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Battery power vs USB rechargeable tail light

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Battery power vs USB rechargeable tail light

Old 06-27-17, 08:57 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by etw View Post
I regularly use some type of flasher tail light. I previously used a Planet bike super flash turbo. Periodically I would have to put in new batteries. I figured it might be good to be a little more ecological and try a USB rechargeable light. I found one last year that was nice and compact, good design nice and bright. The problem is that it no longer holds a charge particularly well and actually has gone dead while I am on longer rides.

I am wondering what experiences and opinions others have about USB vs batteries.
By choice, all my lights use batteries. I have a supply of rechargeable NiMH batteries ready so that my lights are always capable of being used. And if any of the batteries becomes un-chargeable, I can replace them cheaply or use alkaline batteries. With a USB rechargeable light if you do a pre-ride check and the unit needs recharging, you have two choices - go without a light or delay your ride.
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Old 06-27-17, 02:41 PM
  #27  
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Yeah, I think that rechargeable NiMH are probably the way to go. I can easily switch out the batteries when needed and have a set charged and ready.
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Old 06-27-17, 06:21 PM
  #28  
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Make sure the light you buy or use will operate on Ni-MH batteries. The voltage output for a carbon battery or an alkaline battery is 1.5 volts. If you test a new one the voltage with no load can be 1.61 for carbon batteries (called heavy duty these days) to 1.71 for the more expensive name brand alkaline batteries. The voltage for a NiMH battery is 1.2 volts. The ones I have read 1.27 V fully charged and under no load. When I was first given a couple of NiMH batteries and a charger a few years ago, I threw them out because they would not work with the things I wanted to power. Today they are common in some phones and solar powered lights. Those were designed to work on the lower voltage. So, if you try to power an LED light that works on 3 AAA batteries at 4.5 nominal volts it may not work on 3 NiMH batteries at 3.6 nominal volts.

I really like lights that are powered by 18650 Li-ion batteries (3.7 V). There are lots of inexpensive CREE XML-T6 flashlights that can be mounted on a bike handlebar with the proper mount. They are bright (~1000 honest lumens) and can be focused and aimed as you please. The batteries are reasonable compared to throw away batteries as they can be recharged hundreds of times.
A new one with the battery horizontal to the handlebars has shown up recently for $10, battery not included. Pretty compact and includes the mount. 1500LM LED 18650 Battery Bicycle Head Light Lamp Torch 3 Mode Bright Flashlight | eBay With this one you can carry a spare battery if needed but the run time should be around 2.5 hours on high mode. That's about what I get with the similar flashlight.
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Old 07-02-17, 04:36 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
I've been really impressed with the Bontrager Flare. I used to use the Hotshots. The Flare has better optics (IMHO) that make it more visible than other lights with more lumens.

The Flare also has a version with a remote wireless switch so you can switch down and change modes while riding. This is really nice for group rides, I'm told.
Thanks for posting this. I've been waiting years for someone to make a wireless remote version taillight. The Flare though is only listing output at 65 lumen tops. At that output a remote isn't really necessary IMO. The optics of the Flare are something I'd like to see. Since Bontrager claims it is really visible at distance during the day I would have to figure that the optic must provide a very narrow output. Not everyone wants a rear light with a narrow optical output. The popular trend is for an intermediate optic or wide optic. I'm more into intermediate optics coupled with a bit more power which is why I like the newer Cygolites and Serfas 150's.

What I'd really like to see is someone market a more powerful / compact rear light that has a couple nice 300 lumen daytime flash modes coupled with a good number of lower night time modes....then have the option of a wireless remote. Make the whole kit so it can work with two ( replaceable ) internal 18650's and then also offer a charging port that would allow you to use a phone battery bank charger ( to charge the lamp ) and still be able to operate the lamp at the same time....is this too much to ask for?
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Old 07-02-17, 04:48 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
Thanks for posting this. I've been waiting years for someone to make a wireless remote version taillight. The Flare though is only listing output at 65 lumen tops. At that output a remote isn't really necessary IMO. The optics of the Flare are something I'd like to see. Since Bontrager claims it is really visible at distance during the day I would have to figure that the optic must provide a very narrow output. Not everyone wants a rear light with a narrow optical output. The popular trend is for an intermediate optic or wide optic. I'm more into intermediate optics coupled with a bit more power which is why I like the newer Cygolites and Serfas 150's.

What I'd really like to see is someone market a more powerful / compact rear light that has a couple nice 300 lumen daytime flash modes coupled with a good number of lower night time modes....then have the option of a wireless remote. Make the whole kit so it can work with two ( replaceable ) internal 18650's and then also offer a charging port that would allow you to use a phone battery bank charger ( to charge the lamp ) and still be able to operate the lamp at the same time....is this too much to ask for?
The Flare actually punches way above its weight in the lumen department. Bontrager talks about how they spent a lot of work on the optics. I'd say they're right - I have a See.Sense light set that is supposed to be well over 200 lumens and I perceive the Flare as net brighter.
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Old 07-10-17, 09:40 PM
  #31  
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I recently got this Apace Vision usb rechargeable tail light and I couldn't be happier.
https://www.amazon.com/Apace-Vision-...s=apace+vision
It's bright and the charge lasts a long time. I do night commutes once/week and it's been on my bike for a month and it's still going strong. I'd definitely get another.
PBSF's and others taught me that changing batteries is a PITA.
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Old 07-11-17, 10:35 AM
  #32  
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Usually AA/AAA powered lights will have less illumination compared to li-ion lights. And/or
shorter run times at the same output. But if you're happy with the output of replaceable battery
lights; just use Sanyo Eneloops.
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Old 07-11-17, 12:42 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
I recently got this Apace Vision usb rechargeable tail light and I couldn't be happier.
https://www.amazon.com/Apace-Vision-...s=apace+vision
It's bright and the charge lasts a long time. I do night commutes once/week and it's been on my bike for a month and it's still going strong. I'd definitely get another.
PBSF's and others taught me that changing batteries is a PITA.
I bought one of the same lights just a couple months ago. Not a bad light. Not super bright IMO but for typical night time / sunset use I would consider it brighter than what I see most people using. I use mine on steady low and mount it under my Hotshot 150. At some point though I'll likely stop using it or just use it for back-up. I only bought it because it was cheap and I thought it might add a bit more side lighting. While it does put some light out to the sides it really doesn't do what I was hoping it would do.

While talking about it I noticed a couple things. First, you can actually use these on the seat stays too although the rubber band that holds it is not going to hold it real tight. That might be fixable by just adding some rubber shims. I already have lamps on my seat stays ( which I don't use ) so I'll not use mine that way. The only thing about these that I don't like is the mounting system. The rubber band looks as though it probably won't last long. It's very thin so I'm figuring if it gets dry-rot and breaks the lamp will just fall off.
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Old 07-12-17, 04:30 PM
  #34  
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It pays to have a variety of tail lights, anyway. I always ride with a rear rack bag and/or rear panniers. The rack bags block view of a seat-post-mounted tail light. The panniers block view of seat-stay mounted tail lights. I have a tail light bolted to the rack itself on two bikes (Topeak rack on one and I forget what's on the other). The Blackburn rack on a third bike doesn't have anywhere good to mount a tail light (it's an oddball rack that mounts to the brake bridge). I'd love to find a tail light that I could trust on the straps they put on the panniers and rack bags. The straps are there specifically for clipping a tail light to, but I lost one tail light used that way when I hit a bump in the road and I won't try that again unless I can find a tail light with a better mounting system than a plastic clip.

I'll have to try a helmet-mounted tail light some time, but I'll still want lights on the bike.
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Old 07-12-17, 05:15 PM
  #35  
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Helmet mounted tail lights aren't very noticeable to me. Maybe they are to others.
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Old 07-12-17, 07:35 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by etw View Post
I regularly use some type of flasher tail light. I previously used a Planet bike super flash turbo. Periodically I would have to put in new batteries. I figured it might be good to be a little more ecological and try a USB rechargeable light. I found one last year that was nice and compact, good design nice and bright. The problem is that it no longer holds a charge particularly well and actually has gone dead while I am on longer rides.

I am wondering what experiences and opinions others have about USB vs batteries.
I have been using a 60 lumen Serfas USB rechargeable for 4 years. The battery can last for many long rides, but I generally charge it every 1 or 2 moderate rides (30 mi minimum). Haven't had any issue with it holding charge. It is bright enough to see in the day for at least 1/4 mi.

I ride about 2500 mi / yr, but I reckon use the light less than 1/2 of that distance.

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Old 07-13-17, 03:55 AM
  #37  
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Cygolite Hotshot pro tips

Pro tip first. Little known fact, the rubber mount on the Hotshot Micro can replace the bag clip on the Hotshot 50, 100 and 150! In my opinion this pairs the best mount with the best light. The problem is noone seems to know this yet. I'd contact your local bike shop whom sells cygolite tail lights first and if they don't have them or don't offer to get them i would contact cygolite direct. Also poke around on the internet. Maybe someone is selling the hotshot micro mounts seperately on amazon or somewhere.

More details on the mounts.

I love the cygolite but their mounts are their one week point. They have a clip which i find too floppy on a seat bag and i have seen bounced off before.

Alternatively they come with hard plastic seatpost mounts or sometimes chainstay mounts. While this may work for many people whom only have one bike i need to switch it between seven different bikes at any moments notice thus i like rubberized mounts. I used to make them for myself and friends out of other light mounts but one day after DIY'ing one for the 12th time I emailed Cygolite on this and they told me that you can actually replace the clip on the back of of the Hot Shot with the rubber mount on the Hotshot Micro and they said they usually did not sell them and offered a couple for free, but being a local bike shop guy and selling hundreds of their lights a year i insisted on paying for them and said i wanted a couple dozen to start with. /run-on

In store I charge a $5 upcharge on the mounts... best combo ever. The old clip is tricky to get off. It actually slides to the side but there is a hidden release underneath the clip. Very tricky to remove the first time, but if you have the new mount in hand it should be a little more apparent how they go own and off. I suspect its because they were never meant to be removed.

(In case you are wondering. Sorry, i cannot mail you one. I am not posting here for the money or business. I actually read these threads because i like you am looking for the next best thing that will replace the Hotshot, but i could not pass on offering a few tips. All hail the current king. Now lets kill it and find a new king!)

Pro tip #2: Club / group riding.

As mentioned at 50, 100 and 150 lumen the hot shot can seem too bright for rides with groups. Even in broad daylight the 150 can have the person behind you seeing red spots. This is easily rectified. Most obviously you can put it on steady mode and dim it until it is less annoying. This is particularly nice for night mountain biking. As for daytime i love the daylight triple flash mode so i suggest simply angling it a little toward the ground and/or mounting it below a tail bag so your tail bag blocks it from blinking in the eyes of those whom are immediatley drafting off you yet it can be seen from cars approaching.

More hotshot tips and background.

I love the cygolite hotshot tailights and this year they come in 50, 100 and 150 lumen versions for $30, $40 and $50 msrp. They all last 30 or more hours on a charge in the triple flash mode (for daylight). Starting at $30 everyone and their grand mother should have one. I personally am going to upgrade to the $50 every time. It's a no brainer, my life is worth the extra $20 and it looks to me to be considerably brighter in broad daylight when on the road. My last one was a the 50 lumen of a couple years ago which was $50 back then. Like all good tech they seem to take a leap in brightness and longevity every couple years.

I have a planned obsolence on lights. Every couple years i get a new one simply because the brightness and longevity seem to double. I keep the old one and use it as a backup so i have a couple on hand. I tend to lend my old ligts to people a lot on group rides Total use is thus 4-6 years on a light if i do not break it or loose it. My last 50 lumen cygolite bounced due the clip... hence why i started making and looking for better mounts.

On batteries. I personally used to be a AAA or AA battery only guy because i do a lot of touring, i.e. things like the great divide mbike route where there was no time/place to charge stuff. However the longevity and brightness of the new usb lights is just so good it ceases to matter. To me external battery lights are a dying category but i hope they don't go down without a fight because i hate charging stuff when touring.



HEADLIGHTS!

Here's my other big pro tip. Everyone is so worried about getting hit from behind they forget to get a headlight, but a good headlight is just as important if not more important then a tail light. I have seen more cases of cars pulling out in front of cyclists at night they i have of those being hit from the rear. I think this is because cyclists fear what they cannot see... but here's a news flash... it takes about 3 seconds for a stopped car to accelerate from the left hand turn lane or side street or parking lot across your lane. Unless you can stop in 3 seconds you are toast. More on this later.

My favorite headlight right now are the serfas e-lume series of headlights. They blink at full brightness for **50 hours** on a charge in daylight blink mode. This is so superb and so bright i thought it was a typo when in first saw them but they are phenomenal.

They were 200, 450, 600, 850, 1500 lumen and even higher at $30, $45, $60, $85 and $140 and up but they just released the new crop which are even better priced at $27.50/250 lumen, $45/500 lumen, $60/650lumen, $85/900 lumen and so on.

Even if you only get the $27.50 one it is phenomenaly bright. Everyone and their grandmother should have one of these. As for me i am going to go with a $60 or $85 price point and get a new one every couple years since they seem to double in brightness and longevity and because i also mbike and bike commute with them and enjoy the extra lumens to see he road and trail. Planned obsolescence. It's still cheaper then and better for the environment then AA batteries and AAA bateries... but those lights still hae their uses.

https://www.serfas.com/product-tag/e-lume/

Mounts. Did i mention the e-lume also have the best mounts of any light I've tried? They work on any handlebar from 26.0 up to 30mm+ and will even fit over cables and bar tape. Very flexible. Very stable, don't seem to shake annoyigly on rough terrain. Even better you can also get a headlamp mount for full on night riding in the winter. Headlamps are a must for night mbiking, but now i am off topic.


Why headlamps are so important. My personal story.

I litterally thought i had eagle eyes from years of daily riding in chicago but in a quiet rural town one day a lady sitting in the left turn lane suddenly decided to go as i was riding through the light and hit me and my friend nearly head on. She barely accelerated to 10mph in the milliseconds it took her to cross into our lane, but as we had the light and were going with traffic we were biking at just about 20mph. I was the lucky one and went over the hood. My friend took out the windshield. I got a broken toe, some cracked ribs, some road rash and a new bike, kit, helmet, frame bags. He got a life flight, five broken vertebrae, a turtle shell brace for months, a halo neck brace for six months and possibly a life time of pain and reprecussions. I remember everything and i have the guilt because he was on my wheel and I am paranoid about people rolling through stops or simply pulling out in front of me. He remembers nothing from the incident as he was knocked unconscious but has not really ever fully gotten back into biking in the way he once was. We both had good lights... they weren't on yet on because it was still an hour or so before sunset and this was before the current days of super bright daylight LEDs. We were saving our batteries.

Would a 250 lumen daylight strobe headlight for $27.50 have saved our butts? Probably. Would a 600 or 900 daylight blink have save us? Undoubteadly! But so would have impeding traffic a tiny bit and taking the full lane as we went through the intersection... i didn't take the lane because it was a small town with only 2 lanes and a turn lane down the middle and no parked cars... just three or four cars around... but it is always when you least expect it.

I started slowing and yelling probably as instantly as she started accelerating but from the moment she hit gas pedal the collision was unavoidable. There was simply no warning and no time to react.

In summary. If they don't see you it is probably already to late. Make sure you are seen both front and rear.

Let them think you are a police officer or a ufo or a traffic accident... just make sure you are seen.

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Old 07-13-17, 05:17 AM
  #38  
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An Amazon vendor saw my posts here and asked me to review her new tail light, offering me a discount in exchange for reviewing the light. It is powered by an internal dynamo and a spoke-mounted magnet. I agreed to the deal and can let you all know if you're interested.

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Old 07-13-17, 04:52 PM
  #39  
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Ditto, Tom, I got the same offer. I'll probably give it a try on my errand or casual group ride bikes. Looks easy to set up.
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Old 07-14-17, 03:39 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
An Amazon vendor saw my posts here and asked me to review her new tail light, offering me a discount in exchange for reviewing the light. It is powered by an internal dynamo and a spoke-mounted magnet. I agreed to the deal and can let you all know if you're interested.
Are you going to review the red light or the red/blue light? I'm curious if the red/blue light has a red-only mode. Too bad you can't review both side-by-side. I imagine the red light could be brighter than the red/blue one in it's hypothetical red-only mode.
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Old 07-14-17, 04:44 PM
  #41  
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I ordered the red. Some of our casual group ride safety monitors dislike anything but standard red rear/white front lights. And I'm planning to try this light on nighttime group rides to get feedback from other cyclists.

I can see their point. At a quick glance the direction and orientation of a blue bike light is not apparent. Are they coming or going? Is it a bicycle mounted police or security patrol?

But I don't think it matters much with spoke lights. Those festive LEDs on wheels are very visible and not mistaken for police/security, and the direction is obvious when the bikes are moving. In most ways those are the best nighttime safety lights. I'd like to see rotating spoke lights combined with a simple clip-on magneto. No batteries to recharge or replace, and these rotating LEDs don't need to be very bright to be highly visible.
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Old 07-14-17, 07:40 PM
  #42  
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I had a red/blue alternating spoke light. An oncoming car driver stopped and pulled over! Not a good idea.

The woman said I could try either or both. I chose the red.
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Old 07-15-17, 05:13 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by mmeiser View Post
Pro tip first. Little known fact, the rubber mount on the Hotshot Micro can replace the bag clip on the Hotshot 50, 100 and 150! In my opinion this pairs the best mount with the best light.....
Thanks for the tip on the rubber Hotshot Micro mount. Does the Micro mount pivot as well? If it does I'm getting one of those mounts for my Hotshot 150.

Originally Posted by mmeiser View Post
....I literally thought i had eagle eyes from years of daily riding in chicago but in a quiet rural town one day a lady sitting in the left turn lane suddenly decided to go as i was riding through the light and hit me and my friend nearly head on....
That's pretty much how a buddy of mine at work got killed only he was on a motorcycle. I truly believe that a good daylight strobe can perhaps save many a life, particularly at intersections where people are turning and or if there is not a traffic signal... then even more important. On occasion though, it really won't make a difference. Just the other day I was driving my work vehicle down a busy multi-lane road and some A-**** just pulls out right in front of me. Thankfully I have super great reflexes and very good driving skills. I still don't know how I managed to "Not" hit them. I swerved and braked at the same time with cars all around me. I guess I just got lucky. Point I'm making is, "There are idiots out there driving that must be half blind. Do what you can to make yourself seen if riding a bike on a public road. Take nothing for granted. I turn all my strobes on whenever going through busy or dangerous intersections, day or night. That said I think it's probably saved my butt on a number of occasions. ( I can use a helmet and bar strobe if needed ).
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Old 07-17-17, 06:23 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
An Amazon vendor saw my posts here and asked me to review her new tail light, offering me a discount in exchange for reviewing the light. It is powered by an internal dynamo and a spoke-mounted magnet. I agreed to the deal and can let you all know if you're interested.
Very interested in a review of this light, especially it's brightness when compared to other battery lights, and of course the construction and reliability of it.

The similar Ventura light didn't get very good reviews.
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Old 07-17-17, 07:35 AM
  #45  
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I have both types of head lights and tail lights. In either case it's a pita when you run out of power. With usb, you have to look for the cable and charge it for a few hours. For dry cells, you have to scrounge around and look for the extra batteries if still have some. And if they are rechargeable batteries, the number is always odd so you end up with one extra waiting to be charged later or you have to find another one to match it in the charger.
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Old 07-17-17, 11:31 AM
  #46  
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The light arrived in the mail yesterday. I opened the package. When I run the magnet past the sensor back and forth rapidly, the light does light up. It also produces a rattle inside the light which I can hear and feel. I'll attach it to my bike to try it out as soon as I can.
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Old 07-24-17, 12:02 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
The light arrived in the mail yesterday. I opened the package. When I run the magnet past the sensor back and forth rapidly, the light does light up. It also produces a rattle inside the light which I can hear and feel. I'll attach it to my bike to try it out as soon as I can.
I look forward to your review of this rear light. Recently I've been seeing these on a lot of websites but most notably on Amazon. I'm doubtful that they are that bright but that remains to be seen. Still, I'd like to see bike manufacturers supply these as standard OEM equipment ( front and rear ) on all new bikes. Of course if they did some people might think that everyone is going to see them at night and that would be a bad thing. At least they should be better than standard reflectors but all depends on how they hold up over time.
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Old 07-24-17, 07:42 AM
  #48  
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@01 CAt Man Do, the trouble is I don't see how to make a light that is both good and cheap.
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Old 07-24-17, 08:20 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
I look forward to your review of this rear light. Recently I've been seeing these on a lot of websites but most notably on Amazon. I'm doubtful that they are that bright but that remains to be seen. Still, I'd like to see bike manufacturers supply these as standard OEM equipment ( front and rear ) on all new bikes. Of course if they did some people might think that everyone is going to see them at night and that would be a bad thing. At least they should be better than standard reflectors but all depends on how they hold up over time.
I got one of the blue/red variants of this light. I haven't taken it out on the road yet, but I installed it last night. I won't write a review until I've had it on the road, but I can share some pictures and unedited video. Also note: it was too thick to mount on the seatstays of my Klein Performance; it hit the spokes. I was able to mount it on the rack legs. And it doesn't light up when you're standing still, so I wouldn't recommend it as your only tail light.

Stills, as installed
Video, with lights on, from the rear, compared to my alkaline-powered NightRider tail light
Video, lights off, from the rear, compared to NightRider
Video, lights off, from the side, compared to NightRider

I think it would be brighter if I could mount it closer to the magnets. Not that it's dim (as far as I could tell in my basement), but it's clearly not as bright as the NightRider.
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Old 07-25-17, 12:49 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@01 CAt Man Do, the trouble is I don't see how to make a light that is both good and cheap.
Isn't that the truth. Good getting cheaper is largely due to the falling cost of technology.
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