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Old 09-12-08, 03:37 PM   #1
spaceholiday
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Lighting

What does everyone use for lighting, for those days when you get caught in the dark or when it's raining? I was checking out the Electronics forum, but a lot of them seem interested in the super bulky homemade lights (which are awesome, but aren't really made for touring). I see using flashlights and brackets is a popular option, but they seem to suffer from short run times. Anyone have any experience with some bright, visible, long lasting lights for touring?
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Old 09-12-08, 03:58 PM   #2
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yes most of the lights you see recommended cost a fortune but there is some lights reviewed this month in cycling plus ,cateye singleshot got a great review as does trelock ls730. /rsplaa883/night rider ultrafazer 3.0 to name just a few .hope that helps .
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Old 09-12-08, 05:51 PM   #3
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I would like to suggest the CatEye EL 530. I carried it on my tour this summer (didn't use it), but commute 1 hour in the dark on my work days. It gives plenty of light for being seen and is quite sufficent to see by. It isn't so bright I would want to bomb down an uncharted road at break neck speeds, but will definatly bail you out untill you arive at your destination. It runs on AA battries, and can be romoved and used as a flashlight. It is LED and sipps power to boot! I have used several different battrie powered lights and this is by far the best I have found.
I have a Light and Motion Solo Logic that is brighter, but it is more of a rechargable system with a cord. Love it also, but for touring I would prefer a battrie powered system.
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Old 09-12-08, 07:18 PM   #4
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Check out the Dinotte lights at www.dinottelighting.com - expensive but the visibility they provide makes them worth it. In our experience, the taillight is visible from at least a mile - and that's in bright daylight. My wife and I have their 200 lumen headlights but they also offer a 600 lumen model and have recently released a 400. They can be run on 100% output, 50% or 25% to extend battery life - or in various flashing modes. Power options are Lithium Ion or AA. The LIons are rated at up to 40 hours in flash mode but we recharge ours after a couple of days riding. They're not heavy - the light itself is tiny and weighs a little under 200gms; the (large) battery is a little over 200gms. AA life is a fair bit shorter.
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Old 09-12-08, 08:17 PM   #5
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While I didn't buy it with touring specifically in mind, my E6 and Schmidt hub dymano have proven to be just about perfect for spontaneous night riding over the last three years or so. I also have a small, battery-powered no-name brand back up that I use for a camp flashlight or any repairs that I may need to do at night in the middle of nowhere. Personally I tend to shy away from using a battery-powered light as a primary headlight simply because I don't want the hassle of having to recharge it all the time.
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Old 09-12-08, 08:40 PM   #6
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Flashlights with mounts is the way to go for me. With the Fenix L2D Cree you can get 4hrs at 100+ lumens on 2AA batteries. The plusses for me are that there's no separate battery pack and you can use off the shelf batteries if a pinch if you had to.

For less than half the price of the Fenix lights you can get comparable Romisen or Ultrafire flashlights at dealextreme.com.
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Old 09-12-08, 10:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kuan View Post
Flashlights with mounts is the way to go for me. With the Fenix L2D Cree you can get 4hrs at 100+ lumens on 2AA batteries. The plusses for me are that there's no separate battery pack and you can use off the shelf batteries if a pinch if you had to.

For less than half the price of the Fenix lights you can get comparable Romisen or Ultrafire flashlights at dealextreme.com.
Agreed re: the Fenix. I also have a Ultrafire that some have claimed are comparable to the Fenix. This is absolutely not true. The Fenix is by far the highest quality, best value per lumen bike light out there. It is reliable; don't buy a cheap imitation that puts out half the lumens and isn't as reliable. I had to bore out the inside of the UF to fit AA batteries, which it was supposed to take. It'll work as a backup, but too poor quality to be a primary light.
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Old 09-13-08, 12:25 AM   #8
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I use one of the early Cateye LEDs, it doesn't have a number on it, it has 3 LEDs. It really is mostly only light enough as a recognition light, One couldn't sail along at speed knowing the road ahead. But it works for me. I carry a light that clips on my hat for around camp and also on the road; and a flasher for the rear of the bike. I dangle it from the straps that hold my gear on my rack. I also carry an itsy LED book light that works great and comes fromt he dollar store.

I have one bike with all german lights, and a wheel contact generator. I think of ripping that stuff off the current bike and putting it on my touring bike, but it hasn't been necesarry so far. I'm out in the country on tour, and mostly it isn't all that practical to ride afer dark, whatever the wattage. That is sorta the message from the lighting and comuting guys. Bike kights aren't really bright enough for lighting the unfamilliar road. And cheap LEDs are good enough for the rest.
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Old 09-13-08, 05:22 AM   #9
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I am an advocate of double use when touring. I am resting from randonneuring, and my commuting bike doesn't accommodate 700C wheels, so the E6/dynohub combination is somewhat superfluous now (but highly recommended as ChrisL details).

However, Energiser makes several versions of a head-mount LED unit that does well while on tour for an emergency situation. for a shopping run at night, for a late-evening return from the pub, or to find a way to the campground toilet.

I have used it for rainy winter commuting as well as touring, and it provides sufficient lighting for me at what are relatively low speeds (16-18km/h average usually).

One version has two LEDs with a narrowish long focus; the second has four LEDs with a switch that allows a long focus, or a wide beam or a combination of both. The two models run on three AAA batteries contained in the body of the light; rechargeable batteries don't seem to hinder performance.

The light swivels up and down. I also have modified the headstrap on the two I own to remove the dorky bit that goes over the top of the head. The four-LED one I have owned for four years, the two-LED one for two years. I bought a two-LED one originally, but lost it on a randonnee.

If you wear a helmet, the lights fit on simply, aided by a rubber patch behind the body of the light to prevent slipping. The patch makes the light more comfortable on a bare head, although I tend to wear caps most of the time, and that works well, too.

I have worn both while riding randonnees in heavy rain without significant issues. I think the battery terminals need cleaning occasionally if the light gets wet.

I have seen them in various stores in Australia and recently in Canada. Canadian price is low $20, IIRC. For me, they have proven to be ideal and reliable for dual-purpose touring use without costing me a fortune.
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Old 09-13-08, 09:07 AM   #10
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I use cheap blinkies on the back (I buy a few when they are on sale for maybe $6). I use my small LED headlamp for a light in the front, which is my only "in camp" light.

I don't typically ride all that much after dark on tour, but as you say there are days when it happens. Also if there are long tunnels you need light.

The nice expensive lights are great for commuting, but I don't want the weight when touring and am too cheap to but them anyway.
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Old 09-13-08, 09:16 AM   #11
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I think there's a Planet Bike LED light that is inexpensive, bright and frugal with its battery usage. It comes on its own or with a bright flashing rear light. It was in a recent issue of "that" bicycling magazine.

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