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Bicycle Lights


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#1 SwampD

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Posted 25 September 2015 - 08:31 AM

I want to get a set of lights for my bike and am really tempted by those cheap $6-$10 dollar sets. Do any of the other bicyclists here use them or are they a waste of time? I don't want to have to replace them in a couple of months when I could just spend the extra now.


Edited by SwampD, 25 September 2015 - 08:32 AM.


#2 MattPie

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Posted 25 September 2015 - 09:46 AM

I want to get a set of lights for my bike and am really tempted by those cheap $6-$10 dollar sets. Do any of the other bicyclists here use them or are they a waste of time? I don't want to have to replace them in a couple of months when I could just spend the extra now.

 

I bought this, but haven't used it much. I left it on the windowsill in my kitchen on a sunny day and it charged up, but I haven't let it run long enough to know how well it works. It has a normal AA (or maybe AAA) as a backup with for a 1-LED light so it should work for a few hours even if the solar doesn't charge well.

https://www.nashbar....771_-1___204664



#3 Doohickie

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 10:55 PM

There are "be seen" lights and "see" lights.  The cheapie lights will help you be seen by cars, but won't project far enough out to light your way (unless you roll at a walking pace).

 

If you want serious lights, NightRider, CygoLite and high-end Cat Eyes are the way to go.

 

I do a LOT of night riding, and for a front headlight I would get one that is AT LEAST 200-300 lumens (about 1/3 of a car headlight).  I know people who have 1000 lumen lights on their bicycles but I think that's overkill.  I am currently running a NightRider Lumina 700 light that's 700 lumens at the highest setting.  I usually run on the lowest setting (150 lumens) but have the option to go brighter when needed.  It's a tradeoff between brightness and runtime.  I got mine for $70 on a Black Friday sale.  There are more affordable versions such as the 250 lumen one.

 

Tail lights are every bit as important.  If you ride on the streets at all, cars will probably see your tail light first.  I have two types, Serfas Thunderbolt and Cygolite Hotshot.  There's a white version of the Thunderbolt and I've seen people use them as headlights (although they are more of a be seen that a see light).

 

All of these lights are self-contained units with rechargeable batteries that are USB rechargeable which makes them very versatile.  They also have attachments to fit many different diameters of bicycle frame/handlebar tubing.

 

If you look at the different sites like REI you will find there are also combinations of a headlight and tail light.  For a serious "starter" kit, consider something like this.

 

 


You may check your local bike shops and see what they have on sale.  This is a good time of year since for sales because few people start riding now at the end of the summer so bike shops put stuff like this on sale.



#4 SwampD

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 06:52 AM

Thanks. I'll refer back to this when I have to replace the cheap set I just got (I'm guessing that will be in about a week). North Jersey isn't known for it's dark skies so I only really need them to be seen. The light they make is fine, but how they connect to the bike is really, realy cheap. I don't see them lasting very long.



#5 Doohickie

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 10:02 AM

It's kind of an evolutionary thing.  If the lights you got last and are adequate, you're good.  If they break or prove otherwise problematic, you'll need to replace them, and you'll likely upgrade.  I went from cheapo lights to better lights, to even better lights.  I'm pretty happy with what I've got.



#6 Doohickie

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 02:14 PM

This is the time of year I got my Night RIder 700 Lumen light.  I saw a promo on Facebook for a CygoLite Expilion 720 USB Headlight at Nashbar (a popular online bike shop) marked down to $94.99 with an additional Black Friday discount to $74.09 with free shipping.  CygoLite and Night Rider are, in my opinion, the top bicycle light makers.   720 Lumens is about equivalent to a full car headlight, so if you want a Christmas present to light up the night while you ride, this is it.

YL-EXP720-NCL-MOUNTED.jpg