Apologies but it's a 'What Lights?' thread...

hambones Posts: 407
edited November 2007 in Road beginners
Hi all, I need some advice on lights which are going to be suitable for unlit country roads. Ideally I'm looking for self-contained because I want to avoid cables and battery packs.

I've found the Cateye EL610 Single Shot which is about the max I'm looking to spend at around £70. Has anyone any experience of this or similar? Is it only good enough for town riding or will it throw enough light for quiet dark lanes during a downhill??
Still breathing.....


  • hambones
    hambones Posts: 407
    Thanks for the link - I guess the conclusion to draw there is that NONE of those tested are going to be suitable for unlit roads and I'm going to have to spend a bit more to get anything decent!

    I'm surprised by the lack of replies - I guess everyone on BR just goes on their turbo trainers in the evenings :D:D
    Still breathing.....
  • Jeff Jones
    Jeff Jones Posts: 1,865
    We'll have another massive lights test soon, although it will be for off-road lights. These might be more what you are after.
    Jeff Jones

    Product manager, Sports
  • hambones
    hambones Posts: 407
    Thx Jeff - maybe I'll just have to be patient then :)

    I've read some mixed reviews on the Cateye although there is the EL610 which is the next step up I guess. Some suggestion though that the output is only suitable for unlit roads at pretty low speeds.

    Any thoughts on the BLT Ozone 21ne LED (apparently equivalent to 21w halogen)? or the Diinotte 5w (although that's best part of £100)?
    Still breathing.....
  • graeme_s-2
    graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    I've recently bought a Dinotte 200L AA from on-one and it's absolutely amazing. Including batteries and a charger it was about £130, but it's worth every penny.
  • JWSurrey
    JWSurrey Posts: 1,173
    I think you've hit the nail on the head here Hambones!
    If Lupine can make a mass market headlamp that costs 600 quid, then it's going to be piles better than a 70 quid unit - Though 10 times better? That's up to you to decide!

    This month's Cycling Plus has a nicely stocked lighting review and was in WHSmith today.

    The Dinotte 200 series is very keenly priced this year, if somewhat narrower in beam output than others. It's supposedly twice as powerful for the same current-draw, as last year's model.

    The key technology this year are the Seoul P4 LEDs, and their equivalents - I have a Solidlights 3xLuxeon LED unit that's very good, however it's about twice the price and half the output of the Dinotte - It does, however, have a very good beam spread, is solid and generally does everything I want.

    One way to look at it is to consider how much it would cost if you fell off or buckled your expensive wheels - then closing your eyes when you hand over your credit card suddenly doesn't seem so painful!

    Take your old light in to the shop to compare with any new light you're looking at, since it's unlikely to be dark when you go shopping!

    Lupine, Dinotte and Solidlights are expensive and good lights.
    SJS Cycles do some nice Halogen units that aren't too bad - lead acid or NimH batteries. I think these start around the 30 quid mark. Lumicycle are their expensive, well built cousin, but don't spend piles on Halogen technology - IMHO if you're spending big bucks, go for Seoul P4/Cree LED technology (or failing that, the older Luxeon LED technology), or make your own - there are forums and web pages out there to show you how to do it.

    Alternatively, ride with 28c heavy duty tyres on cheap heavy duty rims!
  • RufusA
    RufusA Posts: 500
    That's the problem I have with many of the bike light reviews. It seems to be either a cheap flashing LED "to be seen by" light, or a full set of £300+ worth of lights for fast track decents on a mountain bike.

    I like many cyclists do a mixture of riding at night. Most of the time I just need to be seen, and have a suitable blinky thing for that. Sometimes I have to go on unlit roads and want extra power I can tap in to, to avoid potholes, rabbits etc.

    The 200L looks good on paper, but the limited spot worries me a little, enough to avoid the pothole maybe, but what about a branch overhanging the road (face full of leaves and twigs), or the area right of the wheel you want to move in to for primary approaching a junction?

    I don't want to carry 2kg of halogens with 5 cables etc. I just want something small, light that works.

    The ay-up set up from Oz seems like a nice idea - small neat, comes with batteries but uses 2 cree LEDs, for similar money to a 200L + batteries: As the lights can be moved in different directions might be a good way of lighting near the wheel and more distance.


    Not too many reviews, but everyone I've read has been positive. The following compares them with a homebuild:


    Note to BikeRadar - would be great to see some Commuter / Road reviews for lights that recognises the fact that not everywhere has streetlights!

  • Chris5150
    Chris5150 Posts: 107
    Check out Super-nova.com lights. Yes they are expensive, but yes they are superb. I have done a couple of 40 milers again this week in the dark on totally unlit country roads including 35mph descents and the supernovas are so upto the job.
    Yes £500 is a lot of money for lights but if you intend as I do to still keep doing 100- 150 miles through winter then its money well spent. I value my life and quite simply I went for the brightest lights I could find, glad I did. Quality gear
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,566
    Those ayup lights are looking more and more impressive, I'm seriously thinking of getting a 'regular' kit, as my gf will need lights too, and just buy an extra pair of mounts.

    Then we can share, and have one each.

    Put it on the bars to get to the ride, and then swap to the helmet mounts once there.

    Seem reasonable?

    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • OnTow
    OnTow Posts: 130
    I just re-read December's C+ review, and the Cateye does get a reasonable rating - at 85 quid.
    It's a shame they don't mention if these are Seoul P4 LEDs, and the wattage.

    I have a Cateye EL135 and one of their LED British Standard lights, which are for City riding - and therefore get little use - I have to say they're rather flimsy - Then again, they're cheap, and the way technology is moving, if they break then I'll be grateful of the excuse to upgrade.

    I checked out the Bush & Muller home page, and some of their cheaper lights look, in their advertising blurb at least, to be OK.
  • sloxam
    sloxam Posts: 861
    light and motion solos on ebay bnib £80. bargain
    i hate hills (cos i'm fat)

  • andrew_s
    andrew_s Posts: 2,511
    Bright lights are addictive, but it is perfectly possible to ride on dark country lanes at reasonable speeds on lights that are not all that bright compared to a lot of those that are now available. After all, people were doing it for years before high power LEDs or halogens became available.
    I've not seen one in action, but a Cateye 610 should be perfectly adequate on unlit country roads. I'd guess that it's main drawback will be a relatively narrow beam. This would be a problem offroad, but not so much on roads, apart from the sharper bends.

    The BLT Ozone 21ne uses 2xCR123 batteries, which are expensive (£3-4 each on the high street). You can cut that down to £1-ish bulk order over the internet, and rechargeable versions are available, but with only half the capacity of the disposables.
    If you aren't put off by the above, I'd suggest also looking at the Fenix P3D (£40 p+p inc). Also 2xCR123, but the very latest LED with 215 lumen max output. You would have to mount it to the bars with an O-ring, as per the Dinotte.
    I'm using one as backup to a dynamo Solidlight for the fast downhills, using a tent guyline rubber as the O-ring (a slightly earlier max 200 lumen version). There are also slightly less powerful 2xAA versions (L2D) that max out at 175 lumen and get round the battery cost problem.

    On LEDs:
    Luxeon is a brand name, not a type of LED. To start with they were the only high-power LEDs, but now there are Seoul and Cree LEDs you have to check the type, and even within type there are variations that mean that a Seoul P4 isn't always brighter than a Cree XR-E (or vice-versa).
    For bike lights, the current models to look for are Seoul P4, Cree XR-E or Luxeon Rebel.
    Within models you may see a "bin" quoted - later in the alphabet is brighter (within model).
  • RufusA
    RufusA Posts: 500
    FWIW the Dinotte store in the US is doing a weekend special with the 200L supplied (without batteries, charger or helmet mount) for only $99.

    With the strong exchange rate that is less than £50, you'll need to pay another £9 for express delivery, and if customs spot it you may need to pay an additional £10 in VAT with a similar amount in postoffice handling fees.

    Worse case scenario is under £80 delivered, but you may get lucky! In this world of digital cameras most people have AA's and chargers coming out of their ears, and AFAIK the UK supplied ones don't come with batteries anyway!

    HTH - Rufus.
  • hambones
    hambones Posts: 407
    Well! Following the comments by Andrew_S I bought a Fenix P3D to try out on the road - at £40 I thought well worth a try and at worst I'd get a very good torch out of it for camping!

    It seemed very bright so I went off-roading in the forest last night with the guys all running an assortment of lighting systems.

    Conclusion? No difference between the Fenix and the Dinotte 200L, brighter than Cateye Tripleshot, totally swamped a set of Blackburn halogens, brighter than a Light & Motion Stellar set at £200!!!! The only sets brighter were the Ay-ups but they had the 4 bulbs 2-set combo. It certainly was bright enough for daytime speed riding off-road, although maybe having 2 on the bar at angles or one helmet mounted would be even better.

    The only real 'problem' is battery life, at under 2 hours full power. Easy enough to carry a spare set (or two) of batteries and a charger is already on order. Certainly just the one would be more than enough for road use, even on 40mph downhills.
    Still breathing.....
  • hambones
    hambones Posts: 407
    :roll: @ above link! lol

    Prefer my own test - if only people bothered to read whole threads! :D
    Still breathing.....
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    :roll: The link is for the benefit of other forum users who are browsing at this thread, and are after some lights... :roll:
  • MrGrumpy
    MrGrumpy Posts: 288
    hambones wrote:
    Hi all, I need some advice on lights which are going to be suitable for unlit country roads. Ideally I'm looking for self-contained because I want to avoid cables and battery packs.

    I've found the Cateye EL610 Single Shot which is about the max I'm looking to spend at around £70. Has anyone any experience of this or similar? Is it only good enough for town riding or will it throw enough light for quiet dark lanes during a downhill??

    dunno if its been mentioned but if you could of gotton a hold off the Cateye Tripleshot last years model, which was on offer for £98 delivered from merlin cycles I would recommend it. Very bright, good for unlit roads, possible even off road but for under a £100 its a bargain.
  • The Fenix P3d or its AA batteries equivalent the L2d make great bike lights with the optional bar mount. I got the L2d plus mount for £32 from fenixstore.com.
    As good as the Dinotte 200, and its got the rebel LED which gives a nice natural beam colour.

    Bike lights are a niche market compared to flashlights hence the ridiculous prices. No need to spend silly money to get 200 lumens these days.
  • JWSurrey
    JWSurrey Posts: 1,173
    Hambones, thanks for the superb review.
    I'm curious to know how Fenix can do it for so much cheaper - Could it be a lesser current regulation circuit - which I believe it Cateye's trick with their cheaper units - Do you find a loss of light intensity over time?
  • andrew_s
    andrew_s Posts: 2,511
    Fenix torches are reasonably well regulated.

    There are output curves onthis review for the L1D/L2D (1 & 2 x AA). Links on the same site to P2D (1xCR123) and P3D (2xCR123)

    The cheapness is being made in China, and the bigger market with more competition for torches compared to bike lights.

    Glad you liked my suggestion, hambones :D