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“Be seen” headlight: How bright?

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“Be seen” headlight: How bright?

Old 09-12-21, 08:18 AM
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AcornMan
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“Be seen” headlight: How bright?

How many lumens are appropriate for a flashing “headlight” for daytime visibility? I used quotation marks because it doesn’t need to be bright enough to illuminate the street/trail in darkness. I just want to make sure cars see me during the day. I picked up a 300 lumen light from REI but it seems much too bright.
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Old 09-12-21, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by AcornMan View Post
How many lumens are appropriate for a flashing “headlight” for daytime visibility? I used quotation marks because it doesn’t need to be bright enough to illuminate the street/trail in darkness. I just want to make sure cars see me during the day. I picked up a 300 lumen light from REI but it seems much too bright.
the small front white/rear red LED blinkers I use are supposed to be 80 lumens. They’re certainly bright enough in overcast or rainy conditions. In bright sunlight I think they could be a bit brighter. I think you could go to 100-120 without causing drivers to (1) have epileptic seizures, (2) become disorientated and run into you, or (3) scream “My Eyes!!!!” and crash into something because your little blinkers blinded them. According to the occasional, and frequently contentious, discussions on this forum, these are frequent consequences of flashing lights on bicycles.
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Old 09-12-21, 08:36 AM
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Mine is a 600 lumen and it has 2-3 brightness levels and a flashing strobe. I don't think 600 lumens is too bright for daytime. If you have oncoming traffic then might want to adjust appropriately at night.
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Old 09-12-21, 09:12 AM
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I use a Bontrager Ion 200 RT for the forward flashing light. In daytime flashing mode it puts out 100 lumens. I've been told by a few people that it is very bright when approaching.
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Old 09-12-21, 09:59 AM
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When I was commuting, I had 2 headlights, one on my helmet and one on my bike. I used a 100 lumen flashy on my helmet and a 700 lumen the both flashed and had constant light so I can be seen and see.
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Old 09-12-21, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by AcornMan View Post
How many lumens are appropriate for a flashing “headlight” for daytime visibility?.................................. I picked up a 300 lumen light from REI but it seems much too bright.
just thinking here --- --- did you let someone hold the light when flashing, ride your bike away from them some desired distance, turn around and look at the light for your own reference? IF WAY TOO BRIGHT then drop down to 100
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Old 09-12-21, 07:22 PM
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There are so many different situations and variables that it is essentially impossible to say how bright is sufficiently bright for safety. Therefore, my way of cutting this is to ask how much brightness can I typically get for a given amount of money in a satisfying form factor? The answer to that right now, for me, is 100 lumens at #40. If a marker headlight isn’t claiming to deliver at least that, it’s off pace of tech and not of interest. If I can get 200 lumens in a package I like for $100, great, but that’s just icing (as the saying goes). My main concern is not to ride with less than 100 lumens flashing out front.

I have no idea whether 200 lumens is safer than 100 and honestly don’t care. My only concern is to get state of the art at the pricepoint I’m willing to spend; supraSOTA is great if I can get it, but I don’t need to be there. If I know I have a level of brightness in line with a typical expenditure, I consider that paying my money and taking my chances. God be with me, inshallah, mazel tov, good luck, and all that.
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Old 09-13-21, 12:11 AM
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100-300 lumens seems adequate for daytime traffic.

But judging by the MUP cyclists, you need 1500-3000 lumens flashing and aimed directly into the eyes of oncoming cyclists and pedestrians to be seen.
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Old 09-13-21, 02:49 AM
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Brighter than in the dark. Being seen during the day takes a lot of light. Well, that's relative - the more light, the better you'll be seen... obviously. But we don't want to be obnoxious. A car headlight is in the 2000-4000 lumen range. DRLs are lower. BUT, we need more than a car's DRLs - we're starting at a massive deficit... we're comparatively tiny and not in the motorists' brain's programmed set of "car-sized" things to look for.

For daylight rides, I use a 1400 lumen headlight in the strobe mode - that "Blink-Blink---Blink---Blink-Blink" pattern. 1400 lumens during the day is NOT obnoxiously bright. Cars' headlights have gotten brighter (600-800 halogen) and brighter over the years.
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Old 09-17-21, 04:57 AM
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Victagen 3000 lumen light(Amazon). Very bright headlight and also has insanely visible strobe function. Also can be used as a power source to charge phone etc. Love mine.

Last edited by GBK233; 09-17-21 at 05:01 AM.
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Old 09-17-21, 09:12 AM
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GBK233 have you used that light? That's a ridiculously low price for a 3000 lumen light. I just spent $90 (Cygolite) on a 1400 lumen light - and that was considered inexpensive.
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Old 09-17-21, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Zaskar View Post
GBK233 have you used that light? That's a ridiculously low price for a 3000 lumen light. I just spent $90 (Cygolite) on a 1400 lumen light - and that was considered inexpensive.

Yup..I have one. Hence the reason I wrote “love mine” at the end of my last post. LOL. Has digital readout that shows battery life also, which is a plus.
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Old 09-17-21, 11:16 AM
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Yep - totally missed the "love mine". Good to hear. I did notice it appears to be an external batter pack? Those do tend to run quite a bit less coin AND. I've got a few - used mainly for mtn biking, e.g. battery pack in backpack, light on helmet. LOVE having hours of super bright light. Hard to get that out of a self-contained bar-mounted light.
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Old 09-17-21, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Zaskar View Post
Yep - totally missed the "love mine". Good to hear. I did notice it appears to be an external batter pack? Those do tend to run quite a bit less coin AND. I've got a few - used mainly for mtn biking, e.g. battery pack in backpack, light on helmet. LOVE having hours of super bright light. Hard to get that out of a self-contained bar-mounted light.
I also have the previous version of this light…both are nice. I’ve been on rides and have had my cell phone battery get low…so being able to charge it off the headlight is nice.
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Old 09-18-21, 04:04 PM
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I have been running a lezyne 250 (on flash mode) for many years and when it finally stopped holding a charge I switched over to a niterider 600 and needless to say it is far superior.
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Old 09-18-21, 04:37 PM
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I like ~ 200 lumens for a front flasher. IME that's bright enough. Drivers look both ways before they pull out. Rear blinkies are another story., There I like 400 lumens for daylight. Overtaking drivers don't expect to see a bike. Which raises a question for the front blinkie - on the left or right side of the bike?
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Old 09-18-21, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I like ~ 200 lumens for a front flasher. IME that's bright enough. Drivers look both ways before they pull out. Rear blinkies are another story., There I like 400 lumens for daylight. Overtaking drivers don't expect to see a bike. Which raises a question for the front blinkie - on the left or right side of the bike?
I don't know of a rear light as bright as 400 lumens; link?
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Old 09-18-21, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I don't know of a rear light as bright as 400 lumens; link?
I have a DiNotte 400R - don't think they are made anymore. The next best would be the Cygolite Hypershot 350. With lights this bright it's OK to point them straight back in the daylight, but at night it's better to point them a bit down toward the road, so as not to blind approaching vehicles or the rider behind you. They make a very visible red oval on the pavement, quite effective. One notices that drivers make a wider pass.
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Old 09-19-21, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
100-300 lumens seems adequate for daytime traffic.

But judging by the MUP cyclists, you need 1500-3000 lumens flashing and aimed directly into the eyes of oncoming cyclists and pedestrians to be seen.
True. Powerful lights can be very annoying to others. My 1000lm front light is blinding even at a healthy distance and ppl do complain about it if im not dialling it back to the low setting and point it down.
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Old 09-19-21, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I have a DiNotte 400R - don't think they are made anymore. The next best would be the Cygolite Hypershot 350. With lights this bright it's OK to point them straight back in the daylight, but at night it's better to point them a bit down toward the road, so as not to blind approaching vehicles or the rider behind you. They make a very visible red oval on the pavement, quite effective. One notices that drivers make a wider pass.
Thanks for that info. I forgot about DiNotte.

I have the Cygolite 350 and do not recommend it. It is actually two LEDs, stacked vertically, and I think they just sum their lumen values to claim 350 - but it’s not noticeably brighter than my Cygolite 150. And it’s battery life is pretty short.
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Old 09-19-21, 06:05 AM
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Old 09-19-21, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
True. Powerful lights can be very annoying to others. My 1000lm front light is blinding even at a healthy distance and ppl do complain about it if im not dialling it back to the low setting and point it down.
I get a lot of 'comments', which I guess could be disguised 'complaints' about my front 600 lumen front and 350 lumen rear flashers.
I just give everyone an emphatic "thank you!" to any person that comments about how bright my lights are.
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Old 09-19-21, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Nachoman View Post
I get a lot of 'comments', which I guess could be disguised 'complaints' about my front 600 lumen front and 350 lumen rear flashers.
I just give everyone an emphatic "thank you!" to any person that comments about how bright my lights are.
I've had drivers thank me for those bright lights! They do appreciate it. The front light should be a sharp cutoff lamp. I've seen oncoming flashers so bright at night that not only could I not tell where the rider was, I couldn't tell where the road was. Slow flashers are by fat the worst. A flasher needs to be quick to enable an oncoming vehicle to track its location, or better, never run a front flasher at night. For best ID, at night run a bright steady lamp and a small blinkie like those small Cateyes. The blinkie says you're a bike.
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Old 09-23-21, 01:55 PM
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I'm not a fan of overly powerful lights anymore. Really too much blinding going on out there. Riders really have no concept of where they are pointing their lights and there's a reason car lights are aimed.

I run the NightRider Lumina 1800 dual currently. It has the following modes:
Low - 6:00h at 350 Lumens
Med - 3:00h at 700 Lumens
High - 1:30h at 1500 Lumens
Boost - 0:45h at 1800 Lumens
Pulse Flash - 10:00h at 1500 Lumens
Fast Flash - 16:30h at 1500 Lumens
Walk Mode - 20:00h at 100 Lumens

Of these I use the pulse flash at twilight. The I switch to the low mode (350 lumen). Pitch black riding we do at night on the path system here I will up it to Medium (700 lumen). I carry a backup light that is 650 or 800 lumen max depending on which one I grab. When descending on going high speed I hit the boost at 1800 lumen. Way more than enough to ride at 30+ mph in complete darkness.

I despise all of the riders riding around with the Garmin Varia lights that flash because these riders have no idea what they are doing so the lights are blinding in mid daylight. It's always on the path as well. "It's just us cyclists...we see you. You don't need a flashy during the day on the path" ....but I learned long ago you never win when arguing against a perceived safety issue. People just throw common sense out the door.
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Old 09-23-21, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
I'm not a fan of overly powerful lights anymore. Really too much blinding going on out there. Riders really have no concept of where they are pointing their lights and there's a reason car lights are aimed.

I run the NightRider Lumina 1800 dual currently. It has the following modes:
Low - 6:00h at 350 Lumens
Med - 3:00h at 700 Lumens
High - 1:30h at 1500 Lumens
Boost - 0:45h at 1800 Lumens
Pulse Flash - 10:00h at 1500 Lumens
Fast Flash - 16:30h at 1500 Lumens
Walk Mode - 20:00h at 100 Lumens

Of these I use the pulse flash at twilight. The I switch to the low mode (350 lumen). Pitch black riding we do at night on the path system here I will up it to Medium (700 lumen). I carry a backup light that is 650 or 800 lumen max depending on which one I grab. When descending on going high speed I hit the boost at 1800 lumen. Way more than enough to ride at 30+ mph in complete darkness.

I despise all of the riders riding around with the Garmin Varia lights that flash because these riders have no idea what they are doing so the lights are blinding in mid daylight. It's always on the path as well. "It's just us cyclists...we see you. You don't need a flashy during the day on the path" ....but I learned long ago you never win when arguing against a perceived safety issue. People just throw common sense out the door.
The Varia has a “night” flashing mode that isn’t as bright and the light intensity slowly gets brighter and dimmer. The “day” strobe is def dazzling when used at night.
With that being said….if drivers don’t stare at the light they’ll be fine. No different than the idiots who stare at LED headlights and complain about them rather than just look where they’re driving.
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