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  1. #1
    Senior Member radumas's Avatar
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    Suggestions for appropriate lighting for touring

    There are lighting solutions for the endurance/all night riders. I'm looking for the right lighting for up to a couple hours of riding in the dark. Either running local errands or riding a leg of a tour that goes a little late or starts early.

    What are best solutions for seeing and being seen?

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    What are you willing to spend?
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    hub dynamo systems are getting more popular especially for those who cannot

    wean themselves from technology,
    as there are recharger devices for your phone, etc. via USB connections.

    LED headlights are good now, draw a small load, German Schmidt Hubs are low drag light on or off.


    Cheap? Battery LED removable light , can double as a flashlight.

  4. #4
    Senior Member radumas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    What are you willing to spend?
    For a good solution that's long lasting, effective, and low maintenance, maybe $200-300. Wondering if the hub dynamo solutions are overkill for the need and if there is a good battery lighting system. I look and there are too many options and no matching best solution to different categories of need.

  5. #5
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    for touring of any duration, IMO you want a light that operates on simple household batteries or step to a dynamo system.

    you don't have to spend a couple of hundred dollars, a 1 watt or 2 watt planet bike superflash, a niterider ultramax or any of the other 1-2 watt LED disposable battery bikelights. bright to see by, visible as a safety flasher, useable as a flashlight.

    a rechargeable light system is overkill for touring, and will chain you to recharging frequently which is a huge hassle unless you want to spend a lot of down time waiting for red lights to turn green .

  6. #6
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    I have this one:
    German Road Light;
    2 yr warranty
    6 hr run time on High, 20 hr on low.
    Great Light.

    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  7. #7
    Senior Member radumas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    for touring of any duration, IMO you want a light that operates on simple household batteries or step to a dynamo system.

    you don't have to spend a couple of hundred dollars, a 1 watt or 2 watt planet bike superflash, a niterider ultramax or any of the other 1-2 watt LED disposable battery bikelights. bright to see by, visible as a safety flasher, useable as a flashlight.

    a rechargeable light system is overkill for touring, and will chain you to recharging frequently which is a huge hassle unless you want to spend a lot of down time waiting for red lights to turn green .
    Planet Bike @ REI is quite cheap. If 2 watts does the job, that's a simple decision.

  8. #8
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    for touring of any duration, IMO you want a light that operates on simple household batteries or step to a dynamo system.

    you don't have to spend a couple of hundred dollars, a 1 watt or 2 watt planet bike superflash, a niterider ultramax or any of the other 1-2 watt LED disposable battery bikelights. bright to see by, visible as a safety flasher, useable as a flashlight.

    a rechargeable light system is overkill for touring, and will chain you to recharging frequently which is a huge hassle unless you want to spend a lot of down time waiting for red lights to turn green .
    +1

    I used to have a home-made lighting system for commuting that consisted of two 10-watt landscaping lights and a battery pack that weighed in at about 2 pounds. It was great for my very dark commutes, much of it on an un-lighted bike trail, but it was way too heavy and cumbersome for touring, plus there was that whole recharging issue.

    For touring, I considered a hub dynamo, but really didn't want to spend that much money for the dynamo and lights, when all I really wanted was something for tunnels or the infrequent times I got caught after dark. Ended up getting the Planet Bike 2-watt Blaze, and Planet Bike Superflash rear blinky. Could not be happier with them. The blaze runs on AA bats, the blinky on AAA. The blaze has plenty of light for me, but if you're wanting to ride at 20+ mph in total darkness, you'd probably want something more. I paid just over $60 for both on eBay ($40 for the Blaze, $20-something for the Superflash blinky).

    Planet Bike has a page where you can compare brightness of several different lights, including the Blaze. Click on the different models to the right of the picture to compare: http://www.planetbike.com/page/learn/lightfinder
    Last edited by simplygib; 01-21-11 at 12:40 PM.

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    As already mentioned, the Planet Bike Blaze (1 or 2W) is a good option for touring and is what I use. Not real bright, but sufficient for me in dark areas where my eyes get night-adapted. It would be insufficient for off-road use where you need to light a wider area and encounter more obstacles, but I've found it to be fine for riding to a store or cafe after I get my tent set up in the evening. Dynamo lights would work fine too, but I'd still want to have a battery-powered light along to do any required bike maintenance. The Blaze unclips easily to help with fixing flats, etc. I use rechargeable NiMH AA cells in it, but can substitute alkalines if there aren't any convenient recharging opportunities.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    I have this one:
    German Road Light;
    2 yr warranty
    6 hr run time on High, 20 hr on low.
    Great Light.

    The Busch & Muller seems like a great light. Does this light have the flashing mode (against the law overthere) which we like to use in the U.S. in order to "be seen" especially in city areas? It has 6 hours of operation which is great if you have to go several days without being able to charge batteries.

    For the OP, you want the simplicity of popping in regular AA batteries anytime. Some of the Cateye or Planet Bike headlights may do the task well for you. In the electronic forum, a lot of people recommend flashlights for touring. Many of them work with both rechargeable and alkaline batteries and the light output is much higher than many of the dedicated bike lights currently found in the market, plus you can use them in your campsite. You can also get very inexpensively! Sounds like a win win.
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 01-21-11 at 12:57 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by radumas View Post
    For a good solution that's long lasting, effective, and low maintenance, maybe $200-300. Wondering if the hub dynamo solutions are overkill for the need and if there is a good battery lighting system.
    If you're looking for errand-running or commuting in the winter, I think a hub dynamo is pretty reasonable, particularly the "no-recharge" and "always available and ready" parts. With your budget you can pick up a velo-orange dyno wheel, and an IQ Cyo light, and you're set.

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    Im going to make a plug for Dynamo Hubs and LED lights.

    Especially if your bike is also a commuter/city bike.

    I have a schmidt hub and supernova, but Ive heard the shimano dynohub is quite good....

  13. #13
    Senior Member radumas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by positron View Post
    Im going to make a plug for Dynamo Hubs and LED lights.

    Especially if your bike is also a commuter/city bike.

    I have a schmidt hub and supernova, but Ive heard the shimano dynohub is quite good....
    What's the drag with these things when light not in use?

    Ages ago I had a generator that attached in the bottom bracket and you flipped it to contact with back wheel. It felt like a 5% grade when I was riding on the flats. I don't want to experience a drag on the 95% of the time I don't need the light just to have it on demand when I do need it.

  14. #14
    It's true, man.
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    Another vote for the Planet Bike Blaze in 2 watt, here. And a Radbot for the taillight.

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    Looks to me like you're getting a lot of good advice here.

    Personally, I think the investment in a dynamo system is worth it -- I'm amazed at how good (i.e. bright) they've gotten in the past few years, and I love that it's always ready to go. Also, even with rechargeable batteries, I found myself frequently trying to conserve my batteries, and I'd resist using my lights unless absolutely necessary. With my dynamo system, however, I pretty much leave it on all of the time.

    That said, the battery units like the Planet Bike Blaze are a good way to go as well, and they're much cheaper.

    I don't think you can go too far wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by radumas View Post
    . I'm looking for the right lighting for up to a couple hours of riding in the dark. Either running local errands or riding a leg of a tour that goes a little late or starts early.

    What are best solutions for seeing and being seen?
    1. conspicuity vest, florescent yellow/green vest. Reflective tape on the bike.
    2. Planet Bike SuperFlash or similar high output light. One on back of helmet, one on back of bicycle.
    3. 3AAA led headlamp for helmet or bicycle. They can be set from high 1watt output good for about an hour to low/med/strobe for longer battery life.
    4. Dinotte 200 or similar high output LED headlight good for 1 1/2 hrs at high output. This is the light for seeing the road or blasting strobe to be seen.

    1-3 are always with you, 4 added when you need to see the road. The little 3AAA headlamps are bright on strobe mode, useful flood light for working on the bike. Eventually you discover the limits of every battery, right when you need it the most. So two head lamps and two tailamps gives you backup. Also having two headlamps that can be set at different settings can help you save battery life. Going up a slow hill you can set the high output light on low or off using your headlamp for 6mph riding. Riding on the streets you can set the helmet lamp on strobe and pointing up above all the vehicles but when you want you can scan approaching intersections to get others attention.

    If you're willing to spend $300 AFTER the vest, tail lamps and 3AAA headlamp the dyno and LED headlight are worth it. Seriously start with the vest. I'm amazed at how invisible pedestrians and other cyclists are wearing dark clothes. A few bright lights moving at 15mph doesn't register as a person as much as a vest will.

    Now that I'm older I realize how invisible I used to be riding in dark colors and street clothes. If you're with a dozen cyclists and they're all wearing subdued colors and you have a flourescent vest you'll be the only one seen from a distance. Same thing during the day. Cars will be looking out for other cars but someone wearing a bright vest/jacket stands out.

  17. #17
    Senior Member radumas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    1. conspicuity vest, florescent yellow/green vest. Reflective tape on the bike.
    Reflective and light colored clothing is a given. When I'm in a car, I'm often surprised by walkers and runners who appear out of nowhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by radumas View Post
    What's the drag with these things when light not in use?

    Ages ago I had a generator that attached in the bottom bracket and you flipped it to contact with back wheel. It felt like a 5% grade when I was riding on the flats. I don't want to experience a drag on the 95% of the time I don't need the light just to have it on demand when I do need it.
    depends on the model. http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/schmidt.asp
    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/shimano3n70.asp

    The Schmidt has less drag than Sanyo and is more efficient. You'll notice the drag when running the light while riding slow, watts don't come for free but it's not objectionable once you're riding above 10mph. More like a .25% grade or running your tires at 92psi instead of 100. That old Sanyo you had wasn't as efficient as the present generators but more importantly it slipped when wet. So you'll get more watts for less drag with existing dynos and more light with the new LED headlamps. My experience is with the Schmidt dyno. You don't notice the drag while riding with light off. If you're riding along at 6-15mph you'll notice a vibration or very slight resistance but as you ride faster the drag in watts becomes a smaller part of the watts you're putting out to ride hard.

    I had the Schmidt set up to a halogen headlamp and that really was noticable but when I switched to one of the LED headlamps the drag was less and the light was a lot more.
    Last edited by LeeG; 01-21-11 at 02:07 PM.

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    Hi,

    May I suggest a short still-image video made by the German Busch & Müller - manufacturers of front & rear bike lights. It shows the difference in light intensity and light spread in-between some of their models. To me more illustrative than many words.

    If you are interested Go to www.bumm.de and select "English" - click the "catalogue" menu to the left and then "headlights" and "light comparison".

    I'm in the process of selecting lights myself and will use Busch & Müller headlight with near-field "light fill-out" so that bumps etc. just in front of the bicycle are visible. The model I've chosen (B + M Lumotec IQ Cyo R senso plus) in my opinion also lights up a good way ahead of me.

    I'll combine it with a Shimano DH-3n72 dynamo hub (second best - DH-3n80 has better bearings and sealing as far as I can see, yet Koga Miyata uses the DH-3n72 on their world traveller model).

    Rear light also is a Busch & Müller (B + M Toplight line plus) with "standlight" (4 minutes light after stop), however, the standlight can be switched off if I so desire.

    Good luck in making your choices,

    Jesper

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    Quote Originally Posted by radumas View Post
    Reflective and light colored clothing is a given. When I'm in a car, I'm often surprised by walkers and runners who appear out of nowhere.
    it's funny how I notice it now that I'm an old fart and wasn't concerned about it when I was younger. Absolutely clueless how impaired some folks were until I became one of them.
    I'm a fan of the yellow/green vest over simply "light colored clothing". The side walk is light colored, cars can be light colored. Things meant to communicate vital information are BRIGHT, traffic cones/barrels, signs, highway workers.

  21. #21
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by radumas View Post
    There are lighting solutions for the endurance/all night riders. I'm looking for the right lighting for up to a couple hours of riding in the dark. Either running local errands or riding a leg of a tour that goes a little late or starts early.

    What are best solutions for seeing and being seen?
    I'm perfectly happy with a variable power LED flashlight ( I use http://www.amazon.com/Fenix-L2D-Leve.../dp/B001GAOOG4 ) attached to the bike with LockBlocks ( http://www.amazon.com/TwoFish-FH1-Fl...5644807&sr=1-1 ) for a headlight. For tailights, I bought a bunch of these PlanetBike Superflash clones ( http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.35036 ) which actually have much better off-axis visibility and weatherproofness than the ten-time-more-expensive SuperFlash that I have.


    The lockblock holds the flashlight extremely securely, even on rough single-track. You can buy batteries anywhere. Plus, you can vary the light between a lower-power "be-seen" mode, and "light up something two miles away", if that's what you need. And it's a lot more ergonomic to carry around and use in camp.

    Total cost for a full setup is around $50.00 or less.


    A lot of people recommend dyno-hubs. I considered them, but my requirement that every item I tour with be as simple as possible, replenishable without having to have access to AC power, and to have multiple uses when feasible, makes the flashlight win out every time.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  22. #22
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    I am a fan of dynohubs, and Machka and I have three of them at the moment, and will be getting at least another, if not more. I also like the Senso Plus line in the B&M lights that automatically turn them in low light.

    But, I have done a lot of night riding on randonnees, touring and commuting, and it is great that I can get on a biike with a dynohub and know I don't have to worry about front lighting.

    I have had various iterations of LED rear lights, from the Cateye five-LED ones through to the Planet Bike one with the strobe flash. I like both.

    What I have found for front lights is that power is not always important, but spread of light where you want it definitely is. I have a Planet Bike light and I fear having to use it except in emergency situations because its beam is way too narrow.

    I have an IQ Fly with a nice wide beam, and I currently have it mounted on a borrowed tandem and powered by a four-pack of D-cell batteries. If you want a comparison of light beams and usefulness, there is a thread in the Long Distance Forum that recently illustrated this (as in comparison pictures). The Fly came out very well in that. You may be able to rig up something with a AA or AAA pack with lower run-time capacity that I have with the D-cells.

    If the OP has very infrequent need for lighting, then maybe a helmet light might be sufficient. I use a variety marketed by Energiser and often available in supermarkets... it has three white LEDs and one red one. I modify the buckle slightly so I can thread the strap through the vents in my helmets, and this instantly makes the light more secure, I don't notice the straps inside because they are elastic, and I can easily transfer the light between helmets, or just wear it on my head for campsite duties.

    The spread is OK, but the reach is a bit limited, so speeding down hills wouldn't be an option. You can use it to read maps while riding, and look at signposts, plus you will be visible to on-coming and side traffic.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by radumas View Post
    What's the drag with these things when light not in use?

    Ages ago I had a generator that attached in the bottom bracket and you flipped it to contact with back wheel. It felt like a 5% grade when I was riding on the flats. I don't want to experience a drag on the 95% of the time I don't need the light just to have it on demand when I do need it.
    the drag (schmidt hub) is not noticeable with lights on or off. I generally leave the lights on all the time.

    apparently the shimano has a bit more drag, but nothing compared to a sidewall dynamo or a BB dynamo, both of which i have used.

    shimano with lights off is supposed to be very little drag.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    depends on the model. http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/schmidt.asp
    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/shimano3n70.asp

    The Schmidt has less drag than Sanyo and is more efficient. You'll notice the drag when running the light while riding slow
    in my experience this isn't really the case, unless you use a halogen bulb. with LED, i cant really notice anything...

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    Quote Originally Posted by positron View Post
    in my experience this isn't really the case, unless you use a halogen bulb. with LED, i cant really notice anything...
    I'm a sensitive guy.

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