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cradduck 09-18-05 07:48 PM

10 watts enough?
I had the truck shift for the first time since I started commuting. I left my house at 5am with one 3 LED light and one halogen light. I was looking forward to my first early morning ride I thought I would have enough light but I was dead wrong. Both lights cast out a little bit of "glow" but it was nothing special. I didn't realize till I took the light halogen light apart today that it was nothing more than a 2.4 watt bulb...

There several miles of my ride along the SGR and the naval base that have NO light source what so ever; I am talking about pitch freeking black. My lights were literally just bright enough to make me worry about all the stuff I know I wasn't seeing. My commute took an extra long time because I couldn't see a darn thing and didn't have time to shower once I got to work (I am sure everyone loved being around me).

I have a pretty limited budget being a student so I have cancelled out most of the lights I have seen for over $80 bucks.

Help me make my dollar and lighting go further.

JohnnyCool 09-18-05 08:16 PM

I think you'll be OK with a 10w halogen. I just installed the dual light set up with a 5w and a 15w. I would be OK doing most of my commute with just the 5w. Is "SGR" the San Gabriel River trail? (Which would make the naval base the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station). I'm asking because I commute up the Santa Ana River Trail. I do use and appreciate the brighter 15w on some of the darker parts of the trail and in the 'tunnel' like underpasses I have to go under. (you never know what's lurking under some of those bridges)

slvoid 09-18-05 08:24 PM

10 watt is fine for you.

cradduck 09-18-05 08:34 PM

You have it right, the SGR is the San Gabriel River trail and the naval base is the weapons facility in Seal Beach. I have to agree that some of the underpasses that I go along are extremely dark (and a little scary).

Where did you find the lighting setup you bought on I went to the site but it seemed hard to navigate around.

Dougmt 09-18-05 09:18 PM

How much money are you saving by bicycling????
We saved enough that I felt justified in buying a HID light when performance had their sale. I picked up a cygolite HID for about 180 delivered.
The light this thing puts off is ridiculous-I wish it had less "spill to the sides and especially "up" but it lights the road like no tomorrow.
I am going to pick up a 6* HID from batteryspace this spring to supplement the HID I currently use or I may buy their M16 HID ( instead... that thing puts out some INTENSE light.
My life and peace of mind are worth a couple of hundred dollars.

cradduck 09-18-05 10:47 PM

I have to make do with what I can afford. I would love to have a HID lighting system, but right now that isn't an option. Ask me that by the end of the year when I have been saving $18-20 a week commuting by bike to work, $10-15 a week travelling by bike to my girlfriends house, and another $3-4 commuting to school and back.

I plan on looking into a helmet mounted HID light once there is enough money.

Daily Commute 09-19-05 03:27 AM

Sounds like you have a smart plan. I always say that if you ride a lot at night, get the best lighting system you can afford. That means, don't spend the rent money.

I use a 10w halogen as a backup for when the low-battery light on my HID comes on. With a 10w, you may have to slow down a bit from your daytime riding, but it is adequate for your purpose. You will definitely notice an improvement over your current setup.

As to the setup, try to avoid lead-acid batteries. They don't last long at all. You should be able to get an NIMh battery, or at least an NiCad in your budget. You also need to decide if you can give the weight and bulk to a waterbottle battery. Finally, look at the charger. "Smart chargers" are best because they don't overcharge.

Good luck in trying to fit it all into your budget. Now, I have to stop typing so I can get on the road while it's still dark.

JohnnyCool 09-19-05 10:30 AM

Originally Posted by cradduck
Where did you find the lighting setup you bought on I went to the site but it seemed hard to navigate around.

DOH! How about ""? sorry about that. Here's the link to what I bought:
It looks like they just raised the prcie $10. The nylon case for holding the battery was too small but they immediatley sent out a larger one. Also the mounting bracket didn't fit on my 31.8 handebar. I did my own custom mount. I'll post a photo soon.

kb0tnv 09-19-05 08:53 PM

I ordered the Light & Motion 10W commuter light below from It is on sale for $74.95 + I got 10% off. You can sign up for their mailings and they normally send discounts to you via e-mail or snail mail. I will try to remember to repost on this thread once I get the light and test it (hopefully in the next day or so!). Currently I am running a Cateye EL-500 which has gotton pretty good reviews. However I want something brighter that has a rechargable battery system like the L&M Solo. Want to make the Cateye my "backup" light. My wife won't let me get anything too expensive since I lost my "Take a Look" mirror recently. But she does recognize that I need a decent light. I am pretty much clothed in reflective garb and so is my bike so I don't think I will be toasted. However I do know that I need to have lights! I also ordered the Cateye TLD1000 red (rear) light which is also on sale at Nashbar for $21.95! I read really rave reviews on that 10 LED rear light! I can't wait to freak out the cagers! I may get some pics to post of all my lights when I am completely geared up!

Keep Cycling! :)

vrkelley 09-19-05 11:00 PM

Originally Posted by cradduck
Help me make my dollar and lighting go further.

When choosing a light consider your speed first.

The throw and beam width are better indicaters of whether the light will be good for riding conditions. Beam width can be narrower for mt bike trails etc.

The Throw is how far the light shines in front of you. You can calculate the number of feet/sec you need by your avg speed and reaction time.

So like at 15mph:
15* 5280/3600 (seconds in an hour) = 22' feet * 3 = 66' (your light should shine about 70' in front of you)

Unfortunately, most packages do not give you this information but the people at the bike shop can probably tell you this.

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