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  #1  
Old 07-30-2013, 08:31 AM
Oldguyonabike Oldguyonabike is offline
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Default Who likes their lights?

I felt the cool air last night while walking the dog and saw the dimming dawn this morning riding in. Since someone apparently needed my small battery front light more than they thought I did I am looking for a new light.

In past winters I've used a Nite Rider with a big honking battery pack. I've noticed some newer, equally bright rechargeable lights in some shops and I'm wondering what others are using and are happy with. I really rely on it to be seen in the winter rain more than to see. It seems like some of the 300-600 lumen lights are bright but they are a focused beam. I'd rather cast a broader beam that will be seen without blinding on-coming traffic. Is wattage a better measure than lumens?

What are you happy with and where did you get it?

Thanks! Be safe.
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:44 AM
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wsbob wsbob is offline
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I'm not so aware of how lights, what I consider to be 'affordable' between $50-$100, vary as to spot, or 'thrower' beam produced.

Rating by lumen, rather than watts, seems more common for headlights in that price range, and I'll guess around 400 lumen is the ball park amount for that money (Last winter, I got the 400 lumen cygolite self-contained...battery and light in one unit...for $60 on short term sale.).

Regardless of whether they're thrower or floodies, most bike lights, at least currently, seem all to have very small 1"-2" emitting lenses lenses, so I figure if a person wants their light gear to achieve visibility of themselves to other road users, without a light that can be unduly sharp to other's eyes, multiple lights, together with reflective material may get good results.


Mountain bike light reviews can give you the skinny on which lights are throwers and which are floodies. Easily start getting into big money though. Lights are available in amount of brightness produced that could make 400 lumens seem like a candle in comparison.

Simple Nature, who comments here from time to time, knows a fair bit about lights, and the DIY approach for economy and performance.

The self contained battery and light together in one unit, is what I like, but people have reasons to prefer the separate battery pack style, even if it's not for producing great brightness.

Last edited by wsbob; 07-30-2013 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:42 PM
lovedoctor lovedoctor is offline
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With the advent of the newer white LEDs and Lithium Ion batteries, lighting has come a long way. I have a ~3 year old cygolite Mil-ion that is an all in one unit a little larger than a big dude's thumb that is nearly as bright as a car headlight (but in a more narrow beam). No specific suggestions on what to get (I like mine, but it's older), but for ~$80 there are lots of great choices that are plenty bright, last for hours, and are quite small.

With regards to the wanderlust of your most recent light, something to consider would be dynamo lighting. I invested in a system last year (Shimano dynamo front hub, B&M LED headlight and 2 LED taillights all rigged into the same hub), and will ALWAYS have it on my main commuter. No battery level anxiety (as long as my legs are charged), everything is bolted to the bike so theft is at least a little more difficult, and the headlight casts a nice broad beam on the roadway. I still use my headlight discussed above more as a spot light that I can point at anyone if I'm not sure if they see me, but if the battery dies or I forget to attach it, I'm not too worried even in the dead of Winter at 8pm.
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:44 PM
Alan Alan is offline
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I like ratings in lumens; that specifically measures visible light.

I like my 5-LED, 3-AA battery "be seen" light from Nashbar just fine. It's probably a knock-off of a BikePlanet light but it's worked fine for several years. No problems with the switch or mounting. I have another back-up 1-LED, 1-AA which does not produce enough light for any riding purpose.

My next set-up will be a dynamo hub, probably Schmidt, with an Edelux LED headlight. The optics on those provide a sharp cut-off on the top side of the beam so that light hits the road but doesn't glare into oncoming traffic's eyes. See http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/.

Dinotte makes a nice, bright, battery-pack bike light. My wife liked it on her helmet but didn't like the battery pack up there, and then we fell behind on recharging and the batteries went flat...$50. PS - that's just the battery. The light w/ battery was ~$100 on a great special at Bike Tires Direct.

Some other references on lights are in this other thread, including some of Simple Nature's knowledge that wsbob mentioned.

Last edited by Alan; 07-30-2013 at 02:51 PM. Reason: PS
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:52 PM
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Simple Nature Simple Nature is offline
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I can tell you that those Hong-Kong knock off of the Magic Shine lights are getting really cheap (price). They are now under $25 on amazon and for $5 you can get a diffuser that will widen the beam. They have 4400mah li-ion cells (4x 2200mah which is realistic) and the provided charger does a very fast job of topping off the charge.

I run mine day and night. Rated 900 lumens but realistically, bright enough to see by and good runtime.

Watts and lumens are no longer equivalent. Watts considers power draw but the amount of light per watt is no longer a close equivalent with the advent of super bright LEDs. Now you have the battle between lumens and LUX. You can have tons of lumens scattered all over the place and the LUX value is poor... or you can really focus a few lumens and get really good LUX... but who rides with a pinpoint of light anyway? This is mostly a flashlight wars fundamental.

Otherwise, light to ride by in the dark, I put a nice single cell (18650) custom made flashlight on my helmet. Whatever I look at lights up. Even a 400 lumen flashlight is more than sufficient to balance runtime and good visibility. Then again, my recumbent trike looks like a alien invasion if you see me coming at you at night. I run 6 superbrights and a helmet rear blinkie.
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:46 AM
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lynnef lynnef is offline
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Another vote for the dynamo option. With the advent of the B&M Luxos, you might be able to pick up a Schmidt Edelux or Supernova E3 slightly used from someone who is upgrading.

As others have noted, not the least expensive option, but I consider the never ever having to worry about the charge running out or batteries giving it up a real plus.

Clever Cycles used to have a stock $99 generator hub wheel; don't know if they still do.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:45 PM
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wsbob wsbob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simple Nature View Post
I can tell you that those Hong-Kong knock off of the Magic Shine lights are getting really cheap (price). They are now under $25 on amazon and for $5 you can get a diffuser that will widen the beam. They have 4400mah li-ion cells (4x 2200mah which is realistic) and the provided charger does a very fast job of topping off the charge.

I run mine day and night. Rated 900 lumens but realistically, bright enough to see by and good runtime. ...

If the Magic Shine knock-offs, for $25, are holding up, no chronic product defect or quality control issues, they're a good deal. Magic Shine lights, selling for about $100, themselves were/are a...Chinese, I think...cut-rate challenger to higher lumen bike lights available in bike shops. Recalling from discussions over at bikeforums 'electronics, lighting and gadgets', there were lots of complaints about lights failing for one or another reasons...mainly water leaking into them, electrical shorts. Lots of enthusiasm too, about what then, 2-3 years ago, was an extraordinary lumen output light for the dough.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:50 AM
Oldguyonabike Oldguyonabike is offline
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Thanks for all the info. The O ran an article last fall about Light & Motions Urban 400 as being lightweight and powerful, but spendy. '

I love the idea of hub generators but I'm not in the mood to build a wheel and my pocketbook isn't feeling generous. Anyone remember how all standard kid bikes used to come with a generator light that you could engage by pressing against the rim? It was a cool feature on old school Schwinn's.
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:26 AM
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wsbob wsbob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldguyonabike View Post
Thanks for all the info. The O ran an article last fall about Light & Motions Urban 400 as being lightweight and powerful, but spendy. '

I love the idea of hub generators but I'm not in the mood to build a wheel and my pocketbook isn't feeling generous. Anyone remember how all standard kid bikes used to come with a generator light that you could engage by pressing against the rim? It was a cool feature on old school Schwinn's.

If you've got really particular lighting needs, one brand light over another may have something for you worth spending extra money on, but most of the brands tend to produce models with comparatively similar lumen levels. If I was really tight for cash, and didn't mind the separate battery pack, I'd probably consider going through what for me, would be the hassle of trying the MagicShine knockoffs. Easier, more enjoyable for me just to go to the bike shop.

Others here will tell you too, bottle style light generators are still made...good ones too...way better, I think, than the old style sold by Schwinn and other companies; made by that German company...slips my mind at the moment. I don't think they're going to be cheap though. Simple search brought up Sheldon Brown's page on lighting:

http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oGd...g/lumotec.html
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