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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What do you guys and gals use on your bikes at night? I need to put a light on back n front tomorrow.

Went out for a ride around 5:30 PM and ended up getting lost and headed back in the dark without lights. Eeek!!! Scary!!

Tomorrow that is first thing I am going to go grab, but wanted some suggestions.

Do you leave them on the bike full time?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Resident Curmudgeon
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I have front & rear lights on my commuter. They're on the bike all the time.
Depends on what you want to do with the lights. (A) Do you want to be seen, or (B) do you need to see. If it's A you can get away with getting a cheapo blinky that runs on AA or AAA batteries for the front. They're usually about $15-25. For a light strong enough to see by, you'll need something with more juice. I've tried several brands/models throughout the years. The one I currently have is a Nightrider Minewt Dual. There are 2 lights, both of which are shockingly small, and a battery that Velcros on to the head tube or stem. I like it as much or more than anything I've had before. It's quite bright. I commute 18 mi/day one way, year round, and I start about an hour before sunrise. There are some rural roads, so I need something that really lights up the road for me. I'm comfortable with this light at speeds up to 30 mph. I don't remember what it costs, but I think it's a hair less than $200.

Rear lights. I've had a bunch. My current favorite is a Blackburn Mars. It's a triangular light with a couple of different flashing modes. Mounts to the seat post, and also has a clip for clothing. Less than $10.00. Hard to beat for that price.

In addition to those, I also have a smaller red blinky on my helmet, reflective tape on seat stays, pedals, bar ends, helmet, and a 3" dia. reflector on the rear. I almost always wear illuminite clothing or a reflective vest.

There are lots of lights, both front & rear that may be better, but they're also more expensive as a general rule. You can find reviews of lights at mtbr site. There's a link at the top of this page.
 

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I always have some of those small strap on led lights in my seat bag as a backup, they are better than nothing for being seen.

When I know I'll likely be out, I have a dinotte 140AA tail light for most of my bikes and dinotte 200AA or a HID for the handle bars at min. My heavy traffic commute is more like a rolling christmas tree due to the number of lights I have, but I'd rather be seen than run over.
 

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duh...
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rear- superflash

front- depends on use (to be seen or to see), but as much as you want to spend... to see, an older L&M arc-lion for me, but if I was buying new an LED
 

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I want a Road Bike :)
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led lights

I use a couple of 5 led lights... planet bike brand... on the rear I have a red led blinker

and as a precaution i wear a hi-visibility reflective vest... just to bee seen...
 

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I use a minewt 2 for the headlight, and its extremely bright when both beams are combined i can see about 50' ahead of me during the darkest hours. The strobe mode is really annoying when it's dark out, feels like an industrial strobe light and I'm certain it would irritate drivers or other cyclists, so i don't use it.

For the rear, the cateye tld1100. supid amounts of bright from that bad boy!!
 

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Bike Planet Super Flash for the back ($20)

Dinotte 200L for the front. I have the one that runs on 4aa batteries. (Nimh) I got it on sale for $99 w/o batteries or charger. I keep this on the bike at all times and use it in flashing mode on many daytime rides just to be seen.

For riding in the dark I add a Night Hawk Emitter to my helmet.

Planet Bike also makes a nice glowing/reflective ankle band that is great for dark riding.
 

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trying to HTFU...
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The other factors are whether this is a regular commute bike or an occasional caught out late on a ride bike & how long you will be riding in the dark each day/time. For regular usage, I like the hub generator lights, like those from Peter White. You never have a drained battery pack. The lights are good for most all road riding, other than high speed descents on country roads. For occasional use, there are lots of small battery-powered options. Having used a high-power Niterider system for awhile, I decided that for my commute needs the generator-based system was far more reliable and available and affordable (after having to replace Niterider batteries a couple times).
 

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Knives, Guns, and Booze
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Mine are those $5 made in China pieces of crap, yet I spend another $40 on parts (Philips Lumileds Luxeon emitters, a couple MOSFETs, a couple resistors, a 555 timer IC, and a capacitor or two) and they are brighter than the $180 lights.

Next project is a bonafide BuckPuck controller and 40V lithium-ion power supply coupled with three white Luxeon K2 LEDs (output is over 120lm per LED @ 1000mA) and a custom heatsink setup for the LEDs for proper heat dissipation so as to avoid the usual heat build-up which leads to a drop in light output. The light output ought to be equivalent to one run-of-the-mill automobile headlight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Leopold Porkstacker said:
Mine are those $5 made in China pieces of crap, yet I spend another $40 on parts (Philips Lumileds Luxeon emitters, a couple MOSFETs, a couple resistors, a 555 timer IC, and a capacitor or two) and they are brighter than the $180 lights.

Next project is a bonafide BuckPuck controller and 40V lithium-ion power supply coupled with three white Luxeon K2 LEDs (output is over 120lm per LED @ 1000mA) and a custom heatsink setup for the LEDs for proper heat dissipation so as to avoid the usual heat build-up which leads to a drop in light output. The light output ought to be equivalent to one run-of-the-mill automobile headlight.

I am a techie and geek so I have to say "PLEASE LET ME SEE A PICTURE!!!"

: )
 

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Knives, Guns, and Booze
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g8keyper said:
I am a techie and geek so I have to say "PLEASE LET ME SEE A PICTURE!!!"

: )
Okay:


cheap-ass $5 made-in-China light (which Performance sells for about $20)


two K2 Luxeons and one Luxeon V (between $4 and $11 each, depending on binning)


35mm optic designed for Luxeon and CREE LEDs


front of bike—lights off


front of bike—lights on, flash on camera turned on (bright Luxeon K2 @ ~700mA)


front of bike—lights on, flash on camera turned off (bright Luxeon K2 @ ~700mA)


two K2s and one LedEngin LEDs w/1000mA BuckPuck driver w/14.6V power source (off)


two K2s and one LedEngin LEDs w/1000mA BuckPuck driver w/14.6V power source (off)


basic cheap-ass $5 made-in-China rear red LED flasher (uses two AA cells)


the current regulation and 555 timer IC flasher circuit


circuit + housing + 160lm (each LED) red Luxeon V leds (unit off, camera flash on) @ 3V input


circuit + housing + 160lm (each LED) red Luxeon V leds (unit on, camera flash off) @ 3V input
 

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Integrated Cyclist
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Leopold Porkstacker said:
Mine are those $5 made in China pieces of crap, yet I spend another $40 on parts (Philips Lumileds Luxeon emitters, a couple MOSFETs, a couple resistors, a 555 timer IC, and a capacitor or two) and they are brighter than the $180 lights.

Next project is a bonafide BuckPuck controller and 40V lithium-ion power supply coupled with three white Luxeon K2 LEDs (output is over 120lm per LED @ 1000mA) and a custom heatsink setup for the LEDs for proper heat dissipation so as to avoid the usual heat build-up which leads to a drop in light output. The light output ought to be equivalent to one run-of-the-mill automobile headlight.
The guys over at CandlePower forums are saying that the Cree emitters are twice as efficient as the Luxeons.

http://www.cpfmarketplace.com/mp/showthread.php?t=141999

Food for thought for anyone making lights. Actually go to http://forums.mtbr.com/forumdisplay.php?f=124 for lots of bike light projects.

As far as off the shelf, the Planet Bike superflash apparently whoops everybody else.
 

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Front - NiteRider MiNewt.X2 - has dual LED lamps which are super bright. The dual lights allow me to point one far ahead and one down closer to where my wheels are about to roll over.
Rear - Planet Bike SuperFlash - need I say more?

I only have them on when I know that I will be riding past sunset. Don't waste you money on the cheap stuff. I friend of mine was using a cheap set of lights and ran into a curb causing him to crash. After braking his collar bone and a $2000 hospital bill later, wish he had spent the money on a nice set of lights.
 

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I need to both see and be seen, so I go with double systems:

Front:

on the bike -- MiNewt, great range and beam pattern for an LED
on the helmet -- planet bike 5 led flasher; its cheap and with the helmet I can point it down cross streets

Back:

on the bike: VistaLite 5 LED set to solid (I've read that distance / speed are easier to judge with a solid light)

on the helmet: some super-cheap planet-bike flasher that I have to replace every year; I figure the flashing + the bounce on the helmet makes it an eye-catcher
 

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I'm looking into the MiNewt (don't know whether I want the dual or single yet?) for my first light purchase... a ton of good info on the MTBR light forum... including the best DIY builds I've seen.
 

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havnmonkey said:
a ton of good info on the MTBR light forum... including the best DIY builds I've seen.
Definitely, if you want uber-lights, MTBR would be the place to go.

As for the dual or single, it really depends on how much you need -- I find the single does a decent job up to about 20 kph then I start to outrun it (unless we're getting a Vancouver winter rain, in which case all bets are off).
 
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