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Choosing One Headlight From A List

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Choosing One Headlight From A List

Old 08-06-21, 11:39 PM
  #1  
ShannonM
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Choosing One Headlight From A List

The following lights are what I can catalog order through my co-op for about as much as I'd want to pay for a single, bar-mount, rechargeable headlight for my 2-3 mile daily commute plus evening rides. For what it's worth, I live in Humboldt County, CA. In mid-winter, sunrise and sunset are both dead on my commute time.
  1. Cygolite Ranger 1200 USB
  2. NiteRider Lumina 1000 Boost
  3. Cateye HL-EL1100RC AMPP1100
  4. Topeak WhiteLite 800 BT
  5. CygoLite Metro Pro 1100 USB
  6. Lezyne Macro Drive 1300XL
  7. Portland Design Works Lars Rover 850
Considerations:
Quoted light levels for bike lights are BS, especially the number they put in the model name... and even if they're accurately measured, they're mostly irrelevant in use. That said, and all else being equal, brighter is better.
I don't ride this bike off road, but our roads up here are total garbage, so shadow / texture definition is super important.
Street lighting on the roads that I ride varies from "There ain't none" to "I can almost see."
Beam patterns matter, but the difference between good and bad matters more than the difference between great and perfect.
Super-long battery life is not critical, as I can charge at work if I'm going for an after-work ride, and 2 hours would be a long one in any case. Battery quality, on the other hand, can vary a lot. Cheap batteries on crappy chargers die young.
14 modes and 3 blink patterns is pointless and confusing and stupid and a pain in the ass.
Any light coming out of the top of the headlight is immediately and totally disqualifying.
"Not being annoying to cagers" isn't really a consideration... if you're annoyed by me that means you've seen me, and if you've seen me and hit me anyway, you did it on purpose. There aren't that many murderers out there, especially compared to the oblivious. I'll take my chances.

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Old 08-07-21, 12:59 AM
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Check the "We Test Lights" site. It's owned and run by the Light & Motion folks, but their tests of competing brands appear to be fair and objective, and the results usually match mine with the same lights from L&M, NiteRider and others.

The only exception would be their test of the NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800. As other commenters noted, it appears the tester received a defective sample. When purchased new last summer, mine performed according to NiteRider's own specs. Outstanding light for serious, long rides. A bit heavy and bulky for commutes and other shorter rides. But for longer rides now I no longer need to mount two headlights so I'll have enough light for a 3-5 hour night ride. A single Lumina Dual 1800 on low or medium will deliver enough light for the entire ride. I use the bright settings only briefly, such as for dips in roads where I know animals are likely to be crossing.

I'm generally satisfied with Light & Motion's Urban series lights (I have the Urban 500 and Rando 500). Very compact, well made and bright. But the strap mount and plastic cover for the USB port tend to crack. I've replaced some straps with a Two-Fish mounting block which uses Velcro straps rather than elastic. And with frequent use the L&M lights seem to last about 18-24 months before they won't hold a charge. The barrels are sealed, no practical way to replace the batteries.

But I've mostly moved toward NiteRider. And I noticed several local friends are mostly using NiteRider now too. I've heard some users say the batteries can be replaced by removing the screws holding the cases together. I haven't tried that myself.

I also have the NiteRider Lumina Micro 850, which performs exactly as described in the test. At full and medium power the output declines gradually and gets dimmer toward the end of its run-time. In comparison, the Light & Motion lights tend to run near full output until suddenly blinking out when the battery charge is exhausted. The NiteRider Lumina Micro have smaller batteries for less weight and bulk, so while they're bright enough the run time is shorter than their full sized headlights.

With most headlights claiming maximum output of 800, 1800 or more lumens, consider the brightest setting a turbo mode that will deplete the charge very quickly. So I choose lights based on the output and battery runtime at medium, which is where I'll leave it most of the time.
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Old 08-08-21, 12:22 PM
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Old 08-08-21, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ShannonM View Post
The following lights are what I can catalog order through my co-op for about as much as I'd want to pay for a single, bar-mount, rechargeable headlight for my 2-3 mile daily commute plus evening rides.
For the sake of those who might have other recommendations, would you be willing to state a target maximum price?
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Old 08-09-21, 03:08 PM
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My guess is that you'll be happy with any of the models you've listed. Those are good companies, and they probably use high quality batteries. Your budget, whatever it is, looks sufficiently high.
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Old 09-01-21, 06:17 PM
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thank you for your query, thinking about the same so I used search and this post is the first one!

I found this stupidbright site, I have no financial interests... only looking for advice, at $47 looks good -not enough posting, mostly a lurker so here is the truncated site-

nightprovision dot com/collections/stupidbright/products/sb1-ver-2-0-cree-powered-900-lumen-complete-led-bike-light-set-with-sealed-8800mah-abs-polymer-battery-2-x-high-intensity-rear-lights
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Old 09-01-21, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ShannonM View Post

PS: Yes, I tried searching. But, as V-Bulletin's programmers have said since the early 2000s, "Search sucks. Deal with it."
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