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  1. #1
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    Lights for Road use: enhancing road visibility

    Hi Folks. This subject has been discussed before but has been buried in the back log of threads. Rather than dig up the old thread I thought it would be a good idea to start a new one dedicated to " Enhanced Road Visibility". This can include front lights, rear lights, side lights, reflective clothing or reflective material on the bike. Feel free to add any idea that would enhance visibility for road riding at night.

    I'm really trying to get people to communicate their ideas on "What works best on the road" and "What makes the most sense" when riding on the road at night. However if you have an idea that will make day time road riding safer please feel free to comment.

    If you can contribute photos ( or videos ) of your set-up that would be a Super Plus!
    I will do so myself once I get the stuff I expect to get for Christmas.

    In the mean time I'll get the ball rolling:
    The other day as I was driving through downtown Baltimore ( at night ) I noticed a cyclist that was riding along in the mist of the heavy traffic. I couldn't help noticing him actually because he had a very good set-up. What I took notice of was two rear red lights ( one on the seat post and one on the outer chain stay ) and two bright front lights ( one on the bars and one on a fork leg ). He also was using the wide reflective tape on a jacket that was also very noticeable. As I passed him I marveled at how well I was able to see him.

    I was so impressed that I decided to pull off the road just ahead of him so I could see what he looked like coming down the road from the front. To my surprise I almost couldn't pick him out in all the on-coming traffic. When he got a couple hundred feet away I finally did see him. Wow, even with two front ( steady ) bright lights it was hard to pick him out in the array of on-coming car headlights ( and I was looking for him! )

    This has caused me to reflect. While the two front lamps ( spaced widely apart ) enhanced his visibility, his lamps still didn't stand out enough from all the lights that were around him. This got me thinking on how I could change that. The answer to me was clear. Make one of the lights a strobe or flash. Since cars or trucks don't use front strobes this should make one really stand out in heavy traffic to cars that are either approaching or coming out of a side street or parking lot.

    Since I have lots of lights that strobe I have been experimenting with this concept. I've mounted my mini-strobe ( Axiom ) on a lower fork leg. I am really impressed at how much more visible this set-up is. Before I use to mount the mini next to my main light and for the most part it was drowned out by the output of the bright main lamp. Having the mini mounted on the fork really makes the bike stand out. Now all I have to do is find a mini light ( red ) that is adjustable and will mount on the rear chain stay. I'll have to check to see what the LBS's have. ( suggestions from others are welcome )

  2. #2
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    Update: so here's a brief clip showing some side visibility options:



    From rear to front, the lights are a NiteRider Solas clipped to the rear of the trunk bag, a Sunlite HL-515 amber blinkie on the side of the trunk bag, a Cygolite Hotshot on the seatpost, a BikeBrightz amber LED blinkie-bar under the top tube facing downwards, and Trek Beacon bar-tip lights.

    The video also faintly shows the reflective items, which were being illuminated by my 2-lumen helmet light that I use just to read my Garmin with. Here is a still pic with a little more light:



    Reflective stuff includes 3M Diamond Grade red reflective tape on the rear of the trunk bag, Reflexite V82 all over the frame's main triangle, iron-on tape on the reflective vest and rear of panniers, and stock reflective stripes on the sides of the bags.





    If the rider had reflective material facing forward, it would've been illuminated by your headlights if your vehicle were facing him. It sounds like that wasn't the case, since you pulled over after passing him. But it highlights a problem with reflective stuff too: if someone's lights are not turned on, or not aimed at you, then it comes down to your lights alone. I've seen plenty of motorists driving with their lights off by mistake (pulling out of a well-lit parking lot, for example). Or they just leave them until way too late as it gets dark out.

    Trying to stand out against a backdrop of auto headlights is definitely difficult, and differentiating yourself with a front strobe is one approach (not always technically street-legal, though). A helmet light is another possibility, since it moves when you look around and sends the "not-car" signal. And a helmet light has a chance of showing over the top of parked cars.

    Some vigorous swerving can also help people pick you out before they pull out into your path, or turn across your path... I use that tactic often. It works even better with both a bar and helmet light... swerve the bars left/right with an opposite motion of your head. Trippy

    Some of the side lights I've used: Fibre Flare (amber fiber-optic rod), BikeBrightz lightbar (amber LED lightbar), Sunlite HL-515 (amber LED blinkie). All these run on AAAs so you can use rechargeables for long-term economy. Currently I just have one HL-515 clipped to each side of my trunk bag, they're very inexpensive.

    For flat-bar bikes, the Trek/Bontrager Beacon bar-tip lights come in a flat-bar configuration with two LEDs aimed rearwards, but they're also visible from the sides, so they qualify as a double-duty light. They give you visible width from the rear, too, which may get you some extra passing clearance and provide a divergence cue to help gauge your distance. They gobble batteries very fast, but fortunately they take AAAs so you can feed them NiMH rechargeables (one per side).

    I'll post some pics of my current setup when I get a chance. It's getting upgraded with a Shimano dynohub this weekend, so it'll have a B&M Cyo N as the baseline headlight (great for my dark highway training) with my DiNotte 1200+ as the vicious "dim your damn headlights THANK YOU" high-beam (and city be-seen headlght), and probably one of my S-Mini flashlights on the helmet as a deer spotter.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    The answer to me was clear. Make one of the lights a strobe or flash.
    A front flash is illegal in Sweden, and AFAIK in the rest of Europe too.
    A rear flash is legal, if the frequency is high enough

    Reflective clothing is great, IMHO.
    Here in Sweden a lot of riders use reflecitive vests and in other european countries they are mandatory.
    That is the reason behind Mavics Vision series

    Veste VisionÂ*: La visibilité du cycliste par Mavic
    The Vision series also include vests, jerseys, arm warmers and gloves
    http://www.mavic.com/en/search/google_cse_adv/vision

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by HakanC View Post
    A front flash is illegal in Sweden, and AFAIK in the rest of Europe too.
    A rear flash is legal, if the frequency is high enough

    ]
    Wow, that is strange. I've never heard that before. I suppose you could get around that law if you could find someone that markets a "Pulsating Light". Since a pulsating light technically doesn't turn off ( just goes from high to low in analog fashion ) it is technically not flashing just varying in intensity. Still, the effect would be almost the same as it would help draw attention. I have a rear light with an adjustable pulsating setting. It can pulsate fast or slow depending on what you want. If you can find something like that in a white light you should be fine.

    Another product that could be useful for the Euro folk ( if it exists ) would be a light stick with an internal moving LED. Once again, not flashing but if the light moves back and forth fast enough it would draw attention.

    Anyway, sad that someone would create laws that would jeopardize the safety of a cyclist by omitting a potential safety device but hey, what are you going to do? Heck, if it was me I'd just use a flasher and let the cards fall were they may. Us Americans...we be brave folk.
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 12-07-2012 at 06:58 AM.

  5. #5
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    I see more of these higher power lights on bicycle out on the street. To me, they are just "plain Jane" without anything special worth noting. In my mindset, I see the light and thinking just another bicyclist and keep going. To be honest, I feel like I get much more respect from drivers, and pedestrian if my light setup is more unique, weird, strange, or odd.

    My setup at the back consist of two Magicshine tail light each pointed slightly outward and not straight back. I also have a Cygo Hotshot pointed straight back. In the front of the bike, I have two Gemini Xera under each drop set at low power and in blink mode. In the center of the bar is my 4 x XML which I run in low mode. Running one steady and two on blink while all in the low mode helps keeps the glare down. I also run a BR Speed II on my helmet (set on low power). Folks who looks right at the front of my bike swear that a train is coming right at them. That's funny because I work near a train track and co-workers think that the train has derailed and heading right at them. The separation distant of the my two Xera blinking gives me some definiation making me appear much larger than I really am. I had cars waiting for me from at intersection although they still have plenty of time to cross and making me pedal faster in the process. There were several occassion where I had pedestrian stopped walking and look at me until I passed them just so they can see what the heck was coming toward them. I hate to say it, a weird or odd setup can draw lots of attention but it can get to be a hassle at times. I recall one time where a city LEO from the otherside of the street made a U turn then follow me from behind for several seconds before speeding up and passing. I know my rear light setup might get me in trouble with the LEO because the flashing is a little much like a emergency flashing pattern, but so far I have yet to get pull over. I do sometimes turn off the center Hotshot or keep that on the steady mode if I am commuting pass the Police Station depending on which route I choose. It doesn't matter as long as my light setup keeps me alive, I am one happy commuter.

    Here is a sample video of my front light setup, bear in mind that there is some video noise from the PWM of the lights:
    roadie commuter bike front light blinkies - YouTube

    Here is a sample of the rear lights:
    roadie commuter bike rear blinkie - YouTube


    Photo of the front:
    http://i1127.photobucket.com/albums/...p/IMG_0293.jpg

    Photo of the rear straight view:
    http://i1127.photobucket.com/albums/...p/IMG_0291.jpg

    Photo of the rear from top showing the mounting angle:
    http://i1127.photobucket.com/albums/...p/IMG_0295.jpg

  6. #6
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    This is a great thread Cat-man-do!

    I will keep an eye on this as I've just begun riding in the road too with my MTB. So far, i have the typical cheap chinese 5 leds lights on the rear and one MJ clone in the front with an angle lens. I have another small silicon 2 leds light i need to put on the helmet - one white 2 leds flashing in the front + another one with 2 red leds flashing in the back; not flashing like crazy as i hate those and it distracts the driver, but still flashing.

    colleen c, that setup is super. I can imagine all of those lights in maximum eheh

    Will post pictures soon too.

    Also, i now need a simple and lightweight cheap waterproof jacket and i'm searching for the perfect one: cheap (bellow 40 or 50$), waterproof, reflective, foldable and light. Any recommendation would be greatly appreciated. The one HakanC posted looks perfect, but too expensive. It is easy to find many like that one in that price range, but pretty hard to find one in the sub 50$ range.

    Will keep an eye on this for sure!

    Oh, btw, in the past couple of months, i've been watching this:
    revolights. join the revolution. by Kent, Adam & Jim — Kickstarter
    and
    (my favourite)Nori Lights - Bicycle Illumination System by Chris Flynn — Kickstarter
    Last edited by PedroDank; 12-07-2012 at 10:28 AM.

  7. #7
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    Good topic. I've just recenly gotten into night riding (have a gemini titan bar mount w/an ultrafire 501b torch on the helmet thanks to catmando's advice) and I just recently took my first night road ride. I thought I had some sufficient planet bike small lights (namely tail/rear), but when I got off my bike, I could hardly see it...got me a little sketchy actually. So I immediately ordered some larger Planet Bike Blinky "3" 3-Led Rear Bicycle Lights for my fiance and me. With that said, I don't necessarily ride near traffic all that much living in the front range of Colorado, but having a hard time seeing my tail light, while I was right next to it, had me concerned. The bigger the better I guess.
    It's not how old I am, it's how old I feel - Minor Threat

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    ...I was so impressed that I decided to pull off the road just ahead of him so I could see what he looked like coming down the road from the front. To my surprise I almost couldn't pick him out in all the on-coming traffic. When he got a couple hundred feet away I finally did see him. Wow, even with two front ( steady ) bright lights it was hard to pick him out in the array of on-coming car headlights ( and I was looking for him! )

    This has caused me to reflect. While the two front lamps ( spaced widely apart ) enhanced his visibility, his lamps still didn't stand out enough from all the lights that were around him. This got me thinking on how I could change that. The answer to me was clear. Make one of the lights a strobe or flash. Since cars or trucks don't use front strobes this should make one really stand out in heavy traffic to cars that are either approaching or coming out of a side street or parking lot.....
    This is why I ride with two lights up front: a bright floody light on the bars for general visibility, and a narrow beam light with lots of throw on my helmet that I use to point and shoot at motorists that fail to see my other light. It works every time.

    After sunrise in the morning while it's still a little dim, I might put the helmet light on strobe to make me stand out more, but I would never use the same light in strobe after dark. I find it's too bright and distracting, it messes with my night vision, and the reflection of the strobing light off the road, signs, and other surfaces triggers an instinct in motorists to reach for the brake pedal when their lizzard brain tells them: "Cops!".

  9. #9
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    I subscribe to the "weird/unusual/outstanding" school of thought. I use color filters during the day on my DS-1300. The florescent yellow (shown here on an empty housing) is very "odd" looking, and not a color that you normally see. I'm also having some amber and florescent green made to see what they look like. Nice thing is if you get caught out as day turns into night, just remove the lens cover and keep going with the normal white.

    Great thread Cat...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by colleen c View Post
    ... To be honest, I feel like I get much more respect from drivers, and pedestrian if my light setup is more unique, weird, strange, or odd.

    ... I had cars waiting for me from at intersection although they still have plenty of time to cross and making me pedal faster in the process. ...... I hate to say it, a weird or odd setup can draw lots of attention but it can get to be a hassle at times.... ]
    I'm laughing because I get the same reaction ( and what you said is so true.. )
    I've seen cars sitting at a intersection get a green light and just sit there waiting for me to go by. For me it was the rimfires that made a big difference.

    In the mean time I am considering a couple different strategies to enhance front and rear visibility. One of things I've done to enhance visibility riding during the day was to add a 501B torch under my seat that uses an amber lens. With an approx. 500-600 lumen output set on SOS it is pretty awesome. I've used it at night a couple times too when on a really fast and busy road with no shoulder. Hey, you do what you got to do to protect yourself. Some of these things might seem geeky but they work.

    Just the other day I was driving through the University of Maryland campus at night and noticed a bike setting ( well off the road ) in a bike rack that had those Lightweight reflectors on all the spokes. Goodness but those things work GREAT! Since then I've seen other people using them and I'm telling you these things are SUPER VISIBLE. Yeah, there is the geek factor to consider but I'd rather be a living geek than a dead cool person. If you're living in the boonies you likely don't need all this stuff but at least it's nice to know you have options if you think people aren't noticing you when you ride on the road.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PedroDank View Post
    Also, i now need a simple and lightweight cheap waterproof jacket and i'm searching for the perfect one: cheap (bellow 40 or 50$), waterproof, reflective, foldable and light. Any recommendation would be greatly appreciated. The one HakanC posted looks perfect, but too expensive. It is easy to find many like that one in that price range, but pretty hard to find one in the sub 50$ range.
    The O2 rain jacket meets most of your criteria. It's about $35 shipped on Ebay, permanently waterproof and windproof (other than the zipper), very lightweight, can be stuffed down to fit in a jersey pocket if you work at it, and is a medium yellow color (not fluorsescent yellow, unfortunately).

    Its shortcomings: it's not super-tough against ripping, it has no reflective material, and iron-on reflective material cannot adhere to it (I tried). However, you can adhere thin vehicular reflective tape to it in small pieces, such as less than 1cm wide and perhaps 6cm long. For this purpose, I can recommend Reflexite V82 or V92, or other very thin prismatic tape. For U.S. residents, you can buy Reflexite tape from night-gear.com, or Fred Meyer carries Peterson Manufacturing DOT Class II in the automotive section in an 18" flat-pack.

    My Movie (10) - YouTube

    ^ This video is a little outdated, but it's one typical mechBgon riding environment: a dark highway. The bike and equipment has changed a bit, but the general theme is to add reflective tape to the panniers, jacket sleeves, reflective vest and helmet, then use a "big-gun" taillight with some supplemental taillights. The reflective stuff shows up too late to give adequate warning at 60mph / 100kph, particularly when it's icy, but by then I've been "on the radar" for quite a while thanks to the taillights.

    On a practical note, if your bike has panniers and/or a trunk bag made of fabric, you can iron reflective tape onto them, Ebay is a good source of iron-on reflective tape. Or if you're good at sewing, you can stitch some on.

  12. #12
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    Mech, Nice video. One of the best commuting set-ups
    I've ever seen. Where I live you can't ride on roads over 50
    Mph unless posted.

    *Edit*...You have to pause the video just as you pass to see the full set-up. Looks like you have reflective tape on almost everything. Interesting to note that as you get down the road farther the tail lights on the cars passing you diminish into little specks but your rear lights are still brightly visible ( even as you begin to bear to the left around the slight turn )
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 12-08-2012 at 08:45 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Mech, Nice video. One of the best commuting set-ups
    I've ever seen. Where I live you can't ride on roads over 50
    Mph unless posted.

    *Edit*...You have to pause the video just as you pass to see the full set-up. Looks like you have reflective tape on almost everything. Interesting to note that as you get down the road farther the tail lights on the cars passing you diminish into little specks but your rear lights are still brightly visible ( even as you begin to bear to the left around the slight turn )
    Thanks. For the video, I had a ~300-lumen flashlight next to the camera to illuminate the reflective gear, so I could study the overall effect, but the lights are essential.

    Where do you live that they have those restrictions (not riding on >50mph roads)? If there's not enough room, I could see it being a hazard to everyone involved if traffic's heavy enough to have a lot of "three's a crowd" passing situations. In my case, the divided highway has a massive shoulder and the secondary highways have lighter traffic and generally adequate sight distances.

    The biggest danger zone on the highway in the video is highway exits, where people may be taking an exit lane at >45mph / 70kph while I'm trying to cross the exit and continue down the highway. Or when I'm trying to reach the center turn lane to exit on the far side of the highway, while being overtaken by cars at 3x my speed. In those cases, the sooner they notice me from long range, the better. Especially on ice: Winter bicycle commuting - YouTube
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post

    Where do you live that they have those restrictions (not riding on >50mph roads)? If there's not enough room, I could see it being a hazard to everyone involved if traffic's heavy enough to have a lot of "three's a crowd" passing situations. In my case, the divided highway has a massive shoulder and the secondary highways have lighter traffic and generally adequate sight distances.

    The biggest danger zone on the highway in the video is highway exits, where people may be taking an exit lane at >45mph / 70kph while I'm trying to cross the exit and continue down the highway. Or when I'm trying to reach the center turn lane to exit on the far side of the highway, while being overtaken by cars at 3x my speed. In those cases, the sooner they notice me from long range, the better. Especially on ice: Winter bicycle commuting - YouTube
    I live in the state of Maryland. i perhaps should have been more definitive. I don't think Maryland allows cyclist on their 4-lane highways that have speeds 55mph or greater ( unless posted ). I have seen signs on some 4-laners permitting bicycle passage along the more rural remote sections. The only exception to this rule that I'm aware of is when you have a permit from a sitting judge allowing you to ride a particular section of highway ( for those who lost their Drivers license via a DUI ) Most interstates in my state are patrolled by the State Police. Clearly no one cycles those. On the other hand the more rural 2-lane highways ( generally 55mph ) are fair game.

    Yes, approaching exits on any road that has an exit lane or ramp is a real danger zone. On roads that have those I won't even cross those lanes until I'm sure there is no approaching traffic. In places like that having the brightest rear strobe available really helps but if someone driving a car has a truck, van or vehicle with darkened windows in front of them ( and they are tailgating ) they still might not be aware of your presence till they peek the nose of their car around the edge of the vehicle in front of them. By that time it could be too late. Yep, intersections with off ramps and heavy traffic are where you have multiply bogey's just waiting to take you out.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    The O2 rain jacket meets most of your criteria. It's about $35 shipped on Ebay, permanently waterproof and windproof (other than the zipper), very lightweight, can be stuffed down to fit in a jersey pocket if you work at it, and is a medium yellow color (not fluorsescent yellow, unfortunately).

    Its shortcomings: it's not super-tough against ripping, it has no reflective material, and iron-on reflective material cannot adhere to it (I tried). However, you can adhere thin vehicular reflective tape to it in small pieces, such as less than 1cm wide and perhaps 6cm long. For this purpose, I can recommend Reflexite V82 or V92, or other very thin prismatic tape. For U.S. residents, you can buy Reflexite tape from night-gear.com, or Fred Meyer carries Peterson Manufacturing DOT Class II in the automotive section in an 18" flat-pack.
    Thanks for your input mech. I am seeing it right now on amazon. Is it really breathable? I am a bit redundant as it looks like many other rubberized jackets, but after reading some reviews, i think it might be worth the shot... I found a few which seemed to be rubberized and others that do not. It is around 35$ indeed, so it might be worth the shot.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by PedroDank; 12-08-2012 at 09:36 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PedroDank View Post
    Thanks for your input mech. I am seeing it right now on amazon. Is it really breathable? I am a bit redundant as it looks like many other rubberized jackets, but after reading some reviews, i think it might be worth the shot... I found a few which seemed to be rubberized and others that do not. It is around 35$ indeed, so it might be worth the shot.

    Thank you.
    It's not super-breathable. But I'd say it's not any worse than the various allegedly-breathable materials I've tried. The inside is flocked and not unpleasant on your skin. If I could change any aspects of the design, the first two things I would do is (1) de-elastic the wrists, so air can flow up the sleeve, and (2) add some armpit or across-the-back exhaust vents. But regardless, it's on my "essentials" list when I go on a training ride in the winter. If I'm doing hill repeats, I'll stop at the top and throw it on for wind protection going back down, then whip it off and cram it back into my trunk bag.

    I suppose you could get around that law if you could find someone that markets a "Pulsating Light". Since a pulsating light technically doesn't turn off ( just goes from high to low in analog fashion ) it is technically not flashing just varying in intensity. Still, the effect would be almost the same as it would help draw attention.
    DiNotte has a couple flashing modes on their headlights and taillights that work that way (single-flash and 5-flash), and Cygolite now has some too (badged "Steadypulse"). I've heard that peripheral vision is good at picking up flickering/strobing lights, so I can believe it would help draw the viewer's attention. And not just motorists either... ever had a pedestrian step into your path because they didn't hear a car and didn't look for a bike?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post

    ...DiNotte has a couple flashing modes on their headlights and taillights that work that way (single-flash and 5-flash), and Cygolite now has some too (badged "Steadypulse"). I've heard that peripheral vision is good at picking up flickering/strobing lights, so I can believe it would help draw the viewer's attention. And not just motorists either... ever had a pedestrian step into your path because they didn't hear a car and didn't look for a bike?
    Right now I'm mounting my mini 4-led Axiom light down on my lower fork leg and using it on "flicker mode" and aiming it up at a 20° angle. This helps most of the light go upward. This is helpful because as someone else has noted if you use a flash or strobe on the bars ( full time ) it can be disorienting to the rider if the flash is visible on the road surface. I have yet to test on the road yet but from what I can see inside my house the flicker from the mini is barely perceptible ( to the rider ) if you use it with the high-rate flicker mode and a normal lamp on the bars.

    Just to let you know I took a look at the O2 jacket as well. Not a bad deal for a basic waterproof shell. Looking on the O2 website I like the upgraded version better because it has the pit-zipps, pockets, reflective piping ...etc.. It does cost more for the extras though. Red ledge also makes some interesting products as well for a little more money.

  18. #18
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    Updated my first post with a video clip and a pic showing some side reflectivity/lighting options.

    Also from tonight's 29-mile ride:


    Welcome to Mordor, please enjoy your stay

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    Shine On!

    My lighting system is the Schmidt New Son 28 dynamo hub paired with a Supernova E3 Pro LED headlight (symmetrical beam pattern type) mounted at the fork crown. I am 100% pleased with its performance and negligible drag, plus the operational freedom it offers! I no longer run a dyno taillight however, without any flashing modes it wasn't conspicuous enough so it's been replaced with a Light & Motion Vista 180.

    On-bike passive illumination comes from the HED C2 Belgium rims' large reflectorized logos (nice feature!) and maybe those shiny Honjo hammertone fenders eh?

    I've attached pieces of 3M orange reflective tape to my helmet's backside, and the Sidi shoes have bright white reflector panels too. Recent additions are Pearl Izumi gloves with reflective patches, and a Castelli Gabba LS jersey with full-width white reflector stripe across the lower back.

    Nightriding has an eerie beauty all its own! A couple of personal highlights are having an owl parallel me, gliding along about ten feet from my handlebar and seeing that gigantic green meteorite over Northern California a couple months ago.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    Updated my first post with a video clip and a pic showing some side reflectivity/lighting options.

    Also from tonight's 29-mile ride:
    Nope. Try as I might I can't figure out what I'm looking at. Just a bunch of red dots...(?!)..
    The video was interesting though. Your triangle looks like it glows.

    I've been playing around with the idea of putting some reflective stuff on my bike frame but so far have held off. I really don't need it as long as I'm using the rimfires. Still the other night I had an idea. The company "Lightweights" sells black tape that reflects "white" called stealth tape. Since the frame on my road setup is dark charcoal grey I was thinking I could buy some and put some thin strips along my main triangle and along the fork and stays. During the day it would be almost invisible but at night it would shine on. Only one problem. Damn stuff is expensive, $15 for 100 inches. I figure I might need at least 300 inches to cover both sides of the bike. The next size up is 400 inches ( $45 ) I'll think about it.

    Tonight I got lucky and found my Cygolite Hotshot. Strange how small stuff can get misplaced. Took about two weeks but I knew it would show up. Last year it was a nice torch I just bought. That disappeared and I pretty much gave up on it. Turns out it showed up a couple weeks ago ( almost an entire year later ) in an old coat I must of threw on one night to take the trash out. ...hate it when stuff like that happens. ( ** Not to be confused with "Trail Gnomes" who like to steal your bike stuff and then toss it on a trail. )

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    Nope. Try as I might I can't figure out what I'm looking at. Just a bunch of red dots...(?!)..
    Well, the main idea is it's got some active lighting that's visible from the side. You may have noticed that many headlights have the lens recessed into a bezel, and actually aren't visible from a side view... my other riding environment is main-drag city arterials where being merged into is a legitimate hazard, so side lighting is useful there.

    The company "Lightweights" sells black tape that reflects "white" called stealth tape.
    They're undoubtedly reselling another company's tape, so if you want the black stealth tape, look on Ebay for 3M Scotchlite 680 black tape, $5 for 10 feet of 1/2" wide. Be aware that the reflectivity of black reflective tape is very low compared to the high-performance stuff... where silver Reflexite V82 or 3M Diamond Grade would score around 1000 for reflectivity, the "stealth" tape is down there at 30. Better than nothing, of course. Tangentially, avoid 3M Diamond Grade for frame use, because it's very thick and will try to peel itself off. And guess how I know that

    My bike is silver already, so I'm lucky... silver Reflexite qualifies as "stealth" tape on my bike, it blends in great I would've done the rear triangle but I ran out.

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    Great tips on the reflective tape. Will get some myself for sure. A few to get into my long jersey and some other to bike's frame. My bike is white, so i guess i will use the silver one.

    Infinity123, i would like to se a rider coming towards me with that

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    Crankskins has a new line of reflective crank skins that are reflective REFLECTIVE PRODUCTS I have the carbon looking ones on my road bike as well as the rim stickers.
    James
    "My mountain bike needs a new motor; the current one is fat and lazy."

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    I also made a set of wheel lights. These things show up with out any external light sorce.
    James
    "My mountain bike needs a new motor; the current one is fat and lazy."

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    Quote Originally Posted by HakanC View Post
    A front flash is illegal in Sweden, and AFAIK in the rest of Europe too.
    Hi there, fellow Swede
    I have discussed this at length with quite a few law enforcement officers. Most don't care, they're just happy you have lights at all. Nevertheless, I know that the law is enforced from time to time. A couple of times a year there are crack-downs in some cycle-crowded (i.e. university) towns and a blinkie in front will earn you a ticket.
    One officer gave me the simplest solution: "Put the blinkie on your helmet. It's not allowed on your bike, but there's no law about what kind of lights you can have on your person."

    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    DiNotte has a couple flashing modes on their headlights and taillights that work that way (single-flash and 5-flash)...
    I have Dinottes both front and rear on my commuter. I can't ride with the front light flashing. It's much too powerful and the strobing just makes me dizzy. The rear, though, is running in the 5-flash mode.
    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    ... The company "Lightweights" sells black tape that reflects "white" called stealth tape.
    They're undoubtedly reselling another company's tape, so if you want the black stealth tape, look on Ebay for 3M Scotchlite 680 black tape, $5 for 10 feet of 1/2" wide. Be aware that the reflectivity of black reflective tape is very low compared to the high-performance stuff... where silver Reflexite V82 or 3M Diamond Grade would score around 1000 for reflectivity, the "stealth" tape is down there at 30. Better than nothing, of course.
    .
    I have the white stuff on most of my rims, but on my road racer I have the black variety.

    The light gray stripe on the front-most wheel in the picture is completely black in ordinary light. mechBgon is quite right that it's not as effective as the white, but it's not all that bad. I had quite low expectations myself, but I found myself positively surprised. I think it works OK in real world situations, it is quite visible when you shine a light at it.

    On the other two wheels - the winter wheels for a MTB - in addition to the white reflective stripes, I have placed a couple of reflective dots between the spokes. Not all around the wheel, just the four shown and three more on the opposite side. They make it really easy to tell if the wheels are rolling or not.

    --
    Ragnar
    When it's 20 below freezing and the snow lays 10 inches deep, bicycle commuting kind of sucks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    ....They're undoubtedly reselling another company's tape, so if you want the black stealth tape, look on Ebay for 3M Scotchlite 680 black tape, $5 for 10 feet of 1/2" wide. Be aware that the reflectivity of black reflective tape is very low compared to the high-performance stuff...
    Thanks for that tip. If it's not as reflective as the silver I think I can live with that. At least I found out I can get 10ft. for about $7. That is a much better price. Strangely, if you want the pin stripe version ( 1/4 inch wide ) it cost more.

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    If you want to be seen at night while on the road, here is something that get you notice.



    Set up is a b itch and so is the cost! But it looks cool!!
    "By Your Command"

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    here's another one.



    Now if the driver doesn't see you he/she must be blind!!!
    "By Your Command"

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    Blind...or texting...

    YIKES.

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    I have Dinottes both front and rear on my commuter. I can't ride with the front light flashing. It's much too powerful and the strobing just makes me dizzy. The rear, though, is running in the 5-flash mode.
    Understandable. I have a DiNotte 1200+ and when it's in flash mode, I can see the flash pattern on good-quality road signs from over 1 city block in overcast daylight My new commute takes me through the core of downtown, and due to the hazards of high-turnover parking and jaywalking pedestrians, I've begun using the DiNotte's flashing mode to get through the downtown segment of the morning commute (daylight).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky J View Post
    Blind...or texting...

    YIKES.
    Wheel lights are really hard to miss. Hard not to see something that not not only emits light but is also going around in circles at a high rate of speed. Not that you really need wheel lights. Just having some good front and rear lights with a good 180° of visibility ( coupled with some reflective tape on the frame or wheels ) can work wonders. Still IMHO having a nice frog type ( or mini led ) flasher on the bars to supplement your main front light is paramount if riding in urban or heavy traffic. It doesn't have to be more than 40 lumen, just bright enough to be seen. Just turn it off if you have to sit at a light for a couple minutes.

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    Duplicate Post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    Understandable. I have a DiNotte 1200+ and when it's in flash mode, I can see the flash pattern on good-quality road signs from over 1 city block in overcast daylight My new commute takes me through the core of downtown, and due to the hazards of high-turnover parking and jaywalking pedestrians, I've begun using the DiNotte's flashing mode to get through the downtown segment of the morning commute (daylight).
    I have the 1200+ too. I chose it because I wanted a powerful, floody light. My commute is probably the exact opposite of yours, mostly one-lane gravel roads through the woods. My biggest concern is wildlife. It's absolutely teeming with elk (that's moose for you americans), deer and wild boar around here, so I want to be able to see whats at the side of the road.

    --
    Ragnar
    Last edited by ragnar.jensen; 12-14-2012 at 01:15 PM.
    When it's 20 below freezing and the snow lays 10 inches deep, bicycle commuting kind of sucks.

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    Coleen C has a camera in the back. I have being thinking about putting a camera JIC I get hit and the person doesn't stop, at least I have some evidence. My biggest concern is getting hit and the car not stopping. That would live me SO bitter and angry.
    Any of you filming JIC?
    BBW. MS, RD

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBW View Post
    Coleen C has a camera in the back. I have being thinking about putting a camera JIC I get hit and the person doesn't stop, at least I have some evidence. My biggest concern is getting hit and the car not stopping. That would live me SO bitter and angry.
    Any of you filming JIC?
    I've thought about having a JIC video set-up but I hate having to carrying a lot of extra baggage that really doesn't have to do with cycling per say. Maybe there is a small camera that works with blue-tooth that I could use with my smart phone. Run time would likely be limited so I could only use it on the most dangerous of roads. Probably a good subject for another thread as this is all pretty much off topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragnar.jensen View Post
    I have the 1200+ too. I chose it because I wanted a powerful, floody light. My commute is probably the exact opposite of yours, mostly one-lane gravel roads through the woods. My biggest concern is wildlife. It's absolutely teeming with elk (that's moose for you americans), deer and wild boar around here, so I want to be able to see whats at the side of the road.

    --
    Ragnar
    Deer are a danger here too. My rural route takes me through a valley where I sometimes count more than 20 deer per night, and some of my hill-climbing routes involve descending in deer-infested areas. Two riders I know have collided with deer in the last year (one was hit from behind!) and both of them had broken bones and mangled bikes.


    that's gonna leave a mark

    What works even better for me than the 1200+, is a helmet light. Deers' eyes are reflective, and the helmet light is very close to my line of sight so the reflectons show up especially strongly. So I sweep my helmet light around and look for anything that's reflective and moving towards my line.

    Drifting back onto the topic: from the front, a cyclist at a distance in the dark is mainly a disembodied light, or multiple disembodied lights. They might be blinking, they might be steady. But it's possible to be seen, yet not recognized for what you are... know what I'm saying? If there's time, I sometimes aim my helmet light down at my arms so the people poised to pull out into my path have a chance to "compute" what the disembodied lights signify.

    A 1AAA keychain light dangling from my jacket zipper might do the job better than anything I've used so far, but a light that shines on the rider's legs can help give the viewer some context.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    Deer are a danger here too. My rural route takes me through a valley where I sometimes count more than 20 deer per night, and some of my hill-climbing routes involve descending in deer-infested areas. Two riders I know have collided with deer in the last year (one was hit from behind!) and both of them had broken bones and mangled bikes....


    .
    About deer and larger animals being a threat: Yep, I have deer to contend with too. A real danger if you're not using enough light while going down a fast hill. I agree a helmet light comes in real handy at times. The only time I use one on the road though is for downhills and busy intersections. I might just rethink that strategy though. A road with lots of woods bordering the sides of the road can hide a multitude of danger. I'm really glad that there are no moose where I live. Hitting or being hit by one of those could be the end of the line.

    For me my basic wildlife threat comes from deer, fox, dogs, raccoons and lastly skunks. ( With deer being the most dangerous and more common threat. ) Dogs and fox while common usually move quickly and are easy to dodge. Raccoons and skunk on the other hand can be dangerous because they move slowly and seem not to recognize the danger of being in a road way. They are also small and dark colored making them hard to see.

    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    ...Drifting back onto the topic: from the front, a cyclist at a distance in the dark is mainly a disembodied light, or multiple disembodied lights. They might be blinking, they might be steady. But it's possible to be seen, yet not recognized for what you are... know what I'm saying? If there's time, I sometimes aim my helmet light down at my arms so the people poised to pull out into my path have a chance to "compute" what the disembodied lights signify.

    A 1AAA keychain light dangling from my jacket zipper might do the job better than anything I've used so far, but a light that shines on the rider's legs can help give the viewer some context....
    Yes, I can agree with all of that. Particularly if the person doing the viewing is looking from the perspective of someone coming out of a side road or parking lot. Having lights on the wheels can really help when it comes to adding an additional frame of reference. Few people will view a light going around in a circle and not know its a wheel.

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    ok thanks!
    BBW. MS, RD

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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    Well, the main idea is it's got some active lighting that's visible from the side. You may have noticed that many headlights have the lens recessed into a bezel, and actually aren't visible from a side view... my other riding environment is main-drag city arterials where being merged into is a legitimate hazard, so side lighting is useful there.



    They're undoubtedly reselling another company's tape, so if you want the black stealth tape, look on Ebay for 3M Scotchlite 680 black tape, $5 for 10 feet of 1/2" wide. Be aware that the reflectivity of black reflective tape is very low compared to the high-performance stuff... where silver Reflexite V82 or 3M Diamond Grade would score around 1000 for reflectivity, the "stealth" tape is down there at 30. Better than nothing, of course. Tangentially, avoid 3M Diamond Grade for frame use, because it's very thick and will try to peel itself off. And guess how I know that

    My bike is silver already, so I'm lucky... silver Reflexite qualifies as "stealth" tape on my bike, it blends in great I would've done the rear triangle but I ran out.
    I've been trying to find white or silver Reflexite DOT-C2 but it is not easy to find the cheap ones (just a few stripes, not the whole roll) shipping to Portugal.
    I think i will go with the 3M 680 for now (the white one as my bike is mainly white).

    If you have some good site shipping just a few stripes of better reflexive tape (doesn't need to be as good as Reflexite's really), to Portugal, please let me know ; otherwise, I will just get the 3M's 360 from eBay (1.99$ shipping)...

    Thanks for sharing, once again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PedroDank View Post
    I've been trying to find white or silver Reflexite DOT-C2 but it is not easy to find the cheap ones (just a few stripes, not the whole roll) shipping to Portugal.
    I think i will go with the 3M 680 for now (the white one as my bike is mainly white).

    If you have some good site shipping just a few stripes of better reflexive tape (doesn't need to be as good as Reflexite's really), to Portugal, please let me know ; otherwise, I will just get the 3M's 360 from eBay (1.99$ shipping)...

    Thanks for sharing, once again.
    I've bought Reflexite V82 from Night-Gear.com before, and they say they ship worldwide. They also don't have a minimum order. Here is their Reflexite section: Reflective Hot Dots and Tapes The V82 is the best version (highest reflectivity, longest lifespan). It is very thin, so it stays on cylindrical tubing without peeling itself off. I see they also have the SOLAS (safety of life at sea) version, but it's much thicker and might try to peel itself off.

    This type of tape doesn't stretch, so it wrinkles if it's applied to a two-axis curve, such as a fender / mudguard. In that situation, I cut it into ~1cm strips and apply them individually.

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    I was afraid you were going to say that. I did try to get it from them before too but althoughr they do ship it internationally, they charge 35$ for it. Yep. A 2$ piece of film costs 35$ to reach Portugal. I don't understand why they don't use USPS who charge only 1.99$ for this... A lot of online stores do this...

    Thanks for that, anyway! Will search a bit tomorrow torrow or after Christmas.

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    Sometimes the UK Ebay site is a good place to get hold of Reflexite for EU citizens:
    reflexite | eBay

    Also try searching for reflective tape, 3M tape or SOLAS tape.

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    Thanks Infinity123, I always thought ebay.com had all of the articles from all the sellers.
    I found HI VIZ INTENSITY GRADE WHITE REFLECTIVE TAPE 25 X 300MM - 4 off | eBay but I don't think that is the original from reflexite as they don't state it anywhere.
    EDIT: The seller confirmed it is not.

    SOLAS, as mechBgon said, is not that good for bike frames. I also read that elsewhere so I'm sticking up with Reflexite or 3M.

    Thanks, once again!
    Last edited by PedroDank; 12-24-2012 at 09:38 PM.

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    There´s also the more traditional stuff for bikes:
    Sicherheit, Zubehör

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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    I've bought Reflexite V82 from Night-Gear.com before, and they say they ship worldwide. They also don't have a minimum order. Here is their Reflexite section: Reflective Hot Dots and Tapes The V82 is the best version (highest reflectivity, longest lifespan). It is very thin, so it stays on cylindrical tubing without peeling itself off. I see they also have the SOLAS (safety of life at sea) version, but it's much thicker and might try to peel itself off.

    This type of tape doesn't stretch, so it wrinkles if it's applied to a two-axis curve, such as a fender / mudguard. In that situation, I cut it into ~1cm strips and apply them individually.
    Thanks for those links Mech. I might have to try me some of this just to see how good it is.
    I've been thinking of trying to mount a small bit of red tape on the rear seat stays to add a larger rear profile. If this stuff is as bright as I think I'll be it won't take much. I just wish It would warm up enough to do some rides. Right now it is snowing outside. First snow of the season...just flurries. Looks like I might have a white Christmas...

    Merry Christmas everyone....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Infinity123 View Post
    There´s also the more traditional stuff for bikes:
    Sicherheit, Zubehör
    Thanks for that site.

    I took a look into 3M Scotchlite Reflektionsfolie weiss 1m x 25mm - Rolle and it seems to be too thick. Does it holds ok on bike? It is not as stealthy as the vinyl sheet...
    Anyway, bookmarked that website as it has nice shipping costs and great products. Buying that tape alone costs me 12€ for shipping it, but it seems that it is a fixed rate as I've seen it not going up when addind other products to the cart.

    I'll probably get that one and some other things if that tape is ok.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PedroDank View Post
    That particular item is intended for clothes. That´s why it´s thick and flexible.

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    Thanks, thats what I thought.
    I bought the 3M Scothlite white vinyl one from eBay (4$ with shipping costs). It is not plain white, but silver - hopefully it will look good on my mainly-white bike.
    Thanks for all the help and feedback. Will post pics once I get them.

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    Rear laser bike light: Mini review

    I got one of these for Christmas as a stocking stuffer:



    Quickie review....Takes up a lot of room on a seat post. The five led setup does a decent job of providing light as a rear blinkie light. Compares to other first generation 5-led set-ups. The led and lens setup does allow for more than 180° of visibility so that is one of it's better selling points.

    The laser works and does what it is suppose to do but IMO
    ( even on laser flash ) the laser is really not that visible unless you are right on top of the cyclist. While it does look cool if you are close to the bike that is perhaps it's only redeeming value. Believe me, if you have one of these going and you have any number of the better rear led lights running between 1 and 2 watts, the better/brighter led lamps will draw all of the attention and do so at a much farther distance.

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    Thanks for that Cat. Always had an eye on those too. The 180º visibility is great indeed - my chinese 5-led sucks compared to this.
    Will have a proper tail light soon, so no worries.

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    Mech, I hope you don't mind; I copied this from the thread you started a while back. Since it had a lot to do with the topic of visibility I thought I would re-post it because it looked like a good option for inexpensive side visibility lighting.

    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    I had one of these before and got quite a bit of use out of it before it quit, so I recently got another one. They're powered by two AAAs and come in various colors, and are $15. I use amber since it's a recognized side-visibility color.












    The light zip-ties onto whatever you want to attach it to. It doesn't have any particular water-resistance features, so I'd avoid putting it in the path of tire spray or other especially wet locations. The underside of the top tube is a good spot for it, and its light hits my waterbottles and my legs for some extra visibility. Facing forward on the seat tube could be even better, but I think it would interfere with my waterbottle.

    The power button is soft rubber with no tactile feedback, and has "soft-OFF," which means it will slowly deplete your batteries even when OFF. So I try to remember to recharge my AAAs once or twice a week, depending on how many hours I'm riding. It has steady-burn and three flashing speeds.

    Removing the batteries can be slightly annoying since the light is zip-tied to the bike and the second battery doesn't always come out easily.

    This video clip shows the BikeBrightz along with some other lights.

    I figure you could adapt these real easy to work with Velcro for easy on/off quick release. Likely they aren't going to hold up to hard use but for $15 not a bad deal.

    Posted by PedroDank;

    Thanks for that Cat. Always had an eye on those too. The 180º visibility is great indeed - my chinese 5-led sucks compared to this.
    Will have a proper tail light soon, so no worries.
    Actually it is more like 220° of visibility to be more accurate. Just keep in mind that I wasn't endorsing the light, just commenting on it. If you already have a cheap 5-led blinkie then you would want to upgrade to something better. I'd recommend something like the Niterider Solas, Cygolite Hotshot or Moon Shield.

    I noticed the other day that there is a smaller version of the rear laser light. That might be better because it takes up less room. Still, I wouldn't use these for solo rides but for group rides where they might be more practical since you really don't want to blind the guy riding in back of you anyway. My Moon Shield is quite bright even on low. I certainly wouldn't want to ride behind somebody using one, even on low.

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    Great thread. I'm in the process of setting up a daytime commuter bike, and while being completely happy with my Dinotte 300R, I'm planning to acquire one of these when they become available. The info below is from emails dated 28 Nov, and 23 Dec. Here's hoping NiteFlux comes through on these.

    An estimated 400 lumens at 8w.





    Good things come to those who wait:
    Attached are photos of the new Niteflux red zone product. It is improved on the original in many ways:

    even easier to see from all angles
    much easier switch action
    longer runtime
    easier to attach to seat posts
    repairable/battery replaceable

    Also, in response to requests from USA, it is also going to be available in DOUBLE power. That is 8W peak power in flash mode and over 400lm!

    We are now finished pre-production test on this new unit. It has taken some time to finalise the design but it will be worth the wait. We are now beginning the first production cycle. This will take around 4-6 weeks.

    For those who have asked about getting a new niteflux red zone for xmas, I am sorry but we wont be guaranteeing delivery before xmas.
    For those who have asked about international delivery, we usually ship these from a warehouse in USA but there have been changes in the postal system in USA banning all batteries in the short term. This is expected to be reviewed with new rules in place on Jan 1 2013. Niteflx bicycle lights will comply with the new rules and international postage will resume at that time.

    If you are receiving this email it is because you have sent a back-order enquiry to niteflux. Sorry we cant give individualised replies to all emails. We get too many. Thanks for your patience, we will be making a special offer to all back-order customers: A free upgrade from 4W version to 8W version. Just reply to this email to book your 8W version if you want it. Otherwise, we will send another email when the first batch of stock is available.

    Best Regards,
    David
    Dear Customers,

    I am writing with an update about the new red zone 4, red zone 8 and white equivalents.
    We are close to finishing the first production batch of these new lights but are forced to pause now while local factories shutdown over xmas. Production will resume in mid January.

    The response to our offer of free upgrade to rz8 has been very strong, much more than I expected even. This shows a hidden demand for even more visible lights on the road and we are happy to help. I can tell you the new tail lights are very visible in bright daylight, from more than 180degrees. That's right, even past fully side on.

    I hope you all enjoy a happy and safe Christmas. I will write again in the new year.

    Best Regards,
    David






    Last edited by pigmode; 12-29-2012 at 04:23 PM.

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    Mech, I hope you don't mind; I copied this from the thread you started a while back. Since it had a lot to do with the topic of visibility I thought I would re-post it because it looked like a good option for inexpensive side visibility lighting.
    No problem

    Great thread. I'm in the process of setting up a daytime commuter bike, and while being completely happy with my Dinotte 300R, I'm planning to acquire one of these when they become available. The info below is from emails dated 28 Nov, and 23 Dec. Here's hoping NiteFlux comes through on these.

    An estimated 400 lumens at 8w.
    I want one too. They emailed me the same info, since my RZ4 won't turn on anymore, so I'm in line for an RZ8 when they become available. From my test video, even the RZ4 was visible from a side view, in overcast daylight, at a range of about 1/2 mile. And that was with my old Canon camera that shoots video at a mere 640 x 480.

  55. #55
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    Its good to know they are backing up their product, as I'm really liking the horizontal saddle mount. Btw, are you going for the 4w or 8w version?

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigmode View Post
    Its good to know they are backing up their product, as I'm really liking the horizontal saddle mount. Btw, are you going for the 4w or 8w version?
    I'll go with 8W. That's the maximum, but I can always run it lower. Assuming they use the same user interface as before, I can pick which steady or flashing output levels I want to appear in the cycle, as well as choose a flash pattern (the default quad-burst mode is just one of the possibilities).

  57. #57
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    Hi All, as an avid commuter in NYC I'm in search for a practical, maintenance free tail light. So far, I think I have my front covered, but it is always in the tail that I feel insecure. Currently, I am using a Light and Motion vis 180 micro in the back of my helmet and a Portland Design Danger Zone blinky clipped on my pack. The L&M works great, but the blink looses output dramatically as soon as is off axis, I believe I need to replace it and I don't want another blinky. I would love to have your opinions on the following:

    1. Dinotte 300R, expensive and I'm not sure about the side visibility
    2. Exposure Flare, relatively cheap, but does it compare?
    3. Wait for the Niteflux 4 or 8? Why?

    For those of you that know NYC, I ride from Park Slope (Bklyn) to Union sq. and back, that's an 8-9km stretch full of car traffic but also some bike traffic, especially over the Manhattan or Brooklyn bridges. I want something super bright but I'm afraid to blind my fellow cyclists as they are crossing the bridge behind me, that's also a reason I haven't immediately gone for the dinotte.

    Any suggestions would be really appreciated. Thanks!

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guydebord View Post
    Hi All, as an avid commuter in NYC I'm in search for a practical, maintenance free tail light. So far, I think I have my front covered, but it is always in the tail that I feel insecure. Currently, I am using a Light and Motion vis 180 micro in the back of my helmet and a Portland Design Danger Zone blinky clipped on my pack. The L&M works great, but the blink looses output dramatically as soon as is off axis, I believe I need to replace it and I don't want another blinky. I would love to have your opinions on the following:

    1. Dinotte 300R, expensive and I'm not sure about the side visibility
    2. Exposure Flare, relatively cheap, but does it compare?
    3. Wait for the Niteflux 4 or 8? Why?

    For those of you that know NYC, I ride from Park Slope (Bklyn) to Union sq. and back, that's an 8-9km stretch full of car traffic but also some bike traffic, especially over the Manhattan or Brooklyn bridges. I want something super bright but I'm afraid to blind my fellow cyclists as they are crossing the bridge behind me, that's also a reason I haven't immediately gone for the dinotte.

    Any suggestions would be really appreciated. Thanks!
    If you want off-axis visibility, the old NiteFlux was good and I'd expect the new one to be good as well:



    If the price is similar ($100ish) then it'll be a good value too. I've also had the 300R, which isn't quite as omnidirectional but still quite wide. Both would be daytime-visible.

    Although you could program the NiteFlux to cycle through just the power settings you want (say, 8W flashing for cars, and a low-output steady mode for bikes only), it might be simpler just to have a separate low-powered light that you leave on all the time, and switch your "big gun" taillight off when you're in a no-cars zone. If you want a nominee for the low-powered light, I'd actually suggest the Cygolite Hotshot because it's USB-rechargeable and you can dial its steady mode to whatever intensity you want (and still fire up a full-power flash mode if you're in heavy traffic).

  59. #59
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    Black reflective tape. I have some. It's not very visible. It's more visible than the black plastic behind it, but I think it's a waste of time and money unless the surface absolutely has to look black in daylight.

    I strongly believe that the ideal is to make the cyclist readily identifiable. Even if the cyclist is visible, not being identified in time can result in getting hit by a driver that "didn't see you" even though you were very visible. It happens all the time to motorcyclists. Sadly, that also points out the weakness. Drivers just may not be prepared to see a cyclist, and won't no matter what.

    I don't believe that making ourselves even more visible via brighter lights and a more intense strobe is going to help either. If anything, that would blind drivers, resulting in two reasons to get in an accident instead of one.

    I've seen a couple good examples of bikes and riders in this thread that should be easily and quickly identifiable even if I hadn't known what to expect. To this end, I really like reflective surfaces on the main and rear triangle, on the fork, the water bottle, tire and wheel. If fenders are installed, reflective surfaces on that makes it even better. Reflective clothing can really help with drivers approaching from the rear, and to the side to some extent, but as noticed, might not help from the front.

    Increasing visibility and identifiability from the front is a challenge, with two goals that often oppose each other. Modern LED headlights can easily go beyond being visible to being blinding, which would make it impossible to identify a cyclist as anything more than a retina-searing light source. I've thought about using a floody light, probably a flashlight with a wand, on the top tube to illuminate my torso to hopefully make my body visible from the front, but my headlights may defeat this effort. It would also also mess up my vision to some extent. Ideally I'd have headlights that were so efficient at putting light on the ground that they wouldn't be blinding to other drivers, and then I could use other dimmer non-blinding lights to make my bike and torso more visible and identifiable from the front. Some of that efficiency could be gained by swapping my lenses with anti-glare coated lenses. While not efficient, I could also install plates in front of my reflector to block light that spills upwards, much like those in bi-xenon automotive headlamps. Another option is to switch to recoil optic lights that have LED's that face backwards into the reflector so that drivers could not look directly into a blindingly bright LED. Or a plate could be put directly in front of the LED to have the same effect as the shrouds that are installed in front of the bulbs in halogen automotive headlamps and the painted tips of halogen headlight bulbs. The ultimate solution might involve moving micro mirrors, along with the ability to recognize and react to the environment. This is still a far-off dream for automotive lighting even though the technology is already available, but the cost and ability to harness the technology is still being worked on.

    I don't know what to do about animals. Deer do some crazy things.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by leaftye View Post
    ....I don't believe that making ourselves even more visible via brighter lights and a more intense strobe is going to help either. If anything, that would blind drivers, resulting in two reasons to get in an accident instead of one.

    .
    I have to partially disagree on this point. As far as being viewed from the front by vehicular traffic, any light you have on front of your bike is better than no light at all. As has been pointed out by yourself and others ( myself included ) sometimes those lights are not readily identifiable because they are lost in the mix so to speak. While It happens from time to time it is not the general rule. If it were, motorcycles would never be allowed on the road at night. It's been my experience as a road professional that when viewing bike traffic head on ( or from emerging intersections ), cyclists that have a good quality front blinkie have a distinct advantage over a cyclist that has none. Even better if that blinkie is used in combo with a good steady light source and is spaced farther apart to give the viewer a larger point of reference. ( This is why it is easier to spot cars than motorcycles at night...usually ) Other than this I agree with most everything else you said.

    Regardless of how well you prepare yourself for night time road riding ( Lights, blinkies, reflective material on bike or person...) there is always going to be "That person", driving a vehicle who is so engrossed in some other activity that they fail to see you. That being the case you have to accept that as a "given risk" when you ride at night ( or daytime for that matter ). This is why people still have accidents ( with other drivers ) at night when driving, even though most cars have very good head lights and are very easy to see.

    I've driven professionally for more than 30yrs. and I've never been blinded by a bike light while driving down the road. I also see cyclist's who use front blinkies all the time. Never have I been blinded by such. On the other hand I get blinded by cars with bright head lights ALL THE TIME. As such I take it in stride even though it is quite annoying. Regardless I don't think I'm more inclined to hit a car just because their lights are bright. Matter of fact I would think the opposite to be true.

    I believe that a standard 4-led mini front blinkie has enough output to ( safely ) draw attention at night without being overly annoying. Running a mega lumen light on strobe ( at night ) could be disorienting to others as well as to oneself unless you are doing so during the day. Otherwise it would be way overkill at night and a danger to others. In that point we agree. The only exception I see to this is if you use a bright strobe for "Momentary use" only. I do this myself sometimes when going through a particularly dangerous intersection. In such a case I'll reach up to my helmet and turn the helmet strobe on till I have safely merged with traffic. Once cleared of danger I quickly turn it off, usually within 10 sec. Since I can aim the helmet light where ever the most danger is I find It serves a very useful purpose. ( Please note; I would never aim a bright strobe directly at a person driving a car...*UNLESS....they were trying to run me off the road. )
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 12-31-2012 at 07:55 AM.

  61. #61
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    Drivers just may not be prepared to see a cyclist, and won't no matter what.

    I don't believe that making ourselves even more visible via brighter lights and a more intense strobe is going to help either. If anything, that would blind drivers, resulting in two reasons to get in an accident instead of one.
    To start with, flashing red taillights are associated with cyclists in my country (United States) so it should be self-evident that it's some sort of human-powered transportation, whether the human can be recognized or not.

    I can remark that on the 60mph highway, pro truckers are changing lanes to avoid "whatever that strobing thing is" at a range of 1/4 mile and beyond. They don't have to identify it as a cyclist, or an ambulance, or a towtruck, they just recognize a possible hazard and give it extra space. A significant proportion of non-pro drivers do likewise. Crossing the off-ramps to keep going straight is an especially important place to be detected from maximum range.

    In city traffic, anyone who thinks they'll "blind" a motorist with a bike light is not being realistic. Here's a scene I ride through daily, with two rows of automotive lowbeams glaring down into oncoming traffic from an overlook position:



    Thousands of lumens right in the face, and I don't recall ever seeing an accident there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    If you want off-axis visibility, the old NiteFlux was good and I'd expect the new one to be good as well:

    If the price is similar ($100ish) then it'll be a good value too. I've also had the 300R, which isn't quite as omnidirectional but still quite wide. Both would be daytime-visible.

    Although you could program the NiteFlux to cycle through just the power settings you want (say, 8W flashing for cars, and a low-output steady mode for bikes only), it might be simpler just to have a separate low-powered light that you leave on all the time, and switch your "big gun" taillight off when you're in a no-cars zone. If you want a nominee for the low-powered light, I'd actually suggest the Cygolite Hotshot because it's USB-rechargeable and you can dial its steady mode to whatever intensity you want (and still fire up a full-power flash mode if you're in heavy traffic).
    Thanks, Mech.
    I think I will wait for the NiteFlux, I want something on my backpack and neither the Dinotte nor the Exposure provide me with that option. When I bought the Portland Danger Zone I had the chance to compare it with the Hotshot and PB Turbo, and I believe the Portland is better as a light source, it has a flashing mode that its very eye catching, the only inconvenience is the double AAA's, but I use rechargeables.

    Still, all these blinkies are very weak with side visibility...

  63. #63
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    Fyi, the Dinotte 300R does in fact come with a clip on mount (see link below!!!). Which is fortuitous as I now have the option to mount the 300R on my back pack in combination with a blinking light. I also finally have a planet bike turbo, so there are options for different situations.



    Lights for Road use: enhancing road visibility
    Last edited by pigmode; 01-02-2013 at 02:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pigmode View Post
    Fyi, the Dinotte 300R does in fact come with a clip on mount. Which is fortuitous as I now have the option to mount the 300R on my back pack in combination with a blinking light. I also finally have a planet bike turbo, so there are options for different situations.
    This is great news! Would it be to much to ask for a picture of the clip mount? I have done a google search without luck....

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    I have to partially disagree on this point. As far as being viewed from the front by vehicular traffic, any light you have on front of your bike is better than no light at all.
    I want to clarify or emphasize that I was referring to already having lighting that providing visibility and going beyond that.

    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    To start with, flashing red taillights are associated with cyclists in my country (United States) so it should be self-evident that it's some sort of human-powered transportation, whether the human can be recognized or not.
    Brightly colored ~700 pound motorcycles w/rider with bright halogen lights should be readily self-evident as a vehicle to respect on the roadway, yet motorcyclists get hit frequently by drivers that did not see the motorcycle that were looking directly at.

    Human vision has a huge mental aspect of it, and that involves ignoring a lot of things and making a lot of assumptions. Increasing the recognition of a cyclist as a cyclist instead of some strange conglomeration of blinking lights and seemingly random assortment of bright (reflective) spots is about the best we could do. If we could make ourselves appear like a vehicle, that would be even better at times since that's what drivers most expect to see in the road and will most quickly identify.

    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    Thousands of lumens right in the face, and I don't recall ever seeing an accident there.
    As I mentioned in my post, halogen and xenon bulbs are shrouded. LED's in bike lights are not.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by leaftye View Post
    I want to clarify or emphasize that I was referring to already having lighting that providing visibility and going beyond that.



    Brightly colored ~700 pound motorcycles w/rider with bright halogen lights should be readily self-evident as a vehicle to respect on the roadway, yet motorcyclists get hit frequently by drivers that did not see the motorcycle that were looking directly at.

    Human vision has a huge mental aspect of it, and that involves ignoring a lot of things and making a lot of assumptions. Increasing the recognition of a cyclist as a cyclist instead of some strange conglomeration of blinking lights and seemingly random assortment of bright (reflective) spots is about the best we could do. If we could make ourselves appear like a vehicle, that would be even better at times since that's what drivers most expect to see in the road and will most quickly identify.
    I certainly approve of filling in "the big picture" for the viewer when possible, and go to great lengths to do that, but have a look at this video I shot. Watch the first half (me riding away from the camera & light source), then imagine it in reverse. How close does a motorist have to get, at a closing speed of 60-80 feet per second, before even a fully-reflectorized human profile "clicks" as a cyclist?



    Even the ambiguous 120-lumen double-flash taillight gives a motorist a solid 30-45 seconds to latch onto the general idea that they're overtaking SOMETHING that's emitting a caution signal. The Nova BULL shown there, along with my DiNotte 140, DiNotte 300R, Hotshot and Solas, have all drawn unsolicited roll-down-the-window praise from motorists for making me easy to notice. I think that tells us something about bright lights.

    Front lights are another question. How do we differentiate ourselves against a backdrop of other steady headlights? Have a look at this photo below... while I was shooting photos here, a cyclist came up the hill towards me with a typical "be-seen" small headlight and a bright-yellow jacket. He was very close before I noticed him, less than a block.



    What would get him noticed here? Would it be technically street-legal? What would you do? Great discussion material For myself, this is where I would be most comfortable with a "shotgun" beam with massive output, e.g. DiNotte 1200+ on HIGH or maybe pulse-flash, and maybe my helmet light as well.


    As I mentioned in my post, halogen and xenon bulbs are shrouded. LED's in bike lights are not.
    Being shrouded doesn't actually help when the headlight's reflector is helpfully directing the light downhill into my face. Super-high-end HIDs are the worst, having massive output and making sure it's all coming down the hill at me. In point of fact, the LED in my main headlight is shrouded and not even visible from the front, being a B&M Cyo. But when it's peeking over a hill at oncoming traffic, I still sometimes get high-beamed by people who are getting the core of the beam in their face. Not much I can do except to show them my real high beam, then turn it off again.

    Thanks, Mech.
    I think I will wait for the NiteFlux, I want something on my backpack and neither the Dinotte nor the Exposure provide me with that option. When I bought the Portland Danger Zone I had the chance to compare it with the Hotshot and PB Turbo, and I believe the Portland is better as a light source, it has a flashing mode that its very eye catching, the only inconvenience is the double AAA's, but I use rechargeables.

    Still, all these blinkies are very weak with side visibility...
    The NiteFlux is one solution. If you wanted something in the meanwhile, also consider the amber/yellow BikeBrightz pictured a few posts up. It's cheap, runs on rechargeable AAAs, and would probably be best on the front side of your seat tube facing forward-ish, so it's visible from the sides and particularly from the front. Or you can run pink, purple or green just to be extra-different

  67. #67
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    Daylight visibility

    A bicycle is almost invisible at 140 meters/459 feet in the day. A rider wearing a high visibility vest will improve visibility. The video and picture comparison will show how invisible bikes really are without rear strobing lights.

    A car travelling at 60mph will reach the bikes in 5.21 seconds. On a highway, it will cover that distance in 3.9 seconds at 80mph. The reaction time of a distracted or drunk driver will further reduce the time margin.



    Last edited by mtbRevolution; 12-31-2012 at 08:19 PM. Reason: typos
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  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by leaftye View Post
    I want to clarify or emphasize that I was referring to already having lighting that providing visibility and going beyond that. .
    Understood. As far as being seen by others, I agree there is a point of diminished returns, however the light you use on front of the bike serves two purposes. It allows others to see you but it also allows you to see the things that you need to see in the road so you don't end up killing yourself. As such the second point is just as important as the first but usually requires more light output to get the job done properly.

    Case in point: I use one of the Gloworm X2's on my road set-up. ( MTBR rated to about 1200 lumen on high ) ( with spot optics ). I don't need 1200 lumen to see where I'm going most of the time and I certainly don't need that much for others to see me. That is why I usually ride with the lamp in the 300 lumen mode. However if I hit a fast downhill or a fast section of road that is heavily wooded to the sides THEN I start to need more light so I can be more certain not to hit something either laying on the shoulder of the road or some sort of wildlife that may choose that moment to come popping out of the woods. To see farther you need a light with more output if using the same optical setup. Being seen generally requires less light and so is the smaller part of the issue when it comes to riding the road at night.


    Quote Originally Posted by leaftye View Post
    ....As I mentioned in my post, halogen and xenon bulbs are shrouded. LED's in bike lights are not.
    This is like comparing a peanut to a dollop of peanut butter. One may be slightly different in consistency but each has the same basic favor. When it comes to being blinded by a light source and making comparisons the real issue is output ( lumen ) and intensity ( throw ). Whether it comes from halogen, HID, or LED makes no difference to me. If you are blinded by it you really don't care about the emitter source and whether it is reflected light or light more directly emitted.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guydebord View Post
    This is great news! Would it be to much to ask for a picture of the clip mount? I have done a google search without luck....

    My bad, and I hope I caught you before ordering. The clip on the 300R is an after thought and nothing more than a total joke made out of painted steel. Here it is temporarily attached, as I've been using the screw-on chainstay mount. Seriously disappointing.


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    Quote Originally Posted by pigmode View Post
    My bad, and I hope I caught you before ordering. The clip on the 300R is an after thought and nothing more than a total joke made out of painted steel. Here it is temporarily attached, as I've been using the screw-on chainstay mount. Seriously disappointing.
    No worries, I think I will wait for the new lights from Australia... though It might take 1 or 2 months.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigmode View Post
    My bad, and I hope I caught you before ordering. The clip on the 300R is an after thought and nothing more than a total joke made out of painted steel. Here it is temporarily attached, as I've been using the screw-on chainstay mount. Seriously disappointing.

    But the 300R's clip isn't intended to clip onto fabric, it's specifically to clip onto the various mounting bayonets DiNotte includes, like this:



    I agree, it's worthless for clipping onto anything else, but its function is to turn the 300R into a quick-releasable light you can move from bike to bike, or remove from the bike when locking up in public.

  72. #72
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    Lol, that's right. I'm using the non-clip-on with the two vertical screws.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    ....Front lights are another question. How do we differentiate ourselves against a backdrop of other steady headlights? Have a look at this photo below... while I was shooting photos here, a cyclist came up the hill towards me with a typical "be-seen" small headlight and a bright-yellow jacket. He was very close before I noticed him, less than a block.



    What would get him noticed here? Would it be technically street-legal? What would you do? Great discussion material For myself, this is where I would be most comfortable with a "shotgun" beam with massive output, e.g. DiNotte 1200+ on HIGH or maybe pulse-flash, and maybe my helmet light as well...
    I thought I would dig this thread up to continue the discussion on front visibility. Mech makes a great point here. How do we make it more apparent that something coming up the road is a bike? Answer: strobes. As Mech pointed out before, blinking lights are associated with bicycles ( at least in the USA ). Just before winter hit my area I purchased a nice little "see me" front blinker called the "axiom" from Performance bike. Real nice mini self-contained light, USB rechargeable, very adjustable and very bright as mini front blinkies go.

    A while back I saw a rider using a blinking light on the front fork to supplement his bar lamp. He was riding in an urban setting much like the photo that Mech supplied. I was coming out of a side road and really only saw him ( among the lights of all the on coming cars ) because he had a strobe mounted low on front of the bike.
    I immediately recognized that this was a really good idea. The only question I had was: Was the strobe action of the light going to interfere ( or distract ) the rider by reflecting off the road? Thankfully I finally got my answer last night while doing a night road ride. With the Axiom mounted on one of my fork legs and tilted slightly upwards, there was no real big bounce effect from the road. All I noticed was the light from my front bar lamp. Occasionally when I approached reflective signs I got some bounce from those but that didn't bother me.

    To sum up; I definitely recommend that anyone riding a bike on the road do exactly as I did. You could place the blinkie on the bars but if your main bar light is brighter it will just drown out the blinkie. Mounting the blinkie lower on the bike gives the viewer a larger target to see ( with main lamp on the bars ). The key here is to keep each light isolated. This works and it works well.

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    Looking for power lights?, see here

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    Daytime rear lights: Amber strobes

    I finally decided to seek out something better than the plain XM-L torch with amber lens I was using for rear daytime duties. After doing some searching on the web it was becoming quite obvious that there are not too many places to find lamps with "true amber led's" Now if you have a couple hundred dollars burning a hole in your pocket you can buy one of the amber DiNotte sets but then you have to deal with bringing bigger batteries along on your day time ride. Personally I like to keep things as small and light weight as possible ( not to mention, inexpensive.. )

    The cheapest idea I had was to find a drop-in for the torch that utilizes a bright amber LED and has a suitable driver with an appropriate "blink/strobe" mode. Web searches brought up nothing. Then I remembered reading on CPF that there are folks that sell custom drop-in's. Didn't take me long to find the website. I then sent off an e-mail to Dave at Customlites.com to see If I could get a custom Amber drop-in. Long story short, I have a nice over-driven Cree Amber XP-E drop-in with several modes, including a strobe with a frequency that is just about perfect. Since the drop-in has memory I don't need to worry about the other modes, simple on/off function.

    I did test it with the Lux meter and at it's brightest hot spot it is almost twice as bright as what the XM-L ( with amber lens ) was. The beam pattern is a bit more narrower than the XM-L but the amber LED is also quite a bit more "orange-ish" then the XM-L with lens. I haven't had a chance to ride with it yet but I like what I'm seeing so far. If it doesn't rain today I will likely have a chance to test it ( crossing fingers ).

  76. #76
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    Just found another kickstarter project that met its funding goal: https://www.shopstarter.org/p/noxgea...zing-sports-a/
    That definitely enhances road visibility.

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