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recommendations for best lighting?(19 posts)

recommendations for best lighting?Dog
Sep 17, 2001 2:47 PM
Any recommendations for the best lighting available - for going fast at night, in situations where you life depends upon it, sort of thing? Brightness, ease of use, reliability, run time - all are important.

Better to have handlebar or helmet mount? While helmet points the light where you are looking, it puts the light really high up away from the road. Never used a helmet mount.

Any specific recommndations for lights? Niterider, Light and Motion, Cateye? Thanks.

Doug
Here's what I'm looking at. . .js5280
Sep 17, 2001 3:04 PM
I don't own a system yet but I'm looking at them now in anticipation of the 24 hours of Moab. My front runner is the Night-Rover NiCad Xtra ($90), it has excellent reviews, good run time, and is under a $100. Make sure it's the Xtra model, there's another model but the batter isn't as good. IMHO as good or better on paper as Niterider, L&M, Turbocat, etc. and MUCH cheaper. I'm also looking at a Petzl Artic Headlamp ($50) to use in conjuction. Anyone else have experience with these system/setup?
re: recommendations for best lighting?look271
Sep 17, 2001 3:14 PM
I just got a Vistalite code 15 from Sierra traders. Great light. 10w bulb and a 5 watt as well. I'm using the 10 watt for commuting. Has a NiMH battery that mounts under your bottle cage and also a helmet mount if desired. Run time (I think) 1.5 hrs on the 10w and 3 on the 5w. Cost-$80.
re: recommendations for best lighting?Dog
Sep 17, 2001 3:25 PM
thanks; would you trust it at 60 mph? that's sort of the test

Doug
re: recommendations for best lighting?look271
Sep 17, 2001 3:33 PM
Probably. Haven't gone 60 (especially in the dark!), but I'd use it on any road I've ever been on, including the descent down the road I've peaked out at. They also have brighter wattage available. It really is a powerful little light, and the Nitestick battery is compact and stows nicely out of the way.
Money no object, check out the HID style lightsjs5280
Sep 17, 2001 3:49 PM
HID style lights are the best I've seen, again on paper. Niterider and Light in Motion are the only ones I know of that make HIDs for bikes. Super bright, good running time, typical price $400+. That's what I'd want at 60mph and money no object. Basically your talking about car speeds so you might want to check out HID lights for automobiles to get a feel for their wattage and see how these compare.
Money no object, check out the HID style lightsAvanti Guy
Sep 17, 2001 4:22 PM
Here is one that I have only heard great things about.BLT Spectrum

Price $279.95
A combination of durabilty, looks and functionality, the Spectrum has it all with the following included:
- 10 watt low beam globe
- 15 watt high beam globe
- 4.3 amp hour SLA BLT waterbottle battery
- Carbon look CNC alloy light bodies
- Deluxe charger with LED indicator and associated wiring
Night rider come winterBas Vanderwahl
Sep 17, 2001 4:03 PM
Night rider, Light and motion, Cateye are all very good. Just make sure you study all the features and get what you need. MOst I think are designed for mountain biking. I dont think you would really need a helmet light on the road. It does cause slightly strange road shadows due to the high mounting. the only reason we use helmet mounts are for the tight singletrack where you need to look around a corner before your bars are pointed in that direction. And they are good if you ever have to work on your bike or look down to see what gear your in.
Two separate beams...CJ3
Sep 17, 2001 4:12 PM
...one a flood, the other a spot will provide good coverage. Check out Cateye in that regard.
re: recommendations for best lighting?MikeC
Sep 17, 2001 4:31 PM
I ride in the dark more than a hundred days a year. My feeling is that for anything over 18 mph, you're gonna need at least 15 watts, and preferrably more. I wouldn't trust any bike light at 60 mph, because the beam pattern will never be wide enough to show the hazards in the periphery.
I've owned Vista and Cygo, but am sold on NiteRider. The Digital Pro 12-LCD has 6 light levels (6, 9, 12, 20 or 32 watts and Walking Mode), so you can use what you need when you need it, and conserve battery power when light demand is lower. You'll also need an intelligent charging system, so make sure that whatever you buy includes one.
No such thing as too much lightBipedZed
Sep 17, 2001 4:42 PM
After completing three night laps at the 24 Hours of Moab (extremely technical 15 mile laps) I would recommend having a dual beam mounted on the bar and a helmet light. I used the NiteRider Digital Pro 6 and a Digital Headtrip and wished I had the dual beam. For descending on the road at 60 mph I would absolutely want the bar mounted lights to illuminate in front of your wheel (harzards, sand, water, etc.) and the helmet light for looking through corners. You never realize how critical peripheral vision is while descending until you do it in pitch black. The bar lights basically maintain peripheral vision. The helmet light becomes even more critical for distance vision as speeds increase. While climbing you can get by with much less - the digital models allow you to select wattage to save batteries while climbing. Make sure you think about battery requirements to last the entire night.

Look at it this way, when your life is at stake at 60 mph in the dark, you will never wish you had less light.

Let me know if you have more specific questions.
re: recommendations for best lighting?tr
Sep 17, 2001 5:23 PM
I have a niterider (3 or 4 years)and i highly recommend it. I think it is a great light and you would not be disappointed.
re: recommendations for best lighting?slbenz
Sep 17, 2001 8:07 PM
I definitely would agree with using a NiteRider. I have both the dual beam handlebar and single beam helmet mount versions. Never had a problem using them both on off-road trails going in excess of 50 mph!! The handlebar dual beam is great for looking straight ahead and obtaining depth and height of obstacles on the road. The helmet mount is great for looking around turns or gaining the attention of motorists at intersections. I've had my NiteRider system now for four years without any problems. If you want coverage at 60 mph+ and only can afford one light, go with the dual beam. You can also buy a helmet mount for the dual beam if you need it. Hope this helps.
i forgottr
Sep 17, 2001 8:17 PM
if you buy a niterider, buy the tail light because it is very visible from a long distance and we don't want anyone riding over dog!!! Really, i have a friend who uses the tail light in the pitch dark on his way to work and people pull up beside him at lights and tell him they saw him over half a mile away. I just purchased one myself last week.
Light & Motionzelig1
Sep 18, 2001 12:30 AM
I use a Solo Logic and have been very pleased with the quality of construction, performance and weight. The adjustability of the beam size as well as ability to aim the head unit are nice touches.

I imagine you're going to be using the light for one of those endurance (read-long) rides of yours. Depending on how much night riding and type of terrain, I would probably look at one of the dual light models from either L&M or Niterider and either would provide enough light for those high speed descents. Brightness and run times are similar and you'll find advocates for both manufacturers. The biggest difference is that L&M's are lighter if you believe the manufacturer's specifications.

One thing to note about the run times, Nimh batteries are going to have lower run times versus a Nicad equivalent as the temperature decreases. The plus side is the Nimh batteries have a much lower 'memory' and have a longer life in terms of recharging cycles.

If you haven't done so, check the product review section.
Light & Motionzelig1
Sep 18, 2001 1:36 AM
I use a Solo Logic and have been very pleased with the quality of construction, performance and weight. The adjustability of the beam size as well as ability to aim the head unit are nice touches.

I imagine you're going to be using the light for one of those endurance (read-long) rides of yours. Depending on how much night riding and type of terrain, I would probably look at one of the dual light models from either L&M or Niterider and either would provide enough light for those high speed descents. Brightness and run times are similar and you'll find advocates for both manufacturers. The biggest difference is that L&M's are lighter if you believe the manufacturer's specifications.

One thing to note about the run times, Nimh batteries are going to have lower run times versus a Nicad equivalent as the temperature decreases. The plus side is the Nimh batteries have a much lower 'memory' and have a longer life in terms of recharging cycles.

If you haven't done so, also check the product review section.
Cateye Stadiumhammer_cycle
Sep 18, 2001 3:36 AM
I purchased a Cateye Stadium headlight last year and love it. It uses a metal-halide bulb, which is the technology they use in stadium lightning systems. Although it has a bulky ballast, the whole setup is not heavy. The battery lasts a long time (NiMH) and recharges quickly. The light is extremely bright and can illuminate street signs, etc, from 1-2 blocks away. The spread pattern on the road makes it quite comfortable for riding in the dark with a road bike at a good clip. I highly recommend it, but its very pricey.. around $400. I ended up buying it because I was told by many that it was the 'best' for road use. The only negative is that there is only 1 bulb, but I don't think that is such a negative for road use.
re: "best" for what use?cyclopathic
Sep 18, 2001 9:42 AM
commuting?
long distance riding?
supported/unsupported?
off-road?

there's no single answer

a lot of randonneurs use hub generators or a couple of cheap 2.4w Cateyes, you can always find/buy/carry spares. Not enough power? the generator set up I have used allowed me to descent safely at night speeds ~40-45mph. Yes there's extra drag, equiv of 10'/1mile climb.

most mainstream systems do not have enough juice to last through the night. the friend of mine who has Cateye Stadium 3 also uses 2.4w commuter as a backup/main light, save the power for downhills.

helmet mount light is great for off-road but I don't want it on long road ride hurts neck and not really needed

also for night riding a lot of safety gear like blinky, reflective vest, strips for legs so on is a must
Ummm..I use a home made.Miklos
Sep 18, 2001 10:34 AM
My system is home made but I would trust it at 60mph.

The bulb I use is a 20 watt, 12 volt halogen spot lamp with a 20 degree pattern (available in most home improvement stores for about $6.00). It has its own reflector and cover.

My housing is machined from 6061-T6 aluminum, has the switch and jack for wiring integrated in the housing. It mounts to the bar with a quick release slide mount that you can set to any angle of aim. The benifits of being a machinist/cnc programmer/design engineer.

The battery is a 4 amp hour sealed lead acid alarm battery commonly available from Radio Shack for about $24.00. It will power the 20 watt bulb for a 2.4 hour run time. It fits in a medium size fanny pack comfortably with a self coiling wire running to the light.

This system is very bright. I use it aimed straight ahead, almost level but slightly down. The bright pattern of light is about 20 degrees and the residual light is about 170 degrees and still very usable. It illuminates reflective street lights at least 1/2 mile away. On coming cars dim their headlights for me, thinking it must be a motorcycle.

I was very close to attempting to bring this system to the market priced slightly below $100, but ran out of time. Maybe others can get some ideas for their own home made design from this.

Miklos