Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Good strong Headlight that won't break the bank?

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Good strong Headlight that won't break the bank?

Old 01-11-06, 09:41 PM
  #1  
derath
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Reisterstown, MD
Posts: 3,247
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Good strong Headlight that won't break the bank?

Hey all,

First off, I did some searching on this forum, but came up with less than perfect results. So if this is a topic that is overdone I apologize.

Also, it may not be a true commuter question, especially since I don't actually commute by bicycle, but I figured it would be the best place to ask anyhow. (I would like to commute to work, just not feasible)

I love riding, and especially during the winter months, I find the only nice block of time I have to ride is early in the morning. The roads I typically ride on are small back-country type (2 lane roads, No paint on them for yellow lines or shoulder). They get very little traffic. I think I saw 2 cars this morning. They are also very dark.

I was given a decent little light set (nashbar brand) as a gift and tried it out for the first time this morning. The headlight is an LED type and seemed pretty bright, until I used it out on the road. It seems nice as a light to show me to others. But doesnt do great at illuminating my path.

I was researching some light setups and they range greatly in price. I am looking for one that will give me better light, but I would prefer to not spend hundreds if possible.

Also, what does HID stand for. I found many references of it, but no explanation of what it stands for.

thanks

-D
derath is offline  
Old 01-11-06, 09:51 PM
  #2  
d2create
Senior Member
 
d2create's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Houston we have a problem
Posts: 2,914
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The Light and Motion Vega NiMh rechargeable I just started using seems really nice. It's much brighter than any of the Cateye LED's that I've used and it has 3 power output levels plus a blinky mode which is the one I use.
d2create is offline  
Old 01-11-06, 10:10 PM
  #3  
derath
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Reisterstown, MD
Posts: 3,247
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Ok I feel like an idiot. I searched and so forth, wrote this post, and then somehow just noticed the sticky lighting guide.

DOH!
derath is offline  
Old 01-11-06, 10:19 PM
  #4  
slvoid
2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM
 
slvoid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: NYC
Posts: 15,762

Bikes: 04' Specialized Hardrock Sport, 03' Giant OCR2 (SOLD!), 04' Litespeed Firenze, 04' Giant OCR Touring, 07' Specialized Langster Comp

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Haha... good luck on your search.
slvoid is offline  
Old 01-11-06, 10:24 PM
  #5  
derath
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Reisterstown, MD
Posts: 3,247
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by slvoid
Haha... good luck on your search.

Speaking of which,

I can't seem to find your excel spreadsheet on your headlight post.
derath is offline  
Old 01-11-06, 10:49 PM
  #6  
slvoid
2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM
 
slvoid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: NYC
Posts: 15,762

Bikes: 04' Specialized Hardrock Sport, 03' Giant OCR2 (SOLD!), 04' Litespeed Firenze, 04' Giant OCR Touring, 07' Specialized Langster Comp

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
There now.
slvoid is offline  
Old 01-12-06, 05:26 AM
  #7  
TCNJCyclist
Ol Ol Ol Ol T-C...N-J
 
TCNJCyclist's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: The Dark Forest of Ewing (New Jersey)
Posts: 464

Bikes: 1985 Trek 620, 2005 Cannondale R700

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
HID=High Intensity Discharge (I just looked it up online, since I too did not know what it stood for)

You could also make/convert your own headlight (check out the "Total Geekiness" thread). I'm in the process of turning a 6 volt, 5 watt, $20 Nite Hawk Nomad into a 12 volt, 20 watt light.
__________________
1985 Trek 620 (picture pending)
2005 Cannondale R700 (picture pending)

Bike & Build
NJ Bike Map
TCNJCyclist is offline  
Old 01-12-06, 07:15 PM
  #8  
sswartzl
Member
 
sswartzl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 169

Bikes: GT Palomar, Trek 7500, Trek Navigator 300

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by sngltrackdufus
you might want to have a look at the Nitehawk Raptor it is a 6v 10w with a sealed lead acid battery .It's pretty heavy but can be had from Nashbar at times for like $45/$50.Plenty enough light to see your travel line.
The Raptor is my primary commuting light. I had some reliability problems with it initially, but the company provided me with some upgraded parts that have made it much better, so the current iteration is probably pretty good. I certainly can't fault the company's service; they respond personally to emails very quickly.

The Raptor will light up your path just fine. Battery life is decent; it starts to dim just after the 2-hour mark.

The only thing you have to watch is sediment build-up on the battery power contacts, especially in the winter. They need to be cleaned periodically to keep things reliable.
sswartzl is offline  
Old 01-12-06, 08:49 PM
  #9  
ItsJustMe
Seior Member
 
ItsJustMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 13,749

Bikes: Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 446 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Depends on what break the bank means. A TrailTech HID is around $110, and you just need 12V to run it from; a $15 SLA battery will do well enough for an hour or more of runtime, depending on how big you go on the battery. That's 13 watts of HID, which is plenty bright.
So you can get an HID for < $150. The SLA is a bit heavy and not as energy-dense as NiMH, but it's cheap and the light will be every bit as bright.

You do have to make or buy a bracket, and do a small bit of wiring, but you save a ton. You can just buy the full TrailTech kit for about $250 (with a very nice LiIon battery and charger and light controller).
ItsJustMe is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 08:39 AM
  #10  
Daily Commute
Ride the Road
 
Daily Commute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 4,059

Bikes: Surly Cross-Check; hard tail MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
I think decently bright lights start at the 10w halogen level. One way to get a reasonably priced one is to keep checking web sites like Nashbar and Performance. From time to time, they'll have a good one with a long-lasting reasonably-sized battery (usually and NiMH) for about $80.

Edit: As I explain in this thread, my Cygolite died after about 18 months of use. The company wants $100 to $200 to replace the lamp and/or ballast. That's a rip-off.

For example, the CygoLite Nitro XM Headlight is now on sale at that price at Performance. I have a Cygolite HID, and it works great. A rubber gasket wore out and the company sent another for free. That's just an example. You'll probably find similar lights on sale again at those sites.

The main types of batteries are:
Li-ion
NiMH
NiCad
SLA (lead acid)
As you go down that list, the batteries get heavier, have shorter run times, but also get cheaper.

Also pay attention to the chargers. "Smart chargers" will turn off automatically when the battery is fully charged, which can prolong your battery life. Some chargers also work more quickly than others.

Of course, the Total Geekiness people can MacGyver a brighter light for less money. They also will attach timers to their dumb charges to approximate what a smart charger does. Whatever you do, don't give up the LED you have. Keep that as backup for the times when your main battery runs out in the middle of your ride.

Edit: One final piece of advice. A light is a basic piece of safety equipment for night riding. So, if you are going to be riding a lot at night, buy the brightest, longest-lasting light you can afford.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 03-31-06 at 05:14 PM.
Daily Commute is offline  
Old 01-14-06, 11:26 AM
  #11  
curt in denver
Senior Member
 
curt in denver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Englewood, Colorado
Posts: 458

Bikes: Giant Ocr limited (carbon) Redline Conquest (cross)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I use the Cygolight nitro's Found them on the returned shelf at Performance for $50
curt in denver is offline  
Old 01-15-06, 06:54 AM
  #12  
robmcl
Prairie Path Commuter
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Forest Park, IL
Posts: 669

Bikes: Marin Palisades Trail

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by sngltrackdufus
you might want to have a look at the Nitehawk Raptor it is a 6v 10w with a sealed lead acid battery .It's pretty heavy but can be had from Nashbar at times for like $45/$50.Plenty enough light to see your travel line.

I got the Nightrider TrailRat 2.0 last fall for around $90 after reading recommendations on this formum. It is the same as the Raptor just with a NiMH battery. It is a very solid light.
robmcl is offline  
Old 01-15-06, 10:53 AM
  #13  
Silver Sequoia
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
derath
Cygo Lite makes a powerful light, bar mount or helmet mount, with a battery pack that fits in a water bottle holder. I think the cost is about 85 or 90 U.S.dollars. It might be available at your LBS, as it is at mine.
Silver Sequoia is offline  
Old 01-15-06, 10:56 AM
  #14  
Silver Sequoia
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
oops. Didn't notice the other replies when I posted mine.
Silver Sequoia is offline  
Old 01-15-06, 12:25 PM
  #15  
Daily Commute
Ride the Road
 
Daily Commute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 4,059

Bikes: Surly Cross-Check; hard tail MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Silver Sequoia
oops. Didn't notice the other replies when I posted mine.
No big deal. Your post showed that more than one person had that opinion and that the light might be at an LBS. Given that Performance only discounts the light by $10, I'd get it at an LBS if I could. You'd save shipping, have easier returns, and support the LBS.
Daily Commute is offline  
Old 01-15-06, 06:54 PM
  #16  
mcavana
the commutor / tourer
 
mcavana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: jacksonville fl
Posts: 626

Bikes: trek 6700 turned touring machine, giant TCR2

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
you can't go wrong with a cygolyte (any of the models 75$ and up.) I prefer the new led one for $99 bucks the most.... the battery life is very long before needing a recharge, and it is almost blinding to oncoming traffic.... It lights up the road ok.... but not nearly as well as my other cygolyte setup with the normal bulbs.

mike
__________________
"Ready to retire, just can't afford it yet!"
mcavana is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.