Winter lights.....A warning

mabbo
mabbo Posts: 117
edited November 2013 in Road general
all,
Last year I wanted to carry on riding through the winter so decided I needed at least one decent light. Having read all the reviews, I decided,(being a little on the careful side with my money), to buy one of the chinese e-bay jobbies. Ordered, paid £39. Arrived in a week. All seemed good. The bracket which mounted the light to it's rubber bands broke the first time I went over a pothole. But to be honest, I was not that bothered about that. I made use of one of my torch mounts,(The velcro and rubber twofish block ones), which worked fine with the aid of a cable tie. Better than the original in fact. So used about 6 hours a week for November 2012 to April 2013. Packed away for the summer. First dark ride was Tuesday of this week. 16 mph down one of my usual unlit country roads and the light went out. Not nice. Always have a backup light and a helmet light , so not a disaster, but slower for the last 9 miles. Anyway, battery was not flat. All wiring is OK. Not even any corrosion showing. But it's dead as a Dodo. Can only assume it has burnt out. It was a Three Cree LED model, claiming 3600 Lumens. (Which it never was). But it was good light.

My point being that we all get seduced by these chinese jobbies, but it's probably pot luck how long they last. I suspect it's burnt out due to the heat from the three LEDS, and lower grade circuitry. Based on it's lifespan, they are not really a cheap option.

Anyway, just my thoughts and advice on the topic. Now ordered a new Lezyne Deca drive from CRC. £101, but a two year warranty. I'll see how that goes.
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Comments

  • Sorry about your bad fortune, I think the Lezyne will be a good light for your cycling. I am going to switch from the Planet Bike light I have to a USB rechargeable light. No night time riding for me but, I like having a flashing front light for my rides, as well as a red blinking light on the back.

    Planet Bike has been very reliable but, it is battery only and, I want to try one of the USB rechargeable type. I have had several people tell me the flashing front light got their attention well, even in the day time. Your price point is pretty much the same as mine.
    Lets just got for a ride, the heck with all this stuff...
  • One more comes around to my old mans mantra buy cheap buy twice. On winter 5 with my Ixon IQ more than paid back the cash. Deca Drive a good looking light.
    Neil
    Help I'm Being Oppressed
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    I've got one of the cheap Chinese lights - an Ultrafire 1600. Other than a wobbly battery that needed shimming it's been fine so far - did notice a bit of wet inside the lens so will get that sealed up (vaseline). But - it's not my primary light - I have a Cateye Nanoshot+ for that - I can ride just on that light as I did all last winter.
    I'll see how the cheap chinese jobbie does - hopefully it'll last the winter :)
  • Bozman
    Bozman Posts: 2,518
    For every negative experience there'll be dozens of positive ones.
    A couple of years ago my mate started nights and he bought an 1800 or 2400 lumen cree, it's still burning brightly lighting up the country lanes of Derbyshire.
    It would cost you a fortune for a light with that output and if it only lasts 2 years it would still pay to buy another and another... Thank god for the Chinese.
  • A colleague has just bought two sets of Lezyne lights, one of these refuses to charge. Go and check out the help forum on their website - it's not an isolated experience. I bought an Electron Terra 2 light 18 months ago and that lasted 12 months before packing in, Electron weren't interested in sorting me out. So buying from 'known' brands isn't always a guarantee of quality - maybe if you have deep pockets and go for Exposure and the like then your experience will be better.
    I agree with the buy cheap buy twice mantra in general but with lights the pricing differences are so dramatic and the end results so similar (in terms of performance) that longevity and back up is the only reason not to buy the Chinese stuff (maybe aesthetics too) I've bought a Hope1 light three years ago and it's still going strong but it's eclipsed by the performance of my recent Chinese lights.
  • thistle_
    thistle_ Posts: 7,148
    I've had a few problems with my cheap chinese lights.

    A couple of times the cables have frayed and needed replacing (buy an extension cable, chop it in half and solder it back on)
    Also 2, maybe 3 times the battery pack has just stopped working or charging. Fault was with the protective circuit (designed to stop shorts or over draining destroying the cells). I got a few new circuit boards off eBay and swapped them, only 5 wires to solder on each.

    Inconvenient and no good if you don't have a backup but they are often easy to fix. I'm not sure if you can do the same with more expensive lights.

    I always thought if I bought a Hope 4 for £200 and it lasted for 4 years, then if I paid £50 for a light I'd be happy if it lasted 1 year.
  • Ouija
    Ouija Posts: 1,386
    While the whole "you get what you pay for" argument is true, as mentioned above, a lot of the expensive stuff doesn't seem to be without flaws. I own over 20 sets of Chinese Cree lights of every type and persuasion and while i've had niggles with some (the aforementioned mode changes over bumps, fixed with tape around the battery) they've stud up longer than some of my older LED and Halogen systems of yesteryear, some of which cost hundreds of pounds. It pays to do some research first, before placing your money on anything. Those triple emitter in one cylinder head Chinese designs get seriously slated over in the big lights thread (largely by me) for being uncontrollable, battery destroying, overheating monstrosities. Avoid.
  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    Ouija wrote:
    While the whole "you get what you pay for" argument is true, as mentioned above, a lot of the expensive stuff doesn't seem to be without flaws.

    True but from experience a very reputable UK company replaced lights without quibble, despite being outside of the warranty period.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    I always thought if I bought a Hope 4 for £200 and it lasted for 4 years, then if I paid £50 for a light I'd be happy if it lasted 1 year.

    The problem is identifying when the failure will occur - sods law says mid-ride ...
  • sbbefc
    sbbefc Posts: 189
    I went for the Cat eye nano shot after good reviews on another thread on this forum.

    So far so good.
  • Phil_D
    Phil_D Posts: 467
    I have a couple of the torch ones. The biggest problem I have is using them as a torch and forgetting to put them back on my bike for the following morning and then waking up the whole house trying to find them.
  • ddraver
    ddraver Posts: 26,391
    iPete wrote:
    Ouija wrote:
    While the whole "you get what you pay for" argument is true, as mentioned above, a lot of the expensive stuff doesn't seem to be without flaws.

    True but from experience a very reputable UK company replaced lights without quibble, despite being outside of the warranty period.

    I Hope you were happy (???)
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • I got bored of the issue with cheap chinese jobbies, and even cheap uk jobbies so bit the bullet and bought an exposure. Used it last night and it was nothing short of spectacular...
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,520
    Same happened to me - cheap Magishine copy that burned out after about a dozen uses at most. I switched to a Exposure Strada then which is designed for road use with a Lezeyne Microdrive as a backup.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,520
    A colleague has just bought two sets of Lezyne lights, one of these refuses to charge.

    I've found the Lezyne's will only charge from USB on the computer rather than with a USB adapter through the mains which is a bit annoying as I rarely bother switching a computer on at home.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    It MIT be the USB plug isn't powerful enough. The old ones would only deliver 500mha.
  • MattC59
    MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    I bought a Hope Vision 2; It's got two 5w LEDs which are more than bright enough for fast road riding. On medium power, I can get 4 1/2 hrs run time, on full power 2hrs. The battery hasn't degraded at all, and the service from Hope is second to none (I lost a machined alu spacer, so they sent me a new one FOC)

    I bought it in 2007 for £175, that works out at about £30 per year.

    Buy quality and buy once.
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • I got bored of the issue with cheap chinese jobbies, and even cheap uk jobbies so bit the bullet and bought an exposure. Used it last night and it was nothing short of spectacular...

    You'll have no regrets. I've been on Exposure lights for over two years (Toro). Just superbly designed and made self-contained lights that perform faultlessly and take serious abuse (mine came off on a fast downhill and bounced down the road still switched on, no worries once it was clipped back on (properly this time!)) and if you do have an issue, Exposure are excellent to deal with.

    They are UK-based and sort out any problem up to 2 years after purchase. My light wasn't charging fully and so I sent it back in its case and it was returned a few days later with a new charger.

    My Exposure is so utterly reliable that, to be honest, I don't even bother taking a back-up light, I just don't need to. That's what you pay for.
  • Taping things up and sealing with vaseline...kind of highlights why it's worth paying a bit more for something that's had some R&D. I know some might see such tweaks as a minor inconvenience but personally I don't want to spend my spare time working out why a product isn't working how it should.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    I got bored of the issue with cheap chinese jobbies, and even cheap uk jobbies so bit the bullet and bought an exposure. Used it last night and it was nothing short of spectacular...

    You'll have no regrets. I've been on Exposure lights for over two years (Toro). Just superbly designed and made self-contained lights that perform faultlessly and take serious abuse (mine came off on a fast downhill and bounced down the road still switched on, no worries once it was clipped back on (properly this time!)) and if you do have an issue, Exposure are excellent to deal with.

    They are UK-based and sort out any problem up to 2 years after purchase. My light wasn't charging fully and so I sent it back in its case and it was returned a few days later with a new charger.

    My Exposure is so utterly reliable that, to be honest, I don't even bother taking a back-up light, I just don't need to. That's what you pay for.

    Your light fell off - but it's reliable ?! Doesn't quite make sense.
    Backup light is there for a just in case - I'd be completely stuffed without at lease a seeme light if my main one (now 2) failed.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    Taping things up and sealing with vaseline...kind of highlights why it's worth paying a bit more for something that's had some R&D. I know some might see such tweaks as a minor inconvenience but personally I don't want to spend my spare time working out why a product isn't working how it should.
    Meh .... A bit of tape or Vaseline isn't exactly hard to diagnose or apply - doesn't take a minute.
    I prefer the cateye to the ultra fire torch because the light spread is better and the cateye has a battery status indicator - however the ultra fire is nice as it has a narrow spot useful for lighting up the distance leaving the cateye to work on low power close in to the wheel with a good spread.

    It's only used for the return commute - but that is frequent - not sure how many miles I did in the dark last year, but quite a few.
  • peat
    peat Posts: 1,242
    If i was using them day-in day-out i would probably opt for a branded set.

    As it is, i have 2x cheapie cree's that i use once or twice a week and have done for 2 years without a hitch.
    (Disclaimer: Max ride time probably no more than 2.5hrs and never got them very wet)
  • Slowbike wrote:
    Your light fell off - but it's reliable ?! Doesn't quite make sense.

    It makes perfect sense if you'd read my post - I mentioned that I fixed it back on "properly". I had just got a new Garmin and had it fitted too close to the Exposure light bracket so the clip wasn't engaged fully - even the best engineered fitting (ie the Exposure one) doesn't work if an idiot (me) doesn't connect it properly. The bracket itself is beautifully engineered since it's designed for serious offroad abuse - "bombproof" you might say - and so nicely designed that it's actually quite an achievement to fail to clip it on properly!

    The fact that it bounced off down the road but was completely unaffected (except for a few small chunks missing from the solid CNC'd aluminium casing) was actually a very nice (one-off) accident as it consolidated my already massive confidence in the product. I've done thousands of reliable pitch dark miles in all weathers with my Toro since then.

    You'll have to try harder than that to discredit the utter reliability of these Exposure products! :wink:
  • napoleond
    napoleond Posts: 5,992
    My Magicshine torch is still going strong after 3 years. (touch wood)
    Insta: ATEnduranceCoaching
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • Had my cheapy Chinese Cree torches running on the bike for over a year now. No problems even commuting every day in the winter weather. They are also very good for camping too.
  • Pross wrote:
    A colleague has just bought two sets of Lezyne lights, one of these refuses to charge.

    I've found the Lezyne's will only charge from USB on the computer rather than with a USB adapter through the mains which is a bit annoying as I rarely bother switching a computer on at home.

    She's tried all sorts of USB PSUs but no joy. Sent back now I believe.
  • NapoleonD wrote:
    My Magicshine torch is still going strong after 3 years. (touch wood)

    Mine too, best £90 I've spent on something bike related.
  • Chris87
    Chris87 Posts: 224
    I got a lezyne power drive XL off sport pursuit, the (normally) more expensive version with extra mounts and a spare battery and it only cost £50! Turns out one of the batteries was faulty and wouldn't hold charge, lezyne are sending me a new one this week as its covered under warranty, also means if I have any other problems it will be nice and easy to get sorted.

    Also the working battery is charging off my iPhone mains usb adapter fine.

    You have to wait a little while but the few things I've bought off sport pursuit have been great and they have a really good customer service team.

    theres a few good light offers on at the moment if anyone is looking - http://www.sportpursuit.com/join/Chris_Brown_8337
  • I got bored of the issue with cheap chinese jobbies, and even cheap uk jobbies so bit the bullet and bought an exposure. Used it last night and it was nothing short of spectacular...

    You'll have no regrets. I've been on Exposure lights for over two years (Toro). Just superbly designed and made self-contained lights that perform faultlessly and take serious abuse (mine came off on a fast downhill and bounced down the road still switched on, no worries once it was clipped back on (properly this time!)) and if you do have an issue, Exposure are excellent to deal with.

    They are UK-based and sort out any problem up to 2 years after purchase. My light wasn't charging fully and so I sent it back in its case and it was returned a few days later with a new charger.

    My Exposure is so utterly reliable that, to be honest, I don't even bother taking a back-up light, I just don't need to. That's what you pay for.

    ^^^This!!

    Bought the Exposure Toro last winter and it is awesome. Turns my ink black commute into almost daylight! Superbly made, and an excellent company to deal with. I thought I could hear my charger 'buzzing' while it was in use, and being a fireman I thought I'd check this out just to make sure. I contacted the company who had not heard of this before and they sent me a new charger straight away. Unbelievable service.

    I have since bought the Flash and Flare as back up lights and I am about to purchase the Blaze rear light to replace my Cateye. I cannot recommend them highly enough!

    They may seem expensive, but what price do you put on your own safety?
    At the erse end o' a coo!
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    They may seem expensive, but what price do you put on your own safety?
    That is such a crap argument ... you're saying that unless I've spent the same or more than you on lights then I'm not safe enough - absolute rubbish!