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Helmet lights vs Handlebar lights

Old 10-17-12, 05:57 PM
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SinX7
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Helmet lights vs Handlebar lights

I'm in the market of a new front light. My old cheap one is dying out. For the tail light I got the Topeak Mega Red Lite.

So what I'm asking is that, is it better to have a helmet + light or just Handlebar headlights? Its going to be use for daily commute on a little bit of a bumpy and weird weather condition (Flash floods/rains, etc.) So I need a light that is weather-proof and have a very secure mount and bright enough so I can see stuff on the road and drivers can see me.

Don't really want to spend too much since I'm kind of tight on budget, but I prefer my safety first then money. But Don't want to break the bank lol

If you are going to recommend me a helmet + lights recommend me a helmet also or if lights, I don't mind if it just the front or the set.

Thanks!
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Old 10-17-12, 06:07 PM
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You want (at least) one for the bars and one for the helmet. The bar light gives people in front of you a point of reference of where the bike is pointing. The helmet is good for you to be able to turn your head a bit before starting a turn or getting the attention of a motorist who may be thinking of pulling out of a side street or driveway.

That being said, how much run time do you need?
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Old 10-17-12, 08:04 PM
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Run time doesn't really matter, but I do prefer one that I can charge via USB. But I don't mind changing the battery. Just need a light to tell people that I'm on the road and give me enough space to pass through or at least warn them that there's a bicycle coming there way before they make a turn or something (Out here, there is some really dumb drivers. Like serious dumb.)
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Old 10-17-12, 08:22 PM
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Charging via USB adds to the price. Some decent 'dual purpose' (to see and be seen) lights that are 'cordless' would be the offerings from Niterider and Cygolite- the Luminas, Expillions, and Minewts, as well as the Lezyne __Drive series. For more of a 'be seen' that features USB, Knog Blinder, Serfas Thunderbolt, Blackburn Flea.
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Old 10-17-12, 09:21 PM
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I use a combination of three lights. My main light is a Cygolite Expilion 600 mounted to my handle bar on the opposite of where I mount my cheap Bell Lumina light and I use a Topeak Headlux light on my helmet. Both the Bell and Topeak are on flash mode while my Cygolite is on steady.
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Old 10-18-12, 05:52 AM
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If you have to choose just one I'd go helmet. A helmet light can point to where a bar light does, but not the other way around.
Maybe add a little flashing one on the bars.
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Old 10-18-12, 06:49 AM
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What j_r said. My setup (road bike) is an Exposure Lights "Joystick" on my helmet (too see) and a knog/knock-off on the handlebars (be seen). Advantage - always with me. Disadvantage - if the Joystick has a problem, the knog isn't sufficient if I'm someplace where I need to see where I'm going. So a better setup is a handlebar light with enough output to get me where I'm going if the helmet light fails. I think a 100 lumen light is my absolute minimum, 200 lumens better (and I happen to have a Dinotte that does the job). YMMV. I prefer having the brighter light on my helmet - easier to put the beam where I need it, and to aim it away from oncoming cyclists,walkers, and motorists so I don't blind them.
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Old 10-18-12, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by SinX7 View Post
I'm in the market of a new front light. My old cheap one is dying out. For the tail light I got the Topeak Mega Red Lite.

So what I'm asking is that, is it better to have a helmet + light or just Handlebar headlights? Its going to be use for daily commute on a little bit of a bumpy and weird weather condition (Flash floods/rains, etc.) So I need a light that is weather-proof and have a very secure mount and bright enough so I can see stuff on the road and drivers can see me.

Don't really want to spend too much since I'm kind of tight on budget, but I prefer my safety first then money. But Don't want to break the bank lol

If you are going to recommend me a helmet + lights recommend me a helmet also or if lights, I don't mind if it just the front or the set.

Thanks!
I'd always choose a helmet light over a handlebar light, if I had to choose. The helmet mounted light lets you see where you are going, especially in corners since the light tracks where your eyes are looking. A bar mounted light will shoot off on a tangent to your line of travel so it's not as useful.

However, if you are riding in fog, rain, or snow, a helmet light does have problems. The light reflects off whatever is in front of your face and can be problematic. In snow it has a real "Star Trek" effect that is very distracting. In those conditions, I usually turn off my helmet light and rely on the bar lights.

If you want a light...preferably multiple lights...that won't break the bank, are bright as a 12 year old at Harvard, and cost about the same as most "be seen (but not really)" lights, look at these. I have 3 of them. For the money, you can't beat them.
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Old 10-18-12, 09:36 AM
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The Topeak Headlux Bicycle Helmet Light is just the perfect helmet light for just the perfect price. For the handlebars you may want to take a look at the NiteRider Mako 3.0 Commuter Headlight . It's only 24.99 and is great for commuting.
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Old 10-18-12, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by just2wheels View Post
The Topeak Headlux Bicycle Helmet Light is just the perfect helmet light for just the perfect price. For the handlebars you may want to take a look at the NiteRider Mako 3.0 Commuter Headlight . It's only 24.99 and is great for commuting.
Neither of these lights are of much use for commuting. The Topeak has a rating of 0.6 lux at 10M that's not much light. The Mako has a 130 lumen output. For only about twice the price, SinX7 can purchase a light that puts out almost 10 times the light (see my link). That steps up from a light that you can just barely be seen with to a light that you can actually see with.
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Old 10-18-12, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Neither of these lights are of much use for commuting. The Topeak has a rating of 0.6 lux at 10M that's not much light. The Mako has a 130 lumen output. For only about twice the price, SinX7 can purchase a light that puts out almost 10 times the light (see my link). That steps up from a light that you can just barely be seen with to a light that you can actually see with.
IMO, it depends on where the commute is. Just2wheels is using this in NYC where you can probably get away with these two lights. It may not work for other areas where more lumens are needed though. FTR, I also have two (2) of the MS knock-offs and they work very well.
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Old 10-18-12, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ratdog View Post
IMO, it depends on where the commute is. Just2wheels is using this in NYC where you can probably get away with these two lights. It may not work for other areas where more lumens are needed though. FTR, I also have two (2) of the MS knock-offs and they work very well.
While you can see more with the ambient light in an urban setting, your lights have to compete with many other light sources. Urban riding, in my experience, requires far more light to be seen against this kind of background. "To be seen" lights like the Topeak and Mako are really only visible if the motorist happens to be looking for them. The advantage of lights like the ones I linked to is that motorists can see them against just about any background. They look like another motor vehicle and motorist tend to act accordingly.
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Old 10-18-12, 03:22 PM
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cyccommute,

Not disputing the merits of the MS knock offs versus other lights. I own two myself & have been mistaken for the Police when coming up behind cars while wearing my blue jacket. Just don't think other lights should be discounted and tossed aside based on one person's riding situation since everyone's riding area vary. Will the lights Just2wheels linked to work in NYC, yes they will. Will they work better than the MS Knock offs?, probably not but they will work none the less.
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Old 10-18-12, 08:39 PM
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Thank you for everyone who replied with helpful post! I'll be looking into the recommendation from those people.

Also I saw this and I'm not sure if its good. Its going for only $17 for a few hours.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882021216

What do you guys think of that for a budget handlebar lights? Or should I just get one of those CREE or those dyno lights everyone is posting?

Also, I don't know which kind of helmet I should get. Any recommendation for that?
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