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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 03-10-08, 07:50 AM   #1
nine
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Lights for a newbie

So I'll be getting my brevet feet wet this season and i'm not ready to commit to hub generators. i've been looking at the ixon lights at Peter White, which sound much better than the cateye el-530s, but are more than double the price. since i don't think i'll be doing anything over 400k this season (i.e. not a lot of night/early am riding) what advice do people have for lights? I really enjoy distance, and hope to make randoneuring a big part of my life, but if it doesn't work out i'm hesitant to make the big commitment to the "real" lighting systems just yet.
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Old 03-10-08, 09:32 AM   #2
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There is a lighting and electronics forum where lots of opinions exist.
From my recent eyeballing the LED lights seem to be the way to go,
and are now just as bright as the HID and last longer. The next choice
is proprietary versus AA or AAA batt packs. Proprietary meaning water
bottle package versus AA/AAA (or occasionally C cell packs). AA packs
are probably cheapest and if inability to recharge or replace rechargeables
is a problem on long brevets then AA packs might be preferable as they
are fairly light to carry and sold every where. Brevets that require lighting
for two nites or for 10-12hrs with no access to recharging shift one toward
a pack that can be swapped on the fly so to speak. These will be shorter
lived (and a lot cheaper) than the Li ion packs but absent a way to recharge,
you are dead in the water when they go flat.
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Old 03-10-08, 10:37 AM   #3
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Buy good lights. Whether you are going around the block or around the state, you need to see obstacles in your path.

A 400K brevet will usually require quite a few hours of riding in the dark. Make sure your lights will run long enough at the brightness you need. It's easier to replace batteries than recharge them on the road.
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Old 03-10-08, 11:08 AM   #4
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I started with dual EL-500's and used them with success for a few seasons. Sometimes you can get deals on them on ebay. Currently I am running a homebrew setup.
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Old 03-10-08, 01:05 PM   #5
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The EL530 doesn't thow a big enough spot to be useful on its own, you need two and then its marginal. You can upgrade the LEDs yourself to make them much brighter but you need to be somewhat handy, and its still not ideal.

For one light over the counter, I like my nightrider minewtx2. Useful light for 7 hrs on low. If you do eventually go for a hub system this still makes a great backup light.
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Old 03-10-08, 01:52 PM   #6
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I was in the same boat as you recently, if you do a search you'll find some threads I started on the subject. I went with the cycgolite hi-flux 100 because it runs on C batteries which get a long life for both rechargeable and alkaline. If you have any very basic electronic skills you can upgrade the light to somewhere around 200 lumens with a cree Q5 emitter and if you have good electronic skills you can make your own diy light.

The Scolo light seems to be a good option as well but I don't know too much about it.

There's a lot of other good lights that run on battery backs that you can recharge overnight and if you're just doing rides consisting of one night they should work very well. Other lights that run on AA batteries such as the dinotte and fenix only run for a few hours on rechargeables but you could bring extra batteries or mod a C pack on instead.

Using something like the issimo nob to mount lights on your fork can help to get more light on the road.
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Old 03-10-08, 02:44 PM   #7
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Even though you said no to dynohubs already, you should give them a second thought.

You can do it relatively cheap, just get the $90 Shimano hub instead of the $300 Schmidt one. Sure, you'll need a new wheel built up around the hub, but it will pay for itself in the long run.
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Old 03-10-08, 02:50 PM   #8
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For a 400 you can do just fine on 2 EL-530s. Also two taillights, one of which must also be a reflector. I have friends who do 1200s with those, though have not done over 400 myself. Worked fine, though. Be sure to test ride the aiming.
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Old 03-10-08, 05:34 PM   #9
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Here is my low cost lighting setup. The main light below my handlebars is off ebay. An MR16 CREE 240 lumen bulb that goes into a housing you can purchase in the auto section of Walmart (bulb is $22.50+6S&H on ebay, housing is $20 for two at Walmart). Light is plenty bright at 240 lumens. I finally was able to compare it on a 300k while riding with some SON hub riders at night.

Then purchase a NiMH battery pack at $40-50 for a 5000Ah pack, that will give you 12-15+ hours of night riding.

Backup is the cheap Cateye above, which I set to flashing in urban areas.

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Old 03-11-08, 07:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
For a 400 you can do just fine on 2 EL-530s. Also two taillights, one of which must also be a reflector. I have friends who do 1200s with those, though have not done over 400 myself. Worked fine, though. Be sure to test ride the aiming.
I also have a 2 EL-530 setup, it does fine on brevets. You may want to experiment with the aiming. I am still trying to find the best angle form mine, and welcome comments from anyone about doing so. You can also update the light with newer SSC LEDs though, and it will give twice the light, using same amount of power. Here is a link to the upgrade. I am process of updating mine now.

FWIW, the last 200K I rode next to two guys who had Dinotte lights. One had a single setup that run on AA's, it was REALLY bright. He also had a Dinotte tail light, he had it on low, and I still found myself riding at an angle from him so as to not get blinded.

The other rider had a dual setup, one wide, one spot, which ran on Lithium ION. Excellent lights, lit up the night and the road extremely well, though, if you are willing to lay down the cash for the dual setup, you might as well spring for the Dynohub.
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Old 03-11-08, 10:21 AM   #11
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I ran two EL-530s on PBP last year. While the batteries were fresh they put out good light. However, that only last 8-10 hours before they faded. By 12 hours I couldn't really tell if they were still putting out light. A few months ago I upgraded them to the new LEDs. That helped, but power was still lacking.

After a lot of consideration I finally switched to Fenix:

https://www.fenix-store.com/product_...roducts_id=362

Two on the bike, and one on the helmet. They can't be beat for flexibility, portability and pure power. FYI, I have two bikes with different sized wheels. A generator hub doesn't work for me. Having different run levels was also a deciding factor. On my two hour commute to work I crank them to the highest setting. For longer events I go a level or two lower.
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Old 03-11-08, 08:39 PM   #12
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thanks for the responses everybody. ronsmithjr - how did you mount those fenix lights?
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Old 03-12-08, 01:09 PM   #13
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thanks for the responses everybody. ronsmithjr - how did you mount those fenix lights?
For the bike I used their TwoFish Lockblocks, and for the helmet I used the TwoFish Bikeblock:

https://www.fenix-store.com/index.php?cPath=25_66

They work well, once you get to know the balance of the flashlight.
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