Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets
Reload this Page >

How many output modes should a headlight ideally have?

Notices
Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets HRM, GPS, MP3, HID. Whether it's got an acronym or not, here's where you'll find discussions on all sorts of tools, toys and gadgets.

How many output modes should a headlight ideally have?

Old 11-08-19, 03:14 PM
  #1  
sweetcyclists
Craigslist Addict
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
How many output modes should a headlight ideally have?

I'm curious how many output modes you look for when buying a light? This is a question I recently asked myself, as I'm currently testing out a Magicshine Allty 2000 and a Light & Motion Vya Pro Headlight. The Allty has an impressive 17 different unique modes (DRL mode + 4 power settings for left LED only / right LED only / left + right LED blinking). Meanwhile the Vya Pro has no buttons, and I believe only a day/night mode that are automatically selected based on an ambient light sensor.

As someone who rides in the dark, I would think a flash/DRL/ramping power settings would be all you need (maybe 6 total modes?). With some lights offering cell phone apps you could further customize it as necessary though.
sweetcyclists is offline  
Old 11-08-19, 03:37 PM
  #2  
Secret Squirrel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Southern Calif
Posts: 574
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 87 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 12 Posts
Low Beam/High Beam/pulsing low beam (for longer run times). If you have too many modes, it become tedious to cycle through the modes to find the one you want.
I like the option to hit a remote button and go to a high beam and back. I don't find it necessary to run a high beam for very long.
Commuting in the dark lends itself to the same type of lighting methodology as driving a car "on a winding mountain road". You switch between modes in a higher risk situation. Like a "T-intersection" or a blind curve. Active participation in lighting modes has help me in multiple car/bike encounters.
Secret Squirrel is offline  
Likes For Secret Squirrel:
Old 11-08-19, 03:41 PM
  #3  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 19,775
Mentioned: 52 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9257 Post(s)
Liked 830 Times in 504 Posts
17 is too many, unless you'll control it with your Garmin or phone or something. It's cumbersome to get to the one you want.
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Likes For Seattle Forrest:
Old 11-08-19, 03:46 PM
  #4  
Spoonrobot 
Senior Member
 
Spoonrobot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,404
Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1133 Post(s)
Liked 93 Times in 68 Posts
Wet
Dry
Zoom flash
Spoonrobot is offline  
Old 11-08-19, 03:53 PM
  #5  
DrIsotope
Non omnino gravis
 
DrIsotope's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: SoCal, USA!
Posts: 7,309

Bikes: Nekobasu, Pandicorn

Mentioned: 113 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4011 Post(s)
Liked 474 Times in 305 Posts
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post
Low Beam/High Beam/pulsing low beam (for longer run times).
Agreed. More is just annoying to cycle through.
__________________
DrIsotope is offline  
Old 11-08-19, 05:14 PM
  #6  
Darth Lefty 
Disco Infiltrator
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 10,027

Bikes: Schwinn Paramount, Salsa Timberjack, Diamondback Expert TG, Burley Samba

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1646 Post(s)
Liked 236 Times in 153 Posts
1. wide open throttle
2. bright enough (at least 300lm)
3. bright enough with occasional blink (if this is your only forward light, good for oncoming traffic after dark). My Cygolite has this but my new Kaidomain light does not
4. daytime blink mode that is noticeable but not irritating

Also I want, turn off without cycling through all the modes, open circuit when off so it doesn't drain the battery over the course of a week,

My new Kaidomain light has 3 levels and two blinks. The first is an SOS blink mode that is not SOS, SOS, SOS but instead SOSOSOSOS... I don't know if this is "correct" but it's the one I use in daylight because the other blink mode is a strobe and I don't actually want to do that to anyone. There's another version of the model that has more modes.
__________________
Genesis 49:16-17
Darth Lefty is offline  
Likes For Darth Lefty:
Old 11-08-19, 07:16 PM
  #7  
VegasTriker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Sin City, Nevada
Posts: 2,180

Bikes: Catrike 700, Greenspeed GTO trike, , Linear LWB recumbent, Haluzak Horizon SWB recumbent, Balance 450 MTB, Cannondale SM800 Beast of the East

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 330 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 25 Times in 19 Posts
The Magicshine light is pretty expensive and has a short run time in the 100% mode (2 hr). The CREE XM-L2 LEDs actually can be run to 1198 lumens each so it is obvious they have throttled it back a bit to keep from frying the LEDs or making the run times even shorter. What IS NOT a good feature of this light is the replaceable proprietary battery packs made up of two 18650 Li-ion batteries. I looked at the website to see what they are charging for them but they are not listed yet so no price is available. You can bet it will be expensive based on what they charge for other packs.


Two years ago I came across a nice dual CREE Q5 headlight. It has similar features to this light including the size and shape. You can run either LED, both LEDs, and alternating flashing. It uses two 18650 Li-ion batteries. They aren't proprietary so you choose your own batteries and you can replace them with non-proprietary batteries. I choose to use the best batteries I can find which are NCR/Panasonic 3,400 mAh 18650 batteries. I paid $23 for four of them the last time I bought some. It has a discharge indicator though not as sophisticated as the Magicshine one. You can charge it with the batteries in using a USB port. It's not as bright as the Magicshine - 1300 lumens with both LEDs on bright. It cost me $13 w/o batteries. I've looked for it again since but haven't been able to see one like it. I never buy bike lights that use proprietary batteries. Seems like a rip off to me.
VegasTriker is offline  
Old 11-08-19, 08:57 PM
  #8  
Milton Keynes
Senior Member
 
Milton Keynes's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 2,749

Bikes: Two-wheeled human-powered vehicles, but that's not important right now

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1216 Post(s)
Liked 141 Times in 75 Posts
Personally I have no use for 17 different modes. Give me a high beam, maybe a low beam and a flash mode and I think that's plenty. Actually just a full on and maybe a flash mode would be sufficient.
Milton Keynes is offline  
Old 11-08-19, 09:37 PM
  #9  
rseeker
Senior Member
 
rseeker's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Southeast US
Posts: 728
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 247 Post(s)
Liked 64 Times in 48 Posts
I also ride a lot at night. I prefer it because car traffic isn't fun. I use a cheap 3xAA front light on the bars plus two cheap eBay 18650 flashlights on my helmet.

In this configuration, all I need is high, low, and flash on the handlebar front light. I run flash during the day and high at night so I can best see what I'm about to run over.

I also prefer an off mode for when I'm not riding.
rseeker is offline  
Old 11-09-19, 12:22 AM
  #10  
ThermionicScott 
hungry
 
ThermionicScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Posts: 19,263

Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers)

Mentioned: 80 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2406 Post(s)
Liked 317 Times in 235 Posts
One is enough for me.
__________________
Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
RUSA #7498
ThermionicScott is online now  
Old 11-09-19, 08:31 PM
  #11  
bpcyclist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Portland
Posts: 303

Bikes: 56 cm BMC SLR02 w/105

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 131 Post(s)
Liked 66 Times in 43 Posts
Great thread--thanks!

I currently run the following:

1. Ceco F1000 (left handlebar) (1000 lumens claimed): Currently $39.95 on amazon--4 continuous night modes, one combo flashing /continuous night mode; three flashing day modes; one walking flashlight mode

2. Cygolite Metro Pro 1100 (helmet) (1110 lumens claimed): Currently $64.75 on amazon--4 continuous night modes, one combo flashing/cont. night mode; 2 flashing day modes, 2 cont. day modes

3. Cygolite Trion 1300 (right handlebar) (1300 lumens claimed) Sadly, out of production, but I paid a bit less than $200 I think, and worth every penny--4 continuous night modes, one combo flashing/cont. mode, 2 flashing day modes, 1 walking mode

So, I ride almost exclusively in the dark. My quick ride is 90 minutes. If it is really raining and dark, I will use the brightest continuous modes for that ride. Very hard to see here at night in the winter months. If I am on a longer ride, I may have to mix it up. So, if I am going for maybe 5 hours. I will stagger the lights and they will be used on a medium setting usually. I'll start with two of them on medium, which have run times of around 3 hours, and then after about 2 1/2 hours or so, I will turn on usually the Trion 1300, also 3 hours on medium, and I will ride with the initial two as they run out of steam and the Trion at full strength until I get home. I have not done a, like, 8-hour overnight ride in a long time, but if I do again, the principle will be the same. Extend run times by using lower output settings and stagger the lights.

I just say all this to say that I just do not need all these settings. It's overkill for me. I do use one flashing mode during the rare daytime ride, but I personally don't need a bunch of flashing options. It's fine that they are there, but I don't use them.

I make no apology for saying my primary purchasing criterion for a headlight has historically been to buy the brightest possible, quality light for the money. As I say, we struggle to see here at night in the wet months. That said, I am working on buying an StVZO light because a number of Bike Forumers have recommended doing so. So, am doing that. We'll see how that shakes out.
bpcyclist is offline  
Old 11-09-19, 08:54 PM
  #12  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 9,784

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 176 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3027 Post(s)
Liked 388 Times in 276 Posts
More is fine, as long as there's a programmable option to easily cycle between two, like hi-lo beams for cars.
canklecat is offline  
Likes For canklecat:
Old 11-10-19, 01:01 AM
  #13  
znomit
Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk
 
znomit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 3,824

Bikes: Giant Defy, Trek 1.7c, BMC GF02, Scott Sub 35

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 202 Post(s)
Liked 66 Times in 33 Posts
I like my gloworms with the choice of either three or two levels, each level being user programable in 10% steps. There's a hidden low and flash mode too.
znomit is offline  
Old 11-10-19, 10:11 AM
  #14  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: West Village, New York City
Posts: 37,818

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 451 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5785 Post(s)
Liked 323 Times in 227 Posts
Another annoyance I have is that some lights don't turn on in the mode you were last using, and you have to cycle through them to get your favorite mode. Some don't have a memorable sequence of modes. I have one that goes medium, high, low, pulse, and flash. That's not intuitive to me, so even if it is to others, let me turn on in the mode I last used.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Likes For noglider:
Old 11-10-19, 12:58 PM
  #15  
sweetcyclists
Craigslist Addict
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
The Magicshine light is pretty expensive and has a short run time in the 100% mode (2 hr). The CREE XM-L2 LEDs actually can be run to 1198 lumens each so it is obvious they have throttled it back a bit to keep from frying the LEDs or making the run times even shorter. What IS NOT a good feature of this light is the replaceable proprietary battery packs made up of two 18650 Li-ion batteries. I looked at the website to see what they are charging for them but they are not listed yet so no price is available. You can bet it will be expensive based on what they charge for other packs...
Not to side track the main topic of the thread, but this is an interesting point. Magicshine also sells the Monteer 1400 ($99, 1400 lumens) which has two removable 18650 Li-ion cells. They made a number of improvements with the Allty 2000 though: Garmin 1/4 turn mount, OLED display screen, day time running light and lighter overall. However, they did move to the 'cartridge' style battery instead of individually replaceable cells. Not sure if that decision was more for profitability or for improving the packaging. You can still get some bicycle lights with replaceable batteries like the Fenix BC21R, but I think the trend will be to continue to use integrated batteries.
sweetcyclists is offline  
Old 11-10-19, 01:02 PM
  #16  
sweetcyclists
Craigslist Addict
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by znomit View Post
I like my gloworms with the choice of either three or two levels, each level being user programable in 10% steps. There's a hidden low and flash mode too.
Hope to try some Gloworm lights in the future, the user programmable feature seems like a great option for more expert users. I;m curious how often the programming feature is actually used by users though.

It seems like a majority of people wouldn't want to spend the time to setup the software and program light modes, unless they made it very easy to use.
sweetcyclists is offline  
Old 11-10-19, 02:34 PM
  #17  
bpcyclist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Portland
Posts: 303

Bikes: 56 cm BMC SLR02 w/105

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 131 Post(s)
Liked 66 Times in 43 Posts
Originally Posted by sweetcyclists View Post
Hope to try some Gloworm lights in the future, the user programmable feature seems like a great option for more expert users. I;m curious how often the programming feature is actually used by users though.

It seems like a majority of people wouldn't want to spend the time to setup the software and program light modes, unless they made it very easy to use.
I actually like the idea of programmability features. What I don't get is the need for 3400 lumens of output on a road bike. How could I possibly ride in the city with that and not totally p*** off every single motorist? Maybe that one is designed for mtb riders, I don't know. But I do know there is no way I could use that thing here on max settings without aiming it straight down at the pavement and my front hub.
bpcyclist is offline  
Old 11-10-19, 04:17 PM
  #18  
angerdan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Europe
Posts: 409
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 122 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
  1. high beam
  2. low beam
  3. daytime running light
  4. headlight flashing (optional)
angerdan is offline  
Old 11-10-19, 05:13 PM
  #19  
wipekitty
vespertine member
 
wipekitty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: from sea to shining sea!
Posts: 2,229

Bikes: Yes

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 611 Post(s)
Liked 104 Times in 79 Posts
Low, medium, high, and daytime flashing are sufficient for me. I also like the fifth option of a night flashing mode, which can function as a be-seen light without completely blinding people.

Too many options is not desirable for me, as I tend to use multiple modes on the same ride (particularly while commuting). Medium works well for general night riding; I'll use high on super dark roads/MUPs but turn to low to prevent blinding drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists. A night flashing mode is nice for downtown areas where people are more interested their phones and parking than trying to avoid hitting/being hit by cyclists.
wipekitty is offline  
Old 11-11-19, 10:03 PM
  #20  
rifraf
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Perth Australia
Posts: 879

Bikes: Surly Ogre, Carry Freedom Y-frame, Extrawheel Trailer

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Hmmmmmm

Kinda happy with my Edelux's on/off mode with standlight.
YMMV
rifraf is offline  
Old 11-14-19, 11:54 AM
  #21  
Homebrew01
Super Moderator
 
Homebrew01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ffld Cnty Connecticut
Posts: 21,261

Bikes: Old Steelies I made, Old Cannondales

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 878 Post(s)
Liked 102 Times in 83 Posts
2
High & Low.
__________________
Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike.

FYI: http://www.bikeforums.net/forum-sugg...ad-please.html
Homebrew01 is online now  
Old 11-14-19, 03:58 PM
  #22  
lightbulbjim
U*icyclist
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Australia
Posts: 69
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
  • Three modes: high, low, and daylight flash.
  • A single press should cycle between high and low.
  • The flash mode should be hidden behind a long press so that it's not entered accidentally.
  • The levels should be programmable.
  • Decent runtime (at least 3 hours at at least 500 lumens).
  • A user-replaceable 18650 battery (but still with a charge port on the light).
  • An option of either a rubber strap mount or a hard mount (bonus points for GoPro mount as well).
  • A nice beam pattern with horizon cutoff.
  • Reversable optics so that I can run the light upside-down under the bars.
  • Neutral white beam colour.
That's my dream light. Haven't found it yet.
lightbulbjim is offline  
Likes For lightbulbjim:
Old 11-14-19, 05:00 PM
  #23  
sweetcyclists
Craigslist Addict
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by lightbulbjim View Post
  • Three modes: high, low, and daylight flash.
  • A single press should cycle between high and low.
  • The flash mode should be hidden behind a long press so that it's not entered accidentally.
  • The levels should be programmable.
  • Decent runtime (at least 3 hours at at least 500 lumens).
  • A user-replaceable 18650 battery (but still with a charge port on the light).
  • An option of either a rubber strap mount or a hard mount (bonus points for GoPro mount as well).
  • A nice beam pattern with horizon cutoff.
  • Reversable optics so that I can run the light upside-down under the bars.
  • Neutral white beam colour.
That's my dream light. Haven't found it yet.
That's a great list, but I've yet to see a light that satisfies all of those. There are a few lights that get very close like the Fenix BC21R v2.0 (not reversible, not a neutral white, no GoPro mount) like the Magicshine Allty 1000 (no replaceable battery, not reversible). Hopefully the StVZO regulations get adopted by US so we will see more lights with beam cutoff.

Within a few years hopefully there will be the 'perfect' light with all the options, but I doubt companies will want to sell lights with replaceable batteries (easier to package integrated batteries, and better profit margins). I have been seeing more lights with flash being separated by a 'double click' which is a big positive though.
sweetcyclists is offline  
Old 11-14-19, 05:35 PM
  #24  
lightbulbjim
U*icyclist
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Australia
Posts: 69
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by sweetcyclists View Post
That's a great list, but I've yet to see a light that satisfies all of those. There are a few lights that get very close like the Fenix BC21R v2.0 (not reversible, not a neutral white, no GoPro mount) like the Magicshine Allty 1000 (no replaceable battery, not reversible). Hopefully the StVZO regulations get adopted by US so we will see more lights with beam cutoff.

Within a few years hopefully there will be the 'perfect' light with all the options, but I doubt companies will want to sell lights with replaceable batteries (easier to package integrated batteries, and better profit margins). I have been seeing more lights with flash being separated by a 'double click' which is a big positive though.
Isn't the BC21R v2 neutral white? I seem to remember that the first version was.

Lezyne is getting close to the (my) ideal light with their new Connect Smart headlight (the 1000 lumen version). I like the form factor of their lights and the newer ones have quite a nice beam pattern (no cutoff though). Now it's possible to remove all of the useless modes. They also use 18650 batteries (they're not supposed to be user replaceable, but they're easy enough to open up) and theoretically it should be possible to replace the emitters with warmer versions. They just need a few UI tweaks and I'd be sold.

The Gloworm CX is also pretty close to a perfect all-in-one light, but they ruined it by using a proprietary battery pack. It might be possible to replace it with a DIY battery but I've not seen one in person to confirm. Also no beam cutoff and the daylight flash isn't as good as Lezyne's. Very nice optics and beam tint though.
lightbulbjim is offline  
Old 11-15-19, 12:32 PM
  #25  
adamrice
mosquito rancher
 
adamrice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Austin TX USA
Posts: 407

Bikes: Bob Jackson 853 Arrowhead; Felt VR30

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I recently got a Lezyne 1100-lumen light, which has something stupid like 7 steady and 2 flashing modes. And only one button to do everything (which I think annoys me more than the number of modes).

It's saving feature is that you can long-press the button to turn it on, and that limits your available modes to maximum, medium, and one flashing mode.

Knog has done something smart by letting you rotate the lamp head left/right to move up/down the output options.
adamrice is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.