Lights

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by guised, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. guised

    guised New Member

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    Hi,

    Please can anyone give me some advice on front lighting. I'm currently commuting 30miles a day, roughly an hour each way along canal paths and city roads. With the daylight hours dwindling I want some good lights so that I can see where I'm going as well as being seen by. A watery crash would not be good! :eek:

    I've currently got the following as options

    Smart Owl 2.4w + 10w + LED (Lead acid battery) £60
    Electron 5w + 10w (NiMh battery) £45
    Cateye HL-RC230 10w + 10w (lead acid battery) £55 - Not sure the run times are long enough

    My current favorite is the Electron as it seems a good setup at a very reasonable price or do I just go mad and go for the Lumicycle Halide? Is it worth it?

    Thanks

    Dan
     
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  2. saturnsc2

    saturnsc2 New Member

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    i just installed a shimano dynohub on my 10-speed using a lumotec headlamp & led dynamo driven rear taillight. i ride all over town through lit & unlit roads & it is awesome! don't pay attention to watts. it's the lumens that count. the beam pattern of the lumotec has a oval pattern. i see very good no matter where i go. & the best thing--no batteries! ride all night with no worry of dead batteries. the lumotec has those standlights when i stop too. i always used bottle dynamos which worked out good, but the hub has no drag that i can feel, & it's so wierd riding with no noise comming from the old dynamo system as the hub makes no noise at all. the best thing--the lights come on automatically with that light sensitive automatic switch. it's so cool! i recommend it highly. it's kind of expensive up front--$119.00 for the hub, & $75.00 for the front wheel rebuild. + the cost of the lights too, but they are not much. you can use any dynamo lights as long as they are 6 volt, 3 watt. it's a long term solution to consistant bike lights & it will be the last system you would need...
     
  3. guised

    guised New Member

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    Thanks saturnsc2. How robust are dynamo-hubs? Would they be able to take the punishment of very bumpy tow paths without breaking?
     
  4. el guapo

    el guapo New Member

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    I use a nite rider road rat 10w up front with a cheap white LED flasher up front and a 3 LED red flashing taillight. The road rat is very bright and lights up the road extremely well for being only $45. Good battery life too, I spend about an hour a day commuting usually half in the dark (rotating shift cycle) and have never seen any diminished illumination. Even when I forget to put it on the charger a few nights.
     
  5. saturnsc2

    saturnsc2 New Member

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    this hub has good bearings. they are supposed to be very durable & maintenance free for a long time.
     
  6. guised

    guised New Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    In the end I managed to score some cheap (£23 | $42) Smart 10w + 2.4w twin set off eBay. I'm going to work with these this winter and see how I get on, probably going to uprate the 2.4w bulb to either 3w or maybe 6w depending on whether I've got the life in the battery.

    Cheers
    Dan
     
  7. jhas

    jhas New Member

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    All great suggestions so far.

    You might also check out LaserEdge lights at
    www.bicyclelights.com These are made by a one-man outfit in CA, and he sells direct. I got one for $75 and I am very impressed. My setup uses a 14.4V, 4ah, NiMH battery and two 15w halogen lights. With both lights on, I can run it for 1.5 hours. If I use just one light, its closer to 2.5 hours. You could also substitute lower wattage bulbs in one or more of the lamps. It throws out TONS of bright light, and it is very well made.
     
  8. datilbrook

    datilbrook New Member

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    Dan,

    Ive been using a set of Laseredge (5W/15W) lights for the past few weeks. The whole setup including fast 4h charger we £114. Installation is simple, lights are bright and recharge is really effective. Casing is robust single part aluminium so only place to really leak is the front ring and Ive had no troubles in the wet yet.

    Spares can be obtained for all parts of the lights (even casings and bulb fix rings). I really think these are good value for money. The only downside is the battery size which goes in your water bottle holder. Weighty but gives excellent burntime. You can run both bulbs independantly to help preserve juice and when youre running at full 20W its really bright.

    Rears Ive been using a combination of a Cateye 5-LED and 2 SMART 5 LED battery operated and I quite often use the Cateye EL400 side mount on my hemlet in flash mode. Lit up like a christmas tree but get plenty of cars dipping well in advance.

    Good luck and happy riding

    Dave
     
  9. Docinabx

    Docinabx New Member

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    I set up a shimano dyno hub with lumotec for front light; three different cat eyes on the rear seatpost. I have been riding at night on and off for too many years; this is definitely the way to go.

    If the weather gets bad for a few weeks; your dynamo will be ready!
    The only thing you will ever need to carry is an extra bulb(flashlight size)

    Recharges are nuts!! You have to watch over them like a pet!!

    Forget about drag! My light is auto on; you can't tell by drag when it is on!
     
  10. saturnsc2

    saturnsc2 New Member

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    it sounds like you have that same nexus switch as i do. is that system awesome! i still have a seperate tire driven dynamo with a seperate 3 watt light for extra long distance light in very low light situations. when you spin the front hub dynamo wheel, the wheel spins almost free, vs the rear tire dynamo light wheel which stops after a few revolutions...
     
  11. guised

    guised New Member

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    Thanks for all your interesting replies.

    Just thought I'd let you know how I'm getting on with my 6v 4Ah 2.4/10w Smart system. The 2.4w is only really good enough for others to see you rather than to see by, but combined with the 10w makes a pretty resonable job of lighting the canal path home. I'm thinking of playing around with different bulb combinations i.e. a 3 or 6w to replace the 2.4w. The battery is sealed lead acid and so far hasn't let me down, and easily lasts a week of commuting, but then I do ride as much as possible with the 2.4w (maybe a strong case not to upgrade the bulb). The switch on the cable is a little clumsy, but for the money I think they're excellent. However I am a gadget queen so next year if I save my pennies I may check out some 'ExposureLights'. Yikes!! :D

    Regards

    Dan
     
  12. Paul Westberg

    Paul Westberg New Member

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    MY Cygo light bulbs have gone out and at $18 each to replace and a heavy battery pack I am looking at alternatives. That dynohub sounds great. I have bought a $25 Bell light that is bright. Maybe I will buy another and have one in the house with the AA batteries recharging.
     
  13. bluboy4_us

    bluboy4_us New Member

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    I've owned 2 Specialized lights and neither of them lasted very long. I bought the first one just because it was 5w but the battery compartment didn't hold the batteries in place well and the thing eventually just didn't work at all. The second one was the rechargeable Astro 5.0. It lasted about 3 mos. I bought it because it was rechargeable and everything was self-contained in the light. After it failed I exchanged that one for a Planet Bike 5000x. It has a similar concept as the astro but unlike it the 5000x comes with two battery cartridges. One of the catrtidges is rechargeable and the other one is made for regular batteries so that there is spare power when the NMHi cartridge runs out. All one needs to do is carry a spare bulb in case of that emergency. The wattage is 3.5 compared to the Astro's 5w and the light pattern took some getting used to but so far it seems to be a good light for the price. I also like the way it fastens on to the handlebar. I wouldn't mind looking into some of the other lights that are suggested here though.
     
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