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Need Lights(12 posts)

Need LightsKristin
Oct 7, 2002 6:16 AM
Hey, its really dark out in the mornings! What's up with that?? I only want to spend about $100 for lights, and am looking at either Cygolight or the Beam Adventure SOLOIST. Or would I be happier if I spent more??? (I did attempt to do a thread search on this subject, but the search engine on this sight is too painful.)
check out performanceColnagoFE
Oct 7, 2002 6:28 AM
I love my Performance Single. A little over $100 I think for the lead acid battery model--gets about 1- 1.5 hours run time before fading. Use it for non-technical night mountain biking as well. Use of of those red blinky things on the back. If you're just riding on the road this should be plenty of light. If you're doing technical off-roading then you'll need more a minimum one on the helmet and another on the bike.
I like CygolightDougSloan
Oct 7, 2002 6:39 AM
I have 4 sets of Cygolights. The set that's around $69 works great. They are absolutely reliable, decent lighting, and easy to use. The only drawback is that the recharger is not "smart," meaning you need to manually disconnect it after charging. But, what do you expect for under $100?

I bought these after the really expensive Niterider digital POS's I got failed miserably. I decided reliabilty is much more important than all the "brains" of the expensive ones. I used the Cygolights for night rides on my fixie all last winter without a single problem. I just kept the battery in the bottle cage and plugged it in after each ride and unplugged it the next morning.

The only reason I have several sets is to get the extra batteries for all night supported rides, so I can charge them all up and run continuously.

Check Performance:

Oct 7, 2002 7:04 AM
I bought my Cygolite after reading about Doug's problems with his Nite Rider. When I checked the reviews, lots of other cyclists had similar problems with NR. The Cygolites got 5-star ratings across the board. They may be heavier and less high tech, but they are inexpensive and reliable.
simple "dumb charger" tip: christmas light timer (nm)shawndoggy
Oct 7, 2002 12:26 PM
what I foundtarwheel
Oct 7, 2002 6:58 AM
Kristin -- I did a lot of research on lighting systems last fall and ended up buying a Cygolite Night Rover. It wasn't the best light out there, but the best for the price. Performance has them on sale now for $69, which isn't bad for a 6/10/16W system. The main drawback is the NiCAD battery, which is heavier than the NiMH ones and slow to recharge. I haven't been disappointed with my Cygolite because I didn't want to spend a lot of money and only use it 1-2 nights a week. If I was using a light every day, however, I would definitely buy something with a NiMH battery and faster recharging system. The Cygolite takes 15-18 hours to recharge. The only other drawback to the Cygolite is the dual lights, which take up a lot more valuable handlebar real estate than single lights.

If I had it to do over, I would probably buy the Planet Bike Insight, which is a solo system with 15W max and a NiMH battery. These were out of stock when I was shopping last year, or I probably would have ordered one. You can buy the Planet Bike light on sale at Performance right now for $110 or for about the same price. The advantage with buying at Performance is you can return or exchange if it's not to your liking. Performance also has redesigned their own lights and the Viewpoint single looks nice at $100 for a 10W system. It doesn't have different power ranges, however, like the other models I mentioned. The lower powers are nice to have if you need to conserve battery power and have street lights. For most circumstances, 10W if plenty enough light, but the 15-16W power is really nice on dark country roads or trails.

Pay close attention to the run time at various powers for different systems. My Cygolite doesn't last as long as the rated times, and I have heard that is common for many brands. I wouldn't buy a light with less than 2 hours of run time because I wouldn't feel confident about the batteries dying on a dark country road. When my Cygolite starts to run low, it has a red indicator light that glows. Then I can switch it down to the low setting (6W) and it will run a long time. It doesn't last long at the highest power (16W), perhaps 1 hour or a little longer.

I initially was looking at Nite Riders, but was scared away after reading the reviews here and on MTB Review. They also have just too many models and it gets confusing.

If you don't have a decent taillight, check out the Vistalite Eclipse, which is compact in size, fairly inexpensive and very bright. You really need a taillight if you ride in the fall/winter/early spring, whether you ride at night or not -- it's too easy getting caught in low light conditions in these short days. Hope this helps.
under bar mountDougSloan
Oct 7, 2002 7:28 AM
For more above handlebar room, I mount my Cygolights under the bars. I flipped the bulbs over (they are sort of up/down directional) and just mount under the bars. Works great, especially if using aerobars.

Simpler = bettermass_biker
Oct 7, 2002 7:05 AM
I have two lights.

Marwi single beam (also sold under the Performance brand). Helmet mounted. Gets ~ 1.50-2 hours or so. Plenty bright for those early morning starts, and light enough so that you don't have to wear a neck brace. With a rear "blinky", you are good to go. NiMH battery is small and discreet - stuffs away in a jersey pocket.

I also have a bar mounted TurboCat for my MTB. This uses a Nicad battery (water bottle shaped) that goes into a cage. Blazing bright. This alone lights up the night on the trails.

I would avoid all the fancy digital jimjams that are available today. It seems those seem to suck more power out of the battery. Go for light weight and a smart charger if you can. You can probably pick up the Marwi/Performance for right around $100.

no problems with my NITE RIDERrtyszko
Oct 7, 2002 7:24 AM
Contrary to what some folks have had to say, I have the simple single handle bar mounted Nite Rider Digital and it's worked flawlessly for about 3 years. I probably only use it only once per month, but it recharges fast enough (4 hours or so) so if I wanted to use it daily, I could. One tip. Regardless of which light system you go with, I'd get the handle bar mount initially then add a helmet light if needed. The handle bars are always pointed in the direction that you want to be going, yes?

Bob T.
re: Light & MotionBerm
Oct 7, 2002 9:30 AM
I have a Light & Motion ARC it is a HID light and really lights up the night. Great battery life, quick recharge and very bright. Downside is that it cost over $300. Check out the reviews at the RBR's sister site, MTBR.
No problems w/my NiteRiderMelMo
Oct 7, 2002 1:02 PM
I have a TrailRat that I bought last year. 10 watts, runs 3.5 - 4 hours, takes 8-9 hours to recharge (no smart charger), weighs 1.5 lbs or so. It worked like a champ all winter (30-40 minutes each way, and it's sincerely dark in Seattle in the winter). I generally commuted a couple of days, then topped off the battery by recharging it for about 5 or 6 hours in the evening. I had to replace the bulb in it once (the LBS warrantied it for me) but have otherwise had zero trouble with it. And the sucker is BRIGHT. It's about $100, sometimes on sale for $90 or so.
Very strange--mine works too.djg
Oct 8, 2002 6:20 AM
Non-digital evolution. I bought it off the returns shelf at Performance last winter pretty cheap. Still seemed fine last night on the way home from work.