there in the middle where the logo is? It looks like the 30mm diameter shown is up at the LED housing end. Thanks.

    hmm 90 minute life on Medium setting, that might not last long enough for some of these evening group rides I've been going on. Might have to get two. Or a different model that uses two of those rechargeable cells perhaps, or a 26650 cell?
    I actually ordered everything that IJM listed. I ended up ordering the charger from shiningbeam.com since the DX one was backordered. Couldn't be happier.

    Side note- before migrating to the current set-up, I started off with that exact same Zefal combo. The front light was too underwhelming and eventually died and the rear went MIA. I do remember that the front light bracket that clamped to the bars sucked- as in I couldn't get it to stay put. That DX mount is easy to adjust, but surprisingly pretty much stays put while riding. And the DX mount is a bit easier to deal with while wearing gloves.
    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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  25. #25
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
    dang sooo many choices... this one uses either 1x 26650 or 3x AAA. My Zefal light uses 3x AAA so this one might be about the diameter as my current light:

    http://www.dealextreme.com/p/raysoon...119962?item=26
    Or not. Here's one from shiningbeam that runs either 3xAAA or 1x18650. http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...h-C8-II/Detail
    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

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