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Thread: Regrets

  1. #1
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    Regrets

    do you have any bike light related regrets ?

    i regret getting Light & Motion Seca in RACE version instead of Enduro. i was so out of shape at the time that i thought 1.5 hours on High is enough, and i wanted that cute 3-cell battery, but having used both the 3 cell and the 6 cell batteries from L&M they're both quite compact ( compared to say NiteRider batteries which are bulky ) and there isn't that much difference in size between them. there is a significant difference in price between Race and Enduro however ... even so, for helmet use the Enduro makes more sense. it doesn't make sense to put a big light on your helmet and then not run it at full power because you don't have enough battery life. on the bars you might as well use two Race lights because it's not much more $ than a single Enduro, but on the helmet having two Race lights ... which is what i have ... is pretty heavy. and i end up running them at 1/2 power to save battery which is reta4ded because if i had only a single Enduro i would have saved money AND weight and still have the same light output.

    i also regret getting Philips SafeRide instead of Ixon IQ Speed. for the same exact reason - not enough battery life. accordging to my math the output of Ixon IQ Speed with dual light heads is similar to Philips SafeRide but offers 5 hours burn time instead of 2 hours for Philips. another reason not to get philips is the light is too heavy for a self-contained light and doesn't stay put - constantly sags. Ixon IQ speed light heads are several times lighter because they are not made out of metal and don't have batteries inside them. of course Ixon IQ Speed is almost 3 times the price of SafeRide but i would suggest if you have the money it is probably worth it.

    the Ixon IQ Speed is basically what SafeRide should have been, and SafeRide is basically Ixon IQ Speed 3-part system ( 2 lights and 1 battery ) stuffed into a self-contained package with resulting compromises to both optics, battery and mounting. the only thing SafeRide didn't compromise was cooling - being entirely cast-aluminum ( including battery compartment cover door ) it certainly has no problems in that regard.

    another major downside to SafeRide is the beam pattern ( compared to Ixon IQ Speed ) has artifacts due to having two LEDs sharing the same reflector ( Ixon IQ speed has a separate reflector for each LED ). the pattern is also not symmetrical due to the light being mounted on one side and inability to level the light's flat beam pattern with the horizon - so it is a bit cocked to the side. the Ixon IQ Speed has same problem but it has 2 light heads ( 2nd is optional, but i wouldn't even consider the system without it ) that mount symmetrically and even each other out.

    the SafeRide certainly is leaps and bounds ahead of Ixon IQ Speed when it comes to value considering that it includes everything ( batteries and charger ) but if they fail you can use any Ni-Mh AA batteries and any USB charger with it instead. by contrast replacement battery and / or charger for Ixon IQ Speed will cost you a pretty penny on top of initial investment that is already almost 3X as much as Philips Saferide.

    so really the only thing comparable between these two lights is output - one is strictly value oriented and another strictly performance oriented. being as broke as i am i went for the value, and i regret it.

    my logic with Philips was "hey its Amazon - if i don't like it i will return it" but i missed the return period ...

    well there you go.

    do you have any regrets ?

  2. #2
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    Regrets

    I loved my DiNotte lights till I broke a bulb and needed service. From then on it was a two month, many email chaotic mess to get my light repaired and paid for. Sadly, I'll never buy one of their lights again. Also, who names very different lights (the AA vs battery pack versions) the same when they have very different light engines and burn times. Dumb!

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    I don't think Dinotte even makes a light with bulbs. They are all LED. Your comment doesn't make sense to me.

    J.

  4. #4
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    Regrets

    It's one of the 200 AA models and my bike fell over one night on the Tour Divide Race.... I heard a pop and my light quit working when I needed it most. DiNotte referred to it as the bulb when they replaced whatever they replaced.... That's all I know. In any case, it was more about the "service" than the light.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1 Speed View Post
    I loved my DiNotte lights till I broke a bulb and needed service. From then on it was a two month, many email chaotic mess to get my light repaired and paid for. Sadly, I'll never buy one of their lights again. Also, who names very different lights (the AA vs battery pack versions) the same when they have very different light engines and burn times. Dumb!
    haha yeah Dinotte is pretty dumb when it comes to customer service and documentation. they can't even get the lumen ratings right on their page. because they have so many lights with the same name ( 400R ) when ordering i made a note about lumens to make sure i get the right one and my order was put on hold. why ? because the lumen rating i referred to was put on the page by mistake and they thought it was *I* who made the mistake with my order ...

    they did fix the number by now. now 400R is listed as 240 lumens. when i ordered it it was listed as 400 lumens.

  6. #6
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    FWIW, I've had a bunch of Dinotte lights - 200's, 400, 600, 800 and the 400R and the 300R. I've found their customer service to be superb and their lights are tanks. Everyone screws up sooner or later and it's too bad it had to be you (and how many years ago was that???) but I feel your pain.

    @androgen - the 400 and 400R are old lights (like 5+ years old). At that time, before some of the mfgs like L&M, Lezyne and Lupine started pushing true lumen ratings, the practice was to pretty much name them at the theoretical lumen rating or lumens at the LED (not OTF). There were also no really consistent testing processes either. The whole thing got ridiculous to the point where some of the Chinese knockoffs would have lumen claims inflated by 2 and 3X what they actually put out. For Dinotte, obviously it wouldn't make sense to go back and rename all their lights - and it's a testament to their lights that so many of their older models are still in demand. On the other hand, IIRC, you've bought and returned so many lights that I'm not sure you're the ideal customer either.

    J.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    the 400 and 400R are old lights (like 5+ years old). At that time, before some of the mfgs like L&M, Lezyne and Lupine started pushing true lumen ratings, the practice was to pretty much name them at the theoretical lumen rating or lumens at the LED (not OTF). There were also no really consistent testing processes either. The whole thing got ridiculous to the point where some of the Chinese knockoffs would have lumen claims inflated by 2 and 3X what they actually put out. For Dinotte, obviously it wouldn't make sense to go back and rename all their lights - and it's a testament to their lights that so many of their older models are still in demand. On the other hand, IIRC, you've bought and returned so many lights that I'm not sure you're the ideal customer either.

    J.
    obviously i still think Dinotte tail light is the best of what is available ( don't consider DesignShine DS-500 to be "available" ). i have few complaints about the light - it is very well made and accessorized and performs very well. but the company / website could be run a bit better - although it cold be worse as well.

    as for returning a lot of lights - i don't see any problem with doing this because i don't buy lights with the INTENTION of returning them. returning an inferior product and replacing it with a superior one rewards good manufacturers / designers and punishes bad ones which is how free market is supposed to work.

    if everybody settled for whatever trash they ended up buying whether it worked or not there would be very little incentive for manufacturers to deliver quality or performance. why reward sloppiness ? we should reward excellence and hard work.

    i do a lot of research before buying ANYTHING. i read reviews, browse forums, look at pictures, videos, try to understand how the product works etc. if after doing all this i still end up with a product that doesn't meet my needs i see no reason why i should be the one to bear the cost of this mistake when i had done everything i could to avoid it, while the manufacturer in most cases has done everything they could to CONCEAL any flaws of their product, and to make sure i do NOT figure out that their product is wrong for me.

    if the manufacturer begged me not to buy their product, and explained to me over and over that there are better products from other makers, and made dozens of videos and pictures and tests to prove to me that their product is INFERIOR to the competition, and i insisted that i want to buy it anyway THEN i would have no moral right to return it ...

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    How many lights have you bought in the last two years and then how many have you returned? Just curious, seems like a lot.

    Also might be a good metric on how effective your research is.


    J.

  9. #9
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    I have no light regrets, except not getting into it sooner.

    My Dinotte XML3 has taken way more abuse than it should be expected to.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    How many lights have you bought in the last two years and then how many have you returned? Just curious, seems like a lot.

    Also might be a good metric on how effective your research is.

    J.
    no it wouldn't be a good metric on effectiveness of my research. the price / performance ratio of the final result would be a good metric.

  11. #11
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    Well, if you can't buy a light and get it right 95% of the time, then why bother with your "research"?

    You never answered the other question about how many lights you bought and returned.

    J.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    Well, if you can't buy a light and get it right 95% of the time, then why bother with your "research"?

    You never answered the other question about how many lights you bought and returned.

    J.
    that's ridiculous. people change wives 2, 3, 4 times. you're telling me i can't change a light.

    even Apple doesn't hit a home run every time.

    companies like Google and Samsung only produce about 1 hit for every 10 products they make, and they're still market leaders.

    you're telling me i have to deliver on the dime 95 times out of 100 even when i don't really stand to lose anything by making a mistake ? if i could do that Apple should be knocking on my door with 500 million dollar check begging me to be their CEO.

    it is also impossible to make perfect decisions without experience. research cannot substitute for direct hands-on experience no matter how good it is. before i had hands-on experience with good lights my success rate was low. it is now much higher.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    Well, if you can't buy a light and get it right 95% of the time, then why bother with your "research"?

    You never answered the other question about how many lights you bought and returned.

    J.
    and to answer your question, last year i returned 3 out of 3 lights that i bought.

    this year i returned 1 and cancelled 2 more ( before they shipped ) out of 13, and kept 10. so i kept 10 out of 11 lights that were delivered to me, which is more than 90%.

    now if you add to this the Philips SafeRide and the two Seca 1700 Race that i *regret* ( but not returning for whatever reasons ) then my overall success rate this year is only 7 out of 11 lights, which is about two thirds.

    however i would not have made these mistakes if i was riding regularly. because i wasn't i had no way to estimate how much run time i would need from the batteries. after riding for only a few weeks my endurance improved a lot more than i expected which caused me to run out of battery life on all 3 of my headlights. of course you will say i should have expected this - but not really - because i have had so much bad luck with getting sidelined with injuries in the past few years that really there wasn't much reason for me to expect this.

    so far the only individual i can think of who i think is better at his lights purchases research than i am is mechBgon from another forum / youtube - and he is only better than me when it comes to rear visibility. and he has probably returned more of his lights than i have. we both returned our Dinotte 300R for example, although i read about him returning his before i bought mine, which i eventually returned myself - but for different reasons.

    yeah, so i don't know what your problem is but my research is awesome

  14. #14
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    Yikes! It's just not that hard to figure this out.

    J.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    Yikes! It's just not that hard to figure this out.

    J.
    the problem will appear as simple as the mind contemplating it ...

    you have my official permission not to respond to my posts in the future.

  16. #16
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    Actually, the converse is true.

    J.

  17. #17
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    Since you are unable to manually keep your opinion to yourself i am adding you to ignore list.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    Since you are unable to manually keep your opinion to yourself i am adding you to ignore list.
    Sorry to upset you. The whole purpose of forums is to share opinions. Maybe you missed that.

    J.

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    I accidently pulled the cord out of the back of my Dinotte XML-3. I have the dual. It was over a year old. I sent it in and even told them I did it but by accident. I expected to be charged something. I got it back and pretty fast w/ no charge, under warranty repair.

    I have cheap Chinese lights as well as most of you too. Had numerous cheap lights. They last about a year to 2 years and if your lucky you get a 3rd season. The batteries either give out or the wires fray inside and short. The light heads have actually been pretty good.

    My point is you'll more than likely be riding w/ your Dinotte or other upper end light for a long time w/o any issues. Yeah, at some point all batteries give out but it's nice and comforting to know I have a light set that will not fail in the dark 2 hrs away from anything.

    MB

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    Just got a 800 Seca.....wish it was brighter but it has a good run time. If I went to a brighter light then I would need the larger battery.

    There's no one perfect solution, it's always a compromise.

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    One of the big advantages to Dinotte is their batteries. They've been using the same batteries forever, no changes in the connectors. Their batteries are a great value compared to batteries of others (i.e. Lupine, for example). It's hard to go wrong with Dinotte.

    J.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuck_tacoma View Post
    Just got a 800 Seca.....wish it was brighter but it has a good run time. If I went to a brighter light then I would need the larger battery.

    There's no one perfect solution, it's always a compromise.
    newer lights are more efficient, so you can get more run time with less battery at any given output level. how much more i don't know because i don't have specs for Seca 800 but i know that even my Seca 1700 is significantly less efficient than the new Seca 2000 and i know that Seca 1400 ( which i tried ) is significantly less efficient than Seca 1700, and i can only assume Seca 800 is even less efficient.

    most of the output gain from 800 to 1400 to 1700 to 2000 has been from LED efficiency, not increasing power draw. if you got Seca 2000 and used it at half power you would have more light and significantly longer run time from same battery size at the same time. of course it would cost double.

    my choice was Seca 1700 for $319 or Seca 2000 for $499. i considered both the difference in output and the difference in efficiency, but in the end the improvement just wasn't enough to justify the price difference.

    if cost was no object i would have gotten two Seca 2000 Enduros, unfortunately that would have worked out to as much $ as a Lupine Betty. i would prefer two Seca 2000 Enduros to a single Lupine Betty 4500 Lumen however.

  23. #23
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    well i just placed an order on a 6 cell battery for the Seca, plus an extra Light & Motion charger.

    this will convert one of my two Seca Race lights into a Seca Enduro, while my Second Seca Race will get a spare 3 cell battery with its own charger.

    in other words i will need to switch the battery on one of the lights exactly mid-way through the ride, then i will have 3 hour run time on both lights.

    having one 6 cell battery and two 3 cell batteries is obviously not ideal - would have been much better to simply have two 6 cell batteries ... oh well.

    also i think the Enduro isn't just a Race with a bigger battery, i believe it also has a bigger charger.

    the chargers that came with the Race model are tiny and not rated to charge the 6 cell battery, which is one reason i had to buy an extra charger. i suppose it would probably work anyway but i decided not to push it and ordered a L&M charger designed for the 6 cell battery ( it can also charge the 3 cell ).

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    newer lights are more efficient, so you can get more run time with less battery at any given output level.
    Yes,

    When I was originally looking, I got confused/missled, the L&M Website says the Seca 1500 comes with the 6cell and I didnt want the added weight. So I thought that the 800 was just as efficient with the stated runtimes with 3 cell.

    I'm going to try the 1500 out and see...Thanks for the help.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuck_tacoma View Post
    Yes,

    When I was originally looking, I got confused/missled, the L&M Website says the Seca 1500 comes with the 6cell and I didnt want the added weight. So I thought that the 800 was just as efficient with the stated runtimes with 3 cell.

    I'm going to try the 1500 out and see...Thanks for the help.
    as far as i know the 1400 ( older light ) comes with 6 cell. the 1500 ( 2014 ) comes with 3 cell, but still manages about the same run time, due to higher efficiency.

    if later on you decide you need to double your run time you would have to get a second 6 cell if you are using 1400 but you would only need to get a second 3 cell for the 1500 so in this way efficiency would save you both weight AND money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    .... after riding for only a few weeks my endurance improved a lot more than i expected which caused me to run out of battery life on all 3 of my headlights.

    ...
    Are you running out of battery because you primarily/only run the lights on high? Do you use any other modes to give you more runtime during your ride?

    As far as regrets, why not just sell your lights on the open market and try the other ones you mentioned? You may take a slight loss on them but it can be caulked up to the learning experience etc.

    Just a thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cue003 View Post
    Are you running out of battery because you primarily/only run the lights on high? Do you use any other modes to give you more runtime during your ride?

    As far as regrets, why not just sell your lights on the open market and try the other ones you mentioned? You may take a slight loss on them but it can be caulked up to the learning experience etc.

    Just a thought.
    i've never actually run out of battery life on any of my lights starting from a fresh charge. what i meant by running out of battery life is that i was forced to use lower power settings when i knew my ride would take 2 hours on a light with 1.5 hour run time.

    i just don't see the point of running a light at less than full power. that would be like driving half the speed limit on the highway to save gas.

    i could have returned the lights for refund but when i did the math it wouldn't be worth the trouble. getting an extra battery is less hassle.

    to go back to car mileage analogy - most people only drive about 40 miles a day, and usually pass half a dozen gas stations every day during their commute, yet most cars still include a gas tank sized for 400-500 miles of driving at the fastest possible speed that is both safe and legal.

    for example my car does about 25-30 mpg in real world. yellow pages lists 322 gas stations in New York City. there is half a dozen gas stations within 2 mile drive from my home. if my car was an LED light it would probably include a gas tank the size of a can of beer because that would be enough for me to make it from one gas station to the next. instead my gas tank is 18 gallons - enough to drive from NYC to Montreal or Toronto on one tank, or to drive from NYC to Washington DC and back on one tank.

    of course if cars were made by light makers you could get a car with 3 different tank capacities. you could get a car with 16 oz tank for $15,000 with 32 oz tank for $20,000 or 48 oz tank for $25,000.

    i was a fool and wanted a lighter, compact battery but really that was dumb. the weight of a few extra lithium cells is far outweighed by the benefits of longer run time. just like in the car a full tank has 100 pounds of gas in it, which is a significant amount of weight, but i don't know anybody who fills up their tank halfway to keep their car light.

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    My barlight battery setup uses individual cells and can be loaded in multiples of two, up to eight cells, to allow me to tailor the battery weight/capacity to whatever ride I have planned. It works nicely. This time of year my after work rides are ending in the dark for the last 20-40 minutes. Two cells are fine for that. Later when the entire two hours of my ride are in the dark I usually put in all eight cells and charge after every third ride.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    My barlight battery setup uses individual cells and can be loaded in multiples of two, up to eight cells, to allow me to tailor the battery weight/capacity to whatever ride I have planned. It works nicely. This time of year my after work rides are ending in the dark for the last 20-40 minutes. Two cells are fine for that. Later when the entire two hours of my ride are in the dark I usually put in all eight cells and charge after every third ride.
    charge after every 3rd ride ? damn, now that's luxury.

    that's what i do with my monkeylectric spoke lights - i charge them every 3 rides or so. they use 3 x AA Ni-Mh cells for each spoke light.

    i also charge my Trek Beacon bar end lights after every 3 rides or so, they take a single AAA Ni-Mh each.

    generally speaking all my non-headlight lights have good battery life, although i charge all the lithium ones after every ride. it is only the lights where i have to physically remove the batteries to charge them ( spoke and bar end lights ) that i charge every 3 rides.

    all my headlights have terrible battery life though.

    as for customizing battery size for ride length i certainly dig that idea. that's where i'm trying to go myself only in my case i would have to physically switch batteries during the ride.

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    So what happens when your ride goes to 4 hours? Are you then going to carry another battery with you to keep everything on high? You have 3400 lumens on your helmet and a ton of other visible lights on your bike and appear to ride in the city on bike paths with some level of ambient light... Dropping to 1700 lumen output (medium on both helmet lights) can't really be so bad is it? Maybe a remote switch would be a better answer to adjust output as needed for the specific dark areas you ride in. At some point the weight has got to uncomfortable on your head (that is if you are mounting both light and battery on your helmet).

    How do plan on addressing the less than 3 hour runtime on high with your Philips bar light?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cue003 View Post
    So what happens when your ride goes to 4 hours? Are you then going to carry another battery with you to keep everything on high? You have 3400 lumens on your helmet and a ton of other visible lights on your bike and appear to ride in the city on bike paths with some level of ambient light... Dropping to 1700 lumen output (medium on both helmet lights) can't really be so bad is it? Maybe a remote switch would be a better answer to adjust output as needed for the specific dark areas you ride in. At some point the weight has got to uncomfortable on your head (that is if you are mounting both light and battery on your helmet).

    How do plan on addressing the less than 3 hour runtime on high with your Philips bar light?
    if my ride goes to 4 hours i will add another 6 cell battery ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    charge after every 3rd ride ? damn, now that's luxury.
    That's what 13.6 Ah does for you.

    The light I use that battery with is running ~20W on high so ~5 hours on high. I run much of the time on a medium setting as medium is plenty bright for most any trail situation except fast downhills.

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    No, I have owned Light & Motion, Jetlites, an now-defunct HID company I forgot the name of, and now have two Lupines remaining (4 years and running). No regrets, awesome battery life, and responsive guys at Gretnabikes. Long battery life is important to me but I have not had any problems. I just spring and buy the best...not good for my finances but great for everything else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    i've never actually run out of battery life on any of my lights starting from a fresh charge. what i meant by running out of battery life is that i was forced to use lower power settings when i knew my ride would take 2 hours on a light with 1.5 hour run time.

    i just don't see the point of running a light at less than full power. that would be like driving half the speed limit on the highway to save gas.
    Since you used the example of cars let me add a bit more to the analogy: A car is capable of going maybe 150 mph depending on what you own so bare with me. Makes no sense though to travel at that speed simply because of the limitations presented in real world applications...ie...traffic, traffic lights, police, danger from accidents...etc. This said it doesn't matter what the top speed of the car is, you can only go so fast for so long. If you own a car that can travel at posted speed limits you are good to go. Everything else is window dressing and eye candy.

    This same principle applies to bike lights. Really no reason to use super high outputs full time as all this does is waste battery power and require the user to carry more heavier equipment. ( *note: plus the more you recharge batteries the faster they age ) When I'm riding along on the road at cruising speed ( ~14 to 16 mph ) I only need to see maybe 50-75ft in front of me to ride in relative comfort. I can easily do that with any one bar lamp outputting 500-600 lumen as long as the lamp is aimed right and has the appropriate beam pattern.

    Now if my speed increases or there are more potential obstacles than I might need more light. Usually when this happens though I only need the extra light for a quick moment or a couple minutes. When needed I step up the bar lamp and perhaps turn on the helmet lamp ( ~ 700 lumen spot pattern ) if necessary. *For me this works and I don't need to run more light. ( * my helmet setup for road is one XM-L torch that uses one 18650 cell. Since I only use it momentarily I really don't need to use a heavier system and my 1200 lumen bar lamp can supply more light ( for road use ) than I usually need.) Although I use a 4-cell battery for the bar lamp I could probably get by with a two cell. Currently I don't own a high capacity 2-cell so I go with the 4-cell.

    Conversely if there is more ambient light present I will likely need less light. Everything is situational but most people who ride with battery powered lighting also consider the hassle of having to carry extra props for their bike ( not to mention the extra weight of those systems and the hassle of setting up the entire rig. )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Since you used the example of cars let me add a bit more to the analogy: A car is capable of going maybe 150 mph depending on what you own so bare with me. Makes no sense though to travel at that speed simply because of the limitations presented in real world applications...ie...traffic, traffic lights, police, danger from accidents...etc. This said it doesn't matter what the top speed of the car is, you can only go so fast for so long. If you own a car that can travel at posted speed limits you are good to go. Everything else is window dressing and eye candy.

    This same principle applies to bike lights. Really no reason to use super high outputs full time as all this does is waste battery power and require the user to carry more heavier equipment. ( *note: plus the more you recharge batteries the faster they age ) When I'm riding along on the road at cruising speed ( ~14 to 16 mph ) I only need to see maybe 50-75ft in front of me to ride in relative comfort. I can easily do that with any one bar lamp outputting 500-600 lumen as long as the lamp is aimed right and has the appropriate beam pattern.

    Now if my speed increases or there are more potential obstacles than I might need more light. Usually when this happens though I only need the extra light for a quick moment or a couple minutes. When needed I step up the bar lamp and perhaps turn on the helmet lamp ( ~ 700 lumen spot pattern ) if necessary. *For me this works and I don't need to run more light. ( * my helmet setup for road is one XM-L torch that uses one 18650 cell. Since I only use it momentarily I really don't need to use a heavier system and my 1200 lumen bar lamp can supply more light ( for road use ) than I usually need.) Although I use a 4-cell battery for the bar lamp I could probably get by with a two cell. Currently I don't own a high capacity 2-cell so I go with the 4-cell.

    Conversely if there is more ambient light present I will likely need less light. Everything is situational but most people who ride with battery powered lighting also consider the hassle of having to carry extra props for their bike ( not to mention the extra weight of those systems and the hassle of setting up the entire rig. )
    your analogy makes no sense cat doing just 40 mph over speed limit in a car can cost you your license, so you could be doing less than half of your car's top speed and still lose your license if you're in a 30 mph limit zone.

    on the other hand i pass cops regularly on the bike - 2 or 3 times per ride ( a lot of cops here in Brooklyn ) and while they will sometimes pull up closer to get a better look, so far i have not been pulled over, and i run at full power about 50% of the time.

    the way i have been doing it so far is i start out a ride at half power to extend battery life because i don't know how far i will be riding that day. if i feel sore i will cut the ride shorter, or if i feel a lot of energy i will go farther. once i turn around to head home at that point i can finally estimate the duration of my ride and at that point i will usually switch the lights to high because i no longer need reserve battery capacity just in case.

    i use my main light ( helmet lights ) for general area illumination, and aim it far down the road. i will only aim it close if i come across bad pavement and i to see the pavement better, but if the pavement is good i don't ride with the light pointing at the pavement. when pointing the light straight ahead instead of down the Lumen requirements go up very quickly, but the benefit is you get much more even lighting when your beam is aimed parallel or close to parallel to the road. light evenness by itself will help you see better.

    secondly when two vehicles approach an intersection if they have powerful enough headlights they will see each other's beams well before they actually see each other. unless both cars observe traffic rules ( stop signs, traffic lights etc ) by the time they actually see each other it may already be too late.

    if you're going to do a 20 mile ride in the city that has 15 to 20 blocks per mile that's 300 to 400 intersections per ride - will you come to a full stop before every single one except when there is a green light ? coming to a full stop means you would have to switch through several gears or get up on the pedals to start moving again, and doing this 2 or 3 HUNDRED times per ride would be pretty annoying. with a bright light aimed forward ( as opposed to down ) that gives a driver advance warning of you approaching the intersection you can stretch a bit the amount of speed you can carry into an intersection without getting completely suicidal.

    but the car will only see your beam from around the corner at intersection if it is brighter than street lighting while aimed forward. i'm only beginning to enter this brightness range with all of my lights on "high" which is about 3,900 Lumens. i need to aim the beam very carefully at the intersection as i approach it in order to make it visible from around the corner.

    it would have been easier with a wider, more powerful beam. car HID beams are 6000 Lumens ( 3000 x 2 ) and is just barely enough for you to know a car is approaching the intersection when you see the pavement light up with that blue glow, before you see the car itself.

    and a car has no problem coming to full stop - it has relatively unlimited amount of power to set itself back into motion after stopping - it is the biker that needs to budget his energy by conserving momentum. so ideally i would like to have about 6,000 lumens on ALL THE TIME.

    if i had the money, i would add a third light on the helmet - either a Seca 2000 Enduro or a 2800 Lumen Wilma X10.

    that way i could work out my neck as i'm working out my legs

    it would also allow me to optimize beam width in 2 dimensions - horizontally and vertically.

    of course i don't have the money so it doesn't matter

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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    your analogy makes no sense cat doing just 40 mph over speed limit in a car can cost you your license, so you could be doing less than half of your car's top speed and still lose your license if you're in a 30 mph limit zone.
    Well I figured I might be wasting my time but I thought there was a chance you might have understood the point I was making.

    In the analogy I was comparing the full power of a car to the full power of a bike lamp. The comparison was theoretical of course and was used only for illustration purposes. No one gets to drive a car with the pedal to the floor full time in the real world. In my post I thought I made that clear when I said, quote

    Makes no sense though to travel at that speed simply because of the limitations presented in real world applications...ie...traffic, traffic lights, police, danger from accidents...etc.
    . The point I was making was that like the full available power of a high performance car engine you don't need the full available power of a high power bike light 100% of the time. Nice to have the power though when needed.

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    still a bad analogy.

    a better analogy would be an engine in a cargo ship - it is used at close to 100 percent output all of the time. why ? because there is no speed limit in the ocean.

    could the cargo ship decide to slow down to half the speed in the middle of the ocean so that instead of taking 11 days to ship my light from China to US it would take 22 days ? yes it could, but it will never do that because it makes no sense.



    the reason cars have reserve power is for executing merging and passing maneuvers. you need about 10 times the power for safe merging and passing as compared to cruising.

    similarly on a bike you would need 10 times the lumens going downhill at 30 mph versus climbing at 10 mph. so if you're constantly switching up and down it may be useful to have a high and low setting on the light and switch them.

    BUT

    but if you're riding on the road which is more or less uniform everywhere then it makes no sense to get a big light and then use it on low. if you don't need the extra output then just use a small, light weight light. and if you already have half a pound of lights on your helmet as i do then you might as well use them to full extent of their capacity all of the time. it makes no sense to have all that extra weight on your neck and not use it.

    PS: i should have my new 6 cell battery and charger in 6 days on Wednesday the 18th according to my tracking info.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    still a bad analogy.

    a better analogy would be an engine in a cargo ship - it is used at close to 100 percent output all of the time. why ? because there is no speed limit in the ocean.

    could the cargo ship decide to slow down to half the speed in the middle of the ocean so that instead of taking 11 days to ship my light from China to US it would take 22 days ? yes it could, but it will never do that because it makes no sense.
    An analogy can't be bad when it properly illustrates the point being made by the person making the analogy. You can disagree with the point being made but that has nothing to do with the analogy.

    If you were to go aboard an ocean going vessel you would see that the speed controls are adjustable. That's because at times they have to slow down. Think about it, bad weather conditions..etc. Everything that has controls has them for a purpose. The reason your bike lamps have controls is because almost everyone wants to be able to attenuate the lamp. This concept is universal. If this were not so there would be no mode controls, only on/off. You may argue I'm wrong till the cows come home but it won't change the fact that every high power lamp designed for bike use incorporates mode controls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Everything that has controls has them for a purpose. The reason your bike lamps have controls is because almost everyone wants to be able to attenuate the lamp. This concept is universal. If this were not so there would be no mode controls, only on/off. You may argue I'm wrong till the cows come home but it won't change the fact that every high power lamp designed for bike use incorporates mode controls.
    you reminded me of something funny. there is this forum about ultra high-end audio from where i was banned, and the guy who runs the forum one time said something like ( i'm paraphrasing )

    "mixing consoles have all those knobs and dials and recording engineers can't keep their fingers to themselves thinking if there is a knob that they have to twist it"

    i thought that was really funny, because he nailed it. the less you process the audio signal the higher quality the sound, but recording engineers like everybody else have to look busy at work so they butcher the sound to the point where a $200,000 sound system that weighs 800 pounds and is made out of marble, carbon fiber, titanium and plasma deposited diamond sounds the same as the 1/4" speaker integrated into the iPhone.

    yes cat, having controls is nice. i specifically pointed lack of dimming functionality as a major flaw in both Busch & Muller Big Bang light and in Bike After Dark Fireball MK3 spoke lights.

    however just because you have controls doesn't mean you should use them !

    let me give you an analogy - your car has a steering wheel. it is designed to be turned. however when you drive on a straight road you keep it straight, not turned sideways. if i was looking to buy a car i would certainly want it to have the ability to turn, but i wouldn't always be driving around in a circle simply because i can !

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    however just because you have controls doesn't mean you should use them !
    This is a very curious statement from an Electrical Engineer.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6ix View Post
    This is a very curious statement from an Electrical Engineer.
    the art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting ...

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    you guys are funny... I want to get in on the fun....

    Androgen, do you run around in your car with you radio/cd/pandora etc on full volume and your AC on full blast all the time? What about your wipers? are they running at full speed whenever in use?

    Or you cell phone on full brightness and every option turned on.....

    are all the lights on in your house/apt/condo all the time even if you aren't in that particular area of the house/apt/condo....

    Your choice to run at full blast for your lights is yours to make that is for sure, but various situations can reduce the NEED/DESIRE to have full power all the time. Most people find a BALANCE between runtime and output and choose the appropriate combination for the job (or the portion of the job). This balance even applies on flat/evenly paved roads because there are other factors besides the physical road conditions that influence the light output/runtime decisions... things such as ambient lighting, street lighting, flood lighting, no lighting at all etc. It appears that you demand both full output and runtime (at least for your helmet lamps) and that is fine so that dictates you carry more weight and whatever else that comes along with it doing so.

    You could probably rig up 2+ HID car headlights or maybe fog lights and a front basket/rear basket with a battery and appropriate circuits etc to get you what you need with output/runtime/beam pattern etc and not have to worry about using bike lights. Actually in your case you may need to rig up at least 6 of the HID type lights so they point in every direction around your bike. (** this last paragraph is more sarcasm than anything else.... BUT it might be something to consider with your skillset as an Electrical Engineer. ** )

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    Quote Originally Posted by cue003 View Post
    you guys are funny... I want to get in on the fun....

    Androgen, do you run around in your car with you radio/cd/pandora etc on full volume and your AC on full blast all the time? What about your wipers? are they running at full speed whenever in use?

    Or you cell phone on full brightness and every option turned on.....

    are all the lights on in your house/apt/condo all the time even if you aren't in that particular area of the house/apt/condo....

    Your choice to run at full blast for your lights is yours to make that is for sure, but various situations can reduce the NEED/DESIRE to have full power all the time. Most people find a BALANCE between runtime and output and choose the appropriate combination for the job (or the portion of the job). This balance even applies on flat/evenly paved roads because there are other factors besides the physical road conditions that influence the light output/runtime decisions... things such as ambient lighting, street lighting, flood lighting, no lighting at all etc. It appears that you demand both full output and runtime (at least for your helmet lamps) and that is fine so that dictates you carry more weight and whatever else that comes along with it doing so.

    You could probably rig up 2+ HID car headlights or maybe fog lights and a front basket/rear basket with a battery and appropriate circuits etc to get you what you need with output/runtime/beam pattern etc and not have to worry about using bike lights. Actually in your case you may need to rig up at least 6 of the HID type lights so they point in every direction around your bike. (** this last paragraph is more sarcasm than anything else.... BUT it might be something to consider with your skillset as an Electrical Engineer. ** )
    why use HID when all the hottest cars like Porsche, Audi and Lexus are switching from HID to LED ?

    and while we're at it - when was the last time you dimmed your car headlights to 50% power ? LOL

    by the way, do Dynamo bike lights even have dimming levels ?

    there are some scenarios, like self-contained lights, where dimming is a must because battery is extremely limited. other scenarios like a bar light where dimming should be considered because battery contributes most of the system weight. and then there is the helmet light, where the battery doesn't contribute any weight to the helmet and practically speaking is unlimited so dimming makes very little sense.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    when was the last time you dimmed your car headlights to 50% power ?
    Answer: For me, yesterday. It's called Low Beam. There's this other one which I hardly use. It's called Hi Beam. I use it when visibility on deserted roads are poor.

    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    ...dimming is a must because battery is extremely limited
    You nailed it on the head but you don't stop to think when you post. You flop forward and backwards. The Seca 1700 Race (what night race goes for only 1.5hours, L&M?) comes with just a 3 cell, so... battery IS extremely limited. It comes down to power management (and a wee bit of public courtesy). This means using controls that are on the equipment.

    This is from last years post after you returned all three lights, and I quote: "you should still run out and get NR 3600 ! i stand by that comment. it is awesome for illuminating your surroundings. the light is wide, deep and mostly even. unfortunately i can't use it.

    you might still use one in the city if you're comfortable with upsetting people. since this was for my mother i wasn't comfortable with that. and frankly i wasn't even comfortable with it myself - i didn't feel threatened but i definitely felt it was morally wrong - there was visible discomfort on every face that was within then beam no matter at what angle or power level".
    Last edited by 6ix; 09-12-2013 at 11:22 AM. Reason: my response was in quote. need to reformat for clarity

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    I just wanted to add a little more to my last comment;

    I'm not trying to tell someone how to use their lights. If someone wants to run bike lights at full power 100% of the time that's their business. I was just trying to point out that doing so doesn't seem to make a lot of of sense to most people.

    If I wanted to I could mount enough lights on my bike or or my person to supply over 4000 lumen of light. While that may seem novel the reason I don't do it is because I find it not to really add anything to the experience of the ride.

    Once you start using over 3000 lumen of light it takes more and more output ( almost double the output ) to really see any difference in what you can actually see at night. Eventually you get to the point of "diminished returns" and at that point you start realizing that "More" isn't necessarily better.

    Another reason I don't recommend using high outputs full time is because the human eye will adjust to the output and actually lessen your ability to see. This is particularly true if the beam patterns are wide and reflect off of objects that are near. Reflective glare will lessen your ability to see. The only exception to this is if the lamp is focusing most of the light far into the distance. On a bike you generally can't do this 100% of the time because of lamp design, changes in terrain and placement constraints.

    Now with all this said I've concluded from all the posts that have been written on the subject over the years that not everyone has the same quality of night vision. Matter of fact some people have very poor night vision while some others have very good night vision. People with poorer vision tend to need more light. Cutting to the chase so to speak I'll sum up saying that everyone has a "sweet spot", that amount of light that works perfectly for them about 90% of the time ( in normal weather night conditions ).
    I have pretty good night vision so I tend to run lower levels of light. If I do turn up the output it is only for a short period of time usually. If I use high too long my eyes acclimate to the intensity at which point the output then becomes not as useful as it first was when I turned it on.

    Lastly, if you run high all the time your lamp will overheat. This also diminishes output when used for long periods. All things considered, probably better not to use high so much but WTH do I know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    If I wanted to I could mount enough lights on my bike or or my person to supply over 4000 lumen of light. While that may seem novel the reason I don't do it is because I find it not to really add anything to the experience of the ride.
    +1

    I actually feel that too much light takes away some of the fun of a night ride. New challenges exist at night on a well know by day trail. If you light it up like daytime, well, it's pretty much like riding in the daytime.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Well I figured I might be wasting my time but ...
    It has been also my conclusion lately in this "special case".


    What I just don't get is of what use such an equipment of x lights ever might be good for? Especially in this case, where, as far as I can read, he rides in NY? With all the city's street lights, which doubtless ouperform every bikelight. If we would talk of the Scotland Highlands, where there are 20 kilomenters of pitch dark on roads full of potholes between 2 towns (I imagine), OK, then maybe you would want to have something of the bigger calibre, but here? "Security"? In this case you would better stick your bike full of reflectors, quite surely they have more effectiveness than any lights, in this matter.

    But hey, a lot of fun reading here , no doubt ...

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    Ignore list ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    +1

    I actually feel that too much light takes away some of the fun of a night ride. New challenges exist at night on a well know by day trail. If you light it up like daytime, well, it's pretty much like riding in the daytime.
    i agree with you and Cat-Man-Do it depends on what you're looking for.

    some things you cannot understand the purpose of until you try them.

    for example i once had a V8 sports car with the kind of exhaust sound that such a car should have. as soon as i touched the gas pedal everybody turned around and looked from a block away because it sounded like they're about to get run over. this exhaust sound alone slashes your likelyhood of running a pedestrian over in half. unless you have owned such a car you simply won't know what kind of effect such an exhaust sound has on pedestrians.

    as a second example when i used the niterider pro 3600 people and cars alike would stop completely everywhere - both on the street i was at and on other nearby streets and just wait for me to pass without moving. cars would stop 2 car body lengths before an intersection and stay there even when they had the right to go. unless you have experienced riding with a light like this yourself you simply will not understand the effect a light that lights up the entire street has on the way you interact with drivers and pedestrians.

    i've also had a car with factory HID high beams, which were about 6,000 lumens with a beautiful even beam pattern without any hot spots or artifacts. i remember how those lights felt - they felt like you are the master of the universe and the world is in the palm of your hand. maybe to somebody else the same lights would defeat the purpose of driving at night, but not to me. to me having light like this doesn't take anything away from the night but rather puts you in control of it.

    so it all depends on your subjective experiences, feelings and desires.

    the NR 3600 was too obnoxious - it didn't simply elicit respect from car drivers - it paralyzed them with fear. but a single Seca 1400 for example ( i tried a seca 1400 first, then exchanged it to 1700 ) was leaving me ignored by drivers and pedestrians alike. somewhere between a NR3600 and Seca 1400 is the golden middle where you get respect and recognition on the road, but without paralyzing traffic, blinding everybody or begging to get pulled over by cops.

    the thing is this "middle" is not a numeric middle between 3600 lumens and 1200 lumens. this "middle" in fact could be in the 6,000 lumens range. because NR 3600 simply didn't control the light. 6,000 well controlled helmet Lumens wouldn't blind people half as much as 3,600 NR lumens which just went straight into people's eyes no matter where these people were.

    in fact i think 3 X Seca 2000 on the helmet ( 6,000 lumens ) would only produce as much glare as NR 3600 on 1/4 power. and the safety from such a setup ( 3 x Seca 2000 on helmet ) would be unparalleled.

    but as i said i'm broke so it's not going to happen.

    besides, my goal is not simply to improve my setup, but to have fun in the process by trying new and interesting lights, making videos about them etc. i already know what to expect from the Seca, so it wouldn't be any fun to get another one.

    on the other hand i am really curious to try out the Dosun D400 because i don't know what to expect from it.

    i would be even more excited if Busch & Muller released a battery powered version of Luxos IQ2, because that would be a radical and qualitative improvement rather than incremental and quantitative one.

    at the end of the day a good helmet light like Seca is still basically a hack that we are forced to use because no bar light exists that combines sharp cutoff, even coverage and high output. therefore it isn't particularly interesting to keep trying to hammer away in the direction of more and more helmet lumens. i am much more interested in finding a better bar light solution along the lines i outlined above.

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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    it is used at close to 100 percent output all of the time...could the cargo ship decide to slow down to half the speed in the middle of the ocean so that instead of taking 11 days to ship my light from China to US it would take 22 days ? yes it could, but it will never do that because it makes no sense.
    Risk Ahoy: Maersk, Daewoo Build the World's Biggest Boat - Businessweek

    Just read an article that says that isn't true. Given the density of water, a slight increase in speed can result in significantly more drag.

    Quote Originally Posted by 6ix View Post
    [I]what night race goes for only 1.5hours, L&M?
    Locally, we are having three night series of three races each where they run from 45-90 minutes, depending on class, so not every night race is a endurance race.

    I have a Seca 800 & 1400 and just contacted L&M to ask about an upgrade path but I think there comes a certain time where you might have too much light and as one person said, "Just ride during the day" (to paraphrase). I don't know if I've reached that point but I remember one of the nicest rides I've ever had at night was with a 700 lumen HID from L&M because I could see in front of me but I was still so aware that it was night and I had a feeling that the only thing that mattered was what directly in front of and I could see and the rest was just a void. I'm not sure I would have had that same feeling with 6000 lumens. How much is too much light? I'm not sure but I suspect it's possible.

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