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Lights

Dizzy the EggDizzy the Egg Posts: 153
edited November 2007 in Commuting chat
Cycled in to work 2 hours ago for the first time ever. However I noticed my front light was pretty weak. I work shifts so am looking to see if anybody could advise where I could get a very powerful front light, and what types would be best.

Cheers :D

Posts

  • I just got this one last weekend, it worked great this week. I got a mount to put it on the bike though instead of on my helmet.

    http://niterider.com/prod_endurolith.shtml
  • RufusARufusA Posts: 500
    This thread on the Road Beginners section may help:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/commuting/foru ... t=12548133

    Also don't forget the commuters lights review on this site, though IMHO most reviewed were lights to be seen rather than see by.

    A lot depends on budget. You can get some twin halogens (5w+10w) with lead acid battery (SMART etc.) for around £30 that will do a good job. But are bulky, not that sexy and battery life could be better (2.5 hours).

    If you can afford £80-100 then top end LED cateye (610), or a Dinotte 200L is within reach - how suitable depends on the nature of the road - if it's lots of potholes and overhanging hedges you may want something with a wider beam. In which case you are in the £150+ MTB track lights arena and next weeks reviews!

    HTH - Rufus.
  • Dinotte have a sale on this weekend got the 200L AA for £58 including postage. Cheep as chips.

    http://store.dinottelighting.com/shared/StoreFront/default.asp?CS=dinotte&StoreType=BtoC&Count1=549938380&Count2=467078804[/url]
  • Not an easy choice to be honest.
    So many lights out there in different price ranges.

    For VFM i would check out these as a serious contender to the Dinotte, Exposure etc :

    http://www.ayup.com.au/

    No, I don't work for them .
    I am going to buy a set myself after weeks of research.
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  • Check out the Light&Motion Stella. I just purchased one and it's impressive. I'm in the States and don't even know if they are available in the UK but it's worth investigating.
  • My LBS has the Stella.
  • delibury wrote:
    Dinotte have a sale on this weekend got the 200L AA for £58 including postage. Cheep as chips.

    http://store.dinottelighting.com/shared/StoreFront/default.asp?CS=dinotte&StoreType=BtoC&Count1=549938380&Count2=467078804[/url]

    Do you know how long you can expect a set of AA NiMH rechargables to last if they were for instance 2500mah? Or a set of Duracell alkaline?
  • RufusARufusA Posts: 500
    Do you know how long you can expect a set of AA NiMH rechargables to last if they were for instance 2500mah? Or a set of Duracell alkaline?

    Dinotte quote for the 200l

    "Low mode will provide 180 minutes of high intensity light using 2300mAH AA batteries and approximately 100 minutes in High Mode".

    Add about 10% more for 2500mah batteries (assuming they really are 2500mah and not overstated on the internet).

    Duracells I think are around 2800mah - so you might squeeze 2hrs out of them in High mode, but personally the cost and environmental impact to me would be prohibitive!

    HTH - Rufus.
  • ash68ash68 Posts: 320
    lots of possibilities so far, just to add my choice, try www.lumicycle.com I've had one the last 3 years with no probs. They are not cheap, starting around £150, it depends on what you want to spend. A bonus with these lights is they are modular, every part is available seperately.So, If something does break, just replace that component, not the whole light kit.
  • El CapitanoEl Capitano Posts: 13,671
    Yes, another vote for the Lumicyle system from me. 10W bulb is bright enough to ride singletrack with, which is more than bright enought for commuting use. The do a 1W led bulb, which would probably last all week and also a 5W Halogen bulb, which should be bright enough for commuting.

    I tend to use a 10W single lamp up front, with a Cateye Opticube lamp on flashing mode.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Conventional Alkalines are not recommended for Dinottes - the discharge characteristics for NiMH are much "flatter" delivering more power for longer than Alkalines.
  • TeuchterTeuchter Posts: 102
    After recommendations on here, I got a set of Smart rechargeable lights recently. Meant to be the 2.4W / 10W version but I discovered there were actually two 10W bulbs in them - lots of light but caught me out on battery life!

    I've changed the dipped lamp to a 3W halogen which seems ok generally and use the 10W spot in unlit areas - it's great! Main downside is the big lead-acid battery hanging off the frame and battery life if you spend a lot of time using the 10W.

    You get what you pay for - this is cheaper than a lot of rechargeable systems (got mine new on ebay for £30 inc postage), gives out a good amount of light but has the weight / battery life penalty.

    I also use a cateye LED as front backup (flashing normally but adequate (just) on continually if the smart runs out of juice) and a Blackburn Mars LED on the rear which seems pretty good.
  • redjediredjedi Posts: 44
    I hope you don't mind if I take this a little off topic, but I just wanted to ask if I should have my lights flashing or not?

    My rear light I always have flashing, but what about the front?

    The light isn't needed to see as I cycle on lit London streets, but to flash or not to flash?

    Flashing I think would make you stand out more as a cyclist, but would it distract other road users?
  • TeuchterTeuchter Posts: 102
    Don't know exactly what the legalities of this are. I know flashing lights are legal in the UK but not sure if they should be used in conjunction with a steady one.

    Anyway, most cyclists I've seen this past few weeks when evenings have been darker have been using only flashing front LED lights. I've been doing the same in low light and switching on the halogens when it gets 'properly' dark though I imagine just a flasher would do the job in streetlit areas where being seen was the priority.

    Flashing lights do make your little point of light stand out as belonging to a bicycle which I guess is a good thing.
  • Eat My DustEat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    I tend not to have my lights flashing these days. The flashing gives you away as a cyclist straight away, which means cars don't even attempt to judge what speed you are going, they just pull out. I had a WVM last week go to pull out on me, I'm sure the only reason he stopped was the fact he was confused by the bright light (15w) coming towards him. To top it off, as I went passed he peeped his horn and made some sort of gesture, I think he was pissed off that I had made him stop!!
  • El CapitanoEl Capitano Posts: 13,671
    TBH, no matter what lights you have on your bike, flashing or not, it seems like you've put on Harry Potter's invisibility cloak as no-one else can see you! :(
  • T800T800 Posts: 672
    My invisibility cloak is probably better than Potter's, at least where drivers on this rock are concerned.
    TBH, no matter what lights you have on your bike, flashing or not, it seems like you've put on Harry Potter's invisibility cloak as no-one else can see you! :(
    So, after a lot of thought, I'd like to reconsider. Please, if it's not too late, make it a cheeseburger.

    Just a pic of my bike.
  • Recommend Busch and Muller Ixon IQ on the front. Prime lighting is legally supposed to be steady with secondary flashing. Slap straps on ankes or other moving parts gain attention as well.
    Neil
    Help I'm Being Oppressed
  • Just used my new Smart 10w + 10w and I'm really impressed- they light up the cycle path like a car light. I know they wont last long til the next charge and they are v heavy but for the money (less than 30 quid delivered from SJS via ebay) they are great.
  • mba007mba007 Posts: 95
    Based on discussions and a small budget I plumped for the Smart 10W10W lights, and attached (via rubberbands) my Cateye EL520 to my lid. The Cateye is useless compared to the Smarts, but is OK for looking round corners.

    The Smart (despite the weight) is great despite being disco-dancy on bumpy 'firetracks'. The battery life is manageable by only keeping one on, but I've bought another battery (£3.99 from Maplins) and another battery-top. Works a treat for the price.
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,549
    How much does a Smart set weigh? They look heavy...

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    The Smart battery weighs about 900g, the rest of the set must be about another 300g I reckon. It is still the best light for the price IMHO, for a lighter set the Electron 5w + 10w is good, with a NiMH battery that weighs about 450g, and costs about £45.
  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    mba007 wrote:
    Based on discussions and a small budget I plumped for the Smart 10W10W lights, and attached (via rubberbands) my Cateye EL520 to my lid. The Cateye is useless compared to the Smarts, but is OK for looking round corners.

    The Smart (despite the weight) is great despite being disco-dancy on bumpy 'firetracks'. The battery life is manageable by only keeping one on, but I've bought another battery (£3.99 from Maplins) and another battery-top. Works a treat for the price.

    What battery did you buy?

    i need a new one for my smart lights and can't see the suitable one on their website
    Want to know the Spen666 behind the posts?
    Then read MY BLOG @ http://www.pebennett.com

    Twittering @spen_666
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    I think the 6v 4.5AH SLA is the one to get, currently £3.99
  • TeuchterTeuchter Posts: 102
    More comments on the Smart now I've been using it regularly in pitch dark for a couple of weeks. I mentioned that I'd swapped one of the 10W bulbs for a 3W. I've now changed back to twin 10W but compensate for the shorter battery life by only using the system on the unlit or poorly lit sections of my route. This accounts for up to about 20-25 mins a day depending on which way I go. The rest of the time I just use my flashing Cateye EL135 which seems plenty conspicuous enough to be seen by.

    Very impressed with the Smarts. An optional detour for me is a mile or so through a section of dark woodland. I had thought I wouldn't be able to use that route once it got dark but the Smarts have changed that. I'm sure I've ridden motorbikes with dimmer headlights!
  • BelvBelv Posts: 866
    I got a heavy Eurolight 5W+10W set. As long as it's charged up every 2 days (so about 2 hours of use), i don't have any problems.

    Rufus is right - the question is not "What's out there?", but "How much do i want to spend?". I'm a cheapskate!
  • mba007mba007 Posts: 95
    alfablue wrote:
    I think the 6v 4.5AH SLA is the one to get, currently £3.99

    Yup, that's the battery, currently on offer. Going to take it for a spin tonight having been on charge all day.
  • With regards to flashing LED's

    I may be wrong but this is what I think is the law in the UK.

    The rear red LED may be flashing but only in a blinking fashion as opposed to some random flashing that they can all do. The flashes also need to be intermittent of no more than 1second or something like that anyway (sorry for not having the full facts) The front white LED light cannot be flashing at all unless used in conjunction with another light that has a steady light.

    They also have to be fixed to your bike as opposed to yourself although their is no law as far as I am concerned stopping you having lights on you as well as your bike.

    I have a rear light on my bike and my bag and a little cateye one on my bar on the front. I also use a HOPE HID light mounted to my helmet to see where I am going on poorly lit areas
  • RufusARufusA Posts: 500
    FWIW a front light can be just as blinky as a rear:

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2005/20052559.htm#6

    Probably irrelevant anyway as 98% of such lights wouldn't meet the required BS standards!

    Having seen some commuters with a set of 0.25 candelas LEDs on the rear of their bikes, producing a pittiful dancing pattern, anything bright and blinky has got to be good IMHO.

    It beggars belief that people are willing to ride on busy roads with no / inadequate lights for the sake of a tenner and a few batteries!

    Rufus.
  • nce21nce21 Posts: 27
    Personally I'd say non flashing on the front, flashing on the back, but preferably one flashing one steady on the back.
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