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Old 05-27-12, 09:56 PM   #1
PatrickGSR94
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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.
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Old 05-27-12, 10:09 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 05-27-12, 10:18 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 05-28-12, 02:05 PM   #4
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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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Old 05-28-12, 04:03 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 05-28-12, 05:14 PM   #6
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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?
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.
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Old 05-28-12, 08:58 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 05-29-12, 01:01 AM   #8
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There's a who thread about this: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...nder-50-thread.
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Old 05-29-12, 12:23 PM   #9
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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?
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Old 05-29-12, 12:58 PM   #10
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If it runs of AAAs that's about the appropriate output. Anything more will give terrible battery life.
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Old 05-29-12, 06:43 PM   #11
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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.

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Old 05-29-12, 07:32 PM   #12
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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.
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Old 05-30-12, 09:09 PM   #13
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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.
You claim this comes with a mount (which they are calling a bracket), then why are they trying to upsell with another mount?
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Old 05-30-12, 09:16 PM   #14
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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
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Old 05-31-12, 09:15 AM   #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.
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Old 05-31-12, 09:34 AM   #16
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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!
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Old 05-31-12, 09:53 AM   #17
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it is super bright.
Any guess on lumens? 100? 200? 500?
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Old 05-31-12, 10:02 AM   #18
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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.
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Old 06-03-12, 10:34 PM   #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.
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Old 06-04-12, 03:19 AM   #20
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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.
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Old 06-04-12, 07:58 AM   #21
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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.
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Old 06-04-12, 09:26 AM   #22
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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.
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?
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Old 06-04-12, 09:33 AM   #23
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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
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Old 06-04-12, 04:57 PM   #24
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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.
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Old 06-04-12, 05:00 PM   #25
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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
Or not. Here's one from shiningbeam that runs either 3xAAA or 1x18650. http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...h-C8-II/Detail
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