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Night riding and lights

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have any experience with night riding and lighting systems? Lumens required for road and path riding at night? I wont be doing any "off-roading", but I like lots of light. I had an older system that died. I do not know its lumen output so I cannot compare it to current systems...some of which are pretty pricey. Thanks
post #2 of 36

Re: Night riding and lights

Expect any LED light thats worth buying to cost about a dollar/lumen. I know guys that night right quite frequently that have spent upwards of $250 on lights. I have also seen HID lights used (same lights used in bmw headlights). They will cost about the same as a $250 LED light, but you can get over 3000lm out of one light. The only downside to HID is that it requires a ballast that can get kinda bulky and youre probably limited to about 3 hrs battery charge. I think HID is the safest option though if youre doing serious night riding. The last thing you need is to get hit bc someone didnt see you
post #3 of 36

Re: Night riding and lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by dldavis View Post
Does anyone have any experience with night riding and lighting systems? Lumens required for road and path riding at night? I wont be doing any "off-roading", but I like lots of light. I had an older system that died. I do not know its lumen output so I cannot compare it to current systems...some of which are pretty pricey. Thanks
Light and Motion - Welcome
post #4 of 36

Re: Night riding and lights

My wife and I baught some lights a couple of years ago for night riding. They are made by Planet Bike. Our LBS recomended them and they work great for us. We don't ride at night all that often but they are nice to have if you find yourself away from home when the sun is going down.
post #5 of 36

Re: Night riding and lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by dldavis View Post
Does anyone have any experience with night riding and lighting systems? Lumens required for road and path riding at night? I wont be doing any "off-roading", but I like lots of light. I had an older system that died. I do not know its lumen output so I cannot compare it to current systems...some of which are pretty pricey. Thanks
Exposure Lights

Light testing - the results

Fenix torches can act as good headlights too.
post #6 of 36

Re: Night riding and lights

Ay Up lights. They're priced cheaper than a lot of comparable lights. They're built for any weather condition. They are lightweight and have a compact battery with good life. They don't overdrive their LED's like nearly everyone else. They're mucho bright. See the website for night time photos.
post #7 of 36

Re: Night riding and lights

I ride at night alot.
As others stated the LED lights are the way to go.
I have a Night Rider TriNewt. Really does the job.
Cateye LD-1100 for a flasher.

Have fun.
post #8 of 36

Re: Night riding and lights

I have the Dinotte 400 series. 400 lumens and $269. Great light, very bright. You get two rechargeable batteries with 2.5 hours of use each at brightest setting.
post #9 of 36

Re: Night riding and lights

Timely thread.
Just picked up a CygoLite Rover II off eBay for $80 and it's excellent! You'd think I had a car headlight on my bike. It's a dual LED setup that mounts on the handlebar with a battery pack that fits nicely in the bottle cage. For the money, the best city night riding light I found...
post #10 of 36

Re: Night riding and lights

Just picked up a Light & Motion Seca 700 Ultra, brand new/never used, on eBay for $230US. Great light. It replaced a piece of junk NiteHawk K2 (no longer made/company out of business) which had become unreliable, and was in any event inadequate for my purposes. I'm using the Seca on the bars and combine it with an L&M Stella 200L (also bought new on eBay) on my helmet. Can't imagine needing any more light.

Here are several links which may prove useful and informative:
LED Bike Lights Shootout3
Bike Lights Shootout Light Meter Measurements
Lights Shoot Out - Beam Comparison

The last link above is especially neat, in that it provides a visual comparison of night-time photos taken under identical circumstances with illumination provided by a large selection of lights from different manufacturers. If I could afford it, the BR-C2-K (about $399US) looks like an ideal bar light. BR is reworking their line, and should have new model(s) out soon.
post #11 of 36

Re: Night riding and lights

I have ridden with bar mounted systems for a while but I ended up switching to a clip on light which goes on my hat or helmet visor. I recommend this because when riding at night you actually have light wherever you decide to look rather than straight ahead only. And for riding in traffic at night it is invaluable because all you have to do is turn your head toward a car and they see your light beaming bright. It's a personal preference but highly affordable and now they even have some pretty high powered little buggers for pretty darn cheap. Or you can spend alot of money if you want. Depends really on which style you prefer. But I have found that this type of simple but very effective lighting system can be very handy and hope others will also....
post #12 of 36

Re: Night riding and lights

A few more to look at, there's a copy of a recent review by MBUK on this website, odly enough the tigerlight took top "spot" for light v cost. www.tigerlights.co.uk but the review is useful even if you don't fancy the tigers!

I quite fancied the lumicycle lights but they're expensive, www.lumicycle.com

I have a Light and Motion HID, no complaints about the light it gives out but it conked out on me the one time i didn't take a spare. It was a long hairy ride home. I don't trust it now, just trying to choose an LED replacement now.
post #13 of 36

Re: Night riding and lights

Di Notte is the hot stuff around here now, and not just for night use. Since the LED taillight is bright enough to be seen on a sunny day from a few hundred meters back, a few veteran riders are using it all the time. Daytime taillights are particularly good in the winter months, when long shadows hit the roads by mid-afternoon, when it could be hard for a driver going west into the sun to see a cyclist in a shady part of the road. The other consideration is that the bright flashing red LED just might get the attention of a driver talking or texting on the cell phone. Considering that we live in a state where distracted drivers get away with hitting and killing cyclists, it's hard for me to argue against the cost of using one anymore.
post #14 of 36

Re: Night riding and lights

Since battery lighting has been discussed at length here, I'll bring up my personal preference: generator lighting. It has many virtues, not the least being freed from the hassle of batteries, charging etc.

This page discusses the latest generator-powered options (as well as battery lights, but as I said ....)

Here is a page that illustrates beam patterns of the latest generator headlights.
post #15 of 36

Re: Night riding and lights

I think for the vast majority of road riders, as well as MTB'ers, battery powered lights are the best options, especially since they let you use the hub of your choice. Battery powered lights are now exceeding 900 lumens, and batteries are dead reliable. That battery powered lights are the go-to lights for 24hr MTB racing says a lot about their capabilities and illumination.

I had a 200 lumen road light, and frankly found it provided less than satisfactory power output, bur today's lights get the job done well. Here's a gallery of one maker's beam patterns. Very bright they are. Also, as important as it is to have plenty of light for navigating, it's just as important to have plenty of light so that driver's can see you coming from far away. That's why I prefer retina scorching lights.

One important thing to consider when buying LED lights of either sort--battery or generator driven--is whether or not that light is overdriving its LED's. It's well known that LED's typically have a long life, but what's not very often discussed is that life can be reduced dramatically by being overdriven (too much amperage, too much voltage,....). They don't get more efficient if they're overdriven. They're limited from the start by their quantum efficiency (how many electrons it takes to produce a photon). Overdriving them will actually cause them to be less efficient, as part of the LED, the junction, heats up. Also, as their overdriven, they shed more heat, thus the cooling fins you see on so many lights. It's better to find a well illuminating light that doesn't need cooling fins. With damage from being overdriven, the LED's will start producing less light, and the time will come when they won't produce switch on at all. For properly driven LED's, that's not a worry. Properly driven LED's can easily have lifespans in excess of 10,000 hours: that's over 416 days of non-stop light production.

As a happy bonus, properly driven LED's get longer burn times out of their batteries, everything else being equal.
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