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Old 03-28-12, 06:59 PM   #1
Burton
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OK .... so what do YOU do for lights?

Sometimes I think touring is expected to be done in the dark! I have a few different touring panniers and NONE of them have clips or loops for adding a rear tail light or blinkie. And even if they did - the rain covers that go over them don't have any and rainy or dark confitions is when I want visibility the MOST!

So I mostly ride with a rear light reverse mounted on a helmet when touring. However, with products like the L&M Vis180 available, I'd love to clip one on the back of each rear pannier. I feel like there's a disconnect somewhere - like the lighting industry and the luggage industry don't talk to each other.

What have you done and what would you like to see yourself?
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Old 03-28-12, 07:09 PM   #2
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Most of my bikes either have rack mounted or fender mounted tail lights. I also run seat post mounted blinkies. My main road tour bike is a euro trekking bike that came with a bottom bracket generator, fender mounted tail light and a rack mounted head light.

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Old 03-28-12, 07:19 PM   #3
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My Topeak rack has a plate on the back for tail lights. Got two mounted there. Two high powered multifuntion Cree type flashlights on the front. More visable at night than in the day. Don't do a lot of night riding, so lithium batteries are fine for this simple set up. Works fine so really don't have anything to suggest for improvement.

Oh, also have a 100 lumen headlamp in case all else fails. Use it in camp sometimes.
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Old 03-28-12, 07:40 PM   #4
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this:
http://ecom1.planetbike.com/planetbike/media/3034.jpg

plus this:
http://ecom1.planetbike.com/planetbi...ia/3108alt.jpg

is a great start.
I have a dynohub wheel, since my tourer is my commuter, but the planet bike superflash is an amazing taillight for the price.
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Old 03-28-12, 08:31 PM   #5
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Not trying to be flip, but most of the time I avoid touring in the dark.

Some of this comes normally since I tend to be a morning person and hence like to take off early in morning after it gets light and then stop mid-afternoon with plenty of daylight to either find place to stay or cycle another 20-40 miles if I needed. That breaks down some if cycling in winter with shorter hours of daylight or sometimes on arrival in new place from an airport. For those occasions, I have rear blinkie on my seat post and will find a place to clip on or wear as headlamp.

On those daylight occasions with fog or other instances of reduced visibility I'll either wait it out or make sure at least the blinkie is going.
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Old 03-28-12, 08:51 PM   #6
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I don't remember if I posted this in your thread in electronics, but my experience with bag mounted lights is that they don't point in the direction you want them to point. This makes them largely useless. I want a light I can aim, so it either goes on the fenders or on the racks. You can get rack adapters if your rack doesn't have light accommodations
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Old 03-28-12, 10:00 PM   #7
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what matters most isn't putting a light on each pannier. It's having a bright rear light and an outfit that helps to define your human shape. Wear a reflective outfit and put a PBSF on your helmet/bike. If you need more than that then put more PBSF on the bike or have a generator light with a dedicated tail light. Complaining about panniers not holding a tailight at the right angle is dumb given all the other options.
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Old 03-29-12, 12:07 AM   #8
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I'd love a generator hub for a commuter bike, but I'm with Mev, I try to avoid touring at night, I want a light that I can take with me around camp, and I don't go to far from a source of AA batteries (At least for now). A decent (but only decent) battery powered head and tail lights are all I really need.
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Old 03-29-12, 12:55 AM   #9
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I have Euro type racks on my touring bike, has mounts for a rear light and I wear a helmet light when needed. The helmet light is incredibly bright and I love the fact that I get light where I look. As stated above, if comes down to riding at night, I have a reflective vest in my pack.
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Old 03-29-12, 01:20 AM   #10
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OK Lets call me dumb! I'm all for the 'just add more lights' approach, the thing is there's an extremely limited amount of realestate on a bike that can hold rear lights that are actually visible when rear panniers and a rack bag are installed. On a touring motorcycle or automobile the rear lighting is used to define the width of the vehicle. I would have thought the same would make sense on a bike.

And the other thing that has me concerned is that the rear lights on an automobile are about 200 lumens and there's TWO of them. If these are supposed to be for visibility to other drivers then even two PBSF units rated at about 15 lumens each sounds like a band-aid to me. Night driving isn't something I do if avoidable, but fog and tunnels are facts of life.

A dyno would be nice, but there ain't one one the market that'll run multiple 900 lumen headights so Lipo still works best for ocassional use. Guess I'll have to either fabricate something or just live with the situation.
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Old 03-29-12, 02:00 AM   #11
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OP, use reflection to define the width of your vehicle. I have SOLAS reflective marine tape on my panniers, it really works, as do reflective seams on my clothing, ankle bands and so on. And mount a plate on the back of your rack so you can fix a decent light there.
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Old 03-29-12, 05:49 AM   #12
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For the back, I take a cheap blinkie light.


I also take a high visibility vest and figure it is way more effective than the light in most conditions. I have considered skipping the rear light all together and relying on the vest and may do so next tour.


I don't bother with a front light on tour unless I am carrying a headlamp in which case I might use that. Lately my in camp light has been a 0.2 ounce Pico light which is of no use as a riding light. I wear it around my neck and find it more useful in camp since it is always right there. With the headlamp I usually wound up not bothering with a light rather than digging it out.
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Old 03-29-12, 07:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burton View Post
... ... I have a few different touring panniers and NONE of them have clips or loops for adding a rear tail light or blinkie. And even if they did - the rain covers that go over them don't have any and rainy or dark confitions is when I want visibility the MOST! ... ...
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... ... my experience with bag mounted lights is that they don't point in the direction you want them to point. This makes them largely useless. I want a light I can aim, so it either goes on the fenders or on the racks. You can get rack adapters if your rack doesn't have light accommodations
Agree. It is actually worse than useless because people that have a light shining towards the moon that is clipped to their backpack actually think that people can see them when they can't. The false sense of security that the lights with belt clips offer is in my opinion quite dangerous.

I saw this bike parked on the street and had to take a photo of it.

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Old 03-29-12, 07:55 AM   #14
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Agree. It is actually worse than useless because people that have a light shining towards the moon that is clipped to their backpack actually think that people can see them when they can't. The false sense of security that the lights with belt clips offer is in my opinion quite dangerous.

I saw this bike parked on the street and had to take a photo of it.


That bike is hilarious! Thing is, it'll probably hypnotize the driver and end up plowing into him!
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Old 03-29-12, 08:03 AM   #15
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I simply put a dynohub powered rear light (B&M Toplight Line Plus) on the rear carrier (Tubus Cargo), sometimes supplemented by a blinky on the seat post. Very clean and effective imo.
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Old 03-29-12, 08:32 AM   #16
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OK Lets call me dumb! I'm all for the 'just add more lights' approach, the thing is there's an extremely limited amount of realestate on a bike that can hold rear lights that are actually visible when rear panniers and a rack bag are installed.

And the other thing that has me concerned is that the rear lights on an automobile are about 200 lumens and there's TWO of them. If these are supposed to be for visibility to other drivers then even two PBSF units rated at about 15 lumens each sounds like a band-aid to me.
.
1. back of helmet
2. back of rack should have room for one or two PBSF, secure with elastic or black tape.
3. I have not heard anyone describe a PBSF or Turbo PBSF as a "bandaid". I have had people in cars tell me they could see it during daylight from 200yds back. At night it's bright enough.

The only way you're going to have lights on panniers shine in the right direction is if they're hard shells.
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Old 03-29-12, 10:40 AM   #17
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For decades I have used a rear rack top stuffer with a very large sewn on reflective triangle and reflective SOLAS tape on fender and rack struts for passive always in place rear warning for approaching drivers day or night. More recently I have added a sewn on slot to hold a Planet Bike Turbo rear flasher. All have proved effective with vehicles giving me a wide gap when they pass me.

Up front I have toured with as little as an LED light with one AAA battery for late riding and around camp. It has worked well for all purposes. Maximum lumens 80 with strobe options and three light levels. Weight about 1.5 oz with battery. Run times one hour at max lumens and 8 hours at 35 lumens. Not meant for fast riding or off pavement or single track but very functional and effective for my needs on tour. I have a Nightriderr Minewt for more extensive riding in the dark.
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Old 03-29-12, 02:00 PM   #18
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I fabricated light mounts out of PVC pipe for use with a Planet Bike SuperFlash Blinky and a Planet Bike 2W Blaze. The blinky mount is under the rack. On the front, there was no room on the handlebars with the handlebar bag in the way, so the light is mounted at the front of the (platform) rack. Reflectors on the panniers handle the width issue.



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Old 03-29-12, 02:42 PM   #19
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Generator lights that I use for commuting. They are not especially bright, mainly to be seen rather than to light the way, so I supplement, just like I do locally, with a small flashlight and sometimes a head band light. Both the flashlight and the headband light pull double duty off the bike.
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Old 03-29-12, 08:15 PM   #20
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That bike is hilarious! Thing is, it'll probably hypnotize the driver and end up plowing into him!
Actually there's a lot of money sitting there in rear lighting and it doesn't look like a random ziptie installation. If someone was testing rear lights and making direct brightness comparisons thats pretty much what I'd expect to see for a setup.
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Old 03-29-12, 08:32 PM   #21
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Agree. It is actually worse than useless because people that have a light shining towards the moon that is clipped to their backpack actually think that people can see them when they can't. The false sense of security that the lights with belt clips offer is in my opinion quite dangerous.
.........
I certainly agree that most bike lights fall in that catagory. And I've tried very hard not to fall into that trap. For about 10 years I've been running Lightman xenon flashes, which not only have a 180 degree visibility, but enough brightness that they're used by the DOT for safety lighting and and as portable landing strip markers for medevac by emergency responders in the U.S.A.*

Those are also pretty power hungry and it's possible to order units wired for an external power source, but I wanted to check and see if anything else was available.
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Old 03-29-12, 08:44 PM   #22
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OK Thanks very much for all the suggestions. The back of the helmet is an excellent strategy, and adding a mounting bar across the back of the rear rack also sounds like a good option. I'm also a big fan of reflective material but am also aware that there are a lot of cars on the road in some areas that still require the driver to turn on the lights - and some people don't do that soon enough, so lights are a must, and reflective material will only be considered a secondary line of defense.
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Old 03-30-12, 12:09 AM   #23
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I Run a Hub Dynamo, an LED headlight and taillight on the rack.
Schmidt, Edelux head and a B&M tail, on 2 bikes , 26".. and 20".. wheels..

no batteries to drain or recharge.
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Old 03-30-12, 12:56 AM   #24
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I have a NightSun xenon strobe taillight. It's the civilian version of the police model and works on 2 AA batteries. I'm very satisfied with it, have used it on a couple of bikes. I'm having trouble posting links directly to NightSun, but if you search for NightSun you can probably find their full range of products.

NightSun police equipment uses a 12V lead-acid battery mounted in a water bottle cage. Their civilian equipment such as my taillight uses smaller (AA) batteries.

Powering a headlight bright enough to do you any good may be a problem. I'm still looking for a headlight bright enough to do me any good on my commute home after dark that costs less than the $200 MTB lights.

I'm a reg on the CraigsList BikeFo and have a link to what I call the BlaghBlinder. Blagh is an electrical engineer who has built several headlights that are literally blinding. You can follow his instructions and build some really good headlights. There are also rechargeable headlights available from DealExtreme and other sources.

I've investigated a few of these and it took consultation with my local experts (Ebco Battery, Columbus GA) to figure out which combinations of lights and batteries would do me the most good.

I have the recent problem that my latest bike has 32mm diameter handlebars and the equipment manufacturers haven't yet adapted to that size. I'm using a double-hose-clamp arrangement with a 3-AAA flashlight which meets legal requirements but doesn't do much for me on the Rail Trail at night.

If anybody can find a really bright headlight that mounts on modern fat handlebars, I might be willing to spend big money. Let the forum know if you find anything.

As I say on CL BikeFo, keep on rolling!

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Old 03-30-12, 08:23 PM   #25
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I have a NightSun xenon strobe taillight. It's the civilian version of the police model and works on 2 AA batteries. I'm very satisfied with it, have used it on a couple of bikes. I'm having trouble posting links directly to NightSun, but if you search for NightSun you can probably find their full range of products.

NightSun police equipment uses a 12V lead-acid battery mounted in a water bottle cage. Their civilian equipment such as my taillight uses smaller (AA) batteries.

Powering a headlight bright enough to do you any good may be a problem. I'm still looking for a headlight bright enough to do me any good on my commute home after dark that costs less than the $200 MTB lights.

I'm a reg on the CraigsList BikeFo and have a link to what I call the BlaghBlinder. Blagh is an electrical engineer who has built several headlights that are literally blinding. You can follow his instructions and build some really good headlights. There are also rechargeable headlights available from DealExtreme and other sources.

I've investigated a few of these and it took consultation with my local experts (Ebco Battery, Columbus GA) to figure out which combinations of lights and batteries would do me the most good.

I have the recent problem that my latest bike has 32mm diameter handlebars and the equipment manufacturers haven't yet adapted to that size. I'm using a double-hose-clamp arrangement with a 3-AAA flashlight which meets legal requirements but doesn't do much for me on the Rail Trail at night.

If anybody can find a really bright headlight that mounts on modern fat handlebars, I might be willing to spend big money. Let the forum know if you find anything.

As I say on CL BikeFo, keep on rolling!
A headlight I pretty much worked out and as well as a high output - I wanted a cutoff beam as well . Will be posting some detailed photos later this month.

Those NightSun units look like rebranded LightMans do they have to be pretty effective. That they're prewired for 12V is a plus!

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