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Lighting Advice

Old 02-01-15, 06:13 PM
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NorthFWRider
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Lighting Advice

Hello everyone,

I'm new here and to commuting. I was just looking for some advice with low cost lighting options.

Currently I have an Axiom Lazer 200 Lumens headlight and the matching 25 lumens tail-light (both rechargeable). I also have a Nite Ize Spoke Lit on my rear wheel.

I'm worried that I am not visible enough from behind, but do not have room on my seat post for another light. I also would like a wider scope of light in front of me.

What are my best ($15 - $20 price range) options?

Thanks,
- NorthFWRider
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Old 02-01-15, 06:24 PM
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Thousandth repeat on this one Have you done a FAQ look back thru the other' I want a Cheap Light' queries

theres that whole Deal Extreme and Magic shine fan club that will be mentioned many Times



Have a LBS you Like going to? to see and fondle before Buying?




OK over, stated Budget . in the back ... I happen to like these The blinking tail Lights are inside the seatpost itself LightSKIN LED-Sattelstütze

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Old 02-01-15, 06:26 PM
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IMO the greatest bargain in bike lights isn't a bike light. It's the Duracell flashlights at places like Costco. My most recent set of 300 lumens lights cost less than $20.00 for 3. I mount a pair using an improvised block for stability, and a a long O-ring/ or rubber band to hold them in place. My usual arrangement is a pair of beams aimed one forward of the other. I keep the battery pack from the 3rd light with me as a backup.

The lights take 4 aaa, batteries, which need to be shopped hard to keep the cost down, or you can use NiMH rechargeables, but the light output will be lower, and life shorter. I run NiMH for the commute,and keep alkalines as my backups.

BTW- since these have a round cone beam, it's important to keep it down a bit, or aimed slightly to the right. That's never been a problem for me, but if an approaching car has their high beams on, I tap the forward light, and swing my bars a bit, and it never fails to get the desired response.
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Old 02-01-15, 06:31 PM
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The two fish double velcro strap mount to use that flashlight is a functional Add On Twofish Unlimited - Bicycle Accessory Fasteners
a bit more solid than the rubber band scheme
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Old 02-01-15, 07:17 PM
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Any modern LED rear lamp is good enough, even he cheap ones.
Keep it on constant mode at night, to allow distance estimation. If you want a blinking lamp, use an additional one. You can attach to seatpost or bag. If you have a luggage rack, use a bracket at the rear.
You can attach to offside seat stay but this is obscured from some angles.
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Old 02-01-15, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
IMO the greatest bargain in bike lights isn't a bike light. It's the Duracell flashlights at places like Costco. My most recent set of 300 lumens lights cost less than $20.00 for 3. I mount a pair using an improvised block for stability, and a a long O-ring/ or rubber band to hold them in place. My usual arrangement is a pair of beams aimed one forward of the other. I keep the battery pack from the 3rd light with me as a backup.

The lights take 4 aaa, batteries, which need to be shopped hard to keep the cost down, or you can use NiMH rechargeables, but the light output will be lower, and life shorter. I run NiMH for the commute,and keep alkalines as my backups.

BTW- since these have a round cone beam, it's important to keep it down a bit, or aimed slightly to the right. That's never been a problem for me, but if an approaching car has their high beams on, I tap the forward light, and swing my bars a bit, and it never fails to get the desired response.
+1. Also, my Costco has a packaged set of 10 AA and 4 AAA batteries WITH a single cell charger on sale for $24. The batteries alone would normally cost $35.

I've bought numerous sets of these lights. If your commute is under an hour, they are ideal. Over an hour, they are more of a pain, but still doable.

Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
The two fish double velcro strap mount to use that flashlight is a functional Add On Twofish Unlimited - Bicycle Accessory Fasteners
a bit more solid than the rubber band scheme
These are well worth it too. You can get them for about $2 ea from Deal Extreme, if you have the patience to wait 3-6 wks for delivery. Universal Adjustable Bicycle Mount for Flashlights (2cm~4cm Diameter) - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

The nice thing is, you can get built in redundancy, PLUS higher output when needed:



Edit: If you go this route, rechargeable ENELOOP batteries are the only way to go. Which I realize puts it outside of your specified price range. However, I use these flashlights around the house for everything - not just commuting - so they are worth it to me.

Alkaline batteries may give you more total light output over time than the NiMH eneloops, but for most of that output time, the light will be unacceptably dim. I would not run alkalines in these lights unless you are a very occasional commuter, no more than once a week.
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Old 02-01-15, 08:05 PM
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One or two PB Superflash for the rear. Cheap and very bright.
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Old 02-01-15, 08:28 PM
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Thanks for the quick response everyone. You've given me some good ideas for headlights. However I was primarily concerned with being seen from the rear.

Someone mentioned having my light on constant instead of flash. Is a constant better than flashing? I feel like flashing is more noticeable.
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Old 02-01-15, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by NorthFWRider View Post
Someone mentioned having my light on constant instead of flash. Is a constant better than flashing? I feel like flashing is more noticeable.
This is another topic that has been the subject of many threads----a very simple search will give you several days of reading.

Boiled down result of debate............there is no conclusive research that has been done and you will spend days of reading nothing but opinions of the individual poster.

Try both options yourself and see if you can tell a difference in the reactions of drivers. If you can, decide which setting you like and run it.
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Old 02-01-15, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by NorthFWRider View Post
....

Someone mentioned having my light on constant instead of flash. Is a constant better than flashing? I feel like flashing is more noticeable.
There's a sense that it's harder for drivers to estimate range and speed with strobes. So there's a trade off, you're noticed sooner, but the driver may think you're farther away than you actually are.

I use (illegally) an amber strobe because that's used for stationary hazards, so the driver will expect to reach me sooner rather than later than he actually does.
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Old 02-01-15, 10:49 PM
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I just bought a Nightrider TL-5.0 Rear Taillight specifically because in addition to the rear facing LEDs it has sideward facing LEDs for great side visibility and much greater than 180 degree visibility. NiteRider TL-5.0 Rear Bike Light - REI.com
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Old 02-02-15, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
PLUS higher output when needed:

Oh, I get it. Stacking them up like that makes the output higher.

Placing the third one on top of the second, instead of next to the first one, would give you even higher output.
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Old 02-02-15, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
The nice thing is, you can get built in redundancy, PLUS higher output when needed:



Edit: If you go this route, rechargeable ENELOOP batteries are the only way to go. Which I realize puts it outside of your specified price range. However, I use these flashlights around the house for everything - not just commuting - so they are worth it to me.

Alkaline batteries may give you more total light output over time than the NiMH eneloops, but for most of that output time, the light will be unacceptably dim. I would not run alkalines in these lights unless you are a very occasional commuter, no more than once a week.
I can just imagine trying to keep all of those batteries charged, that must be quite a chore. Could you run a Lion battery in a sleeve instead of the aaas in there? That would be easier to recharge.
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Old 02-02-15, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
I can just imagine trying to keep all of those batteries charged, that must be quite a chore. Could you run a Lion battery in a sleeve instead of the aaas in there? That would be easier to recharge.
Not ACTUALLY my current lighting setup - but I had a bunch of those flashlight mounts, and a bunch of flashlights, so I just had to try it!
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Old 02-03-15, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
Not ACTUALLY my current lighting setup - but I had a bunch of those flashlight mounts, and a bunch of flashlights, so I just had to try it!
How'd it work?
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Old 02-03-15, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by NorthFWRider View Post
What are my best ($15 - $20 price range) options?
A 25 lumen tail light is quite bright. Another cheap 5 lumen light won't make much difference (other than redundancy). I'd recommend spending $25 and buying a hotshot sl or similar bright 2W tail light.

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Old 02-03-15, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by NorthFWRider View Post

Someone mentioned having my light on constant instead of flash. Is a constant better than flashing? I feel like flashing is more noticeable.
As others have stated there really isn't a conclusive "best", I compromise and have one of each, a dyno powered steady with battery powered flasher.
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Old 02-03-15, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
How'd it work?
Did you ever see "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"? It was pretty much like that, minus the extra-terrestrials .
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Old 02-03-15, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by NorthFWRider View Post
Thanks for the quick response everyone. You've given me some good ideas for headlights. However I was primarily concerned with being seen from the rear.
The main suggestion I have is to add a second rear light. Unlike the headlight, the rear one can fail without you're even being aware of it for some time. The battery can fail, there could be a bad connection inside the light, the light mount may have failed letting the lamp fall off, etc. In this case you'd be especially vulnerable during the time before you become aware of the failure.

So redundancy in the form of a totally separate second light is especially important for a tail light. If there's no room on the seat post you should be able to attach a second light to your seat stay.
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Old 02-04-15, 09:21 AM
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multiple battery taillights if you insist on only battery lights .. which only coming up with $20 is all you got.

$100 for a built dynohub front wheel .. gets you started into a system that you wont have low battery blackout problems..
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Old 02-07-15, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post


Uhhhhhhhhh wow. I mean, .....hmmm. Wow.

For about ~$100, one can purchase a nice setup that uses a single rechargeable battery, one tailight and one headlight. I run

http://www.amazon.com/MagicShine-Cyc...rds=magicshine

and

http://www.amazon.com/MagicShine-MJ-...ine+tial+light

There are cheaper and more efficient options out there. I know this is quite a bit more expensive than running 23 cheap flashlights in conjunction, but it's a simple setup, easy to take off of the bike, and recharges with a common 110 outlet, and is sealed off from the elements. Lighting is one of those things with cycling where cheaping out isn't really the best way to go; I would have argued the other way a couple of years ago, but after riding with my current setup I have changed my tune. I still think some of the crazy $500+ setups are overkill, but even if you work a min. wage job and live within your means it is not impossible to save the money it takes to get a setup that will compete with modern automotive HIDs.

OP, I would suggest buliding up your budget to run something much more substantial...I understand the need to run cheap. When I started cycling I was a full time college student with a wife and kid. Ebay is your friend, in this instance. Craigslist may also be an option for you. Do you drink beer? Eat out? Pay for cable TV? Smart phone data plan? Take a little out of another budget, and score something like this:

http://www.amazon.com/MagicShine-MJ-...rds=magicshine

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Old 02-07-15, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
Did you ever see "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"? It was pretty much like that, minus the extra-terrestrials .
I used to ride with an advertised 4,000 lumens of lights, and 3,000 of those could be used as strobes. I got stuck first in line at the rail road crossing one twilight night when a train was going by, and I turned them all on strobe to see how the light looked reflecting of the crossing arms and the street signs. It was pretty wild.
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Old 02-07-15, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
I used to ride with an advertised 4,000 lumens of lights, and 3,000 of those could be used as strobes.
I had a similar setup. Now I run a single Light & Motion Urban 650. I found out that a little bit of well focused, usable light is more useful than a lot of useless bright. Besides, it weighs well over a pound less and recharges for free with my solar panels.
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Old 02-08-15, 09:39 AM
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Just get one of these 1200 lumen lights from Amazon. I had one for 2 years and man it's bright. I run my light on low and cars still flashed me their hi beams.

Amazon.com : SUPERNIGHT(TM) CREE XML T6 LED Gold Bike Headlight Headlamp Bicycle Light With Rechargeable 4400mAh Battery, 1200 LM, Waterproof(IP66), for Cycling, Riding, Hunting, Camping, Traveling, Hiking, Caving, Climbing (Black+Golden) : Sports &
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Old 02-08-15, 10:01 AM
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I'm pretty happy with my Light and Motion 500 lumen, but I find the optics crude, so I clamped on a cowl made out of aluminum flashing with a black duct tape cosmetic wrapper. With this cowl arrangement it is very easy to avert the beam from oncoming rider's eyes, and would be suitable for a low-cost flashlight solution as well.
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