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  1. #1
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    Lights: mount them low as possible.

    I like to know whether people prefer their lights mounted on the fork or the handlebar. I saw bikes with generator lights are mounted on the fork's rack mount.

    What's your preference? Mount them low as possible?

  2. #2
    Not an internet law-maker Godwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    I like to know whether people prefer their lights mounted on the fork or the handlebar. I saw bikes with generator lights are mounted on the fork's rack mount.

    What's your preference? Mount them low as possible?
    My instincts tell me mid-fork is best so that most of the light hits the ground but not directly in front.

    I'm curious about mounting systems, I recently ordered two issimo nob XLs but the order fell through so I created my own system using PVC and zip ties but I have yet to try it on the road (I have a bladed carbon fork so no mounts like on many steel bikes).

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    What got me interested is this picture. I currently have 700 lumens battery powered handlebar mounted lights.

    Seems like a better option if you are using handlebar bags.

    The write up. The dual led light is brighter than the guy's own HID at 15mph.
    http://joegross.net/2007/08/14/schmi...r-e-led-light/

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    Low mounts tend to show the road surface a bit better, bringing imperfections into relief. They do cause your own front wheel to cast shadows, though. Some people find this annoying. Rack mounting is the best compromise, IMO.

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    Senior Member lutz's Avatar
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    I prefer fork over handlebar, too.
    For the reasons stated above.

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    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    The guy seems to be a man after my own heart


  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    My light is mounted on the rack/brake mount.

    I know long distance cyclists use lights, but I'm wondering if you meant to post this here or in the Lighting forum.

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    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    My beam is strong enough I need it as high as possible to avoid blinding oncoming vehicles. If bolted to the rack braze-on on a front fork and aimed parallel to the ground too much light would go up into peoples' eyes. A RAAM rider I knew had her light attached to the fender eyelet on the front fork. Can't get much lower.
    This space open

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    My light is mounted on the rack/brake mount.

    I know long distance cyclists use lights, but I'm wondering if you meant to post this here or in the Lighting forum.
    My intention was to post this here as oppose to the lighting forum. I'd figure long distance cyclist would have better experience mounting dynamo powered lights at the most optimum height.

  10. #10
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I like mine mounted near the bottom of the headset or a bit lower. Handle bar mount is too high IMHO. Sheldon Brown has one mounted on a bracket that put the beam about half way up the wheel. I have an old Dawes Galaxy with a boss on the right hand fork blade about 1/3 of the way down for mounting a head light on. I suspect there may be an optimum location but it may vary a bit from person to person.

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  11. #11
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    here's my schmidt e6 lamp setup:



    some randos mount their lights at the skewer-level, but it seems to me that cars might have a hard time seeing that in the city.

    so yeah i think lower is better, to a certain degree.
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  12. #12
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Its nice to have them off the bars. Here is my old setup ready for a 320 last november, home made dual led on fork crown and minewtx2 on a handlebar sized knob mounted to fork braze on. Previously ran two hot rodded cateye el530s on the fork braze ons, having two made the shadown cast by the tyre less annoying.


    New setup, triple LED dyno on fork crown. Since photo the mount has broken so its still a work in progress. It might end up on my aero bars.


    If you have a narrow beam, mounting it low stretches the light out, making the light more useful. The cateye el530s benefited a lot from the low mounting.

    If you have >400lm you can mount them anywhere and you will have plenty of light, but as mentioned above mounting them higher means you can angle them down to avoid blinding cars. Yes, cars flash their lights at me if I don't dim mine.
    The fork crown seems like a good compromise position wise. Under the handlebar bag. Probably less drag too. Can be a fiddle mounting around the brakes.

    And if mounted too low you get a shadow from the front tyre...


    On my MTB mounting low lets you see the bumps in the trail, the shadows cast help a lot... but you can't see over moderate humps so a helmet light is needed too.



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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    low for me... mid fork seems to work. i can't put them lower as i need to turn them on and off...


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    You never miss an opportunity to show off that nice bike!

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    Mounting height comes down to two things:
    Light strength and where you want the light to hit the road.

    As you lower the light, the light pattern will start closer and brighter to the bike.

    If you mount higher up, the light will hit the road farther away, giving you a longer look ahead.

    If the light you have cannot provide sufficient illumination for the range it has been set at, aim it closer until the light is providing a useful amount of light. If you need more light or look ahead after that, get another light or a brighter light.

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    You never miss an opportunity to show off that nice bike!
    nope...

    bikeforums is lucky - i just post my bike. friends and family now get bombarded with pics and video of our little one...

  17. #17
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elfich View Post
    Mounting height comes down to two things:
    Light strength and where you want the light to hit the road.

    As you lower the light, the light pattern will start closer and brighter to the bike.

    If you mount higher up, the light will hit the road farther away, giving you a longer look ahead.

    If the light you have cannot provide sufficient illumination for the range it has been set at, aim it closer until the light is providing a useful amount of light. If you need more light or look ahead after that, get another light or a brighter light.
    this really isn't a function of how high you mount it - i can mount the lights on my bars and have it angled to hit the road 1" in front of the wheel, or i can mount lights on my quick release and have it point to the moon...

    the reflector size and shape also plays a role in this - the e6 lights on my bike (pictured a few posts back) have a specifically designed reflector which throws more light 'up' the road (when angled in a reasonable position) i have my primary pointed a bit closer to the bike (good for slow climbing), and the secondary (which i use when moving faster) pointed a bit further up the road.

    mounting low stretches out the shadows due to differences in the pavement - a high light shining straight down (think noontime) creates a flatness making it difficult to differentiate the texture of things due to the light (sun) being directly overhead. a lower light will highlight these differences - also allowing a lower powered light to accentuate the texture differences in the road - making potholes, cracks, broken beer bottles - etc. - easier to see. a high powered light mounted too low will make pebbles look like mountains due to shadow stretch.


    lights mounted high (on bars but especially on a helmet) also make it more difficult (for me) to see in the rain or snow - as the light reflects off of raindrops and snowflakes inches in front of your face - in my case screwing with my sense of depth perception and messing up my night vision.

  18. #18
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    I have a few setups, including the current one here.

    Basically, I don't like wheel shadows, especially when I can't use dual headlights (i.e. at least half the time), and I found that the light needs to be higher than the tire if I don't want to have it full of dirt, snow... thrown by the wheel.

    I don't like handlebar mounting for three reasons: aesthetics, handlebar overcrowding, and interference with the handlebar bag.
    Michel Gagnon
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    The best place for a light is on the top of your head. Handlebar mounts are the next best.

    Mounting a light in a low position has more drawbacks than benefits. By the way, understand that there is a difference between in lamp and mount life depending on location.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    The best place for a light is on the top of your head. Handlebar mounts are the next best.

    Mounting a light in a low position has more drawbacks than benefits. By the way, understand that there is a difference between in lamp and mount life depending on location.
    I don't think so. Why not get a 50-foot pole and put a super-bright light on top of that? Because then the light would cast no shadows whatsoever, so you couldn't see obstacles in the road.

    I have my E6 mounted about halfway up the fork, so it is easy to reach and switch off and on while riding. And I have a Luxeon-LED headlamp on my helmet, so that I can easily swivel it to follow the curve of the road ahead.

    The one and only time that I commuted this winter with only a helmet lamp, I got a flat tire hitting a sharp-edged stone that had been invisible with no shadow. With a fork-mounted lamp, as well, that stone would have been easy to see and miss.

  21. #21
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    The best place for a light is on the top of your head.

    Maybe riding on the road solo, or on trails where you need to see around every little corner.

    Ever ride in a large group at night with a headlamp only? When you are in front everyone behind will hate your light, as they try and focus it and their eyes follow every bob of your head, back and forth and up and down from hoods to drops and left and right.

    When you are in the pack your bobble head will wreak havoc with the shadows of the riders in front of you... throwing tall bikes up the road hiding obstacles in ever shifting shadows.

    Then when you turn around to "chat" - you'll blind everyone in your group.


    In my experience headlamps are OK for trails and mtb riding... but I'm not a fan of careening through the woods in the dark. For road and brevets I prefer a headlamp for cue reading only - and at that I try to use a red LED so as not to mess with my night vision or those around me - esp when a bright white LED reflects off of the white of a cue sheet. They definitely have their place - I used one as an emergency light when I had a problem with my e6, and very useful for rummaging through bags and dealing with mechanicals.


    When commuting solo on the road I will use a headlamp as extra light - and I use it to read signage and to flash drivers.

  22. #22
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    Mounting a light in a low position has more drawbacks than benefits.

    Drawbacks? Elaborate please...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    Maybe riding on the road solo, or on trails where you need to see around every little corner.

    Ever ride in a large group at night with a headlamp only? When you are in front everyone behind will hate your light, as they try and focus it and their eyes follow every bob of your head, back and forth and up and down from hoods to drops and left and right.

    When you are in the pack your bobble head will wreak havoc with the shadows of the riders in front of you... throwing tall bikes up the road hiding obstacles in ever shifting shadows.

    Then when you turn around to "chat" - you'll blind everyone in your group.
    I have once, never did it again. Definitely not recommended.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    In my experience headlamps are OK for trails and mtb riding... but I'm not a fan of careening through the woods in the dark. For road and brevets I prefer a headlamp for cue reading only - and at that I try to use a red LED so as not to mess with my night vision or those around me - esp when a bright white LED reflects off of the white of a cue sheet. They definitely have their place - I used one as an emergency light when I had a problem with my e6, and very useful for rummaging through bags and dealing with mechanicals.

    When commuting solo on the road I will use a headlamp as extra light - and I use it to read signage and to flash drivers.
    For MTB and trails, headlamps are preferred more than handlebars, being able to see around corners and over rocks and shadows casted by handlebar light is a must. For commuting, headlamp is extremely useful at flashing signages.

  24. #24
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Any extra weight on the helmet adds to fatigue. A spot light also forces your neck into a single position, which I imagine is hard work after 4-5 hours.

  25. #25
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    I like a small headlight to supplement my primary. It's nice to be able to shine some light into the corner before I get there, so as to avoid surprises. And to tell the truth, I like being able to flush the boogie men out of the bushes as well. Hey, it's lonely out there!

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