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  1. #1
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    What it's like to use a diNotte tail light...

    There have been a number of threads about tail lights, the consensus of which led me to buy a diNotte tail light a year ago. This week, with days growing shorter, I pulled the little blinkie off my commuter and brought out "the big guns;" my dual diNotte headlights and my diNotte tail-light.

    In three days of commuting this week, I have had the following occur:

    1. Driver at stop light: "Wow, what a tail light! I could see you forever."
    2. Biker at stop light: "What kind of tail light is that? I need to get one."
    3. Biker passing me on suburban road: "Wow, what a tail light."
    4. Pedestrian at downtown stop light. "Wow, that's some light."

    BTW, I had the light on "low" since it isn't really that dark yet during my commute....

    I got these kinds of comments all last winter...I had just forgotten how frequently people comment on the light since I hadn't used it most of the summer. I actually point the tail light down so it doesn't blind anyone; and I always ask bikers who comment on the light whether it was 'too bright.' The headlights are bright, too -- on MUPs I always point them down and/or cover them with my hand when I'm approaching another biker.

    Just in case you are still wondering what kind of tail light to buy....

  2. #2
    tsl
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    +1

    If I had a dollar for every time someone commented on my DiNotte lights, I'd own the company. I also have two 200L in the front, and one 140L in the rear.

    I use mine during the day too, usually the middle blink setting, (high-low-high-low). Riding to the group ride yesterday morning, (bright sunny day) most of the others drove past me on the way. Everyone commented on it, and two made me write down the URL.

    Which, BTW, is http://dinottelighting.com/
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  3. #3
    Yen
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    Is it stronger or more visible than the Planet Bike blinkie? It casts a red halo several feet in diameter. Cars swerve into the next lane. I have 2 on the back of my hybrid (my night-riding bike) but even one does that.

    That said......... I've read good things about the DiNotte lights.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Last year, one of the guys who rode DALMAC with me had a Dinotte tail light. On a bright sunny day, and from over a mile away, the cyclist was too far away to see, but the tail light was plainly visible. It was uncomfortable to ride directly behind him, even with sunglasses.

  5. #5
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    OK, flame me if you want, but....$230 for a taillight????

    I know, I know....if it saves your life, it's worth every penny, but I've had folks tell me they can see my $20 Planet Bike taillight at a half a mile.

    I don't commute in heavy traffic, maybe it's worth it for that.

    Just sayin'....

  6. #6
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    Is it stronger or more visible than the Planet Bike blinkie?
    Yes

  7. #7
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luv2cruz View Post
    OK, flame me if you want, but....$230 for a taillight???? ....I don't commute in heavy traffic, maybe it's worth it for that.
    I bought mine as part of a package deal -- I have the same set-up TSL refers to above (two headlights and a tail-light). I think the total package was a bit over $300. Watch diNotte for deals, or, better yet, call them, talk to Rob, and see when is going to have another hot combo deal.

    Before I started researching lights I would have been shocked if you would have told me I'd spend that much on them. But, my commute (10 miles each way) includes 5 miles of dark, unlit, winding suburban roads (almost like a country road); plus a couple of miles in heavy downtown traffic. It's also typically foggy/rainy/drizzly.



    The reason is started this thread is just to point out that I had forgotten how shockingly bright the tail light is. You can spend less, but if you want bright, it's the diNotte.

  8. #8
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I don't doubt that it is brighter than the Planet Bike SuperFlash. But that SuperFlash is a great tail light for $30 (or less).
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  9. #9
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    At 45mph a car will close in on a bicyclist in just a few seconds. In that time the driver needs to conclude that there is an object to avoid and take that appropriate actions to avoid that object.

    So while many tail lights are very visible a bicyclist needs one that is very visible at a good distance off to ensure their safety. I have yet to find one that matches the Dinotte from a distance.

    With other tail lights drivers will see you as they buzz you, with a Dinotte tail light they will see you in time to give you that cushion of safety you want between you and their car as they pass you.

  10. #10
    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by gear View Post
    At 45mph a car will close in on a bicyclist in just a few seconds. In that time the driver needs to conclude that there is an object to avoid and take that appropriate actions to avoid that object.

    So while many tail lights are very visible a bicyclist needs one that is very visible at a good distance off to ensure their safety. I have yet to find one that matches the Dinotte from a distance.

    With other tail lights drivers will see you as they buzz you, with a Dinotte tail light they will see you in time to give you that cushion of safety you want between you and their car as they pass you.
    The Planet Bike Blinkie does that.
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    Maybe, but the Dinotte is a lot brighter (and a lot more expensive).

  12. #12
    Tortoiseshells rule! Sammilove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave-j View Post
    Maybe, but the Dinotte is a lot brighter (and a lot more expensive).
    Think of it as being worth your life .

    Or the life of a loved one. I don't know about the rest of you, but there's not much more precious to me than my wife, and if she wants a nice bright light, that's what she gets.

  13. #13
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    The Planet Bike Blinkie does that.
    Hi Yen,

    I didn't intend for this thread to be controversial, just to make a point that the diNotte is pretty stunning, which I had forgotten over the summer.

    I own a couple of different PB blinkies, including a SuperFlash. I use the PB blinkies on my "day time" bike (I use a blinky when I'm out on the streets or highways during the day, or when it's gray out, as it frequently is here), and I'll also throw one on the bike I use for short trips at night (like, to the gym, only 3 miles from my house).

    There are a lot of good things about the blinkies (cost, east of mounting, battery life). But when it comes to brightness, they really are in a different class.

    I cant' say whether the cost difference is worth it to anyone in particular, depending on the use.

    However, my guess is that this winter (October to mid-March), I'll ride well over 1,000 miles in total, 100% darkness....a fair amount of that on roads with *no* streetlights. And I'll do probably another 1500 miles in gray dawn/dusk....another several hundred miles in some combination of gray and drizzle. On a per-mile basis, owning the brightest light on the market is worth it to me.

    If you need a light for occasional dawn/dusk use, or daytime riding, or short blasts on a MUP, the PB blinky is fine.




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  14. #14
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by luv2cruz View Post
    OK, flame me if you want, but....$230 for a taillight????
    Don't know where you came up with that figure.

    Try $159 direct from DiNotte. Less at Nashbar when they have a sale.

    Far cheaper than any coffin I've priced.

    Edit: The PBSF *is* a nice light. Typical, let's-go-for-a-bike-ride riders are well served by it. I'm car-free, which means I don't get to choose whether to ride my bike or not, or in what conditions. If I have to go someplace, it must be on my bike and in whatever conditions are present.

    The PBSF may get drivers to change lanes at night. The DiNotte gets them to do that on a bright sunshiny day. And you should see the clearance I get in foul weather.
    Last edited by tsl; 09-18-08 at 11:16 AM.
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  15. #15
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    After several years Of night riding offroad- I was of the opinion that you cannot have too strong a light. Couldn't afford them but got a Front lamp with 2x 5w luxion LED's and it was just about good enough for the fast descents.(You can only go as fast as your lights will allow and I reckon that 35mph was fast enough on the lumpy downhills)

    However- On the road- You can have too strong a light. To be able to see - you have to have the lamp adjusted right. It has to point far enough in front for you to be able to see for the speed you are going at. My LED lamp has 3 power settings. low- good and WOW. On the high setting I could not see a thing due to the cars putting their lamps on full beam. So I ride on Low or middle power. Till I get to the Mup and then I get complaints about the high power being too bright from the peds- But at least I can see them.

    Now on rear lights- I use two as one can fail so two gives a bit of security. One is a powerfull one and is street legal with side and rear reflectors. The other is just a basic one that has power but not legal. However- I have been told by riders behind me that the lamps are a bit too powerfull if you are following them.

    So although the Dinotte may be a powerfull rear lamp- Is it too powerfull for the people behind you?

    My own feeling is that I want to be seen and have to agree that the better the rear lamp- the safer you will be. But at the same time- I do not want to upset the car drivers behind me that may take exception to being blinded.
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    The price I first found was for the 140-LI-2C, an Endurance series, that's the price on their website. I later saw the Pro series, which is, at $159, more "affordable". Whatever...

    I almost never ride in complete darkness, and I don't commute to work on busy streets or roads. The rides I do are mostly on straight, flat open roads, with very light traffic. A normal quality blinky is plenty of taillight for 99.9% of my riding.

    I wasn't trying to be controversial, I was just "sticker shocked". If you need that much light, go for it. Lord knows, I spend plenty of dough on bike stuff myself. I DO know MTB racers that have $500+ headlights for riding in the forest at night, they say that they "turn night into day". It works for them. I'd hate to be meeting them on the road, tho.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Don't know where you came up with that figure.

    Try $159 direct from DiNotte. Less at Nashbar when they have a sale.

    Far cheaper than any coffin I've priced.
    hear, hear +1000....its the whole point of a light
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  18. #18
    Muscle bike design spec robtown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luv2cruz View Post
    OK, flame me if you want, but....$230 for a taillight????

    I know, I know....if it saves your life, it's worth every penny, but I've had folks tell me they can see my $20 Planet Bike taillight at a half a mile.

    I don't commute in heavy traffic, maybe it's worth it for that.

    Just sayin'....
    They had a special sale a few months ago - about $100 w/o battery or charger. I adapted it to use my 7.2v NiCd and 8.4v NiMh RC battery packs - they last longer.

    I've also used the ViewPoint sold by Performance Bike. It's quite bright for a $20 taillight. The downside is I've had two of them go defective/dim - and it wasn't bad batteries.
    Last edited by robtown; 09-18-08 at 04:45 PM.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I have an observation that I will share. I notice that the really bright flashing lights have a huge impact on how drivers behave and it isn't always good IMO.

    There is a narrow-ish two lane road that has a guard rail on one side and a STEEP slope right at the road edge on the other on my normal after work ride. I find that the driver behavior that I prefer is passing while allowing 3-4' of space. This is usually possible on this road for all but the widest vehicles, even with oncoming traffic. I am even OK with 2' if they aren't speeding.

    The people who really bug me are one of two types. The first are the ones who have to go across the double yellow with all 4 wheels and practically ride in the ditch on the other side. To make matters worse they take their time getting back into their own lane and don't seem to care if there is oncoming traffic or a bend that means they can't see ahead. The other are the ones who refuse to pass even when there is plenty of room. Both tend to p1ss off other drivers who are then likely to blame the cyclist and be hostile toward bikes in the future.

    OK so now to get to the point... There is a guy that I sometimes see on the same road. He has one of those super bright flashing lights. Traffic backs up behind him because the traffic that just flew by me now refuses to pass him despite the fact that he rides exactly the same lane position.

    So yeah the lights work, but I would personally rather not be the source of a big knot of backed up traffic. There I two reasons why I feel this way. First, I just don't see the need to tick off drivers by impeding traffic. Second, once the nervous nelly that won't pass goes by the drivers behind then are more likely to be aggressive after being stuck behind the knot of traffic for so long.

    I usually wear a bright jersey and no lights in the day time and a $6 blinkie at night and seem to get the amount of caution I want from the majority of passing drivers.

    Different strokes...

  20. #20
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post

    Now on rear lights- I use two as one can fail so two gives a bit of security. One is a powerfull one and is street legal with side and rear reflectors. The other is just a basic one that has power but not legal. However- I have been told by riders behind me that the lamps are a bit too powerfull if you are following them.

    So although the Dinotte may be a powerfull rear lamp- Is it too powerfull for the people behind you?

    My own feeling is that I want to be seen and have to agree that the better the rear lamp- the safer you will be. But at the same time- I do not want to upset the car drivers behind me that may take exception to being blinded.
    While a bicyclist might ride behind another bicyclist most cars pass right by bicyclists. So, I would not use a Dinotte in a group ride (where another bicyclist would be stuck staring at my light for an extended period of time) but would always use one riding by myself in traffic.

    I regularly get stopped at a draw bridge on my 4:00am commute, one day one of the regular car commuters who passes me got stopped by the same bridge and he told me he was relieved by my new brighter tail light. He said sometimes he didn't have time to react when passing me with the old tail light and it scared the #*%$ out of him.

    As far as your opinions about head lights go, I think I will respectfully disagree. I have a Lupine LED headlight which is pretty darn bright for a bicycle light. But it is no where near as bright as any automotive head light I've seen and my bike light points more downward than (two) car head lights do, so if I were in a car I'd be more concerned about being blinded by another cars' head lights than a bicycle head light. Having said that I do turn mine down to low (as anyone in a car or on a bike should do) when passing cars.

  21. #21
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gear View Post
    As far as your opinions about head lights go, I think I will respectfully disagree. I have a Lupine LED headlight which is pretty darn bright for a bicycle light. But it is no where near as bright as any automotive head light I've seen and my bike light points more downward than (two) car head lights do, so if I were in a car I'd be more concerned about being blinded by another cars' head lights than a bicycle head light. Having said that I do turn mine down to low (as anyone in a car or on a bike should do) when passing cars.

    The road lights that I would not use are the HID lamps. Fantastic for offroad but far too bright on road. I use a USE Exposure lamp with 2 LEDs and a three power switch.

    Those HID's are too powerfull- try riding towards one and you will understand why.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Re: the comments on too-bright lights:

    - I've never had the experience of drivers backing up behind me. The first 5 miles of my commute are on a winding, two-lane unlit road where drivers have trouble passing cyclists even in broad daylight...I'm very sensitive to the problem, and I just don't experienced it. I *can* hear drivers slowing dramatically as they come around a corner and spot me, but they don't back up behind me.

    - When other cyclists come up behind me and comment on the light, I always try to ask, "was it *too* bright," and so far the typical answer I get is, "no, but it sure is bright."

    - I'm careful to aim my two headlights so that they don't point toward oncoming drivers. In any case, none of the high-powered LED bike headlights approach the output of an Auto. On MUPs, as noted above, I turn one off or cover it with my hand when I'm approaching an oncoming cyclist. (As stapfam notes, the HID lights for mountain bikers are likely another matter).


    The reason I started this thread is because a year ago, before I "got lit," I wondered whether there are bike lights that truly allow one to see in 100% darkness, and ride safely. IMHO there are.

    With an investment in high-powered lights, you can extend the riding season year-round if your schedule doesn't allow you to be out during daylight.

  23. #23
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    I don't yet have the Dinotte rear light, but have the front head light. Just this morning we were out for a ride before sunup. A garbage truck looked like it was going to pull into our lane from the right about 25 yards ahead of us, but we were moving at a pretty good clip and this would have been trouble.

    I simply wiggled my handlebars and he stopped dead in his tracks. The Dinotte got his attention even when he was clearly not expecting traffic from his right. Said Thanks as we drove by. Nice thanks, not a mean thanks.

  24. #24
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    The only time I've seen an HID light I thought they were coming to take over Earth. Out of the dead quiet of Prospect Park at night, this light approached...

    It was overkill for NYC riding, where everything is lit anyway. I use the PB Super Flash myself, and I get comments on how bright it is. I put one on my daughter's bike too so we can ride in the fall and I don't like riding behind her.

    I transferred them to my Davidson, which is now my night bike. I only do loops of Prospect Park at night, so it won't get too much use.

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