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  1. #1
    rismtb
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    Let There Be Light

    I guess I take for granted the new bike lights available that can turn darkness into day with retina burning BMW quality blue light. This came painfully true after remembering what we had in the early eighties. The latest greatest at the time was the brick 6 volt {weight 3lbs} strapped to your rack and either a Sanyo or ? German bulb headlight that was connected with fragile wire and battery. Even at a full charge you had less than 40 min burning a 6 watt bulb or if you were a real Mcgiver wire 2 in tandem. This is precisely what one of the [Whittatker?] brothers did working at Robson Cycles and then when on to start BLT lights. The pics are some examples I have kept over the years. I remember how terrifying it was riding a trail you didn't know. There were a lot of endos.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Let There Be Light-img_3083.jpg  

    Let There Be Light-img_3093.jpg  

    Let There Be Light-img_3088.jpg  

    Let There Be Light-img_3091.jpg  

    Let There Be Light-img_3089.jpg  


  2. #2
    Phobia of petting zoos.
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    I ran homemade lights in the mid 90s, through to the early 2000s. A 12v 20w 50mm halogen siliconed into a tow ball cover and wired up to a sealed lead acid brick battery. The largest battery weighed as much as a house brick and was only marginally smaller.

    My next generation was to double up with a 50w halogen mounted on the other side of the handlebar and the ability to switch between the 2 lights. The 50w was great for singletrack but it sucked the battery dry pretty quick.

    After that I had a mate turn up some alloy housings that fit 38mm halogens but the batteries stayed the same range of SLA bricks. I raced in a few 24hr races with that set up.

    It was the 24hr races that led me to invest in a HID set up and the homemade light set ups were no more. Now I rock an Exposure LED setup which is amazing.

    I don't have the homemade stuff around anymore but I think I might have the alloy bodies still floating about and will post a pic if I can find them.

    Grumps

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: robinmiller's Avatar
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    It's amazing how LEDs changed things. I have some old Vistalite red LED rear lights from around 1992 that are still perfectly usable, but for front lighting anything pre-LED seems like the lighting equivalent of a leather hairnet helmet. For a long time the only really bright LEDs they were able to make were red.

    It's not surprising that the guys who discovered the blue LED (which led to the super bright white LEDs we have today) got the Nobel prize last year.
    The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics - Press Release

  4. #4
    Phobia of petting zoos.
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    Quote Originally Posted by robinmiller View Post
    It's not surprising that the guys who discovered the blue LED (which led to the super bright white LEDs we have today) got the Nobel prize last year.
    The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics - Press Release
    You could say they won by "decree".

    Grumps

  5. #5
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Cool thread!

    I ride at night, three nights a week, all year round (basically, my bikes never see daylight), so this is a topic near and dear to me....

    I have to say though, never used any of the Sanyo type stuff, guess I was fortunate that SLA and halogen bike specific set ups were coming into their own when we started to hit the trails at night.

    That said, a 10w halogen seems utterly dangerous when viewed next to my current set up, I can only imagine what a 6W with a crummy, non patterned reflector set up would put out.

    A buddy who joined us a few years ago, had his old Vista set up, and the first few times he came out, anyone behind him, would blind his forward vision. He got chided for his "brown lights" a few times, before jumping into an LED set up, for which he is now, eternally happy.
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers



    www.mendoncyclesmith.com

  6. #6
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    I had a light like the far right growing up when I had to ride my bike to school in the hills on the narrow twisty windy two way street with no shoulder that we shared with cars. It shined the foot of air in front of it during the winter when it was dark on the way to and from school.

    Name:  $_35.JPG
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    Surprised that my brother and I didn't die growing up. Thanks Mom!
    Wanted: WTB rollercams and brake bridges

  7. #7
    He be a moose too.
    Reputation: pinguwin's Avatar
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    I used to have prety much the same light, but Cateye branded, and the way I thought of it was, "It isn't useful but if hit by a car, I can say, 'I'm legal, had a light.'"
    Looking for: Really nice set of black M730 cranks

  8. #8
    slow
    Reputation: sgltrak's Avatar
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    In high school and college we were all too broke to have lights so we only did MTB night rides when the moon was full, hoping the clouds stayed away.

    My first lights were the top and right lights in GOB's photo:
    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    Name:  $_35.JPG
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    The front was useful for finding the patch kit and pump when one of us flatted on a moonlight ride, but did not offer any actual illumination of the trail surface. I felt the 3 LED Vistalight tail light gave cars a bit of notice if we were on the street. Both allowed me to be legal when riding around town.

    I was still too poor when Nightsun halogen lights became popular, but eventually got a Niterider Trail Cat halogen light that seemed pretty good at the time. I still have that one as a backup for longer night adventures, but it is pretty inferior to the LED setup I have now.

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