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-   -   The best headlights under $50 thread (https://www.bikeforums.net/electronics-lighting-gadgets/435347-best-headlights-under-50-thread.html)

angerdan 08-06-18 12:25 PM

Exellent set to been seen for commuters:
ebay.com/itm/Set-di-luci-per-bici-CatEye-Rapid-X-TL-700-None/163170441735

dwmckee 08-06-18 01:18 PM


Originally Posted by Ziemas (Post 6974494)
Many of us use flashlights with a bike mount. Believe it or not, but they make a great and extremely bright bike light for a fraction of the cost of a bike specific light. For such a small budget you aren't going to get much beyond a little blinkey front light if you insist on a bike specific light.

Ah, not true! Here is a great light for less than $8 (+ free shipping) that puts out 600 lumens and in a shaped reflector with a horizontal cutoff so you do not blind everyone heading towards you. The light puts out more light at the top of the beam too so you get more light further down the road for overall even illumination and better night vision retention. Just like the headlights on your car!

This bike-specific light is outstanding and even has a decent rechargeable battery.

https://www.banggood.com/XANES-600LM...r_warehouse=CN

noglider 08-06-18 02:21 PM


Originally Posted by dwmckee (Post 20491616)
Ah, not true! Here is a great light for less than $8 (+ free shipping) that puts out 600 lumens and in a shaped reflector with a horizontal cutoff so you do not blind everyone heading towards you. The light puts out more light at the top of the beam too so you get more light further down the road for overall even illumination and better night vision retention. Just like the headlights on your car!

This bike-specific light is outstanding and even has a decent rechargeable battery.

https://www.banggood.com/XANES-600LM...r_warehouse=CN

I've always been disappointed with off-brand stuff like this, but for $8, I have to try it. Thanks. I'll let you know.

mfhorn 08-23-18 11:34 AM

Has anyone tried the lights that fit on your head? Are there any that would fit over a helmet?
For example:
https://www.amazon.com/Cobiz-Brightest-Rechargeable-Waterproof-Flashlight/dp/B074C9D8FK/ref=pd_sbs_468_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B074C9D8FK&pd_rd_r=f055918e-a6f8-11e8-8742-1712fd196554&pd_rd_w=d72zB&pd_rd_wg=8W9kJ&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=0bb14103-7f67-4c21-9b0b-31f42dc047e7&pf_rd_r=S764Q47FWYABHNX5C7K6&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=S764Q47FWYABHNX5C7K6

And yes, I'm taking the 6000 lumen claim with a very large grain of salt.

What about those spoke lights? Are they worth anything or more just for show?

noglider 08-23-18 05:21 PM


Originally Posted by mfhorn (Post 20523407)
Has anyone tried the lights that fit on your head? Are there any that would fit over a helmet?
For example:
https://www.amazon.com/Cobiz-Brighte...7FWYABHNX5C7K6

And yes, I'm taking the 6000 lumen claim with a very large grain of salt.

What about those spoke lights? Are they worth anything or more just for show?

Lots of people mount their lights on their heads. It works well for them. It's important not to shine them in people's faces, so if you're conscious of that, it can work out well.

I use a spoke light when I ride at night. It's not bright, but the motion makes it very noticeable. It uses a pair of coin cell batteries. I use it as a supplement to my two taillights. I tried using a spoke light in my front wheel, but it distracted me too much, so I just use one in the rear wheel.

canklecat 08-26-18 05:28 AM


Originally Posted by mfhorn (Post 20523407)
Has anyone tried the lights that fit on your head? Are there any that would fit over a helmet?

For night rides on my road bike, I strap my Light & Motion Urban 500 onto my helmet. The stock straps fit through the vents, no problems, no need for a special mount. Other helmets might require special mounts -- the commuter or skater type helmets with fewer vents. Road helmets are generally rated higher for safety anyway, so there isn't much advantage to the Bern type helmets.

I made a homebrewed shade for the light to minimize spill and blinding oncoming cyclists and pedestrians on the MUP. It's just an empty ibuprofen bottle of white HDPE plastic, soft and tough, easy to trim with a craft knife and scissors. It snaps into the recess just behind the lens on the L&M Urban lights -- an advantage to the cylindrical shape compared with other lights.

And I put a NiteRider Lumina Micro 750 on my road bike's head tube as the main headlight. It needs to be around 6" away from the wireless speedometer/odometer to avoid interfering. Wouldn't be a problem with wired computers.

I also use taillights on my bike and helmet. I'm a firm believer in doubling up on lights. The multiple points of light and separation give drivers a quick reference to estimate our distance, direction and speed.

altondavis2 09-03-18 12:56 PM

Suggest a NiteRider Lumina 650, list price $49.99.

Reliable, proven, waterproof, 650 Lumens and available at major retailers

Nice to have a really powerful light..

noglider 09-06-18 02:31 PM


Originally Posted by dwmckee (Post 20491616)
Ah, not true! Here is a great light for less than $8 (+ free shipping) that puts out 600 lumens and in a shaped reflector with a horizontal cutoff so you do not blind everyone heading towards you. The light puts out more light at the top of the beam too so you get more light further down the road for overall even illumination and better night vision retention. Just like the headlights on your car!

This bike-specific light is outstanding and even has a decent rechargeable battery.

https://www.banggood.com/XANES-600LM...r_warehouse=CN

I finally received mine last week. It shipped out from Thailand. OK, whatever.

I've tested it once or twice.

The bad:

It feels flimsy, but maybe I'm not being fair.

It has five modes, and it doesn't remember what mode it was last on, so when I turn it on, it goes to mode 1. I happen to like mode 4, so I have to hold the on button for a second and then press it three times, watching the output to make sure I get what I want.

mode 1: low steady
mode 2: tail light
mode 3: medium steady
mode 4: high steady
mode 5: flashing, not sure which intensity

The tail light mode (2) is useless.

The good:

It lasted for two hours at high intensity (4).

The beam is, in fact, good, both in intensity and shape.

The price is almost impossibly low. It's gone up to $9, but that's practically free.

I have to test this more to be fair. I'm impressed overall. How did you find this?

The lack of mode memory is a serious deficiency.

no motor? 09-08-18 09:03 AM


Originally Posted by noglider (Post 20550932)
I finally received mine last week. It shipped out from Thailand. OK, whatever.

I've tested it once or twice.

The bad:

It feels flimsy, but maybe I'm not being fair.

It has five modes, and it doesn't remember what mode it was last on, so when I turn it on, it goes to mode 1. I happen to like mode 4, so I have to hold the on button for a second and then press it three times, watching the output to make sure I get what I want.

mode 1: low steady
mode 2: tail light
mode 3: medium steady
mode 4: high steady
mode 5: flashing, not sure which intensity

The tail light mode (2) is useless.

The good:

It lasted for two hours at high intensity (4).

The beam is, in fact, good, both in intensity and shape.

The price is almost impossibly low. It's gone up to $9, but that's practically free.

I have to test this more to be fair. I'm impressed overall. How did you find this?

The lack of mode memory is a serious deficiency.

That is surprising. Please let us know how it holds up.

noglider 09-08-18 09:16 AM


Originally Posted by no motor? (Post 20554078)
That is surprising. Please let us know how it holds up.

Which part is surprising, the good or the bad? I suppose I should stock up on them and expect them to fail every couple of months, and I've still spent less than on good lights. But if I don't stock up, I'll be without one and having to wait all those weeks for its replacement. I don't like either choice.

no motor? 09-08-18 10:22 AM

The good part. I didn't expect things to be anywhere near that good. I paid about the same price for an Ultrfire flashlight 7 or 8 years ago, and this has a battery, mount, and a shaped beam. I don't need anymore bike lights, but at $9 this is hard to pass up.

noglider 09-08-18 11:44 PM


Originally Posted by no motor? (Post 20554209)
The good part. I didn't expect things to be anywhere near that good. I paid about the same price for an Ultrfire flashlight 7 or 8 years ago, and this has a battery, mount, and a shaped beam. I don't need anymore bike lights, but at $9 this is hard to pass up.

Yeah it is pretty astonishing. I used one of those torches as a headlight and found it to be awful. It's weird to me that so many people are satisfied with them. To each his own.

And I don't know how long the battery will perform so well, but did you notice it lasts two hours on the highest setting?

no motor? 09-09-18 03:23 PM

I did notice that. I've yet to get anywhere near the advertised run times on batteries with the exception of the Panasonics I use in my good flashlight (the Ultrafire got upgraded pretty quickly and is a backup light now) and 2 hours of run time would make me happy.

dwmckee 09-09-18 08:11 PM

Here is an update to my earlier link as the product I posted is no longer available. Here are two replacements. Both are well under $20 and both have the horizontal cutoff so you do not blind everyone that is heading toward you. For riding a bike on roads with oncoming traffic or on MUPs where people may be walking toward you, these are far superior! Those adapted flashlights that blind everyone else are at best rude, and at worst a hazard to everyone else.

https://www.banggood.com/XANES-XL02-...r_warehouse=CN

https://www.banggood.com/XANES-600LM...hotproducts__1

McMitchell 10-10-18 10:01 PM

I just ordered a N N.Oranie, front 700 lumens & rear light from Amazon for $27. I figured with 28 5 star ratings it was worth a shot. I do not plan to ride at night. I ride in the deep woods with low light and lots of turns though. I wanted something to make my bike more noticeable. I was looking for something that charged via USB and was easy to remove from a solid mount for recharging. May buy a flashlight mount for one of several USB flashlights, if I actually decide to ride at night. I have a USB charging “station” for: phone, iPad, flashlights.....adding a couple more is practically no trouble.

canklecat 10-13-18 05:24 PM


Originally Posted by McMitchell (Post 20610619)
I just ordered a N N.Oranie, front 700 lumens & rear light from Amazon for $27. I figured with 28 5 star ratings it was worth a shot. I do not plan to ride at night. I ride in the deep woods with low light and lots of turns though. I wanted something to make my bike more noticeable. I was looking for something that charged via USB and was easy to remove from a solid mount for recharging. May buy a flashlight mount for one of several USB flashlights, if I actually decide to ride at night. I have a USB charging “station” for: phone, iPad, flashlights.....adding a couple more is practically no trouble.

Update your review after using the light for awhile.

Fakespot analysis of reviews for various Amazon listings of the N N Oranie light indicate a lot of potentially fraudulent reviews. They gave it an F, about the worst grade I've seen for any Amazon product reviews. That's pretty common with newly introduced products with lots of shill reviews by compensated Amazon reviewers. The very few reviews other than 5 stars indicate some quality control problems.

As an Amazon reviewer who's occasionally been compensated, usually in the form of discounts, I'm skeptical of too many glowing reviews for new products. Even if reviewers want to leave honest reviews there isn't much incentive. Anything less than a 5 star review tends to get us dropped from consideration by vendors. I've left a few ratings of 2-4 stars with honest reviews of the products including positive and negative characteristics. I've never been asked to review another product by a vendor or manufacturer when I left anything less than 5 star reviews.

And Amazon has blocked one of my honest 5 star reviews because they received too many 5 star reviews for the same product in a short time. But the product really was that good, and an incredible value. Amazon's AI just didn't want to believe it.

McMitchell 10-14-18 07:09 AM

I have the lights now, there is a front and rear light.

Initial impressions.
The mount(s) were the main reason I bought this particular set of lights. The mounts looked sturdier than many of the “quick/easy” mounts I have seen. The handlebar mount does have a large rubber clamp that fits around my carbon bar, unfortunately the clamp only fits on the 22mm sections of the bar. My current carbon riser bar has a larger 31mm section in the center that it does not fit around. Not sure if a longer SS screw will fix this, yet. I am thinking about ordering a shorter plain flat bar which has a narrower 31mm section though, as I am a little crowded on my current, cut down, to 680mm riser bar. The front light also comes with a helmet mount. The top part of the helmet mount, that came in the kit, actually fits in the base of my helmets “camera” mount. Will experiment with helmet mounting both lights as I am aware there are some advantages to this mounting system.

The other thing I liked is the front light puts out 700 lumens, and has a flashing/strobe mode that saves the battery, as does the rear light. I plan to use both in the flashing mode on most rides, as the gravel roads I ride are in deep woods. With all the switch backs cars can appear quickly and I want to be seen. The lack of traffic sometimes means drivers may wander over to the wrong side of the very narrow roads.

Both lights charged up quickly with their Mini USB chargers. The caps over the Mini USB holes do not look like they will last, which may mean they will not be waterproof for long. This is typical of the caps on these USB charging ports though. The front light is better than the rear light, which is held on with a large rubber band. I knew this before I ordered the lights though. If the rear light does not want to stay in place I can always order a rear light with a better mounting system.

canklecat 10-15-18 05:43 AM

Sounds good for the money. Lots of cheap lights out there and some are surprisingly good, or at least good values.

Best cheap light I've tried was sold as the Vivo-Bike Illuminati about three years ago. A few other vendors sold the same light for as little as $10. Not a great headlight for seeing the road -- just barely adequate for that. But one of the best to-be-seen lights I've seen or tried. It's about the size of a Bic cigarette lighter, weighs even less, performs exactly as advertised and is still going strong after three years of regular use on almost every ride. I use it as a helmet light unless another cyclist in a nighttime group ride showed up without lights. The thin, flexible but strong rubber strap fits almost anything.

Next best wasn't really cheap but a great value -- the Blackburn 2'Fer. Possibly the best to-be-seen light yet for a commuter. It's just a little clip-on badge with red and white modes, steady or flashing, in one simple unit. Fits my helmet , hat band when I didn't wear a helmet, shirt collar, belt, shoe, or any makeshift or built in strap. Holds more securely than any similar light I've seen. I've picked up lots of taillights that popped loose from other bikes in group rides and it's almost always due to poorly designed clips (incuding the older Blackburns with wire clips). The 2'Fer clip is snug fitting plastic, very strong, and has extra retaining hooks and nibs to cling to narrow or wide straps. It works so well the $25 price turns out to be very reasonable for the value, and a better buy in pairs for $40.

Least good value was the NiteRider Lumina Micro 750. Not a bad light at all, but on high the output drops very rapidly, from 750 lumens to around 400 in only 10 minutes. It's more of a 300-400 lumen light with turbo boost. I mostly use it for local errands and as a backup. Other NiteRider models perform better according to test sites.

Best value has been the Light & Motion Urban 500, and everyone I know with L&M lights likes 'em. I can nitpick little things, like the strap, the swivel mount, the USB port cover. But it works well with a relatively flat output curve. I'll probably buy another more powerful L&M and run it on medium to last longer. I've homebrewed a snap-on hood that shades the overspill from the eyes of oncoming cyclists and pedestrians on the MUP, and enhances the side view. Easy to do with the Urban series cylindrical barrel. It's harder to homebrew an effective and convenient hood for squarish and oval shaped lights. And there are some great discounts now on some Urban models.

sknhgy 11-06-18 09:15 AM


Originally Posted by noglider (Post 20491777)
I've always been disappointed with off-brand stuff like this, but for $8, I have to try it. Thanks. I'll let you know.

I'm more disappointed by my expensive Dinotte and my expensive, ($65) aluminum framed flashlight. Now I can get flashlights at Autozone and O'Reilly's with more power at a fraction of the cost.
It's crazy not to take advantage of these advances in technology. It doesn't make sense to pay big bucks for bike specific lights when you can get good lights for much, much less.

tcs 11-06-18 10:42 AM

Time was in N.A. one had to throw down big bucks at obscure purveyors for a German headlamp to get vertical beam cut-off. Well, not any more. I've been fooling around with three inexpensive lights with beam cut-off:

Owleye Hilux 30, $35 street price
PDW Pathfinder, $35 street price
Xanes SFL-01, $10 street price

All offer high, low and some sort of flash. The Xanes also has an emergency taillight function and an ambient light and motion sensing setting - more about that later.

The Owleye and Xanes claim to meet the German StVZO standard, the PDW claims a “Vertical Cutoff Beam”. The Owleye has a cleanly projected trapezoidal beam shape on the pavement, brighter at the top than bottom for fairly uniform illumination when projected on the roadway. The Xanes beam isn’t as well defined, but cuts off as advertised. The PDW throws a rectangle pattern on the pavement, wide but quite short fore and aft.

To give you some sense of these beams, here they are projected onto a vertical sheet of printer paper held about a foot in front of the handlebars. You can see the Owleye is whitish, the Xanes a cooler bluish and the PDW a warmer reddish.

https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...f903fc12dd.jpg

I don’t have a photometer. I put the three lights on a straight handlebar side by side, turned them on high, walked to the other end of my dark garage and looked back into the core of the beams. I’m trying to give back to the community, but don’t make me do that again - I’m still seeing spots! Anyway, when I first turned them on, the Xanes appeared the brightest, followed by the Owleye. This is in agreement with their advertised outputs. After half an hour on high, the Owleye was noticeably brighter than the Xanes. On my suburban streets, the Xanes and Owleye throw down plenty of illumination for me, the PDW is borderline. IMO none would be bright enough for trail riding or high speed descents. For street and path riding, the Owleye’s clean, well defined beam really makes good use of the photons it throws out.

All have built-in batteries, USB recharging and come with a short cable. They all have slide in mounts with strap-around rubber attachments to the handlebars.

The PDW winked out @ 1:53. Around 2.5 hours, the Xanes' 'gas gage' warning LED came on, and by that point it's beam was pretty puny compared with the Owleye's. Hmm, I'm guess it went into 'limp home' mode. At three hours, the Owleye went out, maintaining a bright beam 'til the end (regulated circuit?) After four hours, the Xanes was still 'glowing' - I dunno, maybe find your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night with it?

Both the Owleye and Xanes claim to be the smallest lights that meet the StVZO. As a practical matter, I can’t imagine anyone choosing one or the other of these tiny lights based on size. Just for fun, the Xanes eyeballs a little smaller. It weights 71g with mount; the Owleye 65g.

The Xanes emergency tail light function isn’t very bright. I suppose if one was carrying the Xanes as a back up head/tail lamp, and their main tail lamp pooped out, the Xanes would be better than nothing.

As mentioned, the Xanes has an ambient light and motion sensing setting. I’m not a fan. I had the lamp on this setting as I approached a streetlight followed by a shade tree, with a car coming in the other direction. I rode under the streetlight, and the Xanes went out. Then I plunged into the darkness under the shade tree, invisible to the oncoming car, for an eternity (measured in tenths of seconds) until the Xanes came back on. Besides, this setting is indicated on the light housing by a too bright, distracting blue LED. For normal use, I've done pretty well over the years figuring out for myself when I should turn my headlight on and off.

sknhgy 11-11-18 11:57 AM

This thread has inspired me to dig out my old Dinotte headlight. I'm going on vacation to do some mtb riding.
It's a 200L. I had to look up the operating manual.
Does anyone know why they recommend running on High instead of Medium or Low?

wombat_alex 12-01-18 06:58 PM

This thread was started about 10 years ago. Many good lights became cheaper since, trickle down economy, etc. etc.

To answer the question, Niterider Swift 450 can be easily found for $22-$25 these days. I got mine for $35 earlier this year but it was prior to Swift 500 release (it took over the $35 price tag). A bunch of lower Luminas are also below $50 but I like the “self-contained” type of mount in this one. Great light.

tcs 12-03-18 01:34 PM


Originally Posted by wombat_alex (Post 20686862)
...Niterider Swift 450...

Looking at the steep illumination drop off vs. time curve during independent testing, IMHO Niterider advertising this as a 450 lumen lamp is 'fanciful'. YMMV.

wombat_alex 12-03-18 02:16 PM

It's the first time I hear about this reviewer site; can't deny or confirm it's trustworthy. Even Cateye Volt 800 isn't good enough according to their data.
Anyhow, Niterider Lumina Micro 550 got much better representation from their side and retails for $35 also. There is a bunch of Luminas that retail for sub $50.

Personal experience aside, I put more trust in road.cc reviews and still, for $25 the Swift 450 is more than a decent option. If you suspect your unit is defective, you can always reach out to customer support or just exchange it.

KingOfTheHill 12-04-18 03:16 PM


Originally Posted by wombat_alex (Post 20689276)
It's the first time I hear about this reviewer site; can't deny or confirm it's trustworthy. Even Cateye Volt 800 isn't good enough according to their data.
Anyhow, Niterider Lumina Micro 550 got much better representation from their side and retails for $35 also. There is a bunch of Luminas that retail for sub $50.

Personal experience aside, I put more trust in road.cc reviews and still, for $25 the Swift 450 is more than a decent option. If you suspect your unit is defective, you can always reach out to customer support or just exchange it.

wetestlights.com is a legitimate website. It would be awesome if they also gave lumens v runtime graphs for the other brightness settings in lights but it's a good source for information. Most single cell lights have a hard time maintaining consistent brightness throughout the runtime- some Cygolites are the exception.

With small lights such as the Lumina micro series and the Swift series, one would be well advised to not rely on acceptable "to see by" brightness for more than 45-60 minutes if run on the highest setting. While I like lights such as these for size, I really only use them as high-powered to be seen lights in flashing mode or as a backup to my main light (carried in a jersey pocket, pack, etc.)

Remember, FL-1 standards to not require consistent output throughout the claimed runtime.


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