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Headlight recommendation for night riding

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Headlight recommendation for night riding

Old 11-01-22, 02:17 AM
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lyle.coop
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Headlight recommendation for night riding

I'm in the market for some bright headlights for rides that start before sunrise. I need lights that light up the road sufficiently to see all the potholes, etc.


Any recommendations?
Thanks
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Old 11-01-22, 05:22 AM
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It's an investment, but there's nothing out there that beats a "dynohub" powering a SON Edelux II in front and a compatible Busch & Muller light in the rear.
Once I got my front wheel built with an SP hub and hooked up my lighting system, I felt like an idiot for not doing it years ago.
I used to use a Cygolite MityCross 800 which was like a very bright motorcycle headlight, but it only gave 3 hours of light and needed charging every day. Cygolite no longer supports their older brightest lighting systems, which were the only ones a rider should use to navigate. It was a decent system, but the battery gave up the ghost and I gave in to the superior lighting of the Edelux. I'll never go back to handlebar-mounted light on a commuter bike, they just don't compare.
One thing that will help you see deeper into the shadows is a pair of good yellow lens glasses. They reduce headlight glare and increase your ability to see details in darker conditions.
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Old 11-01-22, 07:00 AM
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If you are commuting before sunrise every day, years from now you will look back and say that the dynohub was a worthwhile investment.

But if this is only occasional use, there are hundreds of good battery lights out there.

There are plenty of good dynohub powered lights too. Edelux is not the only one, I suggest any of the B&M headlamps that are at least 70 Lux. The IQ-XS that has an aluminum shell is pretty robust, small, and puts out a nice beam, I have two of them on different bikes. And they make more expensive brighter lights too. There also is an IQ-XS that does not have an aluminum shell, I like the metal shell one.



You have to think about where to mount it, some newer bikes lack a fork crown hole to use for the bracket.
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Old 11-01-22, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post

Your fender setup looks interesting. I'd be interested in a full photo and explanation of how well it works.
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Old 11-01-22, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Your fender setup looks interesting. I'd be interested in a full photo and explanation of how well it works.
My tire width is 28mm. This is my road bike, the fenders are SKS Race Blade XL. They say that up to 32mm would work, but I think that is pushing it.
https://www.sks-germany.com/en/produ...eblade-pro-xl/

More info here:
https://road.cc/content/review/sks-r...ard-set-280643

The XL is the wider version. How does it work? Just fine. But it is intended for temporary use. That said, you could use zip ties to make it more permanent.

There are some small screws that you must not tighten too much or you could break the plastic. I learned that the hard way years ago on a different pair of plastic fenders.

My road bike in photo.

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Old 11-01-22, 08:07 AM
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It's for road biking - not commuting so weight is an issue. Guesstimate I use it 40x a year and only for an hour on each ride until the sun rises.

I also have flat handlebars. So I'd need something that can mount to that.

By B&M lights do you mean Busch & Muller lights?
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Old 11-01-22, 12:23 PM
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A few questions:
Where do you ride? Dark unlit country roads,or quiet streets with streetlights and low traffic, or busier roads with more traffic?
How fast are you going most of the time?
Your ride could have an hour of darkness, then an hour of sunrise/sunset conditions?

~~~

My opinions:

dark country roads: My 1000 lumen light is way too bright for the reflective signs! I dial it back to 500 or 250 lumens usually, then full power on faster downhills.

quiet city streets: 500 to 1000 lumens will light up those patches of dark road in between the streetlight coverage.

busier city roads with traffic: I'm running 1000 lumens or more, to compete with the car headlights. The light is aimed downward to have bright pool of light on the road ahead, and lessen the glare for the drivers.

10-12 mph: that's slow enough to react and avoid road debris with 500 lumens or so.
15-18 mph: maybe 1000 lumens or more, and a beam that projects farther down the road. My brightest light is a wide beam, originally for trail riding, so it has fantastic coverage, but is dim far away.
20+mph: got to be careful that you don't overrun your light coverage.

~~~
Run times
It's nice to have extra long run times, instead of running the battery most of the way down on a lot of rides. That can be managed by lowering the lumens as appropriate, to extend battery life. That gets annoying though.
Some lights have "too many" settings to cycle through with a button press. I want to get to my usual choices with just a few presses.


Adjustability
My lights use rubber stretch clamps on the bar, instead of a screw-down clamp. That's way better for me. I'll tilt the light up ahead or down toward the road quite often during the ride. The rubber mount allows this, yet it stays in place reliably.
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Old 11-01-22, 02:07 PM
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We have been using the Cygolight Metro 1100's for a while and they have been very reliable. Generally will run them on the medium setting and they provide plenty of light for the pre-dawn starts.
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Old 11-01-22, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by lyle.coop View Post
I'm in the market for some bright headlights for rides that start before sunrise. I need lights that light up the road sufficiently to see all the potholes, etc.
For a standalone headlight running rechargeable batteries, I quite like the Fenix BC30 V2.0. Lighting output and distribution, brightness levels, and user interface work well for me. I had some trouble with it slipping on one of my handlebars, but a couple of wraps of electrical tape on the bar gave it enough "bite" to totally solve that. Although they don't list it on their web site, one can contact them to purchase additional mounts, which makes it easy to swap the light back and forth between different bikes (with no need to fiddle with the adjustment after doing so).

That headlight requires a pair of 18650 Li-Ion batteries. There is no provision for charging them in the light, but it's quick and easy to remove/replace them. Instead of using a dedicated charger, I am currently using batteries that have their own USB connections, and just charge them using two connections on the same multi-USB charger that I use for charging my LED taillight.
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Old 11-01-22, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by lyle.coop View Post
...
By B&M lights do you mean Busch & Muller lights?
Yup.
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Old 11-02-22, 12:45 PM
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with only a 1 hr runtime, I'm guessing no need for an external battery. some self contained rechargeable would be enough, so long as it's bright enough & has a beam pattern for your intended use
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Old 11-03-22, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
A few questions:
Where do you ride? Dark unlit country roads,or quiet streets with streetlights and low traffic, or busier roads with more traffic?
How fast are you going most of the time?
Your ride could have an hour of darkness, then an hour of sunrise/sunset conditions?

I ride in NYC. From Brooklyn into Manhattan. Roads are busy with street lights - but not enough light to see potholes, etc.
I'm averaging about 17mph. But there are sections I can hit 40+mph.

I will have to deal with the sunrise.

Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
Adjustability
My lights use rubber stretch clamps on the bar, instead of a screw-down clamp. That's way better for me. I'll tilt the light up ahead or down toward the road quite often during the ride. The rubber mount allows this, yet it stays in place reliably.
Which 1000+ lumen light do you use? Some people on this thread mentioned the Cygolite Metro Pro. 1100 lumens. But the clamp doesn't look like it will work on my flat handlebars. My handlebars does have a threaded nut on the underside.... maybe theres a way I can hack that to get the Cygolite to work.







Last edited by lyle.coop; 11-03-22 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 11-04-22, 01:42 PM
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If you do enough riding in the dark and want a headlight of quality comparable to a motorcycle or scooter, skip all of the single LED headlights: Light & Motion, NiteRider, Bontrager, Blackburn, Serfas, etc., and no-name knockoffs. I don't care what minor differences they claim, they're all the same -- fancy flashlights with mounts.

The best headlights I've tried and seen that properly light up the road without overspill into the trees, overpasses and eyes of oncoming drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, are the NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800, and the Outbound lights. These are the only US market lights I've seen with focused lenses, and overhanging hoods or shades, designed like motor vehicle headlights, to evenly illuminate the road without blinding oncoming traffic.

They're pricey and heavy. The NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800 and comparable Outbound headlight have an MSRP of $180. The Outbound self-contained light that doesn't need an external battery pack weighs less, but uses a smaller battery with shorter runtime than the NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800. The Outbound headlights with external battery packs can run all night, but you'll need to fasten the battery pack to the frame or rack.

But after using a NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800 for more than two years on many nighttime rides, including on rural roads where I need to watch for deer and other critters, I wouldn't go back to any of my single LED headlights unless I happened to be caught out after dark with nothing else.

I do still using the smaller, lighter weight L&M Rando 500 or NiteRider Lumina Micro for daytime ride, setting the lights to pulse or flash mode. Occasionally I've been caught out after dark with those, and always wished I had the Lumina Dual 1800 instead.

A decent alternative is to use a pair of L&M 500 lights (Urban and Rando are basically the same, with different battery charging options -- the Rando 500 can be charged and run simultaneously, albeit only at low power or pulse mode). A single LED light on either side of the stem, or low on the forks, is a reasonably approximation of the same wider beam. But they still blind oncoming cyclists, pedestrians, etc.

But if you ride only a little in the dark during commutes, and are mostly concerned about being seen by motor vehicle drivers, any decent single LED headlight will do. Frankly, I don't care if the overspill annoys drivers. At least here in Texas about half the vehicles I see are using non-compliant aftermarket headlights designed to blind everyone else. It's headlight warfare and everything goes.
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Old 11-04-22, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
The best headlights I've tried and seen that properly light up the road without overspill into the trees, overpasses and eyes of oncoming drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, are the NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800, and the Outbound lights. These are the only US market lights I've seen with focused lenses, and overhanging hoods or shades, designed like motor vehicle headlights, to evenly illuminate the road without blinding oncoming traffic.
I haven't tried the NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800, so I can't make a direct comparison of the performance, but I think that the Fenix BC30 V2.0 falls into the category of dual-LED, purpose-built bike light. The pair of 18650 batteries is a good fit to the higher output levels of the light, and the fact that they can be easily removed/replaced makes it easy to carry additional capacity.
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Old 11-04-22, 03:12 PM
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Fenix lights for me. I avoid Outbound Lights since they are way overpriced.
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Old 11-04-22, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by John Valuk View Post
I haven't tried the NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800, so I can't make a direct comparison of the performance, but I think that the Fenix BC30 V2.0 falls into the category of dual-LED, purpose-built bike light. The pair of 18650 batteries is a good fit to the higher output levels of the light, and the fact that they can be easily removed/replaced makes it easy to carry additional capacity.
The specs, price and weight look good. If the beam pattern is good, it's a keeper.
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Old 11-05-22, 08:11 PM
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If you don't want to spend a ton of money b cut off beut want a quality light then I would recommend the Lezyne Hecto Drive 500XL, they put out 500 lumens max, but will cost less than $50, but running it at full power will only get you about an hour of light before the battery dies. There is also another fantastic front light called the Ravemen PR800, meaning of course 800 lumens max, this light uses an automotive style cutoff beam instead of a round light which wastes a lot of light by lighting up trees; this light has a flood beam and a spot beam, or combined the two together, and the good news is, this light is less than $70 on Amazon; or if you want even more light, you can get the Ravemen PR1200 with the same light pattern and beam setup for under $90 on Amazon.

There are other lights on the market, and some are just as good as the ones I mentioned, others will chime in with their favorites and they'll be good lights too; and there are more expensive lights that will be better than the ones I mentioned, but I didn't think you wanted to spend a lot of money, so I gave you what I thought were great lights for the money.

The lights that I use at night is a 16 year old Philips Saferide 80, this was the first cutoff beam headlight for bikes made, it puts out the equal of 1290 lumens onto the road with only 270 lumens used, which is why it can run for 4 hours on high with 4 AA rechargeable batteries, that light is still among the brightest, if not the brightest on the pavement and without blinding oncoming riders or motorists; that is my main light. I also use a Cygolite MityCross 400 DSP which goes on my helmet. During the day I just use a Lezyne Macro 400XL on strobe mode. For the rear I have a Nite Rider Omega 300 (an older version of the 330) connected to the seat bag, combined with a Bontrager Flare RT connected to the seat down tube, and a Nite Rider Sentry Aero 260 on the helmet. Not to mention a reflective safety vest, and ankle straps, plus reflective stuff built into garments and shoes these days. I like to ride at night, but I live in a rather large city, so I have to make sure motorists can see me well and see me quickly. If all I did was ride a dedicated bike path at night I wouldn't have to use all those lights, but I ride with motor vehicle traffic.
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Old 11-08-22, 04:29 PM
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If you do a Google search on the equipment of the Tour Divide racers, you'll find a lot of information on powerful battery powered headlight setups that do not require a dynamo hub. It's hard to keep up with all the new products coming out each year, but those guys are always on the forefront so if you search there you're sure to get the latest information. Plus, they are very demanding on lighting so you have your reliable reviews right there. That's where I would start to get a shortlist of lights to choose from.
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Old 11-10-22, 05:09 AM
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Thanks for all the information guys.

I've boiled it down to 2 lights:
1.LEZYNE Macro Drive 1300XXL Bicycle Headlight $90
2. LEZYNE Super Drive 1600XXL Smart Bike Light $140

The strap can fit around aero bars. With the other lights I'd have to buy a special Garmin mount from Canyon and an adapter from the light manufacturer to use the GoPro slot. (The Garmin mount puts the Garmin on top and the GoPRo (or light) on the bottom).

Both lights use 3 bulbs.

Is 1300 lumens enough for pre-dawn city riding or should I go 1600 lumens? Again I'm only in the dark for about 1 hour.



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Old 11-10-22, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by lyle.coop View Post
Thanks for all the information guys.
I've boiled it down to 2 lights:
1.LEZYNE Macro Drive 1300XXL Bicycle Headlight $90
2. LEZYNE Super Drive 1600XXL Smart Bike Light $140
The strap can fit around aero bars. With the other lights I'd have to buy a special Garmin mount from Canyon and an adapter from the light manufacturer to use the GoPro slot. (The Garmin mount puts the Garmin on top and the GoPRo (or light) on the bottom).
Both lights use 3 bulbs.
Is 1300 lumens enough for pre-dawn city riding or should I go 1600 lumens? Again I'm only in the dark for about 1 hour.
when in doubt, spend more money
just kidding, sometimes "smart" stuff is more complicated to operate. any chance of trying them out in a store? or finding a user video on youtube?
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Old 11-10-22, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
If you do a Google search on the equipment of the Tour Divide racers, you'll find a lot of information on powerful battery powered headlight setups that do not require a dynamo hub. It's hard to keep up with all the new products coming out each year, but those guys are always on the forefront so if you search there you're sure to get the latest information. Plus, they are very demanding on lighting so you have your reliable reviews right there. That's where I would start to get a shortlist of lights to choose from.
I think the tour divide riders are more likely to favor a light that is better off road, thus if you were on a flat road there would be more light above the horizon.

I have not looked at their battery light choices, but the dyno powered lights I have seen on their lists are not the ones I would use on pavement.
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Old 11-10-22, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I think the tour divide riders are more likely to favor a light that is better off road, thus if you were on a flat road there would be more light above the horizon.

I have not looked at their battery light choices, but the dyno powered lights I have seen on their lists are not the ones I would use on pavement.
A popular light with those guys is the Sinewave Beacon, which has recently been updated to version 2:
https://www.sinewavecycles.com/produ...ycles-beacon-2

It is a dual powered light that can use both a dynamo or a battery bank. It has a round beam that is not German street legal.

For German legal battery powered lights see here.
https://www.bumm.de/en/products/akku-scheinwerfer.html
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Old 11-10-22, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
A popular light with those guys is the Sinewave Beacon, which has recently been updated to version 2:
https://www.sinewavecycles.com/produ...ycles-beacon-2

It is a dual powered light that can use both a dynamo or a battery bank. It has a round beam that is not German street legal.

For German legal battery powered lights see here.
https://www.bumm.de/en/products/akku-scheinwerfer.html
That is exactly my point, the OP is looking for a light for road biking, he said to see the pot holes, etc. And a round beam is not what I would suggest for that.

In post number 3, above, I stated: ... I suggest any of the B&M headlamps that are at least 70 Lux. The IQ-XS that has an aluminum shell is pretty robust, small, and puts out a nice beam, I have two of them on different bikes.
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Old 11-14-22, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
the OP is looking for a light for road biking, he said to see the pot holes, etc. And a round beam is not what I would suggest for that
lol, yup


I had to switch to a wide angle diffuser & add a DIY beam cutoff hood in order to ride out in public w/ other ppl


but it worked


now, tho, buying new, there are so many better lite options, with good beam patterns that put all the light right there on the road in front of you
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Old 11-14-22, 01:25 PM
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Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
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now, tho, buying new, there are so many better lite options, with good beam patterns that put all the light right there on the road in front of you
Yeah. I bought my first dynohub nine years ago, and now have several. For headlights I have a couple bikes with B&M Luxos U and a couple with IQ-SX, both are B&M. The Luxos U has fallen off their website, so maybe it is out of production. The beam pattern below is for the IQ-SX from B&M website.




My heavy duty touring bike with S&S couplers, when I travel with that I have to disassemble the entire bike to fit it in the case, thus I no longer install the dyno powered lights on it for touring since my touring is daytime. I only use battery taillights on it when touring. The dynohub is 100 percent for battery charging.

But, just in case I want to go out for an evening ride to the pub or encounter a tunnel where I need a light, I bring a cheap (was about $5 USD half a decade ago) light that runs off my USB powerbank. Has a beam like your light, basically a flashlight beam. But since it is only just-in-case, that is good enough for me. My last tour I never used it. Held on the handlebar with an elastic if I need it, but normally stored in the handlebar bag. That light is below:

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