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Old 07-20-07, 12:58 PM   #1
Six jours
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Lights, again...

So I'm about to spring for a Schmidt SON hub and a light to go with it. I've been poring over Peter White's excellent information for the last few days, and I've gone over all the lighting threads here at BF. I have a couple of specific questions left and would love to get some additional first-hand knowledge.

1) The Schmidt hub -- any problems I should be aware of?

2) I haven't yet decided on the 20 or the 28. It's extremely rare that I'm going less than7-8 MPH, and I figure at that speed I don't need much in the way of road illumination, so I'm leaning toward the reduced losses of the 20. But I'm also considering going with a two lamp setup, and while Peter White says the 20 will work, I wonder if anyone has any personal experience. And maybe the additional drag of the 28 is so low that I'm worrying about an inconsequential.

3) I'm also leaning toward the Lumotec light, rather than the Schmidt E6. I think I'd rather have the slightly wider beam of the Lumotec than the narrowly focused E6 -- and if I'm wrong, I can add the E6 secondary later. Personal experiences?

4) Mounting: With a single lamp, I plan on just using one of Peter White's fork crown mounts. They supposedly work fine with the lightweight Lumotec, not so well with the heavier E6. I've thought about using the Cronometro "nob" fork mount, but Jan Heine says it will eventually slide down the fork and tangle in the spokes. Any personal experiences here?

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Old 07-20-07, 09:55 PM   #2
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I doubt you will notice any difference in drag between the 20 or 28. With a two light setup, you generally turn off the secondary around 10 mph. With a the 20 hub you'll need to do that sooner.

I know plenty of people who use the Nobs with no problems. If you are concerned, put a strip of doublestick tape under the Nob strap.
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Old 07-20-07, 11:33 PM   #3
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1. Problems with the Schmidt Hub?

I have two of them. The one on my single bike has been rolling steadily since November 2001 (or is it 2002?), for about 20-25 000 km, including lots of rain and some snow. Not a single problem so far.

When I install the wheel, I always put the wire connectors towards the top, so that if/when I remove the wheel, the connectors won't be torn apart. I suspect that it might be tedious if you were to remove the wheel daily to put on a car rack; but since I never carry my bike in a car, it's not an issue.

Finally, I remember reading somewhere about interference between a hub (Schmidt?) and, I think, the Avocet wireless computer. I have a Cateye wired computer and never had any issue.

2. Schmidt 20 or 28?
I would recommend the 28. You do climb hills, don't you? With the 28, I think you have enough light to see your way and even to be visible when you are trying to make your way at 10 km/h, and you'll have full power at 12-13 km/h. And even with the light on, the added resistance is so low that I sometimes rode unknowingly to the office with the light on. In my mind, one of the beauties of the Schmidt is that you can have full illumination almost all the time. Why loose some of it, especially since there is so little in drag? And if you want to add a secondary light, you need the Schmidt 28; the 20 will make it useless, because you'll need to ride at least at 33-35 km/h before the second light becomes useful.

I think I would recommend the Schmidt 20 only for a racer riding on mostly flat terrain: IOW someone always riding at 35-40 km/h, probably in fast-moving pelotons.

3. Which headlight(s)?

It depends a lot on what you do. For city rides, the Lumotec is a cheaper option and provides a front reflector if you ever need it (it fills a legal purpose in Québec).
However, in the city, I don't think the side spill is really noticeable, and in rural areas the E-6 throws useful light much further down the road. In a nutshell, the Lumotec would be a better option if you ride relatively slowly – say 10-20 km/h – on unlit roads. On the other hand, if you ride on unevenly lit streets, or if you ride faster on unlit roads – say 15-30 km/h – the E-6 provides a much more useful beam.

For general lighting, and even for city use, I prefer the E-6 to the Lumotec (round or oval, their beam is fairly similar): the E-6 is good enough to clearly light the road and the potholes, even in the rain and even with headlights of oncoming cars or irregular street illumination; the Lumotec does not work as well in those conditions.

One caveat: as you said, the E-6 has a very well focused beam. On my bike, I also use a tiny LED headlight, the Planet Bike Beamer 5, to fulfill these functions:
– provide some illuminations on a wider path close to me (i.e. potholes, skunks and squirrels);
– provide a safety light at intersections or when slowly climbing a hill;
– make myself more noticeable in business districts (flashing mode).
With it, I get all the extra benefits of the Lumotec, and more, and the quality of the E-6.

As for the standlight of the Lumotec Oval Plus, it's so dim I would not count on it to save my life if I were stopped in the middle of an intersection.

Should you also buy an E-6 secondary? It depends. I bought a Lumotec secondary back when I bought a Lumotec Oval Primary, and because I had it, I kept it when I upgraded my main headlight to the E-6. You might want a dual-headlight setup if you ride on dark roads, but I don't see the point in the city and probably not in many suburban areas. If you ride fast downhills, the secondary might become a necessity, but slowing down is another option.

On unlit roads, I see the difference between the tight beam of the E-6 and the wider beam of the Lumotec. You would get the same effect with a Lumotec mains and E-6 secondary.The "well-rounded" effect is nice at 20-30 km/h, but you'll notice it only on dark roads, and the beam is not longer than the one of a single E-6. And if you ride faster than 30-35 km/h on unlit roads, you'll benefit much more from two tight beams – an E-6 primary and an E-6 secondary – than from a tight one and a wider one.

In a nutshell, if you want to save money:
– Go for the E-6 main headlight. It might be the only headlight you buy.
– If you want more and if you ride on unlit roads, get the E-6 secondary. Now or later.

All my bikes have a 3 W headlight and a battery taillight. That way, I don't have any wiring on the frame. The only drawback I see is that I have to turn on my taillights manually. However, the Cateye TL-LD1000 and the Planet Bike Superflash are much brighter than the wired taillights available.

4. How to mount it (them)? My current setup

My setup is with the E-6 primary and the Lumotec secondary. The latter existed until 2003-2004

I don't like headlights by the side of the tire or on the fork. I'm one of those who is distracted by the shadow of my wheel (it hides potholes), and I learnt that the headlight needs to be higher than the wheel if I want to keep it clean in rain and especially in snow. My current installation is seen at the top of this page; basically, the aluminium channels won't break! If you have calliper brakes, I suspect you could design a similar bracket to attach on the fork crown.
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Old 07-21-07, 10:11 AM   #4
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I currently run dual E6's, mounted to the low rider mounts on my fork. They are very bright - esp in tandem. I'll use 1 for most riding, but when I get moving I turn on the secondary. (reaching down to the fork) I do wish I had a better switching solution...

When I first got the setup I was incredibly impressed with how bright the lights could be up the road. With two I have the primary pointed just a bit closer to the bike, and the secondary a bit further up the road. You'll also want to play with how they angle in or away from your centerline. When I moved to the lowrider mounts I didn't like how the beams converged so I created 2 small shims that I can rotate to tune the beams.

For the better part of last year I used the 'nob' on a carbon fork that had quite a bit of taper. No problems sliding - but I wrapped the fork with a bit of rubber and electrical tape before mounting, and then I mounted the 'nob' just a bit higher than the rubber, so I created a shelf for it to press against. Worked really well. Rode a brevet series on NE roads and all the training in between. At the start I would dismount the lights when I car topped the bike - but I got lazy and they were fine.

I just picked up a d'Lumotech for my cargo bike. I'm impressed with how bright it is at low speeds. (I'm rarely above 15mph on the bike, and climbing a steep hill into town last week I was probably doing 3-4 mph. I'm considering getting one for my rando bike as the primary - I'm thinking the sesno version so its always on, and then I can leave the secondary Schmidt on at all times, AFAIK the d'Lumotech will still work at full brightness and the E6 will come on when it has enough juice.

I have noticed getting slop on the lights in the rain / snow... but not enough to want me to move it from my lowrider mounts. There is a definite (positive) difference (in my eyes) by having the lights low. When I ride with just my headlamp (on my helmet) on my town bike I miss the definition the low E6s bring to bumps, potholes, etc. I'm not distracted by the wheel shadow - my lights, even at low speed, throw enough ambient light to make this moot.
So long. Been nice knowing you BF.... to all the friends I've made here and in real life... its been great. But this place needs an enema.
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Old 07-23-07, 10:57 AM   #5
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Thanks for the great information, gentlemen. Exactly what I was looking for.
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