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Old 07-08-13, 10:02 AM   #1
chandltp
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bright lights

I have pretty poor night vision, especially when there is ambient light such as car headlights. Since I have a recumbent trike, I'm right at eye level for headlights, so that only makes the situation worse.

So I have a Supernova E3 Pro Dyno light that I got last year. It works fine on roads in familiar with and have little debris and traffic (headlights).

However, on a road ride the other night, I discovered I had a hard time seeing any roadside debris, so I found myself going very slowly. I had a small helmet light but it wasn't enough.

I really want a dyno light as I have aspirations to do all night rides (8-10 hours of darkness, depending on the time of year), but maybe that's not the right solution for my problem? Maybe I need more batteries and a high powered light?

Basically, I need something that's at least as bright as the low beam on a car, I think.

Suggestions?
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Old 07-08-13, 10:32 AM   #2
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B&M Luxos?
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Old 07-08-13, 11:05 AM   #3
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I'd think that because of your low road position, you'd want to get a light up as high as possible to help generate distinguishing shadows. To that end, any one of the number of high power (e.g. 900 lumens) helmet mounted, battery operated lights would be desireable. Being able to illuminate wherever you're looking is an added nicety, and can help you keep your bearings when averting your eyes from oncoming car headlights.
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Old 07-08-13, 01:03 PM   #4
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B&M Luxos?
Is that brighter than the Supernova E3 Pro by a lot? I was actually thinking about the Supernova E3 Triple, but wanted some opinions.
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Old 07-08-13, 01:04 PM   #5
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I'd think that because of your low road position, you'd want to get a light up as high as possible to help generate distinguishing shadows. To that end, any one of the number of high power (e.g. 900 lumens) helmet mounted, battery operated lights would be desireable. Being able to illuminate wherever you're looking is an added nicety, and can help you keep your bearings when averting your eyes from oncoming car headlights.
Can you suggest one that will run for 9-10 hours without carrying a ton of batteries? I'm fine carrying 2 or 3 if they're not too expensive.

I thought about strapping a high powered flash light to my helmet, but changing the batteries every hour might get irritating.
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Old 07-08-13, 01:10 PM   #6
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What time of night are you riding in, dusk or when it's dark? I have an E3, and have found that, like most other LED lights, it's not that effective at dusk, and it not till it is truly dark that it becomes effective, then it's as good as any other LED light.
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Old 07-08-13, 01:17 PM   #7
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I'd suggest continuing to use your SuperNova but supplement it with a bright battery light to use in situations where your night vision is compromised by other lights. Lots of vendors selling nominal 1200 lumen (prob. really 600) with Cree XM-L T6 LED such as:
http://www.amazon.com/CREE-Bicycle-H...3310617&sr=1-6
for about $25. They run about 3 hours at high power or all night at the low power setting and can be either handlebar or helmet mounted. Having the battery light as a supplement to the dyno one also gives you redundancy if any problem should develop with either light.
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Old 07-08-13, 01:19 PM   #8
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If you're at eye level where you're getting hit in the face with the brightest part of automobile headlights, I think you're just plain going to have a problem.

The Busch&Muller Big Bang is apparently literally a motorcycle headlight that's adapted to be powered by a battery and put on a bike.

But you're just straight up going to have huge issues getting a bright enough light to overcome an automobile light in the face. Unfortunately, my best suggestion would be to buy a bike that's more upright than your trike, so that your head is above the cutoff of the beam - where it will be *much* easier to see. Either that or find places to ride that don't have traffic on them.

Other than the above Big Bang light, I don't know of any other high powered bike lights with a cutoff. Anything that's actually as bright as an automobile headlight is going to cause you to start really ticking off oncoming traffic - like driving your car with your high beams on all the time. Lights like the NiteRider PRO 3600 are very expensive, and have short runtimes, but will put out as much light as 2 automobile headlights. But...I wouldn't want to be pointedly pissing off all oncoming traffic.

Headlight beams - when they're on low - look something like this -


As you mentioned, if your bike is low enough to put your head in the main part of the beam, you're really going to have trouble. If you can get a bike that puts your head above the main part of the beam it's a lot easier (though still not easy).
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Old 07-08-13, 11:13 PM   #9
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Is that brighter than the Supernova E3 Pro by a lot? I was actually thinking about the Supernova E3 Triple, but wanted some opinions.
I own both the Supernova E3 Triple and B&M Luxos B. The Supernova E3 Triple is more of a floodlight with no cutoff. It is rated at 800 lumens but it is more like 400. The B&M Luxos is brighter, but has a shaped beam with a somewhat sharp cutoff. The Luxos lights up the road much better. I'd go with what prathmann suggests.
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Old 07-09-13, 05:40 AM   #10
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I am very happy with my Luxos U. It's not as bright as my Cygolite 600 but it's pattern is much better an no batteries to remember to recharge.
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Old 07-09-13, 09:44 AM   #11
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But you're just straight up going to have huge issues getting a bright enough light to overcome an automobile light in the face. Unfortunately, my best suggestion would be to buy a bike that's more upright than your trike, so that your head is above the cutoff of the beam - where it will be *much* easier to see. Either that or find places to ride that don't have traffic on them.
I agree with this, but I also had problem with my Trek 700 running 2 B&M IQ Cyo's. Even street lamps throw things off for me.
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Old 07-09-13, 09:46 AM   #12
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The Supernova E3 Triple is more of a floodlight with no cutoff. It is rated at 800 lumens but it is more like 400. The B&M Luxos is brighter, but has a shaped beam with a somewhat sharp cutoff. The Luxos lights up the road much better. I'd go with what prathmann suggests.
It looks like the Luxos U is pretty much the same as the Luxos B?
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Old 07-09-13, 09:52 AM   #13
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I'd suggest continuing to use your SuperNova but supplement it with a bright battery light to use in situations where your night vision is compromised by other lights. Lots of vendors selling nominal 1200 lumen (prob. really 600) with Cree XM-L T6 LED such as:
http://www.amazon.com/CREE-Bicycle-H...3310617&sr=1-6
for about $25. They run about 3 hours at high power or all night at the low power setting and can be either handlebar or helmet mounted. Having the battery light as a supplement to the dyno one also gives you redundancy if any problem should develop with either light.
I have the MagicShine version of this that I used before, but I was getting 1.5 - 2 hours after a year of use. Are there any battery packs that use 18650 batteries that are cheap and easy to swap out? I think I was paying about $40 for each battery pack. To run from dusk until dawn, that would be about $200 in batteries, plus the space to carry them.

I think my 900 lumen flashlight that I have runs about an hour per battery on high.. so I'm wondering if maybe I should just start with strapping that to my helmet and see what it does. It's more of a spot than a flood, so maybe it would be less likely to blind drivers??
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Old 07-09-13, 09:55 AM   #14
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It looks like the Luxos U is pretty much the same as the Luxos B?
Yes, look for "Luxos Features" header -
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/b&m-hl.asp

The U version has more features, but is basically the same light.
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Old 07-09-13, 10:07 AM   #15
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I agree with this, but I also had problem with my Trek 700 running 2 B&M IQ Cyo's. Even street lamps throw things off for me.
Ah, well, the only light combination that I've personally used that has matched automobile headlights is a Light and Motion 900 on High, while also running a Light and Motion 1400 on medium. If I remember right, runtime is more around 2 hours, not to mention it's really expensive. And it will most likely blind the heck out of anything else you're biking towards.

As mentioned earlier the Busch and Mueller Big Bang is the only light I know of that is high powered and has a cutoff.

I had forgotten about the E3 triple - it's to bright and floody for bike trails, but it would probably be fine on the street. But if akrejci says the Luxos is better...

Unfortunataly I'm just not sure that there's a solution to your problem... :-(

P.S. In theory, if you can find a battery light that charges via usb and also runs while charging, you could get an external battery pack. They sell external usb power sources on amazon, and they're not even terribly expensive. But I don't think it's easy to find a light that will actually stay on while the usb power is plugged into it...

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Old 07-09-13, 10:32 AM   #16
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Can you suggest one that will run for 9-10 hours without carrying a ton of batteries? I'm fine carrying 2 or 3 if they're not too expensive.

I thought about strapping a high powered flash light to my helmet, but changing the batteries every hour might get irritating.
If run times that long are really important, I'd suggest searching the posts of, and contacting, forum member Burton. He's got what I think are some really interesting light setups that deliver extraordinary run times. I don't know all the particulars, but he's done a lot of work and posted quite a bit on what are essentially LEDs for a non-bike application adapted to bicycle use, and I think they'll be of interest to you.
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Old 07-09-13, 10:38 AM   #17
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I have the MagicShine version of this that I used before, but I was getting 1.5 - 2 hours after a year of use. Are there any battery packs that use 18650 batteries that are cheap and easy to swap out? I think I was paying about $40 for each battery pack. To run from dusk until dawn, that would be about $200 in batteries, plus the space to carry them.

I think my 900 lumen flashlight that I have runs about an hour per battery on high.. so I'm wondering if maybe I should just start with strapping that to my helmet and see what it does. It's more of a spot than a flood, so maybe it would be less likely to blind drivers??
Light, Battery Pack, Charger for $24.00
Run Time 8 Hr on Low which is bright.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00..._email_1p_0_ti
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Old 07-09-13, 01:59 PM   #18
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I have pretty poor night vision, especially when there is ambient light such as car headlights. Since I have a recumbent trike, I'm right at eye level for headlights, so that only makes the situation worse.

So I have a Supernova E3 Pro Dyno light that I got last year. It works fine on roads in familiar with and have little debris and traffic (headlights).

However, on a road ride the other night, I discovered I had a hard time seeing any roadside debris, so I found myself going very slowly. I had a small helmet light but it wasn't enough.

I really want a dyno light as I have aspirations to do all night rides (8-10 hours of darkness, depending on the time of year), but maybe that's not the right solution for my problem? Maybe I need more batteries and a high powered light?

Basically, I need something that's at least as bright as the low beam on a car, I think.

Suggestions?
Until I saw this post I never considered the problems of riding a recumbent bike at night. The low viewing angle would make seeing road debris much harder. Still there are many types of recumbent's and some are not as low as others. Yours is a trike, could you post a photo so we know what's being dealt with?

I've seen/heard of people who have made light mounts for their Rec. that attached to the seat and place the light over their heads. This sounds like a good idea to me. You could try a helmet mounted light but that is sometimes heavy and might not still be high enough.

Then there is this problem that you want 8-10 hrs of run time.. The only real way to get that is with a dynamo ( or dynamo assisted lamp ). I'll have to think on that a bit. Lamp heads designed for dynamo use tend to have beam patterns that are intended to have the lamp mounted lower on the bike. Then again I don't know really the height that is being dealt with or whether a dynamo lamp can even be mounted on a helmet..
Whatever you get the lamp will need some throw. There are torches that are battery powered that are bright enough to use as helmet lamps. Some of those have built in USB ports. With the right Dynamo set-up you could use the dynamo to recharge the battery *while in use. ( * not sure if the USB circuit would charge while in use though ) I have no idea how well that would work. It would depend on how much current is being supplied to run the torch. I doubt there are dynamos able to supply over 1A. This is why a dynamo specific lamp is likely the better way to go as long as you can find one with good throw/beam pattern when mounted high.
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Old 07-09-13, 02:05 PM   #19
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Light, Battery Pack, Charger for $24.00
Run Time 8 Hr on Low which is bright.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00..._email_1p_0_ti
Low was not bright enough for me to ride any distance with my MagicShine. I would estimate my current light is brighter than my MagicShine on low, but I haven't tested them side by side.

Although at that price I could get 3 or 4 just for the battery packs.

Isn't this light pretty much the same animal?
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Old 07-09-13, 02:09 PM   #20
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Low was not bright enough for me to ride any distance with my MagicShine. I would estimate my current light is brighter than my MagicShine on low, but I haven't tested them side by side. Although at that price I could get 3 or 4 just for the battery packs.
Isn't this light pretty much the same animal?
Get one and try it.
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Old 07-09-13, 02:10 PM   #21
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Until I saw this post I never considered the problems of riding a recumbent bike at night. The low viewing angle would make seeing road debris much harder. Still there are many types of recumbent's and some are not as low as others. Yours is a trike, could you post a photo so we know what's being dealt with?
It's an ICE Sprint.


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I've seen/heard of people who have made light mounts for their Rec. that attached to the seat and place the light over their heads. This sounds like a good idea to me. You could try a helmet mounted light but that is sometimes heavy and might not still be high enough.
That would cause a problem with me, unless the beam was narrow enough not to hit the road until it got past my feet. Even the light illuminating my feet is enough to mess with my vision sometimes. On a faster downhill I stop pedaling so I don't see the light on my feet. If my legs were lit up at all that wouldn't work.

Editted to add: The narrow beam helmet light I did try worked pretty well, it just wasn't bright enough. I've already ordered a couple of different 18650 flashlights to try on my helmet, since they were inexpensive and used batteries I already have.. if they don't work I can use them camping and they give me more data points about what might or might not work.

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Then there is this problem that you want 8-10 hrs of run time.. The only real way to get that is with a dynamo ( or dynamo assisted lamp ). I'll have to think on that a bit. Lamp heads designed for dynamo use tend to have beam patterns that are intended to have the lamp mounted lower on the bike. Then again I don't know really the height that is being dealt with or whether a dynamo lamp can even be mounted on a helmet..
I'm not sure how a dynamo lamp could be mounted on a helmet. And my current dynamo is mounted plenty low on the trike (it's between the cranks in the picture I posted).

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This is why a dynamo specific lamp is likely the better way to go as long as you can find one with good throw/beam pattern when mounted high.
If I can find one I'll buy it.
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Old 07-09-13, 02:13 PM   #22
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Get one and try it.
So that light you linked will be brighter on low than my MagicShine?
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Old 07-09-13, 02:16 PM   #23
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So that light you linked will be brighter on low than my MagicShine?
I don't own a MS. Seen one once. It I was Not impressed.

Get one for the battery pack.

I will buy the light head from you. if you want.
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Old 07-10-13, 01:40 AM   #24
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It's an ICE Sprint.




That would cause a problem with me, unless the beam was narrow enough not to hit the road until it got past my feet. Even the light illuminating my feet is enough to mess with my vision sometimes. On a faster downhill I stop pedaling so I don't see the light on my feet. If my legs were lit up at all that wouldn't work.

Editted to add: The narrow beam helmet light I did try worked pretty well, it just wasn't bright enough. I've already ordered a couple of different 18650 flashlights to try on my helmet, since they were inexpensive and used batteries I already have.. if they don't work I can use them camping and they give me more data points about what might or might not work.



I'm not sure how a dynamo lamp could be mounted on a helmet. And my current dynamo is mounted plenty low on the trike (it's between the cranks in the picture I posted).



If I can find one I'll buy it.
Dang...that thing looks like it sits really low to the ground. How much clearance is there at it's lowest point? No matter what kind of lamp you use, trying to look over your feet/legs is going to be a problem. The real problem is not the lamp but the bike. Something that sits that low is not going to be very conducive to good visual acuity, particularly when riding at night. Because of the low reflective angle your shadow/depth perception feedback is going to be crap. Because of your stated run time requirement, if you use something that uses batteries you will have to run lower power levels ( unless, you are willing to carry a rather large battery set-up. ) A Gloworm X-1 ( helmet light ) would be nice and easy to adjust but to get it to last all night you would need two of their largest batteries ( and be willing to use the medium mode as much as possible. Heck, with this bike you need as much advance warning of impending obstacles as possible. You need Monster throw. The Xeccon X-12 ( single XM-L2) lamp has the most throw of any single emitter bike lamp I'm aware of. ( I own one ) It is a little heavy though. The Gloworm X-1 is lighter and more adjustable but not as intense.

The other possibility is a dynamo lamp for the helmet. This fella ( Kerry...K-Lite ) builds dynamo light systems down there in Oz-land. He swears that they are better than battery power lights. You might want to send him an email and see what he might be able to come up with. I have one of his ( triple XP-G ) battery lamps and it worked very well before I replaced it with the Gloworm X2. Quite possible that Kerry might have a triple XP-E or XP-E2 lamp with a nice narrow beam pattern all ready to work with a good dynamo and suitable for helmet use. Give him a shout and see what he has.

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Old 07-12-13, 10:17 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Get one for the battery pack.
OK, you talked me into it. After I try my flashlights, I'll try the light you linked to.
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