Bicycle light for traveling - good all-around torch

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EasyB
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garrybunk wrote:
EasyB wrote:
I agree a stock S2+ (with domed XML2 or XPL, and OP reflector) doesn’t have enough throw for fast riding. But changing the emitter to a domeless XPL HI and getting a narrow TIR will make it throw about as well as an M1 with a domed LED.

The stock OP reflector is not good for throw, but the narrow TIR throws about as well as the S2 smooth reflector, but with a larger beam.

Just curious, what does a narrow (I assume you mean the 10º LEDDNA optic, which is also at FT & others) optic do with the stock domed XM-L2 beam? It is worth using? Is the optic a simple drop-in or are there mods to be done. I actually don’t want throw from my EDC S2; I prefer it nice and floody.

-Garry

Isn’t this what you tested in the thread you linked above?

I have never had a domed LED in my S2+, but with the XPL HI the narrow TIR has about the same beam size as the OP S2+ reflector, but more beam intensity. The spill directly from the LED is more narrow with the TIR.

There are some more beam shots here:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/30957

Yes, I mean the 10 degree one, but the actual beam angle depends on the LED that is used. The most narrow TIR uses all of its available frontal area, so if you look into the front of it the yellow color of the phosphor will fill the front of the optic. The wider TIRs are intentionally shaped to be essentially defocused. If you look into the front of those the yellow color never completely fills the optic. It sort of mimics a smaller reflector and it causes a broader beam.

I prefer the narrow TIR. It takes some of the spill and puts it into the beam, resulting in a wider beam with similar intensity, when compared to a smooth reflector of the same size. It is a trade off though; the spill is much more narrow. But for most applications the wider beam is worth it for me.

You have to take the white plastic casing off of the TIR, and you need a suitable spacer/centering ring. I find that the convoy L2 centering ring (with the thickness sanded down some) works well for the TIRs I’ve used. Other than that it drops right in.

314
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Thanks for the replies. I’ll have to study the thread you linked.

That warsun X65 is indeed bulky and heavy without batteries. I’d prefer something lighter and carry more food instead.

The higher speeds I mentioned are for moving around in the city where the light is usually enough to see without a light. I’d use it on low and pointing slightly downwards as I know it can be blinding to other drivers. The problem with the headlamp in this setting is exactly that, it can be not only blinding but also deteriorating to other drivers, compromising your safety and/or the safety of others.

Sometimes I might go quite faster than 30 but that’s in well lit city highways. You do not really need a light to see in those conditions, just something to allow others to know you are there. If I can make them thing I’m driving a motorcycle then that’s great, they’ll pay enough attention.

While travelling I’ll mostly use small countryside roads or old national roads. I imagine the average maximum speed, with racks full of stuff, would be perhaps 25km/h. Forest dirt roads will be rare and usually short(ish).

That’s why I had a zooming (TK737) as main choice. I was planing to use it on full flood low in city and medium with some throw when travelling. In those more rare conditions, that will arise for sure, I could just adjust throw and intensity. Or that’s what I was thinking, I don’t really have first hand experience with travelling or flashlights to make the best possible decision.

I understand that I can’t have the best performer for all situations in one cheap and small package, I know I’ll have to make compromises here and there.

Flintrock
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Something like an S2+ with XP-L hi sounds like the right direction to me. As for modes, I think lightbringer mentioned something with a slider.  I don't know how far or frequently you bike, but I want to be able to rely on knowing how much runtime I'll get, that means no slidy, no rampy stuff, just pre-set modes that you can count on.  It can be pretty hard to judge just how bright you have it set otherwise. 

 

I actually like zoomies, but absolutely not on a bike. In zoom mode they have no spill.  In flood mode they have no hotspot.  Both are terrible on a bike, and no, half way zoomed doesn't fix the problem.  If you can get enough throw to be happy out of a reflector tube light like an S2+ then that seems the way to go for also using as an EDC.  

2 DOGS
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I have a lot of LED flashlights and I tried my BLF A6 at night last week and I was really impressed.
Adequate throw and floody enough to see along the sides for city riding.
The runtime was better than most of the other lights I’ve tried. S2+ would be good too but I haven’t compared the runtime.

314
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Thanks for the input. Although I haven’t made the order yet I was convinced an s2+, probably with wide TIR, would be a good all around choice, but then garry came along lol. I ride almost daily but not for long at night, maybe 1-2 hours, but yes, I would like something dependable for travelling.

Assuming the current draw is the same, the same emitter if fitted to S2+ and A6 and you use the same battery, what defines run time is purely the contact quality, no?

BTW I checked the linked threads, indeed the 25 and 10 degrees TIRs look better, but 25 seems to leave a dark area I didn’t like. 10 was more uniform.

Flintrock
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I've got some of those LEDDna optics as they seem to be liked by some cyclist communities.  Haven't had a chance to try them on the road yet, but definitely the 25s seem too wide to me.  I'll probably leave one of them on my quad setup, and the rest will be 10's.  

matik42
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Just want point out, that there may be with S2+ some sound, when used lower levels, so you may want consider how many 7135 (how many mA) you want. So I read, I dont own S2+.

Jtm94
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The sound from my s2+ is very intermittent and I don’t here it unless I’m in silence. The 8×7135 is what I have. Medium mode makes the loudest little whine, but mine is only 3 mode.

314
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I was thinking of getting the 4x or even 3x version, for maximum battery life. I have excellent hearing, it won’t be a problem when riding but it may be a bit annoying in silence. Oh well

Rufusbduck
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If you’re riding it’s unlikely you’ll hear much and the fewer the 7135’s the less the noise. I agree about using some variety of tube light. You might consider ordering a few different optics to try in it to see which you like best in person. Also, emitter choice dramatically affects beam angle so with any given optic or reflector an XML will have a broader beam than an xpg. The broader a beam is the dimmer it will seem at the same current. When driving it’s often difficult to see riders that think they are well illuminated so use a separate blinky please. 1A aimed at the ground 5m out won’t be blinding anyone and neither will 1.5A since it’s the spill oncoming traffic is seeing and you need them to see it. By all means the spot should be kept out of their eyes but you want to be noticed at a distance. Riding with just enough light to see by in order to maximize run time can get you pancaked. Drivers eyes are not night adjusted, they’re constantly hit with other oncoming headlights and you need to compete closer to that level to be noticed safely, especially since the drivers most dangerous to you are coming up from behind you.

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Flintrock
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I agree with RBD.  Arguments about blinding drivers are a bit theoretical anyway compared to getting noticed (not even just merely seen) on a bike. It's a balance, but I drive and I bike, and one is a life and death thing on a daily basis and the other, well it could be if everything lined up just wrong.   At least when  a driver is "blinded" they're aware of the problem.  But keep a tight hotspot and wide spill and light pointed down a bit and you're good. 

 

I saw a cyclist once with the whole bike lit up, covered in strings of colored LED's.  Very visible, probably pretty high total lumens, but not blinding at all, just like a neon sign.

Flintrock
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Oh, and RBD, 5m down the road probably won't cut it.  30kph is 8m/s.  

314
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On one bike I use one of these as tail light. It has many modes but allows to have the larger led on constant and the rest blinking and that’s how I run it

On the other bike I have one of these that runs on blinking

You got me thinking, perhaps I’ll add a pair of them high at each side of the fork. The right looking slightly forward, the left slightly backwards probably on blinking or beacon, I’ll have to test

So you say that the 460lm of it the 3x or half of it will not suffice as front light for use in lit streets with traffic?

gchart
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Good to see the M1 being thrown out as a good option. I just built up one this weekend for my sister-in-law to use as a bike light. It was the first M1 I had my hands on. Now I need to get one for my own collection Smile

Flintrock
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I actually like bigger area lights as a bike light, but as a pocket light that can be used as a bike light, it's a compromise.  

 

As for 450 lumens, for an EDC that can get you down the road sometimes on a bike with, I think it's ok.  But if you want to ride fast regularly on poorly lit rough surfaces, I wouldn't consider it enough, no, but I probably haven't had great optics.  Personally, I'd aim for 2,000 lumens at that speed, and maybe you reduce that in some traffic situations or point it down more. Of course you can't get that in an EDC tube light.  Sometimes I carry a tube light just in case I end up out after dark, and that works. 

Flintrock
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Some will argue that 2000 lumens is more than low beams on a car.   You need to see ruts and potholes on a bike, black holes in a black surface, and you need to see them early enough to avoid unpredictable sudden moves around traffic.  It all depends on the road lighting though, and even on your familiarity with the roads.

wle
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one XP-L puts out enough light…

you need 4 18650s though for decent run time, assuming 600-800 lumens with maybe 10’ hot spot 50 feet down the road plus some spill

usually the 4 cells will get you 3-4 hours of that

they ALL have problems with ‘fuel gauge’ though

and heat dissipation, if you stop riding it will get VERY hot, maybe even while riding, depending on poorness of heat sinking

but they are $30 or less on amazon

mounting systems are pretty good, half a ring held on with a fat o ring of rubber

and the cheap ones may have a cell quit early, killing the rest of them

and the battery packs are not really waterproof usually

wle

314
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I ordered the s2+ with just 3 chips to try. I can always swap the driver at any time if I need more light. Also a 15 degrees TIR as it was the only one I could find at fasttech with low angle. Next the oval from leddna and the 18350 adapter from banggood, I have a few 18350s laying around doing nothing it should be handy for short rides or emergency EDC.

wle, no battery packs for me, I don’t like the bulk and extra cables running along the frame. I have quite a few good 18650s I use on ecigs and a bunch of laptop pulls in storage.

I kind of repaired the sigma so that will serve as strobe. Sometime in the future I’ll update this thread to share my experience, initially in urban areas and later from short trips (2-3 days).

I suppose even if I discover I need something else to cover my needs, at least I’ll end up with a good light for other uses. Thanks for all the help and patience

Pete7874
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314 wrote:
I ordered the s2+ with just 3 chips to try. I can always swap the driver at any time if I need more light.

Congrats. Hope you like it. Keep us updated.

Personally, I think I would have gotten a 6×7135 and just run it at 50% – it would have been more efficient. And you could always bump up to 100% when you need it.

314
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I can still change it, it won't ship before monday. The medium mode on those is either 30% or 40% depending on the version I'll receive.

I did some calculations below for medium to study the efficiency. Runtimes are calculated for a 3000mAh battery based on runTime = (0.9 * TrueBatteryCapacity / currentDraw)

 

6x7135, 2100mA

@max >  803lm | 2100mA | runtime ~1.2h

@40% > ~321lm |  840mA | runtime ~3.2h

@30% > ~241lm |  630mA | runtime ~4.3h

 

4x7135, 1400mA

@max >  582lm | 1400mA | runtime ~1.9h

@40% > ~233lm |  560mA | runtime ~4.8h

@30% > ~175lm |  420mA | runtime ~6.4h

 

3x7135, 1100mA

@max >  460lm | 1100mA | runtime ~2.4h

@40% >  184lm |  440mA | runtime ~6.1h

@30% >  138lm |  330mA | runtime ~8.2h

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I use a Crygolite Metro 600 USB.

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