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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    On my bike
    Posts
    96

    Headlight Suggestions Please

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    I'm finding myself out after the sun goes down so I think I should be getting a headlight soon. I want something that will illuminate the road ahead as well as has an option of a blinky setting too. Any suggestions? I did a search in the forum but couldn't find any threads.

    TIA!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    The "blinky"-type lights are "be seen" rather than "see by" lights. Lights that'll let you see a useful amount are generally in the 100+ lumen range (I think it's 150 or 175), and they're pretty expensive. If you're riding in a well-lit area, you might be able to get away with a less-powerful light.

    I have a small NiteRider light that's reasonably bright, and a Performance house-brand 3-LED light, but I'm riding on trails that I know well and are decently free of stuff, for the most part. There's a 4- or 5-LED version that is well-recommended by the people I ride with. I might have to upgrade. All three of these, though, are "see me" lights.

    I think NiteRider makes higher-powered stuff too that you can see by.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I had a Night Rider, which was fine, but I live in an area with no, or little streetlights and I don't see well in the dark. I now have a Bike Ray light. Really expensive, but I got it for half price from a site in the UK, free shipping. It has a high, low, and flashing setting, as did the Night Rider.
    Word of caution. My son was using a more "be seen" type of light while riding home to his new house, which is in a more suburban location. He hit a pothole going down a hill and crashed, because he couldn't see. Don't be cheap here.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,704
    I find that, because lighting technology and models change so frequently, it's hard to recommend specific lights. I usually visit MTBR.com or another mountain biking site to get the latest info and reviews. Those guys know lights! See this year's "shoot-out": http://reviews.mtbr.com/2012-bike-lights-shootout

    In general, the more light you have, the faster you can go. My winter/pitch black light is a Nite Rider Tri Newt from a few years ago. It's ~500 lumens, and I wouldn't want any less light. However, the prices on LEDs have come way down, and I could probably buy a 800 or 1000 lumen light today for what I paid then.

    I have had reason to use Nite Rider's customer and repair services, and the whole experience was quite painless (other than not having my light for a couple of weeks). Based on that alone, I'll consider another Nite Rider when this one gives up the ghost.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    2,609
    I LOVE my Dinotte lights. They're incredibly bright, and so simple to throw on the bike and adjust as needed. Their customer service is phenominal too. I have both the rechargeable Li-ion battery system and the AA battery lights, depending on what I'm riding. (I like the AA on a brevet where I might to get a resupply from a convenience store.)
    For 3 days, I get to part of a thousand other journeys.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    203
    I agree that the technology is changing rapidly. It's amazing how much prices have come down in the past few years. You can now buy a "see by" light for <$100.

    I ordered this light just this week for commuting. It arrived yesterday and I haven't had a real after-dark commute with it yet, but I zoomed around the neighborhood a little last night and I was very pleased. I had retina surgery recently and my night vision is greatly reduced, but I had enough light that I'm not worried about riding home in the dark now.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    324
    For my rainy weather/winter lighting I use a Dinotte 300r tailight and the XML-3 headlight. The headlight is like riding in the daylight, which is good as my night vision has decreased over the years Worth the dollars to me.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    '89 Bridgestone Radac Dura-Ace | Specialized Ruby, 143
    '92 Bridgestone MB-1 | Specialized Ruby, 143
    '92 Bridgestone MB-1.2 (balloon tire bike) | Specialized Ruby, 143
    '93 Bridgestone MB-5 (my SUB*) | Specialized Lithia, 143


    My blog: Portlandia Pedaler (at Blogger)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,041
    I'll throw in a plug for a hub generator powered light. This is the most expensive option initially because you have to buy or build the hub into your front wheel, that'll mean at least new spokes in addition to the hub. But the convenience of never having to worry about batteries! Unlike the old sidewall generators, the hub generator doesn't slow you down.

    It doesn't blink and if you want the convenience of no-batteries for a blinky as well, try reelights. They are pretty easy to install, you just attach the magnets to your spokes and the light goes on your wheel.

    Regardless of batteries, magnets, or generators, multiple lights are a good idea. I don't know how many times I've found myself out in the dusk or dark and realized that one or more of my lights needed new batteries or had lost a connection or something. By the way the reelights are the exception to that. I have NEVER found them inoperable. They last forever!
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,556
    I use a MiNewt, originally 150 watt, upgraded to 200 watt when I had to replace the head unit. Now they have 250-350 watts for the same price. Love the nice wide even spread of the beam. I prefer a headlight on the bike and another on my helmet so I can direct light where I want it - into the woods around the bike path to look for animals, around a corner before I turn, at a car to make sure I've been noticed. I have a Vis360 helmet light which provides both a blinking rear and 110 lumen front light. I've very happy pedaling in total darkness with both lights, either light alone is OK if there are streetlights around.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

    2007 Peter Mooney w/S&S couplers/Terry Butterfly
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3/Avocet O2 Air 40W
    1980 Columbus Frame with 1970 Campy parts
    1954 Raleigh 3-speed/Brooks B72

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,632
    I start my weekday rides before dawn. I currently ride with a NiteRider Minewt 600 (now discontinued -- they have a 650 lumens model instead) in the front, as well as a Blackburn Flea set to blinking. In the back, I have a Light & Motion Vis 180. I also use "Nite beams" ankle bands, set to blink, too.

    The reason I use the blinkie in the front, next to the Minewt, is that when you see the headlight of a bike on the road at a distance, it looks like it is not moving, static. I hope the blinkie provides drivers and additional visual cue.

    Light & Motion has a 1200 lumens self-contained light. That might be my next purchase, once the MiNewt battery dies. I like the self contained lights as opposed to the ones with external "bricks" because I found the bricks unwieldy, a pain to deal with. Also, I prefer not add weight to my helmet (not good in case of a crash), so the light goes on my handlebar.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I don't find the external battery cumbersome at all. I either put it on the other side of my handlebar or on the top tube. And I have 2 very small bikes.
    Sometimes I forget which way to do the velcro, but that's my own weirdness...
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,632
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    I don't find the external battery cumbersome at all. I either put it on the other side of my handlebar or on the top tube. And I have 2 very small bikes.
    Sometimes I forget which way to do the velcro, but that's my own weirdness...
    It could very well be that the last light brick I had was almost the size of a real brick! Since you put them on the handlebar, they must much smaller now. However, since the 600 lumens work for me now and my rides when it's dark are under 90 minutes, I'll stay away from bricks.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,632
    This season, the folks in a 5:30AM popular local ride are very keen on the Exposure Diablo headlight. 1100 lumens, ~1.5 hours on the high setting, sells for $300 laround here. One of the guys also mentioned that the flashing mode is really nice -- still good enough to see the road ahead. Dawn is close to 7AM around here, this time of the year, so a good light is essential in early morning ride.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,704
    For those of you who use Dinotte lights, what has your experience been with their customer service? I find myself in the market for a second light to mount on my helmet, and the Dinotte XML-3 is one of the serious contenders. Serfas and Light & Motion are others under consideration....
    Last edited by Becky; 10-29-2012 at 06:15 PM. Reason: deleted incorrect info after more research

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    324
    Quote Originally Posted by Becky View Post
    For those of you who use Dinotte lights, what has your experience been with their customer service? I find myself in the market for a second light to mount on my helmet, and the Dinotte XML-3 is one of the serious contenders. Serfas and Light & Motion are others under consideration....
    I have had awesome customer service from them. I had an issue with my XML-3 and no questions asked they sent me a new one with the shipping label to send the broken one back. I love my DiNottes.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    '89 Bridgestone Radac Dura-Ace | Specialized Ruby, 143
    '92 Bridgestone MB-1 | Specialized Ruby, 143
    '92 Bridgestone MB-1.2 (balloon tire bike) | Specialized Ruby, 143
    '93 Bridgestone MB-5 (my SUB*) | Specialized Lithia, 143


    My blog: Portlandia Pedaler (at Blogger)

 

 

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