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  1. #1
    Climbing better scvroadie's Avatar
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    What lights do you use for the long rides?

    I plan on doing several double centuries next year and I'm curious about lights? Any recommendations, it seems to me the brighter the better, but some lights I've seen may be overkill. Let me know what works for you.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DanteB's Avatar
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    At night on a dark road nothing is overkill!!! I use a Niterider Cyclone on my helmet and a Serfas SL-400 on the handlebars. As a taillight I use the Niterider taillight on steady. I also wear 2 ankle reflector bands, a small slow moving triangle on my backside and a lot of reflective tape all over my bike.

  3. #3
    Steel is Real. markw's Avatar
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    Michael Wolfe has me drooling over his Aero setup. Dual E6's with a disc brake hub.

    http://escapevelocipede.blogspot.com...09/stable.html

  4. #4
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I'd say you're looking for reliability as much as brightness here, and as far as a headlight goes, I don't think you can go wrong with the E6 powered by a Schmidt hub dynamo. Yes, that set up is expensive, but I believe worth the money if you intend to do a lot of night riding. I have a smaller LED headlight on my handlebars as a backup, but it's really only been used as a camp flashlight for touring so far.

    I'm currently running a Vistalite 5 LED tail-light as my main tail light, with a 3 LED Smart tail light as a back-up. I'm interested in other recommendations in that area.
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  5. #5
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    I find that twin Cateye EL500 LED lights, mounted about halfway down the forks, provides sufficient light for night riding in rural areas. The EL500 will run all night long on a single set of batteries. Is see many Randonneurs using dual SL500s.

    A Schmidt hub and lights would certainly be a better setup, but at a much higher cost.

    However, depending on the time of year and how fast you do the double, you may not need all night light. If you are riding in summer, you may not need more than 2-3 hours of light and can get that easily with a commuting type of halogen or 3w LED light. These will provide more light, but with significantly less runtime. So, it all depends on your circumstances.

  6. #6
    Avatar out of order. MarkS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    I find that twin Cateye EL500 LED lights, mounted about halfway down the forks, provides sufficient light for night riding in rural areas. The EL500 will run all night long on a single set of batteries. Is see many Randonneurs using dual SL500s.
    I have the Cateye EL500 and was surprised that it seemed to me less bright than my Princeton Tec EOS (on bright mode). The CE did have a slightly brighter central spot, but it was very small ... and looks like the "batman" symbol (though its a cat). I don't know how they compare for longevity.
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  7. #7
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    Two Cateye EL500s on the handlebars. Plenty of light, and the two EL500s and two 3-LED tailights (on the seatstays) cost me $70 total during a Performance sale a few months ago.

    If I end up doing this a lot, I'll go w/ a dynohub, but that's to much $$ for me right now.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    A Schmidt hub and lights would certainly be a better setup, but at a much higher cost.
    I hear/read this a lot. If you say "higher initial outlay", then maybe yes. But if you use lithium batteries and go through one set a night (or even several nights on a randonnee), then it doesn't take very long for the Schmidt cost to amortise out to be very attractive, and the hub for me has been totallly reliable, plus I haven't had to worry about rechargeables or running out of spare batteries. I have been running a Schmidt for over three years and around 50,000km with A LOT of night riding. The ~$US200 initial cost has been well and truly covered.

  9. #9
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan
    I hear/read this a lot. If you say "higher initial outlay", then maybe yes. But if you use lithium batteries and go through one set a night (or even several nights on a randonnee), then it doesn't take very long for the Schmidt cost to amortise out to be very attractive, and the hub for me has been totallly reliable, plus I haven't had to worry about rechargeables or running out of spare batteries. I have been running a Schmidt for over three years and around 50,000km with A LOT of night riding. The ~$US200 initial cost has been well and truly covered.
    A Schmidt hub alone is $200 from Peter White cycles. Add to that one or two E6 lights at $95 each for an entry price of $300-$400. Then, you still have to build the wheel, so add the cost of rim and spokes. If you have Peter White build the wheel, then you are into approximately $300 for the wheel and another $200 for the lights, exclusive of miscellaneous small parts to put it all together.

    You can save a few dollars by using other lights with the Schmidt hub, but you'r still out about $400+ for the system. If you know a way to get into a Schmidt for only $200, I'd like to know your source of parts.

    I've looked at a Schmidt-based setup pretty hard over the past year, but have found that two EL500 lights with NiMH batteries and charger come to less than $150 with no recurring expenses. Although the light output is inferor to the E6, the NiMH batteries will easily run all night without recharging and is an acceptable method of Randonneuring on a budget.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    A Schmidt hub alone is $200 from Peter White cycles. Add to that one or two E6 lights at $95 each for an entry price of $300-$400. Then, you still have to build the wheel, so add the cost of rim and spokes. If you have Peter White build the wheel, then you are into approximately $300 for the wheel and another $200 for the lights, exclusive of miscellaneous small parts to put it all together.

    You can save a few dollars by using other lights with the Schmidt hub, but you'r still out about $400+ for the system. If you know a way to get into a Schmidt for only $200, I'd like to know your source of parts.

    I've looked at a Schmidt-based setup pretty hard over the past year, but have found that two EL500 lights with NiMH batteries and charger come to less than $150 with no recurring expenses. Although the light output is inferor to the E6, the NiMH batteries will easily run all night without recharging and is an acceptable method of Randonneuring on a budget.
    Doing your own rebuild on the original wheel cuts the price. For hub, Lumotech Ovalplus and spokes, the all-up bill from that guy you mentioned was around $300 (~$205 for the hub, 30c each for the 36 spokes and $76 for the light). I did the rebuild. I can almost guarantee the hub will last twice as long as the set-up you describe, and the optics in the Ovalplus are still way ahead of LEDs, so you will likely be upgrading as new LED lamps come on the market. Over five years, I still bet I will spend less than anyone with batteries lights.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Marcello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    A Schmidt hub alone is $200 from Peter White cycles. Add to that one or two E6 lights at $95 each for an entry price of $300-$400. Then, you still have to build the wheel, so add the cost of rim and spokes. If you have Peter White build the wheel, then you are into approximately $300 for the wheel and another $200 for the lights, exclusive of miscellaneous small parts to put it all together.
    True, but you should consider that if you need a new wheel anyway, the additional cost is not as much if you go with a generator hub. In my case, I am pretty sure that I will need to replace the rim on my front wheel next spring, after I trash it even more during my second winter of bike commuting. The generic no-name-brand front hub that came with my bike may not be worth reusing. I am probably going to go with a $95 Shimano DH-3N70 hub instead of the $200 SON hub, which means that the new front wheel will cost me maybe $30-40 more than it would with a non generator hub.

  12. #12
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Several threads in LD with this going already.

    I had a seperate set of wheels built.

    Mavic Open Pros. Schmidt up front, powering 2 E6's.
    Campy Hub rear (just had it rebuilt for my new ride).
    I use a Danolite on top (head) for navigating, cue sheets, etc. This goes on and off depending on what I'm doing.
    I'm experimenting with a chest mounted LED (on my relfective vest) for cue reading.

    Read more about my setup here and here.


    As to expense... well - everyone needs to balance that on their own.

    I got tired of waiting for battery system to charge, and of it failing in odd weather, or not working at all.
    Had I bought the Schmidt 3 years ago when I started commuting in the dark (over an hour each way!) - the batteries and various lights I've bought would have paid for it all already. Now I have a pile of "almost worked" stuff.

    I ride alot in the dark - either in the morning, or at night. Somedays I'll return from a ride after midnight. My investment was worth it.
    If you are commuting on it, you'll get even more use and piece of mind out of it...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike
    If you are commuting on it, you'll get even more use and piece of mind out of it...
    That peace of mind is really worth a lot more than dollars, too.

    But... thinking also about the OP, the light set-up that supcom suggests/uses may well be an acceptable sysem for double centuries if the OP is concerned about the minimal drag caused by a SON hub when the light is off during the day (worth one foot of altitude gain per mile) and weight (and that is moot). The alternative is to have a front wheel with an ordinary hub for the day section, and a SON wheel for the night. But a twin EL500 works -- depending on ride speed and road conditions AND if it is raining!

  14. #14
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan
    That peace of mind is really worth a lot more than dollars, too.
    + infinity. I hate worrying about this stuff. Aside from bulbs I just get on the bike and go.


    The EL500's will work well. Its a reasonable $$ to get started. If you like riding at night, you can upgrade.


    As for drag, I'd like to run some simulations on AnalyticCycling and look at watts that I can put out (estimated, I'm not running a power meter), and how many the wheel is pulling from me. I just can't see how the wheel (which I run with or without the lights) is going to slow me down that much. Losing more weight and increasing my strength / weight ratio will do more for me than worrying about drag... and I live in VT - which means I climb no matter which direction I go - and 1 foot per mile (off) and 5 feet per mile (on) seems miniscule to me.

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    The switch on my ride partner's Lumotech Ovalplus accidentally switched on before Monday afternoon's ride. When it was switched off, the comment came: "I didn't notice any difference at all".

  16. #16
    Senior Member Marcello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike
    I'm experimenting with a chest mounted LED (on my relfective vest) for cue reading.
    I tried something like it last spring, but I found that even a tiny chest mounted LED light would kill my night vision because I could not keep it where it would not be visible with my eyes. If you find a chest light setup that works without affecting your night vision, I would be very interested in hearing about it.

  17. #17
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan
    The switch on my ride partner's Lumotech Ovalplus accidentally switched on before Monday afternoon's ride. When it was switched off, the comment came: "I didn't notice any difference at all".
    I can't tell if the lights are on or off during the daytime unless I look. The drag is not detectable by feel, but - there is no free lunch. The power comes from somewhere - either in batteries that you carry, or in drag to a dyno.

    I'll take the reliability of the dyno.

  18. #18
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    I use twin Cateye HL-500II C halogens mounted on my forks. I haven't tried their LED lights yet, but from what I hear the halogens are a lot brighter. Anyone use both and can comment?

    I have been using Duracell Ultras, but I want to start using NiMH 2500mAh rechargeables - anyone know how they compare?



    http://vikapproved.blogspot.com/2006...rk-lights.html

    I also use a Princeton TEC EOS headlamp attached to my helmet.
    Last edited by vik; 09-20-06 at 06:45 PM.
    safe riding - Vik
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  19. #19
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vik
    I use twin Cateye HL-500II C halogens mounted on my forks. I haven't tried their LED lights yet, but from what I hear the halogens are a lot brighter. Anyone use both and can comment?

    I have been using Duracell Ultras, but I want to start using NiMH 2500mAh rechargeables - anyone know how they compare?



    http://vikapproved.blogspot.com/2006...rk-lights.html

    I also use a Princeton TEC EOS headlamp attached to my helmet.
    I compared alkaline vs NiMH with the EL500 LED light and could detect no difference in light output between the two types of batteries. I did not do a runtime comparison, but I have used 2500 mAh NiMH batteries all night long (spring/summer) in the EL500 with no problem. I would not expect to get a second night's use out of a set of batteries without charging them.

  20. #20
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan
    That peace of mind is really worth a lot more than dollars, too.

    But... thinking also about the OP, the light set-up that supcom suggests/uses may well be an acceptable sysem for double centuries if the OP is concerned about the minimal drag caused by a SON hub when the light is off during the day (worth one foot of altitude gain per mile) and weight (and that is moot). The alternative is to have a front wheel with an ordinary hub for the day section, and a SON wheel for the night. But a twin EL500 works -- depending on ride speed and road conditions AND if it is raining!
    In all fairness, the drag from a Schmidt hub should not be a factor in your decision as to which system to buy.

  21. #21
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan
    Doing your own rebuild on the original wheel cuts the price. For hub, Lumotech Ovalplus and spokes, the all-up bill from that guy you mentioned was around $300 (~$205 for the hub, 30c each for the 36 spokes and $76 for the light). I did the rebuild. I can almost guarantee the hub will last twice as long as the set-up you describe, and the optics in the Ovalplus are still way ahead of LEDs, so you will likely be upgrading as new LED lamps come on the market. Over five years, I still bet I will spend less than anyone with batteries lights.
    Is Peter White correct in that the Oval Plus lamp can be damaged if you ride it a short distance turned on with a burned out bulb? That seems a bit farfetched for an expensive lamp? I like the look of the Oval Plus, but if I have to remember to turn it off after a long night of riding for fear that a burned out bulb will ruin it, I'd rather spend the extra money for an E6.

  22. #22
    Dagger Boy Extort's Avatar
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    Planet Bike Alias: (I bought two and bring the second battery in my bag while on my own doubles) $90 each.


    ViewPoint FlashPoint: (I got compliments on this light during the Apple Pie Ride and at a LAB LCI class, so you know it is bright) $15


    Make sure that you pick up the ankle straps because Planet Ultra requires them.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    Is Peter White correct in that the Oval Plus lamp can be damaged if you ride it a short distance turned on with a burned out bulb? That seems a bit farfetched for an expensive lamp? I like the look of the Oval Plus, but if I have to remember to turn it off after a long night of riding for fear that a burned out bulb will ruin it, I'd rather spend the extra money for an E6.
    The person you mention does say that about the Ovalplus. But there is a model that has a light sensor switch, and it was great when I had one. Even less to worry about. The lamp itself isn't really *that* expensive.

    I have gone the E6 route (double). I had double Ovalpluses for PBP2003, and despite the two zenor diodes, they worked very well. The E6s are more intense with their longer spread of light, but I do miss occasionally the wider spread offered by the Ovapluses. E6s also cannot be run directly off batteries, whereas the Ovalplus can be. The E6 has a reed switch operated by a magnet in the outer switch ring, and it can be damaged by the sudden increase in current through it.

    I had a friend who had an Ovalplus connected to a first-generation Litespin sidewall dynamo. The Litespins then had problems with the hinging and his remained on for ALL his riding. The Ovalplus was a non-switched version, so it remained on for ALL his riding. The bulbs last a long time and the chances of blowing one in daylight are remote. Generally, you replace them because the light very slowly dims and becomes yellow.

    I do concede that yes, you do need to carry spare bulbs whereas with LEDs you don't. And unfortunately, the bulbs are not off-the-shelf types, and the person you mention is the only one who imports them in North America.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Marcello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan
    I have gone the E6 route (double). I had double Ovalpluses for PBP2003, and despite the two zenor diodes, they worked very well. The E6s are more intense with their longer spread of light, but I do miss occasionally the wider spread offered by the Ovapluses.
    Some people choose a light with a wider beam for their primary, and a narrow, more intense E6 for the secondary. On a 600k this past weekend I saw a bike setup with a DLumotec 1W LED primary and an E6 secondary, and I was very impressed by the beam pattern of the two lights.

    Too bad that nobody makes a 3W Luxeon LED lamp for hub generators. That would be a sight to see.

  25. #25
    duh-river foe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcello
    Too bad that nobody makes a 3W Luxeon LED lamp for hub generators. That would be a sight to see.
    I don't know if you can power a 3W LED from a hub generator (to full power). Since LEDs are either on or off, you'd need some circuitry with a capacitor and a microprocessor to be able to power-cycle the LED in short bursts so it stays 'on' even when the voltage from the generator drops. Conventional bulbs don't have the on/off problem, they just dim when the power drops. It's not an impossible problem to power an LED lamp off a hub, it's just a little cumbersome.

    BTW, they make 5 Watt white LEDs now. http://www.theledlight.com/LuxeonLEDs.html Prepare to be blinded!

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