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Best Waterproof Front light?

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Best Waterproof Front light?

Old 08-27-11, 08:29 PM
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Easy Peasy
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Best Waterproof Front light?

I ride through lots of downpours and would appreciate your recommendations for a very good waterproof, battery powered front light. A good waterproof back light recommendation would also be helpful. Thanks.
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Old 08-28-11, 05:48 AM
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If you want a real light, I assume you're willing to use Li-Ion cells. With 18650 cells, there are lots of good flashlights.

I use this flashlight with this mount, and I cannot recommend the combination highly enough. The flashlight is versatile enough that you can take it off the bike and use it hand-held easily should you need to make a repair at night. It's waterproof, and has fairly "beefy" construction (not for weight weenies). That mount also lets you aim the light to the left or right by a few degrees, to see what's around the corner before you ride into it.

I've used other serious lights, like the Magic Shine, but that can't turn like the combination I just mentioned. It also does not have a self-contained battery, so you have to deal with routing its cable to wherever you decide to put its battery pack. Lastly, it's not as nice to hold as a standard flashlight, should you need to.

Edit: For rear lights, I recommend and use a Radbot 1000. While I personally can't attest to its water resistance (yet), this post claims it's quite good.

Last edited by `Orum; 08-28-11 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 08-28-11, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Easy Peasy View Post
I ride through lots of downpours and would appreciate your recommendations for a very good waterproof, battery powered front light. A good waterproof back light recommendation would also be helpful. Thanks.
I'm a little confused, do you want to know what is "the best" or just "very good?"
If you want the best, get a Lupine front light and Dinotte tail light.
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Old 08-28-11, 11:57 AM
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Very good is good enough. I appreciate the suggestions!
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Old 08-28-11, 10:21 PM
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All front and rear bicycle lights are waterproof, now that doesn't mean you can use it scuba diving, but it does mean they will hold to hard wind driven rain with no problems.

Not sure what your budget is, but Cygolite generally have the best choice of headlights on the market for the best price. I've owned several over the years and the oldest one was their cheapest Metro that is now 15 years old and still works even after seeing rain. The series of Cygolites I like are the ExpiliOn series, these have self contained rechargeable batteries, thus no separate battery to contend with, you can get replacement batteries if need be, and you can get one from 250 ($84), to 350 ($93), to 400 lumens (for ($117), which is plenty bright enough for the street and either are adjustable downward in brightness from there. Then there's another self contained battery light from Cygo called the Trion 600...yep 600 lumens, expensive light at close to $300 but insanely bright. Then there's the MityCross 480, yes 480 lumens, this is a dual beam LED that sells for close to $200. I have the ExpiliOn 350 and the MityCross 480 and both are very well made lights and of course water proof as all bicycle lights are.

The rear lights again all are water proof. The brightest ones on the market are the Cygolite HotShot with a 2 watt LED cheap at $31; the Cateye Rapid 3 for around $30; and the Blackburn Mars 4 for around $21. The Mars 4 is the 2nd brightest of the 3 but it has the best side illumination of the 3, the HotShot is the brightest of the 3 but is the 3rd best for side illumination.
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Old 08-28-11, 11:34 PM
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Perhaps a side question, but I have been in the market for some rear blinkers and alike. Any particular site you are pricing these at, or recommend?
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Old 08-29-11, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
All front and rear bicycle lights are waterproof, now that doesn't mean you can use it scuba diving, but it does mean they will hold to hard wind driven rain with no problems
This is very true, the connectors are another story. Some (like Lupine) are great; most not so much.
rekmeyata's notes about self contained battery lights are worth paying attention to as those lights bypass any connector issues however there is still the issue of the recharger hole plug. I have a NightRider mininewt and the little piece of rubber that keeps the plug from getting lost broke off right away, now I duct tape the plug to keep from loosing it (looks like crap). Dinotte's newest model (best tail light ever) has the same issue with the plug for the recharge hole, its flimsy and doesn't like to stay in the hole, ironically I find the old Dinotte tail light better for rain riding and the battery is external on that model. So it seems nothing is easy.
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Old 08-29-11, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by gear View Post
This is very true, the connectors are another story. Some (like Lupine) are great; most not so much.
rekmeyata's notes about self contained battery lights are worth paying attention to as those lights bypass any connector issues however there is still the issue of the recharger hole plug. I have a NightRider mininewt and the little piece of rubber that keeps the plug from getting lost broke off right away, now I duct tape the plug to keep from loosing it (looks like crap). Dinotte's newest model (best tail light ever) has the same issue with the plug for the recharge hole, its flimsy and doesn't like to stay in the hole, ironically I find the old Dinotte tail light better for rain riding and the battery is external on that model. So it seems nothing is easy.
I've never had any problems with any of my connectors including the connector on my cheap ($40) Cygolite Metro I bought 15 years or so ago. And after much use, including plugging and unplugging too many times to even know how many times, it never crapped out...and this was the cheapest 13 watt range light I could find! It still makes a solid connection today. I think some connectors due wear out, but mostly due to people not pulling the plug by the plug straight out, some wiggle the connector back and forth to get it out and this will ruin the connector.

But your right about the self contained system, there is less to go wrong, and anything with a connector is a weak spot.

But I don't think with these new tail lights that I mentioned that you need a $100 plus tail light, it's nice if you have the money burning holes in your pocket to have one because they are nice lights, but more of a luxury when others are nearly as bright for less then a fourth of the price. And with these cheaper tail lights there are no connectors either, and as a side benefit the top brand ones like I mentioned last a long time. I have a Vistalite tail light that I put a amber lens on and use it now for a front flasher that I've had for 15 years (bought it when I got the Metro) and it still works and it cost me $12; I have a Cateye LD600 that I've had for 8 or 9 years and it still works even after I dropped it. So a decent quality name brand will last a long time. The only lights I ever had a problem with was a Planet Bike Super Flash that lasted 3 or 4 months, and a MagicShine head light that lasted 6 months. Neither company ever responded back about replacing under warranty or repairing after I sent them back.
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Old 08-29-11, 10:56 AM
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I don't really judge tail lights by the cost. I can make do with a weak front light, but a weak tail light could cost me my life so it's got to be BRIGHT for me to use it and I really can't put a cost on my life so I don't care what a top quality tail light costs.

Think through how long it takes for a car traveling 40mph to alter its's course so it misses hitting you. First the driver has to see something and identify that it is something to avoid, then the driver has to turn the steering wheel of the car and finally the car has to respond. Would you believe that for all this to occur (at 40mph) a car will travel a distance of three telephone poles. So a good tail light is one that is visible from a distance of three telephone poles on a rainy or foggy, dark morning. So when I judge the quality of a tail light this is the way I do it: I lean my bike against a telephone pole and walk down the road, when I get to the third pole I turn around and if the tail light is nice and bright I have a winner.
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Old 08-29-11, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by `Orum View Post
Edit: For rear lights, I recommend and use a Radbot 1000. While I personally can't attest to its water resistance (yet), this post claims it's quite good.
I think the Radbot is a distant also-ran behind the DangerZone, PBSF turbo, PBSF classic and perhaps even behind the DX PBSF clone in the category of self contained taillights (I have all five). With the minimal price difference, it is probably worth a search or 2 on YouTube to look at the side by sides.
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Old 08-29-11, 04:01 PM
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Thanks everyone for the additional suggestions!
I recently ordered the Cygolite Expilion 250 for the front and a Radbot 1000 for the rear light for my bad weather commuter.
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Old 08-30-11, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Easy Peasy View Post
I ride through lots of downpours and would appreciate your recommendations for a very good waterproof, battery powered front light. A good waterproof back light recommendation would also be helpful. Thanks.
Not that I can actually build you one right now (sold out)... but I've been building high performance lights that are very waterproof, including the batteries. Also, not that I recommend you do this to whatever light you end up getting, but just so you can see an example of extreme waterproofing, check the thread over at MTBR:

https://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=726601

If you ride in a lot of heavy rains, it'd be nice to have this kind of confidence in your lights.
(Just a point of interest, left/right on-the-fly aiming is a feature for the Cateye mounts used on these lights).
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Old 08-30-11, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by gear View Post
I don't really judge tail lights by the cost. I can make do with a weak front light, but a weak tail light could cost me my life so it's got to be BRIGHT for me to use it and I really can't put a cost on my life so I don't care what a top quality tail light costs.

Think through how long it takes for a car traveling 40mph to alter its's course so it misses hitting you. First the driver has to see something and identify that it is something to avoid, then the driver has to turn the steering wheel of the car and finally the car has to respond. Would you believe that for all this to occur (at 40mph) a car will travel a distance of three telephone poles. So a good tail light is one that is visible from a distance of three telephone poles on a rainy or foggy, dark morning. So when I judge the quality of a tail light this is the way I do it: I lean my bike against a telephone pole and walk down the road, when I get to the third pole I turn around and if the tail light is nice and bright I have a winner.
When cost is no object... (OK, maybe not the most important object)... you won't get any brighter than the DesignShine DS-500. I build these lights EXACTLY for the reasons you've laid out here, only I would add a few more qualifications to your brightness test: it has to be bright, at half a mile, with the viewer wearing dark glasses, off at a 30 deg angle, with the sun in your eyes, distracted by a cell phone, and speeding. But don't take my word for it, check out the comparison to the gold standard Dinotte 400R.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVisFnaKjso
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Old 08-30-11, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by gear View Post
I don't really judge tail lights by the cost. I can make do with a weak front light, but a weak tail light could cost me my life so it's got to be BRIGHT for me to use it and I really can't put a cost on my life so I don't care what a top quality tail light costs.

Think through how long it takes for a car traveling 40mph to alter its's course so it misses hitting you. First the driver has to see something and identify that it is something to avoid, then the driver has to turn the steering wheel of the car and finally the car has to respond. Would you believe that for all this to occur (at 40mph) a car will travel a distance of three telephone poles. So a good tail light is one that is visible from a distance of three telephone poles on a rainy or foggy, dark morning. So when I judge the quality of a tail light this is the way I do it: I lean my bike against a telephone pole and walk down the road, when I get to the third pole I turn around and if the tail light is nice and bright I have a winner.
So if a Radbot 1000, Blackburn Mars 4, Cateye Rapid 3 and especially the Cygolite Hotshot can be readily seen for more then a mile away and a driver doing 40 can't see you and hits you, then that same driver would have hit a cop car with all their lights flashing!!! Actually when I test my lights I have my wife stand the bike upright and I approach in a car from about 2 blocks away in the hard rain it's good. I can even see my Cateye LD600 the weakest link in the system but it's attached to a helmet, and it appears like a dim flashing glow. I can very easily see my Soma Road Flares and the Mars 4 though with no problems discerning what I'm looking at. My wife hates me when I do that kind of stuff, but she knew I needed to see what I look like in adverse conditions. I did the same thing coming around the block and approaching the front from two blocks away, the only light that sort of failed in that test was the old round 5 LED BLT helmet light.
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Old 08-31-11, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Recumbentracer View Post
When cost is no object... (OK, maybe not the most important object)... you won't get any brighter than the DesignShine DS-500. I build these lights EXACTLY for the reasons you've laid out here, only I would add a few more qualifications to your brightness test: it has to be bright, at half a mile, with the viewer wearing dark glasses, off at a 30 deg angle, with the sun in your eyes, distracted by a cell phone, and speeding. But don't take my word for it, check out the comparison to the gold standard Dinotte 400R.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVisFnaKjso
The video clearly proves that the DesignShine is a better DAYLIGHT tail light than the Dinotte tail light. How do they compare at night?
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Old 08-31-11, 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
So if a Radbot 1000, Blackburn Mars 4, Cateye Rapid 3 and especially the Cygolite Hotshot can be readily seen for more then a mile away and a driver doing 40 can't see you and hits you, then that same driver would have hit a cop car with all their lights flashing!!! Actually when I test my lights I have my wife stand the bike upright and I approach in a car from about 2 blocks away in the hard rain it's good. I can even see my Cateye LD600 the weakest link in the system but it's attached to a helmet, and it appears like a dim flashing glow. I can very easily see my Soma Road Flares and the Mars 4 though with no problems discerning what I'm looking at. My wife hates me when I do that kind of stuff, but she knew I needed to see what I look like in adverse conditions. I did the same thing coming around the block and approaching the front from two blocks away, the only light that sort of failed in that test was the old round 5 LED BLT helmet light.
The only point I'm trying to make is that when judging a tail light most people stand behind their bike, look at the tail light and go "wow, thats bright". The test you suggest that you did with your wife is the only type of test that matters because it replicates real world conditions from a drivers point of view (not a cyclist's point of view).
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Old 08-31-11, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by gear View Post
The only point I'm trying to make is that when judging a tail light most people stand behind their bike, look at the tail light and go "wow, thats bright". The test you suggest that you did with your wife is the only type of test that matters because it replicates real world conditions from a drivers point of view (not a cyclist's point of view).
And your right, you have to know how the bike will look to a driver. The only thing I don't like about You Tube videos of various lights being tested is that the human eye is way better then a camera, a picture will show this red blinking light riding off in the distance but the surroundings look pitch black which isn't the case with the human eye, and the lights in a camera will flare out which also doesn't happen with the eye. It can review brightness levels between two lights but other then that their useless.
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Old 08-31-11, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
All front and rear bicycle lights are waterproof, now that doesn't mean you can use it scuba diving, but it does mean they will hold to hard wind driven rain with no problems....
Baja Designs Strykr is waterproof to 33 feet. They even make a hand mount for it for snorkeling and shallow water scuba diving.
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Old 08-31-11, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by gear View Post
The video clearly proves that the DesignShine is a better DAYLIGHT tail light than the Dinotte tail light. How do they compare at night?
Most any light at 1 watt or better is acceptably bright at night. The distinguishing factors at night are more concerned with how the light is focused and what mode you're running it. I always prefer to run the DS in steady mode at low power (1 watt) at night, sometimes combined with a low power blinky.

One of the unique features of the DesignShine is that it capitalizes on the "spill" light that is normally lost through the sides of the optics. The clear polycarb lens cover allows this light to pass directly out the sides for good coverage at night when going through intersections, etc. You can see a comparison of the side light detail here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7MLxEF9kRQ

Both lights were on high in this case, which is WAY too much light at night. But as others have pointed out, the camera is horrible at capturing this kind of thing at night. Really only useful for direct comparison, and then only barely.

A better image is attached here showing a comparison between the bike with the DS system and a car. The intensity of the side marker lighting is very similar to a motor vehicle. It also puts a lot of red on the ground around the bike and lights up the back wheel, so you take the shape of a bicycle. In combination with the front light, almost the entire bike itself gets illuminated.



Also, it uses two separate lenses, one pure spot lens for distance penetration and one elliptical pattern lens to disperse the light in a flat and wide pattern (43 degree beam width) so that the light still has good intensity even when viewed from a perspective that is not directly straight behind. It prevents you from disappearing as you make turns or as you are being viewed from behind on curvy roads or from close range in another lane, etc...

Last edited by Recumbentracer; 08-31-11 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 08-31-11, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by gear View Post
I don't really judge tail lights by the cost. I can make do with a weak front light, but a weak tail light could cost me my life so it's got to be BRIGHT for me to use it and I really can't put a cost on my life so I don't care what a top quality tail light costs.... So a good tail light is one that is visible from a distance of three telephone poles on a rainy or foggy, dark morning....
Agreed on getting the best tail light you can afford.

However, I think a better measure of a good tail light is one that is visible from that distance in rainy or foggy daylight. All tail lights are more visible in the dark. I want one that works in inclement daytime weather as well. For now, it's the DiNotte 140L.
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Old 08-31-11, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
Baja Designs Strykr is waterproof to 33 feet. They even make a hand mount for it for snorkeling and shallow water scuba diving.
That's great, I need to get one because I'm planning on riding my bike underwater while wearing scuba gear.
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Old 09-03-11, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
That's great, I need to get one because I'm planning on riding my bike underwater while wearing scuba gear.
Good luck with that. I ride my bike in the rain so some assurance that it's actually waterproof is nice.
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Old 09-04-11, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
Good luck with that. I ride my bike in the rain so some assurance that it's actually waterproof is nice.
Again, all lights manufactured for use on a bike are water resistance, don't be so flipped. I ridden with all the lights I ever owned in rain and never once had an issue, even with lights built in the early 70's! There was an issue with a light I bought in 1971...it wasn't very bright all all!
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Old 09-04-11, 09:58 AM
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Unless you want to spend pretty big bucks I would go with flash lights over most bike lights with separate batteries. (I use both.)

My own experience suggests that you can end up in situations where some moisture gets to the battery or light - no matter what you try.

The trouble using lights in wet conditions is whether they seem waterproof - its that moisture eventually gets inside and corrodes contacts and switches. The light may seem OK - but quits a month or two later.......
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Old 09-04-11, 01:09 PM
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Ultrafire 501-B a DiNotte-type bright self-contained 18650 battery rear light

The red LED Ultrafire 501-B is another DiNotte-type bright rear light. It' central beam is actually brighter but narrower so they can complement each other or you can buy about three or more 501-B's plus 18650 batteries for less than one DiNotte.

Thread for further details including more beamshots, video, etc.
For mounting possibilities Thread1 Thread2 or search BikeForums for "501-B mount" or 501B mount" etc.

Last edited by Giro; 09-05-11 at 08:53 PM. Reason: add missing link
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