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Bike lights seem a bit weedy or over priced...

meanwhilemeanwhile Posts: 392
edited June 2008 in Workshop
It's easy to buy a 200 Lumen non-bike light now for £30-£40, but bike lights at this price seem to be around 15 Lumens - that's fifteen, not a typo for one hundred and fifty. You have to pay about £150 to get a bike light that matches a £40 Fenix light (and no brand clones are much cheaper.) Anyone got any idea why this is? It's easy enough to get bike mounts for non-bike lights, although I can't seem to find red LED lights of that power - which is irritating, because I can find the LEDs.

Posts

  • simbil1simbil1 Posts: 620
    You can get a red filter for your white torch to make it into a rear light.

    I've no idea why the cycle light companies are so far off on this one - I guess it is simply that people buy their lights so they keep churning out the over priced junk.
    It's the same with things like head torches too - you pay a fortune to get 200 lumens, I made my own for about £20!

    I've been running 2 generic 200 lumen torches on my MTB and they do really well, though I'd want a bit more if I was racing. On road the 2 x 200 lumens is more than enough.
  • meanwhilemeanwhile Posts: 392
    simbil1 wrote:
    You can get a red filter for your white torch to make it into a rear light.

    True, but a filter works by throwing away all the non-red photons. So you get a much dimmer light. I might trying jiggling out a white LED and putting a red one in, although I think I'd also want a diffuser arrangement - ordinary torches are made for a relatively narrow beam.
    I've no idea why the cycle light companies are so far off on this one - I guess it is simply that people buy their lights so they keep churning out the over priced junk.

    It's especially annoying given that people probably die each year who could have lived if they'd been more visible: a 200 Lumen strobe is impossible to ignore. In fact, it would need a diffuser to avoid dazzling motorists.
    It's the same with things like head torches too - you pay a fortune to get 200 lumens, I made my own for about £20!

    Nice. But take a look at Zebralights if you get the chance.
  • blorgblorg Posts: 1,169
    Could you recommend a front torch that mounts well to a bike? Would you suggest www.fenix-store.com?
  • simbil1simbil1 Posts: 620
    Blorg,

    I got mine from:

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.12491

    Cheap and free shipping (stuff comes in from Hong Kong), be aware that you may pay tax and fees on the way in ~30%, still works out cheap though.

    Meanwhile,

    zebralights look very good. Mines got the lamp upfront and the power on a waist belt so is better for me :) But was a hassle to build...
    I take you point about the filter - not sure you need all of 200 lumens on your rear light though do you..?
  • meanwhilemeanwhile Posts: 392
    blorg wrote:
    Could you recommend a front torch that mounts well to a bike? Would you suggest www.fenix-store.com?

    Search for "Fenix Bike Mount" on ebay. One of these should be able to take most small torches (1AA, 2 AA, or 2 Cr123 - you probably want AA) lights. A Fenix would be fine, but so would plenty of others - check for a Cree or P4 or SSC LED and 100-200 Lumens out of the front. There are lots of flashlight review sites on the net if you want to shop around: work out how wide a beam you want, and whether you want strobe, etc. I'd look at
    http://www.light-reviews.com/

    Oh - and two lights might be much better than one more costly one - let's you spread light in more directions.

    If fenix-store doesn't sell decent bike mounts (doesn't seem to) buy somewhere else (eg ebay) and tell them why they lost your business.

    VERY IMPORTANT: when you buy rechargeables, get Eneloops or Hybrios. Regular rechargealbles "self discharge" while on stand-by (ie lose power - lots of it). These don't
  • meanwhilemeanwhile Posts: 392
    simbil1 wrote:
    Blorg,

    I got mine from:

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.12491

    Cheap and free shipping (stuff comes in from Hong Kong), be aware that you may pay tax and fees on the way in ~30%, still works out cheap though.

    Meanwhile,

    zebralights look very good. Mines got the lamp upfront and the power on a waist belt so is better for me :) But was a hassle to build...
    I take you point about the filter - not sure you need all of 200 lumens on your rear light though do you..?

    The number of lumens you need depend on how wide an angle you diffuse through: more is better. A 30L strobe is really noticeable if pointing at you, but if it's at angle to you, and seen out of the corner of your eye, much less so. Rain absorbs photons too. So 200Ls, driven through a pyramid diffuser, sounds about right to me. Ideally I'd like strobes bright enough to be seen in day, front and back. I saw a guy almost killed in an accident that that sort of attention grabbing could have prevented - I can't even say it was the motorist's fault: bikes disappear into the background too easily in jammed traffic, and if someone is maneuvering in rush hour, that can be all she wrote.

    And if I had a ***really*** powerful strobe light I'd point at the ground to make a great big flash-zone night - it would be a good way of seeming bigger psychologically and forcing wider passes.

    Btw, the bike light on this page really would be worth £200, to anyone who need lots of brightness - it's almost 2000 Lumens. That's about **40*** of the big conventional Maglites security guards use as clubs:

    http://www.hids-direct.co.uk/flashlight.html
  • meanwhile wrote:
    It's easy to buy a 200 Lumen non-bike light now for £30-£40, .

    Out of interest, which ones do you use
    meanwhile wrote:
    It's easy enough to get bike mounts for non-bike lights, .

    ... and where do you get hold of mounts for bikes for non bike torches?

    i have been following this thread with interest as i might (only might) venture out in the dark next winter... if feeling a tadge suicidal :?

    JB
    2 minute grovels can sometimes be a lot longer..tho' shorter on a lighter bike :-)

    Ride the Route Ankerdine Hill 2008

    http://peterboroughbigband.webplus.net/index.html
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,890
    Rear light wise, the Smart 1/2 watt is neither weedy or expensive at just over a tenner for the brightest rear light you will find at the moment.
  • simbil1simbil1 Posts: 620
    meanwhile wrote:
    It's easy to buy a 200 Lumen non-bike light now for £30-£40, .

    Out of interest, which ones do you use
    meanwhile wrote:
    It's easy enough to get bike mounts for non-bike lights, .

    ... and where do you get hold of mounts for bikes for non bike torches?

    i have been following this thread with interest as i might (only might) venture out in the dark next winter... if feeling a tadge suicidal :?

    JB

    John,

    You need a few bits of kit; torch, holder, battery and charger. You can make life easier if you already have good aa batteries and charger.

    The generic 3w Cree torches do the job, like this one:

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.10727

    Or fenix:

    http://www.fenixtorch.co.uk/led_torches ... 1d_q5.html

    Torch holder (Twofish lock blocks - what I use):

    http://www.fenixtorch.co.uk/led_torches/lockblock.html

    There is also this holder that allows angled set up, but I don't know how good it is:

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.13004

    It's worth trawling through dealextreme and looking at the beam patterns - some are wider than others. I run a wider one that angles down to give me a good view of stuff I'm about to ride over and a spot that I run flatter so it lights up the trail ahead.
  • blorgblorg Posts: 1,169
    Rear light wise, the Smart 1/2 watt is neither weedy or expensive at just over a tenner for the brightest rear light you will find at the moment.
    This is true, it's a great light and is very bright; I can't imagine you needing another one for pure brightness. Only place it is slightly weak is side visibility- you can always cover this with a second cheap light though. I use a Smart 1/2 watt on flashing mode and a Smart 7-LED on constant.
  • meanwhilemeanwhile Posts: 392
    Rear light wise, the Smart 1/2 watt is neither weedy or expensive at just over a tenner for the brightest rear light you will find at the moment.

    Yes - there's no problem with rear lights. But all they have to do is be seen, rather than illuminate. For a red strobe to stand out at night is easy - you can spot a red key chain light for a mile at night if it's strobing.
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