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Recommendations for Rural light

Old 02-21-17, 12:01 PM
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mooler
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Recommendations for Rural light

Hello All. I was wondering if anyone could give a recommendation for a good all around bike light for use in a suburban/rural environment. I have narrowed it down to 3 choices, but I am eager to hear what others think.

Cygolite Metro 750
Cygolite Expilion 850
Niterider Lumina 750

I mainly plan on riding on unlit bike paths and perhaps some easy MTB trails but I am also going to be riding on unlit roads where cars are going 55-60. My night vision is awful so I am thinking the more light the better, but I know there are many other factors that go into it.

Just for reference, my current light is a 15 dollar "flashlight" style that I purchased on Amazon. Needless to say, I need something more.

USB rechargeable isnt a deal breaker as I have been looking into lights that use external packs as well, but I have no experience with those.

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks guys and gals
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Old 02-21-17, 01:09 PM
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I use a Serfas E-Lume 1500. A little salty at $140 but it throws out plenty of light. It has 4 settings and i ride in the next to lowest setting with plenty of light for country roads with no street lights.
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Old 02-21-17, 01:57 PM
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I ride mostly on rural roads. My choice is a Chinese light, ideally a spotty one with a wide angle lens fitted to the front. For battery I use one of the waterproof cases that allow you to buy high quality batteries to put in. Total cost all in is around $50 for a headlight.

I have a Cygolite Metro 550 as a backup and summer light. I like it well enough, the 750 may be a good light. I just need about 3 hours of runtime per day so the light with the external (and replaceable) battery is good.
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Old 02-21-17, 02:19 PM
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I'm sure any of the three you listed will suit you fine. Those are two good companies.
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Old 02-21-17, 03:26 PM
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I got an Ixon IQ2, from B&M of Germany. they designed it to shine on the road, not into the oncoming drivers eyes.
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Old 02-21-17, 03:45 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far! Keep them coming!

I guess another concern I have is the beam. Most lights I have seen/used in the past have a very narrow spot beam that creates a sort of tunnel vision. Anyone out there have experience with the Fenix BC21R? That light seems to be more of a flood style beam.
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Old 02-21-17, 03:58 PM
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I've used the Niterider for many, many early morning training rides on pitch black country roads. It's up to the task, but any of those others are too.

I've been known to mount a second light to my helmet so whatever I'm looking at is illuminated (and so I can get revenge on oncoming traffic that doesn't turn off its brights) but anymore I find that to be overkill, and a hassle.
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Old 02-21-17, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mooler View Post
Hello All. I was wondering if anyone could give a recommendation for a good all around bike light for use in a suburban/rural environment. I have narrowed it down to 3 choices, but I am eager to hear what others think.

Cygolite Metro 750
Cygolite Expilion 850
Niterider Lumina 750

I mainly plan on riding on unlit bike paths and perhaps some easy MTB trails but I am also going to be riding on unlit roads where cars are going 55-60. My night vision is awful so I am thinking the more light the better, but I know there are many other factors that go into it.

Just for reference, my current light is a 15 dollar "flashlight" style that I purchased on Amazon. Needless to say, I need something more.

USB rechargeable isnt a deal breaker as I have been looking into lights that use external packs as well, but I have no experience with those.

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks guys and gals
Because of your riding on roads that are full speed highways, I would make sure you have more light up to about 1500 lumens so you are at least as visible as a vehicle. At highway speeds, a car covers 1000' in just over 11 seconds. You need to be seen - front and back - easily and quickly. With any light of that brightness, you can always run it lower for when you are not on the highway.

You will also need a high bright tail light not one of the little "blinkie" lights.

I live in a suburban but rural (emphasis on rural) where traffic runs at those speeds all the time. I live in the northern latitudes where it gets dark early in the fall (4:30pm) so I do a lot of riding at night. Until I got a high bright tail light, I had continual issues with cars coming too close. Until I rode with about 1500 lumens, I didn't feel I had sufficient light to ride at speed down hills or to really get the visibility needed to prevent a car from right or left crossing in front of me.

J.
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Old 02-21-17, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mooler View Post
Thanks for the replies so far! Keep them coming!

I guess another concern I have is the beam. Most lights I have seen/used in the past have a very narrow spot beam that creates a sort of tunnel vision. Anyone out there have experience with the Fenix BC21R? That light seems to be more of a flood style beam.
my night riding is primarily on dark rural roads. I've found that I prefer a relatively narrow headlight beam. With wide beams, I found that they put a lot of light very close to me, and this reduced my ability to adapt to the darkness. The result was that I couldn't see far away as well as I could with a narrow beam.

The width that I prefer is roughly 8 degrees from side to side, where the side is defined as the point where the brightness has dropped to half of the peak brightness.

In a rural area with no ambient lights, your eyes will be more sensitive than when they are constantly exposed to a lot of ambient light. I find that I'm able to ride comfortably with less light than what I need in an area with street lights, yard lights, etc.

There's very little info available about bike light beam patterns, but Light and Motion has published some data on their lights and those of some competitors. You can look at them here:
We Test Lights | Independent Tests, Reviews and Technical Comparison of LED Lights


Steve in Peoria
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Old 02-21-17, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
Because of your riding on roads that are full speed highways, I would make sure you have more light up to about 1500 lumens so you are at least as visible as a vehicle. At highway speeds, a car covers 1000' in just over 11 seconds. You need to be seen - front and back - easily and quickly. With any light of that brightness, you can always run it lower for when you are not on the highway.

You will also need a high bright tail light not one of the little "blinkie" lights.

I live in a suburban but rural (emphasis on rural) where traffic runs at those speeds all the time. I live in the northern latitudes where it gets dark early in the fall (4:30pm) so I do a lot of riding at night. Until I got a high bright tail light, I had continual issues with cars coming too close. Until I rode with about 1500 lumens, I didn't feel I had sufficient light to ride at speed down hills or to really get the visibility needed to prevent a car from right or left crossing in front of me.

J.
Thanks for the recommendation! I am looking at the Cygolite Hotshot 100 for a tail light.
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Old 02-21-17, 11:37 PM
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Thanks everyone. I pulled the trigger and went with a pair of Cygolite Metro 850's (less expensive than the 750's but thats not always a good thing) and a pair of Cygolite Hotshot 100's on the tail. One set for me, and one set for my wife. Why have one when you can have two at twice the price, right? The Cygolite's seemed to have the best bang for the buck and 850 is more than enough for what I will be doing 95% of the time. My wife is not convinced that cars will see us, no matter what light we get. So i may just have to get a 1200+ Lumen headlight for myself, put on that reflective vest and hit the highway I wont be going very far but riding around on subdivision streets isnt very much fun! Hopefully I made the best choice.
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Old 02-21-17, 11:38 PM
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I'm partial to the Light & Motion beam pattern, but it's only a bit better than the comparably bright Niteriders, Cygolites and other good headlights. The L&M Urban 500 and 800 have just a bit softer transition between the center hotspot and peripheral spill, and a bit wider overall beam.

The drawback is too much spill overhead, which can blind oncoming cyclists, so I'm careful to tip my Urban 500 down while on the MUP, and mostly use the lowest output on the MUP. I'm planning to try some homebrewed hoods to confine the beam to the road. My prototype made from an old black plastic 35mm film cannister looks promising.

For serious nighttime rural, single track and off road, check out Light & Motion's Taz lights, and the new Serfas E-Lume lights with dual LEDs.

Main drawback to the L&M Urban? Can't run and recharge simultaneously from an external USB battery pack. To me, that's a big deal. All my other devices can run and recharge simultaneously from my Jackery USB battery pack. So, while I really like the L&M Urban 500, I wouldn't buy another L&M light until they add that feature.

I do have a lower power Serfas SL-255 that runs on AA batteries and it's an outstanding value. Solidly made, weatherproof, with a better mount than the L&M lights. If the E-Lume can run/recharge simultaneously from an external USB battery, that'll probably be my next high power light.
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Old 02-21-17, 11:46 PM
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Regarding taillights, I really like two very different types:
  • The Cygolite Hotshots. For nighttime use, really, the lowest power Hotshot SL 50 is plenty bright enough. If you do a lot of daytime riding and want a rear red blinker/strober/flasher to get attention, go for the Hotshot 150. There isn't enough difference between the 50 and 80 to notice, so get whichever seems to be the best value on Amazon, REI, wherever you shop.
  • The Planet Bike Blinky multi-LED taillight/reflectors. These things may seem unsexy and low tech, but I still like 'em. Both bikes have combo taillight/reflectors, in addition to other blinkies. For one thing, they have a wider angle of view and are more visible from the sides. For another, they have reflectors and can easily be seen by vehicle headlights.

I also run a Blackburn 2'Fer on my helmet, on the rear in red flashing mode. Great light, weighs nothing, and unlike bike mounted lights is still visible in traffic above car roof lines. I wouldn't ride without helmet lights in addition to bike mounted lights. I'd guesstimate maybe 5% of the other cyclists I see also wear helmet lights and it really boosts their visibility from a distance and closeup in traffic.

The lights don't even need to be bright. But the multiple vertically oriented points of light assist drivers in quickly gauging approach speed, distance, direction, etc.
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Old 02-22-17, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mooler View Post
Hopefully I made the best choice.
I don't think making the best choice the important thing. The important thing is to make a good choice, and you did.

At a restaurant, I find something on the menu I will like, and I stop reading. I don't need to know every choice and imagine how much better each is than everything else.
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Old 02-22-17, 02:05 PM
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As I mentioned, my fav is to buy a spotty beam then fit a wide angle lens on the front. This gives a wide/flat beam that does not blind drivers.

If you buy a flat out flood light then you'll be blinding people.
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Old 02-23-17, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I don't think making the best choice the important thing. The important thing is to make a good choice, and you did.

At a restaurant, I find something on the menu I will like, and I stop reading. I don't need to know every choice and imagine how much better each is than everything else.
What a great way to look at things. I'm going to make that my personal mantra

I received my lights today and the wife and I hit the bike path for a quick 5 mile ride. Talk about a night and day difference. The Cygolite 850 was a good choice after all. It has a wider beam than I expected. The bike path we ride runs between farms with pockets of wooded tunnel-like sections so illuminating the sides of the path is beneficial to avoid striking wildlife. We had a deer jump out in front of us last year. Granted, that was during the day but I imagine that could be catastrophic. This light is more than bright enough for short road rides <1hr, On high, its rated only 1:15-1:30hr. Medium is perfect for the path.

The Cygolite Hotshot 100 is eye piercing at the right (or wrong) angle but I am confident that I will be seen.

Last edited by mooler; 02-23-17 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 02-25-17, 08:50 AM
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I need to buy something similar after my Niterider died. The niterider lumina series are great lights let down by poor mounts. Mine bounced out of the mount and fell enough that it finally died.

I like the look of the Serfas someone linked to. I like a light that's bright enough to run on medium most of the time so that I'm not recharging every ride. Intown I can get away with 4-700 lumens, but having the extra overhead is comforting.
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Old 02-25-17, 07:06 PM
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The Serfas have good sturdy mounts. The rubber is very rigid and doesn't stretch much. They're made with metal pins and several slots for the pins to adjust for the tubing diameter. Then the latch cams the clamping mechanism securely. There's also a rubber shim inside the mount to accommodate more tubing diameters.

I've read one complaint of a Serfas mounting tearing loose. I'm guessing the owner over-torqued the clamping mechanism. The trick is to be patient getting the right fit with the metal pin and slots, and deciding whether to use the rubber shim or remove it. Once you find the right adjustment it shouldn't require a lot of pressure on the clamp to hold it securely. I ride some badly bombed out roads and the Serfas mount and light have never budged.

I don't really care for the stretchy rubber band mounts like the one on my Light & Motion Urban 500. Arthritis in my hands sometimes makes it difficult to attach/detach that mount. Great light otherwise.

But my next higher output light will probably be a Serfas or other model with a clamp that's easier for me to use and still secure.
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Old 02-25-17, 07:45 PM
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I do mostly rural riding and and am very happy with the Cygolite 800, so I think you'll find those suit your needs.
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Old 02-26-17, 07:41 PM
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This is what I'm running on my road bike for the exact same purpose as the OP:
RAVEMEN pr900

Was using a wiz20 but this one I find a little more versatile for pavement use. And less complaining about blinding oncoming riders, drivers etc.

Was using a hotshot for a taillight, never again. Their great for those directly behind you but have almost no side visibility. Good as a backup flasher on my lid but since I got a Ituo Bolt, the hotshot just gets stuffed on my helmet on day rides. I ride some urban type as well as open country. 0 close calls now with cars at night since I switched.

No way I would skimp on a taillighy riding open country roads anymore. During the day the hotshots are nice as my helmet flasher but at night their just so tiny their really not that visible unless the car is right behind me.
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Old 02-26-17, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
This is what I'm running on my road bike for the exact same purpose as the OP:
RAVEMEN pr900

Was using a wiz20 but this one I find a little more versatile for pavement use. And less complaining about blinding oncoming riders, drivers etc.
I'm really interested in that Ravemen light! The low beam for MUP would be perfect! The mount looks good too, being a proper screw down mount.

One question though - Is the light quick releasable from the mount?
EDIT: I just saw that it is indeed quick release. Looks like a nifty light! I like the remote function too.

Last edited by EricSteven5; 02-26-17 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 02-27-17, 09:09 AM
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Don't buy cheap Chinese rechargeable lights as fire danger when charging is high. If you are riding trails look at the Gemini Line. I have the Duo at 2300 lumens - small enough for helmet mount and plenty bright. Works great so far. I also have a cygolight 450 it is good light as well but more of a backup than primary.
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Old 02-27-17, 01:06 PM
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The Blackburn taillights have good side visibility. They don't use collimating lenses or reflectors to concentrate brightness directly behind the rider. Instead they use mostly white backgrounds, covers that are clear on the back and diffused along the edges to distribute the light more evenly.

I've compared the apparent brightness of Blackburn, Cygolite and other major taillight brands at REI -- they have a convenient display rack so you can step back and evaluate every light. The Blackburns work as well as any, with better off-axis visibility than many.
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Old 02-27-17, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
As I mentioned, my fav is to buy a spotty beam then fit a wide angle lens on the front. This gives a wide/flat beam that does not blind drivers.

If you buy a flat out flood light then you'll be blinding people.
This, and then pair it with a focused beam on your helmet. The wide angle makes you more visible and helps see more off to the side, the focused beam helps you see further down the road and into turns.
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Old 02-28-17, 10:54 PM
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I'm surprised no one mentioned Dinotte. They are expensive, but high quality. Customer support is excellent. I have a 600L headlight and 140L tail light from them that I bought 10 years ago. Cutting edge LED back then. Their latest headlight is more than twice as bright as mine (and mine is plenty bright). The tail light is incredibly bright (the latest version is something like 3 times as bright as mine).

I recently had issues with my headlight (2 of 3 LED's went out). I was trying to decide whether to send it in for repair, or upgrade to the newest light. I decided to pull it apart myself and try to fix. Found a couple of cold solder joints to the LED's and resoldered them. Back in business. I guess I'll delay the upgrade. Even the original battery is still good.

I'm not up on all the newer lights, but I'll get another from Dinotte if mine ever need replacement.
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