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Night Riding/Training Need Head Light Advice

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Night Riding/Training Need Head Light Advice

Old 09-25-17, 09:13 AM
  #1  
cycledogg
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Night Riding/Training Need Head Light Advice

It's that time of year again when the days are shorter and the trainer comes into play more. This year I am seriously thinking of doing more out side riding/training and less trainer/roller time. I need some good suggestions for lighting to be used on my road bike. Right now I am looking at the NiteRider Lumina 1100 Boost Headlight. I will only be out riding at most 2 hours. I would say about 80% of the route will be back roads, no street lights. A few descents with speeds up to 35-40 mph so good lighting would be important at those times for sure. Will this 1100 headlight give enough light to see the road well at average speeds of 17-19 mpg? The second highest setting is 900 lumens for 1.5 hours. Any other lights at the $100.00 range any better?
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Old 09-25-17, 09:45 AM
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I recently purchased the Cygolight Trion ... a little higher in price, but I like the 1300 lumen light, it has four brightness settings, and worked well for me.
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Old 09-25-17, 09:57 AM
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a cpl thoughts come to mind
  • bring a backup light cuz you never know ...
  • during daylight, I can see obstacles farther away than at night, even with a good light. seeing a pothole or stick at the last second, doesn't mean I can avoid it. I now shy away from high speed descents at night
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Old 09-25-17, 10:01 AM
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My training last winter was done mostly at night on well-surfaced low traffic country farm roads with no street lighting. I used a Cygolite 550 as my main light with a small headlamp (so I could read my head unit), which was sufficient, although I felt I was starting to outrun my light above 30mph on descents.

Keith
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Old 09-25-17, 10:25 AM
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Yes buy a light for sure....my GF and I went out last evening for 28 miles after 5pm and made the mistake of NOT taking our headlights. BIG mistake. Last 30-40 min of the ride were really slow because we couldn't hardly see. We had tail lights so we felt safe from being hit...but I had to go slow because we couldn't see...and were being VERY aware of cars turning out of roads in front of us at well, knowing they probably couldn't see us.

I'd suggest 800-1000 lumens of light. I have a Light and Motion Urban 800 which is very nice and plenty bright but I also just got this unit off of Amazon for MUCH cheaper and it does a great job: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Honest gripe about this cheaper unit is that the handlebar mount is pretty bulky. I'm using the helmet mount on my handle bars though and it works just fine.
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Old 09-25-17, 10:26 AM
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Fast descent at night, definitely need 2 lights.

One broad beam on bars.

Other narrow, long throw beam on helmet , so you can see in the distance wherever your head is pointing.
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Old 09-25-17, 10:28 AM
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That light should be fine. Honestly, you will probably do nearly as well with the $25 MagicShine clones. You also need a blinkie for the back.

Other tip for night riding: ride on FAMILIAR roads. So no big surprises.
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Old 09-25-17, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
That light should be fine. Honestly, you will probably do nearly as well with the $25 MagicShine clones. You also need a blinkie for the back.

Other tip for night riding: ride on FAMILIAR roads. So no big surprises.
Yes, a good thing is I will be riding the same routes I have done all summer, so I know the roads well. I do have a good rear red blinkie.
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Old 09-25-17, 11:45 AM
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I agree that a second light is a good idea for backup as well as for additional light. I use both a bar-mounted light and a helmet light. The helmet light is good becupause you can aim it, but it also can be more visible to drivers who are waiting at cross streets.
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Old 09-25-17, 11:52 AM
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Just for reference, a typical car headlight is 700 to 1000 lumens.
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Old 09-25-17, 12:09 PM
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this summer got my son a small light cuz a cpl nights during the summer he comes home late at night. he used it a cpl times & said it was great for his purpose so I got one for myself as a backup to my magicshine. maybe it would be a good backup for someone else

Serfas SL-255 Battery Operated Headlight
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 09-25-17, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
  • during daylight, I can see obstacles farther away than at night, even with a good light. seeing a pothole or stick at the last second, doesn't mean I can avoid it. I now shy away from high speed descents at night
THIS. Things come up on you very quickly at night. Even if you're familiar with a route. Armadillos can pop out of nowhere (trust me, I know ).
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Old 09-25-17, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
THIS. Things come up on you very quickly at night. Even if you're familiar with a route. Armadillos can pop out of nowhere (trust me, I know ).
This is true. Witnessed. You'd be surprised how hard a four-legged football can tackle a feller.
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Old 09-25-17, 01:07 PM
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Don't overlook side visibility. LED lighting is very directional and you would be surprised how invisible you can be with thousands of lumens on board. I have had to use a helmet mounted light to signal drivers as I proceed through intersections. They look straight at your side profile and keep coming.
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Old 09-25-17, 02:34 PM
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Ditto, I use helmet lights as well. I started after noticing how much more visible other cyclists were when they wore helmet lights.

And I added a homebrewed doodad to my Light & Motion Urban 500 that both shades the top of the light from the eyes of oncoming cyclists/pedestrians, while enhancing the side visibility. It's just a white pill bottle of HDPE plastic, easy to trim to shape. It snaps into the recess just behind the lens, and can be rotated to suit how the light is mounted to the handlebar, head tube, under a computer, etc. I put black opaque tape across the top but left the sides open, so it glows like a soft white light bulb. Much better to-be-seen visibility all around.
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Old 09-25-17, 03:12 PM
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Very high powered lights create a huge reflective hot spot on the road , blind oncoming traffic and dissipate into the air, not too much projected on the road ahead. My 700 lumens Lyzene Super Drive XL light is not as useful on the road as the shaped beam German Ixon IQ light(1st gen.) on the road only rated at 40 lux.

I like using them both when riding fast at night. Lyzene is on a weakest setting with the round beam to light right in front of me and the IXON IQ light shaped beam adjusted higher and way too forward, so I could see far at fast descents.

The second gen Ixon IQ Premium has a wider beam and even brighter at 80 lux.

My advice get a shaped beam light like the B&M IQ technology and a small LED cheap light to light up the road in front of you or one of those small lights that go on the helmet. Or if money is not an issue get this:

SL A Street-legal Bike Light

It has both shaped beam and round beam patterns.
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Old 09-25-17, 03:45 PM
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I have Niteriders 900 boost. It's more than ever needed. It's only plus for me is run time in winter temps. I like their Micro series better as they're small to carry and run for hours. I use a 600 on the bars and 350 on my helmet. I'm comfortable riding dirt trails in the forest with that setup as well as fast road downhills. On roads, a helmet light helps to be seen as you approach side traffic. On dirt trails the helmet light is a must. I've owned 5 Niterider headlights and all were dependable.
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Old 09-25-17, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
This is true. Witnessed. You'd be surprised how hard a four-legged football can tackle a feller.
See? I have my very own Amen Chorus! ^
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 09-25-17, 05:30 PM
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Dinotte Lights
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Old 09-25-17, 05:38 PM
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I rode roughly 400-500 miles in the dark last winter (too lazy to dig through to get an exact number). I use two cheap flashlights that take 18650 batteries. One aimed low and wide and when needed, I turn on the second and it's aimed higher. The main light starts to get a little dim but can make it the 1.5 hours but I a carry a spare battery just in case or just use the other one. Simple, cheap. Pitch black rural road and bike path route that I've done a 100 times before, that being said, it is still unpredictable, I stay under 20ish. I ride with one at all times every ride regardless of season or time as a flasher if needed. In the perfect world, I'd have a helmet light but I can't stand any additional weight on my helmet.

I don't want wired battery packs and I want the ability to swap batteries

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Old 09-25-17, 05:51 PM
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I have an 850 lumen Cygolite and it's quite adequate for night time riding. And on rural roads without streetlights I think you're more visible to traffic than at any other time. But I wouldn't do high speed descents at night unless perhaps I'd gone up the same road first and checked for debris. And even then, as others have noted, small animals are unpredictable.
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Old 09-25-17, 05:53 PM
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People have a varying degree of night vision. You may need a more powerful light than others do. I use a L&M Urban 800 on the bars and a L&M 360+ on the helmet. Both are used at their lowest powered setting almost all the time which are 225 and 125 lumens respectively. Fast downhills I will use the highest setting. Newer models are 900 and 1,000 lumens. I have tried both Nightrider, including the Boost models, and Cygolite brands and prefer L&M. Between myself and my wife we have 10 of them for our 4 bikes. The only thing I wish L&M had was a flashing light for day time riding. They have a pulsing light which isn't quite as much of an attention getter during daytime riding. I use it anyway as my lights are on no matter what time I'm riding.


I also highly recommend a helmet light both for seeing around turns and for shining directly at drivers when necessary to get their attention. Even with all the lights, drivers coming out of side streets sometimes need that light shined directly at them.
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Old 09-25-17, 06:33 PM
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Dinotte...why?

In 2006 I bought a Dinotte 600 L headlight and 140 L tail light, 2 batteries and a charger. A little over a year later, I was having issues with the batteries not holding a charge as well as they had. Dinotte replaced both batteries and upgraded the charger, no questions asked, no charge.

One of the 2 batteries died a couple of years ago after it had an accident. The second battery was getting kind of weak this spring. This spring I also had an issue with a solder joint cracking on the headlight (I resoldered it myself and the light is fine). Rather than replacing battery (and getting the new upgraded charger) I decided to upgrade to the latest quad red tail light and xpl3 headlight, and kept the old lights as spares.

I never even checked into any other brand. 11 years use out of a set of lights (and great customer service) more than makes up for the extra Dinotte charges (and they ARE bright).
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Old 09-26-17, 12:21 AM
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Cateye Volt 1600 will let you do 40mph descents. I use the 800 and am very happy with the brightness at the middle setting (maybe 600 or 400) and the quality feel to it. I also like cateye because I switch lights between bikes easily without worrying about rubber bands wearing out.
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Old 09-26-17, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrey View Post
Very high powered lights create a huge reflective hot spot on the road , blind oncoming traffic and dissipate into the air, not too much projected on the road ahead. My 700 lumens Lyzene Super Drive XL light is not as useful on the road as the shaped beam German Ixon IQ light(1st gen.) on the road only rated at 40 lux.

I like using them both when riding fast at night. Lyzene is on a weakest setting with the round beam to light right in front of me and the IXON IQ light shaped beam adjusted higher and way too forward, so I could see far at fast descents.

The second gen Ixon IQ Premium has a wider beam and even brighter at 80 lux.

My advice get a shaped beam light like the B&M IQ technology and a small LED cheap light to light up the road in front of you or one of those small lights that go on the helmet. Or if money is not an issue get this:

SL A Street-legal Bike Light

It has both shaped beam and round beam patterns.
Sauntered in here from Long Distance; saw the thread and came into post all this exact info. I need to get the battery Ixon IQ myself as backup..... all my bikes already have dynamo!

OP, look up some stuff on beam patterns. Peter White has a few articles worth a read.

B&M Battery product page: Busch&Muller battery powered bicycle lights
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