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  1. #1
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    Commuting lights

    I'll be starting to commute again soon, since my recovery from leukemia is progressing nicely. I'm upgrading my safety lighting, because I'm just that much more neurotic about it.

    Before, my lighting consisted of an old DIY handlebar light that used a 6D cell maglite bulb for its light source. It was pretty good when I first made it in college, but after breaking the first reflector I used and being unable to find a sufficient replacement, it's just too dim these days. It was a super cheap way to get a light, though.

    I used a Black Diamond Spaceshot headlamp (with elastic head strap) for awhile since it was bright enough for what I wanted. It was just a HUGE PITA to rig it onto my helmet. And on anything but full spot, there was a horrendous dark spot in the middle of the beam.

    For blinkies, I've got a pair of standard models that I haven't been dissatisfied with. Having two helps a lot. One of them has something like 7 bulbs in it, and 2 of them are yellow on the sides. The other is an even more basic 3LED light.

    For Christmas, I got a blue rope light to wrap around my frame. http://www.rei.com/product/793960 For side visibility, mostly. Also to be unique out there and get attention.

    I've just ordered a pair of magicshines. I only plan on using one commuting, but I got the 2nd b/c they're fairly cheap and I could have a loaner, use two for night mtb rides, or get my wife out with me at night on the local trails.

    I also got some reflective sticker packs and some reflective leg bands.

  2. #2
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    I've said it in other threads, and I'll say it here too. Buy the brightest, most visible, even obnoxious tail light you can afford. In my opinion, there's only one adequate choice on the market right now. Geoman says MS may have one by the end of the year, so that may give another option.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Hopper
    Geoman says MS may have one by the end of the year
    Yes, he said that last year too .

  4. #4
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    due to budget considerations (I did piss the wife off buying a new headlight), I'll have to wait on a new obnoxious taillight. I certainly agree with the philosophy and I was looking at the dinottes.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    due to budget considerations (I did piss the wife off buying a new headlight), I'll have to wait on a new obnoxious taillight. I certainly agree with the philosophy and I was looking at the dinottes.
    I just bought one of these..> http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.20333
    I really only bought it for the torch host though. The Red K-2 drop-in is likely annoyingly bright. I won't know for sure till tomorrow when I pick it up at the post office. No blink mode on this drop-in but if used as a tail light it should still run over 2hrs with a rechargeable 18650 cell. Not sure how you would mount it as a tail light but nothing that a couple pieces of Velcro or duct tape shouldn't be able to fix. For less than $10 hard to go wrong. If I do choose to use this as an additional tail light I would probably insert a small piece of translucent / clouded plastic to create more of a flood effect. Right now I'm very pleased with my Planetbike Superflash so no future upgrades planned at the moment.

  6. #6
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    Meh, I don't shop at DX. Crappy ship times (or so I hear) and a lack of CS makes me uneasy about shopping there.

    I've been satisfied with my multi-blinky option for the rear. I've never had trouble with it. I have had trouble with side and front visibility, though, hence my recent acquisitions.

    I have my eye on some hokey spokes, too. Partly for the goofiness of them, but also because I figure flashing spinning multi-colored lights would be killer for side-visibility.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    Meh, I don't shop at DX. Crappy ship times (or so I hear) and a lack of CS makes me uneasy about shopping there.

    I've been satisfied with my multi-blinky option for the rear. I've never had trouble with it. I have had trouble with side and front visibility, though, hence my recent acquisitions.

    I have my eye on some hokey spokes, too. Partly for the goofiness of them, but also because I figure flashing spinning multi-colored lights would be killer for side-visibility.
    Nothing wrong with a good multi-blinkie led light, at least in my book. I do however see lots of people riding with cheap rear led blinkie's that one: aren't aimed right and two: are being driven with half dead batteries. Either one of these conditions practically renders the blinkie's useless.

    As for shopping at D/X: It is what it is. Some people have bought stuff there and have never had a problem. Others have received products that were of poor quality and had problems with the Customer service. Personally I have bought several items from D/X and for the most part I can't complain. Most of the stuff I ordered comes within two weeks. Considering it is shipped from half-way round the world ( and free at that ) that's not too shabby. I did try to contact their C.S. once and didn't get a response but it was just for a question about available replacement parts. As far as quality goes, most of the stuff I have from D/X works fine. Only one torch did have a problem but I never tried to get a replacement nor did I contact their C.S. about the issue. If you try to order a hot item or order close to a holiday you might have to wait about a month but since I'm not in a big hurry most of the time anyway this is no problem for me. Since you've already mentioned that you bought two MagicShines I wouldn't think the quality issue would be a big problem. That's the nice thing about getting the D/X stuff, if you buy more stuff than you need and one of the items go bad, it's really not that big of an issue to return it and wait for the replacement. In my case I have three P-7 torches. One has an issue but still works. If I send it back it will probably take two months for it to be replaced. For me this is not an issue. I have two P-7 torches to use while I wait ( as well as a slew of other more powerful lights )

    Didn't get the chance to pick-up from the post office yesterday but hopefully tomorrow if I can get my lazy a** out of bed. For what it's worth I'll post a beam shot of the Red K-2 drop-in and compare it with my Planetbike Superflash when I get it.

    Now the Million dollar question: Would I recommend buying from D/X to one of my close friends or family? That depends. If that person really wanted to ride a bike at night, had only $100 and couldn't afford a high dollar light system....why yes, I think I would.
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 01-27-2010 at 04:47 AM.

  8. #8
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    I am not terribly concerned about the quality of the lights I ordered. I got them from Geoman rather than DX because of the stateside customer service he offers.

    But the quality of the part doesn't bother me too much. I figure for the price, I could replace the guts if need be with something else if something goes bad. I suppose replacing the driver would be toughest for me, since my electronic understanding is limited. But I can solder and I can get a new battery if I need to replace broken parts.

  9. #9
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    commuting lights, the never ending story...

    first off, you are on the right track, lights, relfectors, front back, side,...

    still see, a lot of , bmx, and short commuter,... without any lights, or relfectors (MA),...
    what is unheard of in germany, .... but here in the states, they do have to sell the bikes,
    with front, back, and pedal reflectors,... what usually come off,....

    so for commuters,... first things, get those back on,... blinky or not, reflector must be,...

    rear:
    - blinky is pritty ,... people like them,... take 2 ,... they do fail, run out of juice,..
    for commuters,... I'd like a
    - permanent mount,.... aka police niterider version,...
    - if you got , front juice, chances are, you get rear light,...
    - reflective tape is your friend,....

    side note: 4 weeks ago , my sister inlaw, got moved over, (hit), by a car, going to her car, to move it for the snow plows,.... lucky, she is alive, an he does not have to face manslaughter,...
    added note: every year a couple of bikers and joggers, get killed in my town,.....

    front light:
    - MS is offroad, so are most others, as such, not a clear joice what so ever,...

    - take a look at car inspection,... aka front light road aim,...

    1 . the light needs to be able to aim down, as not to blind oncoming driver,....
    2. light needs side spill,... as to illuminate,...emh, the stop signs,....(example)
    3. light bulb, center is usually covered,... aka, has a litle hood on, so if you look at the light , you can't see the burning fillament,... so the light has to go through a DOT, SAE approved reflector,...

    so for most parts,.... getting a road worthy, light, what is 500-1000 lumen, is SOL, out of luck,...

    see to get all 3 points as much as possible,...

    even small LED, (200lumen,) what can't illuminate a wet rag,... will irritate , blind a oncoming driver,.... due the couple thousand fold , brightness difference,...
    aka , the LED emitter is exposed,... what creates a road hazard.

    workaround, some sort of cover, dot, glue, tape, in the center,... yes , you loose a litle
    brightness,... but also gain, from less blinding drivers,...

    4. .... so you got lights,.....front back,... you are still invisible,...
    some sort of light spill or light on you, will identify your outline,....

    now this might not ring a bell,.... but you can check military studies, maybe,...oops,
    well clear text, for you and me,..... in order to be seen/ recognized,....best,...
    your body outline, must be visible , in some form , parts, etc,... it's just how the lazy brain works,... you'd be ok, riding around, with an elmo suite,... 2 legs, 2 arms, shoulder,
    and a head on top,.... you start removing those features,.... the driver won't get a nudge, from his auto-pilot, to watch out,... it's just going to say, another light, might be a street light,....

    more comments, pointers welcome,

    for the one, who are fine with fugly and fuctional,... and have some dollars to burn,...
    you can pm / request some lights from me.
    stats (made up) 99.9% think are fine with blinkies,... only 65% have them
    more than 0.1% watch the grass grow from the bottom with no lights
    ----
    DIY battery + light working on it

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtb_robs-x
    commuting lights, the never ending story...
    I pretty much agree with everything you said but I disagree about the use of front LED lights for bikes. I see no reason why LED lights ( such as the MS ) can't be used on the road. Yes, you do try to keep the light aimed low if possible. Regardless I see no problem using my Dinotte 600L as a road bar lamp as long as I aim it right and use the amount of light I need to see what's in front of me. On my bike I get *high-beamed by cars all the time.( * car using high-beam BEFORE they see me ). As soon as I tilt my light up and hit the high setting it is AMAZING how fast these cars lower their high-beams. Yes, it is understandable to be concerned about blinding others ( in cars ) but it is expedient to note that most motorist are little concerned about blinding people on bikes. It also needs to be noted that when I get high-beamed by a car ( when I am driving ) I try to look away from the approaching bright light. In a car, this is not real easy when you are approaching on coming traffic on a two lane road. However if a person is a cyclist, the approaching cars are off to the other side of the road in most cases. This makes it much easier for a motorist to look away from any light that a cyclist may choose to use. The flip side of that coin, a cyclist finds it very hard to not get blinded by the very bright and wide headlights that are used on some motor vehicles. I do agree though that commuting lights should be "spot oriented" with brighter flood type lights being used only when there is no on coming traffic.

    Shifting gears a bit: I picked up my D/X order today. The red K-2 drop-in torch is killer. Absolutely blows the Planetbike Superflash away. Regardless, PB Superflash is more than enough light for me and remains my preferred blinkie. I tried to take a photo but the camera didn't like the massive red light from the torch. Nor do I think will any one approaching you from the rear if you use one of these on your bike...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    I see no reason why LED lights ( such as the MS ) can't be used on the road.
    I absolutely agree . Here´s my MS:


  12. #12
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    I want to be courteous, but sometimes you have to be obnoxious. I've been in enough situations where I've HAD to shine my helmet mount light DIRECTLY into a driver's face (them at a stoplight looking the other direction, not looking for dimly lit cyclists) that I also recognize the need for some oomph for a cyclist's light.

    As annoying as that fast blink setting on the MS is to me, I think it actually might be annoying enough to cars that they'd notice it better than a constant-on light. Many new motorcycle headlights flicker automatically for the same reason. While the flicker isn't quite as obnoxious, it still makes a big difference in the noticeability of a motorcycle, and the flicker helps to distinguish them from a car with a light out.

    Absolutely aiming down is important. I don't need my light shining out into infinity. I need it to illuminate the pavement in front of my bike for maybe 20-30ft so I can see road debris, potholes, and storm drains at night. Infinity123, what did you use to make that shield for your MS light? I'm assuming it's removable, too?

    I get high-beamed by other cars ALL THE TIME when I'm driving. Out in the boonies in Texas, speed limits are 65mph on the country roads at night, and people like to blast their headlights so they can speed. A lot of folks don't turn them off when you encounter them. And with a lot of the big, lifted pickup trucks you can't tell if they're using their brights or not, because their lights are directly at eye level for me in my little Honda. Then you get the people who flash their brights at you for no apparent reason. Some do it because there's a cop nearby. Others do it because they think YOUR headlights are too bright. My car just uses basic halogens (not even HID), so I don't know what that deal is. No matter what, it blinds me. So if it's acceptable to blind other motorists at highway speeds, I don't see the big problem with blinding the occasional car going 30mph through town. It might piss them off...but they saw you...and they'll recover after they pass.

    Bike lights

    Here's my setup in a dark room in my house. I only have my dimmer Cateye blinkie on at the moment. My brighter Blackburn one isn't mounted right now. I plan to put a rear rack on, at which point I'll have some better mounting options for a pair of blinkies. You can see the MS isn't THAT bright.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    Infinity123, what did you use to make that shield for your MS light? I'm assuming it's removable, too?
    I used a plastic bottle with the right size/diameter.


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    A little something I cooked up after my kid and I nearly got rear ended waiting at a stop sign with regular rear flashers on

    With the lights on



    With the lights off


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Infinity123
    I used a plastic bottle with the right size/diameter.


    Hmmm...what kind of bottle was that? I thought it would have ended up being some of that thin-walled PVC pipe. I need SOMETHING to go off of looking for something I can use to make something similar.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    Hmmm...what kind of bottle was that?...
    On the first look around my kitchen, an Advil bottle, seasoning bottle and one prescription bottle all looked like they would work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    Hmmm...what kind of bottle was that?
    A prescription bottle with salt tablets (I sweat like crazy when exercising, so I need extra salt ). But any bottle/pipe of the right diameter will do. I applied a bit of electrical tape around the lighthead, to get a tight fit.

  18. #18
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    It took me maybe 3 minutes to cut out a 9 oz. plastic dixie cup to make a hood for the 600L. If I really planned to use it I could cover it in black duct tape to match the light and block light that might pass through the plastic....another piece of duct tape or rubber band to hold it on. Can't see why others felt the need to make the hood so long but hey, to each his own. Nice idea for the hood though. The cool thing about mine is that the hood is red plastic that glows red when lit. Nice when looking from the side. Yellow would be even better if they make a yellow 9 oz. cup. Of course it needs to be mentioned that doing this does block some air flow to the light head and I have no idea if the plastic would melt on the light if it gets hot. umm...after doing a quick shine around I'm not sure having a hood on the light makes a whole heck of a lot of difference

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    umm...after doing a quick shine around I'm not sure having a hood on the light makes a whole heck of a lot of difference
    The difference is pretty obvious to me (sorry for the c*** picture, I only have a compact). If you put in a 25 degree optic, the light would be a lot floodier.


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