Light mounts in winter

i.murray301 Posts: 7
edited October 2018 in The workshop
Hello! I'm thinking that I need a new set of lights for the coming season of snow, ice, and darkness, so I've been shopping around and I noticed that a lot of the newer front lights use a rubber strap mounting system. My old front light has hardware featuring a plastic strap that tightens via thumb screw, and then the light itself slides on and off of a track with a button-release spring lock. My question is this: are the rubber strap mounts ok for winter riding? Please understand that by winter riding I mean temps occasionally down in the -20f range. More commonly, lows here are in the positive teens or 20s, but if I'm gonna spend $$$ on a nice one I want it to be good for all my rides, come (frozen) hell or high water. It needs to be good in +100f and -20f, freezing rain, etc. I'm wondering if anyone has had experience with the rubber failing (or aging faster, etc) due to cold or ice (we also get a lot of ice storms here, so getting partially cemented onto my handlebars during my morning ride is probably going to happen a few times each winter. Will it destroy it to try to remove it from a layer of ice when I get to work?). I've had this happen with the rubbery coating on a cable lock; went to lock up when I got to work and the coating literally shattered into hundreds of frozen rubber splinters when I tried to stretch it around my bike and the rack. Has anybody had this happen with a rubbery light mount? Or even just losing elasticity and not holding on well? And if you have had good/bad experiences with one failing/surviving in adverse conditions, I would really appreciate it if you could specify the temperature (roughly) to which it had been exposed, because different people have waaay different ideas about what temperatures constitute winter riding (and for those of you who consider 5 celsius to be the extremes of winter, I am neither judging nor chest-puffing, in fact I will be envying you in a couple months). Or if you have an opinion otherwise on the durability/usefulness of the mounting system (maybe rubber breaks more easily when switching between bikes frequently? etc) I would also love to hear about that.
Also, for a rear light, looks like most everything is made to be mounted to a seatpost now. I prefer backpack mounted (I use 2 different bikes, and I also occasionally have used my rear flasher on my backpack while walking in dark conditions). Anyone know of any decent rear lights that can be backpack mounted? Or maybe it's just the display pics tend to feature the seat mount, and most of them can also be attached to a rear strap? I'm looking for something uncomplicated and medium-inexpensive (under $50?), don't need laser beams or impact-activated cameras, etc. Just something that flashes red and is reliable (definitely needs to be thoroughly rain proof, but I think most everything is unless it's bought at walmart for $5). Current one is a cheapie I picked up at Target or someplace long ago. It works well, but is not rechargeable and the clip on the housing broke, so I built a workaround "holster" for it involving cordura and some cordage to attach it to a rear strap. Works well, but irritating to switch between the strap on the backpack itself and the one on its raincover. Also, it's clunky, wouldn't mind something on the low profile side.
Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences and advice. And I apologize if this isn't in the right forum section, I tried to find something more specific to lighting but didn't see anything like that.


  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    If rubber mounts for lights won't work - how do your tyres cope ?

    I think there's probably about 3 people riding in the temperatures that you're talking about. The other millions ride at warmer temps and have no issues with rubber (or is it silicon ?) mounts for lights.
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    I do a lot of night riding, but living in southern England -5c is about as cold as I ever experience on the bike, and that's pretty unusual. 99.9% of my riding the temps are above zero.

    Hats off to anyone cycle commuting in temperatures low enough to shatter the plastic coating on a cable lock :shock:
  • CitizenLee
    CitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    That wall of text is so big you could abseil down it.
    NukeProof Mega FR 2012
    Cube NuRoad 2018
    2015 Genesis CdF 10, 2014 Cube Hyde Race, 2012 NS Traffic, 2007 Specialized SX Trail, 2005 Specialized Demo 8
  • CitizenLee wrote:
    That wall of text is so big you could abseil down it.
    Lol, fair enough. I got a bit longwinded, sorry.
    To others who replied: thanks for your responses. Yes, my tires do indeed survive the coldest rides without shattering or otherwise acutely failing, but they are studded ice tires so I think it's reasonable to assume that they are built for cold conditions while a light mount may not be. When I say "rubber" light mount, I am using the term loosely, and I realize that there is wide variation in materials that can loosely be called "rubber", and they will have varying success in very cold temperatures. But since most manufacturers don't list the chemical composition of their mounting system, I thought I might find others online who had already had experience with various models succeeding or failing in the cold. If nobody here has info for me, that's understandable, I can email manufacturers of various lights I'm looking at and ask them about cold temps, it's just more time consuming than asking many people all at once on a forum.
    And to Fenix, yes, the number of other bikers I see on those few reeaaally cold mornings does drop off quite a bit, but I still see a few. I live in a college town, and in addition to the few die-hard winter commuters, there are also a fair number of starving students that simply don't have another option to get around. I saw a guy on campus riding with no gloves and nothing covering his face once when it was 11 degrees f and windy. Ouch. Sometimes you gotta do whatever it takes to get to that final. And most of our weather here (Iowa) is not that extreme. Last year I think we got one day that was -21 and maybe 2 or 3 other days where it was in the negative teens, but most of the time it stays within the 0 to +30 range.
    Thanks again, and hope I kept the wall of text short enough that this time it can be scrambled down without breaking out the harness :wink:
  • andy9964
    andy9964 Posts: 930
    Assuming you wear one, what about helmet mounted lights? No need to remove them when you arrive at your destination
  • mrfpb
    mrfpb Posts: 4,569
    Lezyne Zecto rear lights are clip on or seat post mounted.
    If clipping to a loop on your backpack or seat bag you can feed the silicon seatpost strap through the loop and attach it so you get a "belt and braces" closed loop fixing.
  • Andy9964: Hmm, have never tried a helmet mounted light, but might be worth giving one a shot. Would also not need to switch the mount between bikes. Thanks for the idea.
    mrfpb: Thanks for the suggestion of lezyne zecto, I will give them a look. Regarding using a soft strap mount with a backpack: wouldn't the strap form a rough circle shape and then gravity would cause the light to rotate downward? My current system uses cord to attach the light to my pack, but the cord can be drawn so tight against the flat back of the light that it can't rotate, can the rubber straps be pulled similarly tight?
  • kirkee
    kirkee Posts: 369
    As your riding conditions are a bit severe maybe look at other options. Petzl do a beast of a head lamp called a Duo with a specific bike helmet mount thats also rechargeable at home workplace etc. They also do a light case Noctilite that you maybe able to fit in a standard small rear usb charged LED and then zip tie the case to your back pack. That way your not relying on rubber mounts etc.
    Caveat - I buy and ride cheap, however, I reserve the right to advise on expensive kit that I have never actually used and possibly never will