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  1. #1
    Senior Member blacksapphire08's Avatar
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    Best Rear Light for $25?

    I didnt see a "Best tail light thread for under..." so I figured id start a new thread to ask. Im interested in getting a tail light for my Trek for the purpose of riding on the road and trail. I know Cateye is a well regarded brand the Rapid 3 seems like a solid light for $25. Would you guys recommend this light or something better at this price point?

  2. #2
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    My girlfriend has the Cateye Rapid 3 and it is a solid bright light at that price point.

  3. #3
    Senior Member pavemen's Avatar
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    My Flare 3 is super bright and was $22 or $25 at the LBS, if IIRC.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Princeton Tec Swerve is very bright. The mounting system has worked very well for me. Swerve
    Ride more. Fret less.

  5. #5
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Rapid 3 is my fav. One on each seatstay. Only gripe is the short runtime on steady (be better if it was half as bright for twice as long).

  6. #6
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I'm sure there was exactly this thread recently. Anyway, what a lot of people said is that there is a HUGE jump in rear light performance from $25 to $35. There are a ton of very good lights in the $25 to $35 range. Unless you absolutely can't afford it, it's well worth spending another few bucks and get something like the Cygolite Hotshot, the PDW Danger Zone or Radbot, and several others, all < $35.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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  8. #8
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    Planet Bike Superflash Turbo. Bright day or night. $22 shipped from Ebay, very pleased so far. If you order, just make sure you get the updated version with the rubber button instead of the hard to press plastic button.

  9. #9
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    A few bucks more, but I got this: Cygolite Hotshot
    Last edited by NurseWizzle; 06-05-14 at 01:27 AM. Reason: Changed link
    Silver Electra Townie 21D // My Profiles: Strava // MapMyRide // MyFitnessPal


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  10. #10
    Senior Member blacksapphire08's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NurseWizzle View Post
    A few bucks more, but I got this: Cygolite Hotshot
    I like how that one can charged via USB but there are quite a few reviews on Amazon questioning its longevity. The only complaints ive seen about the Cateyes is that they're not very weather resistant? Not a huge deal to me since I ride in dry conditions (no fenders). There are almost too many choices lol.

    If you had to pick between the PDW Dangerzone, Radbot 1000, Planet Bike Superflash, or a Cateye whats the best one? Or are they all equally good?

  11. #11
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I've got a Hotshot, and it's definitely nice and durable, but I don't particularly like its extremely focussed beam. I'm thinking about getting a Danger Zone instead.

    In the winter when I'm riding at night a lot, I use a Magicshine which is way brighter than any of these and runs off my headlight pack, for $30, but if you have to buy it with the battery pack it's not only huge but way outside the budget.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Rechargeable is good, but I like using AAAs. In flash mode on the Swerve I get 1000-1500 miles out of a set of AAAs before the light starts dimming. The light employs two so-called 1/2 Watt LEDs with lenses that produce a fairly narrow beam which is what makes it so bright. It needs to be aimed properly for max effectiveness which is the case with many of these taillights. Hanging off a loop on a backpack or seat bag won't usually cut it.
    Ride more. Fret less.

  13. #13
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    If you get that much time out of a pair of AAAs, either the light isn't very bright, or you're running the thing until the LEDs are barely glowing.

    There's no free lunch. Long run time comes at the expense of brightness. Period. I ride on 50 MPH 2 lane roads with no shoulders in all weather. I'm not willing to ride with a wimpy light in the dark in a heavy fog with people approaching me from behind at 55 MPH.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    If you get that much time out of a pair of AAAs, either the light isn't very bright, or you're running the thing until the LEDs are barely glowing...
    I gave miles, not time. Time would depend on how fast I ride. Honestly, there is some percentage of that that is group rides where I didn't have it on....and I use Energizer Lithium Advance or Ultimate batteries...

    Low duty cycle flashes can be just as bright as high duty flashes but consume proportionately less power. Also the beam width/pattern will trade off width for brightness. Anyway, IMO, the Swerve isn't the brightest, but it's better than the Planet Bike Superflash, and much better than the NiteRider Cherrybomb. I use it in daylight.
    Last edited by Looigi; 06-05-14 at 02:00 PM.
    Ride more. Fret less.

  15. #15
    Senior Member blacksapphire08's Avatar
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    I stopped by my LBS after work and picked up a Cateye Rapid 3. They had others including the cygolight hotshot which was quite bright but it was very directional and hard to see from the side. If they come out with a version with side lights that would be awesome.

  16. #16
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I also say get the Cygolite Hotshot, even though it's more. If you are riding with other rides who will be close behind you, you will want to put it on steady, because the flashing modes are too bright for eyes that are close.

    In fact, I've decided not to put my lights on flash at all. It's weird for an American, but that's what I like.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  17. #17
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    I know you already bought a light, but for others reading along I recommend the Radbot 1000 in this price range.

  18. #18
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    I have a Planet Bike Superflash that I'm pretty happy with. Batteries seem to last a long time. I know this because I've accidentally left the thing on when I got back home from a ride more than once.

    Oh, sorry, you already bought one. My bad.

  19. #19
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, I've been using rechargeable batteries in my SuperFlash. They work well. I've stopped buying disposable AA's and AAA's. Whenever my disposable batteries run down, I replace them with rechargeables. I've gone through far too many disposable batteries in my life. It's time to stop using them. I still use disposable 9V batteries in my smoke detectors.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacksapphire08 View Post
    I like how that one can charged via USB but there are quite a few reviews on Amazon questioning its longevity. The only complaints ive seen about the Cateyes is that they're not very weather resistant? Not a huge deal to me since I ride in dry conditions (no fenders). There are almost too many choices lol.

    If you had to pick between the PDW Dangerzone, Radbot 1000, Planet Bike Superflash, or a Cateye whats the best one? Or are they all equally good?
    They are all good with their own pluses and minuses. In the end you will be fine with any of them. If you want to upgrade in the future there are some more expensive models with USB charging, better side visibility, etc. You can also use two lights, one with a focused beam and one with good side visibility. In this case consider running one on steady.

  21. #21
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Occasionally, I mount my Cygolite and my Planet Bike side by side. They blink differently, which might be an even better attention grabber than one flashing light. Sometimes I run the Cygolite on steady and the Planet Bike on flash. That's another unusual sight to see.

    But usually, I just use the Cygolite on steady, all by itself.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  22. #22
    Senior Member blacksapphire08's Avatar
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    Alright so I guess it's back to the drawing board since the strap already broke on my Cateye. The part that allows you to rotate it vertical or horizontally depending in how you mount it doesnt work and now the light just flops downword. Brilliant design by Cateye and I wont be buying anymore of their products.

    So I need something that has a better mounting system, preferably one that you can mount to a rear rack. I cant find pictures of the mounts for most of these lights.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Planet Bike has a good rear rack mount: Taillight Rack Bracket They don't give you the metal part that typically connects the rack deck to the light/reflector, but the rack typically comes with one, you can buy one from them separately, get one off an old reflector, etc. Please note that the Portland Design Works mounts are identical to the PB ones, so you can mix and match.

  24. #24
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    For what it's worth, I've been using rechargeable batteries in my SuperFlash. They work well. I've stopped buying disposable AA's and AAA's. Whenever my disposable batteries run down, I replace them with rechargeables. I've gone through far too many disposable batteries in my life. It's time to stop using them. I still use disposable 9V batteries in my smoke detectors.
    I think using rechargables is a good plan. When you're using disposables, there's a temptation to get all the life you can out of them and you may run until the light is dimmer than it really should be. With rechargables you just swap out every weekend and recharge the ones you took out, so the light should always be at maximum brightness.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  25. #25
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by golphinn View Post
    Planet Bike Superflash Turbo. Bright day or night. $22 shipped from Ebay, very pleased so far. If you order, just make sure you get the updated version with the rubber button instead of the hard to press plastic button.
    They're good lights, but I prefer the Radbot 1000 for about the same price. I like its pattern better, and it doesn't need tape or a rubber band to keep from falling off the mount like the PBSF (and clones) do.

    That said, I generally just get the PBSF clones for $5, and I run two of them so I have some redundancy.

    The only reason I might want something even better would be to be even more obvious during the day -- but at night these things are more than enough for my needs.

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