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  1. #1
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    Long-life light system for multi-day rides/races

    I'm looking for a light that I can use for multi-day rides - let's say about 20-30 hours of night riding without any chance to recharge. There will probably be gas stations along the way.

    So I was thinking about going with

    * A disposable battery-based system like a bunch of AA LED flashlights
    * A 'real' LED light with a low beam that allows slow riding but can last the whole trip
    * A 'real' LED light with a moderate beam and multiple batteries

    What do you think? What are some good light options if I wanted to take about 1 lb of batteries to get me through 25 hours of night riding?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by perrygeo
    I'm looking for a light that I can use for multi-day rides - let's say about 20-30 hours of night riding without any chance to recharge. There will probably be gas stations along the way.

    So I was thinking about going with

    * A disposable battery-based system like a bunch of AA LED flashlights
    * A 'real' LED light with a low beam that allows slow riding but can last the whole trip
    * A 'real' LED light with a moderate beam and multiple batteries

    What do you think? What are some good light options if I wanted to take about 1 lb of batteries to get me through 25 hours of night riding?
    Have you thought about a dynamo system?
    Plenty of light and no battery cost/worries.
    DIY LED Bike Lights:
    A few Dynamo builds and some Small battery lights

  3. #3
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    If your not in a rush,i would recomend either a TrailLed 500L with a custom built eight cell battery pack,or two six cell packs.Same with the Amoeba with modified battery packs.Both products are very good,lots of light and long run times.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by perrygeo
    I'm looking for a light that I can use for multi-day rides - let's say about 20-30 hours of night riding without any chance to recharge. There will probably be gas stations along the way.

    So I was thinking about going with

    * A disposable battery-based system like a bunch of AA LED flashlights
    * A 'real' LED light with a low beam that allows slow riding but can last the whole trip
    * A 'real' LED light with a moderate beam and multiple batteries

    What do you think? What are some good light options if I wanted to take about 1 lb of batteries to get me through 25 hours of night riding?
    Can you give more details about the type of trails you'll be riding. You need a lot more light for technical singletrack as opposed to fireroads. You can also get away with less light if you're by yourself. If you're riding with others, your light needs will be influenced by the amount of light the others are using since your eyes will adjust based on the light around you.

    Personally, I'd lean towards a good quality normal bike light that can run at a very low level. With my normal bike light, I can get 30 hours of runtime at a 250 lumen light level from a 6-cell 18650 li-ion battery pack. Since I use both a helmet and bar light, that gives 500 lumen total which is enough for singletrack as long as you aren't riding with other folks with much brighter amounts of light.

    The other popular option among randonnée racers doing races like the PBP, is specialty disposable lithium D cells. They are rated around 20ah at very low drain currents. You'll only get half that at typical light currents and they are kind of expensive, but they are reasonably lightweight with very high energy density.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by indebt
    If your not in a rush,i would recomend either a TrailLed 500L with a custom built eight cell battery pack,or two six cell packs.Same with the Amoeba with modified battery packs.Both products are very good,lots of light and long run times.
    The TrailLED only has one mode and lasts 5 hours. I'd need to carry six batteries so that's out. I'll check on the Amoeba

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtbMacgyver
    Can you give more details about the type of trails you'll be riding. You need a lot more light for technical singletrack as opposed to fireroads. You can also get away with less light if you're by yourself. If you're riding with others, your light needs will be influenced by the amount of light the others are using since your eyes will adjust based on the light around you.

    Personally, I'd lean towards a good quality normal bike light that can run at a very low level. With my normal bike light, I can get 30 hours of runtime at a 250 lumen light level from a 6-cell 18650 li-ion battery pack. Since I use both a helmet and bar light, that gives 500 lumen total which is enough for singletrack as long as you aren't riding with other folks with much brighter amounts of light.

    The other popular option among randonnée racers doing races like the PBP, is specialty disposable lithium D cells. They are rated around 20ah at very low drain currents. You'll only get half that at typical light currents and they are kind of expensive, but they are reasonably lightweight with very high energy density.
    I'll be riding singletrack and fireroad mixed. I definitely want a light that I can adjust up or down depending on the conditions.

    A light that can do ~30 hrs @ 200 lumens is exactly what I want (assuming I can crank it up to 500+ Lumens for short stretches of downhill). Most newer LEDs don't seem to have this 'medium/low' setting - What model are you using?

    I'll probably carry a AAA powered headlamp too for emergency use, around camp, hike-a-biking and slow riding.

    Thanks for the input.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by perrygeo
    The TrailLED only has one mode and lasts 5 hours. I'd need to carry six batteries so that's out. I'll check on the Amoeba

    I thought the TralLed 500L had low beam, that's to bad it doesn't. I think the Amoeba only has a high setting as well now that i think of it.Scar may be able to customize a low setting into a lamphead for you. If not,and you have a good budget the Piko does have a low setting (230lumens) wich i think will give you seven hours run time on two cell battery.Possably Bill at Gretna could give you credit on the standard two cell pack towards their water bottle battery and you would have all the run times you need including lots of high beam time as well.With the amount of run times your looking for i wouldn't go cheep as you want a system that is durable.This is expensive,but will last you in all weather conditions for many years.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by perrygeo

    A light that can do ~30 hrs @ 200 lumens is exactly what I want (assuming I can crank it up to 500+ Lumens for short stretches of downhill). Most newer LEDs don't seem to have this 'medium/low' setting - What model are you using?
    I'm using lights I built myself. You can look at the links in my signature section if you want more details.

    In terms of commercial products, both Niterider and Dinotte offer lights with real "low" modes.

    I find Dinotte's web site to be really lacking and very inconsistent. They do a terrible job of consistently listing the specs for their lights. But, you can call them and talk to them and get the info you need. Generally the quality and reliability of their lights is very good.

    Niterider supports user programmable light levels so you can customize the modes to exactly what you need. This is how my lights works and is really useful for what you're trying to do. I'm not very impressed with the quality of the engineering and reliability of Niterider products. For the price they charge, it should be a lot better than it is. They aren't complete junk, but they aren't as good as Dinotte. But, in this case the programmable light levels may make it worthwhile.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtbMacgyver
    I'm using lights I built myself. You can look at the links in my signature section if you want more details.

    In terms of commercial products, both Niterider and Dinotte offer lights with real "low" modes.

    I find Dinotte's web site to be really lacking and very inconsistent. They do a terrible job of consistently listing the specs for their lights. But, you can call them and talk to them and get the info you need. Generally the quality and reliability of their lights is very good.

    Niterider supports user programmable light levels so you can customize the modes to exactly what you need. This is how my lights works and is really useful for what you're trying to do. I'm not very impressed with the quality of the engineering and reliability of Niterider products. For the price they charge, it should be a lot better than it is. They aren't complete junk, but they aren't as good as Dinotte. But, in this case the programmable light levels may make it worthwhile.
    Thanks for the input. VERY nice light collection you've built there! I have not ruled out a DIY approach but I don't have much experience with electronics so it's a bit daunting.

    The Dinotte's are nice but I agree that their website is funky - I've managed to find the info I need though. Looks like nice lights but not perfect for what i need.

    The programable approach of the NiteRiders is awesome - thanks for bringing that up. I'd be able to program a number of low-ish settings and get all the juice needed. I have owned a NiteRider way back when (25w halogen with lead battery) and wasn't too impressed with the quality either.

    Any other programmable lights out there that I could check out?

  10. #10
    BBW
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    http://gretnabikes.com/item.asp?PID=194&cID=1
    Lupine is on the expensive side but with this you won't need anything else ever again ;-)

    http://gretnabikes.com/wilma_5.asp also the Wilma with a 7.5Ah battery will give you about 30h at 2W with the option to crank it to 17W on the DH.. they have many settings; not only high, med and low. you can program how you want the mid and low
    Check them out
    Lupine.de
    PS: I don't work for them; i'm just a super happy customer
    BBW. MS, RD

  11. #11
    GeoMan
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    I have a Lupine Piko 3 and an 8.7Ah 6 cell German Battery pack, I haven't had a chance to test burntime completely with the Piko and the 8.7Ah pack but that pack runs the Betty on high for almost 4 hours and I expect the Piko for approx 8 hrs on high and probably 24 hours on low.

    Quote Originally Posted by perrygeo
    I'm looking for a light that I can use for multi-day rides - let's say about 20-30 hours of night riding without any chance to recharge. There will probably be gas stations along the way.

    So I was thinking about going with

    * A disposable battery-based system like a bunch of AA LED flashlights
    * A 'real' LED light with a low beam that allows slow riding but can last the whole trip
    * A 'real' LED light with a moderate beam and multiple batteries

    What do you think? What are some good light options if I wanted to take about 1 lb of batteries to get me through 25 hours of night riding?
    Last edited by GEOMAN; 01-21-2011 at 03:24 PM.
    GeoMan
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