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Front light recommendations under £50, see the road.

woo1woo1 Posts: 51
edited October 2014 in Road buying advice
I need to purchase a front light, I will be cycling down country roads where there's not much light so I need to see the road & those lovely pot holes.

Can anyone recommend any for under £50.00 ?

Many thanks

Posts

  • After much research I've bought one of these: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/TrustFire-2x- ... 1039262842
    Awaiting delivery for now.
    Cannondale Synapse 105 Disc
  • diydiy Posts: 6,473
    Anything with an XM-L2 LED will be good. Though some of the cheaper versions with external power packs tend to have rubbish packs. Personally I use two Ultrafire 501b XM-L2 strapped the bars. Gives me about 500 lumen on medium setting with a max of around 1100 on full (combined). The LEDs are capable of 1000 lumen each at 3A, but they give a decent run time at 1.5 - 2A. They also have a low mode which is also pretty good.

    Look at this thread and go back a few pages:
    viewtopic.php?f=20005&t=12807034&start=2840

    http://www.lightmalls.com/ultrafire-wf- ... ch-1-18650
    Chargers straps and cells are best bought from ebay.

    charger search for either 18650 USB power pack for charger or 18650 charger xtar

    I actually find a couple of loops of MTB inner tube is pretty good at mounting them on the drops, if you can't be bothered with a strap. It sounds like a lot of faf, but the above lights will out perform a ligh costing £50-100 easily.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Words of warning on those ones....
    They're bright, but the beam pattern isn't tuned for riding so the light goes everywhere. They're ok, but not great.
    I had 2, one has failed, it won't give a reliable light - it keeps switching between modes or off. I thought it was a dodgy battery connection, but I've sorted that and it's still not working correctly so I assume somewhere inside it has got a broken part.
    I'm not bothered as it was cheap and only my secondary light. I wouldn't advise using just one in isolation - always have a backup and preferably a seeme light too.

    £50 for a primary light - I'd go for the cateye nano shot or the volt300 - I have the nano shot+ and a volt700 and they're great lights - reliable too.
  • I've been using cheap Chinese torches bought on the reccomendations from the MTB Buying threads posted. I've had five years problem free all weather riding cost me about £40. Simply angle the at the road and beam pattern is not an issue. Only extra thing I bough was a better charger to be able to charge different sizes of battery.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,473
    Slowbike wrote:
    ..it's still not working correctly so I assume somewhere inside it has got a broken part.

    watch my vid, to see if you can fix. 9/10 its nothing complex.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJpQAvum0bM

    On the beam issue, its all about how you angle them as above and with two you can have them set like car headlights left down, right far dip left. The days of choosing spot or flood with XR-E,MC-E and XP-G based LEDs are gone. The XM-L series delivers both.

    Here is a a couple of XM-L (v1) T6 - camera makes it look darker than reality, but you can see I'm putting out car headlight quality light on medium setting.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kQL6UnNmjk&t=0m55s
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    edited September 2014
    Yep all you need is one of these
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CREE-XML-XM-L-T6-1800-LM-LED-Cycling-Bike-Bicycle-Head-Light-HeadLamp-HeadLight-/140744146377
    Sorted

    Well good to have a backup light too. I have a moon USB rechargeable which is good for when you don't need to take peoples retina's out in towns etc. the Cree is a dark lanes light.
    Bianchi Infinito CV
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    Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
    Gary Fisher Aquila '98
    Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem
  • For £50 you can either buy one medium power light from the likes of Cateye, Lezyne etc. Or 2 or 3 of the more powerful Cree lights mentioned above plus chargers and batteries, giving you back ups. If you're riding unlit country roads at night you need at least two main front lights.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 10,471
    I have had cheap XMLcree ones off ebay in fact still have them but offroad use only now, I have a Moon X Power300 good enough for very dark lanes at 4.30 in the morning and reliable unlike my cree ones. You can currently get them for under £40 from various internet outlets. Very well made and easy enough to get spares for ie batteries and handlebar mounts, i swap mine between several bikes.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • navrig2navrig2 Posts: 1,707
    t4tomo wrote:

    I've got two of these although with different power packs. One on beam and one on flash works for me.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    diy wrote:
    watch my vid, to see if you can fix. 9/10 its nothing complex.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJpQAvum0bM
    Ta - I will do - Already done the tape around the battery, hadn't got around to looking further and as it's a secondary light I haven't prioritised it.
    My point (poorly made) is that these can fail as you're riding along (as mine did) - at which point you don't have a front light ... you can mitigate that by having 2 or more.
    I would (and do) ride with my Cateye with just a seeme for backup - the quality of build is greater - but then you do pay for that (and some!).
    diy wrote:
    On the beam issue, its all about how you angle them as above and with two you can have them set like car headlights left down, right far dip left. The days of choosing spot or flood with XR-E,MC-E and XP-G based LEDs are gone. The XM-L series delivers both.
    Of the two Cree torches I've got, one has a definitive bright spot and the other less so, neither have the better(IMHO) spread of the Cateye NS+ and both waste quite a bit of light in places it's not needed - they're not designed as bike lights
    Doesn't make them wrong, just not ideal.
  • Bar ShakerBar Shaker Posts: 2,313
    I'm using a Cree like the ones in t4tomo's link. I can't fault them for night time road riding.

    I would have given up my Weds evening rides a long time ago, without the Cree.
    Boardman Elite SLR 9.2S
    Boardman FS Pro
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,738
    Bar Shaker wrote:
    I'm using a Cree like the ones in t4tomo's link. I can't fault them for night time road riding.

    I would have given up my Weds evening rides a long time ago, without the Cree.


    Sorry if this is a silly question - will that cree in the link mount onto bars (using the strap supplied), or is it for head mount only?
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    If you want something that will light up the road but isn't going to dazzle oncoming drivers you could do worse than the Busch & Muller Ixon IQ Premium, currently under £50* with free delivery from Rose Bikes in Germany. Takes 4 x AA rechargeables and will give 4-5 hours on full blast.

    * if you go for the version without batteries and charger. I already have those since I've been using a Fenix L2D up to now.
  • Bar ShakerBar Shaker Posts: 2,313
    Imposter wrote:
    Bar Shaker wrote:
    I'm using a Cree like the ones in t4tomo's link. I can't fault them for night time road riding.

    I would have given up my Weds evening rides a long time ago, without the Cree.


    Sorry if this is a silly question - will that cree in the link mount onto bars (using the strap supplied), or is it for head mount only?

    Yes, it comes with an assortment of rubber type bands and attaches fine, onto the bars. I paid just under £10 for mine in the summer. Now available on Amazon for approx £13.
    Boardman Elite SLR 9.2S
    Boardman FS Pro
  • nfrangnfrang Posts: 250
    diy wrote:
    Here is a a couple of XM-L (v1) T6 - camera makes it look darker than reality, but you can see I'm putting out car headlight quality light on medium setting.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kQL6UnNmjk&t=0m55s

    What brackets are you using/recommend there diy? I'm looking at getting something very similar pretty soon. I'd like to be able to move the beam around whenever I need to but a lot of the brackets on ebay look awful.
  • galatzogalatzo Posts: 1,295
    Some bargains to be had here

    http://outlet.upgradebikes.co.uk/Outlet ... nge/Lights

    Just had a set of macro/micro delivered this morning so yet to even open but cheaper than anywhere else.
    10% off Lezyne at PBK at the moment at prices are cheap even before the 10% off.

    And check out the item below. Half way down the article it allows you to compare lights side by side.

    http://road.cc/content/review/72271-lez ... ront-light
    25th August 2013 12hrs 37mins 52.3 seconds 238km 5500mtrs FYRM Never again.
  • jamesesjameses Posts: 653
    Galatzo wrote:
    And check out the item below. Half way down the article it allows you to compare lights side by side.

    http://road.cc/content/review/72271-lez ... ront-light

    That's pretty interesting. thanks for posting the link. Checking through a few lights, it seems like the £20 ebay special is on a par with brand name lights in the £80-100 range in terms of light output, although the light intensity is more focussed straight ahead. Is there a significant downside to this pattern? Compare it to the Lezyne power drive xl - the Lezyne throws out less directly in front, but tails off more gradually to the sides
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    JamesEs wrote:
    Galatzo wrote:
    And check out the item below. Half way down the article it allows you to compare lights side by side.

    http://road.cc/content/review/72271-lez ... ront-light

    That's pretty interesting. thanks for posting the link. Checking through a few lights, it seems like the £20 ebay special is on a par with brand name lights in the £80-100 range in terms of light output, although the light intensity is more focussed straight ahead. Is there a significant downside to this pattern? Compare it to the Lezyne power drive xl - the Lezyne throws out less directly in front, but tails off more gradually to the sides

    The hotspot of some cheap Cree lights is not good by itself for cycling - although it depends what & where you're riding and how fast obviously.

    The hotspot tends to draw the focus of your eyes and leaves you less able to spot other hazards in the road and on bends it's even worse - that's where you need a wider beam pattern and one that has a reasonable spread fore & aft too.

    Combine 2 Cree lights to get a wider pattern or, as I do - put on a cycling light and use the Cree for extra power/distance lighting.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    diy wrote:
    Slowbike wrote:
    ..it's still not working correctly so I assume somewhere inside it has got a broken part.

    watch my vid, to see if you can fix. 9/10 its nothing complex.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJpQAvum0bM

    I had 2 mins to checkout my "broken" Cree - the bit that screws into the head was very slack - so tightened up and took it on the club ride (alongside my Cateye) ... it didn't falter ... thanks for the vid :)
  • JamesEs wrote:
    Galatzo wrote:
    And check out the item below. Half way down the article it allows you to compare lights side by side.

    http://road.cc/content/review/72271-lez ... ront-light

    That's pretty interesting. thanks for posting the link. Checking through a few lights, it seems like the £20 ebay special is on a par with brand name lights in the £80-100 range in terms of light output, although the light intensity is more focussed straight ahead. Is there a significant downside to this pattern? Compare it to the Lezyne power drive xl - the Lezyne throws out less directly in front, but tails off more gradually to the sides


    I use these mounts

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2x-Rubber-Bic ... 4628da1a0f

    Take the bolt out and use a cable tie instead for road bars - its easy to twist up and down to change angle and there is some lateral as well.

    I use two cheap chinese torches - one of the T6s from Supersonics thread on MTB Buying which has a bigger head and throws a beam further down the road and a 501 with an Orange Peel reflector which throws a wider beam. 501 is pointed so the beam starts just in front of my front wheel and the the T6 one is angled so its beam starts just where the 501s finished. Its perfect for road riding, wouldnt really work for off road where you might need to see branches etc but on road its a cheap solution. No way is any motorist dazzled unless their eyes are about a foot of the ground and with the distance and wide close beam it works.
  • mrb123mrb123 Posts: 3,729
    I took delivery of one of the Cree lights yesterday. It's one of the Trustfire ones.
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/TrustFire-600 ... 486995ac7c

    The head unit of the light itself seems to be of decent quality, made of metal with a good button on the back to toggle between the three modes. The light itself also seems very bright.

    I'm a bit concerned about the charger though. The original charger is a 2-pin affair although it comes with a 3-pin adapter. The charger doesn't seem to fit into the adapter very well and there are no instructions to say which way round it should go in to it, if in fact that would make any difference.

    Does anyone have any experience of these chargers? Are they the standard types that come with the Cree lights, and, if so, are they ok to use or is it worth trying to find a charger that comes set up with a UK plug?
  • woo1woo1 Posts: 51
    With these Cree lights, I'm assuming you have a large battery attached to your bike ? Does it get in the way ?
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    JamesEs wrote:
    Galatzo wrote:
    And check out the item below. Half way down the article it allows you to compare lights side by side.

    http://road.cc/content/review/72271-lez ... ront-light

    That's pretty interesting. thanks for posting the link. Checking through a few lights, it seems like the £20 ebay special is on a par with brand name lights in the £80-100 range in terms of light output, although the light intensity is more focussed straight ahead. Is there a significant downside to this pattern? Compare it to the Lezyne power drive xl - the Lezyne throws out less directly in front, but tails off more gradually to the sides

    Also check out the Gemini Lights Duo to get an idea of what the twin head Trustfire TR-D000 and Solarstorm X2 style lights put out for only £30. It would be nice if that article included all the Cree Chinese lights along side the boutique ones to give a true comparison. But then i'd imagine few people would buy the boutique ones.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Cateye Volt 300 is all you need really compact and bright enough to see where you are going.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • galatzogalatzo Posts: 1,295
    Further to my earlier post about my newly delivered Lezyne macro/micro set I can confirm they are indeed damn bright. Ex display/slightly used but all good. Not used them other than to point into the garden but very impressed at the glow.
    25th August 2013 12hrs 37mins 52.3 seconds 238km 5500mtrs FYRM Never again.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Cateye Volt 300 is all you need really compact and bright enough to see where you are going.
    Nope. Not enough in the rain. Or on fast descents of winding country lanes. The 700 is pretty good though.
  • dj58dj58 Posts: 2,193
    +1 for the Cateye volt 700, purchased a couple of these recently and on high beam they light up unlit roads well enough to ride with confidence at speed. Over your budget, however I've seen them at £75-79 online.

    http://cateye.com/en/products/detail/HL-EL470RC/
  • woo1 wrote:
    With these Cree lights, I'm assuming you have a large battery attached to your bike ? Does it get in the way ?

    Depends on the bike. On my Specialized, it has a wide, flat top tube so I can strap it onto that but then my steel bikes has thin, round tubes, so I have to find another place for it then. Although this one - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CREE-XML-XM-L ... 4897.l4275 - which somebody mentioned earlier looks like it has a more sensible battery, it's long and thin instead of being a block. Personally though, I'm now looker at the torch style lights as backups/when I can't be arsed swapping my main light around.
  • I bought a Cree two years ago from a link on here for ~£25 including a decent backup rear light, the battery was quite bulky and the carrier strap was pretty flimsy, so I've always dedicated a pocket of my winter hi-vis jacket to holding the battery (in the carrier) and slack cable.

    Amazing power, I only use anything but the weakest mode on foggy/misty mornings!
    ================
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    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
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