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What's the best taillight out there?(16 posts)

What's the best taillight out there?speedisgood
Jan 14, 2003 7:33 PM
Now that I have my new fixie commuter built, I need a good taillight to mount on it. In the past, I've just bought whatever's in the bargain bin since I tend to drop and beat up tailights that I clip on to my backpack. I want to put a good light on the commuter since it's going to be semi-permanent and not as vulnerable to falling off my pack/body.

I want something that's waterproof, bright, doesn't go thru batteries like water, and has a secure seatpost (or whatever) attachment system. Easy but reliable on/off switch a plus.
re: What's the best taillight out there?mickey-mac
Jan 14, 2003 9:08 PM
I had a Vistalite that worked very well but don't remember the model number. I'm currently using something else that isn't quite as bright and will probably go back to Vista.
Jan 15, 2003 4:53 AM
Vistalite Eclipse is very bright, compact, lightweight and reasonably priced ($18-20). I also have a Vistalite Nebula, which is a little brighter and less expensive, but also a little bigger and heavier.
Vistalite Eclipse (nm)velocity
Jan 15, 2003 5:11 AM
i use cateye stillRubiks_Manuever
Jan 15, 2003 3:43 AM
I still use cateye--long battery life and blinky blinky, but after yesterday's road rage crap and several late-nite drunk driver yelling and swerving I have been riding only TO work, and then getting a ride home in girlfriends's car since I get off work at about drunk-o-clock. Not worth it any more in my estimation. I still use the tail and headlights though for weekend centuries that I start too late and know I won't get back b4 sunset.
re: What's the best taillight out there?Ash
Jan 15, 2003 3:54 AM
Xenon flasher at

They come in 4 colors.

runs off 12v dc. I made a battery with 2 plugs on it, one for front lights one for this rear tail light.

Annoyingly bright.
How'd you make the battery?speedisgood
Jan 15, 2003 4:31 AM
I thought 12V batteries were car batteries? I'm guesssing you're not trucking around a car battery on the bike . . .
I bet it's a sealed lead acid battery.Uncle Tim
Jan 15, 2003 6:49 AM
If he's running a 12V system, there no practical way I know of to accomplish this other to get a relatively heavy sealed lead acid battery. I think you can get these smaller rechargable batteries for around $20 that weigh in around 6-7 lbs.

Tail lights are not a big problem. There are many good, lightweight tailights out there that are inexpensive and have long battery life.

Powering headlights for long periods is the problem. Six watts and higher really puts quite a drain on batteries.
re: What's the best taillight out there?the flying bean
Jan 15, 2003 4:59 AM
I commute along a very narrow busy road in crowded England. I've tried various makes over the years and the one to get is the Cateye LD 600 with 5 leds. I use it in flashing mode and many people have commented how far away they can see me. The batteries last ages and it is bump proof. Also is not affected by the wet. I'm even thinking of getting a second unit, to position underneath the other. That would be an amazing light show with one flashing and the other on fixed. Safe riding
The Flying Bean
Another vote for the Eclipse by VistaLite...biknben
Jan 15, 2003 7:07 AM
I've been using a VistaLite Eclipse since the clocks changed on my commuter. It has three different flash patterns: continuous, flash, and what I would call "light show". I don't ride in every day but I'm surprised the batteries are still going strong.

Good price here:

My only gripe is that you can't switch it to a different bike quickly. The mount requires a screwdriver to tighten.

I have another light with a strap mount. Although it is not as bright I like the ability to take it off/on or switch bikes, etc. quickly.
re: What's the best taillight out there?mainframe
Jan 15, 2003 8:35 AM
Lightman focused LED bike light.... the absolute bomb.
re: What's the best taillight out there?The Walrus
Jan 15, 2003 11:42 AM
Perhaps not THE best, but the Specialized Afterburners are an excellent value (~$20), have four modes and are incredibly obnoxious, to the point that motorists regularly comment on it.
re: What's the best taillight out there?Hereford Flyer
Jan 15, 2003 12:39 PM
Cateye TL-600.
Has 5 large LED's and is much brighter than the Vistalight - which has smaller LED's.
I use 2 of them on my winter bike.
Takes two AAA batteries.
Get yourself a set of NiMh rechargables and your set.
NightRider. Absolutely no contest.Ken of Fresno
Jan 15, 2003 1:24 PM
While I'm not a big fan of most of their headlights, their taillight is the best bike light I've seen. It has something like 19 high intensity red LEDs and throws a beam brighter than some bike headlights. The only thing is it requires a big battery pack. It works off of either a 6 or 12 volt systems however. I have a lead acid battery, but will probably upgrade to NIMH when the price drops. I bought a NightRider system just to be able to use this light. The RoadRat headlight is marginal at best for 10W. Maybe an aftermarket bulb will help. Their tail light, however, is the best thing on the market. It should be for $60.

I have a Vistalite Total Eclipse which is also very good, but it can't hold a candle to the NiteRider. You can get extra mounts for the eclipse (Vistalite part # VL3000008 @ $2.75).

You're all wrong. The best tail light is . . .superdog
Jan 15, 2003 8:25 PM
... a flashing beacon that you can purchase at REI. Takes one D cell and can be seen for up to five miles. I can't recall the last time I saw a red LED tail light from five miles away.
How fast does it flash?Ken of Fresno
Jan 16, 2003 12:06 AM
Many of those emergency flashing beacons only flash about once a second or so. This is too slow for use in traffic. If a motorist glances your way for a fraction of a second, he may not see the flash and end up with bicycle all over his bumper.