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  1. #1
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    It's getting dark on my commute

    I was riding in this morning in the dark and fog (yuk) and couldn't see the roadway in front of me very well. I had my obnoxious flashing "HEY!! LOOK AT ME!!!" light going but had nothing to illuminate the road surface.

    At one point when I was tooling along at about 17mph...I went over a rock or something that felt to be about the size of my fist. My tire held up and my rim stayed true but it was a serious jolt. Unfortunately, I live in a town with a lot of heavy industry and the bike lanes are not very well maintained. The bottom line is that this is going to be a common occurrence.

    So, I'm thinking of getting something to light up the road about 20 feet ahead so I can avoid objects in the dark or at dawn/dusk. Are there some that are better for commuting than others or will pretty much any off-road light do the trick?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I bought a dinotte 200L and had it strapped to the bars this morning. Worked good, it even has a flash mode where the power is medium and flashes in high so you always have light. I haven't tried that mode out to see if I'm noticed better though.

  3. #3
    I Ride for Donuts
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    I have a dark winter of pitch black commuting, and for the last 4 years I've been using the same Cateye EL500 headlight. I have two handlebar mounts ($4.50 for the extra one) so I can swap it between two bikes. It runs on 4 AA batteries, and it lasts a really long time, even in really cold temps. It's been through downpours and whiteouts, on dirt roads and pavement, and it's never even hinted at quitting. It's all the light I'll have from November to March, and I've never even thought about carrying a backup.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  4. #4
    enlightened.
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    I had to stay a little bit later yesterday than normal. As I noticed it was getting darkish I reached back to turn on my blinky light and noticed it was gone. It was there when I locked up in the morning; some jerkface stole it off my bike while I was working.

    Needless to say, I was extra nervous while riding home.

  5. #5
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    Move south.

  6. #6
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    I use an Amoeba built by Scar on the boards. Works fantastic. Probably the best bang for the buck light setup.

  7. #7
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    I use the same light...

    on my commuter that I use to ride at night on the mtb, a Blackburn X3. Not cheap, but a very bright light with a solid 4 hour burn time and it's rechargeable. The battery fits nicely and securely in a standard bottle holder and has a strap that wraps around the downtube for a bit more security. Another good system of the same type that I'm considering seriously as an upgrade is the NightRider MiNewt X2. Very small and compact, lighter weight battery, 3.5 hour burn time and a whopping 150 lumens on high. The big plus for the MiNewt is the small size of the battery and the ease of dismounting the system. You can easily remove it and take along with you if you have to lock your bike up outside. If it ain't there they can't steal it! They are a bit spendy, $190 for the MiNewt, but when it comes to a head light for commuting I won't scrimp. I want a light that makes me visible, but it also has to be bright enough that I can see as well! I've got a couple of very dark "no street light" stretches that make it very necessary. I haven't found a AA battery operated system yet that was that bright, yet still had a reasonable run time. Anyway, your choice of course, but I haven't found a light yet that beats the mtb rechargeable systems when you have to see where your going. Just my 2 cents.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  8. #8
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    Thanks folks!

    I was checking out a friend's NiteRider MiniNewt yesterday. It was extremely bright but he said the burn time was only a couple of hours. That would be adequate as long as I could charge it at work as well as at home. My commute is 45-55 min each way depending on the route I take. When it gets dark and foggy, I will probably opt for a longer/safer route which takes close to an hour.

    The NiteRider site shows you can helmet-mount the Mini-Newt but I can see that won't work for me because in the dark fall-winter months here it is raining more than it is not and I will be running a helmet cover. Maybe I need to get a hood for my Showers Pass jacket and wear it under the helmet. Suggestions on that?

    Thanks again!

  9. #9
    smell my finger
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    commuting light

    I use the nite rider mini newtx2 for about a month and a half now and really like it. It's super easy to mount on different handlebar configurations and has a high, low and flashing mode for daylight/dusk riding. I also have a blackburn rear red light that has a steady, flashing and strobing setting which works excellent also. This can be seen for a mile or so as long as the terrain permits. I had to tape a flashlight to my handlebars for a week or so before my light came in and that didn't work well for me to see in front of me but it did work for oncoming cars to see me. I was sure happy when my nite rider came in...Hitting a rock or object at any speed going downhill while dark is scary and that's why I use my monocog 29er to commute now. I feel safer than riding my road bike with 23c tires on it. Keep it up, you'll stay in geat shape, just takes a little longer to get places, oh well.

  10. #10
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    Anyone able to compare the MiNewt X2 and the MiNewt USB? The specs say the X2 is 150 lumens and the USB is 110 lumens. It sounds like a significant difference but I'd like a real-world opinion. The USB charging would be sweet because it would mean I wouldn't need to carry a charger to work.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by athalliah
    I had to stay a little bit later yesterday than normal. As I noticed it was getting darkish I reached back to turn on my blinky light and noticed it was gone. It was there when I locked up in the morning; some jerkface stole it off my bike while I was working.

    Needless to say, I was extra nervous while riding home.
    Kind of off topic but some ass stole my seat and post a couple months ago while i was at work too New one is bolted on..

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirl
    Kind of off topic but some ass stole my seat and post a couple months ago while i was at work too
    I got rid of my QR and went to a nylock nut and bolt because I don't want to lose my spendy new WTB saddle.

  13. #13
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    I cut off the head band and zip tied one of these Coleman headlamps to my stem and it's ok for commuting. 105 lumens. $25 at Walmart. The angle of vertical adjustment is fantastic. And it's got very good positive clicks so it won't move around unlike an Energizer headlamp I tried.

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...i_sku=10196615

  14. #14
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    Another vote for the minewt x2 (although any LED w/ comparable output and attention to lens design would work, I expect). I was not really thrilled w/ my old 15W halo and was considering all kinds of extreme options (HID being the farthest out), but the minewt absolutely keeps me happy both on pitch-black unlit (unmaintained) MUP and in traffic w/ more ambient light.

  15. #15
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    I'm seriously considering the DiNotte 200L. It puts out serious light and uses batteries that I already have. By opting-out of the batteries and charger, I can get it for $129. Another plus is that I have a charger at home and a charger at work already.

  16. #16
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    ^ That's why I went with the DiNotte. It's quite bright for the size and I liked the price. It's perfect for the commute, but I'd like a 2nd one for trail riding.

  17. #17
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    Thanks again y'all for the responses.

    My DiNotte got here today and suffice it to say I am still seeing spots. This is a VERY bright light compared to anything I've used. I mounted it on my helmet and I think it is going to work really well.

    A couple more questions:

    1. Does water getting into the battery pack present a problem? I know rainwater should be pretty clean and shouldn't cause shorting but I wanted to know if it has been an issue for anyone.

    2. What batteries are best? I picked up some 2650mAh Sunpak batteries on the way home. They are still charging. In the interim, I'm using some borrowed 2000mAh Radio Shack batteries. What do you folks like?

  18. #18
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    This looks crappy but with 76 LEDs it should be like daylight. And at $12 its not very spendy.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA:IT&ih=015

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by gotboostedvr6
    This looks crappy but with 76 LEDs it should be like daylight. And at $12 its not very spendy.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA:IT&ih=015
    Don't be fooled. I made an integrated tail light/turn signal for my motorcycle with 96 of the brightest LEDs I could get from Digikey for cheap. It's bright...but nothing like a real emitter style (Cree, Luxeon, etc.) for intensity. Also, the domed LEDs used in that light you linked to have a very focused spot.

    I bought the Dinotte 200L and I'm very happy with it. It is rude but it gets me noticed.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareyH22A


    I cut off the head band and zip tied one of these Coleman headlamps to my stem and it's ok for commuting. 105 lumens. $25 at Walmart. The angle of vertical adjustment is fantastic. And it's got very good positive clicks so it won't move around unlike an Energizer headlamp I tried.

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...i_sku=10196615
    Just got one of these, thanks for the suggestion. If you don't want to patronize the evil Walmart you can get them directly from Coleman. It looks like it will be a nice compliment to my bar mounted Photon Max.

  21. #21
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    Hellz ya boy

    I was on my way home this afternoon...clear skies and still full sunlight. I was pedaling down this one street approaching 5th when some dude yelled at me from a business pickup truck going the other way. He pulled over and stopped and I whipped a b*tch and rode up alongside him. "Where'd you get that light?" he asked. So I told him dinotte.com and he said he was going to get one for his kid. I told him it was about $130 and he said "That's fine." He said he could see me all the way down at 1st street. From where he'd originally been, it's about 7 or 8 blocks.

    In broad daylight I'd say that's pretty good.

  22. #22
    jrm
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    I put my HID light into service

    this morning because like you i couldnt see my path and i was getting pissed off by drivers just pulling out in front me.

    This is the same light i use on night rides and 24hr enduros. IMO its worth the expense but that too has a limit. Have you guys seen how much of the good lights are? jezus

    Cars actually STOPPED this morning as i lit the damn road up. Today was a good day i didnt even have to use my AK..

  23. #23
    Squeaky Wheel
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    I commute with my Dinotte 600L. I bought this light for night mountain biking, but it also has a flash mode and works GREAT for bike commuting. At 600 Lumens, it's VERY bught.

    Rather than mount it on the bars, I wear it on my helmet for two reasons:

    1. When you are riding around corners, etc., you will look where you are about to go and having the light on your helmet helps you to see safely.

    2. When cars look like they are going to turn in front of you, pull out in front of you, or pass you and cut you off, you can look directly at the driver, and I guarantee that you will get the drivers attention.

    I am very careful not to look at oncoming traffic or oncoming bicyclists as to not blind anyone.

    The 600L comes with two rechargable batteries that are very small in size and are rated at 3.5 hours on the highest setting. The connectors are all waterproof and very durable. Easy to plug in as well, you can do it without removing full-finger gloves.

    When it's raining hard, I wear my hood under my helmet so it's no problem to wear the light on top.

  24. #24
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    I currently commute with a Seca 700 Ultra (on bars), a Dereelight DBS V2 (mounted directly to the bike's frame, this is a super-thrower "driving light"), and an Olight M20 Warrior Premium R2 on the helmet. I also own a DiNotte 600L but it doesn't have the throw I'd like for road riding, so it sort of got voted off the island It's great for mountain biking, though.

    My commute usually takes me onto the state and county highways, so I don't have to worry about blasting pedestrians with my setup.




    I also just received an el-cheapo MC-E flashlight from DealExtreme that I'll goof around with... a fair amount of light, crummy runtime, debatable quality.

  25. #25
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    I have two Olight Warrior Flashlights bought them on the Amazon. They use the 18650 Rechargeable Lithion Ion. Virtually indestructable. Look them up on ebay. They put out around 125 Lumens a piece.

    They sell a mount on Amazon for around $5.00 that works perfectly.

    I run 1 on Strobe to be seen and 1 on High. Approx 4 hours of life. Easy to replace, take out and charge and these puppies are bright.

    With batteries you'll spend around $170 for the flashlights. 4 batteries for around $50.00 and a charger for around $30.00

    I bought a high quality charger, lesser quality batteries and charger can be picked up for around $30.00 total.

    By the way, they look really hot on the front of my bike.

    Used to have a helmet light too but my 14 year old was embarrassed so I trashed it to make her happy.

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