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who else uses led flashlights?

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who else uses led flashlights?

Old 02-14-11, 03:29 AM
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earth2pete
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who else uses led flashlights?

after trying different lights, including building my own 12W headlights, which is fun by the way, i found that 3W led flashlights are pretty powerful, lightweight, and can have about a 2 hour runtime on rechargeable AA batteries.

how about you?
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Old 02-14-11, 06:15 AM
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I have my eyes on a Trek Bicycles Ion 6 which features six ultra-bright (500 candlepower) white LEDs with a 20+ hour runtime on three AA batteries and a Trek Flare 7, which features seven ultra-bright red LEDs (600 candlepower), can be seen up to 1000 meters away, and has a 70+ hour runtime on two AAA batteries.
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Old 02-14-11, 06:46 AM
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What 3W flashlight do you have? I have Romisen RC-G2 CREE that works well on a bike and it's compact but I think it's 2W. But yeah, I got over 2h out of it on a single AAA. I haven't used flashlights regularly but I plan to while touring. I used that Romisen once on tour, when I found myself riding in the dark accidentally, strapped to the handlebar with a Bongo tie. It was enough to light up the road ahead of me in pitch black rural darkness. I like that they can be detached quickly and used as a flashlight around the campsite. So far this Romisen lights seems like the best bang for the buck but I always look for better ones (a bit of flashlight fetish).

I also have Terralux Lightstar 220 that is brighter, but also heavier and longer as it uses 2xAAAs. It fits in those mounts as well.

Here are two of those Romisen flashlights attached with Deal Extreme mounts on the fork of my BD frame.



Originally Posted by mnaines View Post
I have my eyes on a Trek Bicycles Ion 6 which features six ultra-bright (500 candlepower) white LEDs with a 20+ hour runtime on three AA batteries and a Trek Flare 7, which features seven ultra-bright red LEDs (600 candlepower), can be seen up to 1000 meters away, and has a 70+ hour runtime on two AAA batteries.
Those gazillion LEDs lights are a hack. Get one with a single, powerful CREE driver. You can have two or three for the cost of one of those Trek lights. Those Romisen lights are like $12 each. 20 regular LEDs don't hold a candle against a single CREE LED

Last edited by AdamDZ; 02-14-11 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 02-14-11, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
Those gazillion LEDs lights are a hack. Get one with a single, powerful CREE driver. You can have two or three for the cost of one of those Trek lights. Those Romisen lights are like $12 each. 20 regular LEDs don't hold a candle against a single CREE LED
Actually, there is no comparison between the CREE-driven flashlights and Trek's bicycle lights. The UniqueFire S10 CREE flashlight outputs 250 lumens, which is only about 20 candlepower. Trek's Ion 6 is well over 225 candlepower, which is 2,827 lumens. The UniqueFire S10 only gets 15 minutes of runtime while the Ion 6 gets over 75 hours of runtime. I have yet to see any non-LED flashlight output more than 800 lumens. Just for comparison, a 60W incandescent light bulb is 1100 lumens.

Note: Where I live, I need a light that allows me to see as well as be seen. I need to be seen as far away as 300 meters but I also need the light to allow me to see that far away.

Second note: I looked up the Terralux Lightstar 220, and it only outputs 220 lumens and only has a runtime of 1 hour. I think I will stick with the Trek Ion 6, which is more than 10 times brighter. 1 hour of runtime vs 75 hours of runtime. I think I'll take the 75+ hour runtime.

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Old 02-14-11, 07:51 AM
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I don't know about you, but I am not interested in a light that will be dead in an hour or less because that light will force me to pay mucho dinero on batteries. With Trek's Ion 6, all I need is three Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries and I only have to replace them once a month if I only use the light for two hours a day (It usually only takes me about an hour to ride home from work in the evening). I mean seriously. If three Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries can last 75+ hours in a Trek Ion 6 and you only use the light for an hour a day, that's easily over two months of total runtime before you would have to replace the batteries. On the other hand, if those same three Lithium batteries can only power a CREE flashlight for 1 hour before they're dead, you're buying new batteries every day.

Think about it for a second. A CREE-driven flashlight is 3 watts, 220 lumens, with only 1 hour of runtime. A Trek Ion 6 light is 2,827 lumens and 75+ hours of runtime at 6 watts total output. The 6-LED Ion 6 is a far more efficient light than the CREE-driven ones. 75+ hours at 2,827 lumens at 6 watts total output on three AA batteries vs 1 hour of runtime at 220 lumens at 3 watts total output on 1 AAA battery...Yeah, I think your comment that multi-LED lights are a hack is BS. Multi-LED lights are far brighter, far more efficient, and most of them are water resistant and so can be used in the rain.

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Old 02-14-11, 08:08 AM
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I commuted for about 2 years using a Fenix LD20 flashlight as my only headlight. It's rated about 200 lumens on max, but I usually run on the second-highest setting for longer run time -- about 5 hours vs. 2 hrs. After I got a brighter headlight (Magicshine and then L&M Stella 300), I moved the Fenix to my helmet. It's a great helmet light because it's very light weight and runs on two AA batteries.
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Old 02-14-11, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by earth2pete View Post
after trying different lights, including building my own 12W headlights, which is fun by the way, i found that 3W led flashlights are pretty powerful, lightweight, and can have about a 2 hour runtime on rechargeable AA batteries.

how about you?
This is what I have right now, but I'm upgrading to a P7 SSC flashlight rated at 900 lumens.

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Old 02-14-11, 08:14 AM
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For me and where I live, the brighter the light, the better. Trek's Bontrager Ion 6 light is by far the brightest mini-flashlight on the market at 2,827 lumens, which is more than 10 times brighter than a CREE mini-flashlight and as bright as a 100 watt incandescent bulb (or 23 watt compact fluorescent). CREE-based flashlights can't even achieve the runtime of the Bontrager Ion 6, which can run for over 75 hours on three AA batteries. I love the Ion 6 because its the only LED mini-flashlight that can achieve the ultra-bright 2,827 lumens output and keep that output for more than 75 hours.

The Bontrager Ion 6 is the High-Intensity Discharge headlight of the bicycle world. In most places, you need to see as well as be seen, and the brighter your bicycle lights, the easier it is to be seen. Both the Bontrager Ion 6 and Flare 7 can be seen from over 900 meters away, while CREE-based flashlights cannot be seen until you're less than 10 meters away.

Last edited by mnaines; 02-14-11 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 02-14-11, 08:23 AM
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You know that light is not 2,827 lumens,
this is how a flashlight claiming 2,300 lumens look like.
I'm guessing your flashlight doesn't light up anything
like that Trustfire.

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Old 02-14-11, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by mnaines View Post
For me and where I live, the brighter the light, the better. Trek's Bontrager Ion 6 light is by far the brightest mini-flashlight on the market at 2,827 lumens, which is more than 10 times brighter than a CREE mini-flashlight and as bright as a 100 watt incandescent bulb (or 23 watt compact fluorescent). CREE-based flashlights can't even achieve the runtime of the Bontrager Ion 6, which can run for over 75 hours on three AA batteries. I love the Ion 6 because its the only LED mini-flashlight that can achieve the ultra-bright 2,827 lumens output and keep that output for more than 75 hours.
Is this a troll?

This $30 blinky is not 2827 lumens. If it was, it would melt down from overheating and use up the AA batteries in 10 minutes.

Last edited by rm -rf; 02-14-11 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 02-14-11, 08:34 AM
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lol...I think I did the math wrong on the conversion. Bontrager measures their lights' outputs in candlepower, not lumens. The Ion 6 is rated at 225 candlepower while the Flare 7 is rated at 250 candlepower. Anyway, the whole point is, your CREE-based flashlights aren't all that good because the batteries are usually dead after an hour or so, and because of that, it gets expensive to keep buying batteries for the things. My $35 blinky can run nonstop for 75 hours or more on a single set of batteries and is still visible from over 900m away. Where I live, the farther away people can see you, the better. It usually takes me an hour to ride home from work, but sometimes I ride for four hours to get exercise. Anyway, you all may think multi-LED lights are hacks, but these multi-LED lights are still visible from at least a kilometer away even though they aren't as bright as CREE-based flashlights.

I have no use for a light that's dead after one hour, because I ride at least that long or longer. I prefer LEDs because they're easier to see from longer distances and they have a much longer battery life because they don't require a lot of power.

Also, you guys are only talking about forward-facing lights. You guys say nothing about rear-facing lights. When I ride, I ride with the flow of traffic, so I need to be seen from behind more than I need to be seen from the front.

The Ion 6 is a 6-watt, 6-LED mini flashlight that's rated for 225 candlepower and visible out to 610 meters, is waterproof for use in the rain, and can be mounted on handlebars, a seatpost, or helmet vents and has a maximum runtime of 75 hours. The Flare 7 is a 7-watt, 7-LED 250 candlepower blinky that's visible out to 914 meters, includes a seatstay and seatpost clip and a belt clip, and can run for 70+ hours.

I have no issues with being seen from the front because I usually wear a hunter orange or neon yellow safety vest raincoat, but I also wear a Camelback backpack, which blocks most of the raincoat's visibility from behind, and since I ride with the flow of traffic (where I live, its suicide to ride against the flow of traffic), I have to be seen from behind or else I get hit.

Last edited by mnaines; 02-14-11 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 02-14-11, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
I commuted for about 2 years using a Fenix LD20 flashlight as my only headlight. It's rated about 200 lumens on max, but I usually run on the second-highest setting for longer run time -- about 5 hours vs. 2 hrs. After I got a brighter headlight (Magicshine and then L&M Stella 300), I moved the Fenix to my helmet. It's a great helmet light because it's very light weight and runs on two AA batteries.
Same here, 2 years same settup. Mine is only rated at 180 lumens, 2 hr battery life at that level, I always have an extra set of rechargeable batteries.

mnaines, I'm using the same 4 batteries after about two years of use. I'd have to swap them every two-three days, which took 1 minute. Why would you want to pay over $3 for every 2-72hrs of light? 72hrs on low for mine, it works perfectly on hikes and camping, and on turbo strobe in the hot tube for fun. I just toss it in and let it sink.
Same here with the commute time, ditto on the riding with the 45mph+ traffic, no street lights the whole trip, I have 2 rear facing blinkies and big triangle reflector. I think for alot of applications, the smaller multi-led white blinkies will keep you safe. On my commute however, the trail can't be seen unless a bit more light is available. Though I never really needed more then what I have now, 180 lumens. Couldn't hurt though.

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Old 02-14-11, 09:14 AM
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This is what I'm using... This LED light is cheap, well built from aviation type aluminum, takes 3 AAA batteries and works great!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlzGoV6BQQc

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Old 02-14-11, 09:15 AM
  #14  
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I run the same Fenix LD20 (200 lumens) and a cheapo Duracell flashlight (110 lumens) on Lockblocks on my handlebars. Run 'em on rechargeable Eneloop batteries.

I'd like to have one of those lights that has the battery pack that's separate from the light and puts out about 203,000 lumens, but I'm not made of money. I saw a thread on here a few months ago where people were spending $250 on back lights and I'm like "whoa!" My current commuter bike cost $350, I'm not paying $250 for a back light.
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Old 02-14-11, 09:18 AM
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Totaled, you use rechargeables, which is why you can use the same batteries for 2 years. The problem with rechargeable batteries is they are somewhat underpowered. 1.2V vs 1.5V. Your Fenix LD20 flashlight requires a total input power of 6 volts for maximum light output and runtime, but because each NiMH battery outputs 1.2V, you're really only feeding the flashlight 4.8V, which is never a good thing for brightness or runtime. I use 1.6V 2500mWh Energizer Ultimate Lithiums or 1.6V 2200mWh Nickel Zinc batteries, with the Nickel-Zinc batteries being rechargeable but also retaining their full power output until they're completely dead.
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Old 02-14-11, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by mnaines View Post
Actually, there is no comparison between the CREE-driven flashlights and Trek's bicycle lights. The UniqueFire S10 CREE flashlight outputs 250 lumens, which is only about 20 candlepower. Trek's Ion 6 is well over 225 candlepower, which is 2,827 lumens.
This should go in a Sci-Fi forum There is no such thing as ~3,000 lumens bicycle headlight. Top of the line lights with external power packs peak at 1,200 lumens and they cost hundreds of dollars. Also, candlepower is not a standardized light output measurement so manufacturers can pretty much put whatever they want. I bet that Trek light will still be not as powerful as a CREE flashlight.

Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
Is this a troll?

This $30 blinky is not 2827 lumens. If it was, it would melt down from overheating and use up the AA batteries in 10 minutes.
Precisely!

Originally Posted by mnaines View Post
I don't know about you, but I am not interested in a light that will be dead in an hour or less because that light will force me to pay mucho dinero on batteries.
Think again. First, those lights run for 2h on steady beam, not 1h - a significant difference, some have blinking and low power modes too that go for much longer. Second: rechargeable batteries? $20 for the flashlight and a mounting bracket. A 4-pack of rechargeable NiHM AAs will run $10, $20 for a charger, and they will last for at least two years of daily use. That's $50. A longer running light will be both more expensive and larger, likely with an external battery pack. Plus, the flashlight will work great off the bike too. You're not going to get a brighter AND longer lasting bike light for $50.

These small CREE flashlights run for 2h which is enough for a daily commute for many people, and they're much brighter than most bicycle lights under $100. MagicShine is $90 and more powerful but it's also much bigger considering the external battery pack and it runs for 3h on high beam.

My Romisen run from from sundown in July (that's some time after 8PM) until around 11PM. Then still had enough juice for the next few nights to get around the campsite. Well over two hours total.

Having gone through many lights over the years I concluded that the CREE flashlight is the way to go for extended rides where you need significant light output and may have no access to power to recharge batteries. AA are widely available. They's also an excellent choice for commuting if used with rechargeable batteries. The only light that is significantly more powerfull that is great for commuting and won't break the bank is the Magic Shine.

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Old 02-14-11, 09:32 AM
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Indeed, it's still FAR cheaper this way. I have used 'HD Energizer' batteries right out of the box with the nearest date on then so as to get the newest batteries, the rechargeable ones last a good 30 minutes longer. Even after their 40th charge. It has given me plenty of light in that time, no reason to spend money on Lithium if they are going to get me 1hr or 20 lumens out of the same light.

I feel like an old man, but 'if it ain't broke (and its saving me money) don't fix it'.

I love the high power lights being posted, they look like a bit of daylight in front of you.
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Old 02-14-11, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
Think again. First, those lights run for 2h on steady beam, not 1h - a significant difference, some have blinking and low power modes too that go for much longer. Second: rechargeable batteries? $20 for the flashlight and a mounting bracket. A 4-pack of rechargeable NiHM AAs will run $10, $20 for a charger, and they will last for at least two years of daily use. That's $50. A longer running light will be both more expensive and larger, likely with an external battery pack. Plus, the flashlight will work great off the bike too. You're not going to get a brighter AND longer lasting bike light for $50.
I don't look at the lumens/candlepower rating of the lights as much as I look at the maximum range of the light. You guys are all talking about lumens but not talking about how far away the lights can be seen from. I looked at all the CREE lights you guys talked about on here, and none of the manufacturers tell you how far away the lights can be seen from. The Trek Bontrager Ion 6 can be seen from a maximum distance of 610 meters while the Bontrager Flare 7 can be seen from a maximum distance of 915 meters. That kind of range means the lights have a lot of power behind them. If these CREE lights are so much more powerful than the Bontrager lights I use, then you should be able to see these CREE lights from much farther away. I would expect a light as powerful as these CREE lights are to be visible from more than 700m away, but nobody is willing to prove that and until they can prove the CREE lights can be seen from farther away than the Ion 6, I'm not going to buy one.

Edit: As far as the Ion 6's ability to shine, it will light up everything within 20 meters in its direct line-of-sight, so its a pretty powerful little light. For comparison, a big Krypton-Xenon-bulb 4-D-Battery Maglite flashlight will light up everything within 25 meters of its line-of-sight.

If the lights are designed for bicyclists, the manufacturers would specify how far away the lights can be seen from (they have to for legal reasons, too. They can't claim a light is ultra-powerful if it doesn't make you visible from long distances). Also, the law in most places states that you and your bicycle have to be visible from a minimum range of 500 meters if you are going to be riding on the street. Ghetto-rigging a Wal-Mart Special mini-flashlight to your bicycle is not only illegal, but also not safe because of the lack of visibility.

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Old 02-14-11, 10:14 AM
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I don't know who said they were MORE powerful, I didn't. I just use this flashlight and its more then useful in the way I use it.

I could really care less about convincing anyone to buy it over another light.

I'll have a look at the lights you're talking about, even though I'm not in the market.
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Old 02-14-11, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Totaled108 View Post
I don't know who said they were MORE powerful, I didn't. I just use this flashlight and its more then useful in the way I use it.

I could really care less about convincing anyone to buy it over another light.

I'll have a look at the lights you're talking about, even though I'm not in the market.
The difference between you and I is I practically need lights that are very powerful. Where I live, you have to see and be seen in order to be considered street legal. Cheap Wal-Mart Special mini-flashlights are not considered street legal here for bicyclists because they aren't powerful enough. The more powerful the light is, the better - at least for where I live. As an automobile driver and a bicyclist, I absolutely hate it when I am driving around at night and cannot see the bicyclist up the road from me. That tells me he's being stupid and not doing anything to make his presence known, and the police here can and will stop a bicyclist and write him a fix-it ticket for his lights if the bicyclist cannot be seen from a reasonable distance (reasonable meaning 300m or more).

The minimum required equipment for riding at night on the street here in Kansas City is a headlight, a taillight (both of which have to be visible to a minimum distance of 300m), a reflective safety vest in either hunter orange or neon yellow (safety raincoats are better), and reflective strips or a reflective "slow moving vehicle" sign on the backpack or back of your shirt. The penalty for not having the proper safety equipment is a fix-it ticket or a $350 fine.

Here in Kansas City, if you ride a bicycle on the street, you have to follow all the same traffic laws as automobile drivers, and that includes obeying all traffic signals and signaling before you change lanes or make a turn. You also have to have the proper safety equipment, up to and including knee and elbow pads along with a decent helmet.

And just an FYI, I have ultra-bright High-Intensity Discharge headlights on my car, which can illuminate anything reflective out to a distance of 300 meters in front of my car, so any issues with bicyclists and pedestrians not being visible is their own fault.

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Old 02-14-11, 10:45 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by mnaines View Post
The Ion 6 is a 6-watt, 6-LED mini flashlight that's rated for 225 candlepower and visible out to 610 meters, is waterproof for use in the rain, and can be mounted on handlebars, a seatpost, or helmet vents and has a maximum runtime of 75 hours. The Flare 7 is a 7-watt, 7-LED 250 candlepower blinky that's visible out to 914 meters, includes a seatstay and seatpost clip and a belt clip, and can run for 70+ hours.
Ion 6 is 6W?, Flare 7 (rear light) is 7W? Where do you pull these numbers from???
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Old 02-14-11, 11:00 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by badrad View Post
Ion 6 is 6W?, Flare 7 (rear light) is 7W? Where do you pull these numbers from???
Manufacturer's specs.

Here's the Ion 6 specs:
402899 34.99 AA/Alkaline 75+ Hours Ion 6 1000-2000ft. 6W
And here's the Flare 7 Specs
402902 19.99 AAA/Alkaline 70+ Hours Flare 7 2000-3000ft. 7W

Ion 6: http://www.bontrager.com/model/06990 (click Details)
Flare 7: http://www.bontrager.com/model/06992 (click Details)

Last edited by mnaines; 02-14-11 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 02-14-11, 11:02 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by mnaines View Post
I don't look at the lumens/candlepower rating of the lights as much as I look at the maximum range of the light. You guys are all talking about lumens but not talking about how far away the lights can be seen from.
Actually, you were the first one to whip out the lumens argument in this thread.

Originally Posted by mnaines View Post
I looked at all the CREE lights you guys talked about on here, and none of the manufacturers tell you how far away the lights can be seen from. The Trek Bontrager Ion 6 can be seen from a maximum distance of 610 meters while the Bontrager Flare 7 can be seen from a maximum distance of 915 meters. That kind of range means the lights have a lot of power behind them.
You might be right, I'll have to check how many seens-from my lights are rated at... I'm not sure why the manufacturers don't specify the seens-froms either, they must be embarrassed.

Originally Posted by mnaines View Post
If these CREE lights are so much more powerful than the Bontrager lights I use, then you should be able to see these CREE lights from much farther away.
That's correct, they can.

Originally Posted by mnaines View Post
I would expect a light as powerful as these CREE lights are to be visible from more than 700m away, but nobody is willing to prove that and until they can prove the CREE lights can be seen from farther away than the Ion 6, I'm not going to buy one.

Edit: As far as the Ion 6's ability to shine, it will light up everything within 20 meters in its direct line-of-sight, so its a pretty powerful little light. For comparison, a big Krypton-Xenon-bulb 4-D-Battery Maglite flashlight will light up everything within 25 meters of its line-of-sight.

If the lights are designed for bicyclists, the manufacturers would specify how far away the lights can be seen from (they have to for legal reasons, too. They can't claim a light is ultra-powerful if it doesn't make you visible from long distances). Also, the law in most places states that you and your bicycle have to be visible from a minimum range of 500 meters if you are going to be riding on the street. Ghetto-rigging a Wal-Mart Special mini-flashlight to your bicycle is not only illegal, but also not safe because of the lack of visibility.
Can you cite this "ghetto-rig" law?
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Old 02-14-11, 11:04 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by mnaines View Post
Here in Kansas City, if you ride a bicycle on the street, you have to follow all the same traffic laws as automobile drivers, and that includes obeying all traffic signals and signaling before you change lanes or make a turn. You also have to have the proper safety equipment, up to and including knee and elbow pads along with a decent helmet.
Seriously??
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Old 02-14-11, 11:07 AM
  #25  
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I tried some fancy 2XAA LED flashlights and they were ... interesting. Together w/ a niteride minewt was really nice, but solo (or duo) I wasn't impressed. I think they were lighting a lot of airspace that wasn't helping me avoid obstacles.
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