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Lights for Double, are $20 bike lights any good?...(8 posts)

Lights for Double, are $20 bike lights any good?...Bruno S
Feb 11, 2003 9:13 PM
I'll be doing a double (Butterfield) next Saturday and will probably be riding the last 2-3 hours after sunset. I never ride at night so I need some lights. I don't want to invest in expensive ones because I may never use them again. Will those $20 lights from Performace work OK or are these 2-3 watt lights dangerous to go fast (16-22 mph)? I'm guessing that with powerful lights its possible to see further ahead and go fast safely.
Should be ok since you are likely to be going fairly slow by then.MB1
Feb 12, 2003 5:29 AM
An alternate is to borrow a stronger set from someone.

A problem with strong lights is their short battery run time. If you are going to be out in the dark for 3 hours that means that you will be riding on the unlit roads past Lake Elsinore before you hit the 'burbs and streetlights.

Another really dark stretch is the downhill along the Santa Ana River. You can get going pretty fast on those downhills and there is usually a lot of junk on the bike path that you will be finishing on.

What we usually do on long night rides is run 2 lights. We carry a strong set with a short run time that we use only when at the front on fast dark sections. The rest of the time we use our cheap battery sets that we got for around $10 that have many hours of run time with "C" cell batteries.

Enjoy your double-don't forget that the main goal is to have fun and finish alive.
thanks, I have several friends that can potentially lend me...Bruno S
Feb 12, 2003 7:45 AM
some strong lights. None confirmed though. In any case I'll buy the cheap lights and use them even if I can borrow better ones.
talk about waiting 'til the last minute!!!JS Haiku Shop
Feb 12, 2003 5:50 AM
wow, a double in just a week and no test run on lights yet? ouch!!!

i'll echo mb1's suggestion to borrow a set if possible. i rode a few longer rides last year with borrowed lights, using a cateye aa-powered 2.4 watt commuter light for both backup purposes and any climbs. otherwise, the borrowed lights had 5 and 10-watt options on the bar mounted unit, and a 12-watt helmet lamp (if i remember correctly). the 5-watt lamp on the bar had a long runtime, plus i carried a spare battery. the first double i rode last year had ~5 hours of dark at the start, and this battery/light config worked well.

if you're not experienced with night/dark riding, i'd suggest at least a few early AM or late night rides in before saturday. **don't forget** reflective gear and a red tail light, plus a small pen light for working in the dark.
I forgot to mention the spare battery.MB1
Feb 12, 2003 5:57 AM
At the end of doubles you are always seeing riders without lights because it took longer to finish than they planned on and their batteries died.

Not good.
At 20 mph you will have many surprises.djg
Feb 12, 2003 6:01 AM
You'll hit all sorts of cracks and bumps and debris without processing their arrival first. I'd borrow or buy something brighter. Maybe check the returns table at performance if you cannot borrow something?
yes, but get twocyclopathic
Feb 12, 2003 6:17 AM
2.4w Cateye Micros are very popular with randonneurs; they're good enough to ride PBP. Unlike more powerful off-road systems light is highly focused so you loose side vision but gain depth instead. In focus narrower beam is brighter then 10w flood light.

what you need is to get 2 (if you willing to spend 10$ more get one EL-300 for 25$ and another Micro MC200 for 11$). EL300 has about 10-15hr of bright light and you use it as low beam for riding in paceline or at speeds under 15mph. MC200 gets only 3hr of light but it has more depth. You set it up as high beam and use on downhills and to read road signs. With both on you can descend at ~35mph w/o overrunning lights.

Some audax riders use Lithium batteries they last longer and give brighter light but cost more.
I'd get the EL300 nmDougSloan
Feb 12, 2003 7:09 AM