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  1. #1
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Love those 53 led lights

    I went for a nice, chilly (32F) early morning - starting out dark - ride this am.

    I have installed two 53 LED lights on my bike, and they are bright.

    I remember when I was using Vista nightsticks for a while. Big, heavy, bulky batteries, always having problems with them, mediocre light, etc.

    These babies operate on 3 AA - I use rechargeables - but any AA will work. They are located right inside the light.

    And - just $8.95 each (plus shipping) - see:

    http://www.8starshop.com/en/53-led-b...n&currency=USD

    The downside. They are pretty cheaply made, you have to devise your own shim to get them to attach correctly and tightly to your bars (I used a piece of rubber from an old 700 tube), and you need to really tighten (and keep tightening) the single mounting knob. Also, rechargeable batteries vary in quality. I find the Radio Shack last a long time. Also, a jolt (like a curb) will cause the light to jiggle down just a bit - on the other hand, you can also adjust them up and down fairly easily.

    BUT, all in all, they work great. Very bright. I get 2-3 hours from one charge, and I put them on blink when it is light enough for me to see, but I still want to be seen, and they last a loonngg time. If I need longer, I just put 3 small AA batteries in my pocket, and they are replaced easily. Plus, the light disconnects from the mounting bracket easily, so one could also use it to change a tire. If needed, one could operate very well on just one light, then switch to the other as the first one dimmed out - giving 4-6 hours of light.

    It is always difficult to show how lights work in a photograph, but here goes. For the camera, the two lights blend into one, but actually one sees two lights.







    Last edited by DnvrFox; 03-19-09 at 08:15 AM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Timtruro's Avatar
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    Do you really need two?
    "If there are no cigars in heaven, I shall not go." -Mark Twain

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  3. #3
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timtruro View Post
    Do you really need two?
    No, but I love the effect on peds and other riders, and it does make things brighter!

    I've had folks stop me and ask about the lights. They keep asking, "Where is the battery?"
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Timtruro's Avatar
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    nice lights and a real nice price!
    "If there are no cigars in heaven, I shall not go." -Mark Twain

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  5. #5
    The "now retired" Old Guy Ed in GA's Avatar
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    I don't ride at night so I don't have/need a headlight.


    but.... LED's are the way to go. I've replaced every flashlight I own with LED types. They are all compact and really bright. The batteries last a long time as well.
    "The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?"

  6. #6
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed in GA View Post
    I don't ride at night so I don't have/need a headlight.

    I don't ride at night regularly, but it is really a fun experience, especially if you have some trails, etc. It is a different world. I really enjoy it.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  7. #7
    Senior Member RepWI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed in GA View Post
    I don't ride at night so I don't have/need a headlight. ...
    Why is it that more and more automobiles will automatically turn their lights on when the key is turned? It might be so people see the car easier.

    Why not headlights blinking on a bike during the day?
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  8. #8
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RepWI View Post
    Why is it that more and more automobiles will automatically turn their lights on when the key is turned? It might be so people see the car easier.

    Why not headlights blinking on a bike during the day?
    It would have to be a very bright bike headlight for most people to notice it during the day. A vehicle's low beams generate 1000-1200 lumens each. There are several good bike lights out there that produce 500+ lumens, but many are only around 100-150. A small 100 lumen light is not going to make one much more noticeable in daylight, even if it is blinking. If one has a nice, bright light, then it could help.
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  9. #9
    SSP
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    As a year round commuter, serious lighting is a requirement for me.

    I'm now running a DiNotte 600L on the handlebars, and a 400L on the helmet, giving me 1000 lumens up front. I find it's very useful to incorporate a helmet mounted light too, because I can aim it around corners, or into the eyes of drivers approaching from side streets.

    For the rear view, I run the DiNotte 140L tail light, plus a Planet Bike Superflash, and lots of reflective bits (tires, fenders, ANSI Class II vest, etc.).

    Bottom line: I'm lit up like a Christmas tree. Cars routinely cross completely into the oncoming lane to pass me...and they change lanes *way* back. It also helps that I can set any of their lights into flashing mode - the tail lights are always in flash mode, and I'll often run one of the headlights in flash mode when it's not too dark (e.g., fog, dawn/dusk, etc.).

    And if anyone clips me, I'll own their *ss for sure (or, my survivors will...).
    Last edited by SSP; 03-19-09 at 03:14 PM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member freeranger's Avatar
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    I don't ride much at night (or day lately), but bought this mount: http://www.dealextreme.com/products.dx/category.915 and this flashlight: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.10301. The flashlight is very bright, and will light up the neighbors barn at 150 yards. Plenty bright enough, and cars do notice it, even in daylight when I've used it in stobe mode, have noticed that cars actually have seen me and stopped at stop signs! That 53 LED does look interesting though-DX also carries them: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.2933--a little higher on the light, but they don't charge shipping-though it can take 2-3 weeks sometimes for delivery.

  11. #11
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    According to the stats of the 53 LED light:

    53 LED bulbs, luminance up to 11000-13000, operation life over 110000 hours

    I have two of them, so I guess everything is doubled.

    Don't know how accurate that is, but they ARE bright.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  12. #12
    SSP
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    According to the stats of the 53 LED light:

    53 LED bulbs, luminance up to 11000-13000, operation life over 110000 hours

    I have two of them, so I guess everything is doubled.

    Don't know how accurate that is, but they ARE bright.
    "Luminance" is not the same as lumens. Using standard LED's (as opposed to new, higher-powered models), I would guess you're getting a combined output of somewhere around 50 lumens from those lights. That's enough for going easy on a dark MUP, and just enough to (hopefully) be seen on a busy road.

    But for regular night road riding, you would definitely want more power and a longer burn time. Ironically, you need a lot more power when you're riding in areas that are more lit up (i.e., shopping districts), because your little bike headlights are competing with street lights, traffic signs, and car headlights.

    Most experts suggest a minimum of 200 lumens, and many regular commuters run 500-1000.

    As others have mentioned, the new generation of high-powered LED flashlights (those that use a single 3-5 watt LED), are a very cost-effective option. The only downside is that they can sometimes be more difficult to mount than bike-specific lighting systems.
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  13. #13
    SSP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timtruro View Post
    Do you really need two?
    Actually, for night cycling, you need a lot more light than that. It's not yet possible to purchase reliable, adequate bike lighting for less than $18.
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  14. #14
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSP View Post
    "Luminance" is not the same as lumens. Using standard LED's (as opposed to new, higher-powered models), I would guess you're getting a combined output of somewhere around 50 lumens from those lights. That's enough for going easy on a dark MUP, and just enough to (hopefully) be seen on a busy road.

    But for regular night road riding, you would definitely want more power and a longer burn time. Ironically, you need a lot more power when you're riding in areas that are more lit up (i.e., shopping districts), because your little bike headlights are competing with street lights, traffic signs, and car headlights.

    Most experts suggest a minimum of 200 lumens, and many regular commuters run 500-1000.

    As others have mentioned, the new generation of high-powered LED flashlights (those that use a single 3-5 watt LED), are a very cost-effective option. The only downside is that they can sometimes be more difficult to mount than bike-specific lighting systems.
    OK, you are the expert, and I am only a novice at this lighting thing.

    It works great for my purposes, no matter how many Lumens!!

    Thanks for the info.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  15. #15
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    I have Blackburn X8's and there nice and really bright in the day time and fantastic at night . I run front and back lights all the time night or day . And I ride almost as much at night as I do in the day time . Nice and peaceful at night lot less trafic here and a lota fun . ymmv

    IMHO with good lights blinking in the day time your safer just my 2 cents thou .

  16. #16
    Senior Member Old School's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    I remember when I was using Vista nightsticks for a while. Big, heavy, bulky batteries, always having problems with them, mediocre light, etc.
    Glad you like your set up. I just purchased a set of NOS Vistalite 530's (10W halogen + 15W halogen) and really like the set up. Guess I am just, well "old school"...
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

  17. #17
    Senior Member Eclectus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSP View Post
    As a year round commuter, serious lighting is a requirement for me.

    I'm now running a DiNotte 600L on the handlebars, and a 400L on the helmet, giving me 1000 lumens up front. I find it's very useful to incorporate a helmet mounted light too, because I can aim it around corners, or into the eyes of drivers approaching from side streets.

    For the rear view, I run the DiNotte 140L tail light, plus a Planet Bike Superflash, and lots of reflective bits (tires, fenders, ANSI Class II vest, etc.).

    Bottom line: I'm lit up like a Christmas tree. Cars routinely cross completely into the oncoming lane to pass me...and they change lanes *way* back. It also helps that I can set any of their lights into flashing mode - the tail lights are always in flash mode, and I'll often run one of the headlights in flash mode when it's not too dark (e.g., fog, dawn/dusk, etc.).

    And if anyone clips me, I'll own their *ss for sure (or, my survivors will...).
    +1

    There are a slew of new-generation super-bright LEDs from Korea, and they're improving as we speak.
    DiNottes primary advantages over competitors are: you can get three-light combos for about same as others' bar-lamps alone, replacement batteries are much lower priced for Li rechargeables, and some of their lights can be used with cheap rechargeable AAs. A big advantage IMO is one particular strobe setting, unique to DiNotte that gives 5 rapid bright flashes, with 1 low-intensity flash, that looks a lot like what you see on emergency vehicles. It's extremely attention-getting.

    For example, last week my LBS owner saw my 800L bar light as I was riding a half mile from her, in a light snowy gray day, and she was on the other side of a six-lane boulevard with heavy traffic. She crossed over and flagged me down. "That's an awesome light. What is it? I told her, and said DiNotte was looking for dealers.

    Another cyclist just did the same thing three days ago on a sunny day.

    My wife, coming home from church at night saw my 400L taillight from about a mile. She wasn't looking for me, it just got her attention, and she at first thought it might be a police car. On a flat, straight dark road, if you're looking for it, you can see it at three miles.

    At night I run the 800L bar light on steady-medium around town. I keep the helmet light on strobe "to be seen" maximally, unless on the bike path, then I run both lights on steady. The steady bar light washes out the helmet strobe enough to make night navigation "comfortable". The strobe causes reflective street signs to appear like they are self-flashing. That gets drivers attention beyond the taillight flashing at them. On four-lanes at night drivers move to the left lane hundreds of YARDS behind me. The days of last-second avoidance-reactions are a thing of the past.

    Getting honked at from behind in daytime doesn't happen anymore. It's just a theory but I think when people see cyclists late, and may get boxed in unable to change lanes to go around, so they have to brake and drive 15 mph for 30 seconds until the lane opens, they get frustrated. When they can see you way ahead, they have time to merge smoothly left without slowing down.

    I have no affiliation with DiNotte. I read that their taillights were unparalleled, and in checking their website saw a combo special that made sense, and all the company's component lights were 4-5 rated for performance and 5-rated for value in the mtbr bikelights shootout.

  18. #18
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old School View Post
    Glad you like your set up. I just purchased a set of NOS Vistalite 530's (10W halogen + 15W halogen) and really like the set up. Guess I am just, well "old school"...
    Hope they work fine for you. I probably just got a bad one!
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  19. #19
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Why not headlights blinking on a bike during the day?
    We use our Planet Bike Superflash Blinkies taillights during the day, and they are quite visible, except perhaps in the brightest of sunlight. In shade or even slight cloud cover they stand out. When the wife gets ahead of me I notice how attention-getting hers is.

    We got ours when someone told me of a study showing that vehicles give cyclists with blinking lights X feet more room, even during the day.

    Highly recommended.
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  20. #20
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipes View Post
    I have Blackburn X8's and there nice and really bright in the day time and fantastic at night.
    This is a good example to use for comparison to car lights and really bright bike lights. I've seen the Blackburn X8 dual light system and it seemed very bright to me. Cost around $200. Yet both lights combine to produce "only" 170 lumens. Which is about 1/6th as much as a single car low beam headlight.

    Bright enough for me to use at night, for sure. Maybe not for a serious commuter. And on the low side to get much notice from cars in broad daylight. A blinking red light of that brightness might get some notice.

    I can't remember the last time I noticed a bike's headlight during daylight.
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  21. #21
    SSP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
    I can't remember the last time I noticed a bike's headlight during daylight.
    I often run my handlebar-mounted DiNotte 600L in "fast flash" mode when commuting in rush hour traffic.

    I've been told it's highly visible (similar to how some motorcycles have daytime headlights that pulse to get attention).

    The hope is that it will prevent a Left Cross scenario. So far, I'm still alive (though where I live in California, there are very few "unprotected" left turns permitted at intersections controlled by traffic lights).
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