Night riding and LIGHT CHOICE

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by starship, Jul 1, 2004.

  1. starship

    starship New Member

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    I work nights, and a lot of times I get home at 10:30, a nice night, and it cool also. I need a light set for night riding, on neighborhood roads, and bike lanes down main drives.

    What do you use? What do you suggest and why!
    :)
     
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  2. tafi

    tafi Member

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    I'd definitely get a decent headlight either mounted to the bars or to your helmet. You need not only to be seen but you need to be able to spot things on the road ahead.
    If you go halogen you'd need something of at least 15W with a rechargeable battery.
    i have a Lupine Edison 5 which has a light LiIon rechargeable battery and a 16W HID bulb. These are highly efficient (16W gives the equvalent of a 60W Halogen) and will give up to four hours of light of a similar standard to a car headlight.
    The disadvantages of this are that the lamp is designed to be left on for the duration of the ride (not switched on and off to save power - this shortens the life) and the life of the expensive bulb is not as long as a standard halogen. However the advantages of run time and ouput and the ability to have a high and low beam outweigh the disadvantages.
    I thought about skimping on the outlay for a light unit but realised that my safety is worth a lot and I will take no risks in ensuring that I can see what is ahead and that motorists can't possibly miss me.
     
  3. gubaguba

    gubaguba New Member

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    I use a NightSun I forget the model its has a high and low beam though. I have had it for probably six or seven years now. Its bright, very bight I have had cars flash there high beams at me because it is so bright. Last year I made a new battery out of NiMH cells the old NiCd was done for. A definite improvement as it has more amp hours. If your handy you could build yourself a whole light setup there are a couple of websites I have seen. For the back I use a flashing LED type that runs on two AAA cells. I also wear a reflective vest and reflective bands on my ankles. Get reflective tape for your helmet as well. I feel pretty comfortable riding at night now.
     
  4. TheDL

    TheDL New Member

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    Any opinions on LED headlights?
     
  5. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    I've never seen one -- not even the fatty CatEye put out two years ago -- which truly functions as a headlight, significantly illuminating the road a sufficient distance in front of you. A bright one may function well as a safety light (which is 75% of the battle, really -- making sure cars and others see you), but you need one of these mega halogen systems if you want to actually brighten your path.
     
  6. ALAN OBRIEN

    ALAN OBRIEN New Member

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    PERSONALLY, I USE A CATEYE HL-EL200 ON THE FRONT, IT PROVIDES MORE LIGHT THAN I WOULD EVER NEED (OBVIOUSLY A GOOD THING).
    FOR THE REAR I USE A CATEYE TL-LD600 (AGAIN MORE THAN ADEQUATE).
    THIS WOULD BE THE FIRST TIME I'VE USED LED LIGHTS LIGHTS ON MY BIKE, AND I COULDNT BE HAPPIER WITH THEM.
    I HAVE THEM ON MY BIKE 6 MTHS NOW AND I HAVE'NT HAD A PROBLEM WITH THEM YET.
     
  7. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    I have a BLT SLT 42...10 watt, on/off switch, helmet light. It's great and I love having a helmet light as opposed to a head light. It makes the ride much more comfortable. However, this is a lower end model, it lasts about 1 1/2 hrs fully charged and it's HEAVY, at least the battery pack is -- around 1 kg!

    If I was buying another one, I'd look for a model with a lighter battery...and the newer ones are both lighter and last longer, but I'd not swap the helmet light for a bike light again.
     
  8. gubaguba

    gubaguba New Member

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    A bit of topic but here it goes. I was interested in people who decide to put things on their helmet. One poster said he uses a helmet light. Now I cannot believe that any helmet was designed to do this. I would think that it would certainly decrease the safety of the helmet. Just the thought of that light being driven through my head is enough to make never want to do that. How do others feel about this.
     
  9. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    Is there any evidence for lights being driven through the helmets and into people's heads? Quite frankly, it's not something that would have crossed my mind. Looking at my set up, I can't see this being an issue. The light would smash, tear off before penetrating the skull, I'd think, save a direct blow to the light and then we're talking such phenomenal force to pentetrate the helmet. The end near the helmet is blunt flat face plate approximately 1" x 1" square. It would take so much force to drive that through the helmet that I'd not likely survive the incident anyway. I think there might be some concern about increasing rotational forces...but I'll leave that to people with a better grasp on physics than what I enjoy.
     
  10. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Agreed, Kate. Most light-mounts (helmet or otherwise) are frustratingly flimsy to begin with; the tremendous likelihood is that in a crash, you'd lose that baby before your hip touches the gravel.

    I'm no helmet engineer or physics guru, but my sense is that whatever remote danger lies in a lamp clipped to your helmet is negated by the big saftey boost of bright light on a dark road.

    That said, I'm a handlebar/seatube mount kind of guy.
     
  11. lfoggy

    lfoggy New Member

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  12. lfoggy

    lfoggy New Member

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    Hub dyanamos are my choice. Very reliable, very bright with minimal drag when on. Shimano make one but the Schmidt is probably better....
     
  13. tyler_derden

    tyler_derden New Member

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    The light mount will break loose long before the light gets driven through the helmet.

    About 20 years ago I converted a handlebar mounted light to a helmet mounted light. I made a simple bracket of aluminum and added a velcro strap to hold it on the helmet. One more velcro strap at the back of the helmet kept the power cable out of the way. I used some rechargeable lead acid batteries, a little bigger than D cells, mounted on the back of the bike seat to provide power. It worked great. When I would come to an intersection or see cars approaching the road I was on from the side, I would turn my head and put the beam right into the driver's eyes. There was no way they could not see me (it was not an ultrabright, multiwatt light, so it was at most a little annoying to the driver, not blinding).

    The velcro kept the light in place but would easily have allowed the light to break-away if I ever landed on top of my head in a wreck. Most of the modern helmet lamps use a similar type of mount system.
     
  14. lfoggy

    lfoggy New Member

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    This is all nonsense.....what's the point of carrying a bloody great battery powered light about on your head, when you can fix it conveniently to your bike !?
     
  15. Duckwah

    Duckwah New Member

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    For road riding I use a single 5W vistalite and for MTB night rides most people use a 10W or larger headlamp and a 5W on the bars.

    For MTB the head mounted ligth is important for seeing round corners and also for adding depth to the lighting.
     
  16. dobber

    dobber New Member

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    The fact that you can apply the light where your eyes are looking. Turn your head, the light moves with you. Get it?

    Helmet mounted lights are not some unwieldy piece of gear. They are typically no bigger than a pack of smikes, if that. The battery is typically carried on the body (Camelbak, jersey, etc).

    Bike lights have two roles to serve, illuminating your path and indicating to others your presence. Doing one well may leave you lacking in the other.

    The best kit is a set of handlebar mounted dualie lights plus a helmet mounted on. All switched so you can bring the appropriate amount of illumination on the situation when warrented.

    Check out www.bicyclelights.com for some nice looking setups. From what I've gathered, these are very well made and a steal at the prices offered. He runs em thru EBay alot also.

    I've got some winging thier way east at this moment.
     
  17. gubaguba

    gubaguba New Member

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    I disagree as someone who rides at night almost daily, and spends half of his time on the bike in darkness I see no reason for a helmet light. For one light travels in a straight line it does not go around corners. Depth is not caused by multiple lights it is caused by the angle of the light to in referance to the illuminated object and viewer. That said helmet lights do not increase depth they would reduce it. Since the illumination is at almost zero angle to you the viewer. I know a little about lighting because as a photographer I'm paid to light product. Lastly I would like to say that if I'm riding at night at a high speed I better be looking right were my bike is going and that just happens to be right where my handle bar is pointed.
     
  18. xxguitarist

    xxguitarist New Member

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    gubaguba... one question... do you look into a corner before you turn? or would you rather turn, then be able to see around it...
     
  19. lfoggy

    lfoggy New Member

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    For night riding I use a hub dynamo powering a broad beamed front light. The illumination is excellent and it requires no connecting up of batteries, lights and helmets.......
    Furthermore there are no batteries to go flat. The one problem with dynamos is that the lights go our when you stop, however you can get lights which store a small charge, enough for a few minutes illumination. This keeps the lights going when you stop at traffic lights etc.
     
  20. tyler_derden

    tyler_derden New Member

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    Usually the battery is mounted on the bike, and the lamp mounted on the helmet. The lamp is very light and you really don't know it's there. The point is that you can direct the light where you need it- if you're turning you can look at the turn before you actually go there. Also, you can direct the light into car drivers yes to insure that they see you.


    TD
     
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