Front light advice? Cateye ABS-25

Discussion in 'Australia and New Zealand' started by Andrew Reddaway, Feb 2, 2004.

  1. Hi everyone. I cycle as my main mode of transport, on a commuter
    (entry-level touring) and a good road bike. I do 1-3 hours in
    darkness per week, on a mix of well-lit roads and dark bike/pedestrian
    paths. Nothing extreme, just a few bunny-hops sometimes.

    My current front light is a 4-year-old Cateye Daylite 5W/10W with a
    rechargeable SLA battery that hangs off the frame. I also bought a
    smart SLA charger from an electronics shop, which has been great. The
    old Cateye has done a good job, but it's heavy, the battery is slowly
    dying and I'd like a bit more power for dark downhills. Plus, the
    "spot" light has always been misaligned to the right - annoying.

    MUST HAVE
    - Low power (eg 10W) and high power (eg total 20W) options
    - Last for 2 hours including about 1 hour on high power.
    - Rain-proof
    - Battery not too heavy (less than 1Kg / 2.2lbs)
    - Easy to switch between low and high power, even with gloves on
    - Quick & easy to switch the whole system between 2 bikes (I'll get
    an extra mounting bracket)
    - Charger will accept 240V mains power
    - Battery compatible with aftermarket smart "set and forget" charger,
    to charge it up fast, detect when fully charged, then trickle.
    - 2 lamps for redundancy & so I can appear as a "proper vehicle"
    when I want
    - Doesn't take up too much space on the handlebars
    - Robust components - last for several years
    - Bulbs & batteries don't burn out / degenerate too quickly

    NICE TO HAVE
    - Choice of either two batteries or one - less weight on short rides.
    - Power cut-off when batteries reach damagingly low discharge levels
    - Battery has minipump shape for easy mounting on bike-pump bracket
    - Choice of focus beam and/or wide beam.
    - Able to adjust direction of lamps while riding
    - Lamps don't take up too much handlebar space
    - Can charge the battery while it's still on the bike
    - Good long-term availability of spare batteries, lamps etc.
    Alternatively, parts that are easy to replace DIY.
    - Battery charge status visible when riding

    I've searched the manufacturers' sites (the Cateye and Nightrider
    sites are crap by the way), newsgroups and online reviews, and it
    looks like the Cateye ABS-25 meets all my "Must Haves", and most of
    the "Nice to Haves". The price is OK if it does. I saw that the
    supplied charger should only be used on two fully-discharged lights.
    That would be annoying, but I plan to get a good smart-charger that
    can charge one at a time. Some of the cateye ABS-20s I saw seemed to
    have NICAD batteries and plastic lamp housings, otherwise I'd go for
    that model.

    http://www.cyclexpress.co.uk/products/Cateye_ABS_25_537.asp

    Sooooo...
    - Does this light meet my needs?
    - Any other problems with it?
    - Are there any better lights out there for me?
    - What is a good smart charger to use with its batteries?
    - I can't find it on any USA-based websites - why is this?
    - How good is the Cateye support in Australia, if I buy the bike
    online from overseas?

    Thanks for your help!
    Andrew
     
    Tags:


  2. Ian Smith

    Ian Smith Guest

    On Mon, 02 Feb 2004 09:03:15 GMT,
    Andrew Reddaway <[email protected]> wrote:

    Just do the decent thing and buy a set of lumicycles -
    www.lumicycle.co.uk. Actually, if you were in the UK this would be
    easily the best solution, but the reference to australia further on
    hints that just maybe you're not. I don't know how well Lumi could
    support an Australia customer, but you could email and ask them - I've
    never heard anything but good feedback about them (and only had good
    experiences myself), so I expect you'd get a realistic answer.

    > MUST HAVE
    > - Low power (eg 10W) and high power (eg total 20W) options


    Lumi use the twin-light system, so have eg a 12W in one, a 20W in teh
    other and you have 12W, 20W or 32W options. Or a spot and a flood, or
    whatever.

    > - Last for 2 hours including about 1 hour on high power.


    13.2V, 4Ah battery, should do an hour on each of 12W and 20W

    > - Rain-proof


    Well, mine live on my commuter, which spends nights in a garage, but
    every day on unprotected bike-racks. If it rains, it gets rained on.
    The bulbs are not designed for this sort of exposure, and the halogen
    capsule mounting paste breaks down eventually when it gets damp.
    However, having noticed this I've found that simply putting a new bulb
    in once a year fixes this - it takes longer than that for this to
    cause a problem.

    > - Battery not too heavy (less than 1Kg / 2.2lbs)


    My kitchen scales say teh battery is 722g, and I think the bag version
    is lighter

    > - Easy to switch between low and high power, even with gloves on


    Yes - switches on teh back of the lights, or a remote switch option.

    > - Quick & easy to switch the whole system between 2 bikes (I'll get
    > an extra mounting bracket)


    Pretty quick - choice of velcro-attached bag or bottle-cage-mount
    (either-or, it's not one pack that does both) for the battery, choice
    of releaseable cable ties or quick-release brackets for lights.

    > - Charger will accept 240V mains power


    Yes. UK is 240V. However, the standard charger is a single unit
    with moulded-in prongs for the mains socket. This would be one of teh
    things you'd need to ask them about.

    > - Battery compatible with aftermarket smart "set and forget" charger,
    > to charge it up fast, detect when fully charged, then trickle.


    Comes with such a charger. Alternatively, I actually now use a rather
    cleverer charger on mine. See notes below.

    > - 2 lamps for redundancy & so I can appear as a "proper vehicle"
    > when I want


    Yes. But beware of looking like a proper vehicle a mile away and
    having some pillock pull out when you're actually only 6' away. I put
    the lamps as close together as I can, so they can't be seen as two
    spaced lights.

    > - Doesn't take up too much space on the handlebars


    Yes

    > - Robust components - last for several years


    Yes

    > - Bulbs & batteries don't burn out / degenerate too quickly


    I've never blown a bulb. I use the lights at least 30 mins a day 5
    days a week for about 6 months of the year, and occasionally
    otherwise. I replace bulbs annually as noted above.

    > NICE TO HAVE
    > - Choice of either two batteries or one - less weight on short rides.
    > - Power cut-off when batteries reach damagingly low discharge levels
    > - Battery has minipump shape for easy mounting on bike-pump bracket
    > - Choice of focus beam and/or wide beam.
    > - Able to adjust direction of lamps while riding
    > - Lamps don't take up too much handlebar space
    > - Can charge the battery while it's still on the bike
    > - Good long-term availability of spare batteries, lamps etc.
    > Alternatively, parts that are easy to replace DIY.
    > - Battery charge status visible when riding


    Of these, spot/wide is achieved (as noted above), handlebar space was
    a 'must have', beam direction adjustable is possible depending how
    tight you've done up teh brackets, charge in place is possible if you
    have a socket near enough, availablility is something to ask Lumi
    (uses 12V MR11 bulbs, which I imagine exist everywhere, but you'd know
    better than me about Australia), but you don't get the rest.

    > can charge one at a time. Some of the cateye ABS-20s I saw seemed to
    > have NICAD batteries and plastic lamp housings, otherwise I'd go for
    > that model.


    Why don't you like NiCd? Memory effect is a myth, if that's your
    concern. NiCd or NiMH are more likely to meet your power / weight
    requirements, and can generally be charged faster - fast charge for
    lead-acid is generally C/3, but fast for NiCd/NiMH is at least C, and
    might be up to 3C. To be fair, the lumi smart charger only uses 1.1A
    (ie, a touch below C/3), and while the one I'm now using will do 5A, I
    haven't yet asked Lumi what their cells will take and just set it to
    1.1A for now.

    NiCd/NiMH will also give you light closer to maximum brightness for
    more of teh discharge cycle (though admittedly you then lose
    brightness with less warning).

    (note followup set to where I am)

    regards, Ian SMith
    --
    |\ /| no .sig
    |o o|
    |/ \|
     
  3. Mike Schwab

    Mike Schwab Guest

    I like http://www.nite-hawk.com/

    Andrew Reddaway wrote:
    >
    > Hi everyone. I cycle as my main mode of transport, on a commuter
    > (entry-level touring) and a good road bike. I do 1-3 hours in
    > darkness per week, on a mix of well-lit roads and dark bike/pedestrian
    > paths. Nothing extreme, just a few bunny-hops sometimes.
    >
    > My current front light is a 4-year-old Cateye Daylite 5W/10W with a
    > rechargeable SLA battery that hangs off the frame. I also bought a
    > smart SLA charger from an electronics shop, which has been great. The
    > old Cateye has done a good job, but it's heavy, the battery is slowly
    > dying and I'd like a bit more power for dark downhills. Plus, the
    > "spot" light has always been misaligned to the right - annoying.
    >
    > MUST HAVE
    > - Low power (eg 10W) and high power (eg total 20W) options
    > - Last for 2 hours including about 1 hour on high power.
    > - Rain-proof
    > - Battery not too heavy (less than 1Kg / 2.2lbs)
    > - Easy to switch between low and high power, even with gloves on
    > - Quick & easy to switch the whole system between 2 bikes (I'll get
    > an extra mounting bracket)
    > - Charger will accept 240V mains power
    > - Battery compatible with aftermarket smart "set and forget" charger,
    > to charge it up fast, detect when fully charged, then trickle.
    > - 2 lamps for redundancy & so I can appear as a "proper vehicle"
    > when I want
    > - Doesn't take up too much space on the handlebars
    > - Robust components - last for several years
    > - Bulbs & batteries don't burn out / degenerate too quickly
    >
    > NICE TO HAVE
    > - Choice of either two batteries or one - less weight on short rides.
    > - Power cut-off when batteries reach damagingly low discharge levels
    > - Battery has minipump shape for easy mounting on bike-pump bracket
    > - Choice of focus beam and/or wide beam.
    > - Able to adjust direction of lamps while riding
    > - Lamps don't take up too much handlebar space
    > - Can charge the battery while it's still on the bike
    > - Good long-term availability of spare batteries, lamps etc.
    > Alternatively, parts that are easy to replace DIY.
    > - Battery charge status visible when riding
    >
    > I've searched the manufacturers' sites (the Cateye and Nightrider
    > sites are crap by the way), newsgroups and online reviews, and it
    > looks like the Cateye ABS-25 meets all my "Must Haves", and most of
    > the "Nice to Haves". The price is OK if it does. I saw that the
    > supplied charger should only be used on two fully-discharged lights.
    > That would be annoying, but I plan to get a good smart-charger that
    > can charge one at a time. Some of the cateye ABS-20s I saw seemed to
    > have NICAD batteries and plastic lamp housings, otherwise I'd go for
    > that model.
    >
    > http://www.cyclexpress.co.uk/products/Cateye_ABS_25_537.asp
    >
    > Sooooo...
    > - Does this light meet my needs?
    > - Any other problems with it?
    > - Are there any better lights out there for me?
    > - What is a good smart charger to use with its batteries?
    > - I can't find it on any USA-based websites - why is this?
    > - How good is the Cateye support in Australia, if I buy the bike
    > online from overseas?
    >
    > Thanks for your help!
    > Andrew
     
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