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"Be seen" front light

Old 08-31-17, 10:33 AM
  #1  
ericcc65
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"Be seen" front light

I'm looking for a front light that I can run in the daytime to be seen. Really, I more or less want a superflash or something like that but with a white light. Unfortunately, all the front lights I'm seeing are trying to function as lights that illuminate the path ahead. Can anyone point me to something that would work? Criteria is something like this:

- White LED
- Long runtime (dozens of hours)
- Flashing mode
- Wide beam, and/or side lights or portals
- Bright enough to catch the attention of cars in front of me (eg. at intersections)
- Reasonably priced (like a superflash or my radbot 1000)

I have a little cateye blinking light but it's coin cell operated and so doesn't have a long runtime. Any ideas?
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Old 08-31-17, 11:38 AM
  #2  
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I like Cygolite, they have nice flash modes. The Dash models are small and relatively cheap. The 460 I'm looking at now runs a fair amount of time in flash modes (they say up to 63 hours). However, remember that runtime is inversely proportional to brightness and flash duration. Daylight visible combined with long runtimes will mean that you want something with a short strobe duration, like one or two short (50ms ish) flashes per second to stretch battery life. It'll still be visible but won't kill the battery.
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Old 08-31-17, 11:44 AM
  #3  
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Cygolite Dash 460

https://www.rei.com/product/110177/c...ont-bike-light

(Amazon has it cheaper than REI today, even with REI's 25% off Labor day sale. You might find them new on eBay too for less. I got a Cygolite rear red light on eBay for a GREAT price.)

I've had it about 3 months and I love it. I've tested it where I parked the bike and walked away and from 100 yards it was EASILY visible and attention grabbing. And while it's retina searing if you stare right into it, it's not blinding to a car in front of you.

Battery is fine. You get 'dozens of hours' easily. That's with the main light and 4 LED strip flashing together. And its' USB rechargable so no buying batteries.

I did a long write up on it on Amazon. Here's the text of my reivew...

As a 'be seen' light this thing is not screwing around. It is BRIGHT and highly visible. The pulsating flashes are a 3 pulse patter, not a steady pulse. So it's going to get noticed and stay noticed by drivers who you want seeing you.

Don't bother going to the Dash 600. There is no need for it for 'being seen' purposes. Any brighter than the 460 and you're bound to blind someone. If you need a true headlight, the Dash 600 might have a purpose for you.

As a head light for lighting the way at night, it's okay. It will let you see the road in front of you. But it's not like having high beams on in your car. There are bike lights that make reasonable replacements for the Sun. This isn't quite one of those. If you do a lot of riding in the dark you might want another light. If you ride at dusk or dawn or for short rides in the dark, this will be fine. But it's not the light for lighting your way on a 20 mile journey in total darkness. You WILL be seen be drivers though both day and night. So for 99% of bikers this is perfect. My needs for a light are to be seen more than to see. So I couldn't be happier with this.

It's small. It does not take up a lot of real estate on your handle bars.

The rubber strap is okay. But it's not the same as a hard mount. However, the rubber strap is easily removed with a single screw on the bottom. If you're handy you could fashion a hard mount to attach the light to. I'd suggest a reflector mount. I opted to use the rubber strap but added a zip tie around it. It's still loose enough that I can change the angle but tight enough that it doesn't happen on it's own. With the zip tie on it the light also isn't going to walk away in someone's hands quickly if you step away from your bike for a minute.

It can also be rotated on the mount left and right about 20 degrees (That's a total guess as I don't have a protractor handy. But it's enough to compensate for an angled handlebar) Just loosen the screw on the bottom that holds the strap on and you can change the angle the light sits at in relation to the strap.

All in all I found this to be a very strong light that gives you plenty of options to customize how it's mounted.

Update after a couple more days using this light....one of the biggest advantages to the brightness is that I NEVER forget to turn the light off when I get home. I overlook my taillight all the time and leave it blinking all night find it dead in the morning. I will never have that problem with this headlight. I might forget I have it on while I'm riding in broad daylight (Since I'm behind the light), but as soon as I pull the bike into my house the room lights up like a lightning storm is going on in my living room.
And here's the link to that review. It's got a couple of not so great pictures.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-r...SIN=B01IO12WIY

Anyway I love this light. The Cygolite 350 wasn't quite bright enough for me. The 600 and 700 series felt like they were able to light up the dark side of the moon and that felt a little extreme.

The battery lasts a long time on flash mode. And when the main big LED fails from low battery, the smaller 4 bulb LED strip at the top will keep going for another hour or so before it finally exhausts the battery.

And it can be used in constant on mode as well as a headlamp for night riding. It might not be my top choice for a dedicated headlamp, but for the limited amount of night righting I do it's more than serviceable as a headlamp. As a'be seen' flasher it's a purchase I've been ENORMOUSLY happy with.

Last edited by Skipjacks; 08-31-17 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 08-31-17, 01:08 PM
  #4  
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Wow, two comments and two people in agreement? That must be a record on bikeforums.net. Alright, thanks for the input.
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Old 08-31-17, 05:47 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
I like Cygolite, they have nice flash modes. The Dash models are small and relatively cheap. The 460 I'm looking at now runs a fair amount of time in flash modes (they say up to 63 hours). However, remember that runtime is inversely proportional to brightness and flash duration. Daylight visible combined with long runtimes will mean that you want something with a short strobe duration, like one or two short (50ms ish) flashes per second to stretch battery life. It'll still be visible but won't kill the battery.
Another Cygolite fan here. I've been asked about them numerous times by other cyclists and drivers about their long range visibility in bright daylight.
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Old 08-31-17, 06:19 PM
  #6  
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I have a different solution. I use the Light and Motion Vis360 helmet lights. They are bright and, because they are in your helmet, they can be seen above parked cars. So, drivers waiting to turn from side streets will be more likely to see you. You can also point the light directly at drivers to be sure they spot you.

For bar lights, Cygolights are good too. But it's the helmet lights that I prefer for safety.
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Old 08-31-17, 09:49 PM
  #7  
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Ditto, helmet mounting for most effective to-be-seen light. A few advantages over bike mounted lights.
  • The head light aims where you look. Gets the driver's attention.
  • It's more visible above most car rooflines in traffic.
  • It's more visible above city bus benches, trash cans and other streetside objects that can temporarily obscure the view of bike mounted lights.
  • Normal head movement increases visibility as the lights move differently than bike/vehicle mounted lights.
  • Separation of two or more vertically separated lights helps drivers quickly estimate our position, speed, distance, etc. Bicycles usually don't have enough room for horizontally separated lights.

All very important with tall, slender moving objects like bicycles that are easily overlooked by the "threat assessment" driver mentality. Some drivers give priority to whether another object in their field of view is a threat to them or their property. If not, they proceed without regard to the safety of others. Those types of drivers need extra help.

My usual helmet mounted lights aren't really bright enough to matter much in bright daylight: a 300 lumen white flasher on front; Blackburn 2'Fer multi-mode red/white rear. But at night drivers and pedestrians have commented favorably that it makes me easier to see.

I'll also often run my brighter bike mounted front and rear lights in flashing mode in daylight. Seems to help. Even if it's a small advantage I'll take it. Usually it's a Serfas SL-255 and/or Light & Motion Urban 500 front, Cygolite Hotshot rear.

I wish Cygolite would make a white version of the Hotshot. It'd be perfect as a to-be-seen front light, bike or helmet mounted. It's bright, affordable, lightweight and runs many hours between charges depending on mode.
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Old 08-31-17, 09:54 PM
  #8  
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Make it three for the Cygolite Dash 460. On flash mode just for the LEDs on the top of the light, it is very visible in daylight. If the main light is on flash mode, it is crazy visible. I usually use the flash mode for the upper LEDs. In this mode, it will last for several rides with no recharge. Rubber band mount adapts to different size/shape bars and is easy-on/easy-off.
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Old 09-01-17, 01:28 AM
  #9  
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Cygolite Metro 550 for daylight flashing. It's USB rechargeable and I have no complaints with the handlebar mount. I think some of the brighter models have removable 18650 battery so you can carry spares. In steady mode, it lasts about 1.5 hours. I like that the light starts doing a three flash mode when the battery gets low. IIRC, it lasts at least another 15 minutes.

Niterider lights are also recommended here for daylight flashing modes. There are a lot of threads and you should be able to search and find plenty of comments.
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Old 09-01-17, 07:14 AM
  #10  
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I just HAD to come in here yesterday praising my Cygolites didn't I?

This morning both my front and rear light batteries died on my commute.

This isn't the lights' fault. Its mine. I hadn't charged either of them in a while. When I edited my original post to add in comments on the battery life of the lights it really should have been a reminder to me to charge mine. But noooooo....

Anyway the one VERY TINY negative I'll give to the Cygolite Dash (any brightness) is the lack of light projection to the sides. It's directed forward. So they aren't likely to help make you noticed from a cross street as you approach an intersection. I've noticed that as a driver when I see bikers with flasher lights. The lights don't draw my attention as they get closer to the intersection.

Personally I don't think that's a huge deal. Being t-boned isn't a huge risk if you're not crossing against red lights or running stop signs. But if that is a concern to you you could easily mount smaller tail lights (not quite as bright but still plently visible) to the sides of the bike aiming outward. Maybe to the fork.
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Old 09-05-17, 09:05 AM
  #11  
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It takes less power than a See By Light, so your battery run time can be longer .. like planet bike ,,

So , they have a half watt and a 2 watt headlight "superflash"..
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Old 09-05-17, 09:12 AM
  #12  
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Thanks for the ideas everyone. I ended up getting the Dash 460. I nearly got one of the Metros, which cost only a little more but had more lumens. However, it didn't have the equivalent of the very long running 4 lights on the Dash 460. I'm hoping the flashing mode with just those LEDs will be bright enough for a "be seen" front light. We'll see!
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Old 09-05-17, 09:16 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
It takes less power than a See By Light, so your battery run time can be longer .. like planet bike ,,

So , they have a half watt and a 2 watt headlight "superflash"..
I hadn't seen anything that looked like a superflash, but I see now you're right. Some of even their smallest lights have a "superflash" mode that is long running. Had I not got the cygolite I would have considered one of those.
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Old 09-05-17, 09:30 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by ericcc65 View Post
Thanks for the ideas everyone. I ended up getting the Dash 460. I nearly got one of the Metros, which cost only a little more but had more lumens. However, it didn't have the equivalent of the very long running 4 lights on the Dash 460. I'm hoping the flashing mode with just those LEDs will be bright enough for a "be seen" front light. We'll see!
For your purpose of 'being seen' you get to a point where more lumens is just wasted energy (and money)

You'll like how the Dash 460 alerts people to your presence. It does a fine job. Any brighter is blinding up close and doesn't make too much difference if you're notice from 700 yards away instead of 600 yards away.

But the 4 top LED's aren't enough in my opinion. Run it with the main light and 4 LED's flashing together. That gets the job done at high noon on a cloudless day. You'll still have the 'just the 4 LED's' option as a backup when the battery drops too far down. The top 4 LED's will still go for another hour or 2 after the main light konks out.

And the battery life is just fine for both lights flashing. Easily a few dozen hours with the main light flashing. So the battery concerns you have aren't a problem.

One time I had a driver yell something at my about my Dash 460 that was something like "You think that light is bright enough?!?" He was all PO'ed that the light was bright. My response was "Well you saw it...so YES! I think it's perfectly bright enough!"
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Old 09-05-17, 10:17 AM
  #15  
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Another Dash 460 user here and I am very happy with the light. The rubber strap is mediocre. I wish that it was a solid mount, and I may try to fab something up with another mount I have that is not being used right now.
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Old 09-05-17, 10:38 AM
  #16  
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FWIW, my personal Cygolite is a Metro 550. I didn't recommend it because it was farther outside OP's requirement for budget.

but if you need a light to see by in pitch dark rural high speed roads as I do, it's a good choice.
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Old 09-05-17, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TenSpeedV2 View Post
Another Dash 460 user here and I am very happy with the light. The rubber strap is mediocre. I wish that it was a solid mount, and I may try to fab something up with another mount I have that is not being used right now.
I have the same complaint about the 460. Plus I always worry that rubber only straps will eventually break.

I have a zip tie around the rubber mount to make it squeeze a little tighter.

Look at my review on Amazon...check out the 3rd photo at the bottom.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-r...SIN=B01IO12WIY

It's enough to keep the light from wiggling to a different position as I ride but not enough that I can't easily move it if I need to adjust it. And it takes the stretch stress off the rubber so it's unlikely to ever break. And if it does, it'll be held in place.

It also prevents the light from walking away quickly in someone's hand if I leave it parked somewhere for a minute.

The flip side of that is that it doesn't come off easily to charge it. I just have a long cord where I park my bike that reaches it.

So if you have 2 bikes and want to be able to switch your light from bike to bike, the zip tie is not a good plan.
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Old 09-05-17, 02:29 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
One time I had a driver yell something at my about my Dash 460 that was something like "You think that light is bright enough?!?" He was all PO'ed that the light was bright. My response was "Well you saw it...so YES! I think it's perfectly bright enough!"
You suppose he yells at all the pickup and jeep drivers with those aftermarket bumper and roll cage lights aimed directly into the eyes of everyone on the road? Or the drivers with those illegal aftermarket blue/white headlights aimed directly ahead that should fail every annual state inspection?

Probably not. But let's yell at the guy on the bike. Derp.
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Old 09-05-17, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
You suppose he yells at all the pickup and jeep drivers with those aftermarket bumper and roll cage lights aimed directly into the eyes of everyone on the road? Or the drivers with those illegal aftermarket blue/white headlights aimed directly ahead that should fail every annual state inspection?

Probably not. But let's yell at the guy on the bike. Derp.
It was a ****** in a Prius at a stop light. He was in front of me. When the light turned green he was in my way and accelerating too slow for me...ON MY BIKE

To be fair my bicycle has twice the horsepower of the Toyota Prius.
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Old 10-05-17, 05:01 PM
  #20  
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I've been using the Bontrager 800's as my head light and couldn't be happier. My wife often says I'm visible once I turned into our street, which is 1/2 mile away from our home.
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Old 10-06-17, 04:01 PM
  #21  
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Please turn the light off if/when you ride on a MUP during daylight hours.
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Old 10-08-17, 07:42 AM
  #22  
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How about flashlight which is powered by 18650 battery and can be mounted in bike mount?
I mean Covon S2 with colimator/diffuzor 20x60 - no light spot, wide and narrow light beam in 100% power you will get about 1000-1200 lumens cost about $20.

here is how it looks like: youtu.be/TCgFvNJrn84?t=2m11s
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Old 10-10-17, 08:42 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
Please turn the light off if/when you ride on a MUP during daylight hours.
Yes. This is obnoxious.

If you're not sharing a road with cars where the light is protecting you, turn the thing off.
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Old 10-10-17, 08:43 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by PeterMike View Post
How about flashlight which is powered by 18650 battery and can be mounted in bike mount?
I mean Covon S2 with colimator/diffuzor 20x60 - no light spot, wide and narrow light beam in 100% power you will get about 1000-1200 lumens cost about $20.

here is how it looks like: youtu.be/TCgFvNJrn84?t=2m11s
Well...for $20 you can get a flashlight that SAYS it's 1200 lumens.

In reality it's probably more like 200.

Those cheap imported lights are made with ZERO manufacturing or advertising standards or testing. They just claim stuff.

You might find one that's bright enough for your purposes, but don't trust the label. I had a similar set up last year with a cheap imported light running 18650 batteries. I love that light. It works great. It's a far better night time headlamp than a 'be seen' daytime running lights. It's bright. It's got a good beam direction so it's lighting what I need lit. Great light. It's sold as like a 1500 lumen light on Amazon. But it's about as bright as the non imported Underwriters Laboratory tested and rated 300 lumen flashlight I have.

Last edited by Skipjacks; 10-10-17 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 10-10-17, 11:31 AM
  #25  
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In real world scenario it looks really impressive:
Attached Images
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convoy light test.png (1,021.8 KB, 135 views)

Last edited by PeterMike; 10-10-17 at 11:34 AM.
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