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Waterproof tail light

Old 04-29-13, 01:51 PM
  #1  
Rob_E
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Waterproof tail light

Lot's of tail light discussion, I know. I just read a very informative thread, but I wanted to hit this angle specifically.

My Planet Bike Superflashes have finally, sort of, died. One seems to be entirely dead, the other works fine when dry but behaves erratically in the rain. And really, I'm more concerned about a working tail light in the rain than any other time, so, more than outshining the SuperFlash, a rain-proof light is my number one priority.

Coming from my PB light, I am tempted by the Radbot, because I will already have the mounts on the my bike racks, and will be able to continue to do my other practice of clipping the light on to my trunk bag so that it always goes in the building with me an can be used on the bike that has no mount currently (but which often has a trunk bag). How is it for waterproofness?

I also read a lot positive about the Cygolite Hotshot. I don't see anything about a clip, and do see info about it being more focused and less effective if not mounted right, so I'm guessing that it wouldn't be great if I tried to attach it to the loop on my trunk bag, but might be fine with a rack mount. I just need to remember to bring it in. If it can stand up to plenty of rainy weather, that is.

I'm also open to any other options, but my main concerns are how it stands up in the rain and battery life.
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Old 04-29-13, 02:14 PM
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I don't have a Radbot, but I've been running a Fenderbot in Seattle for about two years now, no problems with rain/moisture. I'm pretty sure they're the exact same light, the Fenderbot just being set up to bolt onto the back of a fender instead of having other mounting options.

I can also recommend the Mars 4.0, super light, bright, some side visibility and no problems with rain or moisture in two years of commuting in Seattle. I commute 3-7 days a week, about an hour each way, year round.
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Old 04-29-13, 08:32 PM
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Right now my favorite lights are the Cygolite Hotshot, the Knog Blinder 4V and the Serfas Shield.

However, the Serfas Shield that I got was NOT waterproof. Serfas is replacing it for me, so I assume it's SUPPOSED to be waterproof, but at least one was not.

The Hotshot is waterproof, as is the Knog.

The mounting system on the Knog is simple but not flexible. You need a seat post or similar tube to strap to, no options. Also some have said that it breaks easily. It's a light that I like though.

I will note that these new, high power tail lights don't last as long on a charge as the Superflash. The Knog dies pretty fast, the Serfas too (not surprising, they're both stupid bright and you gotta pay for that somehow). The Hotshot seems to last longer but that's probably because it has flash modes that have the light on for less time per blink. Also it's not quite as bright as the other two.
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Old 04-29-13, 09:08 PM
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Cygolite Hotshot has "waterproof" or "weatherproof" listed as a feature on their website. I have a Hotshot, and while the beam is narrow, it does spread out quite a bit with distance, at least 2 lanes wide, at a distance of less than 200 feet. In fact I was turning left at an intersection the other day in the middle of the day time, and a lady turning right said that my flashing Hotshot light was very helpful.
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Old 04-29-13, 10:06 PM
  #5  
Bluish Green
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I have been using one Radbot 1000 (set to flash zZz Pop) and one Danger Zone (set to bright/steady) for about a full year now. I have rode in some god-awful thunderstorms, including those that have all of our rivers currently near record flood stage here in Illinois. We don't get the months-long rain that Seattle gets, but when we get it, it is in the violent downpour variety, and these lights pass the test for me. I used 'em this winter in driving slush, temps down close to zero degF, etc. too. No problems with either light, they have both been fully weatherrproof for me.

Each of the lights uses two AAA batteries. I keep a rotation of 8 batteries going - 4 in the two taillights, 4 on the charger or fresh and waiting. Both use the same mounting attachments. Great lights, I love 'em.

Last edited by Bluish Green; 04-29-13 at 10:08 PM. Reason: added mounting attachments note
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Old 04-29-13, 10:46 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Bluish Green View Post
I have been using one Radbot 1000 (set to flash zZz Pop) and one Danger Zone (set to bright/steady) for about a full year now. I have rode in some god-awful thunderstorms, including those that have all of our rivers currently near record flood stage here in Illinois. We don't get the months-long rain that Seattle gets, but when we get it, it is in the violent downpour variety, and these lights pass the test for me. I used 'em this winter in driving slush, temps down close to zero degF, etc. too. No problems with either light, they have both been fully weatherrproof for me.

Each of the lights uses two AAA batteries. I keep a rotation of 8 batteries going - 4 in the two taillights, 4 on the charger or fresh and waiting. Both use the same mounting attachments. Great lights, I love 'em.
That's a great point and IMO, your test is better. Although Seattle claims some 300 days of rain a year, often that is squalls, or light mist, and often for only part of the day. When I actually got soaked is very rare.

Also, it sounds like the Radbot may be somewhat different than the Fenderbot. My fenderbot has only two settings, solid or blinking, no flash zZz Pop. The the face of the housing appears identical though, so as far as waterproofing goes they are probably the same.
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Old 04-30-13, 04:30 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
I also read a lot positive about the Cygolite Hotshot.
I can tell you for a fact that it won't survive a cycle in the washing machine
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Old 04-30-13, 06:47 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by JimF22003 View Post
I can tell you for a fact that it won't survive a cycle in the washing machine
I'm sorry for your loss, but thank you for the chortle!
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Old 04-30-13, 07:05 AM
  #9  
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I can tell you that the Hotshot mount is a little bit different than some other lights. It's a great mount to be sure, especially after adding a few washers as spacers on the screw to help it tighten down solidly, but it doesn't work with my other lights.

I have a PB light and also a cheap Zefal light from Wally Mart, both of which can use the same mount. Then I have a Bontrager light which uses a weird sideways clip mount. The Hotshot mount seems similar to the PB and Zefal light mounts, but in reality the Hotshot clip is narrower so it won't work with the other lights' mounts.
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Old 04-30-13, 08:12 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
My Planet Bike Superflashes have finally, sort of, died. One seems to be entirely dead, the other works fine when dry but behaves erratically in the rain. And really, I'm more concerned about a working tail light in the rain than any other time, so, more than outshining the SuperFlash, a rain-proof light is my number one priority.
I had an LBS tell me to bring the light back when this happened to me. PB claims that the superflash is waterproof. One problem. The casing on the old design had holes in the bottom of it, which let water in. Mine worked when it wanted to after a few rain storms. Drying out didn't really guarantee return to normal performance. I think PB has changed the design of the switch on the new lights.
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Old 04-30-13, 10:03 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by OneGoodLeg View Post
PB claims that the superflash is waterproof.
Unless they've changed the design a lot, they're wrong. I'd call mine weather resistant at best. It sure as HECK isn't anything like waterproof. The Cateye TL-LD1xxx series is waterproof, maybe some of the others I haven't tried. I don't think even the Hotshot is actually waterproof - just water resistant, and only really weather resistant, as the charging socket would let water in if it was submerged.
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Old 04-30-13, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
Unless they've changed the design a lot, they're wrong. I'd call mine weather resistant at best. It sure as HECK isn't anything like waterproof. The Cateye TL-LD1xxx series is waterproof, maybe some of the others I haven't tried. I don't think even the Hotshot is actually waterproof - just water resistant, and only really weather resistant, as the charging socket would let water in if it was submerged.
Cygolite says "Weather proof for all riding conditions". I mean the USB socket does have a pretty nice rubber cover, which faces downward, so I don't see how much of anything could get in there when riding your bike normally, i.e. not submerged in water.
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Old 04-30-13, 10:35 AM
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I have 3 radbots. Two of them are on a winter bike and they see all kinds of weather. The other one was on my all-weather commuter until I got dyno lights. Both are about 3 years old and work well.

My Cygolight Hotshot is also on my winter bike, out of the slop a little more but it's seen rain. The thing I don't care for on it is the USB plug has starting working loose on occasion (I don't know what would happen if it got rained on in that condition) and it's harder to turn off with gloves on. For summer use it would probably be fine.
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Old 04-30-13, 11:10 AM
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My Old Vista-Light has a Gasket. between the parts..
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Old 04-30-13, 11:11 AM
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So it sounds like either of the lights I was considering would work for me. I may try them both as I like to have access to more than one light, just in case one fails or abandons ship. The Radbot could do double duty on the bike that has no rack mount.

As for the Superflash, I've had them for a year or more and couldn't tell you where I picked them up. I don't see any holes in the casing, but waterproofness has always been an issue. In a heavy downpour, I would find that my light was off, or had changed from blinking to solid, and wouldn't respond to button presses. If I was smart, I'd remove the batteries and let everything dry overnight. If not, I'd park the bike in the living room, and after an hour or two it would just start blinking. Usually by keeping two lights going, one would remain functional throughout the ride. Now that one seems really and truly dead, I think it's time for something less susceptible to the rain.
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Old 04-30-13, 12:48 PM
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As with superflashes, radbots are not necessarily water proof. I have used multiples of each for years and in at least one instance both products have succumbed to moisture getting in them. I usually use one on seatposts, right under the saddle, and one on the back of racks. The lights on the racks get the most exposure and those are the ones that have had moisture build up in them. I ride year round regardless of precipitation conditions and one bike always sits outside at the train station, exposed to the elements, during the day.
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Old 04-30-13, 02:32 PM
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another Knog 4V fan. bright, annoying flash patterns and holds a charge all week (about 5hrs of commute time). charge it on Sunday night and i'm all set. multiple downpours with no problems.
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Old 04-30-13, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
Cygolite says "Weather proof for all riding conditions". I mean the USB socket does have a pretty nice rubber cover, which faces downward, so I don't see how much of anything could get in there when riding your bike normally, i.e. not submerged in water.
I totally agree with weatherproof. However, the comment I was responding to said water proof. That means submerged indefinitely, and it won't handle that. There are some lights that will. Knog lights, some Cateyes, probably others.
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Old 04-30-13, 03:15 PM
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Some of the Knog stuff looks interesting, but it mostly seems to attach at the seatpost, which doesn't work for me. My trunk bag obscures most of my seatpost, so the light has to either clip on to the bag or attach to the rack. It looks like with the previous Cygolite, I could cannibalize my PB Superflash to make it compatible with my current mounts: https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...golite-Hotshot
If that works with the current light, that may be perfect. We'll see. I went ahead and ordered a Cygolite and a Radbot. I realized that I'm down to one functioning light, and it will stop functioning if it gets too wet, so I should act now. I do have my dynamo, fender-mounted tail light, but it's not terribly bright. When the weather's foul, I really prefer something bright and blinking. I'm not really looking for something submersible, just able to handle some heavy rain, although every now and then we get a downpour where it might be equivalent to being under water.
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