Bike lighting



Colne-cyclist

New Member
Sep 25, 2012
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Hello all

I am new to cycling, brought a road bike this year. Now with the nights starting to draw in I am thinking about my first set of lights. My cycle to am from work involves country roads with no lighting. I am hoping someone can recommend some good front light(s) that will give good visability, some of the Cat Eye ones look good, it seems that you can pay rather alot of money for some of these lights, but when my own well being is involved I think it might be worth spending out a little bit extra.

I was hoping to spend around £30-40 for a front light that will give good visability, is this not enough? I am hoping someone can walk me through the most important 2-3 things to look for?

Also back lights seem to be cheaper? What sort of money should I be spending on a back lights? I was planning to get one for my seat stem and one to hook onto my rucksack cover. Again what should I be looking for?

Hope someone or many people can help.

Thanks
Jon
 

alienator

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2004
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You need to look at the number of lumens (a measure of how much light falls on a given area). Unfortunately, more lumens cost more money. I'd suggest you look at lights that produce no less than 200 lumens.
 

Volnix

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2011
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If the road is unlit its probably better not to go from there at all. Its also better to avoid any country dirt roads in the night. You dont always see the potholes even with good lights. If you go very slow though then it might be ok but since it is a road bike it would be better to stick to the road.

Lights are very complicated because there are a few factors that change their performance. One is the lumens, one is the candence (another way of calclulating the beam strenght) and then is also the angle in which the light is shed. Wider angle means you get less light overall but a wider covered area. Then is also the batteries. Since you probably need to get some rechargable ones, they have 1.2v voltage whilst the one use ones have 1.5v so the light will be less with the rechargable ones. Its also important to get some batteries with a "flat discharge line". Which means that they will be producing 1.2 constantly whilst in in use and not 1.2v for 10 minutes and then another of 0.9v and dropping for the rest of the use time. Some lights also state that they produce a constant beam whilst discharge.
Good batteries would be the GP Recyco ones, and the Eneloop ones seep to be good too. They are both new technology rechargables so apparently they stay charged for longer times in contrast with the normal ones which discharge over time. They can also be charged 1000times or so.

As far as for a front light try to check some single 1watt or 3watt led units. There are some lights with 5 or even more leds but its the output that counts and they dont state the wattage. I know a 3watt light from cateye but it seems heavy and with a wide angle. It also doesn have a flashing mode. A flashing mode is best to use when on a lit road so you get visibility from the cars.

A rear light in the range of a single 1watt or 0.5watt led would be ok. Again its probably best to get a light that is flashing.

A suggestion:

1. Front light. Something with a narrow beam and a led of 1watt or more. Flashing (the faster the better, look for "strobe" mode).

2. Rear light. Something with a at least 0.5watt led and maybe some extra leds. Flashing again. I thing "Smart" makes one with a 1watt led.
 

dabac

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2003
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If you want to ge seen by car drivers, Hi-Viz clothing/rucksack covers is your friend. Nothing says "human ahead" as a recognizable torso shape.

I thoroughly dislike flashing lights, fronts in particular.
If I'm in a car, and meet/catch up with a cyclist with the appropriate reflectors, I see them well enough anyhow.
If I'm on a bike and meet someone using flashing lights I find it hard to pinpoint his position on the road, particularly if it's a bit of fog/rain in the air. Meeting a strober makes me outright angry.
Catching up with another cyclist is a fairly slow event, so anything more powerful thant those pitiful knog lights(or copies) will do just fine - assuming my headlight hasn't lit up his reflectors before.

I have no concerns about not seeing obstacles, as long as I stay below 25 MPH on my roads. My lamps, my roads will work just fine even w/o street lights. But obviously your conditions may be different.

Probably most popular front set-up here is a diode lamp from Dealextreme, don't know exactly which one, but it's closer to £60 I believe.
My favourite rear light is one with an auto on/off function. One hour daily, it'll do almost two months on one set of batteries. It even has a battery replacement indicator.
Being a long-time tinkerer, I went for the DIY option. A 20 W halogen with built-in 50 mm reflector (the kind used in spotlights). Runs off 12 V. Can use either a 12 V lead-acid battery for those not weight conscious, or just about anything. They're available in several different beam angles, for reasonably easy experimenting.
 

Volnix

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2011
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I thoroughly dislike flashing lights, fronts in particular.
If I'm on a bike and meet someone using flashing lights I find it hard to pinpoint his position on the road, particularly if it's a bit of fog/rain in the air. Meeting a strober makes me outright angry.
/img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

Thats the point lol. Strobes make car drivers to slow down so they dont go for a "quick left and away", which is sometimes very scary when you are on a bike. (Wind turbulence etc). With a strobe light they tend to slow down and drive off at a wider-longer distance from the bike just to be sure that they wont crash.

I think that in some countries bike strobe lights are actually illegal. But they do the trick. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

Its always better to stay away from fast traffic roads.
 

Conniebiker

New Member
Jan 1, 2005
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I think it depends on the scenario. I have had decent results with a 1 watt led rear on steady or a lesser unit on flash. The flash mode is more dramatic on sunlight transition periods such as dawn or dusk when there is still a glow. Steady seems to work well in lower speed roads where the clearances are a bit more espansive. The best experience I had was when I had the medium duty flasher on the same mount as the 1 watt steady. It grabs but with a little more stability than the full flash.

Flashing forward is a lot less important in my opinion. A headlight has a more powerful presence in a generally less demanding need, so plan it for personal use as much as markers. Some full-dark country roads hardly need any light to see(depending on your night vision). Still, it is good to have the power available when you do need it.
 

cobooboc

New Member
Aug 27, 2012
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if you need the bike light,you can click here,you can find what you need.http://www.obostore.com/-Discount-outdoor-sports-bike-accessories_c256.html
 

dabac

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2003
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Originally Posted by Volnix .

/img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

Thats the point lol. Strobes make car drivers to slow down so they dont go for a "quick left and away", which is sometimes very scary when you are on a bike. (Wind turbulence etc). With a strobe light they tend to slow down and drive off at a wider-longer distance from the bike just to be sure that they wont crash.

I think that in some countries bike strobe lights are actually illegal. But they do the trick. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
I dunno.

If I'm in a car, I have sufficient candlepower/lumen advantage not to be particularly worried about what a cyclist use - as long as he isn't packing something really heavy.
If he's got a couple of reflectors on, I'll spot him anyway, and be appropriately considerate when overtaking.

If I'm on a bike, particularly if there's a bit of fog/rain in the air, strobe/flashers will turn an oncoming cyclist into a blur that can't be accurately positioned.
I will end up pulling way over to my side of the road, breaking stride and slowing down, while the other rider gets to maintain speed and pass at his leisure. Egotistic and inconsiderate IMO.

Just like the ones you hear from every now and then who think that weaving back & forth a bit is a good policy, as it unnerves other riders to the point of leaving them a clear pass.

Ranting and raving incoherently works well to give you a good spot when you're queuing at a light, particularly in combination with a strong B.O., but I'm not gonna use that method either.

It works, after a fashion, as long as it's only used by a handful. But it's their convenience, at my expense, and I can't see why I should foot their bill.
 

alienator

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2004
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There are no good reasons w/ respect to a cyclist being able to see at night for having a strobing front light. None. It's not a bad idea on the back so long as the strobe is combined with another rear light that provides a steady beam.
 

Volnix

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2011
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Originally Posted by dabac .


I dunno.

If I'm in a car, I have sufficient candlepower/lumen advantage not to be particularly worried about what a cyclist use - as long as he isn't packing something really heavy.
If he's got a couple of reflectors on, I'll spot him anyway, and be appropriately considerate when overtaking.

If I'm on a bike, particularly if there's a bit of fog/rain in the air, strobe/flashers will turn an oncoming cyclist into a blur that can't be accurately positioned.
I will end up pulling way over to my side of the road, breaking stride and slowing down, while the other rider gets to maintain speed and pass at his leisure. Egotistic and inconsiderate IMO.

Just like the ones you hear from every now and then who think that weaving back & forth a bit is a good policy, as it unnerves other riders to the point of leaving them a clear pass.

Ranting and raving incoherently works well to give you a good spot when you're queuing at a light, particularly in combination with a strong B.O., but I'm not gonna use that method either.

It works, after a fashion, as long as it's only used by a handful. But it's their convenience, at my expense, and I can't see why I should foot their bill.
Basically if the road is lit then a constant lit light might not be even be seen/noticed. (A cycling light that is). A car light would be seen because of the dual moving lights. Maybe a motorbike one too but a cycling light might just look like a road side reflector. Especially in the rain things are even worst I guess. Plus not everybody has to wear reflective clothing when going for a ride to the pub in the night.

Its kinda scary when people race around a bike in a car in high speeds. Allthough I tend to cycle quite steady there is always the possibility that I will need to dodge something or whatever might make me tilt towards the car traffic and to be honest I dont like the wind turbulence when a car passes very fast on my side.
The more clearance I have with the cars the better it is for me.

Most car drivers dont ride a bike so their understanding of the situation is not as good I guess. So basically if I can legally obtain a further distance from the cars without being annoying in a "bad person" kind of way then I would use a strobe. Actually I would even shout a flare shooting out smaller flares if I felt like I was in danger or something. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
 

Pac-man

New Member
Sep 27, 2012
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have a look at the Magicshine mj808. 900 lumens so very bright.. almost car headlight bright.. plenty online in the £70.00ish price mark.
 

dabac

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2003
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Originally Posted by Volnix .

Basically if the road is lit then a constant lit light might not be even be seen/noticed. (A cycling light that is). A car light would be seen because of the dual moving lights. Maybe a motorbike one too but a cycling light might just look like a road side reflector. Especially in the rain things are even worst I guess. Plus not everybody has to wear reflective clothing when going for a ride to the pub in the night.

Its kinda scary when people race around a bike in a car in high speeds. Allthough I tend to cycle quite steady there is always the possibility that I will need to dodge something or whatever might make me tilt towards the car traffic and to be honest I dont like the wind turbulence when a car passes very fast on my side.
The more clearance I have with the cars the better it is for me.

Most car drivers dont ride a bike so their understanding of the situation is not as good I guess. So basically if I can legally obtain a further distance from the cars without being annoying in a "bad person" kind of way then I would use a strobe. Actually I would even shout a flare shooting out smaller flares if I felt like I was in danger or something. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
So you're buying yourself a perceived increase in safety from any motorists that you meet, at the more probable cost of annoyance in any cyclists that you meet?

I guess I should be thankful that you're unlikely to be on my route....

Have you ever tested your own setup from the other perspective?
 

slowfoot

New Member
Jan 18, 2008
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[COLOR= rgb(0, 0, 0)]t[/COLOR][COLOR= rgb(0, 0, 0)]o see the road in the dark you [/COLOR]need a bigger budget
[COLOR= rgb(0, 0, 0)] [/COLOR]
i have the niterider 600 my handlebars and a mininewt 100 for my helmet.
pretty good but my night vision isn't the best. i would prefer 2 of the 600's for better depth perception

the 100 is not adequate by itself
.
i doubt you'll be happy with cheap lights , it will be a waste of time and money.


myNiteRider MiNewt.600 Cordless LED Headlight


now if you just want to be seen, there's nothing more annoying to drivers than a white strobe in the front and a bright led strobe on the rear.
 

Volnix

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2011
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281
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Originally Posted by dabac .

So you're buying yourself a perceived increase in safety from any motorists that you meet, at the more probable cost of annoyance in any cyclists that you meet?

I guess I should be thankful that you're unlikely to be on my route....

Have you ever tested your own setup from the other perspective?
No I havent because I dont drive a car. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif Its ok, I dont annoy anyone. I dont even have a strobe. But really the way people drive here its not a bad idea to have one...