Budget LED light for commuting?

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by rigel, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. rigel

    rigel New Member

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    Can someone please recommend an inexpensive, compact LED bike light?

    My ride conditions are as follows
    - dusk to early evening (the ride home)
    - road commute on fairly well-lit streets with heavy to moderate traffic
    - occasional not-so-well-lit portions (but usually low traffic)
    - lots of potholes and generally bad road conditions in some sections

    My requirements for the light
    - LED
    - 1 watt output or less (but if you can recommend a budget light with >1W that would be great!)
    - if less than 1 watt, good brightness to power output ratio
    - compact
    - weather-proof (water-proof much better)
    - AA or AAA batteries (can take rechargeable NiMH)
    - inexpensive! (say $40 or less)

    I need something not so much to see but to be seen. Although I need something bright enough to help me avoid the occasional pothole and road debris [​IMG]

    I'm considering some Cateye models. For compactness (and it's waterproof to 50m!), the
    HL-EL410 is on top, but it may not be bright enough. The EL320 and EL520 have similar candlepower but the latter seems more compact. The EL530 has the highest output rating but looks bulky.

    The
    Topeak lights look interesting, but I don't like the fact they use hard-to-find batteries. I'm leaning towards Cateye since they're easy to find locally. I'd appreciate inputs on any of these lights if anybody here has any experience with them.

    I'd like to add that I've forgotten my high school physics, and so can't relate candlepower to lumens to watts and whatnot [​IMG] I'd appreciate input on this too. Different light manufacturers seem to use these units loosely, so I can't compare across brands.
     
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  2. HowardSteele

    HowardSteele New Member

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    I use this light while ridding up mountain roads and between two of us we get by, in the suburbs with street lighting it’s more than adequate.at about R150/$20 very reasnable.

    http://www.s-sun.com.tw/p1.htm
     
  3. stevebaby

    stevebaby New Member

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    The niteflux vector 5 LED front light is excellent.Similar to the one Howard has shown but with 5 LEDs.These lights are sold under a few names...mine are identical but sold as "Kathmandu" brand.They are made in China.
    They are much brighter than the Cateye and much cheaper (almost 1/2 the price of Cateye) so at the price you could afford 2 on the front.They pick up street signs at 100m or so and when set to flash mode the batteries last forever.They also take AAA batteries and even on constant mode will outlast anything else.
    I don't know which country you're in but these lights should be available everywhere.
    They're compact and look good too! http://www.cellbikes.com.au/product.php?id=223
    Cell Bikes - Australian Bicycle Online Shop
     
  4. HowardSteele

    HowardSteele New Member

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  5. Ellis456

    Ellis456 New Member

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    If you live in the UK wilkinsons stores have them for £2.99 front and rear, really good quality to, they can flash, stay on or night rider mode.
     
  6. stevebaby

    stevebaby New Member

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    The red and blue flashers are illegal in Oz (emergency and police vehicles only).Pity really...motorists are sure to slow down and pay more attention to the road if they see red and blues reflecting from the surrounding area.
     
  7. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    If you want to be seen go to Laboratory Safety Supply (.com). They have some quite large ones. I don't know the power output but since they are LED I imagine it's pretty low. They take AA's, are available in yellow or red, and cost about $16 plus shipping. The ones I am thinking of are about 4"X6".

    Also consider reflective tape. Wal Mart has it in the automotive section and several sellers have it online. It lights up like a road sign in headlights. The power of a car's lights will far exceed anything you put on your bike so make them work for you.
     
  8. rigel

    rigel New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions. Good stuff... ;)

     
  9. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    I was fixin' to add the catalog page to my post but cyclingforums only lets me edit a post until the next time I log off.

    Here are the lights. Not only are they powerful but I think they look like a brake light. They look like something which belongs on a vehicle. Plus, If you've ever driven behind a bicyclist in a busier part of town at night, you know a single LED really gets lost among all the other lights.





    MARPAC? LED Safety Lights

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] MARPAC Signal Lite?
    Safer than Flares, Portable and Visible Over a Mile!

    Turn on the power of an emergency signal that?s visible for up to 1-1/4 miles. Ideal for emergency and utility vehicles, commercial trucks and even private automobiles. A dual function light--flashing or steady beam--in red or amber.
     
  10. geo8rge

    geo8rge New Member

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    I suggest going to a big box store and buying a 3w AA LED Maglite flashlight. I got one for $25 at loews. You can buy handle bar mounts for AA Maglites, or just use a bungee cord. I use a 3 ft bunge cord. You might also consider a head mount system. Unless you ride at night alot, a bike specific system seems like a waste.

    You might want a glass lens too
    http://www.flashlightlens.com/

    also interesting
    http://flashlightreviews.com/

    As to rear blinkies, I have seen them for $1 in dollar stores but they break easily.
     
  11. OrangePatriot

    OrangePatriot New Member

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    I use a pair of CatEye 410s, and I'm VERY happy with 'em. In flashing mode, there's no way anyone can claim they didn't see you coming, especially if you put them on your helmet so you can point them straight at idiots who are trying to cut you up.

    Also, I use two different bikes, and swapping the lights between mountain riser bar, oversized road bar and helmet is a piece of cake - no having to mess about with mounting brackets.
     
  12. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    Looks like a good light but I got a cheaper helmet-mounted led headlight from sportsmans guide. I am looking for a diffusing lens but until then, have put frosted scotch tape over the lens to keep from blinding motorists. One looks like a spelunker but hey, safety first.

    An added bonus is that the battery case is not part of the lamp but can be carried in your pocket. This means you can use any old batteries on the coldest nights and still get max output, because the batteries are warm.

    Big drawback vs. OrangePatriot's setup: No flashing mode.
     
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