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Lighting recomendations?

Old 10-14-11, 06:36 PM
  #1  
spinnaker
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Lighting recomendations?

Just got back from a 2 week tour and a weekend tour. During both tours I realized my cheap light is far from adequate. I want to upgrade to a rechargeable.


I don't make a habit of riding at night but when I do I want to be able to be seen and be able to see,

If we get some warm winter evenings, I might be using it for some short night time rides.

Since I will not be using it often, I think I want the light to be light and simple. I think I want a cordless light but might be talked into one with a separate battery pack.


I want USB charging so I don't have to carry a charger just for the light.


I want some decent light with good battery life.

I don't want to spend much more than $100 U.S.


Lights I am considering are:

NiteRider MiNewt 300 to 600
CygoLite ExpiliOn 400

and

the MagicShine MJ-808E 1000.

The MagicShine does not fit my bill for being simple but it has such a great price per brightness / battery life it is hard to dismiss though the weight might do that for me. Probably not much of an issue for commuting but that seems a heck of a lot of weight to haul on tour for casual use.


Any thoughts on these lights or others?
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Old 10-14-11, 07:38 PM
  #2  
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I know it's out of your price range, but one of the best things I did is set up a dynamo hub and lights on my commuter/tourer. I pretty much ride with my lights on 24/7. I never have to worry about recharging or running out of battery power, and I don't have to buy batteries all the time. The drag isn't noticeable. And really, who cares if it is; you're touring, not racing.

For about $350 you don't have to think about lighting again.
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Old 10-15-11, 12:36 AM
  #3  
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Here is an excellent solution for less than half that price. 800 lumen light $20, two rechargeable cells $12 (just need one for light so you have a spare) and charger $11 (not USB). This is brighter than a car low beam but field is not quite as wide and is very small and light. I live across the river from you in Sewickley if you want to check it out.

https://www.dealextreme.com/p/ultrafi...-1-18650-39765

https://www.dealextreme.com/p/ultrafi...ery-pack-51988

https://www.dealextreme.com/p/ultrafi...y-charger-1251
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Old 10-15-11, 01:27 AM
  #4  
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CygoLite Expilion gets my vote. It's light, bright, and I just love mine. I think it's the best value for that type of light.
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Old 10-15-11, 01:37 AM
  #5  
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Lezyne, Serfas, and Light and Motion are all coming out with high powered self contained USB rechargeable lights this year. I think the Lezyne are the lowest cost of the bunch.
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Old 10-15-11, 06:27 AM
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Spinnaker,

I started nighttime winter riding last year and had a Planet Bike light that used AA batteries. Nice light, but not much light. I then started following the forum mtbr.lighting and found a great idea. I purchase a LED flashlight from Dealextreme that uses 2 AA batteries (I used rechargeables). That thing cost $25 and puts out an amazing amount of light. I just use a heavy duty rubber band looped through my helmet to hold it on top. Since it's helmet mounted, I can direct the light wherever I need it. I ride back roads with no street lights and that little light makes it like daytime. The bonus is that I can use the light around the house or for other things, plus it's dirt cheap for the amount of light you get.

Not really what you spec'd, but a quick/cheap way to go
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Old 10-15-11, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
Here is an excellent solution for less than half that price. 800 lumen light $20, two rechargeable cells $12 (just need one for light so you have a spare) and charger $11 (not USB). This is brighter than a car low beam but field is not quite as wide and is very small and light. I live across the river from you in Sewickley if you want to check it out.

https://www.dealextreme.com/p/ultrafi...-1-18650-39765

https://www.dealextreme.com/p/ultrafi...ery-pack-51988

https://www.dealextreme.com/p/ultrafi...y-charger-1251
Originally Posted by VT_Speed_TR View Post
Spinnaker,

I started nighttime winter riding last year and had a Planet Bike light that used AA batteries. Nice light, but not much light. I then started following the forum mtbr.lighting and found a great idea. I purchase a LED flashlight from Dealextreme that uses 2 AA batteries (I used rechargeables). That thing cost $25 and puts out an amazing amount of light. I just use a heavy duty rubber band looped through my helmet to hold it on top. Since it's helmet mounted, I can direct the light wherever I need it. I ride back roads with no street lights and that little light makes it like daytime. The bonus is that I can use the light around the house or for other things, plus it's dirt cheap for the amount of light you get.

Not really what you spec'd, but a quick/cheap way to go
Seems like a great idea but if you add it up, it is pretty much the same price and some single unit lights. But I suppose once you buy everything the batteries would be pretty cheap to replace.

Though one issue I see is that I would have to haul the charger or buy a bunch of rechargeables. How heavy is the charger?



How much time do you get from a charge? I see the specs say 60 minutes. That does not seem like a lot but I guess it would depend on the batteries.

One nice thing about most of the lights I posted is they have a battery indicator and different intensity levels.
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Old 10-15-11, 05:09 PM
  #8  
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I get about 3 hours from a charge. Nice thing about a light using AA batteries is that you can also walk into just about any store and buy some alkaline AA batteries. If you are touring late in the year when you may be on the road late, being able to buy the batteries as you go and not having to haul a charger are big plusses. The lights you mentioned are great for commuting or just riding from home since you'll be able to charge each night and just have the charger stored at home. However if you are touring I wouldn't want to be hauling an additional charger or have a heavy light unit with a builtin charger.
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Old 10-15-11, 05:25 PM
  #9  
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FYI, I had two of the DealExtreme flashlights I was using for bike lighting, and they didn't last long. A bit of moisture and a bit of rattling around and you're left with junk.
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Old 10-15-11, 10:36 PM
  #10  
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PlanetBike Blaze 2w LED. I love this little light. It has three modes - low, high, and flash. Uses AA bats. Not sure how long bats last because the (cheap) original batteries are still in it. I've owned it for maybe 6 months now? Admittedly, I don't use the light a lot, but I have had it on tour, and have used it as a flashlight when necessary. Every time I turn it on I can't believe the batteries haven't gone dead yet. Advertised run times are 5 hours on high, 12 hours on low, 18 hours on flash. No wires, very little weight, quick release mount and very reliable. Light is quite bright but beam is not real broad. Plenty enough for me though.

Combine that with a Planet Bike Superflash Blinky for the rear and your lighting needs are met for a total of about $75.
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Old 10-16-11, 01:02 AM
  #11  
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On tour I have a Black Diamond headlamp which I strap onto my handlebar bag on the occasions I'll be riding after dark or in heavy rain or fog.

The headlamp is of course useful in camp.
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Old 10-16-11, 01:18 AM
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You can't really buy much of a headlight for $100. A MS900 will seem fantastic when new, but odds are it won't work a year later, then you'll need a new one.

It probably makes sense to spend more and get one that will last 2-4 yrs. Dinotte recently revised their product line to offer some lower priced headlights and taillights, so I suggest you start looking there. They now offer a $119 XML-1 headlight that runs off 4AAs and produces about 400 lumen.

If you want bright lights with long run time, you really need to get more expensive Li powered lights. Li weighs less than multiple AAs and will cost less in the long run than disposable AAs. Depending on the charger, you could probably get enough hrs plugged in at a diner during lunch and supper to recharge and thus make rechargeable-powered (LI or AA) lights practical on tour.

For under 100 bucks you can buy a ShiningBeam.com flashlight, 18650 cells and a charger. Unlike many similar flashlights, theirs are actually reliable. Their brightest lights are rated to 800 lumen, but only run 1.25hr per 18650 cell. Although you get 800 lumens for a few seconds after a fresh battery starts, 75 minutes later you're down to ~260 lumens. Despite common claims that flashlights are "regulated", the great majority are not constant light output - instead light output declines as the battery is depleted. A good XML flashlight like SBs will give you an average 450-500 lumens over the 1+ hr runtime.

Last edited by seeker333; 10-16-11 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 10-16-11, 05:56 AM
  #13  
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imi thats exactly what i have and i also strap it onto to barbag works great, ,bit of a story behind this light, when my son was in Montana he bought it for me, the light was faulty when i first used it , i emailed black diamond told them the problem i had and explained i had no proof of purchase , no problem send it back and we will replace it.
well two weeks went by and still no sigh of me getting my replacement light.
my son was to post it back for me and when i asked him about it he was a bit embarrassed because his crazy dog eat the whole light.lol all that was left was a piece of the strap.
but fair play to black diamond when i sent the piece of strap back to them i still got my new lamp as promised
what a great company.
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Old 10-16-11, 08:19 AM
  #14  
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I was about to respond then followed the lights mentioned, man things have improved in the last couple years. Spinnaker, whatever system you get take advantage of the power switch to extend the life of the battery. Putting it on low when riding slow up hills, etc.
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Old 10-16-11, 09:53 AM
  #15  
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Hub Dynamo..! it's always there ready to light your way,
LED head and taillight can be wired in as well.

Then, you can add a converter to Be your USB charging station,
as you ride.

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-04-11 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 10-16-11, 11:19 AM
  #16  
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I have a CygoLite Rover which is always great. It's my winter cycling headlight. Its a little bulker/ heavier with the waterbottle battery pack but you get to have the option of two head lights. Sort of a High beam and low beam. The larger battery also lasts quite a long time between charging.
Liam
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Old 10-17-11, 06:52 AM
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I know their lights way out of your budget, but Exposure Lights out of the UK make great self-contained lights.

Most self-contained lights are "puny" for a lack of better words. Exposure Lights are anything but--I have a MaXx-D Mk. 2 and it's a 1,200 lumen light that's smaller than a soda can; I will admit their lights are typically larger than your typical head unit, but they're still considerably smaller/lighter than the whole package, and there are no annoying cables to deal with. They have a have a rock-solid connection (the MaXx-D is handlebar mounted). They're weatherproof, and have all sorts of accessories for them using their "smart port" technology.

I own a DiNotte 400L tail light and an Exposure MaXx-D head light. The combination is rather expensive--I won't argue that--but this is how I've justiftied these lights: by riding my bike to work for the past few years, I've saved thousands of dollars in monthly parking fees, I've saved a good amount of money on gas, and even if these lights prevent ONE person from hitting me (and they will--if someone ever tried to pull the "I didn't see him excuse" on me, they better be Ray Charles), they will have paid for themselves 10-fold. Biking is my hobby and my mode of transportation, so I figured I'd treat myself to a nice pair of lights.
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Old 10-17-11, 07:10 AM
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Hah! Nice story Antokelly
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Old 10-17-11, 07:33 AM
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I don't commute everyday in the dark, but take week long and weekend trips quite often and wind up riding in the dark. I don't particularly trust battery lights but think the dynohubs are a bit of overkill for my situation.
I have my touring and winter bikes set up with Spanniga lights and tire driven dynos.
I like not worrying about the batteries, the high expense and extra weight of the dyno hubs and ,more than anything, no having any drag unless they are being used.
I know it's not the trendy solution, but it still works just fine.

Marc
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Old 10-17-11, 07:49 AM
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The fact that I am a bit of a nighthawk, combined with the cool weather at night, and the fact I am used to riding at night in the city, etc... I just figured I would be extending my touring into the night.

I have to say it never happened for me. Partly because I have been touring a long time by the time it gets dark, and outside of cities it gets really dark, and I found I couldn't really see where I was going at night in the country. I miss out on scenery, I don't see the big picture when it come to ferreting out camp sites, I would have trouble navigating, and would not be able to see far enough to gain all the clues there. It just didn't work out to be practical for me. Back in '04, I had even been counting on sleeping a bit in the day, when you get less hassled around parks and such, and touring more at night, and was looking into the gear to make that work.

My favourite lights are tactical flashlights. Good durability, good light, and practical batteries. I have also used the german generator systems, and what with more hub options, and leds, they ought to be even better, but I have other objectives for my wheels, and haven't really got a plan for a generator hub yet. Velo Orange even has one with zero daytime drag, I think.

I would be curious about serious night vision, such as they fly helicopters by etc... Expensive yes, but a real game changer stealth camping and security wise. But from what I see it isn't really ready for consumer prime time yet.
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Old 11-04-11, 11:16 AM
  #21  
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I'm late to the party but I've got a pair of the older MiNewt 150 USB, one on the bike and one on the helmet. A surprising amount of light, long run times and nice, small batteries. If the newer MiNewts are any better, they would absolutely be the way I'd go!
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Old 11-04-11, 11:37 AM
  #22  
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You can buy the MiNewt 600 cordless for close $100. That would probably be my choice -- powerful, light weight, decent run times, and charges from an outlet or USB cable. I've got several lights already but I'm tempted to get the MiNewt because it is so simple and light weight. I'm currently using a Light & Motion Stella 300 as my primary light for commuting. It's a nice light but has separate battery pack and ridiculously long cable to contend with.
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Old 11-04-11, 01:58 PM
  #23  
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I got a pretty powerful flashlight that runs on CR123a batteries from Shinning beam. They don't sell it anymore but they have similar ones. They also have many that run on AA batteries. Not as powerful but enough for the occasionnal ride in the dark and more handy in camp and batteries can be found anywhere. The lights they sell seem better than what you find at dealextreme and such.

I just ordered a dynahub and light so my days of using a flashlight should be over soon.
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Old 11-04-11, 08:50 PM
  #24  
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I went with the Lupine Piko 3. It is small and very bright. At full power runtime is 2 hours. I usually run mine at medium power and runtime is 5 1/2 hours. Actually full power is 10 watts and "medium" is 3.5 watts and is plenty bright for me. Low is 1 watt and runtime is 19 hours. You can program it to run at .5 watts and it will last 40 hours. I go the optional handlebar mount. It was probably the best buy I ever made for my bike.

https://www.lupine.de/web/en/products...lights/piko/3/
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Old 11-04-11, 11:13 PM
  #25  
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It says on the Peterwhite website that the Shimano dynamo hubs that end in 70, 71, 72, 80 etc. have under 3 watts of resistance. And Busch & Muller lights are seen as good lights (Lumotec Cyo R, I also can't wait for the new Classic N Plus).
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