Cycling lamps

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Acebeam-Light, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. Acebeam-Light

    Acebeam-Light New Member

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    Don't you think cycling lamps are necessary?
     
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  2. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    By necessary do you mean at night or daytime only?

    You will get varying opinions on this, but this is how I do it, not saying I'm right, but I'm not wrong either just as anyone else who responds won't be wrong either.

    Night time or very low lighting conditions it's a no brainer to use lights, motorists need to see you both front and rear. How bright of a light you need is again subject to opinion, but for a headlight I think the sweet spot is 750 lumens with the option to go 1000 lumens for dark rainy nights, this light is fastened to your bars. However for added safety you should consider getting a smaller less powerful light that can mount to your helmet, why on your helmet? I've found that with a light on my helmet I can turn my head and point the light anywhere I want including a motorist eyes at cross streets so I can attract their attention, they don't like it but I don't care! I've had too many motorists pull out in front of me over the years, so now I dazzle them with my helmet light. There are a few lights on the market that use shaped beams like cars do, this is where the beam of the light is cast onto the street and not the trees like a flashlight or typical bicycle headlights do, these lights may be only rated at 700 lumens but the actual effectiveness is closer to 1,200 lumens and maybe more because a lot of the beams focus is on the street and not trees. Philips (Saferide) was the first to come out with this type of beam because they were making car headlights so it only made sense, but for some unknown reason they stopped making it which is too bad because it was fantastic light, I know this because I own one, mine is rated at only 450 lumens but it's actual output is equal to 1,200. My helmet headlight is rated at 480 lumens, same as my Philips, but my Philips is significantly brighter than the Cygolite 480 MityCross which has a typical O shaped beam. Also shaped beams to not bother motorists eyes. However one of the best headlights on the market for under $100 is the Fenix BC30 on sale at Fenix, and the Wiz20 which is similar to the Fenix, as is the Raveman 1200 (this one supposedly simulates a car headlight so it should be brighter in appearance on the road?

    For a tail light again I think the sweet spot is 70 lumens, however with tail lights it's better to have 3 or more lights than one single light. One of the best ones on the market and a great deal is the Cygolite Hotshot 100 (lumens); the Cateye Rapid 3X; Niterider Solas 100 or the 150; Light & Motion Vis 180 (the one I have); or the outstandingly bright Orfos Red Flare Pro, and the See Sense ICON. All the lights, except for the Hotshot have at least 90 degrees of visibility and a few are 180 degrees which is important for motorists to see you from the side.

    You can also get generic lights, but these can be problematic, but they don't cost much either. Probably the best of the generics is the Generic Cree U2 Generic Light, interesting name! They claim it puts out up to 5000 lumens but test have shown that it's closer to about 700 lumens, but it's only $20, so for $20 where else can you buy a 700 lumen light? If you go that route please charge the battery in a fireproof can because some of those have been known to burst into flames, so make sure the can is setting on something that's not meltable or will burn in case the can gets hot. Some light brands are nothing but decals, they're not really a true manufactured brand, like MagicShine, which is a shining (no pun intended) example of a decal company, or mail order house, taking a generic and charging $105 for a $20 light.

    All the above info is for night time, during the day you really don't need a headlight or a flasher on the front, however due to distracted driving these days because of texting, I can't recommend strongly enough to use a rear flasher, and because it's use will be in the daytime you need at least 70 lumens to overwhelm the sunlight.

    You only need one main bright light, if you opt for more than one you can get 2 others that are cheap and less bright, which you would not use those two in the day. At night I do something weird, I use my brightest light on steady mode, and the other two on flash, the reason I do this is do to two studies that I read one from Europe and the other from Canada. The Euro study showed that steady rear light was less confusing to motorists and they could better estimate their distance from the bike vs flashing, that has been proven to be true, which is why flashing lights are illegal in Europe. However the Canadian study showed that flashing rear light attracted the attention of motorists to the presence of a cyclist, this also has been proven to be true. These studies were done at night, during the day a motorist can ascertain how far they are from you easily, but they need to be attracted to your presence.
     
  3. robwell

    robwell New Member

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    For commuting, anything tha has 300 lumens is good enough.
     
  4. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Only if you have very well lit streets on a clear night then you could get away with 300 lumens but for the prices of lights today I still recommend getting a light that puts out at least a max of 700 lumens, this means it can be turned down if you desire, but having at least a 700 L capacity allows you the option to ride on dark rainy nights, or on streets with very little to no street lighting; if you don't buy a higher power light than 300 L and someday you're riding on less than idea conditions you'll wish you had the brighter light which means you'll go out and have to buy another light, why bother doing that? just get the light with the power now. Also the faster you ride the more power you'll need, a person can over run a 300 lumen light.

    Don't believe me about the lumens? Ok, instead take a look at this website of beam comparisons: http://reviews.mtbr.com/2014-mtbr-bike-lights-shootout-tunnel-beam-patterns, click on any photo and the detail of the lumen being used and the brand of the light is given, for example the third light on the top row from the left is a 300 lumen light that was actually rated at 349. This is an older 2014 comparison and most of the models have been changed since then but it should give you an idea of the type of beam pattern and brightness of the various lumens so you can decide what you think you might need. Also this is the view of how the camera sees it, the human eye is far different, but again it's just a representation to give you an idea.

    Lezyne sells a 800 lumen light for $65, Cygolite has one for $52, yet for a 300 lumen light Cygolite has one for $50? for just two more dollars you can get 400 more lumens! Lezyne has a 350 lumen light for $33 (sale price) so for just $33 more dollars you get 450 more lumens; so they're not that much more expensive and you won't have to go and buy a second light later and end up spending even more money. Some of the name brand lights will offer a light with the same lumens as another model of theirs but will be cheaper, why? they put a lessor quality battery in the cheaper one, so you have to know how long you want your light to last, say an hour, so then buy a light that will run on the brightest setting for an hour knowing most of the time you may run at half power extending the battery run time so you don't run out of juice by chance on a ride.

    A person could buy those no name brand generic lights, but be forwarned, their lumen ratings are way over stated, if they say it puts out 1000 lumens expect 300 to 400 max lumen range with an odd shaped beam pattern, and expect batteries to last about 1/2 as long as they claim, not to mention other issues like some catching fire when recharging. Sticking with name brands gets you lumen ratings that are usually within 50 lumens of being stated on the carton, and the battery life is usually spot on, plus hassle free warranty. The only generic light that I would remotely consider is this one: https://www.amazon.com/Bright-Eyes-Rechargeable-Bike-Headlight/dp/B00X90ZYJ0/?tag=reactual-20 and that's because it has a lot of high reviews and was favorably reviewed independently.

    I mentioned Cygolite and Lezyne only because I own their products and their products are rock solid, there are other brands that are also very good and probably rock solid as well, like Cateye, Light & Motion, and Niterider, but I have no experience with the other brands except for L & M Vis 180 tail light which is a very good product.
     
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