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  1. #1
    Senior Member smurray's Avatar
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    How many lumens do I need?

    I'm going to start commuting to work on a regular basis and will have to leave well before sunrise in the winter. The majority of my ride is fairly well lit with street lamps, however there are a few miles that have no street lighting what-so-ever and also happen to have really crappy roads with potholes. I tried doing the ride with my little 80 lumen Knog blinder headlight and it didn't put out nearly enough light. I'm wondering what the minimum amount of lumens I should be looking at when shopping for a new light. I'd prefer to get a light that's fairly compact and can be recharged while at work. Also if it could be under $100 that would be great. I'm open to any suggestions either for specific lights or simply a minimum lumen amount.

  2. #2
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Right around 700 is the sweet spot for the street, off road you may need twice that. I ride crappy streets myself, I use a 400 lumen Phillips Saferide (equal to 1000 lumens due to aimed optics) on the bar, and a Cygolite Mightycross 450 (lumens) on the helmet...however both of these are only used in the low setting on the Phillips and the middle setting on the Cygolite on dark country roads or bike paths or flash mode when in traffic. So 700 lumens of light you will rarely use on high power except for foul weather or dark roads and paths.

    One of the best deals around for a light is the Cygolite ExpiliOn 700 for around $104 or the ExpiliOn 800 for around $118. Both of those lights have a self contained rechargeable battery, no separate battery pack to fool with and the battery is user replaceable meaning you could buy a second bat and use it as backup.

    The other light which I like better due to appears brighter than the ExpiliOn because of it's aimed optics is the Phillips Saferide, it too has self contained rechargeable batteries that are user replaceable, but these batteries are 4 AA bats which means instead of paying more for a proprietary battery you can go down and buy any brand of rechargeable AA bats you want as long as their at least as many amp hours as the original batteries and of the same chemical makeup. The only con with this light is that it has no flash mode. The Phillips cost around $102; both of these lights prices are on Amazon.

    Some will push the MagicShine which I don't really care for. My Phillips light completely overwhelmed a 1200 lumen MagicShine my friend once had before it broke about 1 year and 2 or 3 months. If you want a cheap generic Chinese light like the MagicShine you would be better of financially with this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/2300-Lumens-...item2a20d71485 The cost of this light with the battery is half the cost of a MagicShine replacement battery! Keep in mind though Chinese generic light manufactures over estimate their lumens by about 100% meaning a 2300 lumen is closer to 1150 which still is not shabby, but keep that in mind when looking at generic brands lumen ratings.

    There will be other ideas, none is really right just opinions, you have to weigh out what you want.

    Here is some light comparisons to help you see the differences between models and price:
    http://reviews.mtbr.com/2012-bike-li...pattern-photos Notice on this one the Phillips Saferide vs the MagicShine J808 on page 2, what a joke.

    http://reviews.mtbr.com/2013-bike-li...rd-beam-photos

    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...ghtBuyersGuide From some of the lights that Performance Bike sells.

    http://www.thebicyclerepairshop.com/...ison-test.html This one on the top half of the page has 4 of the best tail lights on the market, I own the Light & Motion Vis 180 (not the Vis 180 Micro) and that light looks like a safety flair in broad daylight! it's that bright. I also have the Planet Bike Super Flash Turbo and pales in comparison to the Vis 180. A quick note on tail lights, European studies have shown that a steady tail light is safer due to motorists found it easier to judge distance...but Canadian studies have shown flashing is better due to motorists saw it quicker, so what to do? I'm not sure which is safer but I took the route of both, my main light the Vis 180 I leave on steady, the Super Flash, Soma Road Flares, and the Cateye LED600 are all on flash mode at night. So I cover both spectrums of thought, I have no proof my way or one of the other ways is better, it's just what I do because of what I've read. In the city like I mentioned I again cover both spectrums, helmet light flashes bar light steady. Flash mode does save batteries but with rechargeables who cares?

  3. #3
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smurray View Post
    I'm going to start commuting to work on a regular basis and will have to leave well before sunrise in the winter. The majority of my ride is fairly well lit with street lamps, however there are a few miles that have no street lighting what-so-ever and also happen to have really crappy roads with potholes. I tried doing the ride with my little 80 lumen Knog blinder headlight and it didn't put out nearly enough light. I'm wondering what the minimum amount of lumens I should be looking at when shopping for a new light. I'd prefer to get a light that's fairly compact and can be recharged while at work. Also if it could be under $100 that would be great. I'm open to any suggestions either for specific lights or simply a minimum lumen amount.
    Generally speaking, 200 lumens seems to be the low end of lights that you can actually see the road with. Light density decreases with the square of the distance so if you have just a little bit of light at the headlamp, you'll have much less the further you get from the lamp. If you have a lot of competing light sources, the effectiveness of a little bit of light is diluted even further. More light (and more sources) is better in all instances I've ever ridden in.

    I would suggest lights like these. The advertised output isn't 1200 lumens...it's closer to 600 lumens...but it's far superior to the Knog Blinder (which isn't) for a less money. I'd suggest getting at least 2 and would even suggest 3...two on the bars and one on your head...if you want to actually see stuff on the road. Three of them are still going to be less than $100. I've been using similar lights for about 2 years now as well as Magic Shines from 2 to 3 years before that. I haven't experienced any failure of the lamp, or battery for that matter, in all the time I've been using them.

    You can find other lights that cost more but, frankly, they have to offer a whole lot more value to beat the above. I haven't seen anything that is so vastly superior to be worth 3 to 10 times the cost.
    Last edited by cyccommute; 10-23-13 at 11:52 AM.
    Stuart Black
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  4. #4
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I will ride with 200 but I'm not happy about it all the time. That's the medium setting on my cheap $15 flashlight. I'll use that when it's already getting a bit light or the moon is out helping a little.

    In general I want 400 to 500 to be reasonably happy, 700 makes me perfectly happy. I have a "1600 lumen" front light from eBay ($35 last fall) which I estimate actually puts out about 750 lumens, which is fine.

    My light is similar to the one cyccommute links to above. I recommend getting also a beam spreading lens.

    A light like this:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/290930407139
    with this lens:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/271236305324

    Or if I were feeling particularly flush and/or wanting to support non-China manufacturers, I'd go to Action LED Lights and buy a Gemini.
    Last edited by ItsJustMe; 10-23-13 at 08:11 PM.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    No.1 , I don't live in Toledo, Ohio.. but a small town on the Qregon Coast

    What They Call 1W seems OK.. PB Superflash is a spot.. from bar height ..
    [no clue what the lumen counting is, your question, Look it up]

    Down on the Fork crown of My Brompton,the light At 20", is pretty close to the ground,
    & I'm old and not going fast..

    >advantage it's close to the street level .. 'foot-candlepower'..another criteria <
    .
    But maybe better than the Lyt BN will be better , maybe bump up to a

    Busch & Müller Lumotec Lyt T Senso Plus, said to be ("30 lumen")vs BN("15lumen")

    If I'm not in my rain cape I can put another light on the handlebar..

    my other bike got upgraded to a Schmidt Edelux LED light IDK lumen counts


    they are like how fast can you ride and how light is your bike, numbers ..
    another, mine is better than yours competition, so common, here ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-24-13 at 12:55 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    1W seems OK....
    Watt rating is one of the least useful as it's the power input to a light, not the light output. For example, a 1W incandescent bulb would be useless as a bike light whereas a 1W LED could provide a useful, albeit rather low, amount of light because LEDs are much more efficient than incandescent lamps.

    Lumens is a measure of total visible light output. Accuracy and truthfulness of measurements vary. How that light is distributed is also important. Lux is a measure of the maximum brightness in a beam (Lumens per square meter). For a given Lumen output, a more tightly focused beam provides higher Lux. Taken together, Lux and Lumens give a descent idea of how a light might perform, but they still only convey the total light output and the brightness at the center of the spot, not how the light is distributed around the center of the beam.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    Watt rating is one of the least useful as it's the power input to a light, not the light output. For example, a 1W incandescent bulb would be useless as a bike light whereas a 1W LED could provide a useful, albeit rather low, amount of light because LEDs are much more efficient than incandescent lamps.

    Lumens is a measure of total visible light output. Accuracy and truthfulness of measurements vary. How that light is distributed is also important. Lux is a measure of the maximum brightness in a beam (Lumens per square meter). For a given Lumen output, a more tightly focused beam provides higher Lux. Taken together, Lux and Lumens give a descent idea of how a light might perform, but they still only convey the total light output and the brightness at the center of the spot, not how the light is distributed around the center of the beam.
    But again not all light manufactures rate their lumens honestly. The only way you can determine a light's effectiveness is to look at the comparisons sites I mentioned in my first post, unfortunately not all the lights on the market are shown, but at least most of the major brands and a couple of generic Chinese brands are.

    I do believe the wave of the future, started by Phillips, will indeed be aimed optics, so instead of a round flashlight beam requiring 3 to 4 times the power they will be more like motorcycle and car headlights where the beam is aimed flat, after all no one cares about seeing the tops of trees! And as a bonus as the light output drops but illumination increases your battery can be smaller and could last longer depending on how small the battery gets of course. This inaccurate reporting of lumens by manufactures is very much akin to the highly inaccurate wattages reported by consumer home electronics, a $350 Sony surround sound receiver in no way puts out 1200 watts of sound while only consuming 45 watts.

    By the way here is a 5,000 lumen light, probably closer to 1500 lumens due to the rather small battery required to run it either that or the run time is about 15 minutes: http://www.ebay.com/itm/SolarStorm-5...80939592837%26

    Here is a review of the cheaper 1800 lumen generic Chinese light, note his conclusion of what he things the actual lumens are: http://forums.roadbikereview.com/com...mp-269236.html

    Also I found out that several of the Generic Chinese brands I had time to look at all used the same battery, the one in the review used a 6400mah battery as did the one I showed in my first post as does the 5,000 lumen one I showed in this post. Meaning of course that the battery will not last anywhere near as long in the 5,000 light vs the review of the 1800 light. But these lights do represent a great value for the money, even if a particular light only lasts 2 or 3 years in the long run they would be cheaper than a MagicShine mostly because MagicShine replacement battery will cost more than the generic light but also the MagicShine life expectancy is not all that great (I don't consider 3 years as a great example of life expectancy when I have a light that is 6 times older than that!)

  8. #8
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    Watt rating is one of the least useful as it's the power input to a light, not the light output. For example, a 1W incandescent bulb would be useless as a bike light whereas a 1W LED could provide a useful, albeit rather low, amount of light because LEDs are much more efficient than incandescent lamps.

    Lumens is a measure of total visible light output. Accuracy and truthfulness of measurements vary. How that light is distributed is also important. Lux is a measure of the maximum brightness in a beam (Lumens per square meter). For a given Lumen output, a more tightly focused beam provides higher Lux. Taken together, Lux and Lumens give a descent idea of how a light might perform, but they still only convey the total light output and the brightness at the center of the spot, not how the light is distributed around the center of the beam.
    The one thing I would add is that for a lux measurement to be meaningful, you have to have the distance from the light to the target.

    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    But again not all light manufactures rate their lumens honestly. The only way you can determine a light's effectiveness is to look at the comparisons sites I mentioned in my first post, unfortunately not all the lights on the market are shown, but at least most of the major brands and a couple of generic Chinese brands are.
    I would say that most light output claims are inflated. However, since they all inflate them about the same, comparisons can still be made. Although you linked to MTBR's light shootout, pictures of beam shots can be misleading by themselves. MTBR does a good job of using the same camera settings for all of their light pictures but their exposure times are too long. To their credit, MTBR does use an integrating sphere to measure the true lumen output which can be found here. Based on my experience with the Magic Shine and generic Chinese Crees, I would put their output at about the same level...i.e. around 700 lumens. Which is about what you can get out of a overvolted MR11 halogen or their output is about the same as you could get 15 to 20 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    I do believe the wave of the future, started by Phillips, will indeed be aimed optics, so instead of a round flashlight beam requiring 3 to 4 times the power they will be more like motorcycle and car headlights where the beam is aimed flat, after all no one cares about seeing the tops of trees! And as a bonus as the light output drops but illumination increases your battery can be smaller and could last longer depending on how small the battery gets of course. This inaccurate reporting of lumens by manufactures is very much akin to the highly inaccurate wattages reported by consumer home electronics, a $350 Sony surround sound receiver in no way puts out 1200 watts of sound while only consuming 45 watts.
    I don't see aimed optics having much future at all. The wave of the future is the $20 Cree. I would say that "requiring 3 to 4 times the power" is overstating the difference. The MTBR beam shots certainly don't show that kind of difference. Even if the Phillips had "3 to 4 times the power", a $20 price tag on the Crees means you can purchase multiples and get to that level of power. The $200 price of the Phillips makes having more than one prohibitive.

    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    By the way here is a 5,000 lumen light, probably closer to 1500 lumens due to the rather small battery required to run it either that or the run time is about 15 minutes: http://www.ebay.com/itm/SolarStorm-5...80939592837%26
    An even better example of the wave of the future. These lights are incredibly small. Small enough that you could mount two on the bars and one on the helmet and approach Battle of Britain seachlight status. And, at $30 per unit, you'll have plenty of money left over for other stuff. Phillips and other more expensive lights just can't compete.

    If only they didn't look like 1950 ladies' glasses.
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  9. #9
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    20-200 Lumens for Blinkie (be seen lights)
    500-1000 Lumens (real lumens as discussed above) is about right for road riding. Above 1000 starts to get into blinding on-coming traffic territory.

  10. #10
    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    I have a Niterider MiNewt 600 cordless. I seldom use the 600 lumen setting. Most often I use the 400 lumen setting as I can see well enough and the battery lasts much longer. I have rather poor eyesight.

    I also have a Niterider MiNewt 150 mounted to my helmet for most night rides. I use it on the 100 setting. You might want to consider putting your Kong on your helmet. It's nice to have two lights in case one dies and a helmet light is nice when you want to see things that aren't straight ahead.

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
    Above 1000 starts to get into blinding on-coming traffic territory.
    The nice thing about light is it's easy to see where the light is going. In my experience, the position of a bicycle to the right (US) of the travel lane makes the possibility of blinding on-coming traffic extremely remote. If the light is a spot light with a narrow beam spread, the light is more intense across the beam...see "lux" discussed above...but the spread from side to side is very narrow. There is little possibility of getting all that intensity across 12 to 20 feet of road to "blind" someone. If the beam is a flood, the lux is low but the spreading of the beam is wider. There is even less possibility of having enough intensity to "blind" someone.

    "Blinding" light is also a rather strong term. Any motorist with even a small amount of night time driving experience has dealt with much brighter lights much closer to the driver and still been able to navigate. Even on darken roads and on-coming traffic running on high beams won't "blind" a driver. It might cause discomfort but it won't rob them of their sight.
    Stuart Black
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  12. #12
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    The one thing I would add is that for a lux measurement to be meaningful, you have to have the distance from the light to the target.



    I would say that most light output claims are inflated. However, since they all inflate them about the same, comparisons can still be made. Although you linked to MTBR's light shootout, pictures of beam shots can be misleading by themselves. MTBR does a good job of using the same camera settings for all of their light pictures but their exposure times are too long. To their credit, MTBR does use an integrating sphere to measure the true lumen output which can be found here. Based on my experience with the Magic Shine and generic Chinese Crees, I would put their output at about the same level...i.e. around 700 lumens. Which is about what you can get out of a overvolted MR11 halogen or their output is about the same as you could get 15 to 20 years ago.



    I don't see aimed optics having much future at all. The wave of the future is the $20 Cree. I would say that "requiring 3 to 4 times the power" is overstating the difference. The MTBR beam shots certainly don't show that kind of difference. Even if the Phillips had "3 to 4 times the power", a $20 price tag on the Crees means you can purchase multiples and get to that level of power. The $200 price of the Phillips makes having more than one prohibitive.



    An even better example of the wave of the future. These lights are incredibly small. Small enough that you could mount two on the bars and one on the helmet and approach Battle of Britain seachlight status. And, at $30 per unit, you'll have plenty of money left over for other stuff. Phillips and other more expensive lights just can't compete.

    If only they didn't look like 1950 ladies' glasses.
    I don't disagree with what you said, I too think all lights are overrated, my point was that some are a lot more than others, one look at the sites I gave that showed beam comparisons will reveal that. Whether nor not the exposure on the camera was too long or too short is irrelevant because either way on the exposure would have still showed us the same thing, some lights are brighter than others.

    My experience in a real life situation and not in a lab was that a 1200 lumen MagicShine was far dimmer than my Phillips Saferide, the MagicShine was much closer to my Cygolite MityCross 480!

    As far as cheap Cree lights getting on the market that has already happened, but LBS's and on line bike stores won't sell them because the profit margin is less, but on the practical side the low cost cree units do not have the reliability nor a company that will stand behind the product in case of warranty issues. Though I guess one could make the argument about why care about a warranty if you only pay $30 for the light.

    Can or will the major brands compete, right now they do quite well, later on? Only time will tell but I have a feeling in the long run the major brands will reduce their pricing structure too, maybe not as low a $30 but if a current quality name brand light is selling for $200 they could attempt to sell them for $75 and win the battle. It's funny but no one complains about paying $250 for a pair of Nike running shoes yet it only cost $4 to make that shoe, and another $45 or so in marketing, shipping and warehouse costs, the rest is pure profit, and yet for years there has been $30 to $60 running shoes and they have survived side by side...the same will be true with lights.

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    I have a 300 lumen Cygolite Metro and it is adequate for commuting (and, in my experience, outshines 90% of lights that I see at double centuries). It is plenty bright, but I wouldn't mind having extra lumens in the form of a wider beam.

    There are two drawbacks of going above 300. Standard headlight design consists of a LED bulb and a rechargeable lithium battery. Good LEDs don't differ much from one another and give to the tune of 60 lumen per watt. Lithium batteries are 120-150 Wh/kg. That means that a 300 lumen headlight with 3 hour life will require a 15 Wh battery that weighs at least 100 g. (And then there's the LED itself, casing, lens, etc.) Most lights are charged through a USB port, which, by design, can't deliver more than 2.5 W, and it would take 6 hours to charge a fully depleted light.

    If you go from 300 to 600 at 3 hour life, that gets you to 200 g and 12 hours to charge. Any further, and you end up with a light that's heavy as a brick and requires a dedicated charger because USB does not cut it any more.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Mr. Hairy Legs's Avatar
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    I find my Urban 550 to be adequate for dark trails, but running it on high only gets 1.5 hours at the most between charges, so I actually wouldn't mind something a little more powerful whose "medium" setting was in the 500-600 range and I could get by without charging every day.

    That Expilion 700 seems like a good deal, but I've heard the mount sucks (like most Cygolite mounts do).

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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    I have a 300 lumen Cygolite Metro and it is adequate for commuting (and, in my experience, outshines 90% of lights that I see at double centuries). It is plenty bright, but I wouldn't mind having extra lumens in the form of a wider beam.

    There are two drawbacks of going above 300. Standard headlight design consists of a LED bulb and a rechargeable lithium battery. Good LEDs don't differ much from one another and give to the tune of 60 lumen per watt. Lithium batteries are 120-150 Wh/kg. That means that a 300 lumen headlight with 3 hour life will require a 15 Wh battery that weighs at least 100 g. (And then there's the LED itself, casing, lens, etc.) Most lights are charged through a USB port, which, by design, can't deliver more than 2.5 W, and it would take 6 hours to charge a fully depleted light.

    If you go from 300 to 600 at 3 hour life, that gets you to 200 g and 12 hours to charge. Any further, and you end up with a light that's heavy as a brick and requires a dedicated charger because USB does not cut it any more.

    Most lights are not charged through a usb port. I have 3 bike lights plus a box full of blinkies, none of them are charged through usb ports. mini usb has a limited life cycle before it conks out. (I also go out of my way not to ever buy lights using usb charging only, because that's just dumb). Also, usb does deliver more than 2.5w, just not through usb 2.0, usb 3.0 delivers more than 2.5w, usb dedicated wall chargers for tablets and newer smartphones deliver around 10w or more.

    LED differs a lot. The newer leds are 150 lumens per watt. My newest light can be powered at 600 lumens for 5 hours on a 200 gram battery, which weights not a whole lot. That battery takes 4 hours to charge because it's not usb.

    If you need 300+ lumen for more than 5 hours, you should be looking at dynamo lights, not battery lights. For folks who want to avoid charging their bike lights everyday or every second day, dynamo lights is the way to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    Most lights are not charged through a usb port. I have 3 bike lights plus a box full of blinkies, none of them are charged through usb ports. mini usb has a limited life cycle before it conks out. (I also go out of my way not to ever buy lights using usb charging only, because that's just dumb). Also, usb does deliver more than 2.5w, just not through usb 2.0, usb 3.0 delivers more than 2.5w, usb dedicated wall chargers for tablets and newer smartphones deliver around 10w or more.

    LED differs a lot. The newer leds are 150 lumens per watt. My newest light can be powered at 600 lumens for 5 hours on a 200 gram battery, which weights not a whole lot. That battery takes 4 hours to charge because it's not usb.

    If you need 300+ lumen for more than 5 hours, you should be looking at dynamo lights, not battery lights. For folks who want to avoid charging their bike lights everyday or every second day, dynamo lights is the way to go.
    USB is de facto standard for midrange lights. Cheap lights use batteries because they are weak and they can last a while on standard batteries without burning a hole in your pocket (one AA battery is 3 Wh, 2 AA batteries will power a 60 lumen light for 6 hours.) High end lights require custom chargers. In the middle, it's all USB.

    Dedicated wall chargers can play fast and loose with wattage, but ultimately the problem is that you can't send much power over a standard USB cable without overheating. You need extra thick wires to handle the current. USB 3.0 is rated up to 4.5 W, which is better but still leaves much to be desired.

    150 lumens per watt is a spherical cow, you don't see those outside labs or theoretical papers. 60 lumens per watt is what you see in the real world.

    Yes, if the goal is to have 300+ lumen for 5+ hours, some kind of external power needs to be considered, like a dyno hub.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    USB is de facto standard for midrange lights. Cheap lights use batteries because they are weak and they can last a while on standard batteries without burning a hole in your pocket (one AA battery is 3 Wh, 2 AA batteries will power a 60 lumen light for 6 hours.) High end lights require custom chargers. In the middle, it's all USB.

    150 lumens per watt is a spherical cow, you don't see those outside labs or theoretical papers. 60 lumens per watt is what you see in the real world.
    http://www.fasttech.com/products/160...00-lumen-white
    http://www.lightmalls.com/red-color-...-18650-battery

    $51 and $30. Brighter than your "mid-range" usb lights and cheaper.

    I have the first one in the link, it puts those brand name "mid-range" lights to shame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    http://www.fasttech.com/products/160...00-lumen-white
    http://www.lightmalls.com/red-color-...-18650-battery

    $51 and $30. Brighter than your "mid-range" usb lights and cheaper.

    I have the first one in the link, it puts those brand name "mid-range" lights to shame.
    I also don't use it often enough, I like dynamo lights way more, I don't have to charge them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    http://www.fasttech.com/products/160...00-lumen-white
    http://www.lightmalls.com/red-color-...-18650-battery

    $51 and $30. Brighter than your "mid-range" usb lights and cheaper.

    I have the first one in the link, it puts those brand name "mid-range" lights to shame.
    First link mentions 4*18650 batteries. That's 14 Wh. They are claiming 2-3 hours of 1800 lumen on 14 Wh of charge (250 to 380 lumen/watt). That's thoroughly implausible. Either the brightness or the life expectancy is lower. And it apparently weighs 275 g. $51 is more than what I paid for my Cygolite, which weighs 110(ish) g.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    First link mentions 4*18650 batteries. That's 14 Wh. They are claiming 2-3 hours of 1800 lumen on 14 Wh of charge (250 to 380 lumen/watt). That's thoroughly implausible. Either the brightness or the life expectancy is lower. And it apparently weighs 275 g. $51 is more than what I paid for my Cygolite, which weighs 110(ish) g.
    Real world is 1200-1300 lumens. I'm in Canada, all cygolite metro series are $60 and above here. The point is: usb isn't the de facto standard for mid range lights, 60 lumens per watt is 5 years ago, there are much better deals than buying a cygolite or niterider (or any lights offered by your lbs). I haven't bought any lights from a bike shop since they just don't pass the lumens per dollar ratio, but I do go in from time to time to see what's being offered.

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    Senior Member HonestOne's Avatar
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    I use a headlamp that's rated 70Lumens and it does the job pretty well. I like it because it shines the light in the direction that I want to see, not just straight and I can use it for other things not cycling related (hiking, working on cars, etc...). If you are going to be moving pretty fast, anything over 100 lumens should be fine. I have a 130 lumen flashlight that I can focus the beam on and it is plenty bright, you can see a good hundred feet in front of you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    http://www.fasttech.com/products/160...00-lumen-white
    http://www.lightmalls.com/red-color-...-18650-battery

    $51 and $30. Brighter than your "mid-range" usb lights and cheaper.

    I have the first one in the link, it puts those brand name "mid-range" lights to shame.
    You realize that the lumens rating on those lights is theoretical, right? In reality they probably put out half that. They rate them at the theoretical maximum light output as stated by the manufacturer of the LED emitter, assuming that you get the best of the best, top bin select LEDs from the batch and drive them with a perfect driver circuit with a large, efficient heat sink. This is never the case.

    However, I do agree that those lights are the way to go these days. I can't think of a good reason to spend double or more for a name brand light. My current lights are a 5 year old MagicShine still running strong and a 1 year old, $35 "1600 lumen" ebay light with an Action LED lens on the front. They're both all I want in a light. I can run them on medium pretty much any time and be perfectly happy.
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    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    I do believe the wave of the future, started by Phillips, will indeed be aimed optics, so instead of a round flashlight beam requiring 3 to 4 times the power they will be more like motorcycle and car headlights where the beam is aimed flat, after all no one cares about seeing the tops of trees!
    I want to know more about "aimed optics". Cars have both low beam and high beam. Are we saying the high beam is aimed like the low beam? Or are we saying the high beam is not aimed the same and even aimed higher like the bicycle lights nowadays?

    I suspect the car high beam is meant to aim higher for the roads that do not have street lighting. That would be like a bicycle riding in the dark where the street lights are not particularly there for you. On a bicycle, it may not be practical to have both a high beam and low beam setting like a car. That would require two types of "aimed optics".

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    Not sure about lux to lumen conversions, but my dyno-hub driven lumotec (B&M) 30 lux headlight paints a very nicely bright window pane of light onto the road about 15+ feet ahead of me. I commute through quiet streets in Naperville, IL to the train station and this is plenty of light. A buddy has a similar lumotec with 60 lux (also dyno-hub driven) and that thing is amazingly bright.

    I highly recommend the dyno hub concept. No battery worries ever (I do carry backup battery powered head and tail lights in my backpack -but have never used them)

    I buy mine from peter white. Never shopped around because I like the helpful and friendly feel when dealing with them.
    Last edited by dbg; 10-25-13 at 08:29 AM.
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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    USB is de facto standard for midrange lights. Cheap lights use batteries because they are weak and they can last a while on standard batteries without burning a hole in your pocket (one AA battery is 3 Wh, 2 AA batteries will power a 60 lumen light for 6 hours.) High end lights require custom chargers. In the middle, it's all USB.
    I've got to agree with mrbubbles on USB. USB is relatively new and isn't any kind of standard, de facto or otherwise, especially when you consider what the market has to offer. Midrange lights aren't in the $60 to $100 range anymore. That's high end compared to what's available for $20. Even weak "cheap" lights that run on AA are expensive (and worthless, IMO) compared what's available on the market. The Cree's that are currently available put out 10 times the light that the "cheap" lights put out for about half the cost. There's a little more bother in charging and maintaining them but that's minimal.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    150 lumens per watt is a spherical cow, you don't see those outside labs or theoretical papers. 60 lumens per watt is what you see in the real world.
    Well, heck, my old overvolted 12V MR16 put out 60 lumens per watt. I may have to dust them off again
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