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Thread: Light for $150?

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    Light for $150?

    Is there a common recommendation? I am looking for one to use for a loaded tour over Memorial Day weekend.

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    VOTE FOR KEN WIND Ken Wind's Avatar
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    What kind of light? I'm assuming you want a light to see the road with, but you need to be more specific. How long does it need to last? Do you want one with a rechargeable battery? What about a taillight?

    If you already have NiMH AA batteries and a charger, the Dinotte 200L is $150.
    Last edited by Ken Wind; 05-12-08 at 08:00 PM.

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    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    I use a Fenix L2D light for commuting. It has a very good runtime on 2 AA rechargeable batteries (2.4 hours at 180 lumens, 4+ hours on 100 lumens, 55 hours at 12 lumens), and has constant, regulated brightness (it does not dim over time as the batteries lose charge). It is small, easily attached to handlebars with the Twofish blocks, and can be used around camp and in tent. The light is about $65 and the mounts (pack of 3) is $15.

    L2D flashlight:
    https://www.fenix-store.com/product_...roducts_id=362

    handlebar mounts:
    https://www.fenix-store.com/product_...roducts_id=274

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    The common wisdom, unless you are doing randonneur-type riding or winter touring, is that you won't be riding at night much on tour unless you've screwed up or are trying to get home from the pub.

    Many tourists agonize over what type of high power, (usually) rechargeable system to bring and how to charge the batteries, etc. Additionally, handlebar bags complicate the light mounting issue for tourists. There are plenty of workarounds. some tourists prefer dynamo lighting, but is expensive and slightly finicky IMO.

    A very common way in the last 30 years to have night riding lighting on tours is making do with a high powered climbers' type headlamp also useful for around camp. Early on the high powered ones used D-cells (acetylene too!) and were quite bulky, nowadays you can get 3W and 5W luxeon bulbed LED climbers headlamps from Black Diamond or Princeton Tec, among others, that throw a LOT OF LIGHT using 4-AA batteries.

    A climbers' headliamp works quite well for those once in a blue moon nights you've misplanned the mileage for the day and find yourself miles from the next campsite as dusk rolls across the landscape. and even the best and brightest headlamps are well under 100 bucks.

    Recently I'm intrigued by the Vetta Micro-LUX light system using a 4-AA battery pack and a 3W LED headlight with available flashing tailight option.

    I've got one at home and am thinking of ziptieing it to the Long Haul Trucker. Seems as bright as the first gen Niterider Minewt, offers higher power 'see the road' lighting with the conveinence of buying batteries on the road as needed.

    I will still bring a smaller flashing LED in the front for safety during the day and as backup.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 05-12-08 at 08:59 PM.

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    VOTE FOR KEN WIND Ken Wind's Avatar
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    I'm intrigued by your comment about dynamo lighting. Are you talking about hub dynamos? If so, what don't you like about them?

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    umm, 'slightly finicky' =low burn time on filament lights (even peterwhite talks about this on his site), wiring harness not as robust, lights not as robust, relatively high mechanical value in installing hub lighting systems, high cost with low return for typical cyclotourist trip.

    I don't know, do you recommend the OP get one for his weekend trip over memorial day?

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    I want to say Machka has said a thing or two about dynamo lights. Maybe she uses them for Randonneuring, which it seems she does a lot of. I am officially paging her to chime in (though it probably won't have much to do with your $150 budget ).
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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anomaly View Post
    Is there a common recommendation? I am looking for one to use for a loaded tour over Memorial Day weekend.
    Just curious, but why do you need an expensive light for touring? Most people that I know don't ride much in the dark when touring. I get by with a headlamp and a $6 blinkie and used them maybe a half dozen times for the whole summer on the TransAmerica.

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    VOTE FOR KEN WIND Ken Wind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    umm, 'slightly finicky' =low burn time on filament lights (even peterwhite talks about this on his site), wiring harness not as robust, lights not as robust, relatively high mechanical value in installing hub lighting systems, high cost with low return for typical cyclotourist trip.

    I don't know, do you recommend the OP get one for his weekend trip over memorial day?
    No, I was thinking about getting one myself. I would use a hub dynamo and LED lights though, which is far more expensive than $150. It's not really relevant to their question. I was just curious.

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    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    I second the recommendation for Fenix lights. They are inexpensive, very bright and run off AA batteries that you can buy just about anywhere. Plus you can use the Fenix as a flashlight around the campground. Why spend $150 when you can get something better for $65?

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Just curious, but why do you need an expensive light for touring? Most people that I know don't ride much in the dark when touring. I get by with a headlamp and a $6 blinkie and used them maybe a half dozen times for the whole summer on the TransAmerica.
    +1 I carry a head light when touring but it sees far more duty in camp...or in a lava tube... then it will ever see on the road.





    Whatever you get, make sure it takes regular AA, C, or D batteries. Rechargeables are nice and all but do you really want to lug around a charger for them?
    Last edited by cyccommute; 05-13-08 at 07:40 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Wind View Post
    I'm intrigued by your comment about dynamo lighting. Are you talking about hub dynamos? If so, what don't you like about them?
    I use dynamo lighting systems. I use a bottle type tire driven dynamo on my touring bike. As others have noted lighting on a touring bike is for the time you screwed up your planning or you've had a serious mechanical breakdown that took a while to fix. (IE: broken spoke on the cassette side of the hub.)
    A tire driven dynamo has two advantages over hub dynamos. No drag at all when disengaged whereas a hub dynamo has some drag even with the lights off. Cost is the other advantage. I paid $7.50 for a Schwinn dynamo that came with lights. The lights in the kit were junk but the dynamo is as good as any of the others on the market. Hub dynamos are for people that spend considerable time on the bike at night or must commute in the winter and must deal with ice or snow that would cause a tire driven dynamo to slip causing your lights to quit working. Hub dynamos must be built into a wheel so not only do you have the cost of the dynamo you must add rim and spokes plus the cost of lacing it all up if you can't do that yourself. You can't mechanically disengage a hub dynamo so there is some level of drag all the time. Cheap hub dynamos have just as much drag with the lights on as when there off. For some strange reason the Pioneer system has more drag with the lights off at some speeds than with the lights on! The more you spend on a hub dynamo the less drag you'll have with the lights off.
    Dynamo lights are improving but due to German government regulations there not as bright or as reliable as lights you can build yourself if your good at DIY. So whats the German government got to do with dynamo lights I use outside of Germany? All quality dynamo lights are produced in Germany following strict government requirements. All other dynamo lights are made in China and are junk using flashlight bulbs which burn out after only a few hours. German lights use halogen filament bulbs producing a little more light and run longer but will still burn out and are sensitive to vibration and hard knocks. If you want a really bright dynamo light you must build it yourself. This link has everything you need to know about building LED lights powered by dynamos or batteries.
    http://pilom.com/BicycleElectronics/...lectronics.htm
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    I just use a blinkie to be seen by. Don't generally need to be able to see the road, but maybe that's just me. A smooth, featureless black highway at night - what's to see? If on dirt roads, moon or starlight might suffice, or put the blinkie on constant. Not perfect, but...?

    I'd be more concerned about the weight than the $$$.

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Just curious, but why do you need an expensive light for touring? Most people that I know don't ride much in the dark when touring. I get by with a headlamp and a $6 blinkie and used them maybe a half dozen times for the whole summer on the TransAmerica.
    The C&O has hike/bike camp spots that are spaced at decent intervals so it is not an uncommon occurrence to be stuck biking at night looking for a place to sleep. Hence I would like a decent light.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anomaly View Post
    The C&O has hike/bike camp spots that are spaced at decent intervals so it is not an uncommon occurrence to be stuck biking at night looking for a place to sleep. Hence I would like a decent light.
    Hiker/biker sites are VERY frequently spaced on the C&O. Most of the way they are every 5 miles. I can't imagine needing a light on the bike at all for that trip unless you choose to ride in the dark for some reason other than necessity.

    If you are doing the GAP too, places to camp are farther apart, but still easy enough to plan ahead and not get stuck in the dark.

    Check out the following for campsite intervals.
    http://shaw-weil.com/linkup/campsites.htm

    FWIW: I have found a $15, 2 AA battery headlamp adequate for riding on the towpath at night.

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    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    Don't generally need to be able to see the road, but maybe that's just me. A smooth, featureless black highway at night - what's to see?
    In September, on a short tour of the B.C. boundary country, I decided to continue my ride and go from Greenwood to Grand Forks in the evening. It got dark about halfway along the road. My light, a Nitehawk Emitter, paid for itself that night. I was able to see and avoid the hazards in the road. The night was so dark I wouldn't have been able to see the road without the light.

    It's always a good idea to be able to see the road, but especially on mountain roads where there are steep drop-offs, tight corners and other hazards. It's also important to be visible to oncoming traffic. If I'm on the highway after dark, I'll have lights on and I'll wear a reflective vest.
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    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Im a big fan of the hub dynamos.
    If you want to extend your riding into the night for an hour or two they are a big help. Ever find yourself in a hurry to get somewhere before sundown? Not any more!
    The new LED lights are a big step up from the old 3w halogens in terms of output (see here) and should be maintenance free.

    If you think you might need a light only now and then, get a bright AA powered light that will run for a few hours.

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    For regular night riding I too would recommend a hub dynamo setup. But nothing beats a Petzl or similar LED headlamp when camping, so why not use it for occasional night riding on tours. It doubles (triples?) as a repair light too, should you do some roadside repairs in the dark. You will not see the road with such light like you would with bike specific lights or a good flashlight such as Fenix. But a headlamp serves many purposes - that's a good feature in any touring gear.

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    i would have recommended the black diamond headlight ,buy my brand new one ,never used, has a faulty switch
    keeps flikering on and off what a piece of junk,i cant send it back im in ireland it was bought in america and i dont have receipt of when i bought it ,so when you buy make sure it works

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