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Old 08-06-04, 11:51 AM   #1
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Crappy bike lights!



I have lights, but after an hour of intermittent use, the batteries dim significantly. I need lights because I usually start my ride before 4am. It often doesn't get light enough to go without lights until about 5:30am. By then, my lights are kaput. Today, I noticed that even when I would turn them off when I wasn't using them, they still were dim by 5:15am, which sucked. I had a hard time seeing after that until the sun went up.

Does anyone have suggestions for long lasting lights that are at least 12 watts that I can easily affix to my handlebars and are preferably rechargeable? I'm going to Performance tomorrow for the members only sale, so I'll be stocking up then.

Thanks!

Koffee
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Old 08-06-04, 12:20 PM   #2
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4AM?? Jeez, I feel sorry for myself becuase I have to leave by 6.
There are a lot of lights out there, but I have come to the conclusion
that it's a 'get what you pay for' deal. And the cost isn't just in $$, lights weigh a lot, especially if you're carrying a spare battery.
If I had the bucks to buy today I'd get this..
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=4320
3 hours at 10 watts. That should do the trick. If you want more light,you could add a small Cateye for a backup light. Btw, your avatar has me confused. Is that a picture of you? I thought you said you were short, and not blonde.
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Old 08-06-04, 12:55 PM   #3
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I have a Niterider digital that I use on my helmet and a Cygonite Night Rover on the handlebars. I had to get the 5 hour brute charger for the Niterider because it would not completly charge in the time period from one commute to another. Now the same problem with the Cygonite. They are 14 hour slow trickle chargers. What a pain in the a$$. One thing I noticed is if I only have the handlebar mount light on, cars will wait a long time for me to enter an intersection. They don't know I am a bicyle. If I have the head mount light on, they know something is screwy, and I'm probably not a motorcycle, so they don't wait. Since my commute starts in the dark and gets darker, I did not feel comfortable with only one lighting system. I do like the having both a handlebar and a helmet mounted light. The darkness is not so claustophobic.
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Old 08-06-04, 01:33 PM   #4
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My bike light is a triple 3 watt Luxeon LED setup. Probably produces about 150 lumens, though I'm not sure as I don't have a light meter. It is a complete homemade job.
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Old 08-06-04, 01:34 PM   #5
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I would advise you to go for a LED style light. My cateye uses 4AA's and has a standard running time of 300 hours. It was only 24$. If you use a light to actually illuminate the road infront of you spend money on a good rechargable "night rider" style light. Mine is great for being visable to traffic.
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Old 08-06-04, 02:03 PM   #6
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If you really want a good light and don't mind spending the extra change get the Niterider:
http://www.niterider.com/BIKEPRODUCTS/FlameThrower.html

I plan to buy the helmet mount version tomorrow when Performance has their double points weekend. 20% in points plus 20% cupon makes it a little less painful.
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Old 08-06-04, 02:43 PM   #7
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If you're going to performance for double points weekend, take a look at their GEN3 LED, it's supposedly 10W equivalent of light coming from a single luxeon LED with good optics.
Either that or take advantage of the double points + 20% off coupon for something like a whopping 30% off and grab a HID. You'll wonder how you ever got by without it.
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Old 08-06-04, 02:57 PM   #8
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Lights in Motion ARC HID L-Ion or NiMH

They're expensive, but gobs of light (13.5w), spec'd for 3 - 3.5 hr run time I have gotten 4+. 4.5hr quick charge and smart charger that allows you to leave it plugged in without fear of battery damage. (Full specs below)

Helmet mount or bar mount. I prefer helmet for both road and off-road. Where ever you look, you have light... straight ahead, down at your computer, off to the side of the road where it looks like a deer is about to run out in front of you, etc... and battery goes in middle jersey/jacket pocket (incredibly light). Can't say enough nice things about this light.

Paid $399 at BeyondBikes.com for the L-Ion (MSRP $499). No Tax & Fee Shipping.
http://www.beyondbikes.com/bb/Itemde...%2Darcligh&Tp=

Performance does not carry the L-Ion model. However, they do carry the NiMH model at $389 on Sale. Only difference is the battery. http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=4320


Full Specs.

The NEW Lithium Ion (Li-ion) battery is half the weight of a comparable NiMH battery, but delivers full size power and burn times.LIGHTS Our other battery packs all utilize high capacity, memory free NiMH cells and are among the smallest and lightest on the market and easily stow in a jersey pocket or hydration pack. Our batteries also come standard with a very clean frame mount leaving your water bottle cages for your water bottles. * Lite! rechargeable Lithium Ion battery powered light system * H.I.D. (High Intensity Discharge) technology * 3 times brighter than comparable halogen systems * 2 power settings * Helmet and handlebar mounts included * Frame mountable battery pack * Custom reflector provides clean, even beam pattern * Low battery circuitry to safeguard battery * Includes 4.5 hour universal input Turbocharger(90-240v compatible)* (Not compatible with any of the NiMH batteries.) LIGHT SPECIFICATIONS Width: 1.75" Height: 1.75"Length: 3.0" Weight: 170g including cable and mount Lamp: HID lamp life approximately 700 hours Light Output (lumens)/ Burn time(hrs.) 13.5 Watts- 675/ 3.0 hrs 11.0 Watts- 550/ 3.5 hrs BATTERY SPECIFICATIONS Length: 4.0" Height: 2.0" Width: 2.0" Weight: 270g Battery Composition: Lithium Ion Voltage/Capacity:11.1v , 4.0Ah, 300 charge cycles

Last edited by livngood; 08-06-04 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 08-06-04, 03:00 PM   #9
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I actually have that Cygo Lite 6 Volt system- I paid about $100, I believe, so if I was supposed to get what I paid for, I didn't get it! I also got a second light that was supposed to be a 5 volt at the Chicago Bike Show in March. Never used it, then I used it for about 1 minute a couple of days ago to ensure it worked, and when I saw the light go on, I put the light on my suitcase, and plugged in the battery part. Well, the suitcase is no more than 3 feet high, and I walked past it and bumped it, and the light fell on the floor, which is carpeted, by the way. I put it back on the suitcase and didn't think about it, but this morning, I went to plug it in and turn it on, and it wasn't working. *sigh* So I have about $130 worth of lights, and they're not doing the job. I'm willing to make the investment, since I know that I'll be doing the early morning rides for the rest of my life.. I just want to make sure that before I plunk down anymore money, that I have what I need!

Thanks for the comments. I'm headed over to the Performance website right now so I can get prices down and be ready for that sale.

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Old 08-06-04, 03:08 PM   #10
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Follow-up note on HID. They can and do cause inteference problems with wireless computers and HRMs. That's another good reason to use them with helmet mount vs. bar-mount. My ARC HID and HAC4 did not play nice together when I experimented with a bar mount installation. Once on the helmet, no problems with wheel signal or HRM.
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Old 08-06-04, 04:05 PM   #11
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Koffee, what's the battery chemistry?

BTW, you said a bad word. I'm tellin'!
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Old 08-06-04, 04:07 PM   #12
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What is battery chemistry?

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Old 08-06-04, 08:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
What is battery chemistry?

Koffee
sealed lead acid, nickel-cadium, nickel-metalhydride, lithium ion, etc.
It just means the kind of chemical that's storing the charge in the battery.
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Old 08-06-04, 08:51 PM   #14
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Oh- in that case, I don't know. It's not written anywhre on the lights or the battery.

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Old 08-06-04, 09:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
Oh- in that case, I don't know. It's not written anywhre on the lights or the battery.

Koffee
Regardless of the chemistry, it's probably kaput if you've had it for a long time. I suggest you get something new. With the double points and a coupon, you can get the light & motion (which comes with a very tiny versatile battery) HID for $240 down from $389.
Either that or the new GEN3 with a charger for $60 down from $100.
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Old 08-06-04, 09:47 PM   #16
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I'm trying to figure out if I need the charger. I've got so many different plugs for lights, cameras, laptops, etc, that I wonder if I could just get the lights without the charger. I guess I'll find out tomorrow.

Oh sweet Performance! Here I cooooooooooooommmmeeee!!!!

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Old 08-06-04, 09:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
I'm trying to figure out if I need the charger. I've got so many different plugs for lights, cameras, laptops, etc, that I wonder if I could just get the lights without the charger. I guess I'll find out tomorrow.

Oh sweet Performance! Here I cooooooooooooommmmeeee!!!!

Koffee
If you have a charger for AA batteries, you're good to go, the regular GEN3 is only $60.
Myself, I'm mulling over whether I should get a HID light or not, the cheapest HID comes out to $150 after all the discounts.
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Old 08-06-04, 10:01 PM   #18
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Whoa! I'll have to find that charger.

BTW, I'm doing lots of research. Some of the stuff in the catalog is going for regular price, but when I look it up on the site, it's on sale. I am going through the prices for everything, and I'll be at performance first thing with my catalog, and I'll buy it cheapest wherever I see it's cheapest. I'll definitely be online getting some stuff from the site, and I'll also be getting some stuff from the catalog, and I'll be getting some stuff from the store. It'll even itself out.

The GEN3 web special is $44.96, but in the catalog, it's $59.99. What a difference!

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Old 08-06-04, 10:20 PM   #19
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In terms of rechargeables, batteries typically don't last more than 2-3 years. As for the light that was in your suitcase, could it be that the lightbulb filament broke when the suitcase was bumped? It might be good to bring the parts at a bike shop and check which part is wrong, the wiring (broken wire), the bulb or the battery.

As for other suggestions:
If you have enough lighting on your roads and simply want to be seen, the Planet Bike 1 W LED superspot is a very good option. It's large enough and bright enough to be seen, sturdy, and lasts 30 hours with 4 AA batteries. The Cateye EL500 uses a similar LED but with different optics, so it might be interesting to compare them. None of these lights would be powerful enough to light your own way in the dark, but they would be great in town.

Finally, I have a generator hub. Always there, never dead. The light is only 3 W, but good optics throw the light on the road only.
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Old 08-07-04, 01:59 AM   #20
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If you want bright you should check out/revisit these threads:
What's a good, really bright bike light?
Total Geekiness

my light:


I'm running a 12V 4.0ah lead-acid, and a 20 watt philips spot MR16 bulb, gets the job done well. I have rode for about 2 hours max so far, the battery was still going full strength. Though this is a bulky setup and all the gear weighs about 5 lbs.
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Old 08-07-04, 02:49 AM   #21
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One thing to note about HIDs is that they take a while to warm up. This is why you see some cars with HIDs also have a dual-bulb setup with a halogen light ring. BMW does this with their cars. I prefer having an HID helmet light and halogen bar setup for maximum lighting flexibility. As MERTON previously mentioned, I'm a big fan of JetLites. Their products are powerful, reliable, robust and their customer service is excellent.
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Old 08-07-04, 03:01 AM   #22
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Koffee have you thought about getting a hub dynamo- I have a Schmidt on my hybrid-the extra drag is hardly noticeable and you dont have to worry about charging up batteries and how long they will last. You can also get lights that stay lit when you are stopped for a few minutes like at traffic lights.
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Old 08-07-04, 03:11 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outashape
I have a Niterider digital that I use on my helmet and a Cygonite Night Rover on the handlebars. I had to get the 5 hour brute charger for the Niterider because it would not completly charge in the time period from one commute to another. Now the same problem with the Cygonite. They are 14 hour slow trickle chargers. What a pain in the a$$.
Outashape..I have just about the Same system... The Niterider Digital Evolution has 2/25 hrs. burn time at 10 watts..
My CygoLite, Nite Rover. I have two batteries..The water cage mount and the Padded battery pack..I like having two batteries...Combined burn time is a lot..SO on a long commute I carry both..that will get me home.
But the CyrgoLite..The slow trickle charge...Never know how empty the charge..It you overcharge, I think you weaken the battery..Yes, they are a pain in the A$$ for that reason..Any problems with charging/ overcharging...Since most of my night rides are under one hour, I usually use the digital evolution.
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Old 08-07-04, 11:57 PM   #24
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I didn't have time to read all the post, so here is my thought which may have already been covered. First of all the LED lights are not comparable in brightness to a 12 watt light; yes the batteries last a long time but the intensity of the beam is not there...yet.

If you have the money they go HID but good golly molly, $300 plus for a bike light? that seems a little obsurd to me, plus the brighter light has a tendency to bounce glare off the street into your eyes.

If your trying to save money and still have decent run times (and knowing your a tourist) I would look into the Cygo Metro. It features a twim beam light with a 6.5 watt flood (about 8 feet in diameter pattern with stray light that spreads it out 180 degrees) and a 6.5 watt spot (about 4 feet in diameter and offset 5 degrees up angle) for a total of 13 watts if you run both. The battery burn time is 5 hours on one beam and 2.5 hours on both. Now here's the odd part and why I thought it may suit you (but I could be wrong!), the batteries it uses are 6 D batteries! That means you can go into any store and buy D batteries and be lighting your way once again instead of trying to find a outlet to plug into to charge up again; and touring out in the boonies that could be a problem. I own this light and it is plenty bright for me, in fact I rarely even use the spot beam even on pitch dark bike paths. The Cygo Metro sells for about $48, batts not included. I get my D's at Walmart and buy the house brand called EverActiv they sell in a 12 pack for 8 or 9 dollars,and the 12 will easily last the season.

I use to have a Cateye EL500 LED and the thing just didn't cut it, it has a small 1 foot diameter spot beam with no scatter and an odd whiteish blueish color. The Cygo Metro with just one beam on completely washed out the Cateye. I bought the Cateye then returned it 30 days later and upgraded to the Cygo for only $12 more. I've had the light for only a year but so far no durablity issues. Also you can up grade the bulbs to brighter bulbs but your battery life will be reduced; also you can buy an optional rechargeable battery pack so then you would have a dual battery system.
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Old 08-08-04, 01:57 AM   #25
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Quote:
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khuon likes these.

http://www.jetlites.com/
Bokkie likes them as well.
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