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Thread: Lightspin

  1. #1
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    Lightspin

    Is anyone using one, if so how is it holding up? I am in the process of building a randonneuring bike and would rather not run a SON or battery lights.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Do you have one? Where did you get it? How recently? Last I heard they went out of business.


    Here's the story ....

    I was approached by a fellow Randonneur to "test" the Lightspin before the PBP in 2003. The idea was that I would ride with it on my qualifying brevets, and on the PBP, and then I would give this marvelous testimonial about how wonderful this light was. No problem, it was free so why not.

    It worked GREAT for all my qualifying brevets, and worked GREAT all the way through the PBP. Then 2004 came. 2004 in Manitoba was cold and rainy, and the spring mechanism went and I blew through all my pulley caps ... it slips badly in the rain, so you don't get any light at all unless the spring mechanism is set really tightly against the wheel ... which is hard on those pulley caps, and also hard on the springs.

    They sent me a whole new unit, and set of pulley caps, in August of 2004, and I was told that was the last of their stock .... they were terribly sorry but they were going out of business.

    My new Lightspin lasted just a couple months in all the rain I was riding in both in Manitoba and in Australia .... and it died in the middle of the Great Southern Randonnee (in Australia) in October 2004.

    I have managed to get it working once or twice since but it doesn't last long (like anywhere from a few minutes to maybe an hour). I've had three people skilled in electrical things looking at it and helping me rig up the wiring etc. but nothing seems to make it last anymore. Maybe if I ran it on my front wheel and didn't have to have several feet of wires all over the place it would be better, but that's hard to do with my setup.

    I currently use battery lights, and they work all right ... they aren't nearly as noisy as the Lightspin, and they don't suck the energy from your legs when you ride at night.

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    Yellow Jersey has the new 2006 models in stock and lightspin lights, the lights look alot like the E6.
    The price is 120 for the generator and 90 for a light. http://www.yellowjersey.org/litespin.html
    I talked to them and was told they have a few customers running the new models with great results. No one selling a product will give you a bad story though.
    What do you use for lighting and how long do the batteries last? I will go that route if it comes down to it but it would be nice to not worry about batteries.

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    The E6 was the light I used with my Lightspin, but unfortunately it was smashed en route back to Canada from Australia.

    I currently use the new Cateye EL500 and a cheap Planet Bike light. The Cateye lasts forever out there but doesn't give off a particularly bright light, so I turn the Planet Bike light on during descents for extra light.

    In order to avoid fussing with the batteries, I carry two complete lights with me in my bag and if the Cateye or Planet Bike die on me, I just pull them off their mounts and install my back-up lights. Quick and easy.

    But I'm keeping my eyes open for a better option ... I'd love a hub generator (the Schmidt) but I can't afford it.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I should add that Lightspin admitted that there was a problem with their spring mechanism, and they admitted that the generators weren't very effective in rainy situations, and they admitted that cyclists burned through pulleys like they were butter ... and they mentioned something about trying to fix all those problems.

    So it is possible that the new Lightspins, if they've gone back into business again, do work better. After all, it has been 2 years.

    If you are tempted by the Lightspins though, I would check to see if what Yellow Jersey is selling is old stock ... or if Lightspin really is back in business again and they really are new.

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    The lightspin website is updated again and yellow jersey said they were new models. Either way I thinking I will let someone else try it out first and see if they work any better. Just might have to save up for a schmidt since I have yet to hear anything negative about them.
    I am running the same cateye model as you and agree that alone they are not bright enough for fast descents.
    Is the E6 as bright as everyone says?

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Oh yeah ... the E6 is a really bright lamp!! When my Lightspin was working that lamp would light up the whole road, and the ditches on either side. I had no difficulty riding at night with it.

    Unfortunately it does have to be hooked to some sort of power source like a Lightspin or hub generator.

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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    I've had three people skilled in electrical things looking at it and helping me rig up the wiring etc. but nothing seems to make it last anymore.
    If you would just stop killing them by riding them into the ground .....*hides under desk*...........
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    My 2003 LightSpin is working fine but I haven't racked up as many miles in the rain as Machka (I don't like rain much). It slips with twin headlights (Hella Micros) in the rain but doesn't when using one.

    I ate one pulley cap in fairly short order but suspect that misalignment had a bit to do with it. Since being completely anal about generator alignment, the pulley caps have been fine. Virtually no detectable wear.

    A properly aligned LightSpin has about the same drag as a Schmidt hub (according to several independent tests) but you can hear a LightSpin running, so people think it is worse. I'll probably get a Schmidt at some point but I'm happy with the LightSpin. The only other decent options for a sidewall generator are the S&B S6 and the 12W (can't remember name).

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    I forgot to ask did you use a clamp or have a braze on mount for the generator? I remember the old unions worked better with a braze on but still were not the best in the rain. Think for now I will just have the frame built without a braze on and go for a schmidt with a E6.

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