Portland Bike Forums (by BikePortland.org)

Go Back   Portland Bike Forums (by BikePortland.org) > General Discussion > Tips & Advice
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-06-2011, 11:09 AM
q`Tzal's Avatar
q`Tzal q`Tzal is offline
Senior Member
Site Admin
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Betwix logic and emotion, reason and insanity.
Posts: 354
Thumbs up Lighting Your Bicycle

It is Important!

Seeing as there is not a general tip thread for new cyclists to light their bikes and candlepowerforums.com can be a bit disorganized and daunting I'd like to centralize recommended bike light hardware for new cyclists and those looking to upgrade to new technology.

Input is welcomed and greatly needed.
Long standing users like wsbob, Simple Nature and wyeast have valuable opinions on cost effective lighting. Some people are constantly finding high power lights for low cost; we need that here!
Then there is the likes markallyn and K'Tesh; gods among men who bring light to the darkness.

So in all seriousness this needs to be broken down in to a few categories:
  1. Almost invisible "ninja" lighting but technically legal (cosmetic lights)
  2. Safe "basic" lighting for urban roads (cheap but effective)
  3. High power "pro user" lights (bright enough that the police officer looks at the auto driver suspiciously when they say they didn't see you)
  4. "OMG" Stadium lighting and home-brew overkill lights (most useful for high speed riding in complete darkness)
  5. "Decorative" displays of luminosity (everything else not strictly used for road safety - chuvmey)
I'm thinking that a post would be titled with one of the above headers (ninja, basic, pro user, OMG, Decorative). New products and technology can be added.
Based on what a cyclist needs they can check just the type of lighting they want and get current feedback on functionality and value.
Maybe if it gets enough action we can even split this in to a sepatate thread for each category linked to on "Perpetually Relevant Threads.


So for example...
__________________
Knowledge is NOT a crime.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-06-2011, 11:13 AM
q`Tzal's Avatar
q`Tzal q`Tzal is offline
Senior Member
Site Admin
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Betwix logic and emotion, reason and insanity.
Posts: 354
Default Ninja

Those free lights that Trimet, PBOT whoever else give out; usually in the fall.

Links to where to get them.
__________________
Knowledge is NOT a crime.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-06-2011, 11:46 AM
q`Tzal's Avatar
q`Tzal q`Tzal is offline
Senior Member
Site Admin
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Betwix logic and emotion, reason and insanity.
Posts: 354
Default Pro User

Flashlight off eBay auction $10.99 : 300 Lm Zoom Tactical Flashlight Torch CREE LED +Holster.
Instructions on how to install it: link or images
Caveat about the need to acquire 18650 batteries and chargers: link
__________________
Knowledge is NOT a crime.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-06-2011, 12:09 PM
Simple Nature's Avatar
Simple Nature Simple Nature is offline
Senior Member
Site Admin
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 861
Default

This time of year this subject gets broached again and again.
It is so hard to get people on track and following the regimen.

With the low hanging Sun it is all that more important to be seen when heading into the sunlight. Alas, some people simply don't care until something bad happens.

In today's economy, and the reason many ride to begin with, cost is a factor. But once you decide to spend a few dollars on a light, what are you getting? A whole new debate begins. The facts simply do not equate to a single solution. We all want lights to do different things. ...primaily "being seen" and "seeing".

For those who have the means and understand the risk, there are very nice, "expensive" solutions (perception relativity). For those looking for the best bang for the buck, not as simple. For reliability and a good attempt for under $100, good options are available. For $20 you get $20 lighting.

Tinkerers and DIY lighting nuts like myself have an advantage until the hobby takes over. Then again, I have gained particular knowledge in this conundrum.

1st things 1st, though; LEARN TO RIDE A BIKE! Yes, stop for stop signs and red lights, and don't confuse traffic with your wayward wanderings. Signal your intentions clearly! No bike light will ever fix your arrogance and you're better off without lighting so less people will notice you (you generically; wear the badge if you own it).

2nd: Ask for help if you want it. Explain your situation and your needs. And replies should cater to your needs, not simply drone a single message. There simply is no one answer.

3rd: Be safe when riding your bike.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-06-2011, 01:18 PM
RonC's Avatar
RonC RonC is offline
Senior Member
Site Admin
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lake Oswego
Posts: 136
Default Basic?

I saw a 3-pack of LED flashlights at Costco the other day for around 15.00. 150 lumens, and they had a flashing mode also. That combined with a Twofish lockblock flashlight holder might be a low-cost way to get decent front lighting, especially if a few people got together and pooled resources. Ran off 3 AAA batteries. Disclaimer - I have no personal experience with these flashlights.

EDIT - I'm scratching this "recommendation". Looked at on-line reviews and people are not happy with build quality and battery life of the Costco flashlights. A better quality Fenix flashlight with the Twofish block would still be a good option.

Last edited by RonC; 12-06-2011 at 03:12 PM. Reason: New info...
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-06-2011, 01:51 PM
q`Tzal's Avatar
q`Tzal q`Tzal is offline
Senior Member
Site Admin
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Betwix logic and emotion, reason and insanity.
Posts: 354
Exclamation General theme/guidelines

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simple Nature View Post
In today's economy, and the reason many ride to begin with, cost is a factor. But once you decide to spend a few dollars on a light, what are you getting? A whole new debate begins.
I appreciate what you are trying to say but I am trying to make it easier for the new cyclist to FIND info on cost effective lighting.

This means pointing out what equipment is effective, cheap and easy.
This also means that if you have supplied a link to a eBay auction that it might be obsolete info in 90 days or less.
Some of the brightest cheapest lights I have seen have been from the links you have supplied but they all seem to be either eBay sellers from China or DIY.
What's the quality of this stuff? Waterproof? Drop proof? Real life cycling proof?
Is there any tech support?
What isn't included?
How angry is the buyer going to be when they get this spiffy $10 light and realize they have to buy $20 worth of batteries and charger?

I feel that I am very much skilled in the electronic and computer field of DIY but not everyone wants to homebrew a Cree XM-L T6 light setup. When getting in to a superior homebrew lighting setup the user ends up having to consider circuitry, LED sourcing, weatherproofing, batteries, charging and mounting scenarios. I'm not saying it doesn't have its place it just needs to all be listed up front.

I expect that some people just want to bike to and fro safely.
To that end I would suggest that debates about what comes before buying lights isn't relevant here.

I'll even go as far as to say that bike lights that some cyclists consider too bright are still valid entries on this thread but the debate of what is too bright in someone's personal preference is not helpful to a new rider and is not helpful to the thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simple Nature View Post
The facts simply do not equate to a single solution. We all want lights to do different things. ...primarily "being seen" and "seeing".
And this is why I suggested different categories.
An urban cyclist who spends their time only on well lit roads needs only visibility lights to be seen by others.
A cyclists who rides in poor conditions, poor lighting and hazardous situations needs more light for safety, maybe even enough to light up Hwy 30 in front of them at 25MPH while simultaneously warding off 60+MPH speeders from behind. This would require hundreds of dollars worth of prepackaged light products or much less money and links to detailed DIY instructions. There needs to be more of this.
__________________
Knowledge is NOT a crime.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-06-2011, 02:03 PM
wsbob's Avatar
wsbob wsbob is offline
Senior Member
Site Admin
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,755
Default

The four suggested lighting categories q`Tzal suggested seem good. The order of the categories might be given consideration...maybe 'ninja' should be on the bottom of the list and recommended not for use except unless no other alternative is available...backup light, lack of funds, etc.

A year or so ago, before I had a decent front light for the type riding I do, and was still trying to get a sense of what number of lumen level would adequately do that job, I couldn't say what I feel I can confidently say today...which is that...... for a Basic front bike light, 150 lumen is probably the minimum for an adequate front bike light (in most cases, used at the low 30 percent level. The full 150 lumen level there in reserve for use as needed.). This lumen level is one of manufacturers basic price points, so it's not hard to find a light around 150-160 lumens.
A Basic front bike light, 150 lumen can be available off the shelf at the bike store all together in a single bike use specific package...light, mounting holder, battery, in person assistance...$60-$80, or through e-tailers, ordering tech flashlight components, batteries, chargers, mounting holders...probably less money.
I kind of like the online e-tailer DIY route to putting together good bike lights for the front, rear or helmet, but through the bit of research I did on that, I found the dazzling selection of lights, their features and specs to be overwhelming. Most people are going to need a far simpler form of availability. I almost think certain downtown lunch wagon type vendors might find a market for quality bike light packages, either the bike specific type, or the DIY tech flashlight type.

In answer to q`Tzal's query about quality of Chinese manufacturer tech lights, though I haven't personally tried any, other people such as Simple Nature have. His word plus those of others I've read tell me the lights and the associated gear can be very good....they're extensively reviewed by enthusiasts... . It's just that ordering all that stuff and figuring out how to put it together is going to be seen by many people as too much of a hassle to bother with. Short story: they'll put off getting an adequate light.
Type of use would be riding around town under street lights 15mph, or on unlit streets. Faster riding and off-road riding demands brighter lights to see the road.

Something we might consider to keep the thread from becoming overly complicated, is to agree on a number of lights...say 3 to 5...that meet the criteria for each category (potentially 20 lights total. This is where the forums supporting tables could be helpful.), and have a single forum member post a photo for the group of lights and a link to a source for each, in a single post, selection rotating with new, improved introductions. Manufacturers seem to tend to produce lights of commonly recognized lumen levels with competitive price points. I don't want to imply lights in these manufacturer established categories are all the same, but they tend to be similar. A small sampling of lights could more easily get people in need of lights in the general direction of where they need to go.
Update 6:53, today the 6th, I noticed comment #'s 9 and 10 re; day-running lights. I've seen people run them, but never had an opportunity, or thought to ask what lumen level lights they were. That would be good to know. Wonder if my 150 lumen headlight will do the job (still feel battery conservation concerns, so I don't yet run it during the day, unless I'm in a really dark place, heavy overcast, etc.).

Last edited by wsbob; 12-06-2011 at 05:59 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-06-2011, 03:19 PM
Simple Nature's Avatar
Simple Nature Simple Nature is offline
Senior Member
Site Admin
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 861
Default

In the catagory of Chinese budget lights, batteries, and chargers... yes, buyer beware is the name of the game. The more you know the better luck you have with these suppliers. This is a follow-the-leader type of scenario. I have a $9 light that was junk where the $10 light is still functioning perfectly 3 years later. But I learned to know what to look for. Even the warehouse you buy from makes all the difference in the world full of clone products and failed production runs. Not something you want to dive into if all you want is a good light.

In the catagory of DIY, I find very few people riding bicycles really give a hoot about how a light works, they just want one that works and works reliably. So this becomes a smaller group with a few who have an interest but the skill remains challenging. So this is for the cross-interest folk among us and I welcome conversations to this effect.

And you have the catagory of kowledge. Knowledge is power and in this case, knowledge will save the average light buyer a lot of frustration so they can learn the truth about what they are looking at when they swim through the sea of options as Bob mentioned. Fortunately, the DIY hobbyist can lend a hand on this front but so can the learned from experience with dedicated solutions that they have personal knowledge about. I will be the first to admit I don't have higher end lighting solutions to compare too. But I do know the tech behind it.

So the Experienced is the next catagory that is well worthwhile. What really works... what do you know works... where do you buy it and what price range should you expect. This is probably the most useful catagory for the majority of the PDX commuter and excersizer.

There is only one thing I cannot stand is the fear mongering of some manufacturers. They know they can hold a fearful rider hostage with products severely overpriced. Has anyone priced some good reflective materials lately? Out-Freaking-Ragious! Yet, this is probably the one most overlooked and effective being-seen catagories in bike riding or jogging when every headlight aimed at your direction will make your bike or body light up like a signpost. They should be giving this stuff away! Shame on them.

So, I will paticipate where I can. I always find this a worthwhile subject.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-06-2011, 05:08 PM
K'Tesh's Avatar
K'Tesh K'Tesh is offline
Super Moderator
Site Admin
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Subject To Change
Posts: 2,742
Default The 6th catagory...

Quote:
Originally Posted by q`Tzal View Post
Then there is the likes markallyn and K'Tesh; gods among men who bring light to the darkness.

So in all seriousness this needs to be broken down in to a few categories:
  1. Almost invisible "ninja" lighting but technically legal (cosmetic lights)
  2. Safe "basic" lighting for urban roads (cheap but effective)
  3. High power "pro user" lights (bright enough that the police officer looks at the auto driver suspiciously when they say they didn't see you)
  4. "OMG" Stadium lighting and home-brew overkill lights (most useful for high speed riding in complete darkness)
  5. "Decorative" displays of luminosity (everything else not strictly used for road safety - chuvmey)
I'm thinking that a post would be titled with one of the above headers (ninja, basic, pro user, OMG, Decorative). New products and technology can be added.
Me? A God among men? I think that's a little bit of an overstatement... I think it's more like OCD (blame the autism).

And I currently fall into multiple categories... High power, OMG(oodness), and Decorative.

I'd even add another catagory... DayLIGHTers, Riding with lights on during the day. Which is why I invested in the MiNewt600 Cordless.
__________________
Riding my bike is MY pursuit of Happiness!!!
beam.to/UFOBike

Last edited by K'Tesh; 12-06-2011 at 06:06 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-06-2011, 05:23 PM
Simple Nature's Avatar
Simple Nature Simple Nature is offline
Senior Member
Site Admin
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 861
Default

Funny you should add that, K-Tesh. Daylight is the very time that bike lights are most challenged. Those are what I refer to as "Being-Seen" lights. Even a small low power LED stands out in the dark.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
battery, head light, led, light, tail light

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:27 PM.




A production of Pedaltown Media Inc. / BikePortland.org
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.