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

Best head and tail lights for the money?

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.

Best head and tail lights for the money?

Old 01-21-15, 12:05 PM
  #1  
greg3rd48
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
greg3rd48's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Bronx, NYC
Posts: 1,899

Bikes: '19 Fuji Gran Fondo 1.5, '72 Peugeot PX10, '71ish Gitane Super Corsa, '78 Fuji Newest, '89 Fuji Ace, '94 Cannondale R600, early '70s LeJeune Pro project

Mentioned: 85 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 279 Post(s)
Liked 136 Times in 76 Posts
Best head and tail lights for the money?

I have a cheaper set that I currently use on my Peugeot U08 commuter bike but I really don't feel comfortable with the amount of light the head lamp provides me nor the warning light that the rear light gives drivers. I think it is time for an upgrade. I ride about 1 mile of my 6 mile commute on heavily trafficked main roads where the light would really make me feel more secure. The rest of the way I take side streets. Sure it is NYC but the side streets are a heck of a lot safer during commuting hours. Any recommendations? I want to get the best bang for my buck.
greg3rd48 is offline  
Old 01-21-15, 12:10 PM
  #2  
StephenH
Uber Goober
 
StephenH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dallas area, Texas
Posts: 11,739
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 184 Post(s)
Liked 25 Times in 22 Posts
Try the Planet Bike Superflash for the taillight. And preferably more than one of them. They're not perfect, but they're pretty good.
For headlight, can't help much. You don't want "bang for the buck" you want "adequate to see". What that is depends on your vision and your riding conditions. I use a hub-generator setup, which is great for my applications, but that light can get washed out by bright car headlights, so it may not be great for yours.
__________________
"be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."
StephenH is offline  
Old 01-21-15, 12:20 PM
  #3  
greg3rd48
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
greg3rd48's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Bronx, NYC
Posts: 1,899

Bikes: '19 Fuji Gran Fondo 1.5, '72 Peugeot PX10, '71ish Gitane Super Corsa, '78 Fuji Newest, '89 Fuji Ace, '94 Cannondale R600, early '70s LeJeune Pro project

Mentioned: 85 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 279 Post(s)
Liked 136 Times in 76 Posts
Very true. Most streets are well lit but not all. I do have 20/20 vision so no problems there but sometimes glare is a problem if the roads are a bit wet. Thanks for the tail light suggestion.
greg3rd48 is offline  
Old 01-22-15, 02:56 PM
  #4  
jfowler85
Senior Member
 
jfowler85's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Zinj
Posts: 1,826

Bikes: '93 911 Turbo 3.6

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 109 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I use a MagicShine MJ-872 headlight and Mj-818 tail light. Not exactly inexpensive, but well worth it. Hopefully the battery pack is a bit smaller by now. Not only do you want to see in lowlight conditions, but you want to be seen. A brand spankin new mercedes with ridiculous HIDs once flashed brights at me because I had my headlight pointed a little too high on setting 2 of 4. That tells me it's working! Settings 3 and 4 are so bright I never use them.
jfowler85 is offline  
Old 01-22-15, 04:27 PM
  #5  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: High Falls, NY, USA
Posts: 39,177

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 475 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6506 Post(s)
Liked 1,045 Times in 693 Posts
Considering that bolted-on, dynamo-powered headlights are more trouble free than strap on or clamp on battery powered lights, I think the extra money they cost ends up being a great value.

But if you're on a tight budget, I'd say get a spoke light for your rear wheel. That will satisfy your need for a tail light.

Here is my article on my main setup. Cost was about $160, and I haven't done anything with it for almost two years now. It just works. I leave them on in the day, since the cost is kinetic energy, and I can't perceive the drag.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 01-22-15, 05:38 PM
  #6  
erig007
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: 6367 km away from the center of the Earth
Posts: 1,666
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
Try the Planet Bike Superflash for the taillight. And preferably more than one of them. They're not perfect, but they're pretty good.
For headlight, can't help much. You don't want "bang for the buck" you want "adequate to see". What that is depends on your vision and your riding conditions. I use a hub-generator setup, which is great for my applications, but that light can get washed out by bright car headlights, so it may not be great for yours.

I have both superflash and hotshot as taillights and i like the hotshot way better.
I find the hotshot more powerful, more reliable, more water resistant, handle cold better and is easier to deal with (integrated battery).
I bought 3 superflash and they all gave up below 20F (i tried with different batteries). 2 of them don't work anymore.

Last edited by erig007; 01-22-15 at 05:58 PM.
erig007 is offline  
Old 01-22-15, 06:12 PM
  #7  
downwinded
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: WKY
Posts: 730

Bikes: 2014 Trek Crossrip LTD, 2013 Raleigh Misceo

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Best bang for your buck, IMHO.
Cygolite Metro 400 and Hotshot USB Rechargeable Headlight and Taillight Set - Modern Bike
downwinded is offline  
Old 01-22-15, 06:16 PM
  #8  
bgav
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Central MA
Posts: 171
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by downwinded View Post

+1 on the Cygolite, you might want to go up to the Metro 500. For a taillight, IMHO nothing beats the PDW Danger Zone.

Video

Last edited by bgav; 01-22-15 at 06:21 PM.
bgav is offline  
Old 01-22-15, 06:29 PM
  #9  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,285 Times in 802 Posts
Reelights .. at their most Basic Model mount at the Wheel Hub , and blinks on every time the spoke mounted Magnet passes By .

SL100 set - Reelight ApS You may add a bunch of Battery lights , as you desire ,

but the one will at least give you a Blinking light that needs no battery ..
a new one I havent tried https://shop.reelight.com/bicycle-lig...reelight-city/



It's crowded market place , these threads always end up, as a popularity Poll w No Consensus ..


Best bang for your buck may be moving out of NYC, cost of living in that place aint cheap ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-22-15 at 06:40 PM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 01-22-15, 06:34 PM
  #10  
downwinded
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: WKY
Posts: 730

Bikes: 2014 Trek Crossrip LTD, 2013 Raleigh Misceo

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by bgav View Post
+1 on the Cygolite, you might want to go up to the Metro 500. For a taillight, IMHO nothing beats the PDW Danger Zone.

Video
I have a Metro 500 and like it. Usually only run it on Med setting, which is 350 lumens. My question is, why would a 1w taillight be better than a 2w? The PDW is a bit less expensive but not by much.
downwinded is offline  
Old 01-22-15, 06:45 PM
  #11  
dynaryder
PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes
 
dynaryder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: BicycleSPACE warehouse in SW Washington DC
Posts: 6,980
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Reelights .. at their most Basic Model mount at the Wheel Hub , and blinks on every time the spoke mounted Magnet passes By .

SL100 set - Reelight ApS You may add a bunch of Battery lights , as you desire ,

but the one will at least give you a Blinking light that needs no battery ..
a new one I havent tried Reelight CITY - Reelight ApS
Reelights suck;I've seen them on a couple bikes around here. Fine for a set of backup lights,but not near bright enough as your only lights. They disappear amongst urban traffic.
__________________

C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L/S2E-X
dynaryder is offline  
Old 01-22-15, 06:54 PM
  #12  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,285 Times in 802 Posts
Beats Going Ninja I gave a set to someone who refused to put any Lights on their Bike at all ..

& I havent been to NYC since 69 when the USN ordered Me to.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 01-22-15, 07:04 PM
  #13  
jskash
Senior Member
 
jskash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: West San Fernando Valley in Southern CA
Posts: 360

Bikes: 2018 Giant Escape Disc

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 71 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 11 Posts
Originally Posted by downwinded View Post
I agree completely about the Cygolite lights. I have them on both the front and back and do most of my riding before the sun comes up. Cars have no trouble seeing me with these lights.
jskash is offline  
Old 01-22-15, 09:13 PM
  #14  
Corben
Senior Member
 
Corben's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 603

Bikes: 2014 Dawes Lightning 1000.1990 Schwinn Voyuager. 1997 specialized Crossroads Hybrid.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I'm still taken back by how bright these $20.00 LED bike lights are today compared to what I had twenty years ago.
For the same caliber of brightness I'd have to charge a heavy battery every night and run wires from it to the light.
But I must admit now that I think about it, my old light had more character compared to what I have now.
Basically its just a bright flash light mounted on my bars.
Dimmit! Now I want a cooler light.
Should have gone straight to C&V!
Corben is offline  
Old 01-23-15, 07:26 AM
  #15  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 6,223

Bikes: 1980 Mike Melton, 1982 Stumpjumper, 1982 Santana, 1984 Alex Moulton AM, 2008 BikeFriday tikit T-11, 2010 Dawes Briercliffe, 2017 Dahon Curl i5, 2019 Surly ½DT14

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 696 Post(s)
Liked 183 Times in 126 Posts
Originally Posted by greg3rd48 View Post
I want to get the best bang for my buck.
A can of worms! Where's my P38?

Three DX Superflash copies: two on the bike, one in your bag.
DX 3xAA Cree T6 flashlight w/ handlebar mount.
Eneloops + charger.
tcs is offline  
Old 01-23-15, 07:32 AM
  #16  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 6,223

Bikes: 1980 Mike Melton, 1982 Stumpjumper, 1982 Santana, 1984 Alex Moulton AM, 2008 BikeFriday tikit T-11, 2010 Dawes Briercliffe, 2017 Dahon Curl i5, 2019 Surly ½DT14

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 696 Post(s)
Liked 183 Times in 126 Posts
Originally Posted by Corben View Post
I'm still taken back by how bright these $20.00 LED bike lights are today compared to what I had twenty years ago.
Yeah, I turn my $12 Chinese headlamp (w/ $12 Japanese battery!) on and see a stop sign three blocks away shine back at me, and I shudder at all the miles I rode in the dark behind a 2.4W incandescent bulb.
tcs is offline  
Old 01-23-15, 07:35 AM
  #17  
Wanderer
aka Phil Jungels
 
Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: North Aurora, IL
Posts: 8,149

Bikes: 08 Specialized Crosstrail Sport, 05 Sirrus Comp

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 176 Post(s)
Liked 47 Times in 37 Posts
MHO - best bang for the buck is a Magicshine knockoff with an additional focusing lens, and a Superflash tail light.
Wanderer is offline  
Old 01-23-15, 12:01 PM
  #18  
greg3rd48
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
greg3rd48's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Bronx, NYC
Posts: 1,899

Bikes: '19 Fuji Gran Fondo 1.5, '72 Peugeot PX10, '71ish Gitane Super Corsa, '78 Fuji Newest, '89 Fuji Ace, '94 Cannondale R600, early '70s LeJeune Pro project

Mentioned: 85 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 279 Post(s)
Liked 136 Times in 76 Posts
Tom, that is a serious arrangement! It definitely impressive. I do like the Cygolite option also since many people seem to have had good experience with them and they have good reviews. I will definitely need a 2W rear light since I most importantly want the traffic behind me to notice me. The Hotshot looks like a good option. The cheap Planetbike headlight that I have now just doesn't cut it. I can barely see anything in the road.

Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Considering that bolted-on, dynamo-powered headlights are more trouble free than strap on or clamp on battery powered lights, I think the extra money they cost ends up being a great value.

But if you're on a tight budget, I'd say get a spoke light for your rear wheel. That will satisfy your need for a tail light.

Here is my article on my main setup. Cost was about $160, and I haven't done anything with it for almost two years now. It just works. I leave them on in the day, since the cost is kinetic energy, and I can't perceive the drag.
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Reelights .. at their most Basic Model mount at the Wheel Hub , and blinks on every time the spoke mounted Magnet passes By .

SL100 set - Reelight ApS You may add a bunch of Battery lights , as you desire ,

but the one will at least give you a Blinking light that needs no battery ..
a new one I havent tried Reelight CITY - Reelight ApS



It's crowded market place , these threads always end up, as a popularity Poll w No Consensus ..


Best bang for your buck may be moving out of NYC, cost of living in that place aint cheap ..
You aren't kidding! It certainly isn't the cheapest place in the world to reside but it does have a heap of positive aspects living in "The City". As they say in Economics 101 you have to measure the opportunity costs of one option to another and determine the costs and benefits of both. I don't see myself leaving for quite some time.
greg3rd48 is offline  
Old 01-23-15, 12:02 PM
  #19  
greg3rd48
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
greg3rd48's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Bronx, NYC
Posts: 1,899

Bikes: '19 Fuji Gran Fondo 1.5, '72 Peugeot PX10, '71ish Gitane Super Corsa, '78 Fuji Newest, '89 Fuji Ace, '94 Cannondale R600, early '70s LeJeune Pro project

Mentioned: 85 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 279 Post(s)
Liked 136 Times in 76 Posts
Thanks for all the great advice everyone! I now see myself commuting and night riding with slightly less whitened knuckles.
greg3rd48 is offline  
Old 01-23-15, 12:45 PM
  #20  
no motor?
Unlisted member
 
no motor?'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 6,190

Bikes: Specialized Hardrock

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1258 Post(s)
Liked 295 Times in 209 Posts
Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
MHO - best bang for the buck is a Magicshine knockoff with an additional focusing lens, and a Superflash tail light.
I'd second this, and ad a helmet light for turns and drivers looking like they are going to turn into you.
no motor? is offline  
Old 01-23-15, 01:40 PM
  #21  
tarwheel 
Senior Member
 
tarwheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 8,900

Bikes: Waterford RST-22, Bob Jackson World Tour, Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Soma Saga, De Bernardi SL, Specialized Sequoia

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 196 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Since you didn't define your budget, I'm going to assume you're looking for a taillight under $30 and headlight under $50. You can spend more and get brighter lights, but you can do pretty well at those price points these days. I would recommend more than one taillight for redundancy, in case you forget to charge the batteries or a light falls off its mount (it happens).

For taillights, I've got PB Superflashes and a PD Radbot 1000 that both cost less than $30. The Radbot is brighter with a permanent reflective element and a better on/off switch, but it burns through batteries much quicker. The Superflash is nearly as bright and batteries last forever, but the switch is funky. Fortunately, they both fit the same mounts, so I can use them interchangeably. I hear a lot of great reviews for the Cygolite Hotshot and will probably buy one some day, altho their visibility from the sides apparently is not great.

For headlights, I am most familiar with Light & Motion Urban series. I've got the Urban 500 and 800, and both are very bright with good run times. They are simple to mount and remove as well as recharge, but sell for $100 or more. L&M sells Urban 200 and 300 models for less money, and you might find one on-line for about $50.
tarwheel is offline  
Old 01-23-15, 02:51 PM
  #22  
Fly2High
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 866

Bikes: 2014 Specialized Secteur Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 21 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I too was set to buy a Hotshot when I was looking at a Solas and then migrated to a Niterider Sentinel which seems to be just like their Solas but with a few improvements.
It is rated to last something like 4 or 5 hours (which is longer than the Hotshot).

It also has better wide angle coverage than the Hotshot. I did not like that when at anything over 45 degrees, not much light came out of the Hotshot.

The Sentinel does indicate battery level when turned off and it also has the lazer lane indicators. Not sure it is a gimic or not but in a test riding with them on last night, it appeared that a neighbor swung nice and wide around me and later commented about the lines so they can be noticed. They are on a separate switch so they can be left off if desired. To me, the extra $4 over the Solas is to cover the battery level indicator. anything else is a free bonus.

From 400+ feet away, directly behind it, the unit looks like a red glowing softball and then some. It is a 2W light, if I recall correctly. Even from the sides, it appears very bright.

I am satisfied with it.

Frank
Fly2High is offline  
Old 01-24-15, 12:00 AM
  #23  
Corben
Senior Member
 
Corben's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 603

Bikes: 2014 Dawes Lightning 1000.1990 Schwinn Voyuager. 1997 specialized Crossroads Hybrid.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by greg3rd48 View Post
Thanks for all the great advice everyone! I now see myself commuting and night riding with slightly less whitened knuckles.
What convinced me to go bright was when I rode over a dead black cat one night.
Corben is offline  
Old 01-24-15, 05:51 AM
  #24  
Robert C
Senior Member
 
Robert C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Kansas
Posts: 2,163

Bikes: This list got too long: several ‘bents, an urban utility e-bike, and a dahon D7 that my daughter has absconded with.

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 324 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 14 Posts
Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
MHO - best bang for the buck is a Magicshine knockoff with an additional focusing lens, and a Superflash tail light.
I am going to second this except to say that I use a PDW Danger zone (already mentioned here) instead of a super flash. I also have a dyno-hub driven light on my commuter and there is just no comparison between the MS cone with a defuser and the, rather dim, dyno-hub driven light.
Robert C is offline  
Old 01-24-15, 08:01 AM
  #25  
roadiejorge 
stole your bike
 
roadiejorge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: North Bergen, NJ
Posts: 6,907

Bikes: Orbea Orca, Ridley Compact

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4194 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 14 Posts
Originally Posted by greg3rd48 View Post
Thanks for all the great advice everyone! I now see myself commuting and night riding with slightly less whitened knuckles.
I commute to NYC from NJ and right now I am using a Serfas TSL500 on my helmet, Cygolite Taz 1200 on the handlebars, and a Cygolite Hotshot as the rear light. I like to ride briskly which is why I prefer the stronger lights that have a wider and longer beam so I can see hazards ahead well enough to not affect my speed. When I had less powerful lights they didn't illuminate enough for my comfort and were washed out on certain sections of the Greenway by the oncoming car headlights. The helmet light comes in really handy to widen the illumination range and signal drivers at intersections to make sure they see me. I used to have a Magic Shine which was very bright but I didn't like having a separate battery pack; I mounted that light on my helmet and kept the battery in my backpack.
__________________
I like pie
roadiejorge is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
2wheelride
Commuting
33
07-05-18 03:44 PM
mooler
Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets
25
03-13-17 04:23 AM
bamab2
General Cycling Discussion
36
11-09-15 10:29 AM
smurray
Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets
92
11-21-13 04:08 PM
Rhodabike
Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets
9
08-17-10 09:39 PM

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.