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lighting systems

Old 12-09-10, 11:31 PM
  #1  
shorthanded
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lighting systems

i know it's another forum entirely-- but i'm curious what you folks are using for lighting systems-- if you're going full dynamo, if people are using battery lights, helmet lights, etc- what the rationale was for what you're doing, and the end result.

just getting my stuff together personally with a battery powered B&M ixon iq, and probably going to pick up a headlamp sometime soon. my rationale was that the ixon has a great beam, it's rechargable inside the lamp, i can use other rechargables inside it from another AA charger, and if i'm TOTALLY caught with dead batteries on the road, any 7-11 can oblige me in fresh ones. plus.. it's light, and proprietary batteries are kinda a drag-- AND-- if i ever go to a dynamo-- i can get an intermediary charger called a charge & ride (?) that'll charge the batteries on the ixon.

so let us know what you're using and why- and also how it works for you!
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Old 12-09-10, 11:59 PM
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Relying on a 7/11 assumes you're near one when your batteries die...Having to replace batteries on a moonless night in the middle of nowhere is not a lot of fun. Been there, done that.

I use a schmidt hub and Lumotec light and a Cateye battery powered light as a backup. For as much as I use it the cateye batteries last a whole 1200k for me.
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Old 12-10-10, 12:11 AM
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welp.. that's a last resort, for sure-- but hopefully not the necessary option 1200k's are still a ways off for myself as well-- but when they do inch a bit closer to reality-- definitely time for a paradigm shift!

i've only had my hands on one schmidt and thats a beautiful piece of work right there.
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Old 12-10-10, 01:11 AM
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What lighting system is best for you depends on what rides you do. What will work quite well on a 24 hour race or a 400k/600k brevet may not be the best choice for a 500 mile endurance race, or a 1000k/1200k or longer randonnee.
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Old 12-10-10, 08:22 AM
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For ultra distance races I put on the smallest, lightest legal light I have. Since I'm using the lights from a car behind me it really doesn't matter how strong it is. I forget the model but it's LED and uses a couple AAA batteries.
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Old 12-10-10, 10:10 AM
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I'm still a dynamo fan because it's always there and I do not have support to keep me stocked with fully charged batteries.

I recently upgraded my lights after nearly 30 years. Here's what I chose. The front light was a B&M IQ CYO with a stand light. The rear was a B&M Toplight (with a stand light). The dynamo was a bottom bracket Sanyo NH-T10.

I wanted something that would permit me to see the road in front and let drivers see me from behind. My choice of a bottom bracket dynamo is probably my only controversial choice. I cannot use sidewall dynamos on handmade tubulars that I've been known to ride on occasion. That leaves the choice between a dynahub or bottom bracket dynamo. I don't like the extra drag on a dynahub. I still feel drag with my fingertips. Most of my riding time will be in daylight. I don't want to pay that slight drag during those daylight hours. I also take almost all of the allotted 90 hours to finish a 1200k brevet, so I need all the help I can get. I can select my hubs on the basis of their rolling resistance.

My previous system was a Soubitez bottom bracket generator combined with a Union halogen front light and a Union BS3648 compliant rear light. I never encountered slippage problems with the Soubitez. That's a dyanhub's chief virtue. I did use a Sanyo bottom bracket dyanmo before I settled on the Soubitez. That old Sanyo did slip in the rain. The new Sanyo has a stronger spring and replaceable rubber covers. It's a rubber to rubber interface for powering the dynamo. That old system got me through PBP in '79 and '83. The new system is much brighter and reaches full brightness when I walk my bike.

I have not given my new system a full rigorous field test. I'm not likely to until the weather gets warmer. I have given it a few twilight and early evening spins. So far it's a winner.
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Old 12-10-10, 12:34 PM
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Right now, I'm using a Magicshine with the double-battery kit. Price is one motivation, also, I'm not doing all-night rides right now.
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Old 12-10-10, 07:42 PM
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For Randonneuring I use a Schmidt SON hub to power a B&M IQ Cyo on the front and I have two Planet Bike Super Flash blinkies on the back. When I'm forced to I carry a Cateye EL530 as a backup headlight. I also have a tiny helmet mounted LED light that I turn on only when I need to see my cue sheet or my speedometer.

The B&M IQ Cyo has never left me wanting for more light, even on fast descents. It's really a great headlight. These days there are battery systems that can get you through just about any brevet, but I really like the dynohub setup for reliability and the fact that I don't have to think about charging batteries. I use the PB SFs on the back because I didn't want to bother with running a wire from the hub to a back taillight. It's just too much to mess with. The PB SFs last a long time on 2 AAA batteries and they're plenty bright. My only complaint about the SF is that they leak and short out when it rains hard. To deal with that, I wrap some clear packing tape around them to make them more waterproof. It works well until you have to change batteries, then it's a pain. And of course I run two taillights cuz I'm a belt and suspenders kind of guy.
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Old 12-11-10, 06:13 AM
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Currently I am using the Seca 700 ultra light from light and motion. This is a fantastic battery driven light which will last for 17 hours on it's lowest setting, which I have found to be perfectly suitable for riding through the night.
I also use the stella 200 as a short course light or move it to my helmet and use it as a head lamp. Purchasing a decent headlamp is a really good investment as it allows you to scan whats ahead of you and beside you, drivers also seem to notice cyclists with headlamps more. Plus as an added bonus headlamps are nice when you have a mechanical issue or for reading cue sheets.
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Old 12-11-10, 07:40 AM
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been happy w/ 2 PBSF one on rear rack and onw on left drop bar, and up front I use a Magicshine and keep the battery in an empty water bottle w/ sandwich bags to water proof the bottle. the battery is bubblewrapped for shock and thermal protection
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Old 12-11-10, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
... keep the battery in an empty water bottle ...
When I first started doing long distances I did something similar but as the distances got longer and longer I found that the water bottle was much more valuable holding water.
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Old 12-11-10, 04:17 PM
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1 bike has 3 holders the other has 2. fortunately when I go for long rides I can count on passing places to refill, etc.
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Old 12-11-10, 04:39 PM
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I guess that's a benefit (or downfall) of living in a heavily populated area. Out here there are spots they'd find your withered corpse before you found a place to get water.
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Old 12-11-10, 11:12 PM
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I tried several battery lights. Some were/are pretty darn good. But I personally hated having to deal with changing or charging batteries, and wondering how much charge was left, and trying to find a neat way to keep batteries and wires secure and neat. So I went to a SON hub and integrated LED headlight and tail light. (I use the Supernova E3 Triple headlight and E3 tail light.) This has proven entirely satisfactory and I really do consider it a luxury to be able to treat my bicycle like a car, in that I have all the light I need, whenever I need it, at the touch of a button.
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Old 12-12-10, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
I tried several battery lights. Some were/are pretty darn good. But I personally hated having to deal with changing or charging batteries, and wondering how much charge was left, and trying to find a neat way to keep batteries and wires secure and neat. So I went to a SON hub and integrated LED headlight and tail light. (I use the Supernova E3 Triple headlight and E3 tail light.) This has proven entirely satisfactory and I really do consider it a luxury to be able to treat my bicycle like a car, in that I have all the light I need, whenever I need it, at the touch of a button.
Six jours,

How much additional drag do you experience with your E-3 triple ?
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Old 12-12-10, 09:11 AM
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Dinotte 800 lumen with 300 rear- expensive but amazing quality and brightness.
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Old 12-12-10, 01:21 PM
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I don't notice any drag with the lights off. I think there's supposed to be a couple of watts of power loss, but "freewheel races" don't show it. With the lights on, I feel a bit of vibration through the bars, and the literature claims the hub then sucks down several times more power, but I honestly can't tell if there's any loss of speed. I think Jan Heine/Bicycle Quarterly estimated a tenth of a mile-per-hour loss with the lights on, on average. If I were racing I'd do some controlled testing to see if it mattered. For randonneuring I simply don't care.
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Old 12-12-10, 03:42 PM
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Shimano dynamo with 4 Cree XPG Leds. Super bright. No more battery power lights. I'll keep a Cree MC-E flashlight for backup though. Dynamo are around 700lm+ at 20kph.
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Old 12-13-10, 01:51 AM
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Lighting, in my experience, has been an evolution:

1. Cateye halogen lights for commuting., powered by AA batteries.

2. Cateye halogen lights (same as above) and others connected to sealed lead acid battery.

3. B&M S6 sidewall dynamo connected to Ovalplus halogen light for frist 200km ride, and then official randonnees.

4. Quite quickly ordered and fitted SON Dynohub (in 2003) that is still very functional and has never, repeat, never been serviced after around 50,000km of use.

5. Ovalplus augmented by second Ovalplus wired in series for PBP 2003. Very effective lighting.

6. Ovaplus lights replaced by E6s with their larger reflective dish and wider optics on one, and slightly more focused long-distance beam on the other. Again wired in series on dynohub.

7. Reverted to Ovaplus for PBP 2007 for one reason of another (which I have forgotten, but I think breakages of the units come to mind.

8. Revelation as I moved to IQ Fly Senso. Beautifully designed optics do what most LED light manfufacturers don't -- align the LED so its light output reflects backwards, thus providing more spread and reach. On the single bikes (Machka's and mine), the Fly lights run off new 32H Dynohubs.

9. The tandem we have borrowed for recent randonnees doesn't have a dynohub front wheel, so I rigged up initially another SLA battery, but it was a heavy beast. So I pirated a 4 x D-cell battery holder from a set of lights Machka had, bought eight 9000mA (9A) batteries (four to use, four to recharge) and connected a Fly to them. The set-u[p has worked nicely for our night riding. But I wouldn't contemplate batteries again, and a new tandem for us would have a 40H dynohub fitted.

I will throw in that I bought a 20-spoke Shimano dynohub wheel from eBay for some cheap price. The wheel was meant for training, and was fine, but it was very evident that the claims that the Shimano hubs up to that model (I suppose, about 2005) had significant drag with lights on or off, and especially when compared with the SON dynohub. The Shimano wheel remains as a standby training wheel.

The original claim about the SON was that the drag equated to climbing a foot over a mile. For me, that's more than enough compensation for not having to worry about whether my power source will make it through the night, and whether I will have to change batteries.

I do use batteries for the rear lights which comprise a Planet Bike unit and a similar knock-off type marketed by Torpedo7 in New Zealand. The flash intervals are diffferent on them, but I usually have one on constant mode, and one flashing anyway. I carry two twin-packs of AAA batteries. As an aside, I really like the longevity of the Energiser lithium AAA batteries. They usually will do a 1200 plus plus plus, but they are expensive, so be warned.

Finally, if you are still with me, I have an Energiser LED headlight with two lights that are quite sharply focussed. The lights are cheap at the supermarket (about $35), so they are quite accessible anywhere in Australia. I have had three of them over the past seven years. I like the way the switch is a simple slide left or right to turn on and off. I have had other lights that required quite a hard press on the switch to turn on and off, and that becomes quite tedious late in a long ride.

I usually take the buckle on the strap for these lights and modify it slightly so I can thread the straps through the slots in my helmet to keep the light firmly in place. It's a neat solution appearance-wise, and doesn't interfere with the safety integrity of the helmet.

One issue that does become a bit of a nuisance is trying to read instructions if they are in a plastic bag or clear acetate holder (as for example, the Topeak ones). The reflection of the helmet light can make the writing impossible to read, and more so on rough roads. There is a case for just using a bulldog clip to attach the pages without a plastic covering...

Finally (I promise) while on this, don't do as I did five or six years ago and get single-magnification spectacles to ride with. I opted for this configuration so I could "wrap-around" style frames with transitions lenses, but it meant that while I could see distances up ahead with them, I couldn't see distances on the route sheet or speedo. So now I ride with multifocals.
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Old 12-23-10, 10:26 PM
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I have been happy with my Fenix LD20 tactical Cree flashlights. I have 2 mounted so when one runs out of batteries I flip on the other. They run on 2XAA batteries, and I typically use disposable Lithiums. Batteries last about 8-10 hours, giving me about 18 hours of runtime total. Enough for my usual 1200k or 1000k, unless the 1200k starts in the afternoon forcing an all nighter at the start. Then I'll need to switch batteries at some point.

--
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Old 12-24-10, 03:53 AM
  #21  
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We plan to do larger distances brevets next year: my Cateye EL530 will hopefully do the job, probably we buy an extra one. Rear I am lokking for two Cateyes too.I like they hav elong lasting batteries and seem to do the job in the rain.
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Old 12-24-10, 10:48 AM
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Give some thought to the benefits of focused Euro lights with a vertical cutoff so oncoming cyclists and motorists aren't blinded:

https://thelazyrando.wordpress.com/20...eduction-hack/

https://thelazyrando.wordpress.com/20...ocused-lights/



Focused beam with vertical cut off.




Symmetrical beam.

Swap bikes with a friend and try riding at your own bike on a dark street/rural highway.
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Old 12-24-10, 05:25 PM
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vik has raised a very good point. Uncontrolled beams are as much a nuisance to oncoming drivers as those drivers not dipping their headlights for you.

I am glad you posted the comparative beams, vik. It has just reinforced my enthusiasm for the IQ Fly!!
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Old 12-24-10, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
vik has raised a very good point. Uncontrolled beams are as much a nuisance to oncoming drivers as those drivers not dipping their headlights for you.

I am glad you posted the comparative beams, vik. It has just reinforced my enthusiasm for the IQ Fly!!
No problem...btw if you read my first link's blog post I successfully hacked a Dinotte symmetrical beam with electrical tape to set a vertical cut off. Crude, but it works. I'm eventually going to have a SON Deluxe + Edelux setup on my rando bike, but until I do I figure 1 hacked Dinotte 200L on all the time with a vertical cut off and a second unhacked Dinotte 200L as a back up and for times when I need two lights or to read a road sign.

I ordered my GF a B&M IXON IQ for X'mas [mainly because I was tired of getting strobe'd by her two Planet Bike Blaze's set on fast pulse when I looked in my rearview mirror!]. She's out of town I'm going to play with the light tonight on my way to a friend's X.mas dinner.

Merry Christmas to all!
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Old 12-24-10, 11:03 PM
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I disagree with the idea that some bicycle lights are too bright or uncontrolled. I haven't yet seen one that comes close to matching the average motorcycle/car headlight. Peter White scolded me when I told him I was going to put the E3 Triple on my rando bike, but it's still a fraction of the light put out by the typical car headlight.
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