Forum home Commuter cycling forum Commuting chat

Which light/light set?

d21dgad21dga Posts: 113
edited May 2009 in Commuting chat
Hi, long time lurker but new member here (and soon to be new cycling commuter!)

Soon I am going to be starting to cycle to work when I move offices.
The journey is pretty short at only 3 miles each way but is approximately half on roads and half on an unlit bridleway with some tree cover.
I'm probably going to get a bike through the cycle2work scheme but I'm just trying to price all the accessories etc up so I can get an idea of what sort of budget I need.
I'm wondering what's the minimum I'll need to spend on a front light or light set to enable me to ride the unlit section of my commute. I doubt I'll be going amazingly fast, and the bridleway is reasonably smooth riding but obviously I'll still need to see what's in front of me!
Has anybody got any recommendations for cheapish lights that will be bright enough to ride by?
Thanks!

Posts

  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Howdy. :)

    I have some Cateyes front and back. The set cost me about £35, I think. However, do *not* put Duracell batteries in them. I have been told by the Zyro (sp.?) that this screws with the positioning of the contacts and, well, means they work/don't work/work/don't work etc after a period of time.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Cateye's are overpriced, underpowered, and prone to falling off! Cateye warranty service via Zyro is a total joke!

    For the rear I would recommend a Smart Superflash 1/2 watt (about £12) or 1/2 watt Smart B Spoke.

    For the front, to genuinely see on unlit roads, the cheapest will be something like this Ultrafire Cree Q5 LED AA light from Dealextreme, a set of 2900mah NiMH batteries and LCD World smart charger from www.vapextech.com and a Twofish Lockblock mount from here.

    Total cost, torch: £12.80, batteries £4.95, charger £14.95, Lockblock £6.95 total £39.65, all including postage.

    This setup will be bright enough to see with, and is maybe £25-£50 cheaper than a similarly bright dedicated light, and will be brighter than any sub £100 Cateyes.

    Note, don't use alkalines in LED lights - they don't perform well; get good quality NiMH batteries, like Vapextech (which are very well priced); use a proper "smart" charger not a cheap timer based one, or you will cook your batteries.

    There are some much brighter LED torch options if you up the spend by £20 ish, but this would do fine.

    There is of course the Tesco's Cree torches for around £10 if they are still available, though I am unsure on models.
  • I like my Cateyes, they seem fine to me, but you can no doubt save a few pennies with an alternative. I recently bought an awesome Maglite torch for a tenner, it's massive and really bright, why does a smaller less bright plastic cateye cost more? (OK it has the bike fitting and can flash, but still??)

    But what's all this about Duracell??? Surely they are the same size and shape as all other AA batteries?
  • jamescojamesco Posts: 687
    alfablue wrote:
    Cateye's are overpriced, underpowered, and prone to falling off! Cateye warranty service via Zyro is a total joke!

    For the rear I would recommend a Smart Superflash 1/2 watt (about £12) or 1/2 watt Smart B Spoke.

    I second this - having had a mixture of Catseyes and Smart lights the Smart ones have been far, far better. They stay attached, turn on/off sensibly and aren't fragile unlike the Catseyes. The setis pretty good value, too.
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 9,757
    i run down a 4 mile stretch of unlit bridleway, so I can hand on heart tell you that you NEED a light that you can see by.

    I use a Cateye single shot plus which is ideal for my needs (but I will be upgrading this year - because i can :D )

    Whatever light is recommended it must put out enough light to give the same penetration as the single shot plus, which amounts to approximately 100'; but with the good 10' wide spread it also has.

    I don't know of any lights that fill this need, but from my experience this is the requirement for the bridleway. Oh, I tend to hold about 18-20mph on the quicker run home and see obstacles in time.

    I'd also recommend a secondary light as well - I use it for in flash mode on the roads, and aimed down so it lights the road directly in front of me (so it aids the view when ON permanently on the bridleway and visibility when flashing on the road without dazzling)

    I keep looking at them Hope Visions.... :wink:

    Oh, Wiggle have a great link on their home page that shows the lights in use - VERY good for comparing.
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 9,757
    Got the link for Wiggle here: http://www.wiggle.co.uk/Front_Lights_Br ... /index.htm

    ain't that funky?
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • gtvlussogtvlusso Posts: 5,112
    I have been through 3 sets of cateyes this winter! I won't buy them again - got sick of them filling with water - I evern took to wrapping clingfilm around them!!

    Now use Knog lights - they have survived many a rain/hailstorm so far and been easy to fit without brackets and farting about.
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    I have to say, Cat Eye lights are not good at staying on their brackets. The flimsy plastic seems to wear down and I have lost 2 rear lights and 1 front this year already. They flip off when you hit a pothole or something and then get run over by cars behind you.

    I thought I'd found the solution in a couple of those Tesco 3W Cree torches at £7 a pop, but they very quickly started to flicker as though there was some kind of bad connection inside. They don't seem to be able to put up with the bumping about they get from the rough, potholed London road surfaces and one of them completely packed up altogether after a matter of a few weeks so I don't recommend them at all.

    So for the time being I am stuck with the Cat Eyes which are fine as long as they stay on the bike. I have taken to wrapping a bit of Blu Tack round the brackets to try to hold them in place a bit better.
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • d21dgad21dga Posts: 113
    Thanks for the tips everybody. Must admit I hadn't thought about attaching a regular torch to the handlebars :P
    I've got a while to pick my options anyhow as hopefully there won't be any fully dark commutes until the autumn so lights to be seen by in bad light will do for the moment.
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 9,757
    Well - if it's torches strapped to the bike....

    http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z146 ... glight.jpg

    how does 3 million candle power grab you? :D
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    But what's all this about Duracell??? Surely they are the same size and shape as all other AA batteries?

    That's what I thought, but was told that Duracell batteries are a slightly different length - the term used was "a few millimetres", but that's aload of nonsense; just put the batteries side by side. This was also news to the chap in Evans, andI couldn't find anything on the website (I threw the packaging before I could check this).

    While you have to question the accuracy of the "few mms" difference, the Cateyes are not supplied with Duracell an four of the five Cateyes I have had in the last two years have eventually succumbed to this problem, so I'll definitely be buying different lights for next winter.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • fossyantfossyant Posts: 2,549
    Use rechargeable batteries. I had, and still do have 2 cateye 510's - OK, got them for £15 in a sale and are OK for being seen.

    If you want dark stuff riding, and are on a budget, then torches. I now have 2 x Hope Vision 1's.....fab lights, and take AA's so no battery issues.
  • tiny_penstiny_pens Posts: 293
    If you can afford it, the Hope Vision 4 LED is the best I have seen. Its like riding a car with full beam headlights on (including all the cars flashing their headlights as they come towards you).

    I don't have bridal paths on any of my routes but I do have some fast unlit country lanes. A single fenix L2D (similar output to Hope vision 1) is do-able, 2 is better. Plenty to see by.
    This is my current setup (2 L2Ds) for the summer whilst I search for a bargain Hope vision 4.

    I have one of those cheap 900 lumens SSC p7 torches and whilst bright, the one I have has too much throw and not enough spill. I found the Exposure Enduro Maxx to have the same problems for road riding (although it did have a really nice smooth beam pattern).

    It depends on your route. For dark country lanes you can get away with less light. Its the fast downhills where you have a lot of other cars coming towards you and removing your night vision that you need the bright lights (random bricks in the road when you are doing 25mph downhill for example).

    HTH Tiny
  • megacitymanmegacityman Posts: 20
    http://www.mtbbritain.co.uk/mountain_bi ... w_led.html

    i have this torch and can thoroughly reccomend it. it is perfect for commuting, when you get to a dark bit, just put it on full beam
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Yeah - I second megamans torch. Its the best !
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    My commuter bike has a shimano dynohub front wheel + IQ Fly high powered LED light on the front and a cateye ld1100 on the back

    I did do one winter with a Dinotte battery LED light but the IQ Fly is brighter and more convenient ( no batteries )
Sign In or Register to comment.