Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets
Reload this Page >

Recommendations for a bright, long-lasting tail light

Notices
Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets HRM, GPS, MP3, HID. Whether it's got an acronym or not, here's where you'll find discussions on all sorts of tools, toys and gadgets.

Recommendations for a bright, long-lasting tail light

Old 01-06-15, 01:20 AM
  #1  
Just a person on bike
Thread Starter
 
daihard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,140

Bikes: 2015 Trek 1.1, 2021 Specialized Roubaix, 2022 Tern HSD S+

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 132 Post(s)
Liked 86 Times in 56 Posts
Recommendations for a bright, long-lasting tail light

I'm currently using a Serfas Thunderbolt USB Taillight. I like it because it is easy to attach/detach and very bright. The one thing I don't like about the light is, it only lasts for a few hours. I typically use the bright flash mode, which according to Serfas lasts for 7 hours. In my observation, it's less than that.

So my question is, are there taillights that are just as bright and last a lot longer than the Thunderbolt? Ideally, I would like to be able to use the light without recharging or changing batteries for at least a couple of weeks. The old Cateye taillight I had was like that in terms of the battery life, but it wasn't nearly as bright as the Thunderbolt. And to be honest, I want my light to look stylish, though that's not my top priority.

Thanks in advance!
__________________

The value of your life doesn't change based on the way you travel. - Dawn Schellenberg (SDOT)
daihard is offline  
Old 01-06-15, 01:26 AM
  #2  
SuperGimp
 
TrojanHorse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Whittier, CA
Posts: 13,346

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix

Mentioned: 147 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1107 Post(s)
Liked 64 Times in 47 Posts
I have a cygolite hotshot, seems to last FOREVER in blinky mode. It's plenty bright but fairly directional. I probably use mine a few hours a week and charge it monthly when I think about it, so I have no complaints. I think it's supposed to last 4 hours in solid mode, so figure way more than that in blinky mode.

And for just $30, I have a spare that I keep charged and I rotate them in and out. YMMV.
TrojanHorse is offline  
Old 01-06-15, 06:54 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: In The Middle Of "Out There" / Downtown "Lost Angels"
Posts: 259

Bikes: 2001 Trek 520 - Hvy Hauler, Epic Adventure Bike / 2011 Fuji Newest 1.0 - Sporty Quick Bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
^^^ Enthusiastic +1, ^^^ For Trojan's recommendation of the HotShot.
Ditto on the tightly focused beam. Especially when compared to the Thunderbolt's near 180 degree viewability (have both front and rear T-Bolts on my Giro Pneumo, where I feel they 'Really Shine')..

My experience with the T-Bolts has been that the 'First' (High Power) FLASH option gives approx. DOUBLE the battery life of the 'First' (High Power) STEADY option. It is the 'Second' (Low Power) FLASH option You'll get the longest battery endurance (about 6 hours or so in my case here in So. Calif.) dependent on TEMPERATURE and Age of battery, Which could be problematic this time of year in the COLD Great Pacific NORTHWET.

If you are not already doing so, I would STRONGLY URGE YOU to ride with a MINIMUM of 2 Rear Lights. The T-Bolt And Hot Shot being an excellent combo, IMHO.

Last edited by HvPnyrs; 01-06-15 at 07:14 AM. Reason: clarity and readability
HvPnyrs is offline  
Old 01-06-15, 08:05 AM
  #4  
Seior Member
 
ItsJustMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 13,749

Bikes: Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 446 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
The Cygolite is one of the few that combines bright with long run time, IF you use the flash mode, because its flash mode is very brief, probably a 5 or maybe 10% duty cycle.

The downside to the Cygolite (and the reason I won't buy anymore, but I do use the one I have) is that the beam is very narrow.

In general bright = less run time.

The really long lasting lights are the ones that run on AAA cells, like the Planet Bike Superflash. It was considered a bright light a few years ago but it doesn't stand up to modern rechargable lights. Still, it's probably pretty good in many environments and it will run a lot of hours on a set of cells.

I like to run one constant and one flashing. I use a Pulse 60 on steady mounted on the bike, and a Cygolite on flash on my helmet. Neither of those are long-lasting in steady mode though. I just am used to charging everything frequently. I need to bring my helmet in to charge both front and rear facing vid cams anyway, so I just plug in the Cygolite every 3 or 4 days, and if I've used it, the little tiny headlight that's on there too. The headlight battery comes off the bike every 2 days, and I pull the Pulse off then and charge it as well.
__________________
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.
ItsJustMe is offline  
Old 01-06-15, 03:15 PM
  #5  
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: New York, NY, and High Falls, NY, USA
Posts: 40,583

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 513 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7395 Post(s)
Liked 2,560 Times in 1,490 Posts
I also like the Cygolite Hotshot. I also recommend using more than one tail light at a time. My most frequently used rear setup includes the Hotshot, a B&M Dynamo-powered tail light (which only has a steady mode) and a Spoke-Lit in my rear wheel.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 01-06-15, 04:39 PM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6,432
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 539 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 38 Posts
The best I've found for light recharging is to use plugin-to-recharge lights, then store my bike indoors (including in a garage) and hook up the charger to the light without even removing the light from the bike. It's dead simple (if you don't need to leave your bike outdoors somewhere), and removes almost all worries about the batteries running out on the ride. (Still had batteries go bad over time and run out of total capacity).

If you really want to just throw a boatload of money at the problem ;-), you could get a dynamo front and a dynamo tail light like the Topline Plus. Complete, total, absurd overkill for the cost, but you'd never ever have to worry about battery life again!
PaulRivers is offline  
Old 01-06-15, 05:03 PM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
chinkroadrunner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 50

Bikes: 2014 Spec Roubaix SL4 Expert

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I use a Cyglolite Hotshot blinking and then two Serfas Raiders, one steady and the other blinking, day or night. I charge these lights every 7-10 days and have never noticed a decrease in power after 3 years of use. I like how you can change the brightness and flash on the Hotshot. All my riding is rural. With the Hotshot aimed properly drivers notice this light from 1/2 to 1 mile away. At night I can hear vehicles slowing down when they see my lights. These rear lights along with using a helmet mirror help me feel somewhat safer on the roads I ride.
chinkroadrunner is offline  
Old 01-06-15, 06:57 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
LGHT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Irvine
Posts: 1,416

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac SL3, Nishiki Pro Hybrid SL

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by *****roadrunner
I use a Cyglolite Hotshot blinking and then two Serfas Raiders, one steady and the other blinking, day or night. I charge these lights every 7-10 days and have never noticed a decrease in power after 3 years of use. I like how you can change the brightness and flash on the Hotshot. All my riding is rural. With the Hotshot aimed properly drivers notice this light from 1/2 to 1 mile away. At night I can hear vehicles slowing down when they see my lights. These rear lights along with using a helmet mirror help me feel somewhat safer on the roads I ride.
That's a great idea, I have a hotshot also and it blinks, but never thought about adding a 2nd solid light for night rides.
LGHT is offline  
Old 01-06-15, 08:33 PM
  #9  
Seior Member
 
ItsJustMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 13,749

Bikes: Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 446 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Honestly I have both and I prefer the Pulse 60 over the Hotshot. About the same price, the Pulse 60 is as bright but has a much wider beam. Also the mounting is excellent and can be removed in about 2 seconds - it's a very durable rubber strap with a swivel clip molded in.
__________________
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.
ItsJustMe is offline  
Old 01-06-15, 09:38 PM
  #10  
Just a person on bike
Thread Starter
 
daihard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,140

Bikes: 2015 Trek 1.1, 2021 Specialized Roubaix, 2022 Tern HSD S+

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 132 Post(s)
Liked 86 Times in 56 Posts
Originally Posted by PaulRivers
The best I've found for light recharging is to use plugin-to-recharge lights, then store my bike indoors (including in a garage) and hook up the charger to the light without even removing the light from the bike. It's dead simple (if you don't need to leave your bike outdoors somewhere), and removes almost all worries about the batteries running out on the ride. (Still had batteries go bad over time and run out of total capacity).
Thanks for the suggestion! I do always keep my bikes in the garage. Unfortunately, you have to detach the Thunderbolt from the bike in order to recharge it - it has the plug on the back, which is pressed right against the part where it's attached. I try to recharge it after every ride , but I get lazy a couple of times, and that's all it takes for it to go out in the middle of a ride...
__________________

The value of your life doesn't change based on the way you travel. - Dawn Schellenberg (SDOT)
daihard is offline  
Old 01-06-15, 09:48 PM
  #11  
Just a person on bike
Thread Starter
 
daihard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,140

Bikes: 2015 Trek 1.1, 2021 Specialized Roubaix, 2022 Tern HSD S+

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 132 Post(s)
Liked 86 Times in 56 Posts
Thanks, everyone!

I've just ordered a Cygolite Hotshot on Amazon. I will keep using the Thunderbolt as the secondary light, as suggested by @noglider.
__________________

The value of your life doesn't change based on the way you travel. - Dawn Schellenberg (SDOT)
daihard is offline  
Old 01-07-15, 01:00 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
a1penguin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
Posts: 3,209
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 139 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 20 Posts
I'm not a fan of taillights that don't use off the shelf batteries. But I like the brightness of the Cygolite Hotshot. I recently purchased a NR Solas as it is also bright but has a wider beam so it should make a good second blinky.
a1penguin is offline  
Old 01-07-15, 09:44 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
tarwheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 8,896

Bikes: Waterford RST-22, Bob Jackson World Tour, Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Soma Saga, De Bernardi SL, Specialized Sequoia

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 196 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Will the Cygolite Hotshot fit Planet Bike's mounts for rear racks and seat stays? The mounts that I have fit my PB Superflash and PD Radbot blinkies. I would get one of the Cygolites if it fits the same mounts.
tarwheel is offline  
Old 01-07-15, 02:35 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: In The Middle Of "Out There" / Downtown "Lost Angels"
Posts: 259

Bikes: 2001 Trek 520 - Hvy Hauler, Epic Adventure Bike / 2011 Fuji Newest 1.0 - Sporty Quick Bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hotshot will NOT fit in the SuperFlash/RadBot mounts.
HvPnyrs is offline  
Old 01-07-15, 03:41 PM
  #15  
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: New York, NY, and High Falls, NY, USA
Posts: 40,583

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 513 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7395 Post(s)
Liked 2,560 Times in 1,490 Posts
Originally Posted by HvPnyrs
Hotshot will NOT fit in the SuperFlash/RadBot mounts.
...which is really annoying. You know they did that on purpose.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 01-09-15, 06:55 PM
  #16  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 8,678

Bikes: Mike Melton custom, Alex Moulton AM, Dahon Curl

Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1701 Post(s)
Liked 1,877 Times in 1,085 Posts
Originally Posted by PaulRivers
If you really want to just throw a boatload of money at the problem ;-), you could get a dynamo front and a dynamo tail light like the Topline Plus.
Actually, this thread got me thinking about a $15, 5-mode, red LED 1x18650 cell DX flashlight. No photons thrown out to the sides like a real tail lamp, though. Hmm. But if it was a member of a two-tail lap 'system'...
tcs is offline  
Old 01-09-15, 11:34 PM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6,432
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 539 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 38 Posts
Originally Posted by tcs
Actually, this thread got me thinking about a $15, 5-mode, red LED 1x18650 cell DX flashlight. No photons thrown out to the sides like a real tail lamp, though. Hmm. But if it was a member of a two-tail lap 'system'...
But that will have the battery issues...unlike a $160-$600 (depending on model) solution which eliminates batteries!
PaulRivers is offline  
Old 01-10-15, 12:34 AM
  #18  
covered in cat fur
 
katsrevenge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Willkes-Barre, PA
Posts: 614

Bikes: Papillionaire Sommer, '85 Schwinn World Tourist, 2014 Windsor Kensington 8, SixThreeZero SS Cruiser

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I use two (because why not?) Planet Bike Turbo Super flashes. They are white and either a watt or a half watt each...and tiny. Anyways, I run them in flash anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Batteries have been lasting roughly a month before I can tell they aren't quite as bright. And by "bright" I mean "blinding". My old crackhead neighbors used to think I was the police, hehehe.

I've also used Chinese '9 LED' lights that were quite bright. I like them but the mounts keep breaking.
katsrevenge is offline  
Old 01-10-15, 10:42 AM
  #19  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,358 Times in 864 Posts
My old Vista light is still working.. how something bought New today will work in the distant future ? Uhhh.. heads or tails?
fietsbob is offline  
Old 01-10-15, 08:05 PM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
Shepp30's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: North Central Ohio
Posts: 190

Bikes: 2012 Jamis Satellite Comp, '98 Schwinn Searcher GSX, '90 Schwinn Traveler, '87 Miyata 312, '87 Schwinn World Sport,

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hotshot - without a doubt!
Shepp30 is offline  
Old 03-18-15, 10:18 AM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
ussprinceton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Durham, NC 27705 USA
Posts: 1,077

Bikes: '18 S-Works Tarmac (white letters), '18 S-Works Tarmac (black letters), '22 Allez Elite, '16 Emonda SL, '03 fuel100, '14 adventure3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 114 Post(s)
Liked 82 Times in 66 Posts
Originally Posted by katsrevenge
I use two (because why not?) Planet Bike Turbo Super flashes. They are white and either a watt or a half watt each...and tiny. Anyways, I run them in flash anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Batteries have been lasting roughly a month before I can tell they aren't quite as bright. And by "bright" I mean "blinding". My old crackhead neighbors used to think I was the police, hehehe.

I've also used Chinese '9 LED' lights that were quite bright. I like them but the mounts keep breaking.
my chinese tail light mount broke as well
ussprinceton is offline  
Old 03-18-15, 04:49 PM
  #22  
covered in cat fur
 
katsrevenge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Willkes-Barre, PA
Posts: 614

Bikes: Papillionaire Sommer, '85 Schwinn World Tourist, 2014 Windsor Kensington 8, SixThreeZero SS Cruiser

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ussprinceton
my chinese tail light mount broke as well
I currently have I think three in the closet. One broke when it fell but the others just have dead mounts. But, at 3 bucks a piece.... I need to find a mount rig that works/doesn't break.
katsrevenge is offline  
Old 03-18-15, 08:37 PM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
kickstart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Kent Wa.
Posts: 5,332

Bikes: 2005 Gazelle Golfo, 1935 Raleigh Sport, 1970 Robin Hood sport, 1974 Schwinn Continental, 1984 Ross MTB/porteur, 2013 Flying Piegon path racer, 2014 Gazelle Toer Populair T8

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 396 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
I rally like the Cateye tl 560 TL-LD560-R | CATEYE to supplement my steady fender mounted dyno powered taillight. It has several modes, lasts up to 120 hours on 2 AAA batteries, featuring a bright focused central led with 4 supplemental leds to produce very eye catching flash patterns. As a bonus its also a large reflector.
kickstart is offline  
Old 03-18-15, 11:58 PM
  #24  
Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk
 
znomit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 4,631

Bikes: Giant Defy, Trek 1.7c, BMC GF02, Fuji Tahoe, Scott Sub 35, Kona Rove, Trek Verve+2

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 554 Post(s)
Liked 726 Times in 367 Posts
Originally Posted by kickstart
I rally like the Cateye tl 560 TL-LD560-R | CATEYE to supplement my steady fender mounted dyno powered taillight. It has several modes, lasts up to 120 hours on 2 AAA batteries, featuring a bright focused central led with 4 supplemental leds to produce very eye catching flash patterns. As a bonus its also a large reflector.
Go for the auto model, you don't even have to remember to turn it on.
TL-LD570-R | CATEYE
znomit is offline  
Old 03-19-15, 08:15 AM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
kickstart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Kent Wa.
Posts: 5,332

Bikes: 2005 Gazelle Golfo, 1935 Raleigh Sport, 1970 Robin Hood sport, 1974 Schwinn Continental, 1984 Ross MTB/porteur, 2013 Flying Piegon path racer, 2014 Gazelle Toer Populair T8

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 396 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by znomit
Go for the auto model, you don't even have to remember to turn it on.
TL-LD570-R | CATEYE
FYI, the auto model, which is the one I have, for some reason has a daylight sensor that turns it off in daylight???? But covering the sensor with a piece of tape disables that stupid feature while retaining the automatic function, which is a good thing if one sometimes forgets to turn it off.
kickstart is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.