handle bar light options
Anonymous 10/02/2012 at 2:57pm #
Does anyone have a good suggestion for an inexpensive front light? I used to have a watch battery rubbery one, but the rubber broke. I would need it to cast enough light to actually allow me to see the trail/rode.
Anonymous 10/02/2012 at 3:08pm #
I got a MiNewt 600 cordless last year to replace my aging Specialized light and couldn’t be happier. Panther Hollow trail in the middle of the night is lit up like daylight
Only problem is that the beam pattern is symmetrical, so you have to turn it to the side when you see someone on the trail. It’s like driving around with your high beams on.
Planet Bike has some good ones. I don’t know what you consider cheap, but you’ll spend upwards of $40 for a decent headlight. Say, the Blaze 2W is $60.
I was going to start this exact same thread today and include a tail light since mine bounced off my bike this weekend. I am looking to be seen in daylight only. (sorry for adding, hope you don’t see this as a hijack).
How inexpensive we talking?
I’d recommend saving up for one of the cheaper NiteRider options, which will be bright
For the taillight I’d recommend:
+1 on the NiteRider. I have one on my commuter, and I’m often told that it “Looks like a motorcycle light” or “It’s too damn bright.” Since my goal is to be seen, I like both of those statements.
It does a great job of lighting the road in front of me, and is very bright.
I have two Blackburn Flea USB rechargeable lights on the back of my bike, and they are plenty bright. I keep one charger at home, and one in my bag, and it seems I need to charge them about once a week.
200-300 lumens should be plenty to be seen and light up the bike paths/trails.
NiteRider and Light & Motion are nice rechargeable USB-powered options. Made in the USA too.
Planet Bike has some nice ones if you want AA battery powered.
I have two of these, they’re $35 and put out about 500-700 lumens each (their claim of 1200 is a bit lofty). They’re insanely bright for $35, especially when you have two of them. Batteries are so-so, if you want to upgrade anything, it should be that.
Over the weekend I bought a 3-pack of 200 lumen machined aluminum mini flashlights for $20 (Costco), just to keep around the house. They would definitely be bright enough to get around. Get something like that, then get a Twofish Lockblock http://www.twofish.biz/bike.html in the right size, 10 bucks+-. Strap on a pair for a dirt cheap redundant light setup, that you don’t need to stress about theft either.
I cannot suggest the Planet Bike lights as they are awful noisy and rickety. Their flash mode is among the best for a be seen light but damned annoying to listen to. The Niterider lights have come up in features and down in price, well worth a look.
Anonymous 10/02/2012 at 5:16pm #
sew – not a hijack at all, good info is worth sharing!
+1 Rice Rocket
I’ve got a Magicshine knockoff:
Thing is crazy bright. I’ve had people yell at me before about it. Lights up Panther Hollow like a stadium.
No issues for over a year with it. I use it for 5 days (about 40 min a day) and recharge it at the end of the week.
Added a spread lens to it and its gotten even better
I have a light & motion urban light that I like a lot. I tried the cheap chinese made super bright tactical flashlight route for a little over a year but it just wasn’t dependable enough.
Planet Bike superflash on the back.
to also jump on this one–I mostly ride roads, so I’m looking for something that’ll let me see the potholes on 45th and Spring Way without blinding anyone I come up behind…
I like the flashlights-and-canvas-straps option, though.
I ride mostly roads I just point the light down to shine on the road.
I have a Niterider Lumina 650 and love it. Quick recharge, four brightness levels and a good blinking mode.
I used flahslights and large rubberbands for years. Worked fine. Excpet for no blinking, they were jsut asx good as “headlights” for a small fraction of the price.
I switched over because bike lights went LED before cheap flashlight did – and my LED headlights don’t seem to last fairly well.
OOOOPS I meant my LED lights DO last well and DON’T fail (unlike my posting skillxz).
Anonymous 10/04/2012 at 5:47pm #
@RR I have similar and like it.
@rice rocket, on those lights you picked up, did you buy a wide angle lens to change the throw of the light, or was the original lens sufficient? I just ordered one.
@lou M. Did you have to kludge it, at all? I read that some folks had a little trouble nesting the wide angle lens in the housing.
Resurrecting this thread because I’m picky, and your brain is what I’m currently looking to pick. :-)
Please recommend a cheap headlight for being seen on roads at night. I already have a Niterider MiNewt Mini-USB headlight for seeing, which I take off my bike when I lock it up, and only attach for nontrivial night riding. This second headlight will be left on my bike’s handlebars at all times, and is just for being seen (mostly). It should be:
1. Visible from front and sides.
2. Weatherproof: works in the rain.
3. Battery lasts at least 10 hours when blinking.
4. One piece, no separate battery pack to mount.
5. Cheap enough that I won’t care if it gets removed & stolen. Say, $50 or less.
6. Being dependable is more important than being as light or bright as possible.
7. Normally blinking, but a solid-beam mode would be good for when I don’t have my Niterider along.
8. Doesn’t switch modes or turn off by itself on bumpy roads.
9. Stays pointed in the same direction even on bumpy roads.
10. Strong mount that won’t break on bumpy roads, or wear through after a year or two.
11. Ideally, it requires a tool to remove, to deter thieves.
Is there anything that meets all or most of these?
The NiteRider Mako line might be OK, but I’m concerned that the mount will let the light move on bumps (as an Amazon commenter complains), I see no info on runtime, and one site says it’s not waterproof. Anyone have a Mako?
Planet Bike’s Blaze lights look promising on paper, except the mount doesn’t look like it’ll last, and it’s one of those quick-release things instead of something requiring a tool. Plus orionz06 says they’re noisy and rickety.
The Cateye HL-EL135N that Pinky recommends above has a mount that looks similar to one of my first lights, a Cateye whose thin plastic mounting strap broke after a year or two. It also tended to move around on bumps. But perhaps today’s mount is better?
The flashlight+mount option would require a flashlight with a decent blink mode that also throws light out to the side. Anyone make these?
I really like my Planet Bike 2W. It lasts a very long time and I ride a lot at night or early morning. I have had it for a few years and beat the crap out of it and it is still going strong.
Concur on the PlanetBike Blaze 2W. I’m very pleased with it. It’s nowhere near the throw-weight of the MagicShine-type CREE-emitter lights, but for a straightforward $60 light with a blinkie mode I’m happy. It’s on my bike right now as my standby/backup light:
Also, at the same $60 price, this is a much brighter, USB rechargeable light that I’ve only heard very good things about, and I know several people riding with them. Much more timely technology than the PlanetBike 2W above:
I have the CatEye Nano Shot and like it quite a bit – very bright and small. Website claims 12 hours, but I’d say it’s more like 8. During this time of year when only my morning commute requires a light, I charge it once a week. Huge part is that it’s USB charging, which is really convenient. It’s about $85, so a little out of your range, but it is really a fantastic light.
Also, Thick now sells the Cat Eye mounts as a separate product for about $5.
Thanks. How visible are these from the sides? It looks like the beam pattern for the Blaze is fairly tight. I want something drivers can see from 90 degrees or so.
I see people complaining on the REI site that the Blaze shuts off or switches modes on bumpy pavement. Yours never does that?
I see a complaint that the Cygolite has a rubber cover for the charger slot that tends to pop off, so I’m guessing it’s not going to be OK left out in the rain all the time.
The cateye light mentioned above still has junky mounts… I’ve had one of the “straps” break on one light; on another light, the little tab that holds the light onto the strap/band broke off. Fortunately, I was able to just pair the working strap/band with the light that still mounts. The other is just a flashlight I keep in my tool-bag now.
I like the cateyes, as a pair of them will light the way on a limestone path if you go slow enough. I usually just keep them in flashing mode. Too bad the attachment method needs to be redeveloped.
Steven, re the Blaze: I’ve had it bump from on to off once in two years. Never had it bump off of the mount. I think it’s visible probably across 135 degrees, can’t say 180.
Planet Bike makes great products and they give 25% of their profits to bike advocacy every year. I have a bunch of their lights, but mostly use a Light In Motion Urban 180. Pricier, but you can actually see the road in front of you with it.
My Cateye strap hasn’t broken yet, but time will tell. I don’t think it’s very visible from the side, though.
@pinky, no… not side visible at all. I’ve been using those spoke-lights (which are now even available at Mall*Wart) for side visibility.
I think Marko may be off line for a bit after his recently injury, but he had a pretty cool (and inexpensive) set up a bit back. LED flashlight from home depot or ??? that cost a couple of bucks. Then he fashioned a strap from a piece of recycled inner tube to attach the light to the handlebars. I can’t remember all the details, but it seemed to work for him, and I think his total investment was like $10, and a few minutes to pierce strategic openings in the innertube remnant. Might be best for emergency or supplemental use, but he can tell you more once he’s fully engaged once again.
This looks cheap if you’re looking to increase side visibility without depending only on passive reflectors.
Cateye Econom looks like it might work, too.
What happened to marko? // disregard found it elsewhere. Line of duty injury, so that Others might ride safe. Kudos
Vannevar wrote:What happened to marko?
see the keg-ride thread…
My new favorite headlight is the cygolite metro 300, it’s usb rechargeable with several good preset modes (high / low / high w strobe / strobe). They have some side visibility too. Also, there is a metro 420 available for a brighter high.
My favorite rear light is a Knog Blinder. It is seatpost mount (don’t even think about bag mounting it). This thing is stupid bright. Don’t confuse it for the blinder one, which only has one LED, get the 4 LED version.
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