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front light, under $100, rechargeable

Old 12-11-05, 07:08 PM
  #1  
FlowerBlossom
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front light, under $100, rechargeable

Anyone have a "love it" recommendation or a "stay-away-from" recommendation for a front bike light, under $100, and that is rechargeable? I'm so tired of buying batteries!!! BTW, I'm putting it on my Christmas list, so, it has to be on the market.

And, if you know any place that has it on sale, even better.

Muchas!
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Old 12-11-05, 07:31 PM
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Are you handy with a soldering iron? or know someone who is?

It's very easy to set up a rechargeable battery like an SLA or NiMH for your favorite light. If you mount it remotely you aren't limited by the size of the original battery holder and can run a larger pack for longer times between charges.
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Old 12-11-05, 07:42 PM
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You can always buy rechargable battieries. I have two sets on in the lights the other on charge.
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Old 12-11-05, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by FlowerBlossom
Anyone have a "love it" recommendation or a "stay-away-from" recommendation for a front bike light, under $100, and that is rechargeable? I'm so tired of buying batteries!!! BTW, I'm putting it on my Christmas list, so, it has to be on the market.

And, if you know any place that has it on sale, even better.

Muchas!
Niterider Trail Rat is a good choice. Good, simple design and rugged. You can easily replace the bulb with a 15 W (less run time, more light) if you want.

I've also heard good things about Cygo lights. No direct experience but they get good reviews.
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Old 12-11-05, 08:31 PM
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Problem is, my only light is old and not too bright, so, I'm not sure hooking up my own rechargeable battery is the best idea. But, I would love have a reason to get my hands on a soldering iron and play around with it.
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Old 12-11-05, 08:41 PM
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Old 12-11-05, 11:08 PM
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I have the Cygo-Lights, Cant say "I love it" but no complaints.
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Old 12-11-05, 11:23 PM
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Check this bad-boy out: http://www.livejournal.com/users/scootmikey/31049.html

Add a NiMH quick charger and a few spare sets of batteries - you're still way under budget if you don't mind the work involved in assembling this rig.

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Old 12-12-05, 04:20 AM
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hands down the Planet Bike Alias for about 70 - 90 bucks

-It's rechargeable with NiMH and a plug and forget "smart quick charger."
-The bulb design is such that it also shines light below you.
-A slight blue tint to the bulb for bitter visbility
-cheaper than the others
-the battery straps onto your down/top tube cleanly and easily
-quick release mounts works great.
-25% of Planet Bike's profits goes to Bike Advocacy
-very bright 10w
-lasts over 2 hours
-for 70 bucks (was on sale at Nasbar), you can't even buy a battery pack for some of the other companies's lights!

one of the highest reviews at mtbr.com

GET ONE!

i liked it so much that i bought my friend one for Christmas
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Old 12-13-05, 01:08 PM
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Missed this one (obviously). FABULOUS. I'll also check out the Planet Bike Alias and other suggestions.


I realize the answer to my next question will be "it depends", but what's a reasonable guess for how-long 2 AA rechargeable batteries will last in a light, in winter, with high 30F/low 40F temps as "average daytime temp". For example, the Planet Bike Alias (above) is described as having batteries lasting 2 hours, and 2 hours seems like a minimum to me.
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Old 12-13-05, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by af895
Check this bad-boy out: http://www.livejournal.com/users/scootmikey/31049.html

Add a NiMH quick charger and a few spare sets of batteries - you're still way under budget if you don't mind the work involved in assembling this rig.

OHMAGAWD. This is sooo cheap, it would be worth trying it for a simple project. If it doesn't work, make a return on the bits that are still whole!!! We could teach 6th graders to put something like this together!!!!!

Off to the hardware store!!!
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Old 12-13-05, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by FlowerBlossom
OHMAGAWD. This is sooo cheap, it would be worth trying it for a simple project. If it doesn't work, make a return on the bits that are still whole!!! We could teach 6th graders to put something like this together!!!!!

Off to the hardware store!!!
Building your own lights can be very rewarding but along that road lies madness I've spent a lot of money over the years refining and changing my lights, probably more then if I would have bought the system off the shelf. That said there are a couple of things you can do that could improve the system shown above.

1. Get quality bulbs. The bulbs sold at hardware stores are pretty bad. They are too wide angled for bicycle use. Google for 12 V MR-11 bulbs and get a couple of good 12 degree spot and a 20 degree flood. Get the ones with a lens on the front of the reflector since it keeps out the elements. I'd get a 20W spot, a 12W spot and a 20 W flood.

2. Make more than one lamp. I'd use 2 (one 12W, one 20W)on the bars and one 20W on your helmet. The helmet one helps more then you might think. This way you'll also have backups if one goes out on you.

3. Don't make a 12V system. Overvolt the lamp to a 13.2V or 14.4 V system. The lamps can take the extra voltage although it shortens their lives a bit. But it also makes the light output brighter.

4. Consider a higher capacity battery pack. Sub-C packs like these are relatively cheap and can be wired together in series to make a 14.4V pack using the standard connectors. With a 12/20W combination you can get 2.7hr/2.3hr/1.5hr with a 12W/20W/32W lights depending on how you run them (I'd run the 12/20 off of the same battery)

And finally, make sure you exercise your batteries once a month even when they are in storage over the summer. Long term storage is what kills most batteries and now that you've invested a lot of money in the batteries, keep them alive for as long as possible.
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Old 12-13-05, 03:10 PM
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thanks ^^^
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Old 12-13-05, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by FlowerBlossom
OHMAGAWD. This is sooo cheap, it would be worth trying it for a simple project. If it doesn't work, make a return on the bits that are still whole!!! We could teach 6th graders to put something like this together!!!!!

Off to the hardware store!!!
Post pics if you put one of these together, would you?

It's a great idea for customizing a light - your choice of bulbs, power, reflector pattern - and I bet bulbs are more common than the stuff found it dedicated bike lights. I like the idea of a trip to the hardware store to replace a burnt bulb.
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Old 12-13-05, 04:45 PM
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www.bicyclelights.com

I have the dual handlebar, dual helmet and also the older single helmet system. I recently "upgraded" the single helmet system with a $9 battery off eBay.
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Old 12-13-05, 06:58 PM
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Good geekiness.
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Old 12-13-05, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bhchdh
You can always buy rechargable battieries. I have two sets on in the lights the other on charge.
Agreed. I hate rechargable products for any outdoor use. I would much rather have the option of using rechargable batteries. That way if my rechargable run out I could always buy or borrow dry cell batteries.

Many of the new GPS devices are now rechargable. They say it's required to power some of the new displays. Well I'd rather go without those fancy new displays then have to go without a GPS at all.

Same thing for a light. It is a lot easier finding some dry cells then it is to find a place to charge it. The only caveat is if you have a dynamo that can recharge the flashlight.
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