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  1. #1
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    Newbie light advice

    Good morning fellas,
    I'm looking for some suggestions as to what light I should get. As the temps in Arizona are climbing quickly (and my son who gets up progressively earlier), the only time I think I can ride is early early morning and weekends. I'd like to find an inexpensive light that can light the trails for around an hour before the sun comes up. I've been trying to read all the threads in here but to be honest, all the specs most of you rap off are jibberish to me. I'd like to keep the price down as much as possible (for now) and I have been looking at some of the cheap-o Chinese stuff. I have been looking at this:

    Amazon.com: 5000 Lumen 2x CREE XML U2 LED Cycling Bicycle Bike Light Lamp HeadLight Headlamp: Sports & Outdoors

    I'd prefer to not have a thousand lights on my bars and helmet but mainly I'd like to not eat **** in the dirt because I can't see. Also added bonus points for being shipped in the US so I don't have to wait a month for shipping. From what you guys have been saying in previous threads that there is some preventive measures to take when buying these lights such as inspecting the solders, thermal paste, etc; I should do this to maximize the life on the light. Any ideas or suggestions? Please and thanks!

  2. #2
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    I'd go with a helmet light and a bar light, in that order. Especially when relying on cheap lights, you'll want a backup when (not if) the batteries fail. With helmet lights, the old school method is a 4-cell battery pack in the Camelbak but lately the lights are getting more efficient and you can get away with a flashlight and mount or headlamp converted with some velcro. Also you might check reviews on similar lights and see if another cheap brand is proving more reliable. Last tip - pay the extra buck or two for local (non-chinese) shipper with good ratings. You'll get it faster, and you may get better service.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by diylighter View Post
    I'd go with a helmet light and a bar light, in that order. Especially when relying on cheap lights, you'll want a backup when (not if) the batteries fail. With helmet lights, the old school method is a 4-cell battery pack in the Camelbak but lately the lights are getting more efficient and you can get away with a flashlight and mount or headlamp converted with some velcro. Also you might check reviews on similar lights and see if another cheap brand is proving more reliable. Last tip - pay the extra buck or two for local (non-chinese) shipper with good ratings. You'll get it faster, and you may get better service.
    Thanks for the tips, that's exactly what I was looking for.

  4. #4
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    I agree that it is more complicated than it needs to be. You should have 2 lights. One bar, one helmet. Batteries should give you a few hours. You can get a legit set up from action-led-lights for ~$180 or so. This would be 2x Magicshine 808 with a wide-angle lens for the bar-mounted light. If $180 is too much, the one you have linked seems to get good reviews here, add another single LED light for the helmet (same Securitying brand sold on Amazon) and there you have it. Don't get hung up in the light-nerd stuff, it really doesn't make much of a difference to enjoying a good night ride. I use an older version of the set-up from action and night ride frequently and race it. I think if you get the cheaper Chinese knock-off stuff, just be prepared that they may at some point fail.
    Last edited by TiGeo; 04-23-2014 at 06:41 AM.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  5. #5
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    Sure thing. If you want a simple, no-hassle solution for the helmet, depending on how many hours you will night ride, I would consider the Niterider Lumina 700. For around $95 shipped, you get a self-contained unit that is fairly bullet-proof, and comes with everything you need to mount on the helmet or bars.

    As TiGeo eluded, some of this is chinese stuff is more for the techie crowd, with experience tinkering on DIY velcro mounts and soldering. Not for everyone, as the chinese lights could be considered a compromise between reputable manufacturers and DIY. Also, when you are shopping around you want to look at Lumens, weight (with batteries) and runtime. With chinese offerings, these are overstated to the point of complete false advertising. Reputable vendors are usually fairly close to their claims (see MTBR light shootout).

    Good luck!

  6. #6
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    I use two Cree LED flashlights. One on the handlebar and another one on the helmet. The one on the handlebar though always pointing forward is attached to a rotating handlebar light holder. The only bad side of using bright lights on the trail is that you can see all the junk flying around straight into your mouth.

    Newbie light advice-bg6zwh9.jpg
    Newbie light advice-ge0teig.jpg

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the suggestions and info fellas. I picked up a nice used Niterider 350 for next to nothing to get me by for now, and I took the gamble and ordered a couple of the Chinese lights. In about 7 years when the arrive to my door (slow boat) I'll go ahead and do the precautionary steps you all suggested in other threads to help improve the life of the cheapo's. Thanks again for the tips, and I'll post results when I have the lights up.

    --@gundam - what type of lights are those?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by seankanary View Post
    --@gundam - what type of lights are those?
    Those are just generic Cree LED flashlights. The big one on the left uses a large 18650 battery and has been with me for about 15 months already. It fell from my bike several times and even seen it bouncing after me but it still works. The two small ones use the smaller 14500 battery (AA sized). The first one burned out after a month but the second one seems to be a robust buy.

  9. #9
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    I agree with the original poster and i am in the same boat as him. i generally ride at night time for a hour. just looking for a decent light. not so much to light up the whole trail but just to give me some visibility and be seen.


    i considered buying some flashlights and doing the bar mounts, can i ask what you suggest?

  10. #10
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    ^^^Good info here for you.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

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