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Rear Light - bolts to rack, usb rechargeable, not overly bright, non-expensive?

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Rear Light - bolts to rack, usb rechargeable, not overly bright, non-expensive?

Old 09-11-16, 01:42 PM
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PaulRivers
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Rear Light - bolts to rack, usb rechargeable, not overly bright, non-expensive?

I'm helping a family member get their bike setup. Anything "futzy" they tend to forget to bring it / charge it / etc. I got them a usb rechargeable front light and ran an extension cord over to where they keep it so they can always leave it on the bike and fully charged which has worked well for the front light, and I'd like to do something similar with the rear light.

I put a rack on the bike and have been trying to find a rear light:
- USB rechargeable like the front light (need to be able to plug usb cable in without removing it from the bike)
- Bolts onto the rack, that's worked well for far for a sufficient level of theft protection for cheap stuff on the bike
- Not overly bright - I often end up riding behind them and they're not very good at choosing the right setting and I don't like being blinded, which has sometimes been a problem with other lights that they've used.
- It would be nice if it had a passive reflector built into it in case they forget to turn it on, but that's optional.

I've been surprised at how difficult it's been to find a light that does all this so far.

The closest I've found have been been either AA battery lights which don't quite meet my criteria because you can't charge them via usb - Planet Bike "Grateful Red" looks like a replacement for their previous rack blinky but it's AA, B&M Toplight Line Permanent is similar, nice light that bolts on but uses AA and doesn't usb recharge.

The closest I've been able to come up with is getting a Planet Bike Superflash USB and using the rack mount, supergluing the light to the rack mount (superglue part is fine) but I've afraid I'll once again end up behind an overly bright rear light.

Wondering if anyone happens to know of anything that would meet all my needs that I haven't run across. I've asked at several bike shops but not come up with much - there's a number of "makes a straight red line" lights that charge via usb that they carry, but they all use flimsy straps to be held on and I'm looking for something that would take a little effort to steal off the bike (bolting onto the rear rack).

Edit: It's a Topeak Explorer rack if it matters, it definitely has the space on the rear of the rack that's meant to have a rear light bolted onto it.

Last edited by PaulRivers; 09-11-16 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 09-11-16, 02:37 PM
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Cygolite Hotshot 50 meets all your requirements except it's very bright. It has an optional rack mount for cheap.


http://www.cygolite.com/product/hotshot-50-usb/
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Old 09-11-16, 02:43 PM
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I believe Planet Bike has a USB rechargeable version of their super flash, on steady mode it's about medium brightness and compatible with their rack mount clip.

Edit: didn't read close enough:

The PB super flash is about half as bright as the Cygolite. Don't know if that is still too bright. Super glue probably isn't necessary with the rack mount. The only time I had a PB light come off the rack mount was when the clip broke after a few years of heavy use and glueing wouldn't have helped.

Maybe if all options are still too bright consider a bit of window tint or the like over the lens.

Last edited by Rice Wash; 09-11-16 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 09-11-16, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rolandk View Post
Cygolite Hotshot 50 meets all your requirements except it's very bright. It has an optional rack mount for cheap.

http://www.cygolite.com/product/hotshot-50-usb/
Thanks for the suggestion. Looks like the minimum runtime is 04:30, so that's probably the "steady" runtime. Like you said it's a bit of the bright side.

Originally Posted by Rice Wash View Post
I believe Planet Bike has a USB rechargeable version of their super flash, on steady mode it's about medium brightness and compatible with their rack mount clip.

Edit: didn't read close enough:

The PB super flash is about half as bright as the Cygolite. Don't know if that is still too bright. Super glue probably isn't necessary with the rack mount. The only time I had a PB light come off the rack mount was when the clip broke after a few years of heavy use and glueing wouldn't have helped.

Maybe if all options are still too bright consider a bit of window tint or the like over the lens.
Actually that's probably the closest. A quick search says 8 hours of runtime on steady.

The superglue isn't so it doesn't fall off, it's to keep it from being stolen quickly and easily by someone casually walking by. Some lights you can bolt directly on the rack (planet bike rack blinky, but it's AA and I have one with issues with the batteries getting knocked loose) and it's even better, but supergluing it would be similar. They could rip it off but it would be useless to them.

Thanks for the suggestion, I think PB Superflash USB is the closest for what I need so far.
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Old 09-11-16, 03:25 PM
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Ah, gotcha, anti theft I understand. I take mine off and throw them in my bag, but I switch up bikes a fair bit. If I was largely riding one or two bikes I would go that way.

The PB super flash is really not obnoxious in steady mode. Are you concerned about MUP use?
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Old 09-11-16, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Rice Wash View Post
Ah, gotcha, anti theft I understand. I take mine off and throw them in my bag, but I switch up bikes a fair bit. If I was largely riding one or two bikes I would go that way.

The PB super flash is really not obnoxious in steady mode. Are you concerned about MUP use?
I'm concerned about when I personally end up behind it and it being anywhere from blinding to just annoying. Hey, if I putting it on, I want it to work well for me to.

Their previous bike had a rear light that was to bright and hit me in the face and I had to ask them to turn it off while riding behind them in the past, I want them to have a decent light but be able to ride comfortably behind them when we all go riding.

Last edited by PaulRivers; 09-11-16 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 09-12-16, 02:18 AM
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You can turn the level of brightness down on the Hotshot. I have a SL 2W mounted on an Explorer rack with the bolt on rack mount. When on a nighttime group ride, I turn down the intensity of the light.
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Old 09-12-16, 02:19 AM
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Old 09-12-16, 08:54 AM
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Cygo lite hotshot make a bracket that will fit most racks, clips in and out. They also make one that will clip to the seat post. And the bright lights are to be seen by cars. Why get a dim rear light? Most lights have different settings.
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Old 09-12-16, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by downwinded View Post
You can turn the level of brightness down on the Hotshot. I have a SL 2W mounted on an Explorer rack with the bolt on rack mount. When on a nighttime group ride, I turn down the intensity of the light.
Thanks, that would probably work for me, and I will personally keep it in mind in the future if I end up biking on roads into work again as a light that would work for both day and night time rides. But with this family member they don't pay attention to these things and if I can avoid dealing with it I'd prefer to.
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Old 09-12-16, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Rice Wash View Post
I believe Planet Bike has a USB rechargeable version of their super flash, on steady mode it's about medium brightness and compatible with their rack mount clip.
Thanks again for the suggestion, I ordered this one so I'll see how it goes!
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Old 09-12-16, 01:39 PM
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Doesn't meet your detailed requirements, but may meet your intent: Serfas Thunderbolt. It's not too bright (especially in the lower setting), is USB rechargeable, costs $30-40, but it doesn't bolt onto the bike.

It attaches with elastic straps, so you can take it off and put it on in a second or so. It's small enough to fit in your pocket or messenger bag or whatever. I got one of these on a whim and now I have three; they're my go-to tail light now.

I was a little iffy on the straps, and after years of use I finally broke one. I went to the Serfas site and found they sell replacements for $2.50 each. I decided to buy 4 so now I have extras.

I believe their function is warranted for life too. I know of people who've taken them back to the local bike store chain here who replaced them on the spot, no receipt, no questions asked.
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Old 09-12-16, 03:03 PM
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Check out the Spanninga lights. They may have one that meets your requirements.
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Old 09-12-16, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Doesn't meet your detailed requirements, but may meet your intent: Serfas Thunderbolt. It's not too bright (especially in the lower setting), is USB rechargeable, costs $30-40, but it doesn't bolt onto the bike. It attaches with elastic straps, so you can take it off and put it on in a second or so. It's small enough to fit in your pocket or messenger bag or whatever. I got one of these on a whim and now I have three; they're my go-to tail light now.
Yeah, actually it's exactly what I was going to get at first - then I found that straps are the only way to attach it. Taking it on and off just wouldn't work for my situation, it would either get left on by accident and stolen, or get lost somewhere. It seems like a nice light otherwise though.
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Old 09-12-16, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Check out the Spanninga lights. They may have one that meets your requirements.
Thanks for the suggestion, it looks like they make a lot of lights that almost meet my requirements but not quite. :-/

They make a number of lights that would work except they only come in dynamo of aa versions. They make 2 usb lights - PYRO and JET, but while the PYRO looked promising at first it seems to be a seatpost light that doesn't have a rack mount. They make several rack mounts lights - but not in usb rechargeable versions.

B&M makes their front lights take AA's but build a charger into the light, to bad they (or Spanninga) don't do the same for their big rear rack lights.
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Old 09-12-16, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Doesn't meet your detailed requirements, but may meet your intent: Serfas Thunderbolt. It's not too bright (especially in the lower setting), is USB rechargeable, costs $30-40, but it doesn't bolt onto the bike.

It attaches with elastic straps, so you can take it off and put it on in a second or so. It's small enough to fit in your pocket or messenger bag or whatever. I got one of these on a whim and now I have three; they're my go-to tail light now.

I was a little iffy on the straps, and after years of use I finally broke one. I went to the Serfas site and found they sell replacements for $2.50 each. I decided to buy 4 so now I have extras.

I believe their function is warranted for life too. I know of people who've taken them back to the local bike store chain here who replaced them on the spot, no receipt, no questions asked.
I liked these as well and used them before I got my dynamos. Super easy to attach and durable!
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Old 09-13-16, 10:00 AM
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Not ideal, but how about a bolted-on tail light made for a dynamo and powering it with an external LiIon battery? Strap the battery out of the way such as on the underside of your rack or the back of the seat tube. Run a charger cable up to the bike. I don't know if it's a bad idea to run 5V DC to a light that is designed for 6V AC, but I don't see what harm it can do.
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Old 09-14-16, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Not ideal, but how about a bolted-on tail light made for a dynamo and powering it with an external LiIon battery? Strap the battery out of the way such as on the underside of your rack or the back of the seat tube. Run a charger cable up to the bike. I don't know if it's a bad idea to run 5V DC to a light that is designed for 6V AC, but I don't see what harm it can do.
Lol oh man...I'd have to find a battery that somehow semi-permanently attaches to the bottom of a rack, then modify the light itself with a soldering iron to connect to it...

I think you're mistaking me for some of the other posters who are retired with a lot of time and looking for a project to spend time on. :-)
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Old 09-14-16, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
Lol oh man...I'd have to find a battery that somehow semi-permanently attaches to the bottom of a rack, then modify the light itself with a soldering iron to connect to it...

I think you're mistaking me for some of the other posters who are retired with a lot of time and looking for a project to spend time on. :-)
Heh. Guilty, I guess.

But it needn't be that hard. You can zip tie or even duct tape the battery onto the bike. Breaking out the USB cable is the hardest part and probably not had. The cable goes to the light into screw lugs, so that part is easy.
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Old 09-15-16, 07:19 AM
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I wouldn't intentionally go for a dimmer light. I'd go for one with a dim setting.
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