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Lights suitable for unlit country lanes?

coffeeslutjocoffeeslutjo Posts: 3
edited February 2011 in Commuting general
Hi everyone, after a decade since I owned my last bike, I've just made the leap and bought a new one and am slowly reintroducing my legs to doing so much work!!

I live in a rural area and will be using my bike for both pleasure and work purposes, cycling a combination of routes along the main road and unlit, narrow country lanes, filled with pot holes etc.

I've been doing some research but am not much clearer to figuring out what lights would be most suited for what I need them to do, other than I need to both see and be seen, and that I should also get a back up set.

The following have been recommended to me, but I've read mixed reviews for them :?

Raleigh RSP 3 LED FRONT LIGHT and 5 LED REAR BIKE LIGHT (set)

Cateye EL300 (front)

Cateye TL600 or TL610 (rear)

Electron Terra 2 front Li-ion (front)

Back up:
Knog Frog Strobe 1 LED Front & Rear Light Set - Black

Am I on the right track with these, or should I look at something else? My budget is around the £100 mark.

Thanks, Jo
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Posts

  • jomojjomoj Posts: 777
    Hi Jo

    If you are riding in pitch black then I'd recommend a more powerful front light and I'm not sure most of those come up to scratch although I have no experience of the electron. For a rear light, the TL610 is pretty good but I recently followed a guy with a Smart Lunar that was eye-squintingly powerful so I'd look at those. The Knog lights are good for helmets and emergencies but in my experience the front light eats batteries up. I have the strobe on my lid as a high level light.

    for £125 I got a magicshine 808 front light and 828 rear light that power from the same rechargeable battery + chargers and cables etc and have been pretty impressed. The front light is very bright and has different settings, the rear light is so bright it projects a beam that is brighter than the old lights I used to have on the front. Both lights seem well made and are only a bit let down by the fiddly way you have to change modes.

    i can run both lights for about an hour and 40 before I get a low charge warning so thats enough for 3 legs of my commute - although I tend to use the front on low and medium for most of the journey. Low is still enough to see by in the dark and plenty to be seen by.

    If that's over your budget then the front light + battery is about £80 I think and you could pick up a rear LED like the smart or cateye with the remainder.

    I also use cateye orbit lights on the spokes which are very eyecatching in the dark - yes I do look like a xmas tree - they are designed for side visibility but are actually very good from slight angles to the front and rear too.

    For backup I have a old cateye rear light on the stays and a topeak whitelite on the bars, + spare cells because I'm a belt and braces sort of bloke.

    hope that helps
    Joe
  • Try one of these:

    http://www.dealextreme.com/p/ssc-p7-3-m ... 8650-50947

    Cheap, brilliant (no pun intended) and will blind any oncoming cars.

    I've had one for a year and it's still going strong. And you can't go wrong for £35!
    Lapierre Zesty 514 - 2010
  • Lycra ManLycra Man Posts: 141
    Jo,

    Personally I have a dynamo hub charging my front light , which is a Busch & Muller IQ Cyo. The non-dynamo equivalent is the Busch & Muller Ixon Ix, seen on Amazon today at £80.99. Fantastic spread and reach of light. On a dark lane you will illuminate the whole road from side to side, plenty to see approaching potholes.

    For the back I would go for two Smart 1/2 watt Superflash. They are £10-12.00, very bright, can be on flash or steady and I have one on each side for back up and max protection. Should fit inside your budget too.

    Lycra Man
    FCN7 - 1 for SPDs = FCN6
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    If it is proper dark and you're only riding on roads then avoid the magicshine lights. They're great and really bright, but, in order to be able to see a decent distance down the road you need to having it pointing in such a way as to blind oncoming traffic. This is a really bad idea for obvious reasons.

    My suggestion would be the airstream supernova. Not the brightest out there, at a mere 370 lumens on high, but has a beam designed to allow you to see a long way without blinding drivers (special lens shape to throw most of the light down rather than all over the place) lasts ages (i tend to get a couple of days out of a charge riding for ~ 6 hours on medium/high 6:4 ratio) on a single charge.

    For the rear the best thing would be a couple of the smart 1 watt lights, or 1/2 watts if you want less bright.
  • jomojjomoj Posts: 777
    it's nice to make an impression but blinding an oncoming driver is probably a bit counterproductive in a narrow lane - and they make them narrow in Somerset...

    Yes, i think it was the smart superflash i was thinking of, not the lunar.

    The magichine lights are basically the optics and LED from a P7 torch but with a slightly more convenient external battery, hard to beat for money to lumen value though.
    re: the beam from magichshines - yes I agree they are bit too floody but you could fit a DIY hood on the lamp to help reduce that. Most of my ride is fairly well lit so its not an issue, the really dark bits are bridleway so I onyl have to worry about other non motorists
  • Most of my commute is on dark country roads, i got 2 of these http://www.bestofferbuy.com/ultrafire-wf501b-37v42v-cree-xpg-r5-wc-led-5mode-flashlight-118650-p-30842.html?zenid=chejfurvb3eqng6edtqgvi75m0

    and some batteries/charger/2 mounts and all for under £50 and its an amazing amount of light even with both touches pointing down, and if you are in town just have them on the low setting (or switch one off).

    have a look at the what lights thread in mtb buying advice. guys there are very helpfull.
  • bartimaeusbartimaeus Posts: 1,812
    As buy_my_cookie says, have a read of What Lights. There's a long discussion, but the standard recommendation is for something like a 2xXPG set up giving 600+ Lumens at under £50.
    Vitus Sentier VR+ (2018) GT Grade AL 105 (2016)
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  • jas1978jas1978 Posts: 29
    The Electron terra 2, xmas present is fab, very happy does me just fin on my 15 mile commute through city and country. think think is was rated well on here to!
  • Lycra Man wrote:
    Jo,

    Personally I have a dynamo hub charging my front light , which is a Busch & Muller IQ Cyo. The non-dynamo equivalent is the Busch & Muller Ixon Ix, seen on Amazon today at £80.99. Fantastic spread and reach of light. On a dark lane you will illuminate the whole road from side to side, plenty to see approaching potholes.

    For the back I would go for two Smart 1/2 watt Superflash. They are £10-12.00, very bright, can be on flash or steady and I have one on each side for back up and max protection. Should fit inside your budget too.

    Lycra Man

    Got the same set up & agree with this. IQ is maybe not the brghtest light in any one spot but good enough and very much has a confidence inducing spread of light.

    On my non hub bike I have a Hope vision 1 on the front, its plenty bright enough (on top setting) to roll along at 15-20 on a totally dark field bounded road & very treey country park, it eats batteries for fun on top setting though, as soon as I'm back in streetlights its down to minimum power.

    don't just have 1 x light front and back. have a 'to see by' and a 'to be seen by' light at the front and at least a couple on the back too.


    someone mentioned the Smart Lunar. A great little light that I use primarily as my 'to be seen by' light. But I'd be careful pinning my hopes on it as a 'to see by' one, in total dark it isn't quite good enough to ride with confidence, but is good enough to get home carefully by if the Hope or IQ failed.
  • Thanks, everyone, for your input. I'm quite tempted by the idea of getting two Ultrafire lights, but I have a probably daft question: does the charger listed above come with a UK adaptor?

    And thanks for the tip about getting two rear lights.

    I went out this afternoon round the lanes and then down into the village and took the dog with me. She had a bit of a shock when I sped off and she had to race at top speed to keep up :lol:
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,337
    edited January 2011
    My set-up would blow your budget
    Hope 1 LED front light
    Light & Motion 360 lid light (F&R)
    Multi-LED rear (various on various bikes) Mars 3.0 mostly

    but here's what I've learned on the Highland single-track roads

    Double lights is a must - bike light and lid light front & rear. Not only do they clearly mark you out as a cyclist but the lid light gives car early visibility of you over crests and hedges.

    For me, the fixed Hope marks out the approaching road whereas the lid light allows me to pick out specific obstacles, potholes, side of the road, cycle meter etc etc. Both front lights have more than one light intensity plus a flashing mode (useful when you want people to be extra aware you're a cyclist)

    Neighbour reckons I'm the best-lit bike he's ever seen.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    With rear lights, some people put both on flash. This is really confusing for drivers and makes judging distance very hard.
    2 steady lights or one steady, one blinking works much better.

    Pitch black lanes dont need as much light as you think, your eyes get acclimatised to the dark. A 3-watt dynamo-driven LED lamp is plenty. Put a battery lamp as secondary/backup/repairing lamp and you are all set.
    German-standard dynamo lamps have a light distribution optimised for cycling. Many of the powerful battery lighting systems use generic optics that give flashlight style patterns. You need more power for the same effect.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,337
    MichaelW wrote:
    Pitch black lanes dont need as much light as you think,.

    Depends how fast you're going :wink: , whether it's raining :roll: , what on-coming traffic is like 8) etc. I'd much rather have the option for more light.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • Stop roadies drafting you, fit a Smart 1/2watt to your bag!
    I have to turn my Cateye610 down to one strip and turn the 1/2watt off if i'm pacing Mrs Meanie home.

    +1 for the dealextreme link - 900lumens for £35 is hard to beat
    FCN16 - 1970 BSA Wayfarer

    FCN4 - Fixie Inc
  • cyberknightcyberknight Posts: 1,238
    Stop roadies drafting you, fit a Smart 1/2watt to your bag!
    I have to turn my Cateye610 down to one strip and turn the 1/2watt off if i'm pacing Mrs Meanie home.

    +1 for the dealextreme link - 900lumens for £35 is hard to beat


    Those lights are great but the light on that model is the old version which could let water in under extreme conditions, i have hte new sealed battery with power light and its fantastic, although a bit dearer.

    http://www.dealextreme.com/p/mj-808-ha- ... -set-44459


    sku_44459_4.jpg

    customer piccie , and yes they are that bright.....

    44459-8a641fef-206a-4def-a6c6-64dce9cb3115.jpg

    I use mine on a 4-5 mile unlit section of my 10 mile commute and i am completely confident riding in pitch black as i work shifts so i never see daylight.
    FCN 3/5/9
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    I don't NEED one but I WANT one now :shock:

    Is that strap mechanism good enough for some single track/downhill riding?
  • thiscocksthiscocks Posts: 549
    I have a 100lumen Niterider Newt light and although a great light it is not bright enough for the pitch black lanes I sometimes commute back from work on.

    These look like good value, although I would opt for the LED rather than halogen for the extra burn time: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... TQ:GB:1123
  • crakercraker Posts: 1,739
    iPete wrote:
    I don't NEED one but I WANT one now :shock:

    Is that strap mechanism good enough for some single track/downhill riding?

    Have a look at this thread. I've just put a proper mount on mine after the O ring pinged off in the dark yesterday morning. :shock:

    My P7 came with the non-waterproof batteries and has been a real headache this year - I'm waiting for some new li-ions from deal-extreme and meanwhile using 6 x AA rechargeables.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    thiscocks wrote:
    I have a 100lumen Niterider Newt light and although a great light it is not bright enough for the pitch black lanes I sometimes commute back from work on.

    These look like good value, although I would opt for the LED rather than halogen for the extra burn time: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... TQ:GB:1123
    That is very old tech, heavy NiMH battery, poor output for the money, bulky.

    A 501b with XPG emitter can be had for about £13, add two Li cells (one spare) and a charger, maybe another £12 and you have better performance in a lightweight package. There is also an advantage of having removable cells (you can take a spare) over a single dedicated cell. One of these would be fine for a commute, two for off road/mtb.

    See the What Lights therad and DIY's recommendations
    diy wrote:
    See Link to BoB but also available from DX

    501b or 502b have approx a 30mm head. If you want something a little more floody then the C8 is similar with a 45mm head.

    You will need:
    18650 cells
    charger and a mount. too.

    Personally I would buy 2 501b XPGs Link
    two trustfire protected or unprotected cells link
    a charger link
    two mounts (others have linked)

    bob are shipping in under 2 weeks at the moment
  • Thanks, everyone, for your input. I'm quite tempted by the idea of getting two Ultrafire lights, but I have a probably daft question: does the charger listed above come with a UK adaptor?

    And thanks for the tip about getting two rear lights.

    I went out this afternoon round the lanes and then down into the village and took the dog with me. She had a bit of a shock when I sped off and she had to race at top speed to keep up :lol:

    No they dont come with a UK plug, you can either buy a travel adapter type thing for them, or cut the lead and wire on a UK plug (thats what i did and was very easy)
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 9,757
    Can't add any comments on the choice of front lights - I went with a Hope Vision 2 paired with a Cateye Single shot plus for my front light but I want that 900 lumen one as well now :D

    I cycle almost entirely on unlit country lanes and I can add some advice re: what to do with lights

    Eseential to have two lights (min) front and rear. Have the front one steady with both lights - this will make oncoming traffic pause briefly (not being sure what's coming towards them) and THAT makes people think. That brief moment of consideration has meant that so many cars give me more room at night it's a really noticeable difference

    I have a Catete LD610 and LD1100 at the back of the bike - the 610 on flash and vertically mounted on the seat post - the 1100 with both rows on steady. The flashing light at the rear tells cars it's a bike in front, so it's informative for them.

    Oh, have one front light pointing almost directly at the road in front of you, and the other pooling further down - you get the best cover this way,
    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
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,337
    To echo K-B's point, I had an elderly lady stop as I was waiting for her to pass me in a passing place. She started by complaining that my lid light was very bright and she couldn't work out what I was. I did explain to her that I preferred to confuse cars and have them slow down than run me off the road. She conceded that I had a point and apologised for complaining.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • nickelnickel Posts: 476
    I've heard good things about the P7 flashlight for night mtb rides, so I presume it would be perfectly adequate for riding on unlit country lanes.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Led-Lenser-8407 ... 852&sr=8-1

    Im sure they do a handlebar adaptor as well. And hello to a fellow Somersetian! :)
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Nickel wrote:
    I've heard good things about the P7 flashlight for night mtb rides, so I presume it would be perfectly adequate for riding on unlit country lanes.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Led-Lenser-8407 ... 852&sr=8-1

    Im sure they do a handlebar adaptor as well. And hello to a fellow Somersetian! :)
    The P7 emitter that mtbers like is an LED producing maybe 500 lumens. The Led Lenser P7 torch does not have a P7 emitter, and in my view overpriced and underpowered (maybe 180 lumens), and probably gets a lot of sales because people mistakenly believe it has a P7 emitter.

    Get an XPG 501b from BOB or Dealextreme for £13 and the relevant cells, charger and mount and for under £30 you will have a superb setup.

    Read the MTB what lights thread
  • nickelnickel Posts: 476
    alfablue wrote:
    Nickel wrote:
    I've heard good things about the P7 flashlight for night mtb rides, so I presume it would be perfectly adequate for riding on unlit country lanes.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Led-Lenser-8407 ... 852&sr=8-1

    Im sure they do a handlebar adaptor as well. And hello to a fellow Somersetian! :)
    The P7 emitter that mtbers like is an LED producing maybe 500 lumens. The Led Lenser P7 torch does not have a P7 emitter, and in my view overpriced and underpowered (maybe 180 lumens), and probably gets a lot of sales because people mistakenly believe it has a P7 emitter.

    Get an XPG 501b from BOB or Dealextreme for £13 and the relevant cells, charger and mount and for under £30 you will have a superb setup.

    Read the MTB what lights thread


    Ah, woops! Should have known my ignorance when it comes to lights would trip me up! I'll have to keep that in mind if i do start night riding and need decent lights.
  • http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/phil ... aid:409750

    This is what I use, by it's self on my road bike and in conjunction with a dyno hub and schmidt edelux on my hybrid. By it's self I'd say it's as bright as a moped and cars will wait at junctions when they have plenty of time to get out in front of you because they don't realize you're on a bicycle. With the edelux it's probably brighter than the dipped beam of my car. You get about a 4m wide beam that extends to about 10-15m in front of you depending on how you angle it on the bars. It doesn't have the highest lumen output for the money, but because it has a good lense and reflector all the light is put on the road in front of you and not into the sky/trees/hedges/faces of oncoming traffic like with the torches and majicshines.
    Dolan Preffisio
    2010 Cube Agree SL
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Nickel wrote:
    Ah, woops! Should have known my ignorance when it comes to lights would trip me up! I'll have to keep that in mind if i do start night riding and need decent lights.
    I'm saying that this would do for unlit country lane commuting, not the LED Lenser P7.
  • jeremyrundlejeremyrundle Posts: 1,091
    Nickel wrote:
    I've heard good things about the P7 flashlight for night mtb rides, so I presume it would be perfectly adequate for riding on unlit country lanes.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Led-Lenser-8407 ... 852&sr=8-1

    Im sure they do a handlebar adaptor as well. And hello to a fellow Somersetian! :)

    Ignore people here who knock the Lenser P7, read a proper review

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/sho ... 039&page=1

    I am not a fool and bought it (a) because it is very bright, but also (b) because it can be focused, you can have one set wide illuminating in front of you and the pavement and another set to zoom, illuminating the road way up ahead. Also these torches (I also have L7s and P14) have NO hotspots, but clean even light, and take STANDARD AAA batteries, and TWO power levels.

    Oh, and don't forget they offer a 100% no quibble LIFETIME guarantee, I returned a seven year old broken lenser and got a new one in three days....beat that.

    I have FOUR and the mounts on ebay (get the swivel ones) are only £4

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Swivel-bar-mount- ... 45f82752b4

    http://www.ledco.co.uk/content/productV ... x?prodId=9
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  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    I like my Lupine Betty - 1850 lumens (which can be lowered to 1100 or 700 at the flick of a switch) and a 3 hour burn time, utterly reliable and beautifully engineered. I figure good lighting is a safety imperative and am happy to spend the money to get the best I can. I ride a lot at nights and on unlit country lanes, and these lights are fabulous - worth the admittedly steep price tag.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497

    Oh, and don't forget they offer a 100% no quibble LIFETIME guarantee, I returned a seven year old broken lenser and got a new one in three days...........

    :roll:

    Yawn

    Ignore people who can't read specifications.
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