Help choose a budget light for daily commute on a bicycle

Just in case you haven’t placed your order yet…the Convoy S3 is MUCH better for biking! It is floodier and has a wider spill, which is more useful on a bike.

floodier then an S2?

I feel bad about having to question that, cause simply put you’re a nice guy with good opinions. However, I’d say if the light was helmet mounted in a picatinny rail, then the S3 would be the way to go. But on the handlebars, I’m going to stick with the M1 recommendation. And this is based on trying every Convoy last spring and summer. When I first got started, I thought the M2 was the Bees Knees, but I did notice Johnny Mac’s comments that the M1 was a better light. Turns out with the 20mm emitter base as opposed to the smaller base in the others, the M1 cannot be matched in my opinion.

And before the question gets asked, why the T4 emitter on close range? Higher CRI means better GS obsticle recognition and avoidance, and T5 means more long-range OTF lumens than the T4. Now I realize that the OP’s original requirement may not include the ability to get the maximum forewarning of a reflected tapetum lucidum signal from the woods ahead, but why not just go for maximizing your potential when the cost is the same anyway?

Thanks for the suggestion tallboybass. I already placed my order 4 hours ago for S2 and a charger. I’ll order the batteries tomorrow.

I did see some comparison of S2 and S3 on the forums, with some people concluding that S2 was a better choice, but that was for general purposes, and not cycling specific.

I would also like to thank everyone for all the suggestions and comments.

I am discovering a whole new world. I had never realized there could be so much interesting about flashlights.

I am curious. I had looked at all these lights on, and was told here none of those are worht much. Comparing the specifications, they still seem comparable to the S2, for example. How can you tell that those are worse? Is it just from prevous experiences of buying things and seeing the quality first hand, or are there differences in the specifications that I am not noticing?

I am just thinking, how can I tell in the future what’s a good light to get and what’s not, other than by coming here and asking (not that I mind getting the help of those with experience and knowledge).

Lots of opinions here, and mine is just one more! :slight_smile: I have an S5 which has the same throw pattern as the S2 and I prefer the S3’s wider hotspot and spill for biking. I do a LOT of night riding in the summer and have to have really good lighting.

The best I have come up with is BOTH an S3 and S5! A flooder and a semi-thrower working together give you good peripheral vision and a view down the road/trail to see what’s coming up.

Again, just an opinion. :wink:

check out reviews on BLF, a good percentage of the lights out there have been reviewed on this forum or post a thread asking for info on it if no one has reviewed it yet
but keep in mind that if the review was a long time ago they may have cheapened out the light since then, thats how chinese manufacturing works, quality fades over time

I’m surprised nobody has suggested riding with more than one light yet. Aside from having the spare for those times you’ve forgotten to recharge the batteries, having a second light allows you to use one on the handlebars and one on the helmet. The helmet light is great for looking into corners and for drivers who look like they haven’t seen you yet.

Well, not exactly nobody, perhaps I was too long winded in my post so it got buried:


The result is 4 lights, which is obviously unecessary for most urban or pavement rides.

I ride with 4 lights too, but it’s usually 2 on the way in and the 2 others on the way home.

Due to the requirement to be able to see in a bunch of different locations, I doubt that any serious riders can get by with just one light source. I have a very high end prototype dual beam light given to us by Spark to test in the 24 hrs of adrenalin race, and even when I ride with that in the backcountry I have 2 or 3 more lights on the go.

I tend to put a 1x18650 tube light on my handlebars (Convoy S3 or S7 or similar) and a headlamp on my head (ZL H51 or H52). And I frequently bring a XinTD C8 in my purse in case I need to see something far away. A zoomie headlamp can be fun sometimes too, but tends to give me tunnel vision so I see only the far-away objects and not what’s right in front of me.

Would the UltraFire WF-501B XM-L T6 work decently mounted on a helmet? I am thinking of using it with the Convoy S2 (once it gets here) mounted on the handlebars.

It’s currently available for $6.85 at tmart.


I use an older version and it’s fine. It works great when drivers look at you and then continue to drive right at you, one flash of that and they usually decide to stop breaking the law.

Thanks. Someone suggested here that with these chinese products often the quality deteriorates with time. Would that apply here as well or is the 501B from Tmart still fine?

There is a review here but that one was from DealExtreme and the review dates back to 2011.

What I’ve noticed from most of the drivers I’m the 501b’s is they have horrible pwm
I’d stick to a tube style light as they’re better balanced for a helmet like the s2
These are just my thoughts I’m sure others will have an opinion also

I suppose you could do that… assuming you want flood on the handlebars and throw on your head. Though you could easily get something smaller and lighter for around the same price, without sacrificing on throw. I’d go for a tube light over a P60 (the WF-501b is a P60-style light), but even better would be a zoomie headlamp. Fasttech has a few which might be of interest:
It’s very helpful to be able to aim headlamps up and down, which a helmet-mounted traditional light might not be able to do.

I got one of these a while back… It’s basically a head-mounted SK-68. It was fun when I wanted to see things far away while biking, but it was also a bit distracting and encouraged me not to look where I was going. And if I accidentally pointed my head at a nearby reflective street sign, I’d get briefly blinded… so try not to do that.
Since then, I’ve switched to a nicer headlamp, a ZL H51 (or, more recently, ZL H52).

Of course, if you want to see really far… you could mount a C8 on your helmet, like the popular XinTD C8. But it’s big enough to be awkward even on a helmet, and bright enough that it’d be illegal on the road in many places (it’s much more intense than car headlights).

For biking, I don’t always bother with two lights… a head-mounted light alone is often enough. I’ve been tempted to forego the handlebar light entirely and just strap a ZL SC600 to my head. Illumination Supply has a great deal on the ZL SC600 Mk II right now, considered by many to be the best EDC light on the market (and pretty well-suited for biking too).

Thanks for the comments.

I have noticed that the ZL lights get a lot of praise here, but their prices are quite out of range for me. The $50 for the S2, charger and pair of protected cells was already a stretch for me.

I saw the $6.85 deal at tmart posted in the deals thread, and thought if it’s a good option, I may get it and consider to be done with my bike lighting. Since the comments were mixed, I decided to look more into these before purchasing something. Lists three different lights. Which one did you mean? The 240LM for 8.99?

Ok…back to square one…

Personally, I don’t feel that any lesser led than an XM-L provides enough light to be useful for biking.

On the road, I don’t care for headsets and one or two handle bar lights are enough. In the city, (One is usually enough around here), In dark country or off-road, one or two might still be ok, but a headlamp in combo is essential for off-road mountain biking after dark, and for that you will need a real solid headset mount to hold them on your head and aim well. It’s probably best to attach it to your helmet, but whatever works out best for you.

Fastech has several headsets in the $15-$20 range that look like they could work out. AA or lithium driven and one with a reflector.

I can see all of them being useful in different situations. I’d lean toward the reflector one. The reflector will have more throw, the zoom might have more flood, some guys might like AA, but until one has their hands on them and runs some comparisons at night it’s guesswork… 10 minutes on the road and in the dark and you’ll know what works and what doesn’t.

The xp-g and xr-e types that I have tried are not adequate as to useful light output for road use, but as long as it has an xm-l and lithium power it has potential.

If i were to buy a bike light i would try this one, it would attach to an ML-102 easily, and its not at all expensive