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  1. #1
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    Light for riding in absolute dark?

    I'm planning on riding along the great allegheny passage in the early March. I might stay on the path till 8 or 9 pm when there is probably no light at all and then merge out and sleep in an inn. Plan to turn on full power for 3 hours a day likely.

    So I need a light that can really brighten the road and erasing the fear for me. One that can unmount easily and used as a hand flashlight is definitely a plus.

    I have a tight budget so thinking about a used flashlight as well. Under $50 will be nice.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by garage
    I'm planning on riding along the great allegheny passage in the early March. I might stay on the path till 8 or 9 pm when there is probably no light at all and then merge out and sleep in an inn. Plan to turn on full power for 3 hours a day likely.

    So I need a light that can really brighten the road and erasing the fear for me. One that can unmount easily and used as a hand flashlight is definitely a plus.

    I have a tight budget so thinking about a used flashlight as well. Under $50 will be nice.

    Thanks

    This doesn't sound like a good plan. ( correct me if I'm wrong ). If you're riding a remote trail it doesn't sound like a good plan to be riding it at night UNLESS you know for sure the exact timing and places that you will be staying. If it were me I would plan on being at the Inn at least an hour before dark. Unless you've ridden this route before I would rethink this. ( I know nothing of this trail so my comments are based on it being a remote mountain trail )

    I would take two lights. A good dedicated bike light and a good P-7 torch with extra batteries....just to be safe.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    This doesn't sound like a good plan. ( correct me if I'm wrong ). If you're riding a remote trail it doesn't sound like a good plan to be riding it at night UNLESS you know for sure the exact timing and places that you will be staying. If it were me I would plan on being at the Inn at least an hour before dark. Unless you've ridden this route before I would rethink this. ( I know nothing of this trail so my comments are based on it being a remote mountain trail )

    I would take two lights. A good dedicated bike light and a good P-7 torch with extra batteries....just to be safe.
    Thanks man!
    Just out of curiosity, what potential dangers are there? I mean it's a biker/hiker only trail so no vehicles.

    A dedicated light, well could you be more specific cause I really know nothing about it. Ones that will cost around $50, used is also OK.

  4. #4
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    In that price range (<$50), I think you might need to check out some candles.


  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by koherston
    In that price range (<$50), I think you might need to check out some candles.

    Ok, so what's like the cheapest "good enough to beat a candle" light?

  6. #6
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    Light for riding in absolute dark?

    A black light.
    "... displays the social skills of a barrel cactus." - TNC

  7. #7
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    If you want to ride in total darkness I would suggest to ride with night vision goggles 8=)

    I would get 2 P7 flashlights with plenty of batteries
    BBW. MS, RD

  8. #8
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    get a magicshine from dealextreme they are around 70ish dollars with free shipping. if you run it on low settings the battery will pretty much last forever (/troll untill it catches fire and burns your house down). just make sure you order asap usually takes around 30 working days to get it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGravey
    get a magicshine from dealextreme they are around 70ish dollars with free shipping. if you run it on low settings the battery will pretty much last forever (/troll untill it catches fire and burns your house down). just make sure you order asap usually takes around 30 working days to get it.
    Yes, and the only company with a reputation it cares about has a recall of their batteries going at the moment.

    Garage, surf Deal Extreme and kaidomain for some torches and rechargeable battteries as Cat suggested. Just make sure you order them early because delivery times can be a bit hit or miss. If you're in a rush then check your local discount outlets etc

    If you are just riding with the one light, and I would advise against this on unfamiliar trails, on your own, at night, then I would stay away from anything that even looks like a Majic shine light. They are not renowned for their reliability

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBW
    I would get 2 P7 flashlights with plenty of batteries
    Sounds like 2 P7 torches would fit the bill.

    Garage, I see that the Great Allegheny Passage is a rail-trail that mostly passes through Pennsylvania. It is well mapped. If you're good with maps, bike computers and/or GPS you should be fine. The web site on the trail has lots of info and is well detailed. Since it is a rail trail you might not need a DBL ( dedicated bike light ). A good 5 mode P-7 torch ( with bar mount ) should be fine. Still, it would be a good idea to have a back up torch. I'd take at least 3 extra batteries just to be on the safe side. On mid mode a P-7 torch puts out about 200 lumens of light and last about three hours with one 18650 Li-ion cell. Since it's a rail trail you won't really need the high beam too much. The chargers are small and light and will allow you to charge anywhere that you are sleeping ( if at an Inn that is ).

    I still hold to what I said in my first post. I think I would be a little wary about riding something like this at night unless you have done this kind of stuff before. IT WILL BE AS YOU SAID, COMPLETELY DARK. You have to be prepared for the unexpected as well. Don't be surprised if sections are flooded, muddy or if there are blocked trails ( with dead-fall ) Things like this happen. Shouldn't be a problem if you ride in the day. At night, stuff like that can cause problems. At least you might be able to get current trail conditions through the web site so that could be a big plus.

    Just remember, there are animals at night as well. Expect to see nocturnal creatures, perhaps snakes, owls, deer, skunks, raccoons, etc...perhaps even a bear, who knows. Anyway, not trying to scare you, just trying to make sure you are *prepared ( * and that said from a very old Boy scout... )

  11. #11
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    a light is something I wouldn't want to go cheap on especially if out in a remote area alone

  12. #12
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    Im surprised no-one has said this but i find when im alone and it really dark i tend to run a lot less power than when in a group. The light pollution form other riders mean your always in a struggle against the other riders.

    Id recommend a pair of XPG-R5's 501's, easily enough power when it total darkness and much better runtimes than P7's.

    With XM-L's now being available im surprised anybody would still recommend a P7 or MCE

  13. #13
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    I think it can't be said enough so I'll say it again: have a back-up light and plenty of batteries.

    And even if you rarely/ever use it while riding, a head lamp would be a good idea, for times when doing bike repairs on the trail, bushwhacking to negotiate trail obstacles, stopping to take a dump, etc. Wouldn't necessarily have to be a helmet-mount unit (torch or DBL), a 50-ish lumen head lamp like a Black Diamond Spot would work -- that's what I carry in my pack as a last-resort backup light.

    Also, this thread lists some other sources for torches besides DX & KD. I have one positive experience with DX (two torches work fine), but shipping was long and I have read that occasionally someone gets a dud, so getting a replacement would at least double that time. Just sayin'.

  14. #14
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    This way you have 2 lights!
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  15. #15
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    On a serious not, hunt around and try to find a good deal on a SOLID light and then throw a mag light in the pack with some velcro worst case you can strap the mag to the bars and cripple your way out...

    -NO LESS than 2 lights
    -NO CRAPPY lights

    Up to you but Id go wait tables for a week to come up with a little extra $ and get a better light.. Hell collect cans and recycle for a couple weeks, use the money for lights then youve gone green too...
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  16. #16
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    I agree with what the other posters are saying here. Just one additional thing to mention is that it sounds like you are completely new to night riding. If this is the case, the ride you are talking about is not the time to go on your maiden night riding voyage. You'll want to experiment with what works best for you beforehand. Do you prefer bike/helmet mount? Do you have enough light for what you are planning to do? Etc. Definitely be comfortable with night riding as well as your equipment before any serious trip.

  17. #17
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    A quick search with google will tell you:

    "The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) rail-trail offers 135 miles of hiking and biking between Cumberland, MD, and Duquesne, PA, near Pittsburgh. In Cumberland, the GAP joins the C&O Canal Towpath, creating a continuous trail experience, 320 miles long, to Washington, DC."

    These types of trails are very tame, almost like a greenway, so I think all the post about the danger of this are a little overblown. But, much of the info posted here is good advice, such as having two complete light systems for safety purposes. You also won't need nearly as much light as what the typical off road rider on this forum needs to ride singletrack trails. I'm not sure you'll be able to get away with only spending $50, but I think we need more details to really be helpful.

    How many days will you be on the trail? Will you have access to AC power to charge batteries during the trip?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by moggy82
    Im surprised no-one has said this but i find when im alone and it really dark i tend to run a lot less power than when in a group. The light pollution form other riders mean your always in a struggle against the other riders.

    Id recommend a pair of XPG-R5's 501's, easily enough power when it total darkness and much better runtimes than P7's.

    With XM-L's now being available im surprised anybody would still recommend a P7 or MCE
    I almost always recommend the 5-mode ( pill mounted ) P-7's for bar use. I have three reasons for doing this. First, there are lots of models to choose from. Second, the high beam is about 600lm, perhaps more with the D-bins. Thirdly, when used on mid-mode a P-7 can be very efficient and still have a nice wide ( good spill ) fairly bright ( ~ 200lm ) beam. Very good for moderate trails.

    Nothing wrong with using an XPG R-5 torch as a bar light although the beam patterns tend to be more narrow ( with drop-ins that is ). The XPG is more efficient ( and will run longer as you said ) but when used at lower mode levels the output is not as useful as compared to the P-7's ( unless as you stated, you use more than one ). However with that said, I suppose that is just my opinion. To me total functionality is more important than just efficiency. The throw and/or beam patterns must fit the needs, once again..my opinion. I consider the XPG as a thrower and as such I only use mine on the helmet and mostly on high ( but only when needed ).

    The XML's on the other hand will probably beat everything as far as sheer output. Like the P-7's though, they will gobble battery power when used on high. Also like the P-7's, the XML on mid-mode should still run about three hours but should be brighter than the P-7 and have better throw. The mid-mode on the KD C8 XML torch I own is quite awesome. I haven't been recommending it so much because I'm still testing it. Same with the XML drop-ins. I can't wait to see more XML pill mounted torches. More choice is always better.
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 01-16-2011 at 11:07 PM.

  19. #19
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    For now the P7 still offer the bst choice.

    The reflector on my XM-L Drop in gives it too much of a flood.

    Hopefully gonna play with a few other reflectors to see what i can do about that!

    I cant wait for the SF-15 Host to have the XM-L, would be perfect light!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    Sounds like 2 P7 torches would fit the bill.

    Garage, I see that the Great Allegheny Passage is a rail-trail that mostly passes through Pennsylvania. It is well mapped. If you're good with maps, bike computers and/or GPS you should be fine. The web site on the trail has lots of info and is well detailed. Since it is a rail trail you might not need a DBL ( dedicated bike light ). A good 5 mode P-7 torch ( with bar mount ) should be fine. Still, it would be a good idea to have a back up torch. I'd take at least 3 extra batteries just to be on the safe side. On mid mode a P-7 torch puts out about 200 lumens of light and last about three hours with one 18650 Li-ion cell. Since it's a rail trail you won't really need the high beam too much. The chargers are small and light and will allow you to charge anywhere that you are sleeping ( if at an Inn that is ).

    I still hold to what I said in my first post. I think I would be a little wary about riding something like this at night unless you have done this kind of stuff before. IT WILL BE AS YOU SAID, COMPLETELY DARK. You have to be prepared for the unexpected as well. Don't be surprised if sections are flooded, muddy or if there are blocked trails ( with dead-fall ) Things like this happen. Shouldn't be a problem if you ride in the day. At night, stuff like that can cause problems. At least you might be able to get current trail conditions through the web site so that could be a big plus.

    Just remember, there are animals at night as well. Expect to see nocturnal creatures, perhaps snakes, owls, deer, skunks, raccoons, etc...perhaps even a bear, who knows. Anyway, not trying to scare you, just trying to make sure you are *prepared ( * and that said from a very old Boy scout... )

    Awesome!
    Quick question: Are P7s waterproof at all?

  21. #21
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    My personal low-tech and cheap opinion- it's a rail to trail for god's sake. If there's a 1/2 moon or more and it's clear out, I wouldn't even turn a light on- just like I don't on smooth gravel road closed to cars or even smooth single track when the moon is nearly full-full, clearn night. 2 20 dollar LED commuter lights should be plenty. Again, it's a rail-to-trail.
    If you do think you might want to venture off into some side trails, then you need a real trail light- otherwise, why would you need one?

  22. #22
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    for $50 Only way would be make your own!!

    XPG R5 LED on 20mm star $10.50
    Regina optics $3
    Buckplus driver $16
    Cable glade $2
    Switch and water proof cover $2.50
    18650 tray $3
    Power cord with jack and plug for wiring $3
    Scrap alum sq tubing $5
    Camera bag for batttery holder $5
    --------------------------------------------------
    300lumens for $45-50

    (4) 18650 battery and charger about $25-30

    Off the shelf gets a bit more pricey but can be done, I'd do this
    $21
    http://www.sbflashlights.com/Solarfo...09-L2m-p7.html
    plus this for $30
    http://www.sbflashlights.com/Thrunit...tage-p102.html

    plus bike mount, batteries and charger, still looking around $75-80 min

  23. #23
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    Buy 2 DX Torches. I have SKU 39359 and it works well and has a usable mid-level mode. $20 x 2

    Buy 2 mounts, SKU 31871 for the bars and SKU 12000 for the helmet. $2-3 each

    Buy 4 batteries. I used SKU 28677. $16 for 4

    Buy a charger. I used SKU 1251 for $12. Or get one for cheaper that only charges one battery at a time.

    For around 70 bucks you have a somewhat redundant system that will run for a few hours and can be easily mounted/dismounted. And they will work as flashlights around the house or around the inn.

  24. #24
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    by the way guys, what specific type of P7 is the best?

    Just looked up on the web and there are soooo many

  25. #25
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    by the way guys, what specific type of P7 is the best?

    Just looked up on the web and there are soooo many
    From Dealextreme, it's a bit of a crapshoot. You could buy from a more reputable source, but then it costs a lot more and kind of defeats the purpose. I bought a 3 mode P7 and a 5 mode MCE SKU 39359. I much prefer the 5 mode.

    I think you would do well with a 5 mode. High is bright but can get hot and the battery won't last all that long. Low is not a lot of light. Mid seems to work well for me, it's a nice combination of light and duration. And then I can turn it on high for any downhill sections.

    A 5 mode P7 would work. As you said, there are a ton of options. You could buy 2 different ones like I did, then see which one you like more. Or buy 3 and pick your favorite 2 to use on the bike.

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