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  1. #1
    Peddlin' Around Detroit Motorad's Avatar
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    Recommendations for Good Night Lights

    Murphy's law reigns supreme at the Motorad residence. Next week, I'm having a [second] cast removed after a six-week old ankle injury, and should be picking up my Saluki at the end of next week ... just in time for the hottest month in Michigan. I'm kind of busy at work for a while, and thinking about doing some evening rides during the work week, to build up my ankle and get used to the heat (and get used to noodle bar with bar-end shifters without witnesses when I fall down).

    What is the current cat's meow for headlights? I'll have a good sized bag on the handlebars, if there is a need to carry extra batteries. Or maybe a large battery hooked by cable to the headlight?

    While the headlight is the biggie, if there are also recommendations for a tail-light ... or a kit that has a headlight-taillight complement, that would be useful to hear about.

  2. #2
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I was coming through an old train tunnel last week when I saw what I thought was a car coming from the other direction. Turned out to be a bike with two 20-watt lights on it, the cables running down to the seat tube where a battery the size of a water bottle was located. It was so bright that it blinded me.

    The guy rode at night a lot and wanted some serious candlepower.

  3. #3
    The Grampster tlc20010's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motorad
    Murphy's law reigns supreme at the Motorad residence. Next week, I'm having a [second] cast removed after a six-week old ankle injury, and should be picking up my Saluki at the end of next week ... just in time for the hottest month in Michigan. I'm kind of busy at work for a while, and thinking about doing some evening rides during the work week, to build up my ankle and get used to the heat (and get used to noodle bar with bar-end shifters without witnesses when I fall down).

    What is the current cat's meow for headlights? I'll have a good sized bag on the handlebars, if there is a need to carry extra batteries. Or maybe a large battery hooked by cable to the headlight?

    While the headlight is the biggie, if there are also recommendations for a tail-light ... or a kit that has a headlight-taillight complement, that would be useful to hear about.
    If you are looking for lights that will actually light up the road so you can see where you are going, you want a rechargeable like Nite Rider http://www.niterider.com/ (caution, expensive), but if you are just wanting a light that blinks so you can be seen, then Planet Bike or Cat Eye will suffice, much cheaper.
    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
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  4. #4
    Peddlin' Around Detroit Motorad's Avatar
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    Good point, Grampster. I should have specified I was looking for bodacious candlepower. The need is more for me to see the road ... with being seen by cars as a net result as well.

    In fact, I think Tom had a vision of me blinding him with the headlights I was looking for. Can someone look into the future and see where I wound up getting these headlights?

  5. #5
    tsl
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    I just answered your question over in the Electronics and Lighting forum. There's seldom need to double-post.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    I've been very pleased with my TurboCat lights. I described the type of night riding I did and they recommended their S10 model with a 15 watt flood light. I ride a trail with little to no lighting during the winter months. One of the other riders has one of their helmet mounted lights and has been satisfied with it.

    http://www.turbocatusa.com/s25.html
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  7. #7
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Night riding is something to experience and it does depend on the type of riding you are doing. The link on the lights below is mainly for offroading and are powerfull lights.

    So street riding with street lights and you want to be seen. Best is a flashing LED in excess of 1 watt. This may not be legal and you will have to carry a Main lamp that will throw a beam so that if the lights are not that good- you can see into the shadows.

    Then for riding with no street lights and a lamp of around 20w is quite sufficient. Better if it is a Twin 10 watt so you have two beams. Then There are The $$$$'s HID lamps. Only problem with these is they are so bright that oncoming cars have a problem.

    I actually use a twin 5w Luxeon LED lamp and this is just about good enough for speed offroad and is completely powerfull enough for onroad.


    You have to have a lamp on the bike to be legal- but by far the best lamp you can have is a Helmet lamp. Come in all types- powers and prices but mine has a 3 level LED for seeing the controls- Reading a map or Repairing the bike and a High power spot lamp that is good for 50 yards.


    Then you start talking about the battery life- and where to stow it and what type of battery So a simple question about lighting should have a forum on its own.

    I personally have the Use Exposure Enduro Turbo- but be warned- this is not cheap either.

    http://www.use1.com/exposure/dealers...eb_dealers.php


    Link to some Very Good but expensive lights

    http://www.mtbr.com/spotlight/lightshootout/
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  8. #8
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    Lupine is the best headlight made, period. I use the new Wilma model it uses LED lights and will light up the whole lane in front of you. I tried Niterider and tossed it because the connectors sucked and the "smart" battery had to be returned (twice). You can get a Lupine from Gretnabikes.

    As for a great tail light, I think the Dinotte tail light is best. The mount isn't properly designed unless your seat post is exactly vertical (most tilt back, which makes the light point down) so you would need to Mcgiver a mount using a 3/4" conduit pipe hanger.

    Other people might disagree with me about the Dinotte and I'd be willing to listen to their argument but I won't even listen to anyone who thinks that Lupine isn't the best head light, they are wrong.

  9. #9
    Pat
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    Well it depends. Head lights do 2 things. The first is illumination. That is so you can see where you are going. The other is visibility. That is so drivers see you and don't run into you.

    Now randamuers recommend that one uses 2 front lights. One for illumination and one blinky. You can not beat a good HID light for illumination. You can ride in the low 20s and not "outrun" your headlight. A 15 watt halogen is adequate in situations that are not totally dark or where you are willing to slow down a mite.

    For the rear, I use blinkies. I prefer using a couple of blinkies on the notion that if one is not visible, the other should be.

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat
    Well it depends. Head lights do 2 things. The first is illumination. That is so you can see where you are going. The other is visibility. That is so drivers see you and don't run into you.

    Now randamuers recommend that one uses 2 front lights. One for illumination and one blinky. You can not beat a good HID light for illumination. You can ride in the low 20s and not "outrun" your headlight. A 15 watt halogen is adequate in situations that are not totally dark or where you are willing to slow down a mite.

    For the rear, I use blinkies. I prefer using a couple of blinkies on the notion that if one is not visible, the other should be.
    Major problem with HID's on the road is that they are too powerfull for other road users. If you have them set up to see on "Main" beam then you have a problem- They cannot be switched off and back on a gain-They don't like it. Then again if you have them on "Dipped" beam- you are defeating the object of a powerfull lamp.

    I use the twin Luxeon 5 w offroad and use it on the powerfull setting. This is good enough for us at 20mph on the flat and 30 mph downhill. Shadow and night perception has to be catered for. When we hit the road- we turn it down to low power- can still see adequately and cars do not get annoyed at us.

    Night riding is a lot more than putting an ARC lamp on the front of a bike and going out and riding. You have to cater for the Other road users.

    Now even though we have a powerfull lamp- It could break down so we also use a 1w cateye as a backup lamp. Same on the rear where we have two rear lamps.
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  11. #11
    Peddlin' Around Detroit Motorad's Avatar
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    Stepfam and Tom bring up good points about being light-friendly. There's enough road-rage in my area, and I wouldn't want to be a cause of road-rage with too laser-like a light.

    I'll check out the Dinotte (tail)lights that was suggested by tsl and Gear, after I get a headlight ordered. I thought I'd go with the Enduro Turbo Stepfam described, but I had some questions:
    * Does this headlight mount and dismount fairly easy, to switch between day & night riding? Same question for any accessory battery that would be used with the light.
    * Would this come with the bracket needed for a Riv Nitto Noodle bar?
    * Also, I forgot to ask whether a handlebar bag would get in the way of the headlight, such as the Enduro Turbo. Here are snapshots of the Riv-bag I have, sandwiched in what appears to be a similar noodle handlebar that I have. Do-able, or would I possibly need any extenders to have the light above the bag?

  12. #12
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    I am still trying to solve the night headlight issue. I currently use the Cateye top of the line LED. It's certainly bright enough to be seen and for seeing where you are heading (in time to miss telephone poles, guard rails, bollards, and such), but not nearly bright enough to actually light the road. Hence, if I ride at any speed at all (and I am want to ride at speeds as extreme as I am capable), I am forever banging over unseen potholes, road debris (doesn't take much at 35 mph - a decent size portion of a tree branch can mess up your wheel).

    My main issue with brighter light systems is their burn time and the weight of their power supply.


    Newer systems are coming along all the time that address my concerns, but, so far, I am not yet satisfied.

    I do want to see where I am going - and I would love to be able to ride in strange territory with the confidence that I can actually see road hazards before I am upon them, but, I don't want to do so at the cost of giving up the light weight advantages of my bike.

    Obviously, if a lighting system is so heavy that I'm tempted to take it off during daylight hours, chances are good that I will find myself out in dark conditions with nary a beam. The opposite extreme is to ride around carrying three or four pounds of unused battery power during the day.

    I'm still waiting to find a solution that suites me.

    Caruso

  13. #13
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Major problem with HID's on the road is that they are too powerfull for other road users. If you have them set up to see on "Main" beam then you have a problem- They cannot be switched off and back on a gain-They don't like it. Then again if you have them on "Dipped" beam- you are defeating the object of a powerfull lamp.
    HID lights can be switched from low to high all you want with no effect on bulb life. They do not need to go off in between low and high power settings. You can "dip" the beam all you like.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  14. #14
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    Unless your ride allot at might look for something that will do double duty as a flashlight. There are flashlight mounts for bikes. Headlamps are also useful as you can use them off the bike, the beam tracks where you are looking.

    While I have a blinky, Light colored clothing is more important to visibility and personal safety. Pack an old large white or yellow long sleeve shirt in case you are caught out at night.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Wel, so far I haven't seen the usual questions about how fast you'll be riding and how long the light needs to last. Some of the bright ones will only go a couple of hours. Regular battery powered lights, like the Cateye HL-EL530, aren't good for going very fast and seeing what's ahead of you.
    I haven't seen the Dinotte tail light, but I have a Planet Bike Superflash blinkie, and it's plenty bright for my urban riding.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  16. #16
    Peddlin' Around Detroit Motorad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
    Wel, so far I haven't seen the usual questions about how fast you'll be riding and how long the light needs to last. Some of the bright ones will only go a couple of hours. Regular battery powered lights, like the Cateye HL-EL530, aren't good for going very fast and seeing what's ahead of you.
    I haven't seen the Dinotte tail light, but I have a Planet Bike Superflash blinkie, and it's plenty bright for my urban riding.
    The word, fast, will probably not be used in the same sentence as Saluki. At least not for me. My guess is that she will be the official weekday neighborhood bike and weekend metropark bike ... on solo rides. Have we discussed dog repellent yet? Sorry, I digress...

    I would hope to maintain an average of 12 MPH on the Saluki in the neighborhood. At Kensington, from what I've seen in the daytime, I'm pretty sure the Park is seriously dark if I get there an hour before sunrise. That's why I'm concerned that maybe the large Rivendell handlebar bag might get in the way of the Exposure Enduro turbo light. Any feedback from anyone about whether this might be an issue, as far as blocking the light?

    I haven't really looked at tail-lights, but the Cat Eye TL-LD1000 looks pretty nice.

  17. #17
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motorad
    The word, fast, will probably not be used in the same sentence as Saluki. At least not for me. My guess is that she will be the official weekday neighborhood bike and weekend metropark bike ... on solo rides. Have we discussed dog repellent yet? Sorry, I digress...

    I would hope to maintain an average of 12 MPH on the Saluki in the neighborhood. At Kensington, from what I've seen in the daytime, I'm pretty sure the Park is seriously dark if I get there an hour before sunrise. That's why I'm concerned that maybe the large Rivendell handlebar bag might get in the way of the Exposure Enduro turbo light. Any feedback from anyone about whether this might be an issue, as far as blocking the light?

    I haven't really looked at tail-lights, but the Cat Eye TL-LD1000 looks pretty nice.
    If the bag is below the Height of the bars- then no problem. On the mounting of the Lamp. There is a permanent mount on the bike and the Lamp screws onto it by a 5 mm allen bolt. No quick release for this lamp. I am very pleased with the USE exposure lamp but I bought it a year too early. One lamp that is getting rave reviews, and always has done- Is the HOPE HID lamp. This used to have a problem in that it only mounted to the Hope Stem so it was expensive as you had to buy a very expensive (But high Quality) Stem for each bike. They have now modified the mounting to a bar mount as this is a more powerfull HID lamp than the Exposure Enduro.

    The Use is a fully enclosed lamp and to me that is an advantage. On high power I can get well over 2 hours life out of the battery and on low power over 8 so I can do the Night offroad enduros on one lamp.

    The Hope has a life of 2/12 hours to the battery but spare batteries are far cheaper than the Use one.

    If you want a convenient light that is compact and a sensible size battery- then the Hope is far more powerfull. The Use however does me well enough and for road riding-Is more than adequate- That is Why I still favour it but the Newer Compact HID's like the Hope are pretty good too.


    http://www.hopetechusa.com/voir_vishid.html
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    I have a Cateye TL-LD 1000, and it's a heavy light. I also have the Superflash, and it's light, more compact, and brighter by far. You can take it off your bike, set it on constant light, and use it as a red flashlight.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  19. #19
    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
    I have a Cateye TL-LD 1000, and it's a heavy light. I also have the Superflash, and it's light, more compact, and brighter by far.
    I agree the Cateye is heavier but I don't know about the brighter by far part. The TL-1000 is a good light. Maybe not as practical as the Superflash and as easy to mount but it has way more flashing modes and is substantially bright. Personally, I use both. The Cateye on the seat post (aiming is important) with the Superflash clipped on the strap on the back of my helmet.

    As far as headlights are concerned, I've said it before, I'll say it again, I have yet to find a better buy than the Cygolite Nite Rover Xtra 16W for about $70.
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  20. #20
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    Depending on your requirements I have, and recommend, a NiteRider MiNewt which is very satisfactory for commuting. Because it had recently been superceded by the MiNewt.X2 it can be had at large discounts for about US$130. The new .X2 has twice the brightness. There are also dual-headed versions.

    For tail lights I use the NiteRider TailFazer as well as Blackburn Mars 3.0's.

  21. #21
    as I used to be NotAsFat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl
    I just answered your question over in the Electronics and Lighting forum. There's seldom need to double-post.
    +1 on the E&L forum. the Total Geekiness sticky has all sorts of recipies for cheap, powerful homebuilt lights.
    Starve a terrorist - ride a bike to work. It's not just good for the environment, it's good for civilization.

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