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Opinions on Lights

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Old 07-13-07, 04:25 PM
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ryanspeer
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Opinions on Lights

I ride in to the train to get to work, which means that I hit the road at 6:00am and then hit the road on the way home at 5:30pm. It'll be dark by 6:00am by mid-September, and so I'm trying to think ahead about what kind of light I need to get. Any feedback on the lights below, or alternatives to look into would be great.

Just for the record, I'll be on a fairly busy but not terribly well-lit street for a large portion of the 6-mile trek each way. I want illumination not only so that others will see me (in addition to two blinking headlights and no less than three blinking and/or steady rear lights), but so that I can keep my speed around 20mph without needing to slow down to <15mph.

Here's what I'm considering:

NiteRider Classic
NiteRider TrailRat
CygoLite Hi-Flux
CygoLite DualCross

Basically, the more light the better. Mounting for the battery doesn't concern me much (water bottle-style battery, strap to top tube, etc.). I used a friend's NiteRider 15W light (NiteOwl??) last winter and loved it.

Hints/suggestions/alternatives? $150 or less would be fantastic.
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Old 07-13-07, 05:12 PM
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I'm not a big fan of NiteRider lights. I've owned two in my life and had issues with the battery and electronics in both, not sure what possessed me to even buy the second light. If I was going to go with any of the NiteRiders -- in your price range -- I'd check out the MiNewt. Also take a look at the L&M Vega and that DualCross that's on your list.
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Old 07-13-07, 05:40 PM
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I use night sun. I love them. The only thing I don't like is the light starts to go at a little less than 2 hours in. I have a few batteries and they're all consistent. About 1 hour and 45 minutes is the best I can hope for. They are nice and bright though, with easy to use controls.
They're the Team Issue models.
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Old 07-13-07, 06:28 PM
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Dinotte- just got a 200L (new version of Ultra 5) and it freakin ROCKS. Search on Geo-man gear and buy from him, he has them on sale for 150 for the AA battery version, and the set comes with rechargables and a charger all ready to go. I keep a spare set of AA's in my pack in case I forget to recharge.
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Old 07-13-07, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ryanspeer
I ride in to the train to get to work, which means that I hit the road at 6:00am and then hit the road on the way home at 5:30pm. It'll be dark by 6:00am by mid-September, and so I'm trying to think ahead about what kind of light I need to get. Any feedback on the lights below, or alternatives to look into would be great.

Just for the record, I'll be on a fairly busy but not terribly well-lit street for a large portion of the 6-mile trek each way. I want illumination not only so that others will see me (in addition to two blinking headlights and no less than three blinking and/or steady rear lights), but so that I can keep my speed around 20mph without needing to slow down to <15mph.

Here's what I'm considering:

NiteRider Classic
NiteRider TrailRat
CygoLite Hi-Flux
CygoLite DualCross

Basically, the more light the better. Mounting for the battery doesn't concern me much (water bottle-style battery, strap to top tube, etc.). I used a friend's NiteRider 15W light (NiteOwl??) last winter and loved it.

Hints/suggestions/alternatives? $150 or less would be fantastic.

Your budget puts you really close to the DiNotte Ultralight 5W, or the new version, the 200L. The 200L is putting out 200 lumens. DiNotte is a good company, and their lights are hand made by Americans(if that means anything to you). I've had a DiNotte 5W since they hit the market and am very pleased, Bright light, small footprint, AA rechargeables. Love it.
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Old 07-14-07, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ryanspeer
I ride in to the train to get to work, which means that I hit the road at 6:00am and then hit the road on the way home at 5:30pm. It'll be dark by 6:00am by mid-September, and so I'm trying to think ahead about what kind of light I need to get. Any feedback on the lights below, or alternatives to look into would be great.

Just for the record, I'll be on a fairly busy but not terribly well-lit street for a large portion of the 6-mile trek each way. I want illumination not only so that others will see me (in addition to two blinking headlights and no less than three blinking and/or steady rear lights), but so that I can keep my speed around 20mph without needing to slow down to <15mph.
First the sunrises at 6 am in your local on August 12. By mid-September, the sun doesn't rise until around 6:45. To see when the sun rises and sets in your area go here. For anywhere else on the planet go here.

Originally Posted by ryanspeer
Here's what I'm considering:

NiteRider Classic
NiteRider TrailRat
CygoLite Hi-Flux
CygoLite DualCross

Basically, the more light the better. Mounting for the battery doesn't concern me much (water bottle-style battery, strap to top tube, etc.). I used a friend's NiteRider 15W light (NiteOwl??) last winter and loved it.

Hints/suggestions/alternatives? $150 or less would be fantastic.
For the lights, I'd go with the Niterider Trailrat, unlike most of the other Niterider line, this one is very simple. A battery, a lamp and a switch. No electronics other than the charger.
BikeSmart is selling them for a lot less than Performance. At $90 per unit, I'd buy 2 (a little more than $150 but worth it) and mount one on my helmet and one on the bike. If something goes wrong, you have a back up. And the helmet light is invaluable both on and off- road.
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Old 07-14-07, 08:06 PM
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I use dual minewts for my night commute home every work night. I usually maintain a good speed (13 miles in 35 minutes) and those lights work great. I think I got them from $170 a few months ago(old version). I posted a full review on another thread that should come up if you search.
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Old 07-14-07, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ryanspeer
I ride in to the train to get to work, which means that I hit the road at 6:00am and then hit the road on the way home at 5:30pm. It'll be dark by 6:00am by mid-September, and so I'm trying to think ahead about what kind of light I need to get. Any feedback on the lights below, or alternatives to look into would be great.

Just for the record, I'll be on a fairly busy but not terribly well-lit street for a large portion of the 6-mile trek each way. I want illumination not only so that others will see me (in addition to two blinking headlights and no less than three blinking and/or steady rear lights), but so that I can keep my speed around 20mph without needing to slow down to <15mph.

Here's what I'm considering:

NiteRider Classic
NiteRider TrailRat
CygoLite Hi-Flux
CygoLite DualCross

Basically, the more light the better. Mounting for the battery doesn't concern me much (water bottle-style battery, strap to top tube, etc.). I used a friend's NiteRider 15W light (NiteOwl??) last winter and loved it.

Hints/suggestions/alternatives? $150 or less would be fantastic.
Personally, mr ryanspears, i not so much fonds of niterider. something wrong with their attachment cord from battery to light. i previous own trail rat, not so much good. quality for poorly!
cord is pinch and thin houseing and not good

Cygolite for build qualities much stronger! I finds! For nigths for savingk life,! it best for usingk lots brighrter lights,

for HIFLUX not so much strong, for Dualcross much brighT!

if choose, should purchase for Li-ION for much lighter! and marginal cost increase!

DualCross Cygolite some for 200$.00 maybe out of budget! so for change may buy used?
maybe checks EBay or for CraigList? or newpaper?
but get good quality for Ni-Mh, but recommend Li-Ion and buy cheap for used, for 150$.00 for EBay for Craglist??
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Old 07-14-07, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rsdmag
Dinotte- just got a 200L (new version of Ultra 5) and it freakin ROCKS. Search on Geo-man gear and buy from him, he has them on sale for 150 for the AA battery version, and the set comes with rechargables and a charger all ready to go. I keep a spare set of AA's in my pack in case I forget to recharge.

Or better yet email Dinotte directly. They will generally beat any price out there.

BTW did you ever own the old version? I am on the fence whether to upgrade it or not.

[edit]

Also, the reasons why I went with the Dinotte light.

1. Small- takes up little space on my handlebars.
2. Mount- The mount is simple and makes taking the light on and off a breeze. Maybe 20sec and nothing is left behind
3. AA batteries- This is a biggie. In the fall/winter my commute is 2 hours each way in the dark. I can get that out of this light. AA rechargables are cheap, so I have a second set charging at work. And I carry a spare set with me for emergencies. With a lighting system that uses a proprietary battery I would have to get one that had at least 5 hours life to feel safe that it would make it on the round trip, or invest in a second charger.



-D

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Old 07-15-07, 02:08 PM
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Yeah, I figured out shortly after my post that it'll be too dark to ride without a "to see" (as opposed to a "to be seen", which I already own) light by mid/late August. That pushes my timetable up a bit more than I'd anticipated.

Thanks for the link to BikeSmart cyccommute. I'll check into that place more - haven't heard of it before.

I don't "technically" need anything with monstrous run times as my one-way commute to the train is 15-16 minutes in the morning and 23-25 in the evening (downhill vs. uphill), but the extra flexibility would be nice for if I want to get in some evening rides after the kids go to bed.

Thanks for the responses.
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Old 07-15-07, 02:33 PM
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Just checked out BikeSmart.com and they do seem to have good prices. Now I'm confused as to the difference between these two models though:

NiteRider RoadRat @ $60 with:
6 V Halogen Headlamp
Tough, durable design
Sealed push-button switch
Standard handlebar mount
Frame Mount Lead Acid Battery
9 hour charger

...and...

NiteRider TrailRat @ $90 with:
6 V Halogen Headlamp
Tough, durable design
Sealed push-button switch
Standard handlebar mount
Frame Mount NiMH Battery
9 hour charger

Why the different prices? Other than the battery shape, they don't appear to be any different.
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Old 07-15-07, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ryanspeer
Just checked out BikeSmart.com and they do seem to have good prices. Now I'm confused as to the difference between these two models though:

NiteRider RoadRat @ $60 with:
6 V Halogen Headlamp
Tough, durable design
Sealed push-button switch
Standard handlebar mount
Frame Mount Lead Acid Battery
9 hour charger

...and...

NiteRider TrailRat @ $90 with:
6 V Halogen Headlamp
Tough, durable design
Sealed push-button switch
Standard handlebar mount
Frame Mount NiMH Battery
9 hour charger

Why the different prices? Other than the battery shape, they don't appear to be any different.
Not just the shape
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Old 07-15-07, 06:15 PM
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I have a night rider light and it is OK at best. I dislike the mounting as well. I have not used other lights, but I hope there is a better solution. I use a trail rat with a 15W bulb.
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Old 07-15-07, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ryanspeer
Just checked out BikeSmart.com and they do seem to have good prices. Now I'm confused as to the difference between these two models though:

NiteRider RoadRat @ $60 with:
6 V Halogen Headlamp
Tough, durable design
Sealed push-button switch
Standard handlebar mount
Frame Mount Lead Acid Battery
9 hour charger

...and...

NiteRider TrailRat @ $90 with:
6 V Halogen Headlamp
Tough, durable design
Sealed push-button switch
Standard handlebar mount
Frame Mount NiMH Battery
9 hour charger

Why the different prices? Other than the battery shape, they don't appear to be any different.
Differences are the battery chemistry. The NiMH is a more rugged, less delicate battery. It can be lightly abused, i.e. drained a little lower than optimal if you have to. It weighs less but takes more charge. The seal lead/acid battery is cheap, heavy and easily damaged.

Spend a little more and get the NiMH.
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Old 07-16-07, 05:06 AM
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Aside from telling you to stay away from Niterider (I had a real scarry ride down a steep hill in total darkness thanks to that system quitting when I most needed it, one of many problems I had with the system), The advice I'd like to give to anybody about purchasing a lighting system is this:

Do NOT let a high price tag deter you. I should have purchased the great and expensive (Lupine) lighting system I now use right from the start rather than pissing away money on multiple crappy lighting systems that didn't do the job and ended up being faulty.

By the way as part of your price comparison, don't forget that some lighting systems require mounting brackets (unlike Lupine), so if you want to quickly switch your lights to different bikes, add in the cost of extra mounting brackets. The price of those "inexpensive" systems tends to rise quite a bit when you do this.

Think about what would happen to the lights mounted with a fixed mount if you crash and how are you going to feel about removing and replacing the lights each time you lock up the bike outside. How the lights are mounted on a bike matters a lot.
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Old 07-16-07, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by gear
Do NOT let a high price tag deter you. I should have purchased the great and expensive (Lupine) lighting system I now use right from the start rather than pissing away money on multiple crappy lighting systems that didn't do the job and ended up being faulty.
+1. Nothing is more expensive than a cheap light.
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Old 07-16-07, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by gear
Aside from telling you to stay away from Niterider (I had a real scarry ride down a steep hill in total darkness thanks to that system quitting when I most needed it, one of many problems I had with the system), The advice I'd like to give to anybody about purchasing a lighting system is this:
Lots of people are dissing Niterider and, to be honest, they deserve so of it for their Digital lights. However, I'm not suggesting the Niterider Digital stuff. The light I'm suggesting is their simplest model. I've used these same models for 15 years without issue...other than an very occasional bulb replacement which you'll have with any filament light. LEDs are different but I'm not convinced that they are up to filament lights just yet.

Please note also that I suggested 2 lights, not just one. I would never go out with only one headlight. It's one of the reasons I never made the switch to HID. I just can't afford that kind of cash outlay for 2 HID systems.

Originally Posted by gear
Do NOT let a high price tag deter you. I should have purchased the great and expensive (Lupine) lighting system I now use right from the start rather than pissing away money on multiple crappy lighting systems that didn't do the job and ended up being faulty.
I'll agree. However you don't need to spend the kind of money needed for the Lupine to get reliable lighting. I have 75W of forward light that I got for a fraction of the cost of the Lupine Edison system or any HID system.

Originally Posted by gear
By the way as part of your price comparison, don't forget that some lighting systems require mounting brackets (unlike Lupine), so if you want to quickly switch your lights to different bikes, add in the cost of extra mounting brackets. The price of those "inexpensive" systems tends to rise quite a bit when you do this.
At the kind of money that I'm seeing for Lupine I can by dozens of mounts and still come out ahead. For the cost of the Wilma or Edison, I could afford 6 or 7 (or more) TrailRats. Let's be reasonable here. Ryanspeer says he has $150 to spend. He can get a pretty good light set for that. $700 is outside most people's price range.

Originally Posted by gear
Think about what would happen to the lights mounted with a fixed mount if you crash and how are you going to feel about removing and replacing the lights each time you lock up the bike outside. How the lights are mounted on a bike matters a lot.
Most all of the mounts are very rugged. I've used mine hard for a long time and had mounts wear out (not many) but I've never broken one in a crash. And the light comes off quickly when I need it to.

I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with your light choice, gear. The Lupine looks like a good product. I'm just saying that you can do almost as well for less cash. No offense meant.
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Old 07-16-07, 07:50 AM
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does anyone know how much the Knog "to see" headlights go for? I've found prices on their "to be seen" lights, but not on the headlights.
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Old 07-16-07, 09:42 AM
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The difference between the two batteries didn't jump out at me there - thanks for pointing it out. For strict road riding (I'm not a MTB'er), would the NiMH battery really make that much of a difference? I'm not worried about theft/abuse/etc., as my bike is either in my garage, on the train with me, or in a secure locker in my building (i.e., no free-standing bike racks for me), and my riding would consist of a consistent commute on even roads to/from the train and then some 20 mile rides on controlled bike/walking trails in the late evening once or twice a week (hopefully).

Having multiple mounts for different bikes isn't a consideration for me. It'll be mounted to just one bike. The NiteRider NiteOwl that I was borrowing from my buddy did have kind of a different mount, but it's by no means whatsoever a breaking point for me. I just want maximum illumination for the $$. The mount of his NiteRider was functional though, and so I really have no complaints with it.

I guess from my low-budget perspective, I could put out the extra $30 for the TrailRat, or I could just get two RoadRats - one for the handlebars and one for my helmet (which I'd kind of prefer anyway). If the lead acid battery really is that bad though, I suppose that even with a limited budget, I should put out the extra cash anyway?
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Old 07-16-07, 10:27 AM
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For about $30 you could strap one of the Cree emitter flashlights to your bike. I have the 5W Dinotte light but have found that one of the flashlight to have a better flood/throw pattern (I can see better at night) than the Dinotte. It's not an elegant solution and I have not tested the runtime of the flashlight yet (though it's not like the Dinotte runs all that long either) but for $30.00 it's a pretty good deal for a backup light. The big catch is that the light I have uses CR123A batteries instead of AA's.
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Old 07-16-07, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ryanspeer
The difference between the two batteries didn't jump out at me there - thanks for pointing it out. For strict road riding (I'm not a MTB'er), would the NiMH battery really make that much of a difference? I'm not worried about theft/abuse/etc., as my bike is either in my garage, on the train with me, or in a secure locker in my building (i.e., no free-standing bike racks for me), and my riding would consist of a consistent commute on even roads to/from the train and then some 20 mile rides on controlled bike/walking trails in the late evening once or twice a week (hopefully).

Having multiple mounts for different bikes isn't a consideration for me. It'll be mounted to just one bike. The NiteRider NiteOwl that I was borrowing from my buddy did have kind of a different mount, but it's by no means whatsoever a breaking point for me. I just want maximum illumination for the $$. The mount of his NiteRider was functional though, and so I really have no complaints with it.

I guess from my low-budget perspective, I could put out the extra $30 for the TrailRat, or I could just get two RoadRats - one for the handlebars and one for my helmet (which I'd kind of prefer anyway). If the lead acid battery really is that bad though, I suppose that even with a limited budget, I should put out the extra cash anyway?
The lead acid will last for quite a while as long as you are careful and don't draw it down too far. The batteries are easily swapped for another, better battery later on. If money is tight, go for the 2 Roadrats. It's important to have two lights. Once you try a helmet light, you'll find it indispensable.
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Old 07-16-07, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Lots of people are dissing Niterider and, to be honest, they deserve so of it for their Digital lights. However, I'm not suggesting the Niterider Digital stuff. The light I'm suggesting is their simplest model.

I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with your light choice, gear. The Lupine looks like a good product. I'm just saying that you can do almost as well for less cash. No offense meant.
First of all; no offense taken. I have read many of you're posts and I respect you're knowledge.
I think we have both been bike commuting in the dark for sixteen plus years; so I wouldn't knock you either.
I did have the NR digital system and it does deserve the negative reputation. You're correct when you say simpler is better. I still have an issue with their connectors though. If you ever get a chance to see Lupine's by comparison you'll see why.

I think you'd change you're opinion of LED lights if you used a Wilma. My last light was a 25w halogen and it was bright as all get out. It had a bright spot and a less bright ring of light. The Wilma just bathes the whole road with this bright light. It makes choosing your path around obsticles easier as it doesn't just light up a spot it lights everything. And it's one super bright light.
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Old 07-16-07, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by gear
First of all; no offense taken. I have read many of you're posts and I respect you're knowledge.
I think we have both been bike commuting in the dark for sixteen plus years; so I wouldn't knock you either.
I did have the NR digital system and it does deserve the negative reputation. You're correct when you say simpler is better. I still have an issue with their connectors though. If you ever get a chance to see Lupine's by comparison you'll see why.

I think you'd change you're opinion of LED lights if you used a Wilma. My last light was a 25w halogen and it was bright as all get out. It had a bright spot and a less bright ring of light. The Wilma just bathes the whole road with this bright light. It makes choosing your path around obsticles easier as it doesn't just light up a spot it lights everything. And it's one super bright light.
I don't use the Niterider connectors...or batteries for that matter...so I can't comment on their new connectos. I use RC connectors (Dean Ultra Connectors) and RC batteries. My system is old and uses the old round two connector plug to the light which was a pretty good system.

I doubt if there is a Wilma in my future...not as long as there is a "Margaret" in my present I like sleeping under a roof that isn't 18" above my head. If I spent $800+ on a light, I'm not sure she'd let me sleep in the dog house...if we had one
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Old 07-16-07, 07:35 PM
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I have the Dinotte 200L with AA batts and it kicks *****, very excelent light. I used it for a brevet series and it gave 4+ hours of light on the low setting (which is plenty bright for 25 MPH, IMO) in 50 degree F weather. I use 2600 mAh rechargeable batteries from battery space.com. Perfect beam pattern and no dimming ever. A nice feature is the flash mode.

I also have a Fenix (fenixstore.com) LED flashlight with a 3W Cree LED. It runs on 2 AA batts. It's high beam lasts for around 4 hours and it costs $56.
I would get 2 of these and use them on med pointed close, and high just in front of the med beam. The only problem here is that you will need to fashion brackets. Pipe clamps and some tape would be ugly but effective.
It also has an "ultra" beam setting that lasts for less time but claims 135 lumens, and it is really very bright.
It also has a seizure-inducing flash mode.

I will buy LED lights over halogen every time, now.

Oh, I had a Sigma Sport and Light and Motion halogen lights previously and liked them both, but the LEDs are way lighter, last longer and are equally bright.

One last thing to think about: Light placement. Placing the light on a fork blade will make better use of your lights, ilumination road anomalies more clearly.
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Old 07-16-07, 08:25 PM
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This crap about spending more money to get a better made light is not always true. I have a friend who bought a $400 HID system (from a company I don't remember) and that light broke 3 times in it's warranty period, then the final straw was when it broke out of warranty and they would no longer replace it. Meanwhile I had bought a dual beam 16 watt Cygolite Rover NiMh Xtra for about $100 prior to his purchase and mine is still working just fine. Granted his was way brighter then mine, but for the road I don't need that kind of power and I do touring-but travel very little after dark so recharging isn't a problem especially if I camp where there is juice or at a motel. Also this light has dual beams so if one burns out the other will continue to work; and it can run for up to 6 hours on a charge. So far after 2 years of use they have not been effected whatsoever by rain, heavy use or jarring.

I supplement the Cygolite with 2 Cateye Micros no longer made (one on each fork blade), which I will be upgrading those to the new Cateye EL530 this fall if they will fit on the blades.

While touring though I have not been impressed by any of the LED's I've seen on the road as main lights; none were anywhere near as bright as mine and a couple of those were those Cateye Triple Shots ($350) and Double Shots ($250). There are some new hotter ones out, but as one poster mentioned their quite expensive and I have yet to see one of those on the road.

Yeah I know, a person touring should be using a dynamo system, but I like the what I use because it's cheaper, and since I watch my light usage closely I have yet to run out of juice in the middle of the night.

By the way there is such a thing as getting too bright of a light, especially riding on the road. I found 6 watts to be plenty on well lit city streets, and 10 watts plenty on dark streets, the only time I use all 16 watts is on curvy roads or wet roads or fast descents. Much more over 20 watts and you can get a real bad light bounce off the road and back into your eyes.
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