Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    327
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Headlamp plus dedicated bike light or headlamp alone?

    I don't plan to ride much at night but want to be prepared for those times when I have a long day or need to run into town for supplies after dark. Can a good headlamp do double duty and work as a bike light or should I get a dedicated bike light as well?

    Headlamp recommendations?


    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Grants Pass, Oregon
    My Bikes
    Hard Rock Sport, Peugeot Triathlon, Schwinn Paramount Series 7
    Posts
    671
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I carry both. Headlamp is for reading at night in my tent, and is nowhere near powerful enough to use as a headlight on the bike in very dark situations. It will help me to be seen, but won't do a lot to help me see. I once tried to use a headlamp as a bike light while riding through a dark tunnel. Didn't work out too well (black eye, busted up bike). If I had a headlamp that was powerful enough I wouldn't bother with the bike light, however.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Madison, WI
    My Bikes
    2004 LHT, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 1961 Ideor, 1972 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, Perfekt 3 Speed of unknown age.
    Posts
    1,158
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Headlamp is one of those ambiguous terms, some people call their bike light a headlamp. I assume from the way you asked the question that you consider a headlamp to be something to wear on your head.

    My bike lights are tightly focused with a narrow beam.

    But my headlamps have a much wider beam that would not throw much light out at a distance. The headlamps are designed to work well for cooking or other camp chores after the sun has gone down but not to see the pothole that is 30 feet away. At 14 mph, that pothole will be under your wheel in about one and a half seconds.

    There are some expensive high wattage LED headlamps that may throw a long skinny beam. Those might be a maybe for biking.

  4. #4
    Has opinion, will express
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    12,706
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Both the previous answers are very worth considering. I use a cheap but powerful, 3xAAA battery torch with a single Cree LED mounted on our bikes permanent so they are out the way, but there when needed. They have an adjustable beam, and can be removed from the bikes to use if our headlamp(s) go missing.

    Our headlamps are fairly cheap three-LED Energiser ones from the supermarket. They are also powered by 3xAAA batteries, have a good spread for use in the tent with computers, enough to cook and eat by, and to negotiate to other locations around the camp.

    I used one of these on a century one evening when we were late finishing. We were on our tandem. Never again. The reach wasn't good enough compared with the lights we normally use.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  5. #5
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    On the road-USA
    My Bikes
    Giant Excursion, Raleigh Sports, Raleigh R.S.W. Compact, Motobecane? and about 20 more! OMG
    Posts
    16,208
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Both. I usually have dedicated lights for my bike, may be dyno hub powered or decent battery lights. I carry a very small head lamp for use around the campsite and reading after dark.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  6. #6
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Parkville, Md
    Posts
    7,556
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I tend to carry a rear blinkie of some sort, and usually a fairly minimal one. I have used a headlamp while riding but lately have gone with a tiny key chain light as my only white light. The little key chain light is worthless for riding, but I don't ride in the dark much.

    I'd say that using the headlamp for those few times you ride after dark is fine. Doing as I do and riding with only a rear blinky is doable, but probably not adequate for most riders.

    Personally I'd only take a dedicated bike light on the front if I planned to ride at night and maybe not even then.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    327
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks everyone for your wisdom... I'll be trying out the Princeton Tec headlamp this weekend. It is 100 lumens and has an adjustable beam with a beam distance of 73 meters. I'll be on the Erie Canal here in NY near small towns with safe streets so it will be easy to test out the light as an "in a pinch" light.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    4,237
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    100 lumens really isn't enough for night riding. If your night vision is good you can get by with it at low speeds but the problem is that at the high setting the batteriies will be fading in 60minutes. My $.02 is that if a dyno hub is not in the budget consider a dedicated bike light running on 4AA cells with your 3AAA cell headlamp for around camp and auxiliary riding light.
    Last edited by LeeG; 08-26-12 at 09:08 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    NE Tx
    My Bikes
    Tour Easy, Linear USS, Lightening Thunderbolt, custom DF, Raleigh hybrid, Felt time trial
    Posts
    2,625
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Like you, I don't ride much at night, but stay ready. For a number of years, I used a 1 watt Brinkman headlamp that produced about a 100 lumens of light. About a year ago, I moved to a recumbent. Switched to Nebo Redline 220 lumen flashlights. I sometimes also use the headlamp as I like being able to point a light in the direction of an upcoming turn.

    Where cycling lights are concerned, more is better.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    437
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Some jurisdictions require a light fixed to the bike. I keep a tiny LED blinkie on the handlebar, but have never been stopped here with my $33 400-500 lumen focusable headlamp, the police seem to think that's enough light.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/CREE-XM-L-U2...item25706c0641

    It's really overkill for touring though. I have this http://www.lowes.com/pd_297874-13229...amp&facetInfo=

    in my tool bag always as a backup and sole light on tours, and it's very light, 180 true focusable lumens are bright enough to light the road in an emergency, yet dims down to the brightness of a 10 lumen led headlamp in the tent to save batteries. I also carry some extra AAA cells.
    Last edited by stevepusser; 08-27-12 at 03:14 PM.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    NW,Oregon Coast
    My Bikes
    7
    Posts
    39,972
    Mentioned
    27 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Certainly head lamps are useful if you make your camp after dusk.
    serious torch , may be overdoing that.
    + the one on the bike , to see the road by..

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Minnesota
    My Bikes
    '09 Trek 2.1, '75 Sekine, '90 Giant Mtb, Raleigh M20, Fuji Nevada mtb.
    Posts
    1,271
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    3 Thread(s)
    I do use a "80 lumen" 3 AA headlamp on my helmet, but it's barely adequate for riding when my eyes are dark adjusted, and useless in streelights to see potholes or any road hazards. Best it does is a minimal "be seen" front light. I also have a Planet Bike SuperFlash on the rear to help minimize getting whacked from behind.

    Don't be fooled by the stated lumens or so-called distance specs because that's all marketing. If you think you are going to do any night riding, nothing less than a couple hundred lumens dedicated bike light using a 18650 cell or a 500 lumen flashlight mounted using a LocBlock. Some dedicated lights have USB chargers built in that I suppose work ok, but I think they rely on the built in cell protection.

    check out this thread, it has some relevant info, and look up cehowardgs on budgetlight forums. That's a great place for flashaholics.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ght=cehowardgs

    (and don't do as I do, just as I say. I don't have a good light. Too busy spending money just to keep my bike on the road in the daylight.. )
    "Of course you eat too much" (Looigi) There are things people say that are so true you can never forget the wisdom. I still eat too much. Without denial.
    Awarded 2014 Billy Madison "Ultimate Insult" by jsharr. Must have been something about my rambling, incoherent response...

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    4,237
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by RoadTire View Post

    Don't be fooled by the stated lumens or so-called distance specs because that's all marketing. If you think you are going to do any night riding, nothing less than a couple hundred lumens dedicated bike light )
    No kidding, a 3AAA headlamp will NOT have a 73meter beam beam of any use. A Superflash tail light, camp headlamp and conspicuity vest while relying on night vision will end up as default because 1watt out of 3AAA just won't last long or provide enough illumination riding faster than 10mph.

  14. #14
    Has opinion, will express
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    12,706
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by mm718 View Post
    Thanks everyone for your wisdom... I'll be trying out the Princeton Tec headlamp this weekend. It is 100 lumens and has an adjustable beam with a beam distance of 73 meters. I'll be on the Erie Canal here in NY near small towns with safe streets so it will be easy to test out the light as an "in a pinch" light.
    The issue really isn't those "in a pinch" times, it's when you're stuck in the middle of nowhere late in the afternoon/early evening with the sun going down, fixing a flat tyre with a patch that just won't do the job properly on the first or second try, and there is a cold headwind picking up.

    Way before LEDs and on my first tour (extended or otherwise), I had an incandescent bike light that was adequate in the city for short commutes, but failed me twice on the tour, once for over three hours. Try riding downhills on really dark roads with just a quarter moon and starlight to guide you -- not knowing if there were animals on the road was my biggest worry.

    I've normally toured and randonnee-ed with dynohubs and Busch and Muller lights that really are among the best if you don't want to worry about batteries.

    The lights I have fitted to our touring bikes right now have a remarkable output considering they cost just $25 each, and I am happy with them, plus the focusable beam so the spread can be adjusted is what attracted me most to them.

    But as others have said, seriously consider a quality LED light with good output. You might not need it much, but when you do, believe me, you will be thankful. Plus, if it can be easily detached, it can be an "in a pinch" camp light and bluddy good fun when spotting wildlife in trees!
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  15. #15
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chapin, SC
    My Bikes
    surly LHT, paris sport fixie, trek 5000, fuji ss
    Posts
    1,348
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I don't ever plan on riding at night. I go headlamp only if days are long. For shortened daylight tours I carry a Cateye that uses 4AAs. I always have a couple of Planet Bike flashers for dark (emergencies), bad weather, or tunnels.

  16. #16
    Senior Member mtnbud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Salem Oregon
    My Bikes
    1986 Diamondback Ascent 1996 Klein Pulse Comp, 2006 Specialized Sequoia Elite
    Posts
    369
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I highly recommend the Coast HL7 LED Headlamp. Even if you do end up getting a dedicated bicycle light, you won't regret owning this headlamp. With 196 lumens, a focusing beam and adjustable output it is the absolute best headlamp I have ever used. I have used it as a bicycle light by attaching to my helmet with rubber bands and it was enough light to ride by and be seen. If I was going to do a lot of riding at night, I'd get a dedicated light, but this headlamp will work if you ended up being caught out after dark.
    “If You Open Your Mind Too Much Your Brain Will Fall Out”

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    327
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the great responses, everyone. I've decided that I do want a dedicated light and will likely try with one of the ones recommended in this thread. As much as I don't plan on riding at night I know it's going to happen so I want to be prepared. Thanks again.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    My Bikes
    Surly Longhaul Trucker, Dahon Boardwalk, Raleigh 20
    Posts
    1,499
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I prefer to have both a headlamp and a dedicated bike light. The headlamp is handy because it lights up where you're looking. The bike light is handy because it throws light in front of you, which is more likely to satisfy the legal requirements and is more likely to be seen by oncoming traffic if you happen to have turned your head to the side.

    I have a dynamo light for commuting. If my bike was just for touring, I don't know if I'd bother. I think it's great to have an always-there/always powered light, but if you don't do much riding after dark, it might be hard to justify. Also, while I know that there are much brighter dynamo-driven lights than what I use, mine is definitely in the "be seen" category of lights. It's great for being visible on my commute in the city, but for actually lighting up the road in true darkness, it leaves a lot to be desired. If there's a chance that I'll be leaving the streetlights behind me, I always try to carry a supplemental light. I have a headlamp that's nowhere near 100 lumens, but still makes a big difference when it's really dark. Likewise I have a small, LED flashlight that I use in my Lockblock flashlight holder that improves upon what I can see with just my dynamo light. When going overnight, I take either the head lamp, the flashlight, or both because even if I don't need the light while riding, it often comes in handy at camp.

  19. #19
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    On the road-USA
    My Bikes
    Giant Excursion, Raleigh Sports, Raleigh R.S.W. Compact, Motobecane? and about 20 more! OMG
    Posts
    16,208
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I don't have hub dynamos on my touring bikes. One has a bottom bracket mount generator that came on the bike from the factory, the other uses battery lights. I am starting to lean towards the hub dynamos to be used while riding as a charger for backup batteries for my electronic stuff. There are several systems out there and the hub dynamos aren't all that expensive in the grand scheme of things. My city bikes all have hub dynamos. I am starting to run my rear blinkies during daylight hours for added visibility. I used to think it didn't really make that much difference, but after driving some back roads and seeing some riders using them during daylight hours that opinion is changing, especially in conditions other than bright sunlight.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    437
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbud View Post
    I highly recommend the Coast HL7 LED Headlamp. Even if you do end up getting a dedicated bicycle light, you won't regret owning this headlamp. With 196 lumens, a focusing beam and adjustable output it is the absolute best headlamp I have ever used. I have used it as a bicycle light by attaching to my helmet with rubber bands and it was enough light to ride by and be seen. If I was going to do a lot of riding at night, I'd get a dedicated light, but this headlamp will work if you ended up being caught out after dark.
    Yes, that's the one at Lowes I linked to. It's awesome. I use zip-ties cut into forward-facing prongs on the front of the helmet to hold the light and the strap, the back of the helmet holds the strap and battery pack naturally. Cheap, quick, permanent, and doesn't break when I drop the helmet.

    Seriously, this is all you need on the tour. As a backup, take something like this: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...29_-1___400158

    which can be rigged into a headlamp with rubberbands or cords in an emergency.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •