Lighting my way occasionally

Discussion in 'Cycling Archive' started by Roger Bell_West, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. Very rarely, I have a need to ride along an unlit or very dimly lit
    path where a standard 4-LED head-torch isn't quite enough to see where
    I'm going. Is there any option for this that's cheaper than a full-on
    dynamo-driven lighting kit? (Since I don't need it very often, I don't
    mind if it eats lots of batteries, for example.)

    Or should I just save up and have the full rig fitted anyway?
     
    Roger Bell_West, Oct 15, 2015
    #1
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  2. Roger Bell_West

    kimble Guest

    If it's off-road (ie. you're not particularly concerned about blinding
    oncoming traffic), then a cheap mountain bike light of the type that
    proliferates on eBay might be a good option.

    Or a high-performance torch with a handlebar mount, which would be
    generally useful off the bike.

    Dynamos have the advantage that you can ignore them for long periods and
    not discover that the batteries are flat, of course, but it does sound
    like overkill for this situation.


    Kim.
    --
     
    kimble, Oct 15, 2015
    #2
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  3. Roger Bell_West

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Plenty... first up, there are quite a few different values of "standard
    4-LED head-torch" dating back many years now, and it's entirely likely a
    more up-to-date LED torch will give entirely adequate levels of lighting
    for not-that-much cash, and be useful off the bike too.

    Alpkit are pretty good Usual Suspects for good value head torches, see
    https://www.alpkit.com/lighting
    I have had a Gamma for a few years now, and it blows an older 4 LED
    Petzl Tikka Plus in to the weeds, and it's quite a bit dimmer than the
    more recent Viper at the same price.

    That's probably enough, but between the price there and a full-on dynamo
    rig (which will need a wheel build and a hub as well as your actual
    lamp) there's plenty of high power rechargeable systems that'll sit on
    your bars and make things appreciably brighter.

    Pete.
     
    Peter Clinch, Oct 15, 2015
    #3
  4. Roger Bell_West

    Rob Morley Guest

    What do you call a standard 4-LED head-torch?
     
    Rob Morley, Oct 15, 2015
    #4
  5. Roger Bell_West

    Ian Jackson Guest

    I run a dynamo headlight off a permanently mounted sealed lead-acid
    battery. (Nowadays I might use a LiPo.)

    There seem to be a wide variety of ridiculous battery lighting kits
    aimed at night-time mountain bikers. Maybe some of those are cheap
    enough for your needs ?
     
    Ian Jackson, Oct 15, 2015
    #5
  6. Roger Bell_West, Oct 15, 2015
    #6
  7. Unless this path is severely downhill with booby traps, what's wrong
    with any modern battery bar-mounted lamp?
    I personally use an IQ Cyo, which on low power (8 hours off 4 AAs) is
    quite adequate for my normal riding even on the rare occasions I hit
    anything unlit, and on high power (2 hours) would be fine for riding
    as fast as I would care to go (which is not fast:).
    It's expensive, largely because it has a beam shaped to be safe on the
    roads, but if you don't care about dazzling on-comers, you can pick up
    a much brighter thing for less than £20, including LED torches with
    handlebar mounts.
     
    Julian Bradfield, Oct 15, 2015
    #7
  8. Roger Bell_West

    Ian Smith Guest

    Recently bought one of those multi-LED Cree spotlights off Ebay for
    £30-ish. I have to say it's very bright, running off an external
    rechargeable battery which is strapped into the bottle cage. Some
    portions of my daily commute are unlit, so it makes a big difference
    compared with the previously fitted single-LED. Pointed down towards
    the road in front of me, so not dazzling others, of course. It has also
    made a noticeable difference when negotiating right turns at a
    notorious roundabout near my workplace.
     
    Ian Smith, Oct 15, 2015
    #8
  9. Roger Bell_West

    Adam Funk Guest

    (Sorry, this doesn't answer your question; it's just an expression of
    a related opinion of mine.)

    IMO, head/helmet lights are a bad idea because they point where you
    are looking (or 180° behind) rather than (like bike-mounted lights)
    where you are going or behind you. I think head/helmet lights risk
    confusing other road users (not just drivers but pedestrians & fellow
    cyclists) about direction.
     
    Adam Funk, Oct 15, 2015
    #9
  10. how fast do you want to go?

    about 200 to 300 lumens seems to be most folks point at which a light
    becomes more than just a "be seen" to a "see where your going".

    beam shape matters, if it more road and you'll meet others commonly
    stuff like the IQ Cyo and lots more have a beam shape that will not
    blind others.

    but if it's properly off road, and blinding others is unlikely. then
    lights which have a big punchy flood beam shape, are fanastic for seeing
    though the bend on a dark lane, and so on.

    should point out that much like peoples claimed average speed, bike
    weights, tyres sizes that Lumens/lux should be taken with healthy degree
    of scepticism.

    Roger Merriman
     
    Roger Merriman, Oct 15, 2015
    #10
  11. No. of LEDs doesn't tell you very much, I used to have a 6-LED one from
    Poundland which wasn't bright enough for unlit roads, but now have a single
    LED one from Wilkinson's for a tenner (3W Cree LED) which is several times
    brighter and is fine on unlit roads.

    On the downside it uses AAA batteries which is kind of dumb for such a
    powerful light, they only last about 1 hour at full power. Also the light
    doesn't lock into the handlebar bracket and tends to slowly slither out
    unless taped in place: although sold as a bike light it's really just a
    torch with a holder. Nevertheless I think it's good value for a tenner as
    it's about four times as bright as a traditional bike light and small and
    light and the design of the beam is very good with a strong central spot
    beam.
     
    Gordon Freeman, Oct 16, 2015
    #11
  12. Not particularly.

    The most recent call for this was in Essen last week, on the pavement
    by the side of
    http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=51.422039&lon=6.986854&z=17 - it's
    unlit except by occasional cars coming the other way, and about a
    metre and a half wide, with fence on one side and kerb on the other.
    It _is_ signed for cyclists, but I found that I couldn't keep the
    edges in sight with the lights I had, and felt frankly uneasy about
    getting too close to one side or the other. (In daylight I was fine.)
     
    Roger Bell_West, Oct 16, 2015
    #12
  13. Well, I dunno how strapped for cash you are, but if you can resist the SON
    and the Luxos (which seems to be a bit flaky) and if you build your own
    wheels, it won't set you back a great deal.
     
    David Damerell, Oct 16, 2015
    #13
  14. Roger Bell_West

    Tosspot Guest

    You're 'aveing a giraffe! My Cyo T puts out 80 lumens and is fine for
    riding back through the forest in the dead of winter without starting a
    fire!
     
    Tosspot, Oct 16, 2015
    #14
  15. Roger Bell_West

    Clive George Guest

    Lumens or Lux? Cyos are generally specified with the latter.
     
    Clive George, Oct 16, 2015
    #15
  16. Roger Bell_West

    Tosspot Guest


    Well spotted. I shall shuffle orf to the corner for the rest of the
    lesson now...
     
    Tosspot, Oct 16, 2015
    #16
  17. Roger Bell_West

    Ian Smith Guest

    how fast do you want to go?

    about 200 to 300 lumens seems to be most folks point at which a light
    becomes more than just a "be seen" to a "see where your going".

    beam shape matters, if it more road and you'll meet others commonly
    stuff like the IQ Cyo and lots more have a beam shape that will not
    blind others.

    but if it's properly off road, and blinding others is unlikely. then
    lights which have a big punchy flood beam shape, are fanastic for
    seeing though the bend on a dark lane, and so on.

    should point out that much like peoples claimed average speed, bike
    weights, tyres sizes that Lumens/lux should be taken with healthy
    degree of scepticism.

    Roger Merriman[/QUOTE]

    True. My 7-Cree lamp mentioned elsewhere in thread is a claimed 10,000
    lumens! More like 500. Only bought it because I reasoned that 7 Cree's
    ought to be bright enough for unlit roads, which they did turn out to
    be.
     
    Ian Smith, Oct 16, 2015
    #17
  18. that doesn't sound like it needs a lot of lumens or money, something
    £30/£40 should do that. clearly if you want something with more oomph
    then go for it.

    I do like USB simply because it have so many things that use it.

    But AA or others work fine.

    Roger Merriman
     
    Roger Merriman, Oct 16, 2015
    #18
  19. In uk.rec.cycling.moderated on Fri, 16 Oct 2015 22:25:39 +0100
    Whereas I only use batteries as the lights stay with the bikes and the
    bikes live in the garage.

    The 'bent has dynamo main lights, a battery flasher "be seen" light as
    well, and a battery backup "be seen light and go real slow on the
    paths so you don't run off into a ditch" light in the seatbag. I
    remove the battery light if the bike is parked anywhere for a length
    of time but otherwise it stays on the seatbag mount.

    So USB would mean I had to remove it every night and remember to take
    it off the charger and put it back on the bike. Be even worse for the
    emergency front!

    The Brom also has dynamo main lights plus a front and rear flashing be
    seen lights. It lives in the garage rather than the house so again
    I'd have to remember to charge and replace the flashers.

    Being a lazy sod (see also dynamo lights) I prefer replaceable
    batteries with spare AAA cells in the toolkit.

    I might think differently if I was using battery lights as the main
    lighting given I spend a lot of time on unlit bike paths on my
    commute. But then needing decent seeing lights was the major reason
    to go dynamo. That and not realising the battery rear light was out
    of juice till I got home and saw it was barely glimmering.... At
    least with a dynamo light if it's on when you start riding you can be
    reasonably certain it will be on when you stop.


    Zebee
     
    Zebee Johnstone, Oct 16, 2015
    #19
  20. You can get USB "powerpacks; with replaceable batteries, though these tend
    to be the 18650 ones.
     
    Kerr Mudd-John, Oct 18, 2015
    #20
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