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Thread: Headlights

  1. #1
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Headlights

    Right now I have the Gen3 digital headlight. Works okay, though it does interfere with my HR monitor (Vetta S100). I minimize that by putting aluminum foil around the battery compartment - foil elsewhere doesn't seem to make much difference - but it is a hassle.

    Anyway, supposedly it should last on high power for 6.5 hours, but that is, to say the least, a generous figure. Maybe the problem is with the rechargable batteries gradually becoming less efficient, but they are well under half (maybe not even a 4th) of the recharge cycles they can handle.

    My longest rides (always starting at night) can easily last 4 hours and sometimes I have been out for 6 or a bit more.

    I'd like a brighter light, but so far the only one I've seen that lasts long enough and probably with time to spare (for insurance) is the Niterider Moab - but that is a $500+ item!

    Someone here also mentioned that HID light can tend to have more EMI issues than some other types so that is of some concern with my HR monitor issue too.

    Anyway, I'd like to gather some suggestions with two things required:

    1. It be brighter than the Gen3 digital.

    2. It lasts at high power at a dependable 6 hours or more. Well, I'll adjust that - if it has multi power settings, it needs to last 6 hours or more at a level that gives more light than the Gen3.

  2. #2
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    More than you want to know about bike lighting.............

    http://nordicgroup.us/s78/

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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Rechargeable NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) will not run as long as alkalines unless it is very cold. Also NImH batteries have a very high self discharge rate. Some are 10% loss the first day. If you leave them around for a few days you will not get a full run time. For a full run time with NiMh you basically have to charge them fully that day.

    See the forum thread "light selection guide" for run times, prices, and power of lights, on the market today. There are links to photos of the beams at night so you can see for your self what you get.

    Here's what I use for my 7+ hour night rides.

    http://www.gretnabikes.com/product.a...d=69&cat_ind=7
    Last edited by 2manybikes; 03-31-06 at 12:09 PM.
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  4. #4
    Da Big Kahuna
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    > Rechargeable NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) will not run as long as alkalines unless it is very cold. Also NImH batteries have a very high self discharge rate. <

    I typically recharge and place them back in the light just before I start riding. This particular light has a different setting for using rechargables and the resulting time for different power levels is listed as different between alkalines and rechargables. Strangely, the difference is listed as much greater at lower levels. At full power, they have the same time listed.

    Your light looks really nice, but I was thinking $500+ was expensive - $900 is way out of the question! I'll check that other thread. Thanks.

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    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tightwad
    More than you want to know about bike lighting.............

    http://nordicgroup.us/s78/
    Thanks. I'll memorize it!

  6. #6
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    LED's may be frowned upon but there is a new form called a Luxeon LED. Do not be deceived- a 5w luxeon is a powerful light and I can vouch for that. LED's- even the luxeon ones use the battery far more efficiently and do not drain batteries quite so much.

    http://www.use1.com/exposure/

    This is the home page and battery life is fantastic if used sensibly. I did a night ride last year and only did the 40 miler- About an hour after I finished the fast 80 milers came in and those lights were still bright after 8 hours use. And I do mean bright.

    Although I am looking at lights for next winter, and it will probably be one of the Exposure lights- I have found a helmet lamp invaluable. Toss up between the 3w luxeon as a helmet lamp or the 2x5w as the main riding light- but Finances still tight for this year.

    Yet another one to look at is the Blackburn. sorry -no home page but uses 2x3w luxeons.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    LED's may be frowned upon but there is a new form called a Luxeon LED. Do not be deceived- a 5w luxeon is a powerful light and I can vouch for that. LED's- even the luxeon ones use the battery far more efficiently and do not drain batteries quite so much.

    http://www.use1.com/exposure/

    This is the home page and battery life is fantastic if used sensibly. I did a night ride last year and only did the 40 miler- About an hour after I finished the fast 80 milers came in and those lights were still bright after 8 hours use. And I do mean bright.

    Although I am looking at lights for next winter, and it will probably be one of the Exposure lights- I have found a helmet lamp invaluable. Toss up between the 3w luxeon as a helmet lamp or the 2x5w as the main riding light- but Finances still tight for this year.

    Yet another one to look at is the Blackburn. sorry -no home page but uses 2x3w luxeons.
    Luxeons are definatly the way to go. They can be stunningly bright. Thanks for the link, ive been looking for something like that!

    Edit: Oy $500USD at Nashbar. Looks like ill be saving up for a while...
    Last edited by thedge; 03-31-06 at 02:10 PM.

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedge
    Luxeons are definatly the way to go. They can be stunningly bright. Thanks for the link, ive been looking for something like that!

    Edit: Oy $500USD at Nashbar. Looks like ill be saving up for a while...

    Although may not be as good as the 2x5w luxeons- this is the Financial choice that I may have to take. The x6 system sounds pretty good, and I have use a borrowed 3w helmet lamp and that was what decided mr to look at the luxeons- It was better than our 20w halogen bar lamp.


    http://www.systemxlights.com/systemx6.html
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    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Consider repair costs. As I explain in this thread, my Cygolite died after about 18 months of use. The company wants $100 to $200 to replace the lamp and/or ballast ($100 each, and they obviously couldn't tell me whether they'd have to replace one or both). That's a rip-off. Before buying ANY HID, ask the manufacturer for the cost to replace the lamp and ballast.

  10. #10
    Da Big Kahuna
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    The Exposure looks nice, but is kinda expensive. I've noticed the references to Blackburn using Luxeon bulbs. They are a bit lacking at full power (I'm not sure if that means full power on BOTH the lamps of the X6 or not) since it only lasts 3.5 hours. The next lower setting is 70% - it would be nice to know just how bright that is.

  11. #11
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    The Exposure looks nice, but is kinda expensive. I've noticed the references to Blackburn using Luxeon bulbs. They are a bit lacking at full power (I'm not sure if that means full power on BOTH the lamps of the X6 or not) since it only lasts 3.5 hours. The next lower setting is 70% - it would be nice to know just how bright that is.
    I ride off road and only use Full power on our lamps when it gets downhill or over tricky terrain, but that is also where the helmet lamp comes in. For normal riding-we cut down to a couple of powerful 1w LED's- Cateye EL500 and EL300, and find these adequate. Then there is road use to and from the trails, and just cut down to the EL300. Providing the Full power is only used when required- I think the Blackburns will stretch. Put it this way- forget the Cateyes as they have a 25 hour battery life- but our 20w only has a 2 1/2 hr life. By switching on and off we can do an 8 hour ride and still have full power at the end.

    I have used a single 3w as a helmet lamp and that was good. 2x5w sounds better and the Exposure is very good- but expensive. You do get what you pay for- but I do think I will have to go for the Blackburn thanks to finances. Then as finances do increase- I can always get a spare battery pack if I find I am lacking in Length of Power.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  12. #12
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    What about the Cateye Double and Triple Shot? They can be had for 218.00 EUR and 229.00 EUR respectively at http://www.bike-components.de Shipping is fast and reasonably priced.

  13. #13
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    What about the Cateye Double and Triple Shot? They can be had for 218.00 EUR and 229.00 EUR respectively at http://www.bike-components.de Shipping is fast and reasonably priced.
    True, are cheap but not good enough on power or battery life for me I'm afraid. Now if you just want good light and do not do high speed Downhills- they are pretty good. Problem is higher speed and the longer distance you want that beam to be. Keep your speed down to below 20mph and they are O.K. but O.K. is not good enough at 35mph.

    Borrowed the double shot and found it was not for me, but swopped over to a mate and he found it Good.

    That is a good price by the way- A Very Good Price They are around 210 in the UK where as the Blackburn is about 180 for better life and Light power.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    True, are cheap but not good enough on power or battery life for me I'm afraid. Now if you just want good light and do not do high speed Downhills- they are pretty good. Problem is higher speed and the longer distance you want that beam to be. Keep your speed down to below 20mph and they are O.K. but O.K. is not good enough at 35mph.

    Borrowed the double shot and found it was not for me, but swopped over to a mate and he found it Good.

    That is a good price by the way- A Very Good Price They are around 210 in the UK where as the Blackburn is about 180 for better life and Light power.
    They also have USE lights at http://www.bike-components.de. The Race Turbo is GBP 220. A bit more than the Blackburn, but not that much.

    http://www.bike-components.de/catalo...20&language=en

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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    > Rechargeable NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) will not run as long as alkalines unless it is very cold. Also NImH batteries have a very high self discharge rate. <

    I typically recharge and place them back in the light just before I start riding. This particular light has a different setting for using rechargables and the resulting time for different power levels is listed as different between alkalines and rechargables. Strangely, the difference is listed as much greater at lower levels. At full power, they have the same time listed.

    Your light looks really nice, but I was thinking $500+ was expensive - $900 is way out of the question! I'll check that other thread. Thanks.
    The run time you need is going to be a problem I think. I ran into that problem. You will get a lot of recommendations for lights that will not run that long. People don't seem to check run time?

    Try carrying another set of batteries with you?

    The problem with the powerfull LED lights is that either they don't give enough run time or they cost as much as a good HID. You can buy a four hour HID that will be much more powerfull than any led for about $200. HID bulbs are much more efficent than LED's.

    For about $100 this light will go longer than you need if you switch to low when you can, and be brighter than the LED lights on high. Take a look

    http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...OD&ProdID=1373
    Last edited by 2manybikes; 04-01-06 at 09:11 AM.
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    Da Big Kahuna
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    > For normal riding-we cut down to a couple of powerful 1w LED's- Cateye EL500 and EL300, and find these adequate. <

    I used to use the EL300 and, if the EL500 is the one which is supposed to be a bit better, I used that too (just not positive aboutt he number).

    I liked the like okay and it definitely lasted long enough, but the dang mount part on the light itself kept breaking! First there would be a little chip off one side of one end. This would then mean the other side would get more stress so it would soon break. Then the other end would do the same thing. Eventually there would only be a small section in the middle that was holding it and then it would break. I used a number of the 300s with the same result every time. When I ordered the 500 (or whatever it was), I was disappointed that it had the same attachment. However, it did last longer before breaking. I assume that was because the design affected the balance and thus how the stress was distributed.

    I strictly ride on roads, though some are a little bumpy because of patches. Wish they designed a thicker plastic attachment.

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    Da Big Kahuna
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    > You will get a lot of recommendations for lights that will not run that long. People don't seem to check run time? <

    I notice that - whether talking to people here or in person and no matter how much I emphasize that factor, most of the suggestions end up being for lights that don't last half that long. Now, that would be okay IF the next lower power still gave me more light than I have now AND lasted as long as I want, but I have no way to test these light. Anything I get would almost certainly have to be ordered since lbs options are pretty limited here.

    I do carry another set of batteries (alkalines actually so I don't have to keep recharging them too - just for emergencies), but that is one more thing to hassle with so I'd like to avoid it. I do have enough light on most roads to get by if the light has to resort to low power. It's just that I ride so much, almost all at night, that it probably makes sense to get something better.

    Your link looks like a possibility. Certainly the price isn't bad. Thanks.

  18. #18
    Da Big Kahuna
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    As I've been looking at info online for various lights, one item I've found is a "thumbswitch dimmer". Unfortunately, they don't give any detail.

    I assume it just makes it easy to change it to a lower power. That would be good since, with my present light, to change the power level I have to press a rather rubbery, imprecise button and cycle up through the power levels, back to OFF, and then up again to the lower level I may want. Just not practical on the fly!

    But even if the thumbswitch lets you dim it to a lower power level more easily, there is the problem about not know how much it reduces it! Again, looking at my light, it is digital so it holds its light level I set it to until it simply can't anymore, then it automatically drops - but it drops to like 10% all at once - quite a shock if it happens going down a dark hill! Anyway, I'd want a switch that easily dims it, but not that much in one shot.

    Either that or some type of easy switch that lets you quickly change levels - not like I have now. If I had that, I could justify a light that doesn't last long enough at full power. Just don't want the switch to be hard to make changes quickly and precisely.

  19. #19
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Take a careful look at this one too. This is a big LED that should give you 6 hours. Around $100

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...lisearch=true#

    I have not seen one in person, so were back to the "How Powerful?" question again. However, for me Performance has had a good return policy. But some places don't take returns on electrical things. It might be worth a phone call. The Cygolight web site has some beam comparison shots and more details.
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    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes
    Take a careful look at this one too. This is a big LED that should give you 6 hours. Around $100

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...lisearch=true#

    I have not seen one in person, so were back to the "How Powerful?" question again. However, for me Performance has had a good return policy. But some places don't take returns on electrical things. It might be worth a phone call. The Cygolight web site has some beam comparison shots and more details.
    It looks interesting, but I do note one problem - it says UP TO 6 hours, so that is probably based on using low power.

  21. #21
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    This is the BLT enduro ray 1250. 6 hour **12 watt LED** that's nearly as bright as a 12 watt HID (with a bit less spread)

  22. #22
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid
    This is the BLT enduro ray 1250. 6 hour **12 watt LED** that's nearly as bright as a 12 watt HID (with a bit less spread)
    Did someone mention beam spread ?
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  23. #23
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    HIDs are cheaper ..

    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Although may not be as good as the 2x5w luxeons- this is the Financial choice that I may have to take. The x6 system sounds pretty good, and I have use a borrowed 3w helmet lamp and that was what decided mr to look at the luxeons- It was better than our 20w halogen bar lamp.


    http://www.systemxlights.com/systemx6.html
    I'm a fan of LEDs. However, HID is cheaper and more energy efficient. The caveat here is that once you replace an HID bulb, LED pulls even in terms of cost.

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