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  1. #1
    mop
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    Most reliable bike lights?

    For some reason I have an tendency to break my lights. Either the switch goes dead, from what I'm not sure, maybe condensation, or the cables fail thanks to them being thrown in my bags.

    But whatever the case, what are the toughest most reliable bike lights you know of?

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    If you aren't looking for something like this, that's cool, just ignore my post. But if you're looking for the most reliable bike lights, my dynamo light (energy is produced by the wheel as it spins) is the most reliable light I've used. All battery issues go away, it's not being taken on and off the bike (it bolts onto your bike just like your other components - derailler, handlebars, etc).

    In 2008 dynamo lights were kind of pathetic. Here's 2 lights from then -



    But here's what you can buy now (2014 Schmidt Edelux II, similar to the cheaper Cyo Premium) -


    Note that while they have a really, really great beam pattern for road riding (a shaped beam like a car headlight), that's not saying they're great for mountain biking. The Phillips Saferide I have seems pretty reliable to, also has a shaped beam, but short battery life (only 1.5 hours on high apparently) and to get the latest model (apparently they're discontinuing them as well) you have to order from overseas.

    Are you looking for mountain biking or road riding?

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    A waterproof battery flashlight mounted on your bike.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    In 2008 dynamo lights were kind of pathetic. Here's 2 lights from then -

    But here's what you can buy now (2014 Schmidt Edelux II, similar to the cheaper Cyo Premium) -
    Neither of the beamshots are an accurate representation of their brightness in real life. The photos are oversaturated and misleading.

  5. #5
    mop
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    How many lumens is that Schmidt? I've thought of dyno's, but then I'd need a new front wheel. And the riding I do is kinda like dirt road, on road, in city, in middle of nowhere type riding all in the same ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    Neither of the beamshots are an accurate representation of their brightness in real life. The photos are oversaturated and misleading.
    Yes, they probably are. But look at one in action and you'll see that they do throw off a lot of light.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mop View Post
    How many lumens is that Schmidt? I've thought of dyno's, but then I'd need a new front wheel. And the riding I do is kinda like dirt road, on road, in city, in middle of nowhere type riding all in the same ride.
    They never publish lumens, instead they use Lux as the measure. It is not the same. I'll let someone else tell you what it really means, or you can look it up. I found it pretty annoying that I couldn't measure my 600 lumen battery light against my 80 lux dynamo light. The 80 lux looks brighter to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    Neither of the beamshots are an accurate representation of their brightness in real life. The photos are oversaturated and misleading.
    I've never seen online pics that are true representations of the amount of light being put out, whether battery or dynamo, owning the battery model of the above light I'd say it's less bright in real life but covers the same area.

    But then it gets complicated, because the more light your light puts out, the more your eyes adjust to it. I own about $1,500 in lighting, and the lights I actually use road riding are the shaped-beam-style lights from above, preferring them to my other very expensive battery lights that put out way more lumens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mop View Post
    How many lumens is that Schmidt? I've thought of dyno's, but then I'd need a new front wheel. And the riding I do is kinda like dirt road, on road, in city, in middle of nowhere type riding all in the same ride.
    I'm not sure how many lumens, it's most likely around 200-300. Lighting gets complicated - you'd think more lumens == better, right? But I own around $1,500 worth of bike lighting, and weirdly it's not true. Once you get to a certain point (around 200-300 lumens, actually) beam pattern becomes far more important. Your eyes adjust to whatever the brightest light source is around you - partially lit streets with streetlamps are a real pain, it's actually a lot easier where there's no external lights because your eyes adjust to the light the street lamp is putting out and you can't see the road that's not lit up then.

    Anyways, these lights create a shaped beam that:
    1. Doesn't have a hotspot
    2. Is even throughout the beam - technically it's brighter at the top of the beam, but on the ground it means that you get equal light coming back to your eye from far down the road that you get from right in front of the bike
    3. Doesn't throw light up into the trees and into other stuff - it helps keep your eyes from adjusting to much to a lot of ambient light
    4. Lets you see around your easier - doesn't give you the "tunnel vision" effect as much where you could only see what's in the beam of the light

    It's not the cheapest to get a dynamo, like you said you have to get a new front wheel with a dynamo hub built into it (well you can get a bottle dynamo that rubs against the wheel to, but I don't like those myself). So a battery light can make for financial sense.

    But for a light that always just works (like the headlights in your car, except they never burn out - they're always there, always available, always work) a dynamo is great.

    I asked about the kind of roads because a shaped beam is meant for surface that are relatively flat. If you're mountain biking through the woods going over logs, whizzing around tight corners on hills, and need to light up the air above you to avoid branches, a shamed beam isn't very good for that (though they make rounder beams for mountain bikes as well). But if whatever you're biking on isn't worse than a curvy road is a shaped beam works very well - dirt road, city road, bike trail, etc. (To be clear they work great on hills, etc, just not as well if you're jumping logs and doing 90 degree turns.)

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    mop
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    How do you mount the cords when using a suspension fork?

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    I went with the NiteRider Lumina 700 Cordless USB LED Headlight

    700 lumen is awesome!! It is small. No cords. The mount holds very well. Battery life has been great so far. The flash mode is scarey bright.

    40-1351-NCL-ANGLE.JPG

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    Quote Originally Posted by Livedb View Post
    I went with the NiteRider Lumina 700 Cordless USB LED Headlight

    700 lumen is awesome!! It is small. No cords. The mount holds very well. Battery life has been great so far. The flash mode is scarey bright.

    40-1351-NCL-ANGLE.JPG
    I notice that you're not the OP. (Edit: I didn't mean that to sound cranky, it was unclear from your post just mentioning that you aren't the OP saying you went with this light for the OP's specific needs.)

    Of all the brands, I think #1 for failing is obviously the cheap chinese knockoffs, but in more name brand types I think Niterider it probably the one I read about on the forums failing. If I wasn't getting a dynamo, and wanted reliable, I'd go with Light and Motion, or my Dinotte lights seemed pretty well made as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    But look at one in action and you'll see that they do throw off a lot of light.
    I've seen them in action and I've owned them (I've relegated them to my least used bikes in favour of my own DIYs), that's why I said the beamshots are not a good representation of how they look in real life.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Of all the brands, I think #1[/URL] for failing is obviously the cheap chinese knockoffs,
    The reason they fail is because some people insist on spending the least possible, if your light is $20 and puts out 700 lumens, your light is disposable. Spend double or triple that from a Chinese vendor and you're getting something much more reliable and better made.

  14. #14
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mop View Post
    For some reason I have an tendency to break my lights. Either the switch goes dead, from what I'm not sure, maybe condensation, or the cables fail thanks to them being thrown in my bags.

    But whatever the case, what are the toughest most reliable bike lights you know of?
    I've had good success with flashlights. But I've always mounted them on my helmet so I can point
    the light where I want to instead of the handle bar or fork(dynamo) deciding where the light should
    be aimed. Maybe as a result; the light is not subjected to a lot of vibrations.

    This is one of the earliest flashlights I got; from Costco - 100 lumens,3 pack w/ batteries, $18.
    In the video I dropped the light twice on a tile floor to see how it handles vibrations. At the same
    time I had another light submerged in water to test it's "water resistant" claim. It's been updated
    a few times; I think the current model is now 250 lumens - same price.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Bfx...IoDLA&index=76

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    that's why I said the beamshots are not a good representation of how they look in real life.
    Correction. Some people are able to capture a beamshot that's more accurate.

    For example, I have a B&M Eyc.

    This is peterawfulwhitecycle's overexposed beamshot.



    This is a way more accurate beamshot of how it looks in real life and how I see the light.




    The german poster who took that shot also posted a beamshot of the cyo premium, way different than how peterwhitecycle decides to present the beamshots. This is why I do not take peterwhitecycle seriously, nor do I take people who uses his beamshots seriously, cause that's just not how the beams of those lights look in real life.
    Busch + Müller Eyc | MTB-News.de

    Quote Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
    I've had good success with flashlights.
    I've had great successes with flashlights as bike lights, starting out with P7 leds and Cree MCE before retiring flashlights in favour of dynamo lighting. Super inexpensive, very difficult to break, no wires, and you can take it with you and use it as a flashlight. My flashlights are for household use and everyday carry.

    The only one I still use is a red Cree XP-G flashlight as a tailllight from time to time, 90 lumens of bright red light.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    I've seen them in action and I've owned them (I've relegated them to my least used bikes in favour of my own DIYs), that's why I said the beamshots are not a good representation of how they look in real life.
    I don't think the beamshots are completely accurate, but disagree that they're quite as wildly innaccurate as you say. I just don't have anything more accurate to post, and they show the idea that I've seen myself in real life - modern dynamo lights are pretty good. In my opinion, they're good enough for all road riding, except perhaps new, black, and wet pavement.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    The reason they fail is because some people insist on spending the least possible, if your light is $20 and puts out 700 lumens, your light is disposable. Spend double or triple that from a Chinese vendor and you're getting something much more reliable and better made.
    Totally true, but my point was that Niterider hasn't seemed like a very reliable brand (though I'm sure more reliable than the Chinese knockoffs).

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post

    The german poster who took that shot also posted a beamshot of the cyo premium, way different than how peterwhitecycle decides to present the beamshots. This is why I do not take peterwhitecycle seriously, nor do I take people who uses his beamshots seriously, cause that's just not how the beams of those lights look in real life.
    Busch + Müller Eyc | MTB-News.de



    I've had great successes with flashlights as bike lights, starting out with P7 leds and Cree MCE before retiring flashlights in favour of dynamo lighting. Super inexpensive, very difficult to break, no wires, and you can take it with you and use it as a flashlight. My flashlights are for household use and everyday carry.

    The only one I still use is a red Cree XP-G flashlight as a tailllight from time to time, 90 lumens of bright red light.
    Thanks for posting that, though there's 2 problems there:

    1. That's not how much Ixon IQ looks exactly either (the Ixon IQ is supposed to be the battery version of the Cyo Premium) because he has the light pointed to far down. It should be up further, and if it was it would have further throw.

    2. The limited dynamic range of the camera makes it looks like he's riding in a tunnel (aka can't see outside the light beam area), whereas usually I can see off to the sides decently with mine.

    I took some pics myself here that are somewhat closer to what I see, but I couldn't get the camera to reproduce it completely - the light appears to bright in the pic, and the shadows look darker than they actually are in real life -
    Ixon IQ Premium Bike Light may be the best Bike Light I've ever seen (Lumotec Cyo Pr)

    Here the real color is not that white (it has a bit of a purplish tint to it), it's not quite that bright, but it does far more accurately display the much further "throw" of the light if it's decently aimed than that other site does. Also, the shadows outside the light beam are not as dark as they appear in the pic -


    Here I accidentally aimed the light a little to low myself, and it's tilted to the side and bit, and again the shadows are not as dark as they appear in the pic -


    It's really hard to get an accurate pic. I post Peter White's pics because they are comparable and give a general idea. I do wish it was possible to get more accurate pics.

    IxonIqShadowsBrightened_smaller.jpg

    Ixon_IQ_Premium_1.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    I post Peter White's pics because they are comparable and give a general idea.
    No they are not. Highly incorrect on both counts. If people buy dynamo lights on the basis of the beamshots posted by peterwhite, they are going to be awfully disappointed, especially if they're coming from a 1000 lumen setup.

    I just don't like the german dynamo lights as much as you do, and you do post a lot on this forum defending them.

    So I will say this for the OP in terms of reliability:

    Spend over $200: buy a dynamo setup, or light & motion seca series for ultra brightness.
    Spend less than $30: get yourself a 700 lumen flashlight.
    In between $50-$200: anything from cygolite.

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    I've had good luck with an old MagicShine on the bar for three years and an Expilion 250 on the helmet for two years. I run two Planet Bike Superflash and a Cygolight Hotshot on the back. I've not had any problems with any of them. They are used for recreational rides in the winter. I ride after work several times per week, year round, weather permitting.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    No they are not. Highly incorrect on both counts. If people buy dynamo lights on the basis of the beamshots posted by peterwhite, they are going to be awfully disappointed, especially if they're coming from a 1000 lumen setup.

    I just don't like the german dynamo lights as much as you do, and you do post a lot on this forum defending them.

    So I will say this for the OP in terms of reliability:

    Spend over $200: buy a dynamo setup, or light & motion seca series for ultra brightness.
    Spend less than $30: get yourself a 700 lumen flashlight.
    In between $50-$200: anything from cygolite.
    There's not a lot to add, I just don't agree with you. I was awfully disappointed buying battery lights, like I said I own about $1500 worth, including a Seca 900 and Seca 1400. I don't think Peter White's shots are the best, but they illustrate the reality that dynamo lighting is a lot better than it was years ago.

    It was my experience being disappointed by non-shaped beam lights that kept claiming more and more lumens, and that they were supposedly better and better but mostly just seemed to cost more and still not quite be good enough, before using both Seca's they all seemed worse than the good shaped beam lights available today. Finally I reached 1600 lumens - running the narrower Seca 900 on high and the much wider Seca 1400 on medium, and I finally had better light than I have with a decent shaped beam light. Problem was it was to bright and no on wanted to ride with me - it was blinding if a biker in my group looked back, pedestrians would clear off the trail and yell at me, and cars seemed ticked off.

    Coming from a 900 lumen setup with the Seca 900, I wasn't "awfully disappointed" when I get a Cyo mostly because of Peter White's beam shots. It wasn't as bright in the city as his shots make it look (it does actually look like his shots when you're on a path with no ambient lighting), but it was far less disappointing than receiving how powered battery lights and being disappointed again and again from them.
    Last edited by PaulRivers; 05-23-14 at 02:53 AM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    A waterproof battery flashlight mounted on your bike.
    +1 Zebra Light makes some really robust lights. I use one with the new Fenix mount and it's solid, waterproof and plenty bright. Decent runtime too.

    As for cycle specific, Lupine has a pretty good reputation, as well as DiNotte.

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    If you use Peter White's beamshots as a reference against each other, you can probably decide which type of beam you like. He does make an effort to give you an apples to apples comparison. But in real use they just don't look like that. I've tried shooting myself with my Cyo Premium, and it just doesn't look like what I see. Your eyes are much more sensitive than a camera sensor or film at adjusting to peripheral and contrasting light.

    That being said, I was skeptical of the dynamo lights, expecting to be disappointed that they don't perform nearly as well as the beamshots suggest. I bought the whole setup anyway and here I am defending them because they really are good.

  23. #23
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    No they are not. Highly incorrect on both counts. If people buy dynamo lights on the basis of the beamshots posted by peterwhite, they are going to be awfully disappointed, especially if they're coming from a 1000 lumen setup....
    That's just the thing I'm worried about. One of the things I don't like about the available beam shots is that when people post photos done on light colored surfaces, this makes the lamp seem brighter than it really is. That said I'm not sure I would be pleased with the output of a dynamo ( Cyo premium ) lamp when used on the typical dark asphalt road surfaces that I usually ride on. Sadly the only way I'm going to know for sure is to buy one and hope for the best.

  24. #24
    Senior Member metz1295's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Livedb View Post
    I went with the NiteRider Lumina 700 Cordless USB LED Headlight

    700 lumen is awesome!! It is small. No cords. The mount holds very well. Battery life has been great so far. The flash mode is scarey bright.

    40-1351-NCL-ANGLE.JPG
    the cost of this light on amazon is right in my wheel house. any chance you could post a pic of it in action?

  25. #25
    Senior Member metz1295's Avatar
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    nevermind. ordered it.

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