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  1. #26
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    Those wheel lights seem to put out a good light patch on the ground. Would you say that's true, and does it aid much in visibility?

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigmode View Post
    Those wheel lights seem to put out a good light patch on the ground. Would you say that's true, and does it aid much in visibility?
    you have RZ8 and 300R right ? i can make a quick video here in my room to compare the light output of the spoke lights, RZ8 and 400R projected onto my white walls if you want. it would need to wait until the sun sets though.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    you have RZ8 and 300R right ? i can make a quick video here in my room to compare the light output of the spoke lights, RZ8 and 400R projected onto my white walls if you want. it would need to wait until the sun sets though.

    Cool. You're right I have now the 300R and RZ8, but also previously had the 400R.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigmode View Post
    Cool. You're right I have now the 300R and RZ8, but also previously had the 400R.
    here you go ( NEW VIDEO ) !

    you can open 2 windows side by side and run 2 instances of the video - fast forward one to RZ8 and another to Spoke Lights.



    my analsysis of this is if we take 0 degrees as straight ahead, 90 degrees as straight to the side and 180 degrees as straight back, then somewhere around 50 - 60 degrees there will be a zone where neither the headlight nor RZ8 are very bright, but the spoke lights are still going to be at near full power at those angles. so i think it definitely adds to visibility at an angle such as in the screen shot below. the main advantage of a spoke light however, in my opinion, is that it makes you instantly recognizable as a bike, while something like RZ8 has less "character" to it.

    the only downside to these spoke lights i can tell so far is the light they bounce off the ground. it constantly makes me think i'm being painted with headlights from a car behind me but when i turn around there is nothing there. i hope having 4 spoke lights will help with this by making the light more steady.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails starting all over again from scratch :)-nite-lights-screen-shot.jpg  


  5. #30
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    Ordered a pair of Trek Beacon bar end lights in Mountain Bike flavor.

    I really wanted more lights on the front of the bike because my rear spoke lights are so much brighter than front ones and it really distorts the perception of where my center of gravity is.

    Now i will have to wait for these as well before i can do a video.


  6. #31
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    Excellent video, thanks for your efforts. It will influence my future light upgrades. I hope the wheel lights provide adequate longevity.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigmode View Post
    Excellent video, thanks for your efforts. It will influence my future light upgrades. I hope the wheel lights provide adequate longevity.
    there is very little feedback on these wheel lights, but from what little feedback i did see i believe ( if i remember correctly ) a user broke the USB charging port on his light - so i try to be careful with that. maybe he mounted the light in a way that limited access to the USB port - this happened to me when i first mounted them, so i had to re-position them on the wheel.

    the company that makes these Kineteka Systems - Innovation. Technology. is based in Texas but it seems they have no experience with any outdoor products - so the ability of this light to resist the elements is suspect even though it is billed as " water resistant " ...

    i believe i referred to it as "waterproof" in my unboxing video, but i just checked the actual language is "water resistant" whatever that means ...

    there are no visible signs of any attempts at waterproofing on this product ...

    i don't use my bike for commuting so the lack of any visible waterproofing didn't put me off as i don't plan to ride in the rain on any regular basis ...

    for somebody who would actually ride in the rain on regular basis i think it would be somewhat an experiment to see how long these hold up. i did ride in the rain for a few minutes in that one video i made and so far they work, but this could be the difference between "water resistant" and "water proof" i think ...

  8. #33
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    I'll stick with what I have for now, but will get the 400+Lu 400R eventually. I consider my original magicshine, and the RZ8/300R to be a pretty good setup. Wouldn't be surprised if something more advanced came out in the meantime.

  9. #34
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    Have a look at this tail light mate. It's the "AfterBlaasta" made in New Zealand.
    It truly looks like it would have a 360 deg beam.
    I don't have personal experience with this light, though I've used other Nightlightning products before.
    Eric (who owns the company) can fit the light with way more than the standard 3 red XPE's if you want - I think up to about 12!
    I reckon it would be the PERFECT city tail light. Although the frosted lens would absorb a fair percentage of the output, the net result could come close to that of the Dinotte 400R but in every direction.
    They have a distributor in the USA called XC Leds.
    When you are ready to spend some more money in your quest for the perfect rear lighting set-up give it some thought. I'm going to be getting one for myself soon that Eric will build to the maximum specs for me.

    p.s The only downside I can see is the fact that you'll have come up with your own mounting system.

    Lights

    http://www.nightlightning.co.nz/Aftablaasta.jpg

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldAusDigger View Post


    Interesting. Since I was already an early adopter of the RZ8, which we have come to realize does not come close to 400 Lu, I look forward to your input!

    Btw, the RZ8 mounted easily.



    IMG_0474 by pigmode, on Flickr

  11. #36
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    it would be interesting if they made a lightweight, helmet mounted version of such a 360 degree light, so you could put it not at the back, but on top of the helmet and project in all directions. like a beacon.

  12. #37
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    OK i received the Seca 1700 ( and also the refund for the 1400 ). The unboxing video for the 1700 is already on YouTube but it doesn't feature any demonstrations because i had to charge the battery first:



    However since making the video i have had the chance to try the light out indoors ( the sun was already up by then ) and it produces a much fuller light. The beam of 1400 seems anorexic by comparison - too thin and weak. The 1700 light is much much better.

    Another positive is that when i put it next to my ear it is silent - the 1400 made a high pitch whine which i wasn't happy about.

    On the other hand the 1700 makes a squeaking noise when you press the power button, which of course is not sexy, but oh well.

    The LEDs on the 1700 look huge - they almost look bigger than XMLs - of course the Seca only gets 300 Lumens out of each LED so i don't know what's up with that. But i like the idea of not driving LEDs to the max - this should help with longevity of the light hopefully.

    6 hour charger is disappointing but i guess i'll have to live with it. I am spoiled by much faster chargers from Niterider, Lupine and Dinotte.

  13. #38
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    EDIT: sorry, this thread tree structure really confuses me.
    Last edited by androgen; 08-05-2013 at 02:32 AM.

  14. #39
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    UPDATE ON RED ZONE 8 !

    I FIGURED OUT HOW TO MAKE THE CAP WORK !

    ok so you need to do 3 things to make it work:

    1 - don't put the cap on until right before your ride. store the RZ8 with the cap OFF.

    2 - when it is time to ride, you have to apply a lot of Vaseline - not just a little bit - but as much as you reasonably can. i apply vaseline both to the cap and to the light itself, and then remove excess using Q-Tips and Paper Towels.

    3 - you have to take the cap off IMMEDIATELY after you finish the ride. don't leave the cap on till next day. the Vaseline dissolves into the silicone cap and if you wait long enough you will be basically trying to pull the cap off without any lubrication.

    basically you have to beat the clock here - apply more Vaseline than the cap will be able to absorb by the time you need to take it off.

    when i first tried to remove RZ8 i had used a little bit of vaseline and i had let it stay on for a day or two - as a result when i was pulling it off both sides started coming off with equal difficulty - and that's a problem - if the wrong cap comes off you will have nothing to pull on to get the right one off ! ! !

    both sides were coming off equally hard because the button side has no vaseline, but the USB side had most of the vaseline absorb into it.

    but today when i did it right ( used a lot of Vaseline and took the cap off within 2 hours or so from applying the Vaseline ) the USB side cap came off without excessive effort while the Button side cap didn't move at all.

    so the Verdict is - this design works, but only if you do it right - it really doesn't help that the light doesn't come with a manual. they should really include the vaseline with it, and a huge warning label to not put on the cap without it. but of course these characters don't even include a box - they just ship the $150 light in an envelope.

    when you do it right the cap still takes maybe 10 seconds to come off, but it's 10 seconds of moderate effort versus several minutes of very high effort if you don't do it right.

  15. #40
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    I have to say though the only benefit to Red Zone 8 is for helmet use.

    Because if you compare it to a tail light like Dinotte 400R its not as well designed, not as well made, and not as powerful. If you compare the two, the RZ8 should cost half as much as 400R, but it costs almost the same.

    And if you compare the RZ8 to side lights like a pair Fireball MK2 spoke lights - while both are neither well designed nor made a pair of Fireballs puts out more light than RZ8 overall, and puts out several times more light than RZ8 sideways, becaues Fireball puts almost all of its light sideways while RZ8 only puts about 20% of its light sideways. And to add insult to injury - a pair of Fireballs is much cheaper than a single RZ8.

    So the Dinotte 400R beats RZ8 hands down as a tail light, and Fireball beats beats RZ8 hands down for side visibility. When i rode today i looked at my reflections in parked cars and it was the Fireball that i saw more so than any other light.

    The only area where RZ8 shines is its high-mounting point on the helmet. While the 400R and Fireball are both brighter in direct line of sight their advantage vanishes as soon as something blocks this direct line of sight while the helmet-mounted RZ8 is still visible.

    So my verdict is if you're not going to helmet mount the RZ8 there are better solutions for both side and rear visibility ( mentioned above ). However as a helmet light the RZ8 is still king.

    Dinotte has 2 LEDs but they are mounted on a massive heatsink. Fireball doesn't have a heatsink but a pair of Fireballs pack 80 LEDs so even without a heatsink they can put out a lot of light. The RZ8 has 4 LEDs and no heatsink - physics here tells us there is simply no way to get much light out of this setup before the LEDs burn out - and reality proves this to be the case - this light isn't very bright, and worst of all because it tries to provide both rear and side visibility at once it fails at both because it really only has enough power to do one of those things.

    But the height to which it is mounted makes up for all of its shortcomings - if you choose to mount it this way. If you mount it on your seat post or bottom of your seat you're just wasting your money.

    The RZ8 is not any dimmer than i expected, but it is also not any brighter. The fireball on the other hand is brighter than i expected. I thought the promo video for the fireball was some kind of trickery and that it wasn't really that bright - but it is. However i wouldn't rely on it for all of my side visibility because of how low to the ground spoke lights are - i would still put an RZ8 on the helmet for backup when you are behind an obstacle.

    Once again - on the helmet in flashing mode - the RZ8 is worth its weight in gold. On the seatpost in steady mode - waste of money.

  16. #41
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    Well my Bike After Dark order for second set of spoke lights is still "processing" six days after i placed it. I sent them an e-mail asking them to cancel the order. I hope it gets cancelled.

  17. #42
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    UPDATE: Ordered 2 X Monkeylectric M232 spoke lights for the front wheel.

    i really like what Bike After Dark fireball is doing on my real wheel A LOT ! but it's too damn bright to be put on the front wheel - i would go blind - it is painful to look at. So i was looking for something similar but less bright and preferably dimmable and i couldn't find anything more suitable than Monkeylectric.

    i knew about Monkeylectric last year but i didn't want to get it because i didn't want any color designs or anything like that - when i discovered Bike After Dark Fireball i was super excited ( and still am ! ) because it was basically MonkeyLectric but cheaper, lighter, brighter and without any of the nonsense that i didn't want like changing color patterns.

    but the advantage of the Fireball ( massive output from a minimalistic design ) is also its disadvantage - because there is no way to dim this light - there is only an ON/OFF switch.

    the Monkeylectric on the other hand is inherently dimmer because it runs off AA batteries versus Lithium cell of the Fireball, and then you can further dim it because it has a "high" and "low" modes whereas Fireball only has "ludicrous" mode.

    you might be thinking - didn't you already have dim spoke lights on the front ( cateye orbits ) and the answer is of course yes. but the Orbits are so dim that when paired with Fireball on the back it looks like i am a Unicycle. i want something on the front that is bright enough to be seen next to the Fireball on the rear wheel, but not so bright as to blind myself. I have no real way of knowing if MonkeyLectric m232 will deliver this, but there is only one way to find out.

    PS: i needed two M232s for balance, as they are pretty heavy. i would guess they are probably 4X heavier than Fireball or more, but we'll see.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by androgen View Post
    Once again - on the helmet in flashing mode - the RZ8 is worth its weight in gold. On the seatpost in steady mode - waste of money.



    Imo, that would be an exaggeration.

    Now I cannot recommend (but would not discourage) buying an RZ8, mainly for lens material durability, its lumen sapping opaqueness, and it current going price. Otoh at the introductory price of $100 I'm pretty pleased to use the RZ8 alone, or as a light system multiplier, and for its convenience. The RZ8 puts out great visibility.

    I use it below the saddle and on the seatpost. Of course I don't use a standard 400R anymore, and I know you're not too hot on the 300R. My experience in the real world ( as opposed to lumen ratings) is the 300R is 90% as effective as the 400R in terms of visibility.

    Furthermore I'm surprised at the lack of mentioning of the Dinotte's very effective flash mode where the light stays on between pulses. I personally choose this over the christmas tree concept. ymmv




    Again these pics which show first, the RZ8 saddle mounted on top, and 300R seatpost mounted. Below, the 300R alone.
    starting all over again from scratch :)-93xl.jpg

    starting all over again from scratch :)-n3j4.jpg

  19. #44
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    I agree the difference between 300R and 400R is not going to be noticeable unless you compare them side by side - they look very similar. I think both lights are top notch - just a matter of what you're looking for.

    As for Dinotte flash modes - yes they are very sexy - but i prefer not to use flash modes unless i feel the light isn't bright enough to be visible without them - and with 400R i feel it is visible enough on steady WHERE I RIDE. I haven't even tried the flash mode on the 400R yet, but i have tried them on 300R and they were very nice - the 400R should have the same modes i think.

    as for RZ8 yes for the introductory price you got it for it makes much more sense. also since you don't have any dedicated side lighting ( from what i can tell ) you do need something with wider beam than 300R to increase your coverage, because 300R and 400R despite having a very wide beam do not have much spill.

    as for your photos - they are misleading because the RZ8 is physically much wider than the 300R so the halo in the photo looks bigger, but that's not because of more light - just because of larger size of the light source.

    however i will give you this - in flash mode the RZ8 may be close to 300R but in steady mode the RZ8 is nowhere near 400R. since you probably use flash all the time i guess you don't care about the steady mode, but i use Dinotte in steady all the time so for me it matters.

    perhaps we are not disagreeing - but simply talking about different things. i am thinking more about steady mode and you more about flash.

    i wouldn't feel safe with only 300R/400R due to the lack of spill. you added the spill via RZ8. my preferred way would have been with the Fireball spoke lights, because they compliment the Dinotte well. To me it just makes more sense to aim one light ( Dinotte ) back and one ( Fireball ) sideways, rather than aim both lights ( Dinotte and NiteFlux ) backwards. But that's me ! I ride in the city where there are more intersections than there is road so i am more concerned about side visibility than rear visibility.

    your choice may be perfectly logical for where you ride given the introductory price you paid. most of the time i just write what comes to my mind at the moment - what i say may not be true for everybody in every scenario.

    i guess the reason i'm biased against RZ8 is because i never see its output. because its mounted to the back of my helmet no matter where i turn my head the RZ8 automatically turns in the opposite direction so i never see what it is doing, and my mind is starting to think that it's not doing much at all. but this could be entirely an illusion ! however the videos i made could be an illusion as well because of the limited dynamic range of cameras !

    so it is really quite difficult to judge. i just offer my opinion but it really is just an opinion - nothing more.

    in fact i was wrong. you're right. now that i think about it the RZ8 holds its own even when on the seatpost. i was basically so down on RZ8 because of the ratio of price to build quality, but at the end of the day it's the performance, not build quality that matters. and RZ8 can do something very unique - step output up from 120 to 400 lumens when in flash mode - the Dinotte cannot do this, so while the Dinotte heat sinking affords it an advantage - it is only an advantage in steady mode which you're not going to use. basically the Dinotte is better made but the RZ8 is more clever.

    please accept my apologies - my analysis was crap - the RZ8 is actually a solid product, even on the seatpost - i just allowed myself to mistake my emotions and impressions for facts and logic. again, i apologize.

    thank you for pointing out my mistake.

  20. #45
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    No apologies needed.

    Its pretty clear that you're super focused on setting up for your own street environment, and we all tend to pick and choose certain light characteristics that *we* feel are the best for our own safety.

    Very helpful write ups, descriptions, and analyses from you over all. Thanks!

  21. #46
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    Installed Trek Beacon bar end lights today. Here is the Unboxing video, and some pics:



    starting all over again from scratch :)-trek-beacon.jpg

    the pic below with the Beacons on was taken at 7.45 AM as far as i remember. so it is early morning, but it's not dawn any more.

    starting all over again from scratch :)-trek-beacon.jpg

  22. #47
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    so i was able to get through to Bike After Dark to cancel my second order of their spoke lights. i still think these lights are super-awesome, rather my plans changed for reasons that have nothing to do with this light.

    my plan was to put a second pair of spoke lights on the back wheel to eliminate the pulsing nature of having 2 bright spoke lights on a wheel.

    but then i ordered two MonkeyLectric lights for the front wheel, and these will provide all sorts of flashy light right on the front wheel to the point where it simply didn't make any sense to worry about any flashing light coming from the rear wheel - so i had to cancel the second pair of Fireballs. not to mention, i needed the money.

    now Amazon is playing mind games on me again. when i ordered Seca from them it said "shipping now" for 4 days before i called them to ask what was up and they said everything was fine and it finally shipped the next day. well the Monkeylectric has been "shipping now" for two full days now. history is repeating itself. damn Amazon and their "free super saver shipping" they should call it "free super snail shipping"

    PS: the tree structure of this forum is killing me ! i keep trying to reply to my original post and it keeps replying to my last post. how do i reply to my original post ?

  23. #48
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    well, the MonkeyLectric M232s are on !

    i counted the spokes to make sure the 2 lights are mounted in a perfectly symmetrical fashion. ( it may not look this way because spokes are not in a plane ). there are also two battery cages on the hub with 3 x AA eneloops in each.

    the reason i mounted them relatively close to center has to do with spoke arrangement. this is the position in which i felt the light was most securely mounted.

    each battery cage can drive two lights, so i could have left one of them off, but i wanted symmetry. the extra outputs would allow you to install 4 lights on a wheel even though you can only mount two battery cages max. however if you need four Monkey Lights per well you might as well go for the Monkey Pro light, which is way better.





    it is not far behind the Fireball in terms of Lumens and then it flashes different colors while the Fireball is steady white.

    the build quality difference is night and day - MonkeyLectric quality feels military grade - it feels as well made as Dinotte or Lupine. by contrast the Fireball quality is the absolute bare minimum that they could get away with and still have it work. when it comes to build quality there can simply be no comparison between the two.

    but the Fireball has a few tricks up its sleeve:

    1 - when the cost of AA rechargeables ( that you provide yourself ) is included the MonkeyLectric costs almost double the Fireball

    2 - the Fireball provides similar conspicuity as MonkeyLectric in a package that weighs about ONE FIFTH as much as MonkeyLectric, is free from any cables, and is much less noticeable on your bike when it's not on.

    3 - the Fireball is simply much less likely to attract the attention of thieves because it doesn't look as fancy ( both when its on and when its off )

    4 - the row of LEDs on the fireball is 1.5 X longer than on M232 , and it has 40 LEDs compared to MonkeyLectric's 32 although obviously MonkeyLectric's LEDs are full-color so in actuality it is 32 x 3 LEDs, but if we're talking about dots of light then Fireball has more.

    in some sense Fireball is more like a Road Bike and MonkeyLectric is more like a MTB

    of course i will be making videos when i get the chance.
    Last edited by androgen; 08-10-2013 at 07:55 PM.

  24. #49
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    quick video before i go to bed:



    and i'm out to sleep ...

  25. #50
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    OK here is the new video with the MonkeyLights, the Seca 1700 and the Trek Beacons:

    This video shows the lights in different lighting conditions from early dusk to solid night.


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