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  1. #1
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    Day-Time Running Lights on a Bike ?

    new cars all pretty much have daytime running lights. and bike lights today are as bright as car lights so why not daytime running bike lights ?

    of course it would be dumb for example to run button cell powered spoke lights in the day because nobody would see them and then you need to buy new button cell batteries to replace the ones you ran down ...

    i also probably wouldn't wear a helmet light during the day ? simply to avoid the clutter on my head.

    but perhaps it would make sense to have the dinotte tail light blink ?

    what kind of lights do you use during the day ? and what kind of lights that you use at night you do NOT use during the day ?

  2. #2
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    I use a 500 lumen Cree flashlight strapped on my helmet when I bike at night. It's strong enough to light my way and the strobe function gives me significant presence on the road at night.

    During the day, I point the Cree flashlight rearwards whenever I ride through a thoroughfare with fast moving traffic.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    I use a 500 lumen Cree flashlight strapped on my helmet when I bike at night. It's strong enough to light my way and the strobe function gives me significant presence on the road at night.

    During the day, I point the Cree flashlight rearwards whenever I ride through a thoroughfare with fast moving traffic.
    yeah 500 lumen tail light should be enough for day use, but it would probably be better if it was red.

    anyway, i'm out to sleep ...

  4. #4
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    I'm basically a road rider, and will pop on the taillight for certain uses. Was coaching a triathlete earlier this year and alternately used both the RZ8 and 300R, till she was strong enough and competent enough on the road.

    Also use the lights for rides with slower groups where I'll ride sweep, and for a favorite ride that climbs a low pass (speed limit, 45mph), with two tunnels at the top where the bike will hit 50mph on the way down.

    Since starting lite-commuting and with the more time on the road that entails, I think it best to improve lighting output, don'tcha think?

    short side road

    pali_dinotte300r by pigmode, on Flickr


    highway

    approaching summit_pali by pigmode, on Flickr


    1st tunnel

    descent_pali by pigmode, on Flickr


    2nd tunnel

    Nuuanu_Pali_%281262%29 by pigmode, on Flickr

  5. #5
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    For tunnels, I would usually use the grizzly method. I'd wait for a slow biker and bike ahead of him.

  6. #6
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    I run 2 XML headlights and 1 red XP-E taillight off a hub dynamo and leave them on all the time. The taillight has gotten multiple comments from cyclists (and even 1 motorist), all in broad daylight. I do believe the headlights get me more respect from left turning motorists and jaywalking pedestrians who bother to look.

  7. #7
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    One of the things that has come to my attention lately ( both as a cyclist and a professional motorist ) is that people who ride bikes during the day ( on the road ) seem to blend too much into the surroundings. Reasons for this vary from lack of bike specific clothing ( bright "see me" colors ) or just heavy traffic with lots of distractions.

    With traffic and bad road conditions increasing every year it is my opinion that people who ride bikes on the road need to take steps to increase their visible presence to motorist.

    I use day time lighting in two particular circumstances, they are:

    1) Heavy fast moving traffic with busy intersections. ( In these conditions sometimes a cyclist is just another brick in the wall...if you catch my drift. )
    2) Rural country roads where bike use is not so common.

    What I use:

    Gloworm X2 used on the bars set on Strobe ( 1200 lumen ). This is the strobe setting of the "Adventure menu". It is a single sharp pulse every 1.5 seconds. Very hard to look at close up. Very good for drawing attention during the day.
    On the rear I am currently using a very good amber XP-E2 torch drop-in that has a very nice "flash" menu ( ~ 150 lumen, tight beam ). This menu has a very nice "strobe-burst-pause" mode that is very eye catching. While this is bright I do wish to get something brighter that has more range. Right now there are just not a lot of "Day time rear " offerings. I prefer amber for rear day time use and red for sun-set/night use.

    Since "White strobes" are by far the brightest I'm considering using a Gloworm ( strobe ) on the rear as well to use when I feel I need to be seen from as far away as possible. More and more I am seeing white strobes being used for general "*attention getting" effect. ..
    ( front or rear pointed ) ( * school buses, road side workers and trucks )

    No one really wants to slap a bunch of lights on their bikes for day time use but if you regularly ride in the conditions I've mentioned doing so might prevent an accident. If you think it all looks too geeky than at least wear some good bright clothing. The "day time" yellow and "day-glow" red/orange jerseys are best for being seen during the day. Just keep in mind bright day-time lighting is only for when conditions are most dangerous ( not for multi-use hiker/biker paths )

  8. #8
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    I use one of those XM-L lights in strobe mode on my handlebars and a Cygolite Hot Shot for the tail light. Have this set up when I ride early evening when the sun's glare can blind a driver.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    I prefer amber for rear day time use and red for sun-set/night use.
    in low light the eyes are most sensitive to blue-ish green - basically the color of ugly looking fluorescent lighting that you find in places like stair wells ( they have that ugly color to get the most bang for the buck in terms of visibility ).

    red is more or less the color eyes are least sensitive to at night - that's why everything looks blue at night. the moon isn't actually blue, but moonlight appears blue because eyes don't have enough red sensitivity at night. here's the Wiki on this if you want:

    Purkinje effect - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Scotopic vision - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



    so green LED would be most visible at night, but unfortunately green sends the wrong message of " everything is OK " rather than " be careful " ...

    i think actually red might be better during the day because during the day it's not a matter of light being visible ( everything is visible during the day ) but a matter of it being correctly identified as a warning light. red is also the least prevalent color during the day - the sky is blue, the grass and trees are green, sun and headlights are amber, only the marker lights are red - nothing is red during the day - which would help the red stand out as a marker light during the day i think.

    on the other hand at night you're lucky to be seen at all, for which amber ( in theory ) should be more visible than red. but the problem is that most bright lights at night are amber ( street lights and car headlights ) so your amber once again would blend in with everything else.

    blue would probably stand out best at night because on the street at night it is the one color that isn't present in any of the lights - not traffic lights, not car lights, not street lights. the only blue lights on the road are police emergency lights. in Russia the rich and powerful can buy blue lights for their cars ( i think you hvae to pay like $10,000 a year or something for the right to use them, don't remember ) and by law everybody must yield to a car with blue lights - so blue is a pretty awesome color for night traffic ! blue might still work well during the day, although during the day you have blue sky ...

    i don't know how legal blue is here in US. because police cars use blue lights maybe it is illegal for other vehicles.

    i would probably want super-bright RED light during the day ( 1000 Lumens or so ) and a combination of blue and red lights at night. it probably wouldn't take a lot of power at all for a blue light to stand out at night.

    i'm actually curious about blue - because everything LOOKS blue at night but nothing actually IS blue at night. the things that we think are blue at night are actually white. Xenon headlights and Moonlight look blue at night, but both are actually white. The same HID or LED lights that look blue at night look white during the day. There is no ACTUAL blue to be found anywhere at night, because only LEDs can produce blue light natively.

  10. #10
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    I also think that lights placed on the helmet is essential because it places the light on a high level of your person. This is important when you're crossing elevated bridges and roadways because it's the first light to be seen when you've biked past the crest of the bridge. The helmet light appears first than the tail mounted light so it gives the driver going up the crest enough distance to slow down and hit the brakes. The helmet light is by no means a replacement of the tail mounted light but a necessary redundancy.

    Edited: driver instead of river. D-button of the laptop is failing. arn!
    Last edited by Gundam168; 08-03-2013 at 02:54 AM.

  11. #11
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    I find this interesting as long before cars had daytime running lights (DRL) I use to put my car headlights in; I felt safer and I looked safer. As cyclist, I do the same; I am a bit OTT with my lights and have invested heavily on them. On the back I have a made up light which has four LEDs but works on a 12v - 30v system; I use 2x 9v PP9 batteries and this thing is almost dazzling in daylight and like a car rear fog light at night - I have this angled so as it sits just right to be visible to a car driver who is between 10m-30m behind me (of course it works outside of that range but that is the sweet-spot) - The shape of this light gives approx 100* coverage.

    Up front, I have around 5000 lumens for off road use but will use one light at it's lowest non flashing setting of around 400 lumens during the day. I figure that it increases my road junction visibility by about 2.5secs. (at night, on this setting, it will pick up reflective signs a good 100m away - this favours well with my main beam setting which will pick up things a good 700m away) for me, there is no excuse not to see me.

    Because most car drivers do not pay enough attention to what they are doing I increase my road space so that I am at least 1-2 meters from the road edge and thus cars have to over take me rather than just drive past me - most do and only once in a while will I get an idiot driving close and I will always spot this nutter in my mirrors before they pass me.

    For me the addition weight of an 8x Li Ion battery pack on the bike and a spare at night in my pack is worth it; to date, I have had no incidents and at night I am like a Xmas tree so everyone can see me and wave as they drive pass.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by EFMax View Post
    ....For me the addition weight of an 8x Li Ion battery pack on the bike and a spare at night in my pack is worth it; to date, I have had no incidents and at night I am like a Xmas tree so everyone can see me and wave as they drive pass.
    I can relate. However, if I can help it I like to keep things as small as possible. Finding compromise is sometimes a difficult task. If you want something bright enough to draw attention a quarter mile away in the day you are going to need batteries with enough voltage-watt/hrs. to power multiple emitters ( if using amber or red ) A white strobe on the other hand will always be easier to work with. I've been experimenting with different colored lenses but you lose so much output when using colored lenses.

    Riding with lights at night is much easier because it doesn't take near the amount of output to be seen/noticed at night as during the day.

    Hopefully in the future emitter technology will progress to the point where size and weight of lamp systems will no longer be an issue ( for most people ) When that happens you will see the higher level racing bikes with emitters ( and batteries ) built into the frame or handlebars with high output rear emitters built into seatposts and or seats. Yes in deed, with the geek factor removed no reason not to use lights.

    My road bike is geared mostly toward touring/commuting. As such geekiness sort of goes along with the package. Still, the less number of things that get attached to my bike ( to add more weight or geek factor ) the better I feel about it. While it hasn't happened yet, I'm sure that sooner of later I'm going to get passed by a group of young bucks on racing bikes that will likely give me the "nose up" treatment.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    I also think that lights placed on the helmet is essential because it places the light on a high level of your person. This is important when you're crossing elevated bridges and roadways because it's the first light to be seen when you've biked past the crest of the bridge. The helmet light appears first than the tail mounted light so it gives the river going up the crest enough distance to slow down and hit the brakes. The helmet light is by no means a replacement of the tail mounted light but a necessary redundancy.
    agree 100% !

    i want some lights on my front wheel for a similar reason - so my lights can "peek" around the corner ( of a parked minivan or whatever ) to let others see me without putting my entire self out there to get run over. then when i'm sure i am seen i can proceed with the rest of my self

  14. #14
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    I use a FULL-BEAM FUSION light during day time. It is a flooding light with output up to 2,100 lumens. Its battery is built in and weight is 340 gm including quick release mount. I use it in the lowest setting 200 lumens in flash mode during day time. The light can last over 24 hours in flash mode. In the evening I never use it in flash mode because it is too annoying.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickHK View Post
    I use a FULL-BEAM FUSION light during day time. It is a flooding light with output up to 2,100 lumens. Its battery is built in and weight is 340 gm including quick release mount. I use it in the lowest setting 200 lumens in flash mode during day time. The light can last over 24 hours in flash mode. In the evening I never use it in flash mode because it is too annoying.
    Yes, I can understand that. Some flash patterns are WAY too fast. Even during the day I would not use a bright ( > 200lm ) "fast strobe" light UNLESS it was just for a quick "please see me" moment. A bright slow pulse strobe is not so annoying ( as long as you know how to best use it )
    If you do use a bright strobe for day use it is very important that you have the option for quick turn off. It would be somewhat rude to be sitting at a light with a bright strobe going. You need to be able to turn it off when needed.

    On the other hand I have a very nice mini USB front blinkie ( 70 lumen ) that works very well during dusk and is very visible ( without being over-powering ). Then when it is completely dark I continue to use it on my front fork in "flicker mode". The flicker is just "attention getting" enough to add to my "see me" factor and yet is not bright or intense enough to cause a distraction to me ( or others ) when I am using my other main bar lamp. Having the USB mini on the fork gives on lookers two points of reference rather than one. This is better for drawing more attention. While I always carry a torch on my helmet I don't always use it.

    When it comes to the usefulness of strobes ( mini USB or bright lamps ) there is a ratio of "Brightness vs. strobe duration vs. time of day" that needs to be considered when choosing what to use. What works in full day light is too much for dusk. What works at dusk is too much for night.

    ( ***Please note; None of my comments pertain to Multi-Use hiker/biker bike paths. I do not recommend strobes on such paths unless they have extremely low output ( 3-4 lumen )

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    ( ***Please note; None of my comments pertain to Multi-Use hiker/biker bike paths. I do not recommend strobes on such paths unless they have extremely low output ( 3-4 lumen )
    about a week ago, just before i made the decision to return Seca 1400 and order a Seca 1700 instead ( the primary difference between the two lights being that Seca 1700 has much brighter spill ) i was doing some testing in my room to determine whether the amount of spill on the Seca was too much or not enough to provide visibility i wanted without blinding people.

    the test basically consisted of comparing the Seca 1400 to Dinotte 400R, with the twist that i would be comparing the spill of the Seca 1400 to the hotspot of 400R ( or the closest thing it has to a hotspot, which is just the center of the beam ).

    i put my 18" honeywell room fan ( not spinning ) in front of a white wall and aimed both lights at it - this fan showed a very recognizable shadow on the white wall. i then set the Seca 1400 into strobe and left Dinotte in solid to see which of the two shadows will dominate the other shadow. when both lights were aimed head-on the Seca obliterated the Dinotte and during the Seca pulses the Dinotte shadow disappeared completely, but when i turned the Seca as little as about 15 degrees the Dinotte center of the beam would dominate and the shadow wouldn't really change during the Seca pulses.

    the experiment proved ( or so i thought ! i didn't realize that on strobe the Seca goes into LOW ) that the center of Dinotte's beam was much brighter than the spill of Seca 1400, at which point i knew i had to return the 1400 and get a 1700 instead because it had a much brighter spill. ( as a helmet light I aim the Seca hotspot out of other people's eyes so they only get hit with the spill, but i want them to see that spill from 2 blocks away )

    now why do i bring this up here ? because after a short while of looking at the shadow of the fan pulsing left and right with the Seca strobe ( i kept the two light sources about 4 feet apart so i could differentiate which shadow is which ) my head started spinning and i had to turn it off. the disorienting effect was so powerful it took me about 3 takes to finish my testing and i had to take breaks in between when i started to feel dizzy. it really didn't take much time at all for this to happen - maybe 20 seconds.

    i guess it wasn't the strobe itself that was disorienting, but the fact that there was still an image in between the strobe pulses - and that image was shifted by about a foot - so the wall seemed to be shifting by a foot with every pulse and before long it started to look as if the whole room was spinning like a blender.

    in any case the strobe is nasty stuff. i believe the ancient Chinese used to torture people by having water slowly drip on their head drop by drop driving them nuts overtime.

    you know blenders have a "pulse" button which is a momentary switch that overrides speed setting and goes into full blast while the button is depressed then instantly backs off when you release it. we need the same kind of button for strobe on the headlights - and the button should be on the remote. the strobe should only go off while the button is being depressed then turn off instantly as you release it.
    Last edited by androgen; 08-04-2013 at 01:05 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    ...after a short while of looking at the shadow of the fan pulsing left and right with the Seca strobe ( i kept the two light sources about 4 feet apart so i could differentiate which shadow is which ) my head started spinning and i had to turn it off. the disorienting effect was so powerful it took me about 3 takes to finish my testing and i had to take breaks in between when i started to feel dizzy. it really didn't take much time at all for this to happen - maybe 20 seconds.

    i guess it wasn't the strobe itself that was disorienting, but the fact that there was still an image in between the strobe pulses - and that image was shifted by about a foot - so the wall seemed to be shifting by a foot with every pulse and before long it started to look as if the whole room was spinning like a blender.

    in any case the strobe is nasty stuff. i believe the ancient Chinese used to torture people by having water slowly drip on their head drop by drop driving them nuts overtime.

    you know blenders have a "pulse" button which is a momentary switch that overrides speed setting and goes into full blast while the button is depressed then instantly backs off when you release it. we need the same kind of button for strobe on the headlights - and the button should be on the remote. the strobe should only go off while the button is being depressed then turn off instantly as you release it.
    I have to laugh because I routinely test strobes in my house all the time and yes it can be very disorienting. I've gotten used to it though. I still don't know why most Chinese lamps have such a fast strobe pattern. The D99 which I bought some time ago has a nice separate button on it that quickly turns the strobe on/off very quickly. The kicker is that it is "unusable" because the frequency of the strobe is so fast.

    About other strobe stuff, yes a remote is nice. The strobe on the Gloworm
    X2 works with the remote but to turn the lamp on strobe you have to press the lamp to on and then press and hold to get the strobe mode. Turning it off you press and hold also so if you hold it too long the light goes to off. Xeccon sells their Geinea "1" ( XM-L )front lamp which has a remote as well. I don't own one of those but I expect that it likely has a strobe mode.

    I got looking at some bike stuff at REI today. I happened to notice the Blackburn Flea 2.0 ( front version ) and was playing around with it. I noticed that it had a nice strobe-burst-pause mode that looked really useful. I already own a nice USB type front blinkie so I have no need for another at the moment.

    If I was going to design a rear "Day time" lamp I would design it so it had three leds mounted abreast. The two outer LED's would be Amber ( XP-E2's ) with the middle LED being an XM-L2 white LED. The Day-time flash sequence would be as follows: three quick bursts from the Amber LED's and then pause. When the Amber LED's pause the middle XM-L emitter would then give one or two quick flashes and then pause. The process than repeats. Output would be adjustable and a remote version would be offered for quick on/off function. Ideally an internal battery would be offered but would also work with any MS compatible 7.4volt battery ( adapter included ). Maybe I'll have Scar build these for me. Any buyers?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    I still don't know why most Chinese lamps have such a fast strobe pattern.
    you might want to check out niterider pro. i had one last year ( the 3600 ) and it let you use computer software to program your own power levels as well as choose among several strobe modes including SOS. i should have videoed the patterns then, but i wasn't interested in strobe at the time and i don't have it any more. but i do remember it had an option for a very fast and disorienting strobe as well as several more normal pulsing modes. i don't remember if you could adjust the strobe power.

    the problem is for some reason the price ( it seems ) didn't drop since last year. Pro 1800 is still $300. Last year Pro 1800 was cheap compared to Seca 1700 ( which puts out 1800 actual Lumens ) but this year the Seca is $320 itself - so the Pro 1800 now costs almost the same as a Seca with equal output. While the pro is a great light - built like a tank - great programming options - great mounting options with very high quality mounts - as good as it is, for road use i wouldn't give up the Seca's beam pattern. For mountain biking the Pro would probably be the better light due to having a much heavier duty construction, and the wider, less controlled beam pattern of NR might actually be better when you're surrounded by trees and branches.

    but on a flat, straight road the advantage of a clean, controlled pattern is immediately apparent. the NR pattern isn't bad - it does have a good combination of throw down the center and wide spill - but at the same time it also projects rings of light at the outer edge of the spill area, which the Seca doesn't. the Seca transitions from the cone of light into the darkness without any special effects.

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    The thing I like a about the strobe function is whenever I confront an offending driver, there is no long drawn out argument.

    They're like "Okay, okay it's my fault, I'm sorry! Just get that damn light out of my face!"

  20. #20
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    I use a Guinea 1 to ride during the day with my kiddo, very happy with the product, design, service, I feel totally confident with such a powerful light..


    Fits the kiddo seat perfectly.


    Now I need a white one for the front..

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    ***Please note; None of my comments pertain to Multi-Use hiker/biker bike paths. I do not recommend strobes on such paths unless they have extremely low output ( 3-4 lumen )
    I'm going to take back this comment ( ^ ). The other day I was riding a hiker/biker paved path and had a interesting experience. It was just beginning to get dark but I really didn't feel the need for full lighting. Since I had my mini front blinkie ( 70 lm ) with me I thought it a good idea to turn it on so people could see me coming. Minutes later I was weaving through a section with lots of curves, heavy foliage and short lines-of-sight. Suddenly another cyclist comes around a blind corner. He was using a small blinkie similar to mine. We each saw each other in the nick of time. Without the blinkie's I don't think that would have happened. In retrospect use of a good mini front blinkie can help prevent an accident in low light conditions.

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    Personally for a Blinky, I really like the Planet Bike Blaze 2. It's a 1 watt/2 watt AA light, max 146 lumen light. The flash pattern is "almost constant on" variety. By that I mean it flashes a random number of low powered blinks, followed by one high powered blink. The dark part of the cycle is very short - less than the blink of an eye.

    The random patter of the flash stands out in a crowd. When I'm out in the car, I can see the approaching biker a couple of blocks or more away. I always know it's a Blaze because of the flash pattern. I know it catches my eye sooner than any other blinky I see on the road

    I know many of don't like a fast strobe. I think that's especially true with the high powered XM-L lights. I feel that a slow blink leaves you in in the dark too long. I think this "almost no dark time" gets me seen by drivers in the split second they're checking their mirror.

    It's not bright enough to bother me at night. My "real" lights overpower it. I run it both day and night on paths, trails and roads. Like Cat noted above, it gets me seen by cyclists, as well as walkers, & cars

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian_C View Post
    I feel that a slow blink leaves you in in the dark too long.
    i agree. i like dinotte pattern where it alternates strobe with steady - it is less annoying than straight strobe and more visible than just steady and it doesn't leave you in the dark for any significant period of time.

    another solution is to have more than one light - you can have one on steady and one on blink.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian_C View Post

    The random patter of the flash stands out in a crowd. When I'm out in the car, I can see the approaching biker a couple of blocks or more away. I always know it's a Blaze because of the flash pattern. I know it catches my eye sooner than any other blinky I see on the road

    I know many of don't like a fast strobe...
    When I'm driving ( and I drive for a living ) I ALWAYS see the front blinkies WAY before I am anywhere near them. In my opinion they are the best products made for "see me" cyclist safety.

    When it comes to low powered front blinkies ( < 120 lumen ) I really don't think you can go wrong. I've never seen one that was "too slow". The one I own ( Performance Axiom ) along with the two steady modes, both of the two included flash modes have their uses. During dusk I use the normal flash mode ( ~ 2 flashes per sec. ) I know it's only listed at 70 lumen but I'm telling you it is damn bright! Very hard to miss. Mine also has a "flicker mode" which when I first bought it I thought was totally useless. Well, I couldn't of been more wrong. When mounted lower on the bike the "Flicker mode" is not bright enough to interfere with your main lights yet still remains highly visible to on-lookers ( although not annoyingly so ).

    Another thing I noticed is that these lights have very good run times. I have yet to have any of my USB type lights run out of juice while on a ride.

  25. #25
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    not quite daytime but it was still pretty bright in this video i made yesterday:


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