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What lights/LEDS do i need to start commuting ?

bilabonicbilabonic Posts: 299
edited December 2012 in Commuting general
Hi Guys

Going to start commuting (around 12 round trip), i have all the gear for trails, Endura jackets/bottoms/thermals etc.

I also have a maxx d3 front light which is bright as fook...

I was planning on not using a front light as its a well lit route.

So i need some leds and some waterproof shoes/boots (i do have sealskin socks)

Anyone advise ?

Thanks
Specialized Epic FSR Carbon Comp

Posts

  • bails87bails87 Posts: 12,998
    Advice?

    How about using a front light?! :roll:


    Riding in the dark without a front light is illegal as well as stupid. How are drivers going to avoid puuling out in front of you if they can't see you?

    I'd get one of these:http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/LISML25F/smart_lunar_25_lux_front_light
    along with a Smart R2 or 2 for the back (you want a backup in case one fails without you noticing).

    Then get something like a Knog Frog Strobe to put on your helmet to help grab attention from the front.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • bails87 wrote:
    Advice?

    How about using a front light?! :roll:


    Riding in the dark without a front light is illegal as well as stupid. How are drivers going to avoid puuling out in front of you if they can't see you?

    I'd get one of these:http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/LISML25F/smart_lunar_25_lux_front_light
    along with a Smart R2 or 2 for the back (you want a backup in case one fails without you noticing).

    Then get something like a Knog Frog Strobe to put on your helmet to help grab attention from the front.

    "I also have a maxx d3 front light which is bright as fook" ????

    But then why have a light and not use it?
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 12,998
    On a well lit route an off road light like the Maxx-D will be overkill and probably dazzling for other road users. The Smart is plenty bright enough IME, I get drivers moving over to let me past when I have it on flash, more than when I use my Magicshine!
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • Is there a real need for how strong some of the lights cyclist use are?

    I mean when I leave work it will be pitch black (country roads) and I do just fine with my Cateye Opticube. I understand the benefits but is there point where its overkill?
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 12,998
    Yes, for mountain biking, and IMO for the unlit country lanes where I ride. But then I keep my Magicshine on low for almost all of the journey and angle it considerately when there's traffic about.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • PruPru Posts: 53
    I have a 25lux smart front light which is fine in almost complete darkness... until a car comes the other way, the contrast = blindness.

    Also, no road is well lit enough that you do not need a light at night. It's less about your ability to see, but the ability for others to see you.
  • I agree that Exposure maxx-d might be a bit over the top / annoying / confusing / distracting, could cause other road users to make a mistake, might be dangerous.

    I've seen people use similar stuff 'on the road'. The lumen / lux output is probably getting towards a car headlight. However they have a focus pattern and narrower 'beam'. The thing about some of the MTB 'night lights' is that essentially they are a 'flood' to light up everything in front of you. I do wonder what the risk of temporarily blinding another road user might be.

    anyway, if you like exposure lights, lots of people rate their joystick, sirius etc. models. Be careful though with the 'flash' and 'flare' lights though. Lots of complaints about poor design / build quality on those, and when I saw one, i have to say i wasn't impressed.

    I think the best commuting lights, in terms of design, ease of use, convenience, size, weight, good brackets are made by Moon.

    I have a meteor up front, a mask 5 on my helmet, and a comet at the rear. All well made, attention grabbing, good run times, usb rechargeable.

    I also have a couple of those fibre flare things to help with all round visibility. They're a bit gimmicky and nerdy and need traditional batteries, but I like them.
  • philwiphilwi Posts: 19
    I think it's a bit OT as to "start commuting" you don't "need" lots of light. Just be legal and see how it works out. For cheap battery lights two of each are good, I like one flashing and one steady (so they know I'm not a far-away car). You generally have to remove the things when you're parked or they'll be stolen. Remove them if it's raining and not dark too, as most of them aren't hugely water proof.
    teutonic wrote:
    I agree that Exposure maxx-d might be a bit over the top / annoying / confusing / distracting, could cause other road users to make a mistake, might be dangerous.
    ...I do wonder what the risk of temporarily blinding another road user might be.

    Where I ride I'm usually the fastest vehicle on the road, so I'm unhappy to use lights which are less bright that those used by the cars I'm passing. I have never "been flashed" by a driver when on my bike, so I think I can conclude that I'm not dazzling anyone. I think the same legislation that works for other vehicles will suffice here. I have all the lumens I can get.

    I'm not sure if there's any record of a driver or more likely a cyclist using "I was dazzled" by car or bike as a successful excuse for crashing into something, especially in a 20mph or 30mph zone, but I'd be interested to see some evidence if you're saying it's a problem.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Why not use the Maxx D on a reduced setting? Don't have to run it on Max!
  • Is it worth pointing out the distinction between a light with which to be seen and a light with which to see? On a well lit route, you may not need the latter, but you will need the former. It needn't be expensive or bright enough to navigate by, but bright enough to let others see you.

    There's a bridleway alley I ride through during my commute that I know well enough and have light pollution from the atmosphere to ride through without a problem, but I know for certain pedestrians can't see me without the light on. Local on an unlit bike meets local jogger wearing headphones, for example...
  • pdwpdw Posts: 315
    The lumen / lux output is probably getting towards a car headlight. However they have a focus pattern and narrower 'beam'. The thing about some of the MTB 'night lights' is that essentially they are a 'flood' to light up everything in front of you. I do wonder what the risk of temporarily blinding another road user might be.

    I've certainly encountered cyclists round here using lights that make it hard to see. Dipped car headlights have a very sharp cut off, and put hardly any light above the horizon, whereas most bike lights have a completely symmetrical beam, and even pointed down spill quite a lot of light upwards. I think the smaller size, and bright white colour serves to make bike lights potentially more annoying than a similarly powerful car or motorbike light.

    You can get some bike lights with a proper beam pattern. e.g. this:

    beamshot-dipped.jpg

    rather than this:

    beamshot-main.jpg

    As for the OP, Maxx-D on a low setting sounds like the obvious answer :roll:

    Even a "be seen by" light on a well lit route, I'd go for something reasonably bright. Imagine yourself on a dark, wet night against a backdrop of car headlights.
  • Cheers Guys,

    I was asking about LEDS more than front light as i presumed i did not need one as it 'seems' bright to the pitch black trails i go on night rides.

    Just thinking how much harder it will be on a mountain bike compared to my road bike...lol

    Seriously thinking of getting a Hybrid now......3 bikes then !!!!! :shock:

    Or get a spare set wheels with puncture proof slicks ?

    What do you reckon.
    Specialized Epic FSR Carbon Comp
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Commute on the road bike? Is that an option?

    If you want the flashing type LEDs, to be seen with then a pair of these will be fine:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004747FEE/r ... B004747FEE

    In fact at that price get two sets.
  • philwiphilwi Posts: 19
    I'd suggest that if you find motorists are flashing their lights at you, you've overdone it. It's never happened to me.
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    pdw wrote:

    I've certainly encountered cyclists round here using lights that make it hard to see. Dipped car headlights have a very sharp cut off, and put hardly any light above the horizon, whereas most bike lights have a completely symmetrical beam, and even pointed down spill quite a lot of light upwards. I think the smaller size, and bright white colour serves to make bike lights potentially more annoying than a similarly powerful car or motorbike light.

    You can get some bike lights with a proper beam pattern. e.g. this:

    beamshot-main.jpg

    See. The problem i have with that particular example is that you've got the center of the beam halfway up the door, so it's almost parallel with the pavement or actually pointing up a little. In reality, most people with a stupidly bright Chinese torch or light would be aiming the center of the beam at the bottom edge of the door to light up the road immediately in front of them (i do), in which case the top edge of the beam is pretty much at the same level as your first pic. Certainly, when you walk round the front of the bike and look at the lights, they don't dazzle unless you actually squat down to look directly into the reflector. More so with the small headed Ultrafire 501/502 style torches.

    So there's no real reason not to get the symmetrical beamed Cree XML style torches as long as you mount them sensibly.
  • pdwpdw Posts: 315
    It's aimed pretty much horizontal as I use it as a switchable full beam light. Obviously if it's your only light, you wouldn't use it like that, but imagine if you did angle it down to the point that the top of the brightest part of the light is roughly at the level of the cut-off of the first light. There's a lot of light being spilled above that point - look how clearly the top of the garage door and above is illuminated, even though the spot of the beam is in the middle of the door.

    Before I got the Philips light (the one with the cut-off) I used a second LED with a symmetrical beam, and pointed it right down. I couldn't see nearly as far as with the Philips light, and yet it was clearly still annoying to pedestrians and probably to cars too.

    So whilst you can probably dip lower power symmetrical beamed lights to the point that they're not offensive, something with a proper beam pattern is a lot better both for you to see by, and for people who have to face you.
  • http://www.lightmalls.com/3600-lumen-3t ... -light-kit

    and

    http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/LIP ... rear_light

    Done and done. I've never understood the argument that one would need less and not more light output in traffic than off road what with commuters running the risk of their wimpy lights being drowned out by car and motorbike headlights. I've had many near misses on a roadbike fitted with a low-power blinky when tailed by car/motorbike and another road usér turning into my path having focused on the powerful lights of the vehicle following me. With XM-L-T6 lights that just does not happen. More is, well, more.
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    http://www.lightmalls.com/3600-lumen-3t6-led-high-power-bicycle-light-for-3-cree-xm-l-t6-4-mode-led-bike-light-kit

    and

    http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/LIP ... rear_light

    Done and done. I've never understood the argument that one would need less and not more light output in traffic than off road what with commuters running the risk of their wimpy lights being drowned out by car and motorbike headlights. I've had many near misses on a roadbike fitted with a low-power blinky when tailed by car/motorbike and another road usér turning into my path having focused on the powerful lights of the vehicle following me. With XM-L-T6 lights that just does not happen. More is, well, more.


    I'd say yes to the second one but most definitely no to the first one. Those three T6 lights are neither very good for off road or on road use.
    For off road, they simply aren't diffuse enough, ruin your night vision and run for less than an hour unless you get a couple of extra battery packs and a y-splitter cable. For on road use, even with just one of the three T6's on, they are just too bright as it runs at full brightness and can't be dimmed. Not to mention that the open faced design with the T6 sitting just behind the glass means there's no way of angling the head that doesn't blind all oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

    Two T6's in two separate heads running on medium output is a better choice for commuting, especially if it's a smaller reflector with the emitter recessed further back into the head. Hence the popularity of torches like the Ultrafire 501/502 or Trustfire A8 etc.
  • Well I suppose a 501/2 torch, cells and charger would be a more sensible option and cheaper too. I have P7 and 501/2 torches and the trouble is that they keep switching modes in bumps. The fix is supposed to be to wrap some paper or tape around the cell to stop it from moving inside the torch but I've never managed to make it tight enough to stop the annoying mode-switching.
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    Well I suppose a 501/2 torch, cells and charger would be a more sensible option and cheaper too. I have P7 and 501/2 torches and the trouble is that they keep switching modes in bumps. The fix is supposed to be to wrap some paper or tape around the cell to stop it from moving inside the torch but I've never managed to make it tight enough to stop the annoying mode-switching.

    Got to remember that the battery is suspended between two springs and has a habit of bouncing back and forth (recoil) which can momentarily cause a break in contact. The tape isn't really there to stop the battery bouncing up and down, so much as to get a grip on the sides of the torch so that the increased friction stops it wanting to slide back and forth. So much so that the battery shouldn't slide out of the torch via gravity alone when you take the back off and point it vertical. Should need a few taps on the front of the torch to get it out.

    Certainly, i had the mode changing thing happen on all four of my 502's and my A8, but not any longer.

    If you've eliminated that as the cause, then the other major problem is going to be the tailcap. You need to tighten up the inside of the cap via the two indentations next to the rear spring until it can't be tightened any further (if the tail cap rattles if you shake it next to your ear you know it's where the problem lies).

    If those two are eliminated then the problem has to be at the emitter end. On some models, running a wire from the spring directly to the emitter can solve the problem.
  • Ouija wrote:
    http://www.lightmalls.com/3600-lumen-3t6-led-high-power-bicycle-light-for-3-cree-xm-l-t6-4-mode-led-bike-light-kit

    and

    http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/LIP ... rear_light

    Done and done. I've never understood the argument that one would need less and not more light output in traffic than off road what with commuters running the risk of their wimpy Peimar led lights being drowned out by car and motorbike headlights. I've had many near misses on a roadbike fitted with a low-power blinky when tailed by car/motorbike and another road usér turning into my path having focused on the powerful lights of the vehicle following me. With XM-L-T6 lights that just does not happen. More is, well, more.


    I'd say yes to the second one but most definitely no to the first one. Those three T6 lights are neither very good for off road or on road use.
    For off road, they simply aren't diffuse enough, ruin your night vision and run for less than an hour unless you get a couple of extra battery packs and a y-splitter cable. For on road use, even with just one of the three T6's on, they are just too bright as it runs at full brightness and can't be dimmed. Not to mention that the open faced design with the T6 sitting just behind the glass means there's no way of angling the head that doesn't blind all oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

    Two T6's in two separate heads running on medium output is a better choice for commuting, especially if it's a smaller reflector with the emitter recessed further back into the head. Hence the popularity of torches like the Ultrafire 501/502 or Trustfire A8 etc.

    These lights are pretty nice. My friends uses it and they have very short responding time
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