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Old 01-25-08, 04:00 PM   #1
Godwin
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Your light that lights all nights

Trying to get some opinions on some lights that will last indefinitely. Since sometimes we can be gone a long time and not have access to electricity and often ride much of the night. I have been asking questions on the EL&G forum and they have tossed out a few lights that may be good choices. These are lights that run on commonly found batteries, don't come at the cost a water bottle, and should be bright enough to see the road clearly in unlit areas. Does anyone have experiences with these lights or know of any others that might be better choices?

Please help and and subtract:
  • Dinotte 200L
  • Fenix L2D
  • Cateye EL530
  • Cygolite Hi-Flux 100
  • BLT Ultra Doppler DX (my current headlight)
  • Ixon IQ
There's always hub systems I know but I'm not too thrilled about rebuilding a set of wheels that spin wonderfully (and I spent a lot of money on) with an inferior hub just so I can ride a few hours in the night every once and a while.



To chime in first, my BLT has a long runtime and is bright enough to see the road ahead, but I find it is not quite bright enough to see definition such as pot holes vs filled in pot holes or snow patches vs salt stains. I just bought a Fenix and I'll be using the two together for the first time on my February century.

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Old 01-25-08, 04:53 PM   #2
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Let us think waaay outside of the box. I read a story in a maritime yacht magazine about a permanently on safety light. Goes for 12 years before dimming to half power. Tritium powered. Man brought it over seas and used it while working on his engine.. Legal state side; he ran it past the Coast Guard. Halifax being in the Maritime provinces you might be able to get one in some port-side shop.

As you said: The light that lights all nights.
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Old 01-25-08, 05:11 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ken cummings View Post
Let us think waaay outside of the box. I read a story in a maritime yacht magazine about a permanently on safety light. Goes for 12 years before dimming to half power. Tritium powered. Man brought it over seas and used it while working on his engine.. Legal state side; he ran it past the Coast Guard. Halifax being in the Maritime provinces you might be able to get one in some port-side shop.

As you said: The light that lights all nights.
Woah. But there doen't seem to be any available light that can attach to a bike, more importantly it seems Tritium can't provide the kind of light needed to see what's on the road ahead (would probably be good to be seen). Extremely cool.
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Old 01-25-08, 05:35 PM   #4
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I use a Cateye EL 500 ( I think; anyway, the older version of the 530) and a Fenix L2DCE and a blinkie.

The fenix is brighter, lighter and cheaper. However the batteries last 2-3 hrs with rechargeables (maybe mor ewith Li). The light is bright enough for me do do 25km/h or so, which is about all I want to do at night. The beam pattern is perfect, strong central spot with enough side spread to keep things comfortable. I wear it as a helmet light, it is OK but even the 100g or so becomes noticable after a while.

The Cateye lasts much longer - with intermittent use, 30hrs or so (not sure about continuous) using Li batteries. I think it is hard to beat for battery life, especially as you can just pop in a new set of AAs when the others run out. Say they only last 10-15 hrs with continuous use - that's still all night, and you can get a new set from a shop the next day. The only problem is that it's not really bright enough alone; if you're not in an area with street lights you definitely need more light once you get abouve 18-20 km/h. It is a great light for streetlit areas.

The blinkie gets new alkalines every winter and is noticably brighter for it.

The combination works well for commuting; I think for dedicated night riding I'd want something brighter, but if it is an occasional thing I can recommend the Fenix in particular.
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Old 01-25-08, 07:20 PM   #5
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Why don't you just get a sidewall generator and be done with it?
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Old 01-25-08, 10:29 PM   #6
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Maybe if you could mount the light lower on the forks your existing light would be more effective at illuminating the bumps in the road.
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Old 01-25-08, 10:57 PM   #7
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SON dynohub.

I just need to get a dual light setup with mine.
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Old 01-25-08, 11:34 PM   #8
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I don't like the beam from the Cateye EL530. It is a round spot that is not very wide. And the light is not regulated, which means that when the batteries are fully charged it draws a decent amount of current from the batteries, and therefore gives a fair amount of light, but as the battery discharges it draws less current and therefore you get less light. Cateye claims a long battery life, but you only get a few hours of decent light with them. I like the triangular beam of the older model, the EL500, much better. I have two of them, and with fully charged MiMH batteries they work just fine for my nighttime brevets.

One light that you may want to add to your list is the Ixon IQ. I have not seen it myself, but I heard good things about it. Regulated, decent amount of light, nice beam shape (from what I heard). If I was in the market for a battery powered light, I would probably get one of those.
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Old 01-26-08, 05:58 AM   #9
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Why don't you just get a sidewall generator and be done with it?
I started looking into the Dymotec S12, it's expensive but it's supposed to be very efficient. I don't see how I could properly attach it to my bladed fork though.
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Old 01-26-08, 09:08 AM   #10
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Trying to get some opinions on some lights that will last indefinitely. Since sometimes we can be gone a long time and not have access to electricity and often ride much of the night.
You contradict yourself...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Godwin View Post
There's always hub systems I know but I'm not too thrilled about rebuilding a set of wheels that spin wonderfully (and I spent a lot of money on) with an inferior hub just so I can ride a few hours in the night every once and a while.

If you are looking to just 'ride a few hours in the night every once and a while', any of the 'normal' lights out there will work - but that is counter to the opening of your post.


Not sure what you mean by 'inferior' hub. Maybe its not a carbon / ti bling with ceramic space technology nitrogen cooled bearings - but for what it does the SON it is state of the art. Along with the Shimano, not far behind. If your performance will be jeopardized by the 'resistance' of the dynohub, you are in another league and should just hire a pace car to follow you around. And why would you even be considering a bottle generator if this is the case?

The SON hubs aren't 'inferior'.
Build an extra front wheel if you don't want to ruin your good ones.


But I'm biased. I'm riding a SON dynohub, dual E6s, although I am investigating homebrew LED options and the Ixon generator lights. Also looking at ways to charge my PDAphone thing... but i don't want to fry it.
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Old 01-26-08, 11:22 AM   #11
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I'd love a SON hub at some point but am not in the position where I can spend that much (~$300 for the wheel, then anywhere from $30-150 on the lights) so went for a cheaper route and am supplementing my current Cateye EL530 with a second. I'm also going to replace the LED's like this guy did: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=167551

The better LEDs seem to get about 15-20% more light with the same battery draw and cost about $5 a piece. Mine are in the mail and I'll be sure to update everyone with how it works out.

Also, the longest ride I plan on doing is a 400k, which will be at most one full night of riding so the ~8-10 hour bright period of the EL 530 should be fine.
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Old 01-26-08, 01:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godwin View Post
To chime in first, my BLT has a long runtime and is bright enough to see the road ahead, but I find it is not quite bright enough to see definition such as pot holes vs filled in pot holes or snow patches vs salt stains.
Where do you have the light mounted? I found that where you put the light makes a huge difference. Moving the same light from the handlebar to a mount around mid-fork made it a lot more effective for me.
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Old 01-26-08, 02:13 PM   #13
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You contradict yourself...



If you are looking to just 'ride a few hours in the night every once and a while', any of the 'normal' lights out there will work - but that is counter to the opening of your post.


Not sure what you mean by 'inferior' hub. Maybe its not a carbon / ti bling with ceramic space technology nitrogen cooled bearings - but for what it does the SON it is state of the art. Along with the Shimano, not far behind. If your performance will be jeopardized by the 'resistance' of the dynohub, you are in another league and should just hire a pace car to follow you around. And why would you even be considering a bottle generator if this is the case?

The SON hubs aren't 'inferior'.
Build an extra front wheel if you don't want to ruin your good ones.


But I'm biased. I'm riding a SON dynohub, dual E6s, although I am investigating homebrew LED options and the Ixon generator lights. Also looking at ways to charge my PDAphone thing... but i don't want to fry it.
I see what you're saying but I'm not really contradicting myself, I'm just not very good with words. I'm considering doing a 5000km ride this summer, on the ride I probably won't have access to electricity and I'll be riding in the dark just about every night and there will probably be a few all-nighters. Other than that most of my riding is generally in the day but much of the time goes into the night.

My bike is a race bike and I intend to use it for racing at some point and even when I'm on my own I'm training to go faster and further. I've looked into the hub system and there is added resistance even when lights are off and the entire wheel must be rebuilt to replace the hub. Most bottle generators aren't as efficient as hub generators but offer no added resistance during daytime riding. The Dymotec S12 is supposed to be the most efficient I wasn't considering them until I saw this one. I'm just trying to find out what would be the best system for me and others that might be in the same boat.

I'm not a rich or famous rider, in fact just the opposite I just love riding fast and far.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcello View Post
Where do you have the light mounted? I found that where you put the light makes a huge difference. Moving the same light from the handlebar to a mount around mid-fork made it a lot more effective for me.
This makes sense, I'm considering getting a cateye with a skewer mount now.
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Old 01-26-08, 02:46 PM   #14
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I think all those lights are maybe 10x brighter than your current model. The fenix will do but you will get sick of stopping to change batteries.
The Ixon looks good on paper.

You need to get some night riding experience on rural roads to determine how bright you need. I spent half a winter playing around with different lights before building a high powered LED system. It gave great light but the dozen AAs needed changing after 3-4 hrs. So I went to a dyno.

My LED dyno setup blows them all out of the water. Slows me about 0.1kph when lights are off under 0.5 when on. 20w halogen equivalent.
For all night riding with more light than you need you cant beat a dyno and an LED light.
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Old 01-26-08, 05:44 PM   #15
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have the Dinotte 200L. It's convenient. You can carry extra batteries with you - but on high beam, each set of 4 will last you about 90 minutes. However, even though this light puts out 200 lumens, I wouldn't recommend riding more than 15 mph on routes that you are not familiar with and are completely dark.

I'd recommend the Dinotte 600L with 2 4cell batteries that each have a 3.5 hour runtime - cost is $399 for that setup:

http://store.dinottelighting.com/sha...t=products.asp

If you really want bright lights and long runtime, then you have to pay for it. The lupine betty 12 is 1400 lumens:

http://www.geomangear.com/index.php?...0a577fffc67ca9

I'm unclear on what your purpose is:

lights that will last indefinitely. Since sometimes we can be gone a long time and not have access to electricity and often ride much of the night."


"just so I can ride a few hours in the night every once and a while."

My recommendation would be the Dinotte 600L with the 200L as a backup.
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Old 01-26-08, 05:49 PM   #16
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Ixon, works

"The Ixon looks good on paper"

A few people in the NYCC used this on the PBP this summer and were more than happy with it.

Peter White sells them and I found him very open about products based on your "REAL" needs.
There is always the issue of City lighting versus, backroad non existant lighting.

Hope this helps.

Robert
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Old 01-26-08, 10:24 PM   #17
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Why pay 800 when you can pay 250?

http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...OD&ProdID=2462

http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...OD&ProdID=2887

http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...OD&ProdID=2850

I chose a second battery pack. For some reason the light came with a male as well as the battery; so I had to have a buddy solder the two together. But for this price you can't beat the value. Better than all 800 dollar systems out there.
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Old 01-27-08, 11:13 AM   #18
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...I'm considering doing a 5000km ride this summer, on the ride I probably won't have access to electricity and I'll be riding in the dark just about every night and there will probably be a few all-nighters...
Godwin,
Really, if you want on-demand light sufficient to ride throught the night and are trying to power through 5000 km, unsupported with very brief and unpredicable stops then a hub generator would seem your best option. Just build up a generator wheel for the purpose. Mount you lights low so that you can bring out the relief in the road.
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Old 01-27-08, 12:01 PM   #19
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Godwin,
Really, if you want on-demand light sufficient to ride throught the night and are trying to power through 5000 km, unsupported with very brief and unpredicable stops then a hub generator would seem your best option. Just build up a generator wheel for the purpose. Mount you lights low so that you can bring out the relief in the road.
... and if you are electronically inclined, you can probably figure out how to charge a phone, iPod, or GPS from it...
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Old 01-27-08, 02:54 PM   #20
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Woah. But there doen't seem to be any available light that can attach to a bike, more importantly it seems Tritium can't provide the kind of light needed to see what's on the road ahead (would probably be good to be seen). Extremely cool.
Carry it in a basket on your handlebars.
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Old 01-27-08, 07:54 PM   #21
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Alright, I'm going to order a Cygolite Hi-Flux 100 and see how it goes, so far it looks to be the winner. It lasts 25h on 4 alkaline c batteries (hopefully longer on NiMh) and if I feel like trying to gamble with my novice electronic skills I found this post on candleforums mentioning how to upgrade the led with the same runtime. It's also on sale at price point for $55. Ixon IQ also looks pretty well and depending on how well the cygolite works I may pick one up as a second source of light to replace my BLT.
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Old 01-28-08, 12:42 AM   #22
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This makes sense, I'm considering getting a cateye with a skewer mount now.
Where does one buy a skewer mount for lights?
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Old 01-28-08, 05:30 AM   #23
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Where does one buy a skewer mount for lights?
For some reason I was thinking cateye made one but they don't. There's mention of someone who makes them in this thread.

Last edited by Godwin; 01-28-08 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 01-28-08, 08:14 AM   #24
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Nitto used to make a skewer mount similar in concept to the one shown in the referenced thread. There were some rumors recently that they may be making it again, but I haven't seen any vendors advertising it yet.
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Old 01-28-08, 09:00 AM   #25
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I have 2 of the Cygolite Hi-Flux 100. Itís a lot brighter and a lot longer battery life then the Cateye EL-500 I replaced with it. It comes with a wide-angle lens so you get a choice of beam pattern. You can also get a helmet mount kit for it.
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