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  1. #1
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    Will you consider about Lumens while purchasing lights?

    Really confusing about the lumens. Does it really the most important feature of a cycling light? If it is, how much is enough?

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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claystevens View Post
    Really confusing about the lumens. Does it really the most important feature of a cycling light? If it is, how much is enough?
    Stay away from junky battery operated lights, that the cyclist has to constantly throw out dead batteries to buy new ones'. Batteries like Every Ready, Energizer, or Duracell, you should stay away from.

    Buy a bike light, rated in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lumens

    They are usually USB-Rechargeable.

    I am presently using a headlight that is rated at 600 Lumens. I get honks from some motorists', that my light is too bright. There are some lights available, that are 3600 lumens.

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    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    In my case I prefer dynamo powered lights and hence my new light is a Busch & Muller Lumotec IQ2 Luxos U which is rated at 70/90 Lux but the key aspect is the design of the lens. It is designed to focus the light, not into the sky and the local neighboured but down the road where I am riding



    Regards
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    Lumen Lying is the bike light's equivalent of Brighter Brights/Whiter Whites. It's been done for years, and it's only getting worse. Focus the light down to a pencil straw, and you've got the biggest numbers around. It may be useless for cycling, but that's how to win the marketing game.

    If possible, go look at lights in person. Second choice is to compare beam shots (there's a number of sites out there, just don't compare across sites). Third choice is to trust a brand that you, or a reliable friend, know has produced good lights in the past. Retailers down-select on brands for you, and many will add a "see" or "be seen" label to each light.

    It's probably a good idea to figure out what you're looking for before you start shopping. One-piece light and battery? Long run time? Super-duper bright? Bar mount? Helmet mount? Dyno light that's always there and never runs out of battery power?

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    how the beam is spread matters ,

    night riding in the forest is a different use than commuting in a city.

    My recent buy: the compact bright B&M Eyc headlight, and linetec toplight, Powered by a shimano hub dynamo,

    The headlight is close to the ground , which shows potholes as shadows better , higher up will shine further ..

    but there is the old foot-candlepower ratio, further the light has to reach he more diffuse
    and less bright on the ground.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-03-14 at 10:58 AM.

  6. #6
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    Stay away from junky battery operated lights, that the cyclist has to constantly throw out dead batteries to buy new ones. Batteries like Eveready, Energizer, or Duracell, you should stay away from.
    Uh, that's the battery, not the light. Rechargeable batteries are available in all std. sizes from multiple battery manufacturers - use 'em over and over and over - and there are some beautifully made, high quality headlamps and tail lights that fit them.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  7. #7
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by claystevens View Post
    ...how much is enough?
    Posters in a recent thread suggested 200 lumen is more than adequate and 3600 is not enough.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  8. #8
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    It depends a lot on your route. Some people ride in areas where the pavement is excellent and there is street lighting, so a 50 lumen flasher is enough because they just need it to get seen by drivers.

    My route is on 60 MPH roads with 2 lanes and no shoulders, in pitch black through rural areas, and 4 miles of it is over gravel road with hills (25 MPH descents) and pothole minefields that pop up from one day to the next. I don't like to ride with less than 400 lumens or so, and I prefer about 800 when I'm in the rough patches.

    My preferred light is the one sold on eBay currently labelled as a "2000 lumen bicycle light" - I would pick one with a smooth reflector, those are very spotty, then search for "magicshine lens" and buy that too. Both together are < $30. The lens widens out the spot so that you have a good pattern for covering the full lane of the road and simulates a cutoff to some extent so more light is going onto the road than into driver's eyes.

    The "2000 lumen" lights are actually about 1000 lumens. Any of the cheap Chinese lights, figure they actually put out about half what they say. More major name brands typically give more realistic numbers, but you should be able to find a review that will tell you on those. The cheap Chinese lights are a moving target so any reviews aren't going to be of much use.

    I don't mind the cheap lights at all. You do have to treat them with some care - the wires are not very heavy duty, for instance, so I've bought extension cords as accessories and used them as donors when the cord attached to the light fell apart, cutting one end off the extension cord and soldering it to the light. I only had to do that once. Now I use a short Y adapter and connect and disconnect that, so when it dies I just replace it, they're about $3. I have also had a charger die on me, and bought a replacement from Action LED Lights which is of much higher quality ($20). I have not had a light head die on me yet. I have had a battery seem to die but it was just full of water - most of the cheap lights aren't really waterproof. In that case I peeled off the plastic, dried it out, re-wrapped it with electrical tape and it's been back in service for a year.

    If there's more budget, go to Action LED Lights and look around there. I would say go for Gemini, it's probably still a good brand, but they're now made in China like most everything else.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  9. #9
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    ...I am presently using a headlight that is rated at 600 Lumens. I get honks from some motorists', that my light is too bright. There are some lights available, that are 3600 lumens.
    I can't help but wonder why you think someone honking a horn has anything to do with you using a bike light. Even if this were true, why would someone driving a car with 4000 lumen worth of front lighting complain about a single 600 lumen lamp? I drive for a living. If I blared my horn at every car with SUPER bright lights ( shining directly in my face ) I'd have calluses on my hand from beating on the horn all night.

    I used to get cars toot their horn at me every once in a while when riding my bike. Judging from the smiling faces and waves I figured it was someone just trying to say, "Cool bike/lights, I can relate". Matter of fact on a couple occasions people have wound down their windows and actually told me how much they like my bike/lights. On the other hand if I'm riding on a road with two way traffic with no other cars around and an approaching car flashes his lights; that I usually interpret as my light is too bright. HOWEVER... sometimes people turn their high beams on not because they are being blinded but because they want to see something strange on the side of the road ( ie...you with a bike / light ).

    Matter of fact I used to get people turn their high beams on ( on approach ) all the time. Now I turn my lamps on high ( in response ) and immediately get the vehicles to low-beam. Rarely does anyone continue with high-beams. ( *note, usually I am only running about 300-500 lumen, except for going down hill. )

  10. #10
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    After you narrow it down to the type of riding you do and the range of lumens and beam spread, next is local support. Get a light that is in your area. Toll free number and direct access to manufacturer and not the big box retailer.

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    Lumen Lying is the bike light's equivalent of Brighter Brights/Whiter Whites. It's been done for years, and it's only getting worse. Focus the light down to a pencil straw, and you've got the biggest numbers around. It may be useless for cycling, but that's how to win the marketing game.
    That's a misrepresentation and a misunderstanding of the measurement. I agree that the lumen output is inflated but lumen output is a measure of how much light that the unit can produce. Focusing it doesn't change the lumen output. Focusing a light can change the lux (lumens/unit area) and would be another place for overstating the output of the light but, thankfully, most manufacturers haven't caught on to that. Manufacturers of generator lighting do use lux and, I think, are playing fast and loose with the numbers. A lux measurement depends on the output of the lamp (the lumens) and the distance from the lamp to a target. Most of the generator light people give lux measurements but don't tell you what the distance is. Without knowing how far away from the lamp they are making their measurement, the number given is meaningless. A 600 lumen lamp with a 1" aperture could have a lux of 39 lumens/sq meter or it could have a lux of 127,000,000 depending on where you measure it. One number is useful, the other isn't but if you didn't know the distance to the target, you wouldn't know which is which. (10 m to the target in the former, 0 m to the target in the latter case.)

    claystevens: Generally speaking, most of the LED lamps use Cree emitters. They are going to have 600 to 700 lumen output per emitter, no matter how many lumens they claim. If the lamp has one emitter, the lumen output for an LED is in that range. If they have 2 emitters, they will have twice that output. 600 lumens is a pretty good light even with the reflector you find on the high power least expensive (that's a real light not the "be seen" lights) rechargeable battery lights. It will light up the road well enough to actually see where you are going and will actually let you be seen by motorists. Most of these lights are cheap enough to have 2 or 3 without breaking the bank (~$20). They are cheaper than most "be seen" lights and far better.

    High output battery powered lights have some distinct advantages over dynamo (aka generator) lights as well. First and foremost is cost. For $20, you can have enough light to see by and be seen with. For $40 (two lights), you can have enough to be mistaken for a motorcycle. For $30 (three lights), you can have enough to be mistaken for a train. For $40, you are getting into silly territory Compare that to a generator system that requires a generator, a light and wiring. You are usually looking at $200 to $400 of investment for a single lamp for a single bike.

    Battery lights are more portable so you can swap them from bike to bike if you have that need or you can loan them to a friend (keep at least one for yourself). You also don't have to do any modifications to the bike. The light mounts are relatively easy to mount by using an o-ring. When you don't need the light, you don't have to put it on. Generator lights need the generator and lamp that are permanently mounted to the bike, although the light doesn't have to be. If you use a hub mounted generator, you have to have a new front wheel. Sidewall generators are available but their drag is much more.

    In all fairness, battery lights do have some issues. The battery needs care and feeding which some people find highly onerous. It's not all that bad but it's something you have to think about. Batteries have limited run times. 3 hours of run on high output is about par for the course so plan accordingly. Either don't ride longer than that or get another battery pack or run at a lower setting.

    Bottom line: If you want to start riding at night without too much investment, start with high output battery powered lights. You won't have to invest too much just to try it out. If you find that you need more run time or you don't like tending batteries or, heaven forbid, you find that you don't like night riding, you aren't out too much money.
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  12. #12
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    I have this one. http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...t=#post4289462 I use it primarily as a daytime flasher. I have ridden at night and find the shaped beam does a good job.

  13. #13
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    I be pushing a pair like this most of the time. These are rated at 1600 each. One thing for sure, everthing in front of me know I am there!! Also, with at least two strong rear lights..




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  14. #14
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    If it ever warms up and melts the ice around here, I'll give my review of my new dynamo light vs. the battery lights I've been using until now. One is similar to cehowardGS, the other is a Lezyne Super Drive. One thing I'll say for certain, the two different battery lights are all metal, the B&M Cyo is plastic but still cost a lot more money. Plastic is lighter, but I think the metal lights will take a beating that would destroy my B&M. I won't comment on the beam because I haven't done a side by side yet. I have all of 10 minutes use of the Cyo so far and it wasn't completely dark.

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