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      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2009 edited
     
    It's that time of year and I'm riding home in the dark. I have lights and they are bright/obnoxious enough that cars see me, but they aren't the super good ones like you all must have. I can't see the road very well which leaves me finding every pothole, crack, broken bottle there is to find.

    What are you all using? If you know a round about price range that would be helpful. What are the industry favorites?

    Thanks!
    •  
      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2009 edited
     
    Planet Bike produces some good ones: I use the Superflash taillight on two bikes; bright as they come even in full sunshine, and they seem very popular these days (two varieties below):




    Up front I use the Planet Bike Blaze 1W:


    Although not as bright as some much more expensive headlights (such as those ones used for Cyclocross night-riding, that may run in the several-hundred dollar range) they are economical and solid (mine have been dropped numerous times). I saw one rider use double Blazes up front, which worked real well. They can be set as blinkies or solid light.

    I am guessing you can get the tail and headlight as a set for around $50. Your favorite LBS will carry them individually as well as the set.
    •  
      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2009
     
    I think Nigel might have that one (his light is better than mine). Very bright, but a stream of light rather than a broad cast of light. I guess if one did double lights you could face one forward and one down to the road. That's my main problem is not being able to see down AND ahead.

    Those fancy $300+ lights seem to be rather confusing for me as it's not just the light. There is also the battery pack, wires, charger, somthing, something.
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      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2009
     
    for not spending a fortune Njord Noatun has two great lights for commuting. the Blaze and the Superflash are great.

    i use a Nightrider Blowtorch for the headlight. it's spendy but really really bright. for the tail light the Planet bike Superflash


  1.  
    As posted in a thread earlier today I've got my NiteRider (a local San Diego company) MiNewt X2 front light - plenty bright - and I too use the Superflash from Planetbike. On my errand bike I've just got an old Knog mounted on the fork for when I forget to mount up something more potent. At least I can blink!
    •  
      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2009
     
    Or you could make your own 50w lamp (that's more than allowed on cars!) - steampunk style. :face-monkey:
    •  
      CommentAuthoril Pirati
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2009
     
    .

    I believe there are two types of bicycle headlight: 1) the type that allows you to be seen in the dard, and 2) the type that allows you to see in the dark. If you just want to make sure cars see you, pretty much any decent blinker is fine. If you really want to actually see in front of you, like navigate dark bike paths at 3 am, then, in my opinion/experiance, you've got to spring for a real headlight. 2 AA batteries just can't produce the voltage required to light up the night. I have a nite rider newt and it is amazing. Very worth the investment.
    •  
      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2009
     
    So, these niterider jobbies, how does it work? Obviously not just a couple batteries. Does it take wiring, is there a giant car battery that you're carrying around to feed it? Or is there a little battery pack? Does one recharge each night (does it lose juice just sitting there)? Or only after you've ridden with it on for 5-7 hours? Thx
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2009
     
    Niteriders are really really nice. we order them into the store. they have a little battery pack and with todays advanced battery's they don't even weigh very much at all. mine lasts 6 hours so if i wanted i could do several commutes without charging it. usually though i will charge it after every ride.

    a lot of commuters opt for the helmet mount because if they rally want to warn a driver of their presence they just point the light directly at the car. the lights are so bright it stops the cars dead in their tracks like a deer in headlights.
    •  
      CommentAuthoril Pirati
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2009
     
    .

    There is a small battery (about the size of a cell phone) that velcros to the top tube, and a cable connects the battery to the very small light on the handle bar. The light actually takes up a lot less bar space than most "blinky" AA powered type lights. You could commute all week and just recharge on the weekend for a few hours. No charge loss as long as the light and battery pack are not connected. Only drawback is the price, but like I said, worth every penny.
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2009
     
    il Pirati:.

    Only drawback is the price, but like I said, worth every penny.


    agree 100%
  2.  
    i use the super flash on the rear and currently an old cat eye chargeable light up front that im replacing with a night rider miNewt mini usb hopefully this weekend.

    i have a couple other basic lights laying around or bracketed on certian bikes but i always have a superflash with me in my backpack or on my belt loop.
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      CommentAuthorPaul
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2009
     
    Superflash on a rack mount in back and Blaze 1W in front. I just saw that there is a Blaze 2 watt now: http://www.ecovelo.info/2009/10/28/planet-bike-blaze-2w-2/
  3.  
    I've been using the planet bike superflash for about 1.5 years now. I can attest to it's brightness and effectiveness. Well worth the price. One evening my wife followed me on a flat road and could see that thing blinking away as far as 1.25 miles. I change the batteries about every four months.

    For the front, I've got a Cygolight Pace 135. Cost about $80, which is good for the performance that it gives. I wouldn't ride with it in total darkness, but my normal morning route has enough streetlights to guide the way. I've got a second one that I helmet mount if I know that it's going to be a totally dark route, or a path that I'm not familiar with.
  4.  
    Bev:So, these niterider jobbies, how does it work? Obviously not just a couple batteries. Does it take wiring, is there a giant car battery that you're carrying around to feed it? Or is there a little battery pack? Does one recharge each night (does it lose juice just sitting there)? Or only after you've ridden with it on for 5-7 hours? Thx


    I owned an older one, so the battery(s) were much heavier then. I've looked at modern ones, and the battery has gotten much better. For really long distances, they also have a water bottle sized battery. A very good performer and customer service from them is 2nd to none.
    •  
      CommentAuthorWilliam
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2009
     
    <blockquote><cite> Bev:</cite>It's that time of year and I'm riding home in the dark. </blockquote> This is wierd.

    See, today, I was gonna take the trolley. It was late, and I was tired. Then, I realized, i have obligations. So, I jump off the trolly at 47th and Castana, thinking I can just ride over to the area I needed to be ~ Federal in Lemon Grove. Uh, yeah. It was a stop 3 too soon, and I ended up going over 47th to the wrong federal, then cutting across the 94 and then dropping into a bike path along the dried river bed. Pitch Black. And I had a 3 AAA blinky.

    I couldn't see anything. And the stretch of federal there is a bit sketchy. Did you know there's a section of the bridge that is wooden? And there is a now a contender for worse than Harbor drive bike lane.
    • CommentAuthorStephan
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2009
     
    I use a Lumotec headlight powered by a BM Dymotec tire driven generator. It's a little pricey but not as bad as the high powered Nite Riders and the like. It never dies on you like batteries and you never have to dispose of the toxic waste. This generators is really efficient and that means the drag is not too bad. The light is 3 watts, so it's not as bright as the Nite Riders, but I find it's bright enough unless your ar really ripping. You can run a rear light too, but only with a 2.4 watt headlight. I use battery powered blinkies in the back.

    See it here
    •  
      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2009 edited
     
    William:

    This is wierd.

    See, today, I was gonna take the trolley. It was late, and I was tired. Then, I realized, i have obligations. So, I jump off the trolly at 47th and Castana, thinking I can just ride over to the area I needed to be ~ Federal in Lemon Grove. Uh, yeah. It was a stop 3 too soon, and I ended up going over 47th to the wrong federal, then cutting across the 94 and then dropping into a bike path along the dried river bed. Pitch Black. And I had a 3 AAA blinky.

    I couldn't see anything. And the stretch of federal there is a bit sketchy. Did you know there's a section of the bridge that is wooden? And there is a now a contender for worse than Harbor drive bike lane.



    I was just going to mention to you today about how I took a little bit closer of a look at the "SR 94 Bike Path" (that partially asphalt path that runs along the 94 for 1 exit). I've not done it but noticed the sign guiding bikers to it. So was it aweful? Poorly paved or just plain scary? I was mildly considering it to get to downtown/southpark. Not a good idea?
    •  
      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeNov 5th 2009
     
    I recently heard about the Magicshine 900. Supposedly 900 lumens for $85. It seems too good to be true. I know someone who has one on order. I'm waiting to see how it turns out for him. If it goes well, I may get one too.

    I'm seriously missing my Light and Motion ARC. That light was awesome until it died and IIRC, it was only rated for 650 lumens. It also cost me over $400 a few years ago.

    I'm using a crappy Cateye LED headlight until I figure out what to replace the ARC with.
    •  
      CommentAuthorWilliam
    • CommentTimeNov 5th 2009
     
    <blockquote><cite> Bev:</cite><blockquote><cite> William:</cite></blockquote>
    I was just going to mention to you today about how I took a little bit closer of a look at the "SR 94 Bike Path" (that partially asphalt path that runs along the 94 for 1 exit). I've not done it but noticed the sign guiding bikers to it. So was it aweful? Poorly paved or just plain scary? I was mildly considering it to get to downtown/southpark. Not a good idea?</blockquote>

    On federal, the east bound side is pretty rough, with a couple of those wierd change overs for car/bike with regards to turn lanes ~ does that make sense?

    The path itself: short, decent shape, but dark as buttcrack at night: NO LIGHTS. A really quick sharp climb at the end literally drops you flat on to the overpass to go north to Federal. Federal on the North side of 94 is dark, but a wide street, not too bad in my book.
    •  
      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeNov 5th 2009
     
    billd:I recently heard about the Magicshine 900. Supposedly 900 lumens for $85. It seems too good to be true. I know someone who has one on order. I'm waiting to see how it turns out for him. If it goes well, I may get one too.

    I'm seriously missing my Light and Motion ARC. That light was awesome until it died and IIRC, it was only rated for 650 lumens. It also cost me over $400 a few years ago.

    I'm using a crappy Cateye LED headlight until I figure out what to replace the ARC with.


    Let me know if the super light is all it's cracked up to be when it arrives.

    I, too, am using a Cateye LED headlight. It works for letting others see me, but seeing obstacles is impossible.
    •  
      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeNov 5th 2009 edited
     
    William:


    On federal, the east bound side is pretty rough, with a couple of those wierd change overs for car/bike with regards to turn lanes ~ does that make sense?

    The path itself: short, decent shape, but dark as buttcrack at night: NO LIGHTS. A really quick sharp climb at the end literally drops you flat on to the overpass to go north to Federal. Federal on the North side of 94 is dark, but a wide street, not too bad in my book.


    It doesn't sound as dodgy as I thought. I pictured crack addicts in the bushes and old tires strewn about. I did notice the bike lane west bound just ended at the stoplight, but that you still have to go another block or so (which is a freeway on-ramp!)to get to the bike path.
    •  
      CommentAuthorWilliam
    • CommentTimeNov 5th 2009
     
    <blockquote><cite> Bev:</cite>It doesn't sound as dodgy as I thought. I pictured crack addicts in the bushes and old tires strewn about. I did notice the bike lane west bound just ended at the stoplight, but that you still have to go another block or so (which is a freeway on-ramp!)to get to the bike path.</blockquote>

    It was dark, but just cross over and get on the other side early, other wise you'll have to play chicken with traffic, I think. It was dark, so I don't know the exact methods yet. I"m going to try it again when I get the red bike back up working and a better light on it.

    My tolerance for stupid is pretty high, so what I say is doable, might not be so in reality of sane people.

    But, it wasn't bad. I'm still going to try the broadway downtown to federal ramp. By the maps it sheds off a few miles. I might try it Friday if I don't go see the movie @ VC.
    •  
      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeNov 5th 2009
     
    Let me know how it goes.
  5.  
    I just tested these bad boys tonight and like them a lot. The headlight did well on Florida and Pershing and the build quality appears to be solid.

    Sigma Sport Pava / Hiro Light Set
    http://www.sigmasport.com/us
    http://www.rei.com/product/784485
    http://amzn.com/B0026RB3X8
    •  
      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeNov 5th 2009
     
    But does it light up the actual riding surface?
  6.  
    Yes. Enough to dodge sewer caps, glass, etc. I don't have anything to compare it to though since it's my first light set, but I was looking for something more than just a safety light. They claim that the headlight brightness is 25 LUX (if that means anything to you). I mounted mine upside down on the underside of my handle bar to give it a tiny bit better of an angle to light up imperfections on the road.
    • CommentAuthorkyle
    • CommentTimeNov 6th 2009
     
    I just recently picked up NiteRider's MiNewt 400 and really love them. Riding home on Rose Canyon at night (which is close to pitch black) is a breeze. Like everyone said, you have to drop some cash for NiteRider but I couldn't be happier with my purchase.

    And they are really easy to mount/use.
    • CommentAuthorHMeins
    • CommentTimeNov 6th 2009
     
    Front: Light & Motion Arc Li-ion, recently repaired for a nominal fee; Dinotte L200, Dinotte L140 amber.
    Rear: Dinotte L140 red, Vista-Lite 5LED, PlanetBike Superflash, red helmet blinkie.
    Front wheel blue flasher.
    • CommentAuthorPraxis
    • CommentTimeNov 6th 2009
     
    I use this one in front. It takes forever and a day to ship, but it's cheap. I believe it uses the same LED as the Magicshine, although a smaller reflector since it's a flashlight. It uses one lithium rechargable battery and gets about an hour of runtime on high per charge. It is very bright, and I am comfortable with it until about 30-35 MPH. I'd probably slow down then if it was pitch black or unfamiliar road with this light. But it's got good spot and spill characteristics. It would be nice if it permitted side visibility, but it's a flashlight so that wasn't exactly top priority.

    I like the flashlight form factor because I can take everything off the bike super easily, batteries, light, and all. And connectors and wires eventually fail. If I needed more runtime I'd look for something with more amp hours. I definitely recommend the light.

    I did have the problem some report of intermittent operation with the battery rattling. The sharp tailcap spring cut a small hole in the thin outer metal casing of the battery. I suspect batteries that weren't cheap and Chinese might have had a bit thicker metal there, but I solved it by filing the tailcap spring down a bit so it was duller, and I don't have the problem anymore with that particular battery or any of the others.

    In the rear I have a Superflash. I could probably use a bit more light in the back and to the sides. Front I'm mostly happy with, although I wouldn't say no to more light if it was handed to me.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeNov 6th 2009
     
    Praxis:I use this one in front.
    How do you mount it? Thick rubber band or inner tube?
    • CommentAuthoryoshi
    • CommentTimeNov 8th 2009
     
    It sounds like we all like the Planet bike Superflash for a rear light.
    I like that it has a random flashing pattern, which is hard to ignore.

    The niterider and light and motion lights are amazing.
    I borrowed a light and motion arc light system a few years ago for a 24 hours of adrenaline race and it seemed brighter than my car headlight.
    However, they are super pricey.

    Here's a cheaper option for a front light that the folks at rivendell seem to like a lot.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeNov 8th 2009 edited
     
    yoshi:It sounds like we all like the Planet bike Superflash for a rear light.
    I use a saddle/tool bag, and have therefore mounted my Superflash to my left seat stay: I am thinking of adding a second one to the right seat stay; right next to my current one - that should give drivers something to think about!

    :face-monkey:
    •  
      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeNov 8th 2009
     
    Does anyone know of a local dealer for the Magicshine? I've only even been able to find one place on line, and I've never heard of them before.
    • CommentAuthorPraxis
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    Njord Noatun:
    Praxis:I use this one in front.
    How do you mount it? Thick rubber band or inner tube?


    I use a TwoFish Lockblock. It works OK, but it could be a bit more stable. On rough stretches at speed it sometimes vibrates enough to shift the flashlight forward in the mount, which then makes it out of balance so it shifts more, and then it's just waggling around.

    There are more secure mounts out there. TwoFish now has a CycleBlock (I think that was what it was called) that's a bit bigger than the lockblock; it might work a bit better. I could use hose clamps on the lockblock but the whole point is to have it easy to remove. It's not generally a problem to reach down and shift the light back to where it's supposed to be when it happens (maybe once a week).
    • CommentAuthorPraxis
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    Njord Noatun:
    yoshi:It sounds like we all like the Planet bike Superflash for a rear light.
    I use a saddle/tool bag, and have therefore mounted my Superflash to my left seat stay: I am thinking of adding a second one to the right seat stay; right next to my current one - that should give drivers something to think about!

    :face-monkey:


    We all use it because it's the best value! No brighter bang for the buck out there, IMHO. Mine's on my seat stay also; I have a massive hunk of metal that is a trail-a-bike hitch on my seatpost and it's too much of a pain to take on and off.
    • CommentAuthoryoshi
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    Praxis:

    We all use it because it's the best value! No brighter bang for the buck out there, IMHO.


    Indeed!
    • CommentAuthorChad
    • CommentTimeNov 11th 2009
     
    Bev and William- what is this bike path along 94 you're talking about? I live in the triangle formed by the 94, 805 and 15 and would like an easy way out of the neighborhood that doesn't require me to either ride over to Fairmount and then up to Univ. or south to Market or up Federal to Euclid and then down to Market. Bothe these routes just add extra miles to my ride. Only thing I've found so far is a dodgy little canyon that I haul ass through hoping there are no crack addicts, coyotes, skunks, rattlesnakes, etc in....
    The little, and I mean LITTLE canyon is right at the end of Home Ave where it crosses the 94.
    •  
      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeNov 11th 2009
     
    The path is a very short (1 freeway exit) path on the east bound side of the 94 between Kelton (I think that's the name) and Federal. I don't think it'll help you. The only help is to avoid a 1 mile detour up hill to get onto Kelton.
    •  
      CommentAuthorWilliam
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009
     
    <blockquote><cite> Chad:</cite>Bev and William- what is this bike path along 94 you're talking about? I live in the triangle formed by the 94, 805 and 15 and would like an easy way out of the neighborhood that doesn't require me to either ride over to Fairmount and then up to Univ. or south to Market or up Federal to Euclid and then down to Market. Bothe these routes just add extra miles to my ride. Only thing I've found so far is a dodgy little canyon that I haul ass through hoping there are no crack addicts, coyotes, skunks, rattlesnakes, etc in....
    The little, and I mean LITTLE canyon is right at the end of Home Ave where it crosses the 94.</blockquote>

    You're in that singled out spot: have you tried the Ride the City route? I'll have to look. The route I'm talkin about is on the south side of 94.

    I rode the sewer out of the triangle once. I wouldn't recommend it. We were infused with liquid carbohydrates and lost as I don't know what. In fact, I can't remember how we did it. Not one of the wiser moves I've ever made in my life, but I escaped with out a scratch or causing an accident.
    • CommentAuthorHMeins
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009
     
    I'm going to buy a Magicshine 900 from GeoMan later today. Hopefully the latest shipment will have the bugs worked out. Adding this will provide me with four forward facing lights. I'm going to be lit up like a Klingon Battle Cruiser. After a couple of weeks of daylight morning commutes, it's starting to get dark again. Tomorrow will probably be my last without lights.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009
     
    ray333: Adding this will provide me with four forward facing lights.
    Sounds pretty impressive: Do you also carry four sets of batteries and four wiring harnesses, then?

    Unless I cut back on my bartape, I can only run three devices off my handlebar - currently deployed are one light mount, one cycle computer mount, and one GPS mount. Of these three, I am thinking the cyclometer can go (my GPS does everything my cyclometer does and more [and I don't give a toss about cadence]) if I need more dashboard space.
  7.  
    I just re-fueled my light addiction with the purchase of a second 150 lumen light (to be mounted on my helmet) which will accompany my 2 year old MiNewt X2. This time I went with a Light and Motion Stella 150N. Can't wait to blaze into the night, though it sounds like Ray333 still has me beat hands down. I'd like to see a picture of that set up if it's ever convenient to post one, Ray :)
    • CommentAuthorHMeins
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2009 edited
     
    I carry the batteries for each headlight system in my Ostrich handlebar bag, those for my rear Dinotte I carry in an under-the-seat bag. Needless to say there's a lot of spaghetti coming off the bars. I try to route it so that it doesn't interfere with riding. The two forward facing Dinottes are mounted low on the Nitto front rack to fill the shadow created by the Ostrich bag. These become flashers during daylight. When I'm riding fixed, like this morning, I only run two headlights. My goal is to make it impossible for drivers not to see me.
  8.  
    Photobucket
    •  
      CommentAuthorbatmick
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2009
     
    I too am lit up like a Christmas tree at night. I ride up PCH from Torrey Pines to Encinitas so I need real illumination not just blinkies to be seen. Forward I have a Planet Bike Blaze 1W set to flashing mode. Main light is a Light and Motion Solo Logic Lion cub. I also have a backup Vetta helmet mounted light in my backpack, just in case. Covering the back are two Planet Bike Superflash blinkies and tiny bar end blinkies in the drop bars like these
    image
    All the Planet Bike lights have rechargeable batteries that I recharge every day at work.
  9.  
    My light looks dim compared to some of the ones on here. I'll need to invest in a brighter one at some point, cost is still an issue, that and mounting. I can't mount much on my handlebars, I have a second set of brake handles (cyclocross bike).
  10.  
    Oh, that triangle between 805-15-94: Fairmont Park. I have a friend that lives there, I help him with the neighborhood cleanups. He is also trying to get Caltrans to add some sort of western ped/bike access as there is presently none, once the 15/94 interchange gets upgraded.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbatmick
    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2009 edited
     
    Hi Mike,
    if you ride a lot at night you should treat the light expense just like you treat the helmet issue: Don't skimp and get the best you can afford.
    Most cars are clueless enough here in bright daylight...
    In terms of mounting the lights there are these adapters that mount to the stem (Minoura Swing Grip for example) that provide a little more real estate for lights and computers etc. Look dorky but may be your best option.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRBjay
    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2009
     
    For threes years now, I've been using the MiNewt LED Headlight. For around $200 you get three modes: low, high, and flashing beacon. It comes with a rechargeable battery (takes about 4 hours to fully recharge) and runs for up to about six hours depending on what mode you use. Low beam is pretty useless unless there's a full moon out. High beam is really the best mode if you want to see and be seen. The flashing beacon mode is great for when there's lots of traffic. Below is a picture of what you get: Rechargeable battery, headlight, connecting cable, set of 3 rubber fasteners to mount the headlight onto your bar, and a six inch velcro strap to mount the battery onto your stem. Surprisingly, the entire unit is virtually weightless. Also, notice the clear round plastic button on the battery. When it's turned "ON", it illuminates with a blueish color. When running low on power, it illuminates a warning redish color giving roughly 30 minutes of run time until "lights out". Regarding tail lighting, Planet Bike has my back covered with 2-$25 red flashers; one on my seat post, and the other on my backpack.
    NiteRider,Headlight,Rechargeable Batter