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tail light, rear light?

Old 08-25-16, 10:47 PM
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tail light, rear light?

What is a good tail light?
Are there any that take AA batteries?
Are there any that blink yellow like a cars blinker?
Which light is visable from the greatest distance?


Last edited by chrisx; 08-25-16 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 08-26-16, 03:43 AM
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I really like the Serfas USL-TL60. I have been using one for 5 years now without any problems. Tail light is red not yellow, incredibly super bright (so much so that most people do not want to ride behind me even on low setting), rechargeable.
Serfas USL-TL60 The Shield USB Taillight - Modern Bike
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ug5NMIHeeGg
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Old 08-26-16, 06:17 AM
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From what I've read, the Bontrager Flare R is about the best option out there these days. There's no shortage of options, though.
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Old 08-26-16, 06:26 AM
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Don't think you want a Amber Tail Light.
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Old 08-26-16, 06:34 AM
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Amber has a specific meaning different than red, so you probably do not want it. It indicates that you're going to turn, but with just one blinking light it will be confusing. I don't think you'll find any on the market since they would be illegal in many places, and light manufacturers aren't going to make something in a way that would limit their market.

As for what is "good" - depends a bit on your usage.

If you're going to be using it at night and in relatively light traffic, any of the 20 to 60 lumen lights are "good". The Performance Axiom Pulse 60 is very good at about $30. You really don't get into "good" tail lights until you're into the $20-$30 range anyway.

For me, I'm looking for "visible in full sunlight" - for that you need a pretty brutal light, like the Dinotte Quad Red or the DesignShine, but those are $200 taillights. I have a DesignShine.

You may also want a more brutal light if you're in brutal surroundings, like a very busy street with a lot of lighting. It takes a lot of light to get noticed when there are already 1000 flashing lights on the street.

I don't think you'll find any rear lights using AA cells. Rechargable LiIon is most common in good lights these days, a few might use AAA cells.
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Old 08-26-16, 08:43 AM
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The Cateye TL-LD630 uses a single AA battery....

TL-LD630-R | CATEYE

I've got them on a few bikes and have been happy with it.


Steve in Peoria
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Old 08-28-16, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
..Amber has a specific meaning different than red, so you probably do not want it. It indicates that you're going to turn, but with just one blinking light it will be confusing. I don't think you'll find any on the market since they would be illegal in many places, and light manufacturers aren't going to make something in a way that would limit their market....
Actually amber is used for many different purposes. Roadside warning flasher on barrels for example. Tow trucks, work vehicles..etc...I think of it as a "universal warning" indicator. I use an amber high powered torch as my daytime rear warning light. I figured if it's different it draws attention, at least that's my theory. I don't use it all the time though, only when I have to ride day on dangerous roads. At sunset and night I use only red rear lamps. I thought about buying the DiNotte amber version of the Quad red but cost too much money and likely I wouldn't use it much anyway.

I mentioned this before on forum but will do it again; I'm seeing more people using "white flashing lights" on the rear of their bikes. I hate to say this but it works. It draws attention. Yesterday I had to work and drive through Washington DC. I came across a guy riding his bike in the early evening ( still daylight ) and noticed that he was using a Knog ( 4 led ) "white" flasher on back of his seat post. It was in heavy traffic with cars juking all over the place. First he'd pass me and then I'd pass him. This happened several times. The Knog was very bright. That said it wasn't so bright that I found it irritating, just very noticeable. When I would get stopped by a light he would ride through the light and I would still be able to see him from two-three blocks away. Different...but if it keeps him from getting hit from behind it has served it's purpose. Now he did have the dinkiest little red light on the helmet I ever saw. It was so weak it was almost useless.

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Old 08-28-16, 11:58 PM
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I put a dash 350 on my seat stay through a tunnel last week. A Planet bike blinky, a Cygolite hotshot 30 and a white dash 350 in blink mode. Guess it worked.

I have read that an amber reflector is visable at 6 times the distance of a red reflector. Is that true of lights or not?

Today, I compared a Serfas tunderblast, Last years model, and a hotshot 50. In the day light, the Serfas was far more visable from rear and side. After dark, the Hotshot out shinned the Serfas by a considerable amount.

Day lights are a good subject to learn about.

At the moment I am interested in getting front and rear lights with removable batteries. Why? Airport regulations. They change from country to country. In Mexico they want the batteries removed from the device and in a checked bag. In the US they want the batteries in your carry on.

My next couple of trips depart from the Tijuana airport and South.
I need lights for safety, and to get out of a jam. Hotel was further than I thought, no flat spot for the tent. Nothing fancy, I avoid night riding if at all possible.

This evenings ride was with a mitycross 800 OSP, I would hate to lose it to airport regulations. Same with my Niterider 1800. To me bike touring means usb recharable, or AA AAA in my solar panel.

So gents and ladies, oh and cats, any ideas for AA AAA lighting system?

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Old 08-29-16, 11:37 AM
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Anything other than a RED light on the back of your bike is a violation of the law in most (if not all) states. Remember that you are a VEHICLE, and must use the same rules.

Planet Bike Superflash uses AAA batteries. Used to be the gold standard. I prefer the USB rechargeables myself- I have a Cygolite Metro headlight, but haven't replaced the SuperFlash yet for the rear. I had one on each bike, but one had the lens pop off, so I only have one left. Not sure what to replace it with yet, but Cygo makes nice stuff.
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Old 08-29-16, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by chrisx
What is a good tail light? Best light means different characteristics for each rider.
Are there any that take AA batteries?Yes.
Are there any that blink yellow like a cars blinker? Not sure, VIS 180 steady on.
Which light is visable from the greatest distance? Usually high powered ones w/ rechargeable li-ion batteries.
You should add your budget. Lights can cost as little as US$1; to over US$1,000.
Have you considered dyno powered lights?

Light & Motion VIS 180 series have side amber lights added; built in rechargeable batteries. Bottom light in this photo:
Rear lites test, East River path NYC by 1nterceptor, on Flickr

Some Planetbike lights use AA/AAA:
Blaze 140 SL - Black
Superflash Turbo
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Old 08-31-16, 11:14 PM
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I am a former Senior Member poster from 8 years ago, until I let my postings lapse, so now I'm a Newbie.

I first got a Planet Bike blinkie. It didn't flash bright enough in daytime riding. Then I moved up (away moved up in price) to a Dinotte 400R. Daytime honks disappeared. Lots of drivers said, "I saw you from a half-mile behind. Nice light."

What Rob DiNotte did was to invent a taillight that enabled distracted drivers to "wake up" to cyclists, in midday sunshine, 200, 400 meters + behind them. Giving them plenty of time to cooly calculate lane shifts, and not hard-brake 25 meters behind a bicycle and get anger-stirring adrenaline rushes.

Rob deserves a Bicycling Hall of Fame award. Other companies have since built daytime visible rear lights, but in 2008, Rob was the original inventor.
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Old 08-31-16, 11:54 PM
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In 2002, I bought a Trek blinker. Sad.

Then in 2004 I bought a Planet Bike Superflash blink. Excellent at night. Worthless in mid-day summer sun.

I 08 I heard about Rob Dinotte's 400R "I thought you were an ambulance."

10X the price of my Superflash.

It proved well worth it. Daytime honks went from several per ride to about 1 per month.

What happened? Daytime drivers could see me 200-400 meters ahead of them, and cooly move to the left lane without any stress. No more seeing me 100 feet ahead, closing fast, hard braking and getting anger-stirring adrenaline rushes.

Rob DiNotte invented the high-viz daytime rear light. Since his invention, many others have joined the fray. He deserves a place in he Bicycling Hall of Fame for inventing the category of daytime-driver-alerting bike taillights.
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Old 08-31-16, 11:57 PM
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I'm a Newbie. 8 years ago I was a Senior Member
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Old 09-01-16, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by FredOldster
In 2002, I bought a Trek blinker. Sad.

Then in 2004 I bought a Planet Bike Superflash blink.
I 08 I heard about Rob Dinotte's 400R "I thought you were an ambulance."

10X the price of my Superflash.

It proved well worth it. .
The price of it, (my hand shakes as I type that).

I got side swiped by a 400 lb fat lady a couple of hours ago. Silver Nissan, 7P0H626 ca. Need a new rear rim. I tried to straighten the wheel for over an hour. It is bent. Would an amber head light have helped? She was turning left out of the buffet parking lot. I was waiting in the center for traffic to clear.
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Old 09-01-16, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by chrisx
I have read that an amber reflector is visable at 6 times the distance of a red reflector. Is that true of lights or not?....
....So gents and ladies, oh and cats, any ideas for AA AAA lighting system?
Eh...I couldn't tell you. I will say however that not all reflectors are created equal ( or reflective tape ). The best reflective product I know of used to be the reflective tape made by Reflexite. I believe they were the first manufacturers of the Highly Reflective, Microprismatic conspicuity tape. This stuff blew the original 3M stuff out of the water. Of course now I think there are many manufacturers making the same type of stuff. I see many types listed on Amazon. Some list a class as "DOT C2 " and this looks like it is using the same tech as the Reflexite tape. Anyway, it comes in all colors including white. I've been meaning to buy a roll myself but the stuff used to be very expensive. Looks like it's come down in price some. I'd like to add a small bit ( of the red ) to the back of my bike fender and to some of the gear I have at work. Yeah, I've got LED rear lights out the Wa'Zoo but can't hurt to have some non-battery powered back-up.

Oh, almost forgot, you asked, "Is that true of lights or not"?...Well, red LED's are suppose to be brighter than amber...BUT....all depends on how they are set-up. All things being equal, red would be brighter....BUT...in the real world, things are not always equal. If you've ever seen an Amber LED being used with a tight /narrow throw Reflector, along with a driver that is over-driving the LED, well...an Amber LED light can be very, very bright, even in the day. DiNotte markets an amber version of their Quad series lamps. The amber quad is being marketed as a "front conspicuous lamp". I'd love to see one in person but they are damn expensive.

Originally Posted by demoncyclist
Anything other than a RED light on the back of your bike is a violation of the law in most (if not all) states. Remember that you are a VEHICLE, and must use the same rules...
While true this falls into the same class of unenforceable laws as: Tearing the tags off of mattresses, going two MPH over the speed limit, Not stopping at the white line at an intersection, riding a bike on the wrong side of the road, driving with high beams on ( are they High beams or just bright lights ? )....anyway, etc, etc. Tonight on my way home from work I saw guy riding a Walmart bike against traffic ...AND...with a white flasher on the front of his bike ( no rear reflector or rear light ). If I'm a cop do you think I'm going to waste my time telling this guy he's riding the bike the wrong way. Nope, if I'm a cop I'm just glad he's using a front flasher because then hopefully no one will run into him.
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Old 09-01-16, 01:15 PM
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1 Inch Silver Adhesive Backed $3.75/yd
Grosgrain Ribbon and Reflective Tapes : Reflective Fabric : Seattlefabrics.com
Products: 3M? Scotchlite? Reflective Material Products & Finished Goods

Reflective tape makes a good chainstay protector
The newer stuff works quite well
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Old 09-01-16, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do
While true this falls into the same class of unenforceable laws as: ... driving with high beams on
I wouldn't call that unenforceable. When I was a reserve deputy riding with a regular deputy one night, we passed a car which didn't dim their lights, turned around and pulled it over, lo and behold the driver had outstanding warrants. I think he even got a ticket for failure to dim as well.



Tonight on my way home from work I saw guy riding a Walmart bike against traffic ...AND...with a white flasher on the front of his bike ( no rear reflector or rear light ). If I'm a cop do you think I'm going to waste my time telling this guy he's riding the bike the wrong way. Nope, if I'm a cop I'm just glad he's using a front flasher because then hopefully no one will run into him.
Depends on if the cop is bored and just looking to check the guy out for drugs, warrants, or whatever. Or the cop might want to warn him about riding the wrong way in traffic and how important it is to have a rear red reflector or taillight, depending on the law and how familiar the cop is with bicycle laws.

Or, if the cop has better things to do (like take a 10-100), he might ignore it like this:
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Old 09-01-16, 01:52 PM
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You can buy amber lights. I've used one on the front corner of my bike trailer, most useful when riding on bike paths at night, at least that was the thought.

I don't think there would be any reason to use amber (or white) on the rear.

There are a number of day lights and rechargeable lights on the market, as well as lights taking any size imaginable of battery.

I dislike the idea of using daylight taillight at full power after dark. They are just too bright, and I believe the effect of blinding may in fact be worse than not being seen.

There has been research on turning towards lights, and I believe it is worse when the rider/driver is blinded.
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Old 09-01-16, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
You can buy amber lights. I've used one on the front corner of my bike trailer, most useful when riding on bike paths at night, at least that was the thought.

I don't think there would be any reason to use amber (or white) on the rear.

There are a number of day lights and rechargeable lights on the market, as well as lights taking any size imaginable of battery.

I dislike the idea of using daylight taillight at full power after dark. They are just too bright, and I believe the effect of blinding may in fact be worse than not being seen.

There has been research on turning towards lights, and I believe it is worse when the rider/driver is blinded.
Doesn't match my experience of using high bright tail lights since they've been available. I wind them all the way up and I find that the brighter the light, the more room the drivers give me. It's predictable.

J.
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Old 09-02-16, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80
Doesn't match my experience of using high bright tail lights since they've been available. I wind them all the way up and I find that the brighter the light, the more room the drivers give me. It's predictable.

J.
Same with me.

On Strobe

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Old 09-02-16, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by chrisx
What is a good tail light?
Are there any that take AA batteries?
Are there any that blink yellow like a cars blinker?
Which light is visable from the greatest distance?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6EOXhDPaoQ
The Busch & Muller Toplights and Relite-D take AA's. They don't blink because blinking lights are illegal in Germany.
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Old 09-07-16, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by chrisx
The price of it, (my hand shakes as I type that).

I got side swiped by a 400 lb fat lady a couple of hours ago. Silver Nissan, 7P0H626 ca. Need a new rear rim. I tried to straighten the wheel for over an hour. It is bent. Would an amber head light have helped? She was turning left out of the buffet parking lot. I was waiting in the center for traffic to clear.


Not cool to hate on someone because they're fat.

If she's a jerk, that's different. Obviously no one ought to act like a jerk or endanger anyone's life.

But you shouldn't make a connection between being a jerk and being obese. That's false as well as cruel.
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Old 09-09-16, 05:50 AM
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I just got a pair of the $19/each Blitzu lights from Amazon and rode with them this morning. Red on the back, white up front.

They're pretty good. For the price, they're outstanding.

I would prefer my lights to have combination steady with flash over it, but that's easily solved by running TWO lights. Only more expensive lights do that.

I think it's a good recommendation as a first light. Seems like the mount is very good, it's bright and visibility is 180 degrees. USB rechargable, and finally someone has moved on to micro USB. Also the wider/larger light surface is more noticeable than a point source.

Right now the only light that I have that I think beats it is the Designshine, which costs 10x more. My other taillights now are a Performance Axiom Pulse 60, a Cygolite Hotshot, a Knog Blinder 4V and the lights on the Fly6.

The white front is good as a be seen over the top of my normal headlight, but the wide dispersal means that it's in my field of view no matter how I point it. In full dark (this morning also in heavy fog) it's incredibly irritating after a few minutes of it. I'm going to have to add some tape, or a 3D printed shield, or try to figure out somewhere to strap it where the bike will block it from my line of sight.
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Old 09-09-16, 08:46 AM
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I've been using a USCG-approved life vest Xenon strobe with a yellow lens on the back of my bike for over 30 years, never have been hassled by the Law. Yellow flasher means 'hazard' in/near roadway, which a cyclist generally is. Construction vehicles, mail trucks... all use yellow strobes facing the rear!



I've been commuting on a 50mph State highway with this light attached to my rack for years. People DO see it!



I d-cell lasts for 40-60 hours of use.

Are there better lights out there now? - probably. Especially with LED/rechargeable technology. When this one dies, I'll probably look for other options.
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Old 09-09-16, 09:46 AM
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I used to us an amber strobe years ago. I was buying security system lights though, and they couldn't stand the vibrations. About every year, sometimes less, the connections inside would start to crack and come apart. They were glued shut so though I could fix them, I usually couldn't get them back together again very well.
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