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Winter is here: Let's talk serious headlights

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Winter is here: Let's talk serious headlights

Old 11-04-15, 09:48 PM
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DBordello
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Winter is here: Let's talk serious headlights

As a new commuter, the trips home this week were my first in the dark. In my opinion, my headlight situation is not up to snuff.

For reference, I currently have a Cygolite Metro 550. I ride through some unlit bike paths, as well as poorly lit streets. However, I feel things could be better.

What would you recommend for a serious illumination plan for sub $100? I seem to like battery powered solutions, but not opposed to dyno-powered solutions.

I would love to light the road like a car does.
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Old 11-04-15, 09:55 PM
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Perhaps to put this another way, with $100 to spend, what would provide the best visibility looking forward?
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Old 11-04-15, 10:03 PM
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Best bet is to get a strong light that will mount on your helmet. The Niterider Lumina 750 is very bright, and comes with a great helmet mount. Keep your existing light in the bars and aim lower for close in light.
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Old 11-04-15, 10:04 PM
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$100 can take you pretty far these days for a decent commuting light.

2015 Bike Lights Shootout - Mtbr.com
Here is a good place to start.

Personally I use:
Light and Motion Urban 550
Light and Motion Vis 360
And a few other simple blinky lights
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Old 11-05-15, 06:24 AM
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Light and motion urban 360. Good light intensity and an excellent reflector.
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Old 11-05-15, 06:37 AM
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Man but you already have a 550 Lumens on that head light you already have. That should be plenty of light for a dark road, a Dynamo light would give you approximately a 300 Lumens light and it is more expensive than $100, lots of commuters like dynamos because you don't have to recharge them.
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Old 11-05-15, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Best bet is to get a strong light that will mount on your helmet. The Niterider Lumina 750 is very bright, and comes with a great helmet mount. Keep your existing light in the bars and aim lower for close in light.
No, not exactly.

They discontinued the helmet mount. It now costs an addtional $20. I bought one and returned it because:
- pissed that they stripped out the helmet mount that I needed
- Light cut off is too sharp for such a bright light. It makes a hotspot.

On the good side, the new handlebar mount is fantastic, and they are good looking lights.

@DBordello - here is what I do in the same situation as you:
I got a cygolite 850 for $90.
It comes with a helmet mount
It has a beautiful soft beam spread with no hot spot. I thought I wouldn't like it, but switching back and forth with the nightrider, the choice was clear. I couldn't go back to the nightrider.

So, I put the cygolite 550 on my helmet to help me see around the corners, and the 850 on the handlebars. That literally gives me brightness similar to my car (1400 lumens on the car, 1400 lumens cygolite). Its pretty nice!!!

(its nice having the same mount for both lights so I can easily switch positions. Works great on road, and amazing with mountain- biking where the lower light gives me shadows and definition the helmet mount can't do.

$90 for the Lumina 850:
https://www.amazon.com/Cygolite-Expil...s=cygolite+850

Last edited by chas58; 11-05-15 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 11-05-15, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by TroN0074 View Post
Man but you already have a 550 Lumens on that head light you already have. That should be plenty of light for a dark road, a Dynamo light would give you approximately a 300 Lumens light and it is more expensive than $100, lots of commuters like dynamos because you don't have to recharge them.

So, you would like something like this then - looks better than a dynamo for most of us:

[h=1]Battery-free Reelight bicycle light launches on Kickstarter[/h]https://road.cc/content/tech-news/170510-battery-free-reelight-bicycle-light-launches-kickstarter
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Old 11-05-15, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
So, you would like something like this then - looks better than a dynamo for most of us:

Battery-free Reelight bicycle light launches on Kickstarter

Battery-free Reelight bicycle light launches on Kickstarter | road.cc
Quite meh about their current lights. Their visibility is really bad compared to regular blinkies.

I will be throwing a Busch + Muller light on. Either the Lumotec IQ Cyo R Premium T senso plus (60 Lux) or the Lumotec IQ Cyo Premium T senso plus (80 Lux).
Then again I only use them for city riding on cycling paths (20-35 kph) so just seeing where I am going and being seen is much more important than adding to the Dutch light pollution.

Last edited by JaccoW; 11-05-15 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 11-05-15, 08:11 AM
  #10  
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Got a set of these:

Solarstorm 5000 Lumen 2X CREE T6 LED Bicycle Light Bike Headlamp Front Headlight | eBay



Been using them for about a week. I only use the lowest setting which is quite bright already. The highest setting blinding. 5000 lumens? Not sure. On the lowest setting I can probably get 3-4 hours of use, though I've never actually exhausted the battery.
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Old 11-05-15, 08:12 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
No, not exactly.

They discontinued the helmet mount. It now costs an addtional $20. I bought one and returned it because:
- pissed that they stripped out the helmet mount that I needed
- Light cut off is too sharp for such a bright light. It makes a hotspot.

On the good side, the new handlebar mount is fantastic, and they are good looking lights.

@DBordello - here is what I do in the same situation as you:
I got a cygolite 850 for $90.
It comes with a helmet mount
It has a beautiful soft beam spread with no hot spot. I thought I wouldn't like it, but switching back and forth with the nightrider, the choice was clear. I couldn't go back to the nightrider.

So, I put the cygolite 550 on my helmet to help me see around the corners, and the 850 on the handlebars. That literally gives me brightness similar to my car (1400 lumens on the car, 1400 lumens cygolite). Its pretty nice!!!

(its nice having the same mount for both lights so I can easily switch positions. Works great on road, and amazing with mountain- biking where the lower light gives me shadows and definition the helmet mount can't do.

$90 for the Lumina 850:
Amazon.com : Cygolite Expilion 850 USB Light with Helmet Mount : Sports & Outdoors
Interesting. I used to have a Cygolite Expilion and the handlebar mount was awful. Also, didn't come with a helmet mount. The mount finally broke and I returned it since a replacement was around $20 (thanks REI!). I did like the actual light though. From what you are saying, it sounds like Cygolite now has a better mount and helmet mount, whereas Niterider has gone the other direction, dropping the helmet mount. My experience is that both lights were pretty similar, but I do like the somewhat narrow beam of the Niterider Lumina 700 for commuting. No hotspot with the Niterider, in my experience.
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Old 11-05-15, 09:04 AM
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I also have a Metro 550. It's "adequate" but not my favorite thing to ride with. I consider it a good daytime flasher or a nighttime backup in case my main light fails.

I've had a few lights, and my favorite is what I have now, a "2000 lumen" $30 light from ebay with a diffuser lens on the front ($5 on eBay). If I had $100 to spend on lights, I'd buy that, maybe an extra/better battery, and spend the rest on pizza.

This light puts out 2 to 3 times what the Metro does and lights up a lot more of the road.
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Old 11-05-15, 09:28 AM
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Sigmasport Buster 600.

BUSTER 600

I've been using it for road and trail for a few months now. Plenty bright, four (IIRC) modes, good burn time. Tough aluminum housing.
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Old 11-05-15, 09:30 AM
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Try deal extreme. Cheap chinese ones. The $32.00 one is going on 3 years. Claimed 1200 lumens, more like 8-900. I run a cygolight 350 on the bars blinking, the deal extreme one on the bars, plus a a cygolight 350 on the helmet as well. Don't forget wheel lights, is use the cat eye orbits. The spinning wheel lights give great side presence.
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Old 11-05-15, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Got a set of these:

Solarstorm 5000 Lumen 2X CREE T6 LED Bicycle Light Bike Headlamp Front Headlight | eBay



Been using them for about a week. I only use the lowest setting which is quite bright already. The highest setting blinding. 5000 lumens? Not sure. On the lowest setting I can probably get 3-4 hours of use, though I've never actually exhausted the battery.
I wouldn't suggest those at all. Sure they have 2 emitters so the combined output should be 1400 lumens...no, they don't produce 5000 lumens. But they don't put out that much light. I have that exact version and, when compared with a single emitter lamp (Cree XML-T6), the dual lamp is just as bright. They don't use a more powerful battery to run that dual emitter light so they cut back the current to each emitter. You'd be better off buying 3 of these...2 for the bar and one for a helmet.

I also change out the o-ring mount to a more stable mount for the Marwi type lights as detailed here. Hoffman sells the bar clamps and mounts. To make the conversion, you'll need an adapter ($4) and a clamp ($10) as well as a screw and nuts ($0.80) for each lamp. The Mawri helmet mount ($3.75) is also worth getting. It's an excellent helmet mount.
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Old 11-05-15, 10:43 AM
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I think I am leaning towards the headlight + battery pack options. The price seems to be hard to beat compared to integrated solutions.

I am leaning towards a pair of these:Amazon.com : CREE XML XM-L T6 LED Bike Bicycle Light HeadLight HeadLamp 1200LM Red : Cycling Electronics Accessories : Sports & Outdoors
Any other recommendations?
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Old 11-05-15, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I wouldn't suggest those at all. Sure they have 2 emitters so the combined output should be 1400 lumens...no, they don't produce 5000 lumens. But they don't put out that much light. I have that exact version and, when compared with a single emitter lamp (Cree XML-T6), the dual lamp is just as bright. They don't use a more powerful battery to run that dual emitter light so they cut back the current to each emitter. You'd be better off buying 3 of these...2 for the bar and one for a helmet.

I also change out the o-ring mount to a more stable mount for the Marwi type lights as detailed here. Hoffman sells the bar clamps and mounts. To make the conversion, you'll need an adapter ($4) and a clamp ($10) as well as a screw and nuts ($0.80) for each lamp. The Mawri helmet mount ($3.75) is also worth getting. It's an excellent helmet mount.
Thanks for the info. I didn't think it was 5000Lumens, but for the time being they will have to do. You're right about the mounts being somewhat unstable, and I could so the o-rings snapping over time. I'll have to look into something more stable/secure.
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Old 11-05-15, 11:26 AM
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My Dynamo light installs are on 2nd and 3rd and 4th + Winters .

I only Use the battery Lights on the rare icy day when I Get out The MTB set aside with the studded tires .\

Battery light fans all tout what they bought . so Be It.



<Generally>When a Battery is cold it's efficiency drops ... solution mountaineers used,

battery in a Pocket under your clothes Light ( Probably ) on your Head.

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-12-15 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 11-05-15, 12:40 PM
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XinTD C8 V5 XM-L2 U2 3C 18650 Flashlight One of those with some good batteries (I use Panasonic) and a decent charger. It's my favorite light out of all of mine (a pair of magicshines, a pair of Ultrafire 501b's a Light and Motion Viz360 and some leftover NiMH powered flashlights).
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Old 11-05-15, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
My Dynamo light installs are on 2nd and 3rd and 4th + Winters .

I only Use the battery Lights on the rare icy day when I Get out The MTB set aside with the studded tires .\

Battery light fans all tout what they bought . so Be It.
I commute on about 5 different bikes, plus use the lights for mt biking on 3 different bikes. For me, and my uses, it's east to just clip the light on a different bike.
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Old 11-05-15, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
My Dynamo light installs are on 2nd and 3rd and 4th + Winters .

Battery light fans all tout what they bought . so Be It.
To be fair, dynamo light fans also tout what we bought. I don't honestly remember how many years mine have been running, and running, and running ...
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Old 11-05-15, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
To be fair, dynamo light fans also tout what we bought. I don't honestly remember how many years mine have been running, and running, and running ...
And some of us use both with equal success.

If I were pigheaded, or forced to choose I would go with dyno lighting............ But I don't have to.
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Old 11-05-15, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
XinTD C8 V5 XM-L2 U2 3C 18650 Flashlight One of those with some good batteries (I use Panasonic) and a decent charger. It's my favorite light out of all of mine (a pair of magicshines, a pair of Ultrafire 501b's a Light and Motion Viz360 and some leftover NiMH powered flashlights).
+1 to the XinTD. I have this on my bars and a 400 lumen Shiningbeam S-Mini on the helmet.
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Old 11-05-15, 11:46 PM
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I'm so ashamed, I only have an unserious 350 lumen light
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Old 11-06-15, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
From what you are saying, it sounds like Cygolite now has a better mount and helmet mount, whereas Niterider has gone the other direction, dropping the helmet mount. My experience is that both lights were pretty similar, but I do like the somewhat narrow beam of the Niterider Lumina 700 for commuting. No hotspot with the Niterider, in my experience.
Maybe I wasn't clear?

The new Niteriders have a great new mount (silicon strap). I love it, and it will fit all types of handlebar types. But they dropped the helmet mount, and it costs an extra $20 to get one.

Cygolite has the same lame POS mount they have always had. Its OK if it fits your handlebars and you don't have to take it off. but the top of the line versions (850) come with a helmet mount.

Some people here complain about periphery vision. Try something with a fluted lens like the cygolite 850 if that is an issue. It works great mountain biking (less important on a wide open straight commute)
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