Author Topic: Bicycle Light Recommendations?  (Read 3209 times)

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Bicycle Light Recommendations?
« on: August 13, 2015, 02:17:07 PM »
I started bike commuting late this spring and put off the purchase of bike lights because the long summer days made them unnecessary.  It is now getting to the time when I need to start thinking about getting a set for the early morning commute.

I'd like to find an inexpensive, long lasting, bright set of lights.  I mostly want to be seen by traffic, but if I keep riding late into the fall and winter there is a good chance I will also need it to illuminate my path.  I see that one fundamental choice is whether to get lights with a rechargeable battery versus using AA or AAA batteries.  I'm guessing rechargeable would be cheaper in the long run, but I haven't used them before so don't really know.

Any recommendations from Mustachians? 

robartsd

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Re: Bicycle Light Recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2015, 02:47:22 PM »
You can always get rechargable AA and AAA batteries and charger instead of depending on your bike light's system.

The type of path you use the lights on also makes a difference. On urban streets, the "be seen" lights should beadequate. Being seen includes when the sun is close to the horizon behind you - which should provide enough light to navigate the streets after dark. These lights tend to have a flashlight like pattern pointed straight ahead - this is basically all the low end bike lights. This is the type of light I ride with.

Lighting intended to see the surface you're riding on well has a light dispursement pattern that is most intense at the horizon and gradually becomes dimmer as the angle drops lower (like the low beam of a car) so that the surface for the next 100-300 feet is all about equally bright. This does not come nearly as cheaply. If you're looking for this type of light, I'd visit PeterWhiteCycles.com to get some good information (particularly good for information on high quality hub dynamo setups).

mcjuggerton21

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Re: Bicycle Light Recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2015, 02:51:31 PM »
We like to use these when fatbiking around in the dark here in AK:

http://www.amazon.com/SecurityIng-Waterproof-Lighting-Headlight-Rechargeable/dp/B00C2MHNJK/ref=sr_1_5?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1439498961&sr=1-5

The rechargeable battery is alright and it comes with a few ways to attach to your bike or your helmet. They are really really bright!

sol

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Re: Bicycle Light Recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2015, 02:52:25 PM »
Search the forum, there are at least three other threads on this topic, all full of recommendations.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: Bicycle Light Recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2015, 02:55:14 PM »

The type of path you use the lights on also makes a difference. On urban streets, the "be seen" lights should beadequate. Being seen includes when the sun is close to the horizon behind you - which should provide enough light to navigate the streets after dark. These lights tend to have a flashlight like pattern pointed straight ahead - this is basically all the low end bike lights. This is the type of light I ride with.

Lighting intended to see the surface you're riding on well has a light dispursement pattern that is most intense at the horizon and gradually becomes dimmer as the angle drops lower (like the low beam of a car) so that the surface for the next 100-300 feet is all about equally bright. This does not come nearly as cheaply. If you're looking for this type of light, I'd visit PeterWhiteCycles.com to get some good information (particularly good for information on high quality hub dynamo setups).

In this case, I'm betting there will generally be enough ambient light to see where I'm going well enough. I ride on a paved bike path that follows a significant road, then follows a waterway, then I pop on to downtown surface streets.  I'm not sure about the portion of the path along the waterway, but I'm betting there will be enough light for me to not run into things or go off the path.  I'm pretty sure I won't be riding down an unlit country road.

Any specific product recommendations in light of this? 

robartsd

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Re: Bicycle Light Recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2015, 03:34:38 PM »
In this case, I'm betting there will generally be enough ambient light to see where I'm going well enough. I ride on a paved bike path that follows a significant road, then follows a waterway, then I pop on to downtown surface streets.  I'm not sure about the portion of the path along the waterway, but I'm betting there will be enough light for me to not run into things or go off the path.  I'm pretty sure I won't be riding down an unlit country road.

Any specific product recommendations in light of this?

There are so many options, I can understand why you're asking for recommendations. I don't have one. Here's what to look for in cheap lights:

Efficency - eliminate any that are not LED based.

Brightness - is it bright enough over the field that you care about?

Mounting options - Some are easy to mount, others are a pain. Most headlight are easy enough to mount on most handle bars, but sometimes the handle bar is too small/large in diameter for a particular light. Many rear lights mount to the seatpost, but does that work for any loads you might carry on a rack? Most lights feature a quick release mount - if this is important to you make sure.

Modes - less is more: The cheap lights all seem to be controlled by one button. Many of the headlights have a dim, bright, and flashing mode(s). Many of the tailights have a solid on and multiple flashing modes. This means to turn the light on/off requires multiple presses of the button - so although the marketers love many modes, I do not.

I did like MMM's article about the lights he chose. The bottom end of the market is filled with way too many options that you probalby would find suitable, yet they are priced low enough that the effort to compare them does not yeild much reward. I've never bothered to do more that shop for the cheapest item that meets my needs at one or two stores (most often nashbar and/or amazon and a physical store if shipping time/costs are a factor).

abiteveryday

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Re: Bicycle Light Recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2015, 04:09:32 PM »
If budget allows it, I actually highly recommend going with a light set driven from a hub generator.   No batteries, ever.   

vhalros

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Re: Bicycle Light Recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2015, 04:29:44 PM »
https://www.bikelightdatabase.com/  <-- This place has detailed reviews with lots lights in different categories (do you want AA, rechargeable, etc.)

I light the Cygolite 400 myself.