Forum home Commuter cycling forum Commuting chat

First post - Commuting bike lights

jeepiejeepie Posts: 495
edited June 2008 in Commuting chat
Hi everyone,

This is my first post.

I commute to work every day by bike. I have to do a large section of unlit river bank. My light came off yesterday which has never really been adequate anyway, so I'm going to get some new lights.

I would like advice on getting some new lights for commuting. Ideally I'd like these to take rechargeable batteries. And also be easy to mount/use as I'm a muppet when it comes to practical things.

From reading other posts - I think the Fenix T1 looks good and I understand that a new one is coming out very shortly. Very little mention of rear lights though - so:

1) What rear light would go with the Fenix T1? I take it the Dinotte ones don't go as these use battery packs (sorry if this is a dumb question). I have only had battery powered lights so far.
2) How do you mount the Fenix T1? It looks like a torch to me.
3) Can I get a system which uses the same batteries front and rear, and any recommendations about rechargeable battery packs.

Any help much appreciated.

Kind regards

Jeepie

Posts

  • mrchrispymrchrispy Posts: 310
    I can not praise the Rear Dinotte 140L AA enough, it not cheap but if you want something you know people are going to see then it the only light to get.

    They take take 4 AA batteries, so you'll need to buy them and a charger (i used www.component-shop.co.uk).

    I got mine from on-one for 70 notes.
    if you dont want to spend that much the Smart 1/2 Watt LED is a very good buy.
  • lateraluslateralus Posts: 309
    I second the recommendation of the Smart half watt - seriously bright, lightweight, runs off 2 x AAA, good bracket, and cheap.
  • ademortademort Posts: 1,924
    Hi, firstly welcome to the forum, as regarding the Fenix T1, i bought one about a month ago for my commute, i travel 16Km each way and much of that is on unlit roads. The Fenix is brilliant and worth every penny, cannot praise it enough. I use a handlebar swivelblock to fix it to the bike. I also bought 4 re-chargeable batteries and a charger at the same time, got the lot off ebay for £55.There is a new Fenix T11 coming soon, but it has no more power than the T1. Greetings Ademort
    ademort
    Chinarello, record and Mavic Cosmic Sl
    Gazelle Vuelta , veloce
    Giant Defy 4
    Mirage Columbus SL
    Batavus Ventura
  • jeepiejeepie Posts: 495
    OK Awesome. Thanks for the warm welcome.

    I'll go for the

    Fenix T11 (when available)
    Rear Dinotte 140L AA

    If they just take "normal" i.e. AA or AAA batteries I'll be fine with that as I'll buy a recharger and this will get me to work and back no worries.

    I was just a bit confused about the extra stuff in the photo e.g. http://www.rei.com/product/764545..... however, I now understand that this is just where the batteries are rather than anything unexpected.

    Thanks for your help. It's a confidence booster to get some great advice like this as I always get tongue tied in my bike shop as I know what I want, but not how to describe everything!

    Cheers

    J
  • jeepiejeepie Posts: 495
    Oh - just one more thing:

    I'll get

    Fenix T11 (when available)
    Rear Dinotte 140L AA

    and the rechargablable batteries and pack.

    Any ideas where I'd get "a handlebar swivelblock"? Any chance of sending a link or reference.

    Thanks

    J
  • tardingtontardington Posts: 1,379
    Does he/you mean a thing that sticks up off the bar to put lights and things on?

    A basic on for £4http://www.edinburghbicycle.com/ebwPNLqrymode.a4p?f_ProductID=8133&f_FullProductVersion=1&f_SupersetQRY=C119&f_SortOrderID=1&f_bct=c003154c003227c003228

    Or the minoura space bar
    http://www.edinburghbicycle.com/ebwPNLq ... 227c003228

    There is a bendy version too.
  • ademortademort Posts: 1,924
    Hi, the new Fenix T11 takes the same type of batteries as the T1 which are C123A type. These are not available everywhere, and therefore i would recommend re-chargeable batterys with charger, as they are Lithium batterys they are not suitable for many battery chargers either.I am not plugging ebay but i got the whole package from a company called HK equipment, lamp, batterys,charger and swivel-lock for £55, including postage. it,s up to you. Greetings Ademort
    ademort
    Chinarello, record and Mavic Cosmic Sl
    Gazelle Vuelta , veloce
    Giant Defy 4
    Mirage Columbus SL
    Batavus Ventura
  • jeepiejeepie Posts: 495
    ok great. I'll have a mooch around on eBay. Thanks for the pointers re the light mount also.

    Cheers

    J
  • mrchrispymrchrispy Posts: 310
    good choice - you'll feel safe with the dinotte lighting up your rear, they are seriously good. i even use during the day, infact my mate complains as he cant ride behind me when its on as its that bright! :oops:
  • UnderscoreUnderscore Posts: 730
    ademort wrote:
    Hi, the new Fenix T11 takes the same type of batteries as the T1 which are C123A type. These are not available everywhere, and therefore i would recommend re-chargeable batterys with charger, as they are Lithium batterys they are not suitable for many battery chargers either.I am not plugging ebay but i got the whole package from a company called HK equipment, lamp, batterys,charger and swivel-lock for £55, including postage. it,s up to you. Greetings Ademort

    The problem with the CR123R rechargables are that they only have ~half of the capacity of the non-rechargable. Since the TK10 (new name for the T11) claims 1.5hrs at full pelt, surely that will only give you 45min on rechargables? I went for the L2D Q5, which only has 80% of the light output of the T1/TK10 but I get nearly 2hrs on Turbo from a set of 2100mAh NiMH AAs.

    Also (since I appear to be in a contrary mood!) is it really worth spending £70 on a tail light? I bought a Cat-Eye LD600 6 years ago when I was commuting along country lanes. Friends who've seen me on the way home say that they can see me from miles away. What benefit does the extra £55 offer?

    _
  • RufusARufusA Posts: 500
    Jeepie,

    If most of your commute is on a river bank (presumably without much traffic) then a Dinotte rear light would IMHO be overkill.

    I have 2 smart 1/2 watts on the rear of my bike that are firmly attached and provide me with rock solid reliability. They easily last me a week+ on a pair of AAA's and by staggering the recharging I can be sure I never have a journey home with a weak rear LED. They are also sufficiently bright to make motorists not want to sit on my tail for too long, and cost a fifth of the 140L!

    Personally I've found the Dinotte (200L) AA lights a little unreliable going over bumpy ground as the batteries come loose from their holder, and the connector has a habit of being knocked off, I presume the 140L AA may have similar problems. What is very annoying is that when they go in to fail-safe mode they stay permanently on, so you get to work, discover you can't switch your light off, and watch as your only source of light slowly drains away before the journey home.

    If you do decide to order the 140L rear light I would recommend either choosing the Lithium option, or making sure you always have a spare rear light to get you home.

    I would suggest you perhaps consider some other options i.e.

    Front:
    Dinotte 200L lithium
    Ay-Ups ( http://www.ayup.com.au/ )
    etc.

    Rear
    2x Smart 1/2 watt

    HTH - Rufus.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    edited March 2008
    My preference is for the Fenix L2D CE Q5 over the T1 or soon to be available TK10 (T11 is no longer the designation) on grounds of better run time and that it uses 2 x AA batteries. The L2 will do 4.5 hours on 2800mah AA's on high (plenty) or 2.5 hours on Turbo.

    The TK10 is a fantastic looking light however, and I would really like one, but given that my regular ride is fairly long I like the longer run time.

    The mount is a Twofish Lockblock .

    L2D CE Q5 is £37.95 delivered from UK

    Twofish Lockblock £6.95 delivered from UK

    Vapextech 2900mah NiMH batteries £5.50 delivered from UK

    Vapextech LCD,WORLD (110v/240v) ,ULTRA FAST 1 HOUR CHARGER £14.55 delivered from UK

    For the rear light, the Smart 1/2 watt superflash is more than bright enough (it is really really bright!), get one or two, they are only £9.60 delivered from UK, from Aktive8, if you want to power this on rechargeables, it takes 2 AAA, I have bought Vapextech Instant AAA NiMH batteries x 4 for £4.95 delivered from UK (These batteries are "Low Self Discharge" rechargeables, they are slightly lower capacity than regular NiMH but they hold their charge for up to a year, so good to fit and forget, and will probably last 40 hours between recharging).

    All of the above stores (The Photon Shop, Vapextech and Aktiv8) are excellent for service and deliver next day.
  • jeepiejeepie Posts: 495
    Wow - fantastic. Thanks for everyone who's responded. I really appreciate the welcome and support as cycling is great fun, but can be farcically dangerous, so I do need good lights.

    I'm going to go for alfablue's summary as this is great and if I get these I know I'll get the correct stuff. Also it makes sense to spend my notes more of the front light where greater power is needed to see by.

    Definitely going to be monitoring the forum so look forward to chatting to you all again shortly.

    Cheers J
  • mrchrispymrchrispy Posts: 310
    i'd agree with RufusA, if your not on the road all the time then the Dinotte rear will be overkill, 2 smart 1/2 watts would be more than enough. I have a 1/2 watt permanently attached to my bike as a backup (I also have one hanging of the back of my rucksack)
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Just a note about the Twofish Lockblock, if mounted onto the metal on your bars it can slip if you go over big bumps, to fix this I stuck a ring of inner tube rubber to the bars with silicone sealant, and this cured it. On my road bike, the Lockblock goes over the bar tape and doesn't slip at all.
  • UnderscoreUnderscore Posts: 730
    Just as an aside, I noticed the other day that cat-eye (and I'm sure that others do too) now produce a BS approved LED rear light - the TL-AU100BS. I've no idea what they're like but it looks like you could have a tail light that is both i) safe, and ii) legal.

    _
  • BentMikeyBentMikey Posts: 4,895
    I have two AU100s on my fixed wheel, one on each seatstay.
  • jeepiejeepie Posts: 495
    ok great stuff. I'll order the stuff and let you know how I get on!

    Thanks again....

    J
  • marmitecpmarmitecp Posts: 203
    What alfablue said. The L2D is plenty on road and you can easily cable tie a second to a helmet if you go off road. The sevrice from vapextech for batts is very good too.
  • steviemcsteviemc Posts: 54
    I have the Dinotte 200L front light and the Dinotte 140L rear light. I had the problem an earlier poster mentioned about the connections coming loose over bumpy roads. This is caused by the battery/batteries coming out of the battery holder. I solved this by tightly wrapping an elastic around the batteries in the holder. It was never a problem again. I have never experienced this fail safe mode, but surely rather than let your batteries run down you could just disconnect the batteries at the terminals.......Anyway they are an excellent light set ,not cheap but can you put a price on safety...
  • jeepiejeepie Posts: 495
    Just wanted to pass on my thanks to all those that helped me choose some marvellous bike lights. I wanted to buy them now as had a little bit of cash to spare and so I bought:

    Fenix L2D CE Q5
    and
    Smart 1/2 watt superflash

    I've tried them quite a few times and I am absolutely staggered by how good they are. In pitch blackness and I can see very well and feel very confident cycling in the dark now.

    Thank you!
  • Gr.uBGr.uB Posts: 145
    In winter I use a Dinotte 140R-LI-2C on the rear and a Lumicycle Halide 2004 on the front.
    In the lighter months I still use the Dinotte, but use a Use Exposure Joystick on the front in flashing mode.

    20-02-08_06581.jpg
  • always_tyredalways_tyred Posts: 4,965
    The Dinotte rear light is unique in that it actually projects a beam. Unbeatable for blind bends on country lanes. The sheer brightness doesn't hurt the rest of the time either.

    I have the set with sealed Li-ion batteries and I've not had any of the issues with connections that some others have, but I've had a light unit and a battery pack fail. But what else can you get that's similar?
  • Gr.uBGr.uB Posts: 145
    I am now well known on my commute for 'that cyclist with the bright lights' and it does make a difference. Before the Dinotte I would regularly have near misses with cars overtaking at speed way too close. On average only the odd blind old fool passes too close nowadays.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Jeepie wrote:
    Just wanted to pass on my thanks to all those that helped me choose some marvellous bike lights. I wanted to buy them now as had a little bit of cash to spare and so I bought:

    Fenix L2D CE Q5
    and
    Smart 1/2 watt superflash

    I've tried them quite a few times and I am absolutely staggered by how good they are. In pitch blackness and I can see very well and feel very confident cycling in the dark now.

    Thank you!
    Hey, glad you like them - I reckon this is by far the best setup for both price and performance (brightness, runtime, weight) available.
Sign In or Register to comment.