Recommendations for very bright bike light?

When the days get short, I am going to be riding on a dark (unlit I think) road through a forested area, for about 15 minutes on my way home from work. I may encounter black bears, coyotes, skunks, etc. I want a really bright bike light that won’t break the bank. Any recommendations?

I have a Dry 3x XM-L, which would make a decent light for this purpose, if I had a handlebar mount for it. Or, I could mount it on my helmet (done it a couple of times before, with Velcro) but that makes my head kind of wobbly because of the weight.

Edit: oops, forgot to mention that the light (and battery pack, if there’s a separate pack) must be rain-proof.

My favorite light for riding is an old Trustfire F-15 . This particular model of 18650 C8 style light has a shallow reflector which spreads the hotspot out and therefore doesn't blind you with a bright hotspot and provides very bright wide-reaching spill.

Mine has been modded with a T6 4C XML and a high PWM driver with five modes . I hate riding with low PWM lights because I can see the flicker too easily on the road . I usually run the light at about 2 amps for good illumination and battery life .

I attach it to my handlebar with a TwoFish Lockblock , which has proven to be very secure and the beam easily adjusted down for city riding or up for the unlit country .

EDIT : found one here .

Thanks guys for those suggestions. I’m hoping to find something with a little more output and/or battery capacity though.

Nice little unit

Thanks Rexdog. Do you have one of those? If so, is it rainproof?

Your ticket is a Supfire M6 with three XM-L2s (optionally modified by Mtn Electronics). It is brighter than a good Sky Ray King and has a tripod mount so you can mount it on your handlebars with a handlebar tripod mount some of which are found here. The manufacturer says "Waterproof:waterproof IP67" which means "Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion)".

Light seems fine. I haven’t really used it in anything besides light drizzle on my road bike.
I wouldn’t say the battery pack is waterproof (sorry - didn’t read that bit of your post properly). You would need to shrink wrap it further.
There is shrink wrap around the batts, but top and bottom only have some type of card covering over them.
The lead length is approx 45cm.

Another I use is:

You’re only running 15 mins, so this is a cheap way. Could also use 2 - one each side of the stem

I just stick a bit of foam between it and the handlebars and use 2 “O” rings to hold it in place.
Guess it depends how rough your road is.

Jeez, they say Australia has all the deadly animals.
At least I’m not going to get jumped by a bloody big bear!

Take a look:

Bad Ass TrustFire TR-D014 7*CREE XM-L2 LED

I’m pretty happy just using a 1x18650 tube light with DC-Fix on the lens to make it floodier, mounted in a lockblock. I got a bunch of lockblocks from DX a while back for like $1.50 each, and it’ll fit a decent variety of lights.

However, I’m not using 2000+ lumens like a Skyray King or Supfire M6. If I tried, I’d get pulled over by the police because those are too bright to be used on public roads where I live. I’m generally pretty happy with 200 lumens on my bike instead, with the option to bump the output up closer to 1000 lumens if necessary.

The Convoy S series provides a variety of decent hosts for this. And if you want it even brighter, you could attach more than one to the handlebars.

I like zoomies for bike lights. I think they give the best flood beam for biking. However, the ones that I use are not rated for waterproof, even though I think they can handle rain.

I do have a bike light though. It’s beam is too tight for usage on a bike, but I bought a separate battery-pack for it. You might want to check it out, it’s supposed to be (and appears) water-resistant, but to what degree I don’t really know or care, it’s much better than the crap that came with the light:

I’ve used zoomies as bike lights too. I switched to reflector-based lights with diffuser film instead, because it increases the beam width and the range of how far away I can see. Here’s an image showing the difference in beam shape:

On the left is a CNQG Brass EDC (1x18650) running in a 92 lumen mode, with DC-Fix on the lens. On the right is a SK-68 with eneloop, on its maximum/widest mode of 72 lumens.

The diffuser film makes the reflector-based light almost 180 degrees wide, with a fairly smooth brightness gradient from the outer edge of the beam to the center. So, the outer edge is bright enough for me to see the ground directly in front of me, and as the angle goes from sideways to forward the beam also gets brighter. So, the apparent brightness of the ground stays reasonably constant even though the distance changes.

While zoomies are great at lighting up surfaces perpendicular to the beam, such as when facing a wall, I’ve found they’re not very effective at lighting the path ahead of me. The lux of the zoomie beam stays fairly constant throughout the beam, right up to the edge. But the distance of where the beam hits varies, so the beam looks really bright on surfaces near me (can reduce night vision) and really dim down the road (where I need to see).

It’s not really visible in this picture, but only the center-most light cone of the SK-68 is really usable for biking at night. The other ringy bits are much dimmer and don’t really illuminate very much. Also, despite being almost the same size, the light on the left has about 4.5X as much battery capacity and can emit 5X or even 10X as much light. Zoomies usually require bigger bodies. I tried to put the lights on similar levels for the picture though.

Interesting. I’ve just used zoomies with enough output that I see pretty far even on widest. Don’t care much about night vision either, that’s that I have the light for in the first place :smiley:

But I’d like to give the diffuser film a go. Makes more sense to have it brighter in the middle, I will probably be able run a reflector light with lower output if I like the beam profile with the film. What do you use as diffuser film? I’ve tried a few options of what is available here in Sweden, but so far not so happy. The best so far was cut out pieces of frosted CD/DVD cases, but they are such a pain in the * to cut and get the right shape because they crack so darn easy. It was actually bad diffusing that made me switch to zoomies (although I was needing the diffusing for other uses than biking)

Agreed the Supfire M6 unmodified is too bright for the street (on any useful setting). The idea for more than one (inexpensive) light is good and the idea about using a diffuser is a great one if you can get it to be as good as in the pic above.

The following important video really demonstrates just how an overly bright light while riding on a city street is a bad thing:

Scotch Matt tape has been used for years by incandescent community and works successfully for LED lights as well. Not perfect but functional, cheap, easily modified…

Thanks everyone for the suggestions and comments. I’ll research some of those lights later.

Miguel_79 and Freeme, do you own those lights you mentioned? If so, are they rain-proof?

I should mention that my ride is actually about an hour, but 15 mins of it goes through the forest. (and the road is closed to cars at dusk)

About too-bright lights: I agree with what you guys are saying. I have a small blinky light already for “being seen”, but it’s not powerful enough for that forest road. I want to see the critters when they’re far away, not just before I hit them. :slight_smile:

I’m using DC-Fix “sand”. It’s easy to work with, spreads the beam nicely, and costs only about 2% to 5% loss of lumens. Unfortunately, it also comes only in quantities which are rather large for torch use, unless you buy smaller sheets from a nearby forum member.

I got myself a full roll a while back, and have now used it at least a couple dozen times. The results look better than any other diffuser I’ve tried, including a few kinds of scotch tape and translucent plastic cases.

FWIW, the light I normally use while biking isn’t the one I showed in the picture. I’ve used that one before, but it’s just a tad bit dim for my taste and is narrow enough it doesn’t stay very secure in my lockblock mount. I showed it because it was the closest to a SK-68 in terms of size and lumens. Instead, I normally use a custom-built 1x18650 tube light. My two favorites so far are a Convoy S7 and a UF-HD2011, both with totally custom guts inside.

The specific settings I use are about 125 to 175 lumens solid, or a high-visibility flasher which runs at ~40 lumens but briefly jumps up to ~350 lumens once per second. Depends on whether I have more need to see or be seen at the time. On the back, I’m using a custom tail light, with a similar 1Hz 2-level stuttering flasher.

The mod threads for these are:

Some of these threads may need updating since I’ve modded some of the lights further since posting.

The widest zoomie I’ve used is an UltraFire 838 (also goes by a few other names), which has a wide-beam setting about 90 degrees wide. It puts a SK-68 to shame, with a beam about 2X as wide and yet still brighter all the way through. This is because it has a relatively thin optic which sits barely a millimeter above the emitter. It puts out a nice wall of light. However, mine has a terrible tint, a hollow pill, a relatively large body, slow PWM, next-mode memory, and shines rather a lot of its light up into the sky or into other people’s eyes. Plus, it’s not visible from more than 45 degrees to the side (or less, if I attempt to angle it down).

I'm trying to work up some comparison pics of a few different diffusion methods (glass frosting sprayed lens, very lightly glass frosted lens, DC Fix, and the "Magic Shine Wide Angle lens". Don't hold your breathe waiting for me to post that though as I don't know when I'll get to it. I have a SolarStorm X3 which I'd like to try diffusing the outer two lenses on, keeping the middle one for throw.

I too use the Pannova battery case and recommend it. I expect it to hold up in rain (maybe not submersion).


I mount a P60 (504B) on my helmet with a good throwing 350 OTF lumens for directed illumination. Often for warning side-pullouts and seeing around corners.

For the main headlight, I have the MagicShine clone for XM-L with the diffusing lens. Still directed but plenty of spill. I want more for totally dark spaces. There I want a zoom light with the emitter close to the lens. This does illuminate my “space” but the XM-L may still not be enough even though aspheric lenses at this position are quite efficient. I can see some very nice MT-G aspheric offerings coming soon to the market for total darkness bike lighting. I don’t ride total darkness so I cannot be of help in specific models. What I have for rural and suburban rides is more than sufficient at this stage.

Of course, bike lighting is always a tradeoff between brightness and runtime. 15 minutes at 3000 lumens is a lot of energy. Your night vision will be impaired for anything at a distance. You will need a 1000 lumens for the helmet mount just to break past this barrier.

Anyone know exactly how predators react to extremely bright lights?