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Lighting Systems - Do you use one?(17 posts)

Lighting Systems - Do you use one?UncleMoe
Aug 29, 2001 12:10 PM
As the summer season comes to a close, I'm thinking about getting a headlight system so I can ride earlier and later (I already have a tail-light). I have a few systems in mind, I've read the reviews, but I also wanted to do a quick poll. If you use a lighting system...

1. Which one do you use?

2. Are you happy with it?

3. If you are unhappy with anything about it, what is it and why are you unhappy?

4. Any general advice?

FYI - I will be using this for both road and MTB'ing. I'm pretty much leaning towards the cygo-lite Night Explorer or Night Explorer NiCad based on reviews. My concern is the battery systems. A few of the reviews mention the charging process is troublesome. If you use the cygo system, could you comment?
re: Lighting Systems - Do you use one?Akirasho
Aug 29, 2001 12:23 PM
http://home.talkcity.com/DharmaDr/gaigin/Homebrewlighting01.html

... just a thought... I've used this system for about 5 years on both road and MTB's.

Be the bike.
Use two, could use 3...mrcelloboy
Aug 29, 2001 12:29 PM
Cygo Lite Night Rover 8/8 spot/flood (something like that) with a bottle battery (lead acid).
Cheap thru LBS (about $60)
Dim compared to our...
Nite Rider Trail Rat 15w semi-flood. AWESOME brightness for the buck. $90 approx.
Nite Rider does something with the voltage to the bulb (like bypass the fuse or pump up the watts over recommended power, which makes for a brighter beam compared to similar wattage lights.
Most multiple LED taillights are great. We use the Vistalight Super Nebula 5. Bang POW!
Good taillights are REALLY good for night defense!
I haven't found charging to be troublesome, ever. With the less sophisticated systems you just have to unplug them within a reasonable time rather than relying on automatic charging features.
So tell meMike
Aug 29, 2001 1:19 PM
more about the Cygolite. I bought the Night Rover about six months ago and just mounted it last night because the morning light is arriving later. At most I will need it for the first 30-40 minutes of my morning rides. I'm primarily looking to be seen and not for any great amount of road illumination. Please tell me this light will be more than sufficient for my needs.

mike mcmahon
So tell meMrCelloBoy
Aug 29, 2001 8:45 PM
I agree that it would be adequate for being seen, but not for illumination of the road. I found it barely adequate.
Off trail in the near darkness it's passable but not great.
ThanksMike
Aug 29, 2001 8:52 PM
I don't plan on taking the light off-road, so that's not a concern. Fortunately, the first 30-40 minutes of my weekday morning ride is on a road with fairly light traffic, so the light should be sufficient. Maybe I'll upgrade next year after the sticker shock of all of my 2001 bike-related purchases has worn off.
I'm not real fond of nicads ...Humma Hah
Aug 29, 2001 1:15 PM
... good nicads are a wonder. I've got an ICOM battery pack that's 10 years old, and works like new. However, I've got a number of other nicad devices and 80% of them perform sub-par. Frequently the problem is that 1 or 2 of the cells are bad, often right from the factory, and when those go dead and start to back-charge, the whole unit is instantly useless. I've also had some cheaper nicads fail after they experienced freezing temperatures.

I have two 6W headlights for emergencies and slow commuting. The rechargeable uses 5 AA nicads, and 2 of them were bad as-received, giving about a 20-minute burn time. My 6W with 4 alkaline AA-s runs for hours at a time, and will get me home, but I'd not try to hammer on a roadbike with such a wimpy light. It is lightweight, detachable, and easy to carry.

I've yet to try the new NiMH systems, but I'm hopeful. They are not a direct substitute for NiCads as the voltages and charging requirements are different. The Lithium rechargeables on my camcorder are fantastic, and I've had excellent luck with gelled lead acid.
I recently bought the MARWI Elite ProSlothlike
Aug 29, 2001 3:52 PM
lighting system. They make the lights for Performance (Dual Pro Viewpoint) which got the best in test review in Bicycling Magazine a while back. Same exact light but the Marwi Nimh battery has longer life and the wattage of lamps is a little stronger. I got them on sale at aardvarkcycles.com for $170 (I talked them down further) and they retail for $260. They are phenomenal and I couldn't imagine how much better it could get. The Elite pro has a 20 watt lamp and a 15 watt with a remote switch. It lights up the road very well. If you go to the mtbr.com forum on lighting systems (not the review section, but a special link to a lighting system showdown), they have a picture of the performance brand system and you can see that compared to other systems more expensive, the Marwi holds its own or betters them. The review section for the Marwi light is misleading because people were reviewing other systems under one heading. Take a look at the link on the mtbr.com site and compare the pictures of this unit to the stadium light and for mor than 1/2 the price, there is no question what is the better light. the link actually is
http://www.mtbr.com/spotlight/lights/
Hope this helps
Agree with the Marwi Elite ProStew
Aug 29, 2001 5:05 PM
I've been using one for a year with no problems. I ride in pitchblack with no street lights and it is a very good light. Very long battery life and very bright.

Mr. Slothlike is right about the reviews of this system on the review board, most are not about the Pro Elite, but other systems that Marwi sells. I put up a review that is correct. You can get more detail from that if you like.

I bought mine at BikerBob.com for an unbelievable price.

Good luck.
This helps a lot! Another question...UncleMoe
Aug 29, 2001 7:57 PM
I was leaning towards the cygo light systems, but eh battery recharge time bugged me as well as the memory issues. I think they have a cheaper price due to using older technology.

How has the recharge time been with these lights asn has the "light" time been consistent?

I see ardvarkcycles has them on sale for $190. Did you call them and talk them down?
This helps a lot! Another question...Slothlike
Aug 29, 2001 8:22 PM
I did a search on google for the lights and at the time another site had them for $170. However, I liked aardvark's site better and asked if they could match and they did. Great service. Stew on the post above mentioned a site and I checked it out and they have the lights on sale for $160. The site seems pretty nice so I would give them a call.
The charger is a trickle charger and to fully charge from total discharge it takes overnight. However, if you use it for an hour and then come home, just put it on the charger to top it off and don't have to worry about overcharging because of the trickle charge. The run tume on these lights are awesome. Over 3.2 hours on the low setting 15watts( which is all I ever need), 2.4 hours on the 20 watts and 1.5 hours on the highest 35watt setting. This is where they are better than the Performance version. For $160 I wouldn't hesitate if they have any left. The quality is great as you can feel how well made they are. The remote switch is solid too as well as the way the mount to the bar. Call aardvarkcycles with the website with the lights fo $160 and see if they will match. If they website that Stew mentioned above is out of them, still use them to bargain on aardvark. Shipping was only $5 with aardvark no tax. I am very happy with that deal.
THANK YOU SLOTHLIKE! (nm)UncleMoe
Aug 29, 2001 9:32 PM
re: Lighting Systems - Do you use one?Tri-State Cycler
Aug 29, 2001 4:23 PM
Cateye Stadium. 80w Metal Halide bulb will blister paint or grow tomatoes. 3 hour NiMh battery. I don't personally own one, but my head was made translucent by one. You definitely don't want to be in front of the thing! I also think it was really expensive, If I remember correctly the guy said $300?
I don't know for sure, but the light smoked every other light I've seen.
The Cateye is a very nice light, butSlothlike
Aug 29, 2001 4:51 PM
it is over $400 and not worth twice the money of other high end systems. Go to my previous post and check out the mtbr.com link and see for yourself pictures of the cateye compared to cheaper systems. The Cateye has a unique color light and is awesome, but way too expensive. The other lighting systems did the same job and over half the price. If it were $300 it is worth it but not $425.
80 W?!!! A car headlight is 55 W!Humma Hah
Aug 29, 2001 5:22 PM
That a lotta juice! WAY more than a bicycle needs. I'd think 2 15W lamps, giving you the option of using just one when conditions are good (and doubling battery life) would be MORE than enough.

80W would be good for a search and rescue light out in the desert where you need to see for miles.
It is not 80 watss exactly, it is aSlothike
Aug 29, 2001 5:39 PM
special bulb that "gives the equivalent of 80 watts of halogen light". Still impressive but not a true 80 watts. Like I said it is a great system, but the light isn't a white light, it looks almost blue. For the price though, it is hard to swallow and is not 2 or 3 times better than other high end systems.
Blue, huh?Humma Hah
Aug 29, 2001 10:05 PM
Hmmmm, could be one of them newfangled xenon bulbs. Or, could be one the them newfangled white LED's. Probably the former, the latter is quite pricy ($3.50 an LED, and you'd need a BUNCH of 'em, plus a pulsed/inductive power supply).

I've been told one of the "Coaster" commuter-train engines in San Diego County has a special home-made headlight, built from the white LED's. You can spot this engine because of the bluish light the headlight produces.

I bought one of those LED's to play with -- I would not have guessed they put out so much light for the power. Normal incandescent bulbs are only about 5% efficient, so there is big room for improvement.