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Old 08-28-14, 09:20 PM   #1
PoorInRichfield
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Lightbulb Tail Light Solutions That Don't Look Like Dookie

With the days getting shorter as Fall approaches, I've been looking for a new tail light for the bikes I bought this past year. However, my brain has this issue with pretty much every tail light I've looked at: They aren't very aesthetically pleasing when it's not dark out.

I know, I know... most of you are probably already thinking, "Who cares?!?!" Well, it's my thought that as a roadie, we spend a ton of money on beautifully sculpted bike frames and aerodynamic components, and then we are forced to stick an ugly red brick on the back of our seat pack because that's all they sell.

Here's an example:




There's no way a goofy light like that is going on my bike.

Another issue I have is that I have a seat pack on my bike so mounting a light on the seat post isn't an option anyway. I mounted a clip-on light I already owned to my seat pack, but it ended-up being angled downward and didn't look much better than the photo above.

I think I came up with what is a ' less aesthetically offensive' tail light solution using a gift I got earlier in the year. I was given a NiteIze Marker Band which is supposed to be strapped around your arm; used mostly by runners. Not wanting anything strapped around my arm (my arm isn't my 'tail' anyway), I decided to take the strap off the light and put a clip on it and clip it to my jersey pocket. I usually have my cell phone in the center pocket anyway, so I don't even notice the light is there.

I'm really liking the idea for the following reasons:
  • It's inexpensive at only $12
  • It's waterproof
  • It lasts up to 100 hours on a single battery
  • It's light weight
  • It doesn't mount on my bike at all, so I can use it on any bike
  • It's possibly an aero solution?
Here's what I'm talking about...


It's not as bright as the sun like some of the tail lights are, but I'm not looking to blind drivers, I just want them to see me.

Another non-dookie tail light solution that looks interesting are the Nathan LightSpurs. They're U-shaped lights that grip the heal of your shoe. Since they're made for runners, I can image they'd fall off when cycling or be very noticeable. The one disadvantage appears to be that they're not cheap.





Have you found an aesthetically pleasing tail light solution? If so, post-up your lights!

Last edited by PoorInRichfield; 08-28-14 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 08-28-14, 11:46 PM   #2
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Lezyne Femto-Drive.

Its not super-bright, but its small, light and always there.
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Old 08-29-14, 08:16 AM   #3
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I'm with you, PoorinRichfield! I salute your effort to find a product that makes sense!

I agree that looks and quality matter, but yet so few lights pay either any attention. It's particularly galling when you consider that basic (or even exact, I'm sure) chintzy, inconvenient, black plastic articulated seat post clamp you pictured is the same thing that has been in use since at least the '80s. Almost no one has bothered to even consider a better way. WTF?

Anyway, my go to taillight these days is the Knog Road R. It's not super chic looking, but it looks pretty good, is easy to use, performs very well-- excellently, even-- and is super sano to mount.



Oh, and thanks for the heel light heads-up. Interesting...
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Old 08-29-14, 08:31 AM   #4
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I had to look up dookie. Urban dic says "dookie. brown pasty substance from one's a******. What is dookie in the context of this thread?
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Old 08-29-14, 08:31 AM   #5
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Oh, it may be worth looking at Knog's Boomer, too, particularly if you're looking for a AAA battery option. It's not the latest-and-greatest, not as bright or trick with the LEDs as the Road R, but I think it's bright enough for most of my urban riding needs. Same kind of sleek, close-to-post, silicone strap mounting as the Road R:



If you look at the bars, you'll see I've got Tacx Lumos bar end lights fitted, too, which are a unique approach to front visibility (too weak to actually see by, and no aim adjustment if your bars aren't angled just so) with their own sense of style. They have tail lights and turn indicators, too. AA unit powered. Not that I necessarily recommend them over a typical bar mount headlight, but they're kinda funky and cool and show Tacx were doing more than just copying whats been done before.
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Old 08-29-14, 08:39 AM   #6
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I want to be seen on the road. I use a Dinotte 140. You can see me at 1/2 mile in the daytime!
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Old 08-29-14, 08:42 AM   #7
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Old 08-29-14, 08:47 AM   #8
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Being Seen Trumps Dookie any day

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Old 08-29-14, 08:47 AM   #9
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Whoops, sorry OP...I just realized you said you can't use a seat post mounted light, so forget the reccos above! Sorry.

Maybe you could mount something like Light & Motion's Vis360 to your helmet?



Not really stylish, and as you can see in the pic, there can be mounting angle issues as well, but if you're lucky, it may work and you may not mind the look! There are other helmet mounted light options, if that's worth exploring.
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Old 08-29-14, 09:19 AM   #10
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If you can overcome the hideous clip, you can detach most blinkies from their mounts and carry them or stow them separately until it gets dark.

(But what do I know? I only look at mine when I turn them on to make sure the battery isn't dead.)
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Old 08-29-14, 09:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
They aren't very aesthetically pleasing when it's not dark out.
Agree completely. You disco-ballers keep away from me, day or night. You might look to runners gear for the solution, as an example: AthLights?
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Old 08-29-14, 09:33 AM   #12
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What is dookie in the context of this thread?
"Dookie" was the name of an album by a band named Green Day that was popular in the 90's. I have a tendency to use that word instead of saying "crap". So I'm guessing you're either much older or much younger than I am.

Anyway, back on-topic...

Clearly, some of you must ride at night often, perhaps in a more urban setting. If I road in the city at night, I'd certainly cover my bike and whole body with lights and reflectors. However, I live in a pretty rural setting and my hope is that I never end-up riding back in complete darkness. I just want some lights for when it's dusk and I'm not quite home yet. It's only in the Fall that I'm ever really in danger of riding past sun-down, so the thoughts of plastering reflective decals on my all-black Trek Domane gives me the willies.

As for helmet mounted lights, I looked at those, too. My absolute favorite helmet light comes from the Belgian helmet company Lazer. They make an LED light that is integrated into the adjustment knob on the helmet. To me, this is a perfect example of form and function. (If you've never heard of Lazer helmets, I suggest you check them out... they have way more features than the major brands.)

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Old 08-29-14, 11:15 AM   #13
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Whoops, sorry OP...I just realized you said you can't use a seat post mounted light, so forget the reccos above! Sorry.

Maybe you could mount something like Light & Motion's Vis360 to your helmet?



Not really stylish, and as you can see in the pic, there can be mounting angle issues as well, but if you're lucky, it may work and you may not mind the look! There are other helmet mounted light options, if that's worth exploring.
I use the Vis360+. It was supposed to be my backup, with MS clones as primary head light. But due to bad luck with cheap lights, it is now the primary.

Loaned it to my daughter when caught out later then expected. It REALLY gets your attention.

But I don't care about aesthetics, not in the least. I'm also running a turbo PBSF, and a tl-ld1100 (not the brightest but seems effective from a lot of angles).

I've rigged up a ms818 clone with red wide angle lens mounted on a frame\fork eyelet stub but on flash. It is profoundly visible, but drains the battery in 45 or so minutes and I need 2 1/2 hours down to about 40 degrees. I will try it on low and hope it lasts longer.
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Old 08-29-14, 11:39 AM   #14
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(If you've never heard of Lazer helmets, I suggest you check them out... they have way more features than the major brands.)
I love, um, Lazer. Yeah, that's it, Lazer helmets, I love 'em!



And on the matter of dookie, people around here have been calling poop dookie at least since I was a kid in the '70s, and I'd bet it goes back farther than that. And of course, by the early '90s, Cali kids were talking about fat, dookie chains and braids, and I fondly remember The Pharcyde rappin' on '91s Oh Sh*t track from Bizarre Ride To The Pharcyde album, "Rollin' in purple Samurai Suzuki, dookie braids were an aid to her sex appeal. Dude, she looked dope. Man, real dope, on the real."
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Old 08-29-14, 11:47 AM   #15
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FibreFlare offer several models and ways of mounting their lights, which are pretty cool. They don't have that long throw, intense beam, but they glow pretty good! Nice products.

Fibre Flare Lights: Lights For Bicycles, Lights, Cycle Safety Bike

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Old 08-29-14, 03:06 PM   #16
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Those spurs look like a very nice idea. Are they bright enough?

The Spanninga Pixeo is a light with many mounting options. It can mount flush onto a fender, which is my favorite. Oh, but you're probably looking for a battery powered light. Well, consider dynamo lights anyway. I love them, and most people who get them don't go back to batteries.

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Old 08-29-14, 03:31 PM   #17
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I love, um, Lazer. Yeah, that's it, Lazer helmets, I love 'em!
Just so you know, Emily Batty does not come with the purchase of a Lazer helmet!

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Those spurs look like a very nice idea. Are they bright enough?
I found the Nathan LightSpurs on eBay for $15 + free shipping, so I ordered a pair last night. I'll post-up my opinion of them when they arrive.

The Spanninga Pixeo (I can't even say that) certainly looks at-home on the bike in the photo. However, on a bike with fenders, saddle bags, etc., any light doesn't really bother me because aerodynamics and speed clearly aren't the priority for that type of bike. It's on the dedicated speedster road bikes that I think most lights look horrible. For example, wouldn't it almost be a sin to put a klunky, box-shaped tail light on a bike like this?


(My Trek Domane isn't quite that fancy, but pretty close.) I heard a rumor that when Moses went up the mountain to get the 10 commandments from God, the 11th commandment was supposed to be, "Thou shall not desecrate your sleek road bike with poorly designed lights"... however, there was no room on the stone tablets, so that commandment got dropped.

The Spanniga bar-end lights are a bit more in-line with what I'm looking for. However, the reviews for these lights haven't been to good as the reported quality of the lights is pretty bad.



In terms of how bright a tail light is supposed to be, is more always better? I have a tendency to think that many people think they need the brightest tail light possible because that will be the safest. I don't think that makes much sense. For one, a tail light is not a head light... it isn't supposed to illuminate the objects behind you and more importantly, it shouldn't blind the people behind you. In addition, why do I want someone to be able to see me from a mile away!??!? So they can ponder if they're going to run me over when they get closer? Granted, a light that is too dim is worthless, but in my opinion, anything that attracts one's attention from several hundred yards away is doing it's job and gives the approaching driver enough time to react (Unless you bike on the freeway, I guess.) My 2 cents.

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Old 09-02-14, 06:45 PM   #18
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Just so you know, Emily Batty does not come with the purchase of a Lazer helmet!



I found the Nathan LightSpurs on eBay for $15 + free shipping, so I ordered a pair last night. I'll post-up my opinion of them when they arrive.

The Spanninga Pixeo (I can't even say that) certainly looks at-home on the bike in the photo. However, on a bike with fenders, saddle bags, etc., any light doesn't really bother me because aerodynamics and speed clearly aren't the priority for that type of bike. It's on the dedicated speedster road bikes that I think most lights look horrible. For example, wouldn't it almost be a sin to put a klunky, box-shaped tail light on a bike like this?


(My Trek Domane isn't quite that fancy, but pretty close.) I heard a rumor that when Moses went up the mountain to get the 10 commandments from God, the 11th commandment was supposed to be, "Thou shall not desecrate your sleek road bike with poorly designed lights"... however, there was no room on the stone tablets, so that commandment got dropped.

The Spanniga bar-end lights are a bit more in-line with what I'm looking for. However, the reviews for these lights haven't been to good as the reported quality of the lights is pretty bad.



In terms of how bright a tail light is supposed to be, is more always better? I have a tendency to think that many people think they need the brightest tail light possible because that will be the safest. I don't think that makes much sense. For one, a tail light is not a head light... it isn't supposed to illuminate the objects behind you and more importantly, it shouldn't blind the people behind you. In addition, why do I want someone to be able to see me from a mile away!??!? So they can ponder if they're going to run me over when they get closer? Granted, a light that is too dim is worthless, but in my opinion, anything that attracts one's attention from several hundred yards away is doing it's job and gives the approaching driver enough time to react (Unless you bike on the freeway, I guess.) My 2 cents.
No. It's just a bike. A common plastic one at that.
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Old 09-03-14, 02:47 AM   #19
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In terms of how bright a tail light is supposed to be, is more always better? In addition, why do I want someone to be able to see me from a mile away!?

... but in my opinion, anything that attracts one's attention from several hundred yards away is doing it's job and gives the approaching driver enough time to react (Unless you bike on the freeway, I guess.)
Agreed, taillights aren't headlights.

But being seen earlier rather than later isn't a bad thing. Providing as much advance warning to a driver to finally "get" that there's a cyclist there. With many folks, they're fully expecting to see cars out there, and it can take a good amount of time to register that, gee, there's a cyclist in the lane. From that perspective, having a light that's a weak blinkie only visible from a 100yds distance might not be soon enough (depending on the road, the driver in question), whereas something clearly visible 5x farther with an aggravating, attention-getting pattern ... As we all know, 100yds gets eaten up pretty quickly in a car.
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Old 09-06-14, 02:54 PM   #20
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LEDs inside the Seat Post itself.
?27.2mm - LightSkin seat post with LED rear light - Black/White/Silver · EpicBike · Online Store Powered by Storenvy


also in1" http://epic-bike.com/products/708360...r-light-silver




seat post sizing shims with 1" ID are in most wholesalers to shops catalogs.. [via 'Wheels',and 'Problem Solvers']
for other seat tube ID's

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Old 09-06-14, 09:56 PM   #21
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...It's on the dedicated speedster road bikes that I think most lights look horrible. For example, wouldn't it almost be a sin to put a klunky, box-shaped tail light on a bike like this?



.... I have a tendency to think that many people think they need the brightest tail light possible because that will be the safest. I don't think that makes much sense. For one, a tail light is not a head light... it isn't supposed to illuminate the objects behind you and more importantly, it shouldn't blind the people behind you. In addition, why do I want someone to be able to see me from a mile away!??!? So they can ponder if they're going to run me over when they get closer? Granted, a light that is too dim is worthless, but in my opinion, anything that attracts one's attention from several hundred yards away is doing it's job and gives the approaching driver enough time to react (Unless you bike on the freeway, I guess.) My 2 cents.
I'm going to address some of these issues; Nobody likes "klunky". I understand this concept. still people use "klunky" things like helmets, bottle holders, bottles, seat bags, air pumps , GPS or computer mounts and sensors...etc. The point I'm making is, "Where do YOU draw the line" when it comes to "form over function". There are suitable rear lights that are not "Klunky". I like the one to two watt self-contained rear lights because they are small / bright and can last for 5 hrs on blink.

About the brightness of rear lights: What constitutes dim and bright is a subjective matter of opinion, regardless something that is brighter is usually going to be seen sooner rather than later ( depending of course on the actual brightness ( lumen output ) per say of the lamps being used and how well it/they are aimed and the field of view being used. ).

Hard to argue that being seen sooner ( rather than later ) is somehow not important. If someone can see you from 100 meters and then avoid you then you have done well. If someone has seen you from a quarter mile away while texting on their phone you have done better. Even so, who's to say that the person texting while driving wouldn't of seen you with the other (dimmer ) lamp. No real way to answer that. I look it this way; If I have a choice of two lamps, one a basic simple/small/unobtrusive low output rear lamp and the other, one that is small/ 3 x as bright as the other and providing the same run time with a slighter larger ( couple of mm ) footprint; I'll take the one that is brighter provided run time is not an issue.

Some food for thought: If you use a bright rear lamp ( 60 lumen or more ) and someone still finds a way to hit you; Likely "lack of visibility" wasn't the issue or the cause of the accident. On the other hand if the person hits you and then claims they didn't either see you ( with nothing blocking their line of sight ) or didn't see you "SOON ENOUGH" to avoid an accident....there will always be that question in your mind ( provided you live ), "Was my lame / low output rear blinkie bright enough to be seen on the road I was riding? These questions can only be answered by the individual rider who, judging for themselves, will make choices on "What equipment", they might need for the situations that they will likely encounter when riding on the road.

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Old 09-07-14, 08:08 AM   #22
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How about clipping a tail light to your butt pocket or belt? Then your bike will look fine. You'll just look like you have a flaming hemorrhoid. I do this sometimes.
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Old 09-07-14, 08:10 AM   #23
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FWIW, 100 yards at 60mph is 3.4s. Personally, I'd like a driver to be able to see me for longer than just over 3 seconds.

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Old 09-07-14, 10:37 AM   #24
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Good thread. We've been calling dookie dookie since I was a kid.
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Old 09-08-14, 07:50 AM   #25
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Do people really spend money on bikes because they look good? I've never considered what a bike looks like, even a little, for any of my bikes.

FWIW the Knog Blinder 4V looks pretty good on a road bike I think. The battery life is a bit short but that's because it's so damned bright. If you care about looks (I don't really) then it's a good choice.
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