lights for DARK country lanes.

Team Banana Spokesman
edited October 2010 in Road buying advice
i've got a 1W led headlight. looked really bright until a car overtook me on a country lane and it suddenly looked like daytime. :shock:

so now I want a light as bright as car headlamps so I can see the road ahead: being seen has already been taken care of.

am I looking at 1000 lumens?

Im looking at taping thison my helmet:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Aurora-SST-50-CRE ... 4ced7d3778

any good?

best ebay deals out there? ive found 'cycling-specifcic' lights are waaaay too expensive.
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Comments

  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,517
    there's a good set of comparisons here...

    http://reviews.mtbr.com/blog/lights-sho ... roduction/

    lumens alone isn't a safe guide, beam pattern is also important, no use dazzling oncoming traffic or lighting up the treetops

    a 1000 lumen wide beam could be worse than a 500 lumen light that puts the light in the right place

    the unit that really matters is how many lux will the light put on the surfaces you care about...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lux

    most lights don't tell you this, but the mtbr review pages include lux measuements...

    http://reviews.mtbr.com/blog/lights-sho ... surements/

    you'll see there's often wide difference in lux for lights with the same number of lumens, this reflects differences in beam pattern, in general more lux per lumen means better design

    if you just want to win, the trail tech is seriously bright!
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • andrew_s
    andrew_s Posts: 2,511
    a) It won't actually be 1000 lumens
    b) It will do well to last much more than 30 minutes on full power

    I'd suggest a Magicshine.
    Ordering from Hong Kong isn't quick (seems to average about 3 weeks), but it's cheap.
    The same lights are available from UK suppliers, but cost more
  • guilliano
    guilliano Posts: 5,495
    I find my Hope Vision 2 is fine for night riding, but if I were to buy now I would go for a Light & Motion Seca 700.
  • willbevan
    willbevan Posts: 1,241
    I have a lumicycle LED 4 set, flood and spot.

    would recommend to anyone....

    To be honest for road riding, a single LED 4, or even a 3 would surfice when on boast for road riding.

    I usually ride around on 400 or 800 lumens (well what its supposed to kick out). Only kick it up higher on crappy roads when I am doing a tempo ride, or when its a steep fast down hill section.

    I have borrowed a moonshine LED unit from deal extreme, reconds 800-900 lumens I think, but is closed to 600 I would say based on comparing it to the beam on my lumiccyle, but more than enough if your on a budget, around 50 quid with shipping
    Road - BTwin Sport 2 16s
    MTB - Trek Fuel 80
    TT - Echelon

    http://www.rossonwye.cyclists.co.uk/
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    +1 for magicshine
  • infopete
    infopete Posts: 878
    I used to have a 20w/10w lumicycle using MR11 halogen bulbs.

    I then got the Lumicycle HID which I ran for a few years until the bulb went pop! At 85 quid to replace I decided to go back to halogen.

    Now I have a 20w/30w MR16 pair of lights running of a 13.2volt battery.

    The bulbs are Phillips masterline and give off 40% more light than normal halogens. The beam pattern on the 20w is medium so I don't dazzle motorists and the 30w is BRIGHT. (1400 ish lumen, great spread and motorists always dip their lights)

    I think my dual MR16 setup cost about 100 quid with the Lumicycle charger (on offer now from Lumicycle).

    The MR16 containers came from a guy in Scotland, I'll dig out his email if anyone is interested.

    Lumens/quid you can't beat it.

    Lux/quid there isn't any competition

    Oh and when the bulb goes, they're cheap.

    And, you can get 50w masterline bulbs if it's cold and you need to keep your hands warm. (though run times will be a bit shorter :idea: )
    Oh and please remember to click on my blog:

    http://americanbicyclegroup.wordpress.com

    The more clicks I get the higher it creeps up the google radar :)
  • andrew_s
    andrew_s Posts: 2,511
    The downsides of halogen lights are:
    a) they are comparatively inefficient, so you need a bigger battery (about double) to get the same run time as an LED of equivalent brightness.
    b) they are on or off. There is no real way of turning the brightness down in order to save battery power for the places you do need more light.
    c) bulbs go pop more often than LEDs do, so there's more chance of being stranded with no light.
  • danowat
    danowat Posts: 2,877
    cougie wrote:
    +1 for magicshine

    +1 for the +1 for magicshine
  • mijoli
    mijoli Posts: 7
    willbevan wrote:
    I have a lumicycle LED 4 set, flood and spot.

    would recommend to anyone....

    To be honest for road riding, a single LED 4, or even a 3 would surfice when on boast for road riding.

    I usually ride around on 400 or 800 lumens (well what its supposed to kick out). Only kick it up higher on crappy roads when I am doing a tempo ride, or when its a steep fast down hill section.

    +1 for lumicycle. Have a LED3 - boost is fine for road riding.
  • moonshine
    moonshine Posts: 1,021
    I just got a set of Ay-Up lights. They are awesome, but dear at £162, but I consider them as a multi year investment
  • dmch2
    dmch2 Posts: 731
    I got one of these in the post this week:
    sku_25149_2.jpg

    It's another P7 magicshine jobby but actually designed to be a bike light so has a more suitable beam pattern. My wife is working tonight but I'm going out tomorrow to try it. I can tell you that it's brighter than the strip lights in the garage and gives a lovely broad pattern so should stop any potholes sneaking up on me :)

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.25149 although I had to get an adapter so it can plug into a UK socket. I could have just wired into a UK plug but the adapter was hardly more than a plug...
    2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
    2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid
  • andyrr
    andyrr Posts: 1,819
    Do a search for magicshine lights.
    a) it will find you loads of comments on these
    b) it will then allow you to see all the other comments by supporters and detractors of these.

    They are bright enough for unlit lanes - I think you'd have to spend significantly more to get brighter. They seem to have some QC issues. I bought one, used through last winter then around March it wouldn't charge and it was returned (to H-K at my cost) and I got a replacement (sent at my cost) and after an initial successful test run it was found to have dodgy wiring on a connector. Fixed this myself and this past wek or so it's been good.
    So, IMHO these are very bright for the money but be prepared to fix it yourself. Alternative is spend £100+ for comparable light outputs. In my experience being able to confidently ride in pitch dark needs this level of light, much less and you're braking to keep the speed down so your forward visibility matches your speed which isn't great.
  • infopete
    infopete Posts: 878
    It's true halogen bulbs need a bigger battery but it's down to run-times.

    My commute was about a hour and the standard Lumicycle NiMh battery on the HID would last for ages but I didn't need those run-times

    Now I get bright lights for an hour or so. I run the 20w for most roads and the 30w on the dark narrow bits and when I need to make a motorist dip their lights I have both on.

    As for the bulbs not lasting, I've not changed a MR16 in two years and, at less than a fiver each, who cares anyway.

    Halogens may be antique technology, NiMh may be nearly obsolete but if you want the brightest lights possible for your money there is no competition :)
    Oh and please remember to click on my blog:

    http://americanbicyclegroup.wordpress.com

    The more clicks I get the higher it creeps up the google radar :)
  • dmch2
    dmch2 Posts: 731
    You could just get LOTS of LED lights! :)

    More seriously - how much does a halogen rig weight? Is it brighter than the same weight of LED lights? With the bonus that if a bulb/LED fails the latter will have all the others so you can still see where you're going.
    2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
    2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid
  • System_1
    System_1 Posts: 513
    moonshine wrote:
    I just got a set of Ay-Up lights. They are awesome, but dear at £162, but I consider them as a multi year investment

    I have a set of Ay-Ups too. Now on their 4th winter. I can't recommend them highly enough. There may be cheaper alternatives with similar light output these days, but for me the initial cost is worth it.

    First off they are completely waterproof, which up here in Scotland is a good thing. In fact, Ay-Up themselves suggest occasionally cleaning the light unit by immersing it in a bucket of hot soapy water.

    Secondly, they are tiny and light. Seriously tiny. A lot of people complain about the mounting, which needs cable tied to the bars, but in practice this is easy to use even with gloves and is seriously sturdy. They cost pennies too so do what I did and buy a few extras and you'll have mountings for all your bikes.

    Thirdly, the battery life is great. I have a set of the first version, which didn't even have an on/off switch (it's either plugged in or not) and the claimed 6 hours is true. I've had close to 7 hours without any noticeable drop off in light output. And with the new batteries having not only an on/off switch but a high/low/flashing setting you'll get much more than that.

    Fair enough, they do seem expensive initially. Like moonshine says, consider them an investment. I can't say I wouldn't be tempted by one of those magicshine lights if I was on a budget, and even with their quality control issues and dubious lumen output claim, they look like an option if you're skint. Thing is, they're not that cheap that I'd consider them a disposable item, and how many magicshines will still be working flawlessly in 4 years time?
  • Hoopdriver
    Hoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    If you seriously want a good light for DARK country lanes, you really can't beat Lupine. Yes, I know they cost a lot, but the build quality, engineering, light output, beam spread and evenness, reliability and battery life are simply second to none, as is the company's customer service. You get what you pay for.
  • Hoopdriver
    Hoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    If you seriously want a good light for DARK country lanes, you really can't beat Lupine. Yes, I know they cost a lot, but the build quality, engineering, light output, beam spread and evenness, reliability and battery life are simply second to none, as is the company's customer service. You get what you pay for.
  • father_jack
    father_jack Posts: 3,509
    Some halogens batteries aren't too heavy, the smart 6v is about the weight of a tin of beans. But my 14.4v laseredge is really heavy twice that (and they're not waterproof) now got hope vision 4.
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • carrock
    carrock Posts: 1,103
    Exposure lights are fantastic quality but expensive. I have a Diablo which is superb, but then for £200 it should be
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    edited October 2010
    I begrudge paying £250-£400 for a front light quite honestly for the amount of night rider I do which is a very low amount. That's why i spent 50 quid on a Magicshine.

    So far, so good ....
  • father_jack
    father_jack Posts: 3,509
    I begrudge paying £250-£400 for a front light quite honestly. that's why i spent 50 quid on a Magicshine. So far, so good ....

    Spent less on lights, two Cateye EL-500. Broke. Smart halogens, stopped working. Laseredge, not waterproof. So decided to spend more on 1 quality set, rather than £50 or so quid on something a "a bit dodgy"
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    Yeah well as I say, so far so good. It's worth 50 quid so far, if it does break or whatever then i may look around for something better.
  • glasgowbhoy
    glasgowbhoy Posts: 1,341
    I got a smart lunar 35 for £25 last week and along with cateye LED on flashing it lights my evening commute through town and onto the dark country lanes at the end of the ride very well. Excellent output even on 'low' .
  • spasypaddy
    spasypaddy Posts: 5,180
    i have an exposure strada its incredible. but i fancy upgrading to the new one so im looking to sell my one cheap (around half retail price)
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    For 30 quid you can get a P7 torch, bar mount, cells and charger. Churns out upto 600 lumens on high, and will last for over 3 hours on low on just one cell. Bargain.
  • father_jack
    father_jack Posts: 3,509
    Just picked up Aldi 3W alu torch, nice. Wonder if it can be bar mounted.
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • Just picked up Aldi 3W alu torch, nice. Wonder if it can be bar mounted.

    I've just attached mine with a couple of jubilee clips and it is steady as a rock (so far).
  • dmch2
    dmch2 Posts: 731
    Just picked up Aldi 3W alu torch, nice. Wonder if it can be bar mounted.
    http://www.Lumenjunkies.co.uk sell mounts for attaching torches to bars. Search for p7 (ie a magicshone torch) then look on the accessories section below it.
    2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
    2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid
  • Is HID old technology now? I know the replacement bulbs are expensive but can you really match the light output and SPREAD with LEDs? Surely the car manuacturers would be using LED's if they were better than HID?
  • moonshine
    moonshine Posts: 1,021
    Is HID old technology now? I know the replacement bulbs are expensive but can you really match the light output and SPREAD with LEDs? Surely the car manuacturers would be using LED's if they were better than HID?

    it might be a light output to power consumption argument with cars.

    HID's may be more powerful, but could require a lot more power. This isn't a problem in a car with a massive battery and an alternator to charge it when the engine is running, but on a bike where weight is important and battery life is proportionate to current drawn... LED's are probably much more efficient.