Bike lights -- do any of us actually need one?

37 posts / 0 new
Last post

Pages

how crazy is this
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 9 min ago
Joined: 09/14/2011 - 13:24
Posts: 199
Location: Minneapolis
Bike lights -- do any of us actually need one?

I remember when I really thought the best bike light was one that had a little generator that you flipped into the tire. Wow how times have changed!

With all the great lights today it seems to me that we have excellent bike lights that are just EDC for must of us. Is there even a point to a bike light anymore?

A simple nylon tie on my helmet has provided a place to clip my SC31b and that has been a great bike light. Can’t imagine a bike light need that setup did not meet.

Years ago I bought something like this, then lost it without ever using it. Found it and Strapped my clear Convoy C8 HI to it. WOW! So much better than any bike light I have ever had. Two simple solutions that cost basically nothing and give outstanding results with things we already have an may very well be EDC anyway.

https://www.gearbest.com/bicycling-gear/pp_61110.html

RobertB
RobertB's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 14 hours ago
Joined: 12/18/2015 - 17:49
Posts: 3477
Location: USA, Michigan

The Fenix BC30 v2 with two rechargeable 18650’s, and a high low beam remote switch.

EasyB
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 5 sec ago
Joined: 03/09/2016 - 15:24
Posts: 2051
Location: Ohio

I mostly agree with you. As long as the beam shape/intensity is right for your type of riding, and you have an appropriate brightness mode for your ride duration, regular 18650/21700 lights work great as bike lights.

Some exceptions. In urban environments you would probably want to have a beam cutoff to limit blinding of oncoming traffic.

I use that style of light mount you linked for my handlebars and I agree it works great.

Unheard
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 7 min ago
Joined: 01/16/2019 - 11:38
Posts: 915
Location: Germany

For the good reason to not blind others, bike lights have to be approved in Germany. So, no C8 over here. I praise german law for this.

MoreLumens
MoreLumens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 37 min 38 sec ago
Joined: 10/25/2019 - 07:08
Posts: 623
Location: Finland
RobertB wrote:
The Fenix BC30 v2 with two rechargeable 18650’s, and a high low beam remote switch.

I got that. 1800 lumens burst and max constant something. Really good beam, tint and runtime.
I would love to upgrade or get good floody smallish flashlight for driving light. Open for recommendations, thanks.

Jack Kellar
Jack Kellar's picture
Online
Last seen: 3 min 37 sec ago
Joined: 03/09/2014 - 14:21
Posts: 1962
Location: Throwing bolts at anomalies

For me, I tentatively say yes. I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t like being blinded by some other clod’s excessive spill while I’m driving or riding. So I got myself a Lumintop B01 with its car-like horizontal beam. If I’m ever confronted by Daylight Savings Time in the summer, it will be indispensable to get to work.

In fact, I’m buying a new bike and one of the reasons why is to fit said B01 on the bars – my current one is too busy with cables, so the torch can’t sit at the correct angle.

Jack Kellar
Jack Kellar's picture
Online
Last seen: 3 min 37 sec ago
Joined: 03/09/2014 - 14:21
Posts: 1962
Location: Throwing bolts at anomalies

Unheard wrote:
For the good reason to not blind others, bike lights have to be approved in Germany. So, no C8 over here. I praise german law for this.

Amen. More companies should make lights with horizontal beams like you get with the stripped TIR on an S2+ or the Lumintop bike lamps.

NorthernHarrier
NorthernHarrier's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 19 hours ago
Joined: 11/30/2018 - 12:05
Posts: 247
Location: Eastern USA

I use a red bike flashing light on my briefcase for work. I turn it on when I cross the busy road in front of my apartment complex at dusk or later. Drivers here are often very careless and often don’t stop at sop lights and stop signs.

hank
hank's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 hours 30 min ago
Joined: 09/04/2011 - 21:52
Posts: 9189
Location: Berkeley, California

I put a wide oval TIR lens on my flashlight that I rubber-band to the bike handlebars. I just rotate it to point down if I face oncoming traffic.

sp5it
sp5it's picture
Online
Last seen: 6 min 22 sec ago
Joined: 12/25/2012 - 07:51
Posts: 1077
Location: Poland

1. On public road is mandatory to have lights on bike. Front and rear.
2. Flash lights on public road are useless, because are blinding other road users. That’s why I use StVZO light and recommend other to do so.
Cyclists think opposite are welcome with my MJ872 with xpl-hi installed. Change of their attitude is instant.
Mike

Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that. George Carlin

 Anyone offended by my signature please fill Complaint Form. Thank you.

MoreLumens
MoreLumens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 37 min 38 sec ago
Joined: 10/25/2019 - 07:08
Posts: 623
Location: Finland

Jack Kellar wrote:
For me, I tentatively say yes. I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t like being blinded by some other clod’s excessive spill while I’m driving or riding. So I got myself a Lumintop B01 with its car-like horizontal beam. If I’m ever confronted by Daylight Savings Time in the summer, it will be indispensable to get to work.

In fact, I’m buying a new bike and one of the reasons why is to fit said B01 on the bars – my current one is too busy with cables, so the torch can’t sit at the correct angle.

I use dual light setup. Flashlight with side or tail switch on/off if any oncoming here on countryside. So quick off and Fenix BC30 with non blinding etc. tir stays on.

jeff51
jeff51's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 20 hours ago
Joined: 03/26/2019 - 17:36
Posts: 527
Location: Middle of Texas

sp5it wrote:
1. On public road is mandatory to have lights on bike. Front and rear.
Mike

In many (all?) states in the US front and rear lights are required for riding after dark.
It is a traffic ticket, at the Cops option, that will cost you money. Usually a warning depending on circumstances.
Out here in the middle of nowhere, there are roads without streetlamps a five minute bike ride away from home.
I’d want all the attention I could muster.
All the Best,
Jeff
MoreLumens
MoreLumens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 37 min 38 sec ago
Joined: 10/25/2019 - 07:08
Posts: 623
Location: Finland

MoreLumens wrote:
Jack Kellar wrote:
For me, I tentatively say yes. I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t like being blinded by some other clod’s excessive spill while I’m driving or riding. So I got myself a Lumintop B01 with its car-like horizontal beam. If I’m ever confronted by Daylight Savings Time in the summer, it will be indispensable to get to work.

In fact, I’m buying a new bike and one of the reasons why is to fit said B01 on the bars – my current one is too busy with cables, so the torch can’t sit at the correct angle.

I use dual light setup. Flashlight with side or tail switch on/off if any oncoming here on countryside. So quick off and Fenix BC30 with non blinding etc. tir stays on.

I also ride empty forest roads, in empty forest trails so good semi thrower is good extra after BC30 range ends. Rear red light also mandatory got that and adding Sofirn C01R with diffuser to backpack. Safety first or something. Also all that red light feel in rainy and dark forest when summer starts to end.

id30209
id30209's picture
Offline
Last seen: 26 min 48 sec ago
Joined: 05/17/2018 - 12:20
Posts: 1104
Location: Croatia

The only bike light i need and got my attention is Okluma bike light proto...

Google it or visit their FB group

WTB Titanium 4sevens 2xAA tube

Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 46 min 23 sec ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 11820
Location: nyc

In a pinch that might work, but there’s also glare from any light not specifically designed for biking. You’d have to consult St Vizo, the patron saint of bicyclists.

Around here, though, the only “bike lights” are those retarded blinking white LEDs in front only used as marker lights, not for actual illumination. With the way these idiots around here drive, I’d deck out my bike with chicken-lights to make damned sure I’d be seen.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

how crazy is this
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 9 min ago
Joined: 09/14/2011 - 13:24
Posts: 199
Location: Minneapolis

FWIW, I live in an urban area where lights are required. Where I thought the light was sweet was at 10% with the hot spot down so as not to blind anyone. Riding after midnight it was not an issue. On the bike trail it would have been at 1%. At one point, on an empty street, I did put it up to 100%. That was very much like a car with high beams on. Certainly would not have been good for oncoming traffic. Just because you can be a hazard with these lights doesn’t mean you have to be.

fourbyfive
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 16 hours ago
Joined: 11/07/2018 - 12:49
Posts: 72
Location: South Carolina

I purchased dedicated rechargeable bike lights, one front one rear. I used these instead of pulling something from the flashlight box. The kit came with the two lights and mounting hardware so it was fast and easy to get going for the night. The front light has been adjusted to shine out in front to see the terrain. It doesn’t put much light at all into oncoming eyes. The rear of course is just a marker beacon. Both have a red/white flash/no-flash option as well as intensity on the front one. Both have a side lens that a allows some light to be seen that way. I get about two hours out of a charge, which is longer than I care to ride so that’s enough.
All-in-all it works better than an attempt by me to rig up regular flashlights. That’s what I do at night. Not everybody does. The kit was around $15 I think.

freeme
freeme's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 11 sec ago
Joined: 11/14/2013 - 22:00
Posts: 8723

Finding a suitable light setup for your riding habit can be tricky.

Need to strike a balance between weight, aerodynamic, runtime, output, UI, durability, and most importantly > costtongue-out

Jack Kellar
Jack Kellar's picture
Online
Last seen: 3 min 37 sec ago
Joined: 03/09/2014 - 14:21
Posts: 1962
Location: Throwing bolts at anomalies

FWIW, I should add that I’m 100% a city cyclist, hence my beam preferences. When you’re on less populated pathways, it makes sense to use the regular torch beam. The least urban bike ride I’ve had was an afternoon trip seven or eight years ago to the farm of one of my uncle’s friends, and even that was on a highway.

And since we’re talking about tail lights, hello Southland Innocent I’m still using the bike light I got from your 2017 giveaway. It’s an excellent tail light, super noticeable even during the day. I keep it on flashing RGB mode whenever I’m out.

Boro
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 21 min ago
Joined: 02/03/2012 - 15:52
Posts: 663
RobertB wrote:
The Fenix BC30 v2 with two rechargeable 18650’s, and a high low beam remote switch.

Excellent bike light with an outstanding mount. +1

wle
wle's picture
Offline
Last seen: 59 min 39 sec ago
Joined: 01/07/2015 - 13:49
Posts: 1892
Location: atlanta ga

i need one
i ride longer than 20 min, which is about the limit for 1 18650

i also don;t want to fiddle around tying a light on or whatever

i have a 4×18650 bike light on my bike all the time

i even use stobe or steady light in the day time

it;s just a $30 chinese amazon light but i love it and it works great
tint is fairly blue but i do not care
i am on my 2nd or 3rd one now, happy to buy another when the battery pack dies.

wle

"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
    Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
It never gets easy, you just go faster.   
-Greg Lemond.
       ,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸

Scallywag
Scallywag's picture
Offline
Last seen: 14 hours 44 min ago
Joined: 01/11/2018 - 22:23
Posts: 1222
Location: Ohio, United States

Unheard wrote:
For the good reason to not blind others, bike lights have to be approved in Germany. So, no C8 over here. I praise german law for this.

Sadly, cops won’t even stop automobiles with clearly illegal lighting setups here, they’ll never care about bicycles.
jeff51 wrote:
sp5it wrote:
1. On public road is mandatory to have lights on bike. Front and rear.
Mike

In many (all?) states in the US front and rear lights are required for riding after dark.
It is a traffic ticket, at the Cops option, that will cost you money. Usually a warning depending on circumstances.
Out here in the middle of nowhere, there are roads without streetlamps a five minute bike ride away from home.
I’d want all the attention I could muster.
All the Best,
Jeff

It’s a better idea to be well-lit than to be underlit, as a bicyclist. But the way Americans drive I will continue to avoid bicycling at night near any motorways as much as possible.

EDC Rotation: ZL SC62(w) | Jaxman E2L XP-G2 5A | Purple S2+ XPL-HI U6-3A | D4 w/ Luxeon V | RRT-01 | Purple FW3A, 4000K SST20
EagTac D25C Ti | DQG Slim AA Ti | Jaxman E3 | UF-T1 by CRX | Nitecore EX11.2
L6 XHP70.2 P2 4000K FET+7135 | Jaxman M8 | MF02 | Jaxman Z1 CULNM1.TG | Blue S2+ w/ ML Special
Unfinished: Supfire M6 3xXHP50.2, Sofirn C8F, Sofirn SP70
Others: Nitecore EC23 | Nebo Twyst | Streamlight ProTac 1AA | TerraLux LightStar 100

EasyB
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 5 sec ago
Joined: 03/09/2016 - 15:24
Posts: 2051
Location: Ohio

wle wrote:
i need one
i ride longer than 20 min, which is about the limit for 1 18650


Having an external battery pack can definitely increase brightness and runtime options, but single cell lights can also work for lots of people.

Lighting requirements vary a lot with speed and terrain. And I think there is additionally a relatively large range of acceptable brightness because of our eyes logarithmic sensitivity to light; even a 2x increase or decrease in brightness does not seem like a huge change.

Here is what works for me riding on curvy off-road trails in the woods of Ohio. My speed varies from roughly 5 to 20mph. You can read about my lights here. My handlebar light has a wide beam and about 6kcd. My helmet light has about 20kcd. I estimate my handlebar light is useful for illuminating a wide area up to 5m away which means the light puts about 240lux at that distance. And I estimate when I’m going fast I need to look 10m ahead on the trail and my helmet light puts about 200lux and illuminates a 6ft wide area at that distance.

According to this site:
https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/light-level-rooms-d_708.html

200 lux is between a very dark day and an overcast day. Or about the level of lighting in a coffee break room or to do easy office work.

pinkpanda3310
pinkpanda3310's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 14 min ago
Joined: 12/28/2013 - 08:45
Posts: 2627
Location: Perth

Lumintop B01 on the roadbike and xanes DL01 (or other torch with longer battery) on the mtb.

That said, I hardly ride in the dark nowadays.

how crazy is this
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 9 min ago
Joined: 09/14/2011 - 13:24
Posts: 199
Location: Minneapolis

wle wrote:
i need one
i ride longer than 20 min, which is about the limit for 1 18650

wle

I sure don’t understand this. Draining an 18650 in 20 min with any decent emitter these days would blind anyone near you. Don’t see how any bike light could use that much energy in an LED and not be way to bright to be used in the presence of others. I thought the sweet spot was around 10% on my C8 and that would last for at least 12 hours on a single 18650. Others say that just because it is a C8 with the throwy beam profile and hot spot of the HI make that unsafe for a bike light due to blinding. Seems to me that if the bright spot is kept on the road and the level is down in the 10% range again I don’t see how a bike light could be significantly different. What am I missing here?

wle
wle's picture
Offline
Last seen: 59 min 39 sec ago
Joined: 01/07/2015 - 13:49
Posts: 1892
Location: atlanta ga

the faster you ride, the more you need it really bright.

and if it is a real bike light, and has a decent pattern for riding, it can be bright without blinding

i’m not talking 10%, more like 80% of max, 700 lumens or so

wle

"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
    Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
It never gets easy, you just go faster.   
-Greg Lemond.
       ,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸

felixtan
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 6 hours ago
Joined: 06/19/2020 - 06:05
Posts: 20
Location: Kuala Lumpur, MYS

I’ve cycled many thousand miles with the trusted Hope R4 lights for many years. It was pretty costly when it was purchased and proven the money spent is worthy.

manithree
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 38 min ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 01:08
Posts: 444
Location: Orem, UT, USA

I’m with the OP. Expensive bike-only lights with built-in batteries are not for me.

My commute is just over 18 miles (29 km) each way. Being able to carry a spare battery is an important feature for me, especially in the winter.

I ride mostly on paved multi-use trail, so beam pattern isn’t much of a concern.

I really like a Convoy s2+ with biscotti on the handlebars, and a rear-facing red Jaxman E2L on the saddle tube. If my supply of good 18650s every gets low, I plan to replace those with a Convoy S21a or a Sofirn IF25a on the front. Not sure about the red tail light in 21700, though.

wle
wle's picture
Offline
Last seen: 59 min 39 sec ago
Joined: 01/07/2015 - 13:49
Posts: 1892
Location: atlanta ga

one additional thing about a real bike light is, it will have a specific handlebar mount, it is not going to fall off

and you don;t have to fiddle with it, every time you want to use it

wle

"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
    Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
It never gets easy, you just go faster.   
-Greg Lemond.
       ,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸

manithree
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 38 min ago
Joined: 01/12/2013 - 01:08
Posts: 444
Location: Orem, UT, USA

wle wrote:
one additional thing about a real bike light is, it will have a specific handlebar mount, it is not going to fall off

and you don;t have to fiddle with it, every time you want to use it

wle

I have good mounts for my flashlights that haven’t fallen off in thousands of miles of riding. What sort of fiddling are you referring to? I just turn my lights on before I ride.

elbakan1
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 14 min ago
Joined: 12/05/2013 - 06:48
Posts: 255
Location: Miami Fl

2-Astrolux S42. Plus headlamp to look sideways. Or far away from the bike.

Cheers.

Lighting up the world one flashlight at a time.

Pages