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Lighting Advice

Old 09-30-19, 11:51 AM
  #1  
lancevo3
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Lighting Advice

Hi everyone, I am seeking for some safety advice for riding in the dark. I spent the summer always getting out on my rides around 6am, now with the days getting shorter the first hour of my ride is pretty much in the dark. I have a two basic Bontrager lights for my bike currently (1 front, 1 rear). One thing I have been noticing the last few weeks is a fair share of people with light on their helmet which seems smart. Does anyone have any suggestions on good helmet lights for front and rear for increased visibility? Also, is there any chance it is too much lighting if I have front/rear on the bicycle and front/rear on my helmet? I figure that would be more of a bonus than anything. Appreciate any advice, thanks!
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Old 09-30-19, 12:25 PM
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The 'first hour of your ride'? Yikes, how long is your ride?! Will you need light at the other end going home? I'm thinking an external 4 (x 18650) battery pack would be necessary. I doubt you are a candidate for non-rechargeable (AA) battery power. Nor are you a good dynamo candidate because you don't have one. Lights on helmets are aimable. This is great for shining light around corners and into dark crevices and can be used in conjunction with a bar mounted light or alone. I am night blind and need a lot of light at night and in the dark. A standard MagicShine 808 on a helmet mount supplies plenty of light. Another on the bars and I am good for rain and/or unfamiliar rural routing. I get mine from Action LED. Do not buy MagicShine knock-off's on Amazon, you will be dissapointed. For rear use in the dark almost anything works. I've used Ascent flashers (nice because the clip slide is horizontal, bumps do not knock it loose), Planet Bike Superflashes, and other things sold as rear blinkies.
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Old 09-30-19, 12:35 PM
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I don't currently ride with both a helmet light and a light on my bars, but I've done it before and it was quite nice having a light I could point with my head. With the handlebar light you pretty much don't see anything you're not riding toward. For night MTBing I'd say the head-mounted light is absolutely non-negotiable, but for road riding is totally optional, though being able to illuminate a curve before you take it is quite nice. The guy I did some night MTBing with moved away so I doubt I'll ever do any of that again.

I'd say more important than that is simply having very bright lights. I never knew how dim my lights were 9 years ago when I started riding again and was using clip-ons with some AAA batteries until I got my first Nyterider USB-rechargable high-power LED bike light. Definitely go with something powerful for up front, and bright and blinking red for the rear, and you'll be fine. I don't prefer night rides by myself, but I'll do them, but not without a really powerful lighting system. It makes all the difference.

Btw, having the light mounted lower than your head in some ways makes it much easier to see bumps/rocks in the road, etc. With the light on your head it's harder to see bumps than when the light is on your handlebars or even lower. This is because with the light on your head you more or less don't see any shadows because the light is originating so close to your eyes, while with a handle-bar mounted light you can more easily see the shadow cast behind an oncoming bump or rock on the road, which helps your brain grok that it's a bump or rock.
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Old 09-30-19, 12:36 PM
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There is a whole section on bike lights https://www.bikeforums.net/electroni...hting-gadgets/ and at the top of the page you will find a lighting selection guide and separate listings for head and tail lights that are under $25.

You are going to get a lot of suggestions for common lights sold at your LBS or online. Many are pretty expensive and from my point of view are made with lots of useless bells and whistles. My own personal preference for a nightime headlight is a simple XML-T6 LED flashlight that can be powered by rechargeable 18650 batteries. The flashlight is less than $10 and the best NCR/Panasonic 3,400 mAh batteries cost around $7. It's focusable, can be aimed just where I want it, and when it runs low I can switch batteries in an instant. That's something very rare even in the more expensive bike lights.

The most recommended helmet light is the Lights and Motion helmet light. It's very effective but far too expensive at $130 for my tastes. https://www.lightandmotion.com/shop/...ng/vis-360-pro

I have seen pcitures of a couple of DIY helmet lights made with much less expensive USB rechargeable lights. You probably don't need a 600 lumen helmet light. If a 100 lumen light works fine in the day, then it should be even better at night. Some of them look a little dorky but not all that much different than the Lights and motion light. Just search on DIY bike helmet light.
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Old 09-30-19, 01:18 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by lancevo3 View Post
Hi everyone, I am seeking for some safety advice for riding in the dark. I spent the summer always getting out on my rides around 6am, now with the days getting shorter the first hour of my ride is pretty much in the dark. I have a two basic Bontrager lights for my bike currently (1 front, 1 rear). One thing I have been noticing the last few weeks is a fair share of people with light on their helmet which seems smart. Does anyone have any suggestions on good helmet lights for front and rear for increased visibility? Also, is there any chance it is too much lighting if I have front/rear on the bicycle and front/rear on my helmet? I figure that would be more of a bonus than anything. Appreciate any advice, thanks!
Yes, its too much and unnecessary unless you ride in the woods where there are no city light. Helmet lights are also unnecessary, again, unless you're off the road. A decent handlebar mounted light and a rear light is all that is necessary. You may add a second, helmet mount rear light.
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Old 09-30-19, 01:27 PM
  #6  
lancevo3
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
The 'first hour of your ride'? Yikes, how long is your ride?! Will you need light at the other end going home? I'm thinking an external 4 (x 18650) battery pack would be necessary. I doubt you are a candidate for non-rechargeable (AA) battery power. Nor are you a good dynamo candidate because you don't have one. Lights on helmets are aimable. This is great for shining light around corners and into dark crevices and can be used in conjunction with a bar mounted light or alone. I am night blind and need a lot of light at night and in the dark. A standard MagicShine 808 on a helmet mount supplies plenty of light. Another on the bars and I am good for rain and/or unfamiliar rural routing. I get mine from Action LED. Do not buy MagicShine knock-off's on Amazon, you will be dissapointed. For rear use in the dark almost anything works. I've used Ascent flashers (nice because the clip slide is horizontal, bumps do not knock it loose), Planet Bike Superflashes, and other things sold as rear blinkies.

Ha! I do my recreational rides in the morning before work since if I wait until after it likely will not happen. I will check out your suggestions!
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Old 09-30-19, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by lancevo3 View Post
Hi everyone, I am seeking for some safety advice for riding in the dark. I spent the summer always getting out on my rides around 6am, now with the days getting shorter the first hour of my ride is pretty much in the dark. I have a two basic Bontrager lights for my bike currently (1 front, 1 rear). One thing I have been noticing the last few weeks is a fair share of people with light on their helmet which seems smart. Does anyone have any suggestions on good helmet lights for front and rear for increased visibility? Also, is there any chance it is too much lighting if I have front/rear on the bicycle and front/rear on my helmet? I figure that would be more of a bonus than anything. Appreciate any advice, thanks!
If you have adequate lights then your helmet lights just need to be "be seen" lights. A 180-degree or greater in the back, and a 180-dregree light in the front. Actually a 360-dregree light on top of the helmet would be great, but I don't know of any. They do not have to be bright. The idea is to be seen above traffic.

I use a small LED FLashlight on the front with an orange plastic pill bottle around it (bottom cut out, just the tube). In the back it's a simple 5-LED blinkie with the outside LEDs pointing to the side (~$15)

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Old 09-30-19, 03:01 PM
  #8  
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I often commute in the dark. We have several Niterider Lumina Micros and I run one on the bars and one on my helmet. They’ll get me through nearly a week on low/medium and are all same mount interchangeable. I like the helmet mount so I can direct the beam to cars approaching - entering from side streets.
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Old 09-30-19, 03:03 PM
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if you have bar lights, the helmet light doesn't have to be too bright.
I just strap on a small 450lumen nightrider or cygolite. Their strap mountings make it easy to mount to my helmet - and they are darn light.

off road I might do a 900 lumen on my helmet, but it has these drawbacks
- significantly heavier
- causes glare with road signs (esp if wearing glasses)(not a problem in the woods, but can be on the road)
- will blind oncoming riders as it shines at their face.
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Old 09-30-19, 03:20 PM
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Moved to "Lighting" Sub-Forum from "General"
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Old 10-06-19, 07:16 PM
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Veloz mentioned "side" lights. They seem to help "anti T-bone". I have found drivers often miss judge your location and pull out toward you, I use a "spoke" light, although I'm still looking for other ideas.
R
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Old 10-07-19, 07:01 AM
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[QUOTE=VegasTriker;21144586] You probably don't need a 600 lumen helmet light. If a 100 lumen light works fine in the day, then it should be even better at night./QUOTE]

Not sure that I agree with this, since daytime vs nighttime lights are for two different purposes: daytime lights are for being seen, nighttime lights are for seeing.

100 lumens is a bit dimmer than I prefer for daytime -- but a light that is slightly brighter, and set to a flashing mode, will get drivers' attention. For riding at night, even on smooth pavement, I would want at least 500-600 lumens in order to see the road properly.
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Old 10-07-19, 03:42 PM
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My helmet has a built-in red light on the back, so obviously that's what I use. I do have a clip-on white LED light for the front, which is a clip-on light for a ball cap visor. It clips onto the helmet visor nicely, though I don't always use it. I probably should, though.
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Old 10-07-19, 03:51 PM
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I don't think helmet lights seem so great for being seen. My eyes don't gravitate to that height. Maybe others do.
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Old 10-13-19, 11:49 AM
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You sound like a good candidate for a dynamo setup. A dynamo hub (Shimano, SP or SON) if you don't mind rebuilding your wheel or a modern rim dynamo (Velogical) if you prefer to completely disconnect when you're not using it.
Combine it with a higher end German dynamo headlight like a Son Edelux II, the B+M IQ-X, the B+M Cyo Premium or Supernova E3 Pro 2.

Most can be combined with a matching dynamo taillight or you can keep using your favorite battery powered rear light.
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Old 10-15-19, 06:04 PM
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I use a 1,000 lumen flashlight on the helmet, and a 300 lumen wide angled light on the handlebars for up close. The helmet light is run on medium or high depending on the situation, and with it aimed up higher it makes it easy to shine it up over the rare oncoming rider I see as well as allowing me to become more visible to drivers who are starting to turn my way.
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Old 10-15-19, 06:54 PM
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I use 1100 lumens on my hat (helmet, that is), 1300 on my right bar, and 1000 on my left bar. I find it is as SethAZ said. You just don't know how dim your lights are until you have used some really kick-a** lighting. I would never go back to just one light.
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Old 10-15-19, 08:08 PM
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Helmet light blind people. Stop using those, unless its just you.
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