lights suitable for unlit country roads

fattyatkinson
fattyatkinson Posts: 40
edited January 2009 in Workshop
I am thinking of commuting to work, but at this time of year the route will take me along dark unlit country roads. Can anyone recommend a suitable front light(s) for around £50??? Thanks
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Comments

  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    For £50 you are probably best getting a high powered LED torch. I use a Fenix LD2 CE Q5 and it is good for 2.5 hours with enogh light for unlit roads on 2 AA batteries (note, you must use NiMH rechargeable batteries to get this performance, so you must factor in the cost of a smart charger - £14, and batteries, preferably 2900mah, £5.50 for 4, both from vapextech).

    The Fenix costs about £37 delivered from The Photonshop.

    There is a newer model - the LD20, same sort of performance, better beam.

    Going up in power there is the Fenix TK11 - brighter, but uses rechargeable lithium 18650 batteries, which reqire a dedicated charger. It will be over budget though.

    A cheaper option is 2 LED Tesco torches (the AA variety), don't know if they still sell them, about £10 each. Again, use NiMH.

    Your £50 / unlit roads requirement is just about achievable, maybe a few quid more depending on what cells / chargers are required.

    Or get cheap Fenix copies from Dealextreme like the Ultrafire 606A about £15 each, or for much more light, a P7 like the MTE SSC P7, which takes 18650 batteries, about £30.

    You will need a twofish lockblock holder for any of the above, around £7 from The Photonshop.

    Don't bother with anything Cateye around this price, feeble performance, poor durability.
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    For £50 you are probably best getting a high powered LED torch. I use a Fenix LD2 CE Q5 and it is good for 2.5 hours with enogh light for unlit roads on 2 AA batteries (note, you must use NiMH rechargeable batteries to get this performance, so you must factor in the cost of a smart charger - £14, and batteries, preferably 2900mah, £5.50 for 4, both from vapextech).

    The Fenix costs about £37 delivered from The Photonshop.

    There is a newer model - the LD20, same sort of performance, better beam.

    Going up in power there is the Fenix TK11 - brighter, but uses rechargeable lithium 18650 batteries, which require a dedicated charger. It will be over budget though.

    A cheaper option is 2 LED Tesco torches (the AA variety), don't know if they still sell them, about £10 each. Again, use NiMH.

    Or get cheap Fenix copies from Dealextreme like the Ultrafire 606A about £15 each, or for much more light, a P7 like the MTE SSC P7, which takes 18650 batteries, about £30.

    Your £50 / unlit roads requirement is just about achievable, maybe a few quid more depending on what cells / chargers are required.

    You will need a twofish lockblock holder for any of the above, around £7 from The Photonshop.

    Don't bother with anything Cateye around this price, feeble performance, poor durability.
  • thexvw
    thexvw Posts: 135
    edited December 2008
    Having read loads of reviews and seen lots of comparsion shots and buying 5 torches, the one I would strongly recommend is the MTE SSC P7. Nearly all you need to know is in the review:- http://www.mtbbritain.co.uk/mountain_bi ... w_led.html
    You can get the handlebar mounts from here:-

    https://www.4sevens.com/product_info.ph ... cts_id=274

    I have 2 P7's (you only really need one) they are amazing.I ride mainly on an unlight path and its like driving with headlights. The other torches I have are good but tend to have too much of a spot to them. The P7's provide a huge flood of light. I use them on low power whilst on the road which is enough to be seen by, but not too bright ot dazzle.
  • Tom Butcher
    Tom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    Get the P7 - for that money it is the best I've seen - it may come in slightly over budget with a charger, mount and spare cell but it is worth it.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Yeah i have the p7 and fenixes - the fenix were amazing until i got the p7. Battery life is about eighty minutes or so but as i do about two and a half hour night rides - i just change half way through. Puts far more expensive systems to shame.
  • Alfablue
    I bought the LD20 and twofish on your recommendation. The torch is amazing for the money so thanks for that!! The velcro straps are rather long and wil lneed trimmed is the only complaint I would have. Thanks again
    Giant Anthem X3 2013
  • KeithG
    KeithG Posts: 1,010
    For reliability in the longterm (the really long term), I'd recommend a much more expensive set up using a hub dynamo and a Busch and Muller LED light. You'll need to buy a new front wheel of course but you'll have "free" lighting thereafter and it's got plenty of oomph for winter riding or commuting.
    With a Shimano hub, you could get the whole set up for a little over £200.
    This is way over your budget but will last for years and there should not be any running costs and it is eco friendly and doesn't use batteries, even rechargables wear out and are are messy to dispose of properly.
  • ademort
    ademort Posts: 1,924
    Joined: 08 Jun 2007
    Posts: 369
    Location: Netherlands
    View user's profile
    PostPosted 24 Dec 2008 19:07Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post Report Post
    Hi,i have one of these in 2-mode you wont be riding along unlit roads anymore. and worth every penny.You can buy two batteries, the light only takes one, so you have a reserve at all times and you can buy the charger aswell and all for 50 Quid or less. There are plenty of videos on youtube for you to watch, the performance is incredible. No bicycle manufactured light comes near in terms of performance in that price class. Oh, before i forget you will need to buy a bike mount http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.18695 http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.13004
    ademort
    Chinarello, record and Mavic Cosmic Sl
    Gazelle Vuelta , veloce
    Giant Defy 4
    Mirage Columbus SL
    Batavus Ventura
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    simmo3801 wrote:
    Alfablue
    I bought the LD20 and twofish on your recommendation. The torch is amazing for the money so thanks for that!! The velcro straps are rather long and wil lneed trimmed is the only complaint I would have. Thanks again
    That's good to hear Simmo. I find my Fenixes do the job better than any equivalent priced bike light. I might be looking at the P7 solution if I was looking today (and certainly if I was to take up night time mtb'ing again), but I am very satisfied with what I have now, but the general setup of a single unit taking replaceable rechargeable batteries and using high powered LED's, and Lockblock mounts is the best option in my view, great performance and so easy to use.
  • chuckcork
    chuckcork Posts: 1,471
    If you can increase your budget by a few hundred quid I'd recommend a SON hub dynamo built into a wheel of your specification, and a Schmidt Edelux light running off it, you can get both (depending on availability) from SJS Cycles in Somerset.

    Pricy though, my setup cost around £300, but for that money I get abslutely brilliant lighting for night riding, makes it quite enjoyable in fact.
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • thexvw
    thexvw Posts: 135
    Unless you are into night racing, I can't see how you can justify spending £200-£300 on a light setup when the P7 option is so good and cheap. Ok, we dont know how reliable these are going to be in the long run but you could buy a new one every year for 6 years and it would still be less than £300!

    With advances that seem to be out there in LED technology , I just wonder how powerful these torches are going to become over the next few years.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    I did have dynamo lights years back - i liked the noise it made - the bike sounded like airwolf. No idea how bright the latest dynamo lights are but you would need to do amazing amounts of miles at night to make that option worth while. Plus with the p7 - you can use it as a torch - try using your dynamo to look round the attic !
  • rb1956
    rb1956 Posts: 134
    thexvw wrote:
    Having read loads of reviews and seen lots of comparsion shots and buying 5 torches, the one I would strongly recommend is the MTE SSC P7. Nearly all you need to know is in the review:- http://www.mtbbritain.co.uk/mountain_bi ... w_led.html[url][/url]
    Thank you for the pointer, but that link is incorrectly formatted. This one works: http://www.mtbbritain.co.uk/mountain_bike_lights_review_led.html
  • bill57
    bill57 Posts: 454
    alfablue wrote:
    A cheaper option is 2 LED Tesco torches (the AA variety), don't know if they still sell them, about £10 each. Again, use NiMH.

    The Tesco torches are so slim, you can't get rechargeable batteries into them.
  • 16simon
    16simon Posts: 154
    I almost bought a Dealextreme/Fenix torch, but in the end went for a Hope Vision 1. After you've paid for the torch and bike mount, it's not much more money, and it has better runtimes. I'm really happy with mine, medium power is good enough to average 30kph on unlit country roads.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    bill57 wrote:
    alfablue wrote:
    A cheaper option is 2 LED Tesco torches (the AA variety), don't know if they still sell them, about £10 each. Again, use NiMH.

    The Tesco torches are so slim, you can't get rechargeable batteries into them.

    With my one you can - you just need to take the sleeve off one of them. It is a bit tight - but both ends unscrew.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    How much is the hope ? It is true about run time though - but you should get the p7 kit and mount for under fifty- with enough batteries for a good three hours or more.
  • majormantra
    majormantra Posts: 2,094
    cougie wrote:
    bill57 wrote:
    alfablue wrote:
    A cheaper option is 2 LED Tesco torches (the AA variety), don't know if they still sell them, about £10 each. Again, use NiMH.

    The Tesco torches are so slim, you can't get rechargeable batteries into them.

    With my one you can - you just need to take the sleeve off one of them. It is a bit tight - but both ends unscrew.

    I didn't even have to do that. I've used 3 different types of rechargeables and the only change I've made has been to remove the little sticker inside the barrel of the torch which was making things a bit snug. I use Panasonic Infiniums, Eneloops and Uniross Hybrios and all fit just fine.

    Matthew
  • bill57
    bill57 Posts: 454
    I didn't even have to do that. I've used 3 different types of rechargeables and the only change I've made has been to remove the little sticker inside the barrel of the torch which was making things a bit snug. I use Panasonic Infiniums, Eneloops and Uniross Hybrios and all fit just fine.

    Obviously trial and error then. I tried Fujicell and Tesco's own brand, neither of which fitted, then gave up. I could only buy so many!
  • fluff.
    fluff. Posts: 771
    Just a note on the mounts for torches, I've used the Fenix official one, which takes up alot of handlebar real estate, & will rattle unless you wedge a bit of old innertube in there. The Twofish Lockblock, versatile and quick to remove, but impossible to get a completely solid connection, good for adjusting the angle on the fly, but bumpy terrain will often leave your torch at a funny angle (though it's never parted company with the bike). And a Cateye front light mount I had lying around, bodged up with a couple of zip ties. Oddly, I've found this is the best of the three, stable, easy to remove and zero rattle. You can buy something similar for £1.50, I'd recommend it.
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... elID=29580
  • juankerr
    juankerr Posts: 1,099
    Fenix + lockblox or re-usable cable ties for me.

    Also, I have an Energizer 15 minute charger so I can put my NIMHs on charge as I'm getting the bike ready confident that they will be fully charged.
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    juankerr, please be warned, your energizer 15 minute charger will wreck your batteries quite quickly. I ruined 16 batteries in about 3 months use, such that they had a fraction of the original capacity. Even though this charger may well have a fan (mine did) the charge will be too aggressive and they will overheat. Also it has no thermal or over-volt cutout circuits.

    The only safe way is to use a "smart" charger. And then, charge at rates that will take upwards of an hour.

    I suggest the Vapextech LCD World Charger Ultra Fast 1hr charger from here for £14.55 or the BL-700 Technoline £26.99 from here.
  • pbracing
    pbracing Posts: 231
    I was being swayed towards the P7 route, but have just noticed that the Hope is made in the U.K. In times of job losses etc, I think I might just back a British product. With the added smugness that it ain't leaving a great ol' carbon footprint all the way from China :)

    I can also use the AA cells in my digi camera, whereas Li-ion cells don't have many domestic uses, (I think).
    Why not? My bikes.
    Summer & dry days
    http://i396.photobucket.com/albums/pp47 ... /Trek1.jpg

    Wet winter days & going the shops runaround
    http://i396.photobucket.com/albums/pp47 ... rello1.jpg
  • I have 2 Fenix torches on Lockblocks. Then I tried the P7 (also on a Lockblock) - wow fanruddytastic.. All the light you could ever need and more. The wide beam easily covers the unlit roads I commute on. Mind you, I haven't abandoned the Fenix. One of them is now ziptied into my helmet for that Dalek beam that I never knew I needed until I turned my head with it on for the first time. Makes riding home in the dark a real pleasure (..."and I mean that most sincerely folks"... sorry only for older readers)
    So I guess I have spent more than your budget, but wouldn't have had I known about the P7 (2 mode version btw)
    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
  • where did you get the P7 - i have seen a few from China on ebay - are these the same ones?
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    use Dealextreme. They are very reliable, post included in the price, just takes about 10 days. A safer bet than eBay I reckon (unless they are also selling via eBay).
  • great. thanks - which model would you recommend? there are lots of different P7s
  • cheehee
    cheehee Posts: 427
    Another Tezzers (Tesco :wink: ) convert here.

    Two lights £16.00,
    two Cateye mounts free (already had 'em),
    zip ties free again..............
    being able to see where I'm going, priceless :D

    Some piccys

    100_0243.jpg

    100_0245.jpg

    100_0243.jpg

    The second two pic's were taken in my dining room, no flash on the camera. I was gonna take the photo's outside but it's brass monkeys out there :wink:

    I was going to get some 'proper' lights but for £8.00 each, I had to give them a go............ every little helps :roll:

    My commute is 10 miles on 90% unlit country roads, and these bad boys are more than up to the job.

    The Tezzer's light thread is here http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... t=12588492

    Cheers

    Cheehee
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    great. thanks - which model would you recommend? there are lots of different P7s
    I think the MTE SSC P7's are the preferred ones, there are 2 mode, 5 mode, and C Bin ones - not sussed out which I wold buy yet.

    http://www.dealextreme.com/search.dx/search.MTE
  • great. thanks - which model would you recommend? there are lots of different P7s
    get the 2 mode. No need for anything else!
    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