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Night Rides... What Lighting System? Helmet or Handlebars?(8 posts)

Night Rides... What Lighting System? Helmet or Handlebars?nicholasdunford
May 29, 2003 10:52 PM
I want to start riding at night due to the heat. Could you guys give me your opinions on the best system. Also, for road riding, is it nicer to have the light on your handlebars or helmet?

Thanks for the help
re: Night Rides... What Lighting System? Helmet or Handlebars?Juanmoretime
May 30, 2003 2:27 AM
I bought a Marwi Extreme which is a high density discharge system, the famous bright Mercedes or BMW lights. This system give you the option of either a helmet or handlebar light plus large quantities of light to do fast paced night training. Go check it out on their website. The best deal is from Bill Larson, do a search on this site for his email address. If you can't locate his address email me at hd1812atyahoodotcom. Replace the at and dot with the sysmbols.
For road I would get handle bar mount.the bull
May 30, 2003 3:32 AM
I use both for mtn. biking.The helmet is nice if you have to do a repair.
One light on the bars is enough...biknben
May 30, 2003 4:57 AM
I have been using NiteRiders lights on and off road for a few years. Off-road I use both helmet and bar mounted lights. For winter commuting, I use the NiteRider HID on my bars. It is pricey but very bright. I've had zero problems with it.

I'd recommend at least 12-15 watts. Don't bother with a dual beam system. Save some money on a single beam system and if you want, get a helmet light later.

If you have just one light, put it on the bars. With a helmet light alone you can't see shadows. The beam is too close to your eyes and any shadowing is obscured by the object casting the shadow. It makes it difficult to judge the size of obstacles or road imperfections. It is hard to explain but very noticeable when you switch from bar mount to helmet mount.

One option to look for is a smart battery charger. They are worth the money. The charger will stop charging when the battery is full and extend the life of the battery. NiteRider offers one (called the Brute) with all but their cheapest models.

Don't forget a rear blinky light too. Night riding is about being seen as it is about seeing.
Warning about the "smart charger" for Nite Ridersshamelessgearwhore
May 30, 2003 9:23 AM
I had one and the capacitor that regulates when to charge and when not (what makes it smart) went out. I noticed this because the little red/green led light went out. I thought it was a problem with the light and not the capacitor and saw no reason to pay $ to have something fixed over a silly little light. Big mistake. The charger OVER charged my battery for about a half year until it was totally useless. NiteRider wasn't terribly cool about this when I sent it all to them. I feel like they should do more to educate the user on how the thing works. I had to pay over $100 for a new set-up! When you pay close to $200 for a headlight you should be able to expect more in the way of customer service.
Light and Motion ARCAllUpHill
May 30, 2003 5:13 AM
This is also HID unit, with a 3 hour run time and comes packaged with a great charger. If you're in any doubt this is the best light going, read its reviews over on MTBR.com.

The company website is www.bikelights.com. Maybe your best source is www.beyondbikes.com, which offers it at $350 through tomorrow. I got mine for $330 from the same place several months ago.

I use the bar mount version and I would agree that's best for road riding. Other than one blinky red tail light (or two or three), the ARC is all you will need. It's ridiculously bright. The battery is compact, reliable and charges quickly.

I had never considered night-riding as an option; too dangerous, too expensive, spooky. But after starting my first full-time job right in the middle of the shortest days of the year, I was fed up with rollers every night. Now, sometimes I'd even choose a night ride over daylight; there's something peaceful and mysterious about it.
Light and Motion ARCAllUpHill
May 30, 2003 5:21 AM
This is also HID unit, with a 3 hour run time and packaged with a great charger. If you're in any doubt this is the best light going, read its reviews over on MTBR.com.

The company website is www.bikelights.com. Maybe your best source is www.beyondbikes.com, which offers it at $350 through tomorrow. I got mine for $330 from the same place several months ago.

I use the bar mount version and I would agree that's best for road riding. Other than one blinky red tail light (or two or three), the ARC is all you will need. It's ridiculously bright. The battery is compact, reliable and charges quickly.

I had never considered night-riding as an option; too dangerous, too expensive, spooky. But after starting my first full-time job right in the middle of the shortest days of the year, I was fed up with rollers every night. Now, sometimes I'd even choose a night ride over daylight; there's something peaceful and mysterious about it.
re: Night Rides... What Lighting System? Helmet or Handlebars?JS Haiku Shop
May 30, 2003 5:56 AM
big wattage is fine if you don't need longevity. for longer rides in the dark, i use 2 cateye EL300s (5 LEDs), which each put out around 2-2.5 watts of white light. most lights put out a yellow or white w/brownish hue, and white light in this instance looks blue.

these are enough to light up the road directly in your path, if setup correctly on the bars. mine are mounted upside down under the bars. i would be comfortable maintaining 18 mph on fairly flat terrain with these. for anything faster or with 25+ mph downhills, more light is needed. i will supplement the EL300s with a 12w helmet light (3 hr runtime), used sparingly, for hilly dark rides.

the EL300s have a 20-30 hour runtime on 4AA standard batteries, much longer on lithium batteries. they can be had for $30-$40 at the big internet retailers, or $20-$30 on ebay (new).

FWIW.