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Bike Light Makers - Still In The Dark - Here's Why

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Bike Light Makers - Still In The Dark - Here's Why

Old 09-09-11, 11:09 AM
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Richard Cranium
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Bike Light Makers - Still In The Dark - Here's Why

Dear Bicycle Light Manufacturer,

This is to let you know that you have really missed the mark with your current offerings.

All over the world sophisticated cyclists are using flashlights exclusively or are supplementing their bicycle lighting needs with flashlights.

The reason? You continue to make unwieldy bicycle lights that are either under powered or unnecessarily heavy and complicated to mount.

The answer. Start making bicycle lights that benefit from the "18650" Lithium Ion cell format. Make these lights so that the cell is contained in the body of the light and can be "swapped out"or charged in place.

Offer an optional external battery pack for those who absolutely require it, but standardize plugs and voltages across you lights so that as emitters and new lights come to market past purchases will not become obsolete.

And finally, make the damn light - a bicycle light with reflector and beam pattern that works for a bicyclist. And while you're at it - offer a bicycle light that has a "real" high beam and low beam. Geeeee-zussssss - it's not rocket science!

That is all - continue with your own crop of crap at your own risk. I may go into this business.
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Old 09-09-11, 11:21 AM
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Thanks, Dick. Couldn't have said it better myself. My Dinotte sits unused on the shelf because to use it you have to mount the light, mount the battery pack and hope the batteries don't shake loose while you ride. Then charging is an ordeal. You have to remove the auxiliary velcro strap that keeps the batteries from coming out of the holder. Put the (4) batteries in the charger, then put them back in the holder, put the holder in it's sack, put a strap around the holder, connect the holder, mount the holder, etc., etc.
My Shiningbeam flashlight snaps in and out of it's holder with one hand. It runs on one 18650. Simple and reliable.
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Old 09-09-11, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
Dear Bicycle Light Manufacturer,

This is to let you know that you have really missed the mark with your current offerings.

All over the world sophisticated cyclists are using flashlights exclusively or are supplementing their bicycle lighting needs with flashlights.

The reason? You continue to make unwieldy bicycle lights that are either under powered or unnecessarily heavy and complicated to mount.

The answer. Start making bicycle lights that benefit from the "18650" Lithium Ion cell format. Make these lights so that the cell is contained in the body of the light and can be "swapped out"or charged in place.

Offer an optional external battery pack for those who absolutely require it, but standardize plugs and voltages across you lights so that as emitters and new lights come to market past purchases will not become obsolete.

And finally, make the damn light - a bicycle light with reflector and beam pattern that works for a bicyclist. And while you're at it - offer a bicycle light that has a "real" high beam and low beam. Geeeee-zussssss - it's not rocket science!

That is all - continue with your own crop of crap at your own risk. I may go into this business.
Except for the shaped beam requirement, I think "Exposure" lights meet most of your other wishes... albeit quite expensive. Some of the German made lights have shaped beams, but are again very expensive. Some dyno models also with shaped beams, but relatively low power. One of the problems with beam shaping and LED's is the physics of the matter. It ends up taking up a good bit of reflector real estate to come up with a good design, which starts making the light bigger than it could be with typical reflectors and lenses. Couple that with the fact that the typical cyclist may not really care to have that "perfect" beam pattern and is perfectly happy with the "round spot" and it just makes sense that no one is really pushing hard for that feature.

With multiple emitters using different beam patterns, you can arrive at a fairly decent, bike-friendly beam pattern (Troute lights prime example), which is what I've adopted for my lights, but competing with the Chinese on cost is completely out the realm of possibility. It's a freakishly competitive market with ridiculously low margins, definitely not for the faint of heart, and it get's harder to compete every day.
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Old 09-09-11, 12:23 PM
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A very important thing manufactor need to address is cutoff reflector that stop blinding everyone. It was ok for a while with 600 lumens light but now with them crossing the 1500 lumens and some even getting into the 3000 lumens, it is foreseeable that driver is going to complaint. I cannot use my 2500 lumen light simply because it shines everywhere including up, although it sure is neat to be able to see the driver's head when I am right behind them.
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Old 09-09-11, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by colleen c View Post
A very important thing manufactor need to address is cutoff reflector that stop blinding everyone. It was ok for a while with 600 lumens light but now with them crossing the 1500 lumens and some even getting into the 3000 lumens, it is foreseeable that driver is going to complaint. I cannot use my 2500 lumen light simply because it shines everywhere including up, although it sure is neat to be able to see the driver's head when I am right behind them.
Couldn't agree with you more. However, it's a very difficult, if not impossible thing to achieve on a small scale. Really need to have the LED firing rearward into a reflector, but then heat transfer out of the LEDs becomes very difficult. For now, the most viable option for handling that problem is to have a good control scheme where you can easily and quickly dim to an acceptably low power level when needed.
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Old 09-09-11, 02:37 PM
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However, it's a very difficult, if not impossible thing to achieve on a small scale. Really need to have the LED firing rearward into a reflector, but then heat transfer out of the LEDs becomes very difficult. For now, the most viable option for handling that problem is to have a good control scheme where you can easily and quickly dim to an acceptably low power level when needed.
Maybe - I'm to stupid to know better, but I could "see" a two-emitter design that shares the heat sink - but only one emitter at a time is powered.

The big deal would be having a "ready-to-light" low beam emitter embedded with its own mini-reflector in the lower part of the "main" high-powered emitter's reflector.

It ain't rocket science - but as many will attest - how many you need to make to recover the "start up costs" associated with the jigs, dies and molds necessary for this Cranium-level work of art?"

The idea is an "either or" design - I agree - running two emitters next to each other is hard - especially is you want to let one of the run at 2 amps.
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Old 09-09-11, 05:14 PM
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Possible ideas for "beam cut-off"*:

-B&M uses 'glare guards' on some of their lights- just make a longer version of that, sort of like how a visor or the bill of a hat cuts down on the sun's glare. Possibly make the underside (closest to beam) reflective to redirect light back towards the ground.
-Possibly use some sort of black-out tape at the top edge of a normal lens or just have like some plastic flashing extend down before the lens is installed.**

*Would work best with the so called 'dedicated' bike lights (like the NR MiNewt) that can only be mounted one way, as flashlights would be problematic to line up....

**Not responsible for damage caused by the spewage of beverages while reading this...
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Old 09-10-11, 11:15 AM
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Nite Rider makes plenty of great products. And I can see that using a Newt 600 and Newt 300 together could work great most of the time. The cyclist would simply turn off the 600 when approaching traffic warrants.

But then again - I go on my "all night" moon light cruise - and then I don't have the run time needed. So then I might need two 600s and a 300 - and the "system" no longer meets the "ease of use" I'm asking for in the first place.

In only they made the 600 with a drop-in battery that I can carry along........
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Old 09-10-11, 01:26 PM
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Okay, then how about something from Cygolite? The expillion series offers cordless design and the ability to swap cells. The Trion 600 has 3 LED's, has a claimed 2.5 hours on high in it's cordless design with the option to run an external battery pack. Don't know run times with the external pack, but possibly two external packs, combined with the internal will give sufficient run time.
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Old 09-10-11, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by colleen c View Post
A very important thing manufactor need to address is cutoff reflector that stop blinding everyone. It was ok for a while with 600 lumens light but now with them crossing the 1500 lumens and some even getting into the 3000 lumens, it is foreseeable that driver is going to complaint. I cannot use my 2500 lumen light simply because it shines everywhere including up, although it sure is neat to be able to see the driver's head when I am right behind them.
Look at the market that bicycle lights are designed for. High power lights in the outputs you are talking about are still aimed at the off-road rider but not at the commuter. Off-road a cut-off or a highly shaped beam wouldn't be of much use. You want all kinds of light sprayed all over the trail so that you can see obstacles that you need to negotiate.

3000 lumens is about what a car puts out on two beams. Motorists have to deal with that kind of light coming at them all the time. Although some beams have a very tight cutoff, that's not the case universally. SAE rules in the US even call for a significant amount of upward spillage to illuminate street signs. And there are enough older cars without any kind of cutoff on them that bicycle lights shouldn't be all that much of a problem.

Additionally, look at where we ride as cyclists. We don't spend a whole lot of time over next to the center line. We are usually outside of the right wheel track (US) by 2 to 3 feet. Any stray light sprayed out isn't likely to interfere with motorist come at us nor, for that matter, motorists that have passed us. A approaching motorist is going to see more sideways light much closer from an on-coming motorist within 3 feet of his driving position than from a bicyclists that is located 10 to 15 feet further away. Even with a 35 degree beam, you won't even get close to putting enough light onto the other side of the road to cause an issue.

Personally, I rather have lights that are an issue for motor traffic since those get seen (given our road location). The bicycle market is far too filled with 'polite' lights, aka 'be seen lights', that are absolutely inadequate for what they are being used for.
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Old 09-10-11, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Look at the market that bicycle lights are designed for. High power lights in the outputs you are talking about are still aimed at the off-road rider but not at the commuter. Off-road a cut-off or a highly shaped beam wouldn't be of much use. You want all kinds of light sprayed all over the trail so that you can see obstacles that you need to negotiate.

3000 lumens is about what a car puts out on two beams. Motorists have to deal with that kind of light coming at them all the time. Although some beams have a very tight cutoff, that's not the case universally. SAE rules in the US even call for a significant amount of upward spillage to illuminate street signs. And there are enough older cars without any kind of cutoff on them that bicycle lights shouldn't be all that much of a problem.

Additionally, look at where we ride as cyclists. We don't spend a whole lot of time over next to the center line. We are usually outside of the right wheel track (US) by 2 to 3 feet. Any stray light sprayed out isn't likely to interfere with motorist come at us nor, for that matter, motorists that have passed us. A approaching motorist is going to see more sideways light much closer from an on-coming motorist within 3 feet of his driving position than from a bicyclists that is located 10 to 15 feet further away. Even with a 35 degree beam, you won't even get close to putting enough light onto the other side of the road to cause an issue.

Personally, I rather have lights that are an issue for motor traffic since those get seen (given our road location). The bicycle market is far too filled with 'polite' lights, aka 'be seen lights', that are absolutely inadequate for what they are being used for.
I like that thinking because that's pretty much how I feel. There are moments or times where I did feel the need for a cutoff reflector out on the road. Lucky that's only three places for me. There is this parking lot I cut through and the street sweeper driver got a little piss at my lights so it seems lately he purposely sweep around the area I ride through creating a cloud of dust. Little bugger.

Then there is the bus stop where there are two or three passenger waiting and I see them shielding their eyeballs when I pass. Lately the one guy wear his sunglasses at 4am. The last place is the police station I pass. Police had shielded their eyes coming out the drive way. One even had his spotlight flashed at me while he was making a left turn from the opposite side on a three lane road each direction. I was only running my BRIV on low and two P Rocket XPG on low. I don't even dare have them on high at those area. My extra modify 2500 lumen flashlight remain off and only on for two minute in a totally lightless small stretch of area in the parking lot for safety.

I think the issue is most likely that these LED light are produce from a very small area point where it is hard for the eyes to be able to adjust. When I had my friend rode my bike with three lights on at about 1500 OTF lumens, those three bright spot looks light laser dots coming at you. Much better if tilted down but not much useful as throw.

What will be interesting to see is when more 2000-3000 lumens start to be use by commuter on the road. What will be the reaction of drivers and pedestrian or even LEO? Who knows? Probably nothing since the cost of these lights will likely be expensive and beyound most the reach for the time being. However if the Asia market start producing these super lumen lights at a low price.......we will rule the road with our lights
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Old 09-10-11, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
Thanks, Dick. Couldn't have said it better myself. My Dinotte sits unused on the shelf because to use it you have to mount the light, mount the battery pack and hope the batteries don't shake loose while you ride. Then charging is an ordeal. You have to remove the auxiliary velcro strap that keeps the batteries from coming out of the holder. Put the (4) batteries in the charger, then put them back in the holder, put the holder in it's sack, put a strap around the holder, connect the holder, mount the holder, etc., etc.
My Shiningbeam flashlight snaps in and out of it's holder with one hand. It runs on one 18650. Simple and reliable.
plus - it's way cheaper than those "bike" lights.....i bought cree flashlights from dealx.... for about $12 each and have been satisfied with them.
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Old 09-10-11, 09:07 PM
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I have to admit that I really like the Cygo

But I'm not so sure that sure that simply becoming as "bad as cars" is really such a great thing. My experience suggests that small reflector and small beam patterns can produce the "blinding" without nearing 2000 lumen.

The facts are such that for a given 500 lumen flashlight with a "hot spot" you can and will effectively "blind" someone at 200 yards. But don't be confused.

My point is that "smartly designed" lights and reflectors do not need to be powered up to automotive standards to be safe. And again if you read the original post - the real "need" is in the the ability to swtich from some "blinding throw power" to a civilized, just 30 feet out parking light as needed.

I'm already doing all these things, but I have to have a flashlight and a bike light to do it. And two different battery systems as well -hence the need for this thread.

It's all about control folks - but I agree - more power in urban situations is a necessity......
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Old 09-11-11, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
The facts are such that for a given 500 lumen flashlight with a "hot spot" you can and will effectively "blind" someone at 200 yards. But don't be confused.

My point is that "smartly designed" lights and reflectors do not need to be powered up to automotive standards to be safe. And again if you read the original post - the real "need" is in the the ability to swtich from some "blinding throw power" to a civilized, just 30 feet out parking light as needed.

I'm already doing all these things, but I have to have a flashlight and a bike light to do it. And two different battery systems as well -hence the need for this thread.

It's all about control folks - but I agree - more power in urban situations is a necessity......
I don't buy the "we need a dimmer light" argument. Most all lights have a beam spread. A flashlight has a beam spread of pretty close to 35 degrees and, especially for LED, the emitter isn't in the best location for the reflector...it's usually behind the focal point. Using a 35 degree cone and a 600 foot length, the cone at that distance is 116 feet in diameter. The light may have a hot spot but, for the most part, the beam is spread out over 107,000 square feet or 1200 sq yards. At 200 yards, there's hardly enough light density with a 500 lumen light to even notice the light much less be blinded by it. The lux (lumens/area) is 0.41 lumens/sq yard. Even if you boosted the light output to 2000 lumens, you'd still have only 1.67 lux. 0.41 lux is comparable to a full moon. The high output light would be comparable to a full moon at the equator. Hardly 'blinding'.

I don't know about you but my lights aren't aimed 200 yards down the road. Even my car lights aren't aimed that far down the road...not even on high beam. I don't go fast enough nor is the light output of a bicycle light enough to justify that kind of aiming. Generally speaking, my lights are aimed around 2 to 3 car lengths (roughly 30 feet) ahead of me which is far enough for me to see obstacles at normal riding speed. I'd rather have a lot of light aimed down at the ground where it's useful than a little light aimed very far down the road where it's wasted.
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Old 09-11-11, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
Nite Rider makes plenty of great products. And I can see that using a Newt 600 and Newt 300 together could work great most of the time. The cyclist would simply turn off the 600 when approaching traffic warrants.

But then again - I go on my "all night" moon light cruise - and then I don't have the run time needed. So then I might need two 600s and a 300 - and the "system" no longer meets the "ease of use" I'm asking for in the first place.

In only they made the 600 with a drop-in battery that I can carry along........
AYUPs have a high and low beam (as well as a flashing mode). Approx burn time - 6hrs on high, 12 hours on low and days on flashing .


Pretty compact lights, can be used on road or MTB, helmet mount is available as well. Battery is in a neoprene pouch that can be velcroed to stem or handlebars. Can be used as a rear light as well.

https://www.ayup-lights.com/


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Old 09-13-11, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
Thanks, Dick. Couldn't have said it better myself. My Dinotte sits unused on the shelf because to use it you have to mount the light, mount the battery pack and hope the batteries don't shake loose while you ride. Then charging is an ordeal. You have to remove the auxiliary velcro strap that keeps the batteries from coming out of the holder. Put the (4) batteries in the charger, then put them back in the holder, put the holder in it's sack, put a strap around the holder, connect the holder, mount the holder, etc., etc.
My Shiningbeam flashlight snaps in and out of it's holder with one hand. It runs on one 18650. Simple and reliable.
Yes, I am also frustrated by the inconvenience of having to take the batteries out of the holder to charge them.
I do like the AA rechargeables though. My friend uses the Dinotte Li series and it comes with the usual don't have to remove em from the pack bike charger........All my lights use AA except for the PB Superflash in which I use AAA rechargeables..........

What I do LOVE about the Dinotte lights is that they teach me about the difference between Lumens and Lux. They are listed as 200L on high but they illuminate way better than my Deal Extreme 900L flashlights. The DX 900L flashlights were problematic and I wasn't going to send them back to the Far East while the Dinotte folks are great: I pulled the wire out of the light housing-my bad and they fixed it promptly for free........Their 140L rear red light is AMAZING. My daughter was driving home one night the same time I was coming home from work (why none of my kids bike commutes is just one of my many failings) and she could see me at least a half mile away..........

This is not a plug for them and I don't work for them but I do love their illuminating qualities (pun intended). If you could leave them in the battery pack and charge em they would be perfect. I don't have any problems riding with them disconnecting. Want to unload your Dinotte lights for a reasonable price?

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Old 09-16-11, 01:24 PM
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I guess my desires are different, but all I want is a simple, drop-in LED headlight bulb with a 10mm edison screw base and a built-in standlight circuit. I don't really care if it's super-bright, and I don't care about the beam shape. I just want my vintage dyno lights to work when I stop pedaling, with minimal fuss.

Also, while you're at it, can you make a dyno headlight/taillight set for under $40 for both pieces, with standlights?
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