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Commuter light(12 posts)

Commuter lightgotj
Sep 30, 2002 10:46 AM
I need a light for commuting on suburban streets and bike paths. I'm deciding between the Cateye EL200 ($25) and the Light and Motion Commuter ($90-$125). The Cateye uses AA batteries that supposedly last over 100 hours. It's supposed to make you very visible, but not light the road much. The L&M Commuter is the rechargeable type, and does a better job of lighting the road in front of you.

Any thoughts? Is the L&M worth the extra cash?

If you're in the city...phlegm
Sep 30, 2002 11:12 AM
I wouldn't worry about lighting the road. I'd go for the longest burn time.
32 wattsjromack
Sep 30, 2002 11:14 AM
I run a Marwi 32 watt system, dual lights that cost me $149.(list $199). It uses nickel metal hydride batteries. It was rated Best Overal Value in Lighting by Bicycling Magazine.

I also mounted a Cateye EL300 as a back-up light in case I ride longer than the capacity of the above system.

The Cateye is a toy, it barely lights up the road.

The Lights and Motion system is good, but may not have enough power.
re: Commuter lightcommuterguy
Sep 30, 2002 11:21 AM
Consider both.

It is true that, to the cyclist, even a bright light won't seem to make much difference on well-lighted roads. However, that doesn't mean it won't make a difference for those who you want to be visible to. More and brighter is better, IMHO.

Since I started riding at night, I have become more conscious of--and frankly amazed at--cyclist who ride at night with little or no illumination. Consider the POV of a distracted motorist, maybe talking on a cell phone, whose windshield is dirty (especially the inside). This person is going to need a lot of help to notice you.

BTW, I assume you have already a good blinking rear light and some reflective clothing to wear. If not, you should get some.
Blinking Lightsjromack
Sep 30, 2002 11:42 AM
Cateye makes a great rear one.

I added a blinking clear light to the front.

Saturday night I saw a dude going the wrong way on a busy U.S. highway in dark clothes and no lights.
High brightness lights in-townPdxMark
Sep 30, 2002 1:26 PM
I agree with commuterguy. The point in night-time commuting is to be seen and for that, the brighter the better. A light that can't illuminate the road in front of you is not bright enough for a distracted motorist to see. Oh sure, if you're looking for them, little lights can be seen. But the point is for them to be seem when no-one is looking for them. The increased cost considered over a year or two of commuting is minimal. The safety advantage is immense. Get the rechargeable, high brightness light.
re: Commuter lightgotj
Sep 30, 2002 1:08 PM
Yep, I've already got a blinking rear light. I've got a headlight, too, but it's a crummy one (Vistalight Roadtoad) that provides little light and go through batteries like they're going out of style. It's that one that I'm replacing now.
Another optionAndy
Sep 30, 2002 1:23 PM
If you just want to be seen and aren't as concerned with lighting the road... you might try one of those emergency beacons available at REI. They can be seen for five miles and use a single "D" cell. I have one on hand for the infrequent night rides I do. Only problem is you don't want to place it in a position where it flashes in your eyes. A Duracell will last about 36 hours.
re: Commuter lightgotj
Sep 30, 2002 1:46 PM
Thanks for the replies. In terms of being seen vs. lighting the road, I think one distinction is the type of light. The Cateye is an LED light (which explains the long battery life), which doesn't do much to light the road. They claim it's easy for others to see, though. Does anyone know if this is true?
Sep 30, 2002 3:18 PM
The LED's are pretty worthless for lighting up the road, but they are visable. I have a Cateye LED that I use on my night bike (fixie), as backup if my other light runs out.

Take a look at the Cygolights. Great bang for the buck, and very reliable. I have 4 sets of them.

re: Commuter lightPdxMark
Sep 30, 2002 3:58 PM
It seems that the high visibility of LED lights relates to viewing them on-axis (head-on). Which means that an LED light viewed off-axis (as from a car on a cross street) would likely not seem to be that bright. Here's a link that talks a bit about that...

So if your goal is to be seem from head-on, the LED light is likely fine. If you want to be seen from a wider range of angles, a high-brightness regular light is probably better.
Use tire flies to be seen from the side.dzrider
Oct 1, 2002 4:46 AM
They screw on your valve stems and blink. The rotating wheel makes them look like a bright light about 8 inches long.