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Best and Brightest Headlight under $100 for road riding

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Best and Brightest Headlight under $100 for road riding

Old 09-09-13, 09:35 AM
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Best and Brightest Headlight under $100 for road riding

With the days getting shorter I have been caught out road riding a few times and it was getting rather dark. So i am thinking of getting a good, bright headlight that will allow me to get home in the dark for about the last hour or so of my ride. I have seen quite a few lights but I have never used one. I would like for it to be bright enough so I can carry a reasonable high speed and still see what's in front of me without the danger of running over or hitting something. I was told anything under 500 lumins would not be bright enough. Could someone who has more experience in using lights give me a few lights to choose from that would serve my needs for under $100?
Cheers,
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Old 09-09-13, 10:00 AM
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Check some here: https://bicyclelightreview.com/bike-light-review/

It's not just brightness you need to worry about - you should also check beam patterns. If you wide in areas with street lighting the beam pattern's not as important as if you're on back roads.

If you get something really bright (I have an 1800 lumen light) you may want to check for one that has a beam pattern that won't annoy oncoming motorists. I believe Germany has laws enforcing these standards, so you'll see that more on lights sold in Europe. I know my light annoys the crap out of some people, but at least it's a temporary inconvenience for them and I'm visible.
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Old 09-09-13, 10:02 AM
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Search the Electronics & Lighting forum: https://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...ng-amp-Gadgets

I use one of the Cree XML T6 lights from DealExtreme.com, but you can find the same lights and deals from Amazon, now. Mine just has a single LED and I find it more than bright enough on high when riding on unlit rural roads early in the morning (dark). When I bought mine, the going price was around $40, now there are lots of similar ones for under $30.
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Old 09-09-13, 10:07 AM
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https://www.action-led-lights.com/col...men-bike-light
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Old 09-09-13, 10:35 AM
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The Magicshine was the "it" light two years ago....but the knockoff ones on DX/ebay/amazon are likely just about as good and cost $30ish. So even if they break every year, it's still cheaper to get one of these. Heck, you could buy THREE of them for under $100.

edit: here is one on Amazon, under $25 now.

https://www.amazon.com/Lumen-Bicycle-...ght+1200+lumen
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Old 09-09-13, 11:01 AM
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you'd be surprised how cheaply you can make one yourself.
I've made two ultra-bright 9-LED bulb flashlight mounts quite easily. The pictured setup didn't work on one of my bikes with wider/tapered handlebars towards the center, so I instead used a plastic clamp that came with the stock dork reflectors.

Total price of the two of them? under 20$. Having made it myself and saved over 50$? Priceless. These things light up the path enough for me to ride through dark areas at night - yet alone be seen!


I also am still very happy with my Knog blinder from my LBS for ~40 at the time - this one lights up a wider area, but is not as focused as my custom set.
https://www.amazon.com/Knog-Blinder-R...nder+headlight
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Old 09-09-13, 12:02 PM
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lights are becoming cheaper and cheaper so a $100 budget should be plenty. for pitch black, dry riding, id say 250 lumens is probably fine. throw rain into the equation and id definitely go brighter, 500 or higher. ive got a 250 lumen serfas brand light and a 600 lumen from night rider. that 600 lumen fffr is plenty bright and usually enough to ellicit some scoWlly looks and curses from on coming cyclists. they are just jealous. both were about 100 bucks when i bought them a few years ago so light have to be even cheaper now. id shy away from those cheapo chinese knock off like magic shine and stick with a company that might actually honor its warantee, light and motion, nite rider, even some of those planet bike light are getting brighter, close to 200 lumens for cheap.
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Old 09-09-13, 12:10 PM
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Get two of these and ride as fast as you want. I have two of them.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00..._email_1p_0_ti

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Old 09-09-13, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas
The Magicshine was the "it" light two years ago....but the knockoff ones on DX/ebay/amazon are likely just about as good and cost $30ish. So even if they break every year, it's still cheaper to get one of these.
The knock-off ones have truly crap reliability. Factor in shipping costs and convenience and I recommend spending the few extra dollars to get the real one with Samsung batteries. Action LED has great service and is highly recommended.

Lastly, the one I posted has the latest Cree XM-L2 emitter, it's not the regular MJ808. XM-L2 is state of the art right now.

Last edited by Hiro11; 09-09-13 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 09-09-13, 12:14 PM
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Not True...(The knock-off ones have truly crap reliability.)
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Old 09-09-13, 12:52 PM
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I have a real magicshine and a fake magicshine... the real one has a better (more waterproof) connector to the battery pack and the build quality is a little higher. The beam pattern isn't identical but it's very close.

Run two of them on your bars and you should have no problem riding in any light conditions.
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Old 09-09-13, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by dave1442397
Check some here: https://bicyclelightreview.com/bike-light-review/

It's not just brightness you need to worry about - you should also check beam patterns. If you wide in areas with street lighting the beam pattern's not as important as if you're on back roads.
Decent article and I basically agree with the findings, but there were a few popular lights conspicuously absent from testing which are at least as good and in some cases better.
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Old 09-09-13, 01:04 PM
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This is a pretty comprehensive list / review which is updated regularly at MTBR. https://reviews.mtbr.com/2013-bike-lights-shootout/2

My personal preference is to have one light mounted on my helmet and one on the bars. Weight is important for helmet mounted lights. Please note that run time is another critical factor to consider.
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Old 09-09-13, 01:09 PM
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One other point on the list mentioned above. The prices quoted are list prices and you likely can find many of the lights for less on Amazon or Ebay. For example you can find Nightrider Lumina 650s on Ebay for ~ $100 but it is listed in the article at $140.
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Old 09-09-13, 01:20 PM
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500 Lumens? Geesh. I commute 12 rural miles one way (morning rides are now completely dark) with a 35 lumen light (2 AA batts)

I guess I wouldn't mind something a tad brighter, but 250 would be more than enough. Even the 35 is fine, but I do have to keep a close eye on the road for debris.
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Old 09-09-13, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
Get two of these and ride as fast as you want. I have two of them.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00..._email_1p_0_ti

holy crap, when I think that I paid like $120 for one of those a couple years back from action-led...Well, I needed it at the time. Couldn't wait 2-3 years for the bottom to fall out on the price. Might have to pick up one or two spares. Was thinking about building up a dyno-hub and getting back into evening commuting with some fancy lighting, but with prices like this, that might not be necessary.
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Old 09-09-13, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by thump55
500 Lumens? Geesh. I commute 12 rural miles one way (morning rides are now completely dark) with a 35 lumen light (2 AA batts)

I guess I wouldn't mind something a tad brighter, but 250 would be more than enough. Even the 35 is fine, but I do have to keep a close eye on the road for debris.
That's nuts. My winter storm setup is about 1600 (~700 lumen HID + 900 lumen LED) and I find myself wishing for more even then. Even when conditions are not that bad, I'd agree that 500 is a bare minimum because there's absolutely no way you'll be able to see a wide variety of threats such as large rocks, boards, metal, glass, holes, etc with sufficient time to react at decent speeds. Especially with headlights from oncoming cars blinding you, you really need something more substantial. BTW, when some chowderhead doesn't dim their brights after 3 warnings, I figure they can't find the controls and aim my setup right into their cabin to assist. I've been using this method with 100% success for years

Now that I live in an urban area where there is a lot of ambient lighting, I can and do get along well with way less. But you really do need real lighting, especially for riding in slop, highways where there is a lot of spray, or in fog.
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Old 09-09-13, 01:34 PM
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550 lumens, 93 bucks!
https://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...0&category=105
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Old 09-09-13, 01:41 PM
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What do people use for taillights these days? When I got my original Magicshine 1000 or whatever it was, I got a tail light that fed off the same battery back via a splitter. Are those still near the top of the end? I used to pair that with a couple of PBSF's which were top of the line, but like I said, it's been a number of years and I'm sure things have moved on.
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Old 09-09-13, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau
What do people use for taillights these days? When I got my original Magicshine 1000 or whatever it was, I got a tail light that fed off the same battery back via a splitter. Are those still near the top of the end? I used to pair that with a couple of PBSF's which were top of the line, but like I said, it's been a number of years and I'm sure things have moved on.
There are a lot of good options. Although the brightest options still require an external batt, there are some very decent ones that don't.

My preferred tail light is the Cygolite Hotshot. It's cheap, brighter than your PBSF (which is still a great cheapie), crazy long runtime, and recharges via USB
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Old 09-09-13, 02:02 PM
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These.


https://www.fasttech.com/products/160...umen-white-led


Or these.


https://www.fasttech.com/products/0/1...00-lumen-led-b

https://www.fasttech.com/products/160...00-lumen-white
https://www.fasttech.com/products/160...00-lumen-white

1000+ lumens, all $50 or less, way newer than the popular magic shine. Also way better than some of the suggestions here, like the diy 9 5mm led post.
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Old 09-09-13, 02:24 PM
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The Knog Road 2 is a cool, sub- $100, 200 lumen light...if that's the kind of thing that fits your needs. It's one of a quartet of light options for me, but is one of my favorite because it's so small, so discrete, and so easy to mount, remove, and move between bikes. It simply straps on.

Here's a pic of it on my minivelo; keen eyes will notice the Tacx Lumos bar end lights, which are a nifty little set of 'be seen' lights for travelin' light at night:

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Old 09-09-13, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
Get two of these and ride as fast as you want. I have two of them.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00..._email_1p_0_ti

I agree.

And the nay-sayers who claim crap reliability, you can get the two of them for $50 and if one dies you can still get by on the other one!
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Old 09-09-13, 02:49 PM
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MagicShine copies are the best lumens/$ (even after you account for the lights putting out about half the claimed lumens).

Here's my summary of lumens and lighting functionality:
<50 lumens: Night-time visibility light
50-200 Lumens: Day-time visibility light or night-time helmet spot light
500+ Lumens: Night-time headlight.
~1500 Lumens: Single car headlight

If you actually want a proper headlight you want 500+ lumens. Less than that just doesn't put out enough light to provide any visibility above 10 mph. Additionally, that's a bright enough light to put a spot on the pavement well in front of you, allowing you to be seen without direct line-of-sight. In my opinion, lights between 200-400 lumens are a waste of money, they're expensive and don't provide enough like for anything beyond a slow cruise at 8-10 mph. That Knog is a prime example, for an extra $50 you can get quality lights with 3-4x the light.

The magicshine copies are cheap, have a pretty crappy beam pattern, but throw a ton of light, making up for the crappy beam.

Light and Motion make excellent (but pricey) lights.

Last edited by gsa103; 09-09-13 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 09-09-13, 03:13 PM
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650 lunums way bright enough, NO WIRES lithium battery inside USB charge, easy release clamp cannot see wh anyone pays 2-400 bucks for a light

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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