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Best Rear Light for $25?

Old 12-05-16, 05:42 PM
  #76  
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Getting back to the $25 budget (still doable in 2016)...

The Planet Bike Rack Blinky 5 (and similar) taillight/reflector types still seem like a good value -- including the Serfas models that take AA batteries rather than AAA. The reflector does increase the nighttime visibility to vehicles (assuming they're not running dark), and the design has a wide angle of view. Not sexy but these combo taillight/reflectors are pretty good for $25 or less.

In comparison I just got the Cygolite Hotshot 50 ($30 at REI) hoping it would be bright enough for daytime use, but it's just adequate in daylight and then only within the narrow aperture of maximum brightness directly behind the typical Cygolite Hotshot narrowly collimated beam.

Overall it's no better than my $15 Planet Bike Rack Blinky 5, just different. The Planet Bike rack lights combine LEDs and reflectors, so it has decent visibility across a wide angle of view. The PB has a somewhat narrow aperture of maximum brightness but that primarily affects the viewer's elevation, not lateral position. The Cygolite has a narrow aperture of maximum brightness that's much more position sensitive.

I suppose I'll keep the Cygolite since I needed to replace the balky old lights that came with my '92 Univega. It's still an improvement over those much older LEDs. And it is very bright at night, with a good selection of flashing and steady modes to suit personal tastes and local etiquette. But I won't rely on it as a daylight visible rear light.

The 20 year old LED tech taillight/reflector on my Univega is getting glitchy so I'm going to replace it with the Serfas TL-STP because I like having that combo taillight/reflector on the rear racks. And the AA battery should run for weeks or months between battery changes, considering how seldom I need to change AAA batteries in the Planet Bike blinky. The Serfas is only $25 or less.
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Old 12-14-16, 11:05 AM
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Been using my Planet Bike Superflash Turbo for about a week, all daytime runs. It's about the minimum for a visible daytime tail light. I notice that cars are giving me more room when they pass. One pedestrian yelled after me, "Hey, your ass is on fire" so I guess it's doing it's job.
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Old 12-14-16, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
Maybe I should get a bunch of cheap blinkies and leave them on the bike for decoys.

I always roll with backup lights in my bag. If my regular lights died, I'd have something to roll with.
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Old 12-22-16, 12:16 PM
  #79  
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So. I'm crusin' down the sidewalk today and guess what's laying there? My new Planet Bike Turbo Flash!!!! The dang thing must have fallen off my seat bag yesterday.
All this time I thought someone was swiping my lights. I never imagined they would come loose from being clipped to the seat bag strap. Glad I found it. I would have been accusing the neighbors unjustly.
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Old 12-22-16, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
So. I'm crusin' down the sidewalk today and guess what's laying there? My new Planet Bike Turbo Flash!!!! The dang thing must have fallen off my seat bag yesterday.
All this time I thought someone was swiping my lights. I never imagined they would come loose from being clipped to the seat bag strap. Glad I found it. I would have been accusing the neighbors unjustly.
Yeah that's what made me give up on SuperFlash. The rear light I have now (Cygolite) for the saddle bag has these little catches that stops that from happening. You have to spread the clip apart to get the light off.
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Old 12-22-16, 05:33 PM
  #81  
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I happen to be working on one of my rear lights and thought I'd post up what I was talking about in the post above. In the pics below you can see the little hooks that stop the light from just popping off like the SuperFlash do.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/816860...posted-public/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/816860...posted-public/

Man what happen to being able to upload pics to this site? Looks like I won't be posting pics up anymore.
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Old 12-23-16, 12:28 AM
  #82  
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I didn't have much confidence in the seat post mount for the Cygolite Hotshot 50, or the plastic spring clip built into the light. The plastic spring lacked stiffness and had no backup latch. To minimize the risk of the light popping off on a rough road, or being easily stolen, I set the light's seat post clamp mount high enough that the saddle interferes with detaching the light. I can still recharge it since the USB port is located at the bottom.

I wouldn't trust the Cygolite Hotshot 50 clip on a typical saddle bag fabric mounting loop, or pretty much anywhere else. I'd first want to reinforce the clip with some heavy duty Velcro to lend a bit more grip.

Blackburn's current to-be-seen safety lights have the most secure spring clips I've seen. Not the older Blackburn metal spring clips (those popped loose easily -- I retrieved one during a group ride several months ago and gave it to another cyclist when the owner didn't claim it after a couple of months). But the newer stiff plastic spring clips used on the 2'Fer and a couple other lights. The plastic spring clip is quite stiff but durable and hasn't broken after more than a year of regular use, including unclipping to recharge (it's difficult to recharge the 2'Fer while mounted on the helmet or bike). It has an inner protrusion that latches stubbornly onto the provided rubber band mount, and a second smaller lug that helps minimize the risk of popping off a fabric loop on a bike bag.

The Blackburn 2'Fer isn't quite as piercingly bright as the Cygolight Hotshot 50, but that's in part because of different designs. Cygolites use lenses to concentrate the brightness into a fairly narrow aperture or angle of view, which somewhat compromises the side visibility. Blackburns omit lenses and use clear protective housings so the lights are approximately equally bright across a wide angle of view from behind or to the side. Not better or worse, just a different design approach.
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Old 12-23-16, 02:38 PM
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Cygolite Hotshot 50 has crappy side illumination, isn't water resistant, and really in this day and age, it's kinda big and heavy.

The Cygolite Hotshot Micro has really good side illumination, pretty water tight, last all night easily, can be used in day time riding effectively, and has some good group riding modes. Whats also great is that it's fairly small and light. Also if you consider ebay as a source, which I do, it can be had for less than $25. Also if you like to clip it to your saddle bag, or belt, or whatever, you can contact Cygolite and request a clip. they'll send you one for free. Why they don't include it into the light is beyond me.
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Old 12-27-16, 10:43 AM
  #84  
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COB tail lights

There are plenty of very inexpensive but bright tail lights available these days. Look for the ones that say COB which stands for chip-on-board. It is new LED technology developed by the Chinese and now that it has been around for a while the prices are really dropping. COBs are brighter than discrete LEDs for the same amount of current drain. I recently bought two tail lights – 100 lumens and 168 lumens. Both are sold at LBS under the Blitzu name in the US but I bought mine directly from China with the name of the company that actually makes them, RayPal. The 100 lumen one was $7 postpaid and the 168 lumen model was $11 postpaid. They are both bright enough you don't want to look directly at them. They are USB rechargeable. I bought them on eBay but both lights are also available on Amazon, just a lot harder to find at that site.


I spotted this 150 lumen $7 seatpost mounted tail light just today on a site I often visit to see what is available in bike stuff from China. Aluminum COB USB Rechargeable Bicycle Light Taillight LED Warning Safety Bycicle Cycling Light Sale - Banggood.com It is made of aluminum and runs on a 18650 li-ion battery. I've been looking for something like this because the 18650 batteries are cheap to buy and you can carry a spare to pop in if you happen to run out of juice with the battery in the light. My criticism of the other two lights I mentioned above is that they each contain a 500 mAh lithium polymer battery which is not easily replaceable when they eventually die and has a far lower charge than a single 18650 battery. Most of the 18650 ones I use are 3000-4000 mAh.


Only one thing is wrong and that is the blue light in this tail light. My state and many others do not allow anyone to use a blue light on a vehicle. It is reserved for emergency and police vehicles. You can get ticketed for using it.
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Old 12-27-16, 12:54 PM
  #85  
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@VegasTriker, how is the light output from the light from banggood? And how did you manage to get over the web site's name enough to buy from them?
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Old 12-27-16, 02:06 PM
  #86  
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I just saw the light this morning so I don't have first hand experience. It is rated 150 lumens by Banggood but only 100 lumens by this seller on ebay USB Rechargeable Bike Bicycle Cycling Tail Light Safety Warning Rear LED JF#E | eBay. Generally Banggood accurately describes the items they sell and if they goof the customer feedback gets them to correct it quickly. Orders get shipped within a day or two but the shipping time from China is about 2 weeks. Not all that bad since an ebay item I bought from a California seller on 12/13 still hasn't arrived in my mailbox even though the seller claimed to have shipped it 12/14.

I used the site to buy all of the LED lights to convert my entire house to LEDs with the exception of the oven light. That includes all of the fixtures so I spent many hundreds of dollars on that project with just one bad product and they replaced that right away. The name never came to mind. You must have a dirty mind!!! Chuckle. Chuckle. I figured this tail light was cheap enough to warrant taking a chance as I did with the RayPal lights I bought on ebay. The ebay seller is charging $6.18. 100 lumens is reasonable for night riding. I don't think any really small light is all that great for daytime use.
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Old 03-23-17, 11:48 AM
  #87  
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Are any of the lights posted here brighter then the Portland Design Works Danger Zone Tail Light, I'm unsure of the lumen output that it has?
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Old 03-23-17, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by SHiZNiLTi View Post
Are any of the lights posted here brighter then the Portland Design Works Danger Zone Tail Light, I'm unsure of the lumen output that it has?
It's a decent question, but the problem is that one would have to reread the whole thread and have at least reasonable knowledge about most of the lights mentioned here. Who has that knowledge and is willing to do that research for you?
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Old 03-23-17, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
It's a decent question, but the problem is that one would have to reread the whole thread and have at least reasonable knowledge about most of the lights mentioned here. Who has that knowledge and is willing to do that research for you?
lol, I wasn't trying to specific like that. Was just wondering if anyone had any experience comparing the PDW-DangerZone to another really bright rear light.

It looks like COB (chip-on-board) from China could be brighter. I'll just buy a bunch of different COB rear lights and post a quick mini review w/ pics here to see how it compares to what I'm currently using.
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Old 03-25-17, 12:05 AM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by SHiZNiLTi View Post
Are any of the lights posted here brighter then the Portland Design Works Danger Zone Tail Light, I'm unsure of the lumen output that it has?
The Cygolite Hotshot 50 is brighter, for about the same price.

That's not necessarily a good thing. The Hotshots are too bright for nighttime group rides, so I switch mine to steady low, and switch on an older steady red LED taillight/reflector combo. I'll switch the Hotshot back to full power quick strobing for daytime rides, especially in traffic, and the slower zoom mode for nighttime rides in traffic.

I've see a few PDW lights in nighttime group rides and they're plenty bright enough without being painful or distracting to follow. But they wouldn't be as visible in daylight traffic.

Also, the two aren't entirely comparable. The Hotshot is a USB rechargeable. While convenient and economical there are advantages to ordinary AA and AAA lights -- you can be a fresh battery practically anywhere.

If you want the brightest available for $25 the Cygolite Hotshots still appear to be the ticket. But if you ride at night with friends either switch it to steady and dimmer than full output, or hang at the back so you don't blind your fellow cyclists.

An alternative is to tip the Hotshot downward a bit. These are intensely bright within a narrow aperture -- directly behind the light -- and less bright at any angle. While the Cygolites allow this adjustment it requires a screwdriver -- although I suppose a wingnut or thumbscrew could be substituted for easier adjustments.

I just ride with two sets of taillights and switch to the less intense taillights for nighttime group rides.

While you're shopping take a look at comparably priced taillights from Blackburn and Serfas. Blackburns have a wider angle of view compared with Cygolites -- Blackburns don't use reflector cones and lenses to intensify the light within a narrow aperture like the Cygolites, PDWs and others. I use a Blackburn on the back of my helmet for a wider angle of view behind me in traffic.

Planet Bike seems to use older LED tech like PDW, but I really like their combination taillight/reflectors, like the discontinued Rear Rack Blinky 5 and similar models. They're less piercing than the Cygolites but still very visible at night.
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Old 04-14-17, 07:48 AM
  #91  
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The CygoLite Hotshot 50 should be just within your budget. Barely weighs anything, bright, and USB chargeable. I love mine!
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Old 04-27-17, 09:51 AM
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I bought this ApacheVision usb rechargeable off of Amazon for under $20. Great light.
It is very bright and it seems to be visible from more angles than your common blinky.
My wife got awfully pissed at me when I shined it in her eyes - so it passed the brightness test with flying colors.
Compared to other lights I've had, like the PBSF's and the cygolites, I like this. The company seems very committed to customer satisfaction. I loved the packaging and the little bag that came with the light.
This one is worth a look.
I'm going to mount this one to my helmet. Summer is coming and I'll be doing more night riding.
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Old 04-30-17, 01:19 PM
  #93  
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For 25$ or less that cateye you mention or a planet bike blinky one.
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Old 04-30-17, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Cosmicyclist View Post
The CygoLite Hotshot 50 should be just within your budget. Barely weighs anything, bright, and USB chargeable. I love mine!
Try the CygoLite Hotshot Micro. I had yours before the Micro and I think it's a great improvement. The Micro has far better side visibility and 2 modes that are great for group riding.

Speaking of which........ there was dude that had the Hotshot light on the last group (night) ride I did. The dude had the thing aimed up and fast flash. If you ever had the pleasure of being behind a 2 watt light aim like that, you owe yourself the pleasure. I asked the dude if he could change the setting and he just turned it off. THANKS!
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Old 05-01-17, 01:09 AM
  #95  
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Originally Posted by User1 View Post
Try the CygoLite Hotshot Micro. I had yours before the Micro and I think it's a great improvement. The Micro has far better side visibility and 2 modes that are great for group riding
Hmm, are you sure? The Micro is a 30 lumens light, whereas the 50 does, well, 50 lumens...
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Old 05-02-17, 10:30 AM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by Cosmicyclist View Post
Hmm, are you sure? The Micro is a 30 lumens light, whereas the 50 does, well, 50 lumens...
I stand behind the "great improvement" quote. I'll trade a reduction in 20 lumens for far greater side views and 2 group modes any day.

I still have both lights. So doing a side by side comparison should not be that difficult.
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Old 05-05-17, 11:29 AM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by User1 View Post
...Speaking of which........ there was dude that had the Hotshot light on the last group (night) ride I did. The dude had the thing aimed up and fast flash. If you ever had the pleasure of being behind a 2 watt light aim like that, you owe yourself the pleasure. I asked the dude if he could change the setting and he just turned it off. THANKS!
Yup. I've had the Cygolite Hotshot SL 50 for a few months. Good but not great daylight visibility -- a viewer needs to be directly behind the light to really notice it, because Cygolite uses reflectors and lenses that concentrate the beam into a narrow aperture or angle of view. There's little side visibility.

Excellent nighttime visibility, but it's not suitable for group rides other than in steady mode, with the light dimmed a bit. Unfortunately the Hotshots so far cannot be dimmed on any flash/strobe mode. The pulses, flashes, and slow zooms vary, sure, but they still peak at maximum output. A couple of friends on nighttime group rides have mentioned how annoying and distracting the light is, so I either set it to steady dim or turn it off completely and use my old combo light/reflector for group rides.

Occasionally when I'm riding in the very back of a casual group ride to stay with the slower riders who don't have lights, I'll flip on the Hotshot to flashing mode to be sure cars can see us. But I try to stay behind every other rider.

The only possible use I could see for a brighter Hotshot is for solo daytime use only. Cygolite really needs to design the Hotshots to adjust the dimmer in flashing/strobing modes. If they do that I'll buy the most powerful one they make. They're very good values.

Blackburns have better side visibility. I use a 2'Fer on the back of my helmet. Most Blackburns omit chromed reflectors and lenses. Instead they use reasonably bright LEDs against a white reflector and emphasize better, more uniform visibility side to side and from behind.
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Old 05-26-17, 07:21 PM
  #98  
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I got this one and was well pleased. I used it today for the first time. I will tell you, don't even try to look directly at it. Its very bright. Now l will have to see how long it last.
Product Details
Bodyguard Bike Tail Light-USB Charging,6 Light Modes, Waterproof, Helmet Front Light Accessories. High Intensity LED Fits on any Bicycles. Easy To…
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$ 12 99 Prime
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$10.99used(1 offer)
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https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1... bike helmet light. ★HIGH-CAPACITY USB Rechargeable Tail Bicycle ...

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Old 06-05-17, 01:51 AM
  #99  
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i bought a $19 head and rear light on Amazon before and i think it's fine for this price.
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Old 07-20-17, 10:11 AM
  #100  
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Does anyone have experience with this light?
Ampulla C1
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