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Thread: Winter Lights?

  1. #1
    It's All About We!
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    New question here. Winter Lights?

    Hi all,

    I need some advice on lights for this winter. For the past two winters I've buzzed around the trails here in Anchorage, and haven't really needed much in the way of lights. The CatEye 530 and my headtorch seemed to work ok in the dark areas like between Kincaid and the airport. I'm not very fast so maybe that's why the lighting seemed tolerable. And I don't think I'd trust that CatEye in real cold.

    This year I'd like to ride up North on the rivers, out to Knik, etc. It seems like I should have a better lighting set up for remote stuff like that. So, I stopped by the store that has lights today, and was stunned at the prices. I guess you have to pay-to-play.

    What works up here? What should I aim for in regards to battery life? 3 hours on high seems a bit short w/ Solstice coming up. Is helmet mounted better? Do you really need a set up that turns night into day? Or, can I get by w/ something moderate? Should I just forget it and make due w/ my old Petzl Mega?!

    Sorry the questions are so open-ended, but I guess that's the nature of the beast.

    Thanks,

    Kevin

  2. #2
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    I use a night rider Minewt rechargeable along with another thats powered with double A.s. This year I plan to add a helmet mounted sytem for added versatility and light.Lighting can get pretty pricey,what you need depends upon what type riding you do and how long you plan to stay out.Shop around and look at all the various ones available then pick which one that will suit you best.

  3. #3

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    I use a generator hub ok ok yes its not as powerful as the brightest light out there that runs on batteries but it's disc compatible and it has served me well as a hand heater in the real cold and as regular light, I like generators since they are not affected by cold weather the drag is minimal on packed snow I've actually gone faster than some battery light users on the trail. However the only problem is I'm using it this winter and I want to transfer it to my lht. I agree with jeff it all depends on the type of riding you intend on doing, and how long you want to stay out I would recommend looking at which battery lights are worse off in the the cold and stay away from those.

  4. #4
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    I am looking too and not sure whether to go with L&M/Niterider HID or one of the new really expensive leds (like the trinewt). Don't really have the money for either so I am also curious what others have set up.

  5. #5
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    Let me try it this way...

    I think I've narrowed it down to one. I'm considering getting the Dinotte Lithium-ion powered 200L 4C for riding stuff like the Tour of Anchorage trail here in town, and various trails north toward Knik and Yentna Station and the likes; the great stuff you guys have been posting photos of. I'm old and slow, so I don't think I need a super high-powered setup the likes you'd see on the Paris-Dakar ralley cars.

    Anyone have any practical experience or tips regarding the Dinotte 200L 4C or lighting in general? Does it work when it's 20 below, or is it a junker?

    Kevin

  6. #6
    Beware of Doggerel
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    Less is more, in my opinion. For riding the rivers and trails out of Knik etc. You donít really need that much light. The Snow reflects a lot and honestly there really isnít much to hit or see on the rivers at night, except the stars and northern-lights none of which require a good bike light. Most of the trails are marked with lath or reflectors so at times you just need enough of a headlamp to bounce off the next reflector. Also bright lights kill your night vision. I find that just having a little light lets me see more, because my eyes are better adjusted to the dark, so I can see outside the beam of my lights.
    I use a cateye opticube on the bars and Princeton tec headlamp. The headlamp has a center bright LED and four regular LEDs (two on each side of the center lamp) 90% of the time I use only the princeton tec on its lowest setting. Every once in a while I pop on the high beam to find a trail marker or two. A lot of times I wonít even turn on the cateye.
    I like lights that run on AA batteries. The AA Nickel Metal Hydride batteries work great in the cold. And it is easy to carry spares for long tips. The spares can serve dual duty as spares for your GPS or camera too so one set of spare batteries takes care of all your electronic needs.
    Hope this input helps, it seems to be a different direction from where you are headed but its cheaper and I really donít think you need much light at all for winter riding.
    Adam
    I wanna say I'm sorry for stuff I haven't done yet, things will shortly get completely out of hand --T.M.G.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam
    Less is more, in my opinion. For riding the rivers and trails out of Knik etc. You donít really need that much light. The Snow reflects a lot and honestly there really isnít much to hit or see on the rivers at night, except the stars and northern-lights none of which require a good bike light. Most of the trails are marked with lath or reflectors so at times you just need enough of a headlamp to bounce off the next reflector. Also bright lights kill your night vision. I find that just having a little light lets me see more, because my eyes are better adjusted to the dark, so I can see outside the beam of my lights.
    I use a cateye opticube on the bars and Princeton tec headlamp. The headlamp has a center bright LED and four regular LEDs (two on each side of the center lamp) 90% of the time I use only the princeton tec on its lowest setting. Every once in a while I pop on the high beam to find a trail marker or two. A lot of times I wonít even turn on the cateye.
    I like lights that run on AA batteries. The AA Nickel Metal Hydride batteries work great in the cold. And it is easy to carry spares for long tips. The spares can serve dual duty as spares for your GPS or camera too so one set of spare batteries takes care of all your electronic needs.
    Hope this input helps, it seems to be a different direction from where you are headed but its cheaper and I really donít think you need much light at all for winter riding.
    Adam
    This is an excellent point. For me however, it does not work.The reason it does not is for some reason, (blame it on genetics I guess) my night vision truly sucks.So much so that my wife will not drive with me at night. Claims it scares her to much,hell I don't blame her I scare myself !

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam
    Less is more, in my opinion. For riding the rivers and trails out of Knik etc. You donít really need that much light. The Snow reflects a lot and honestly there really isnít much to hit or see on the rivers at night, except the stars and northern-lights none of which require a good bike light. Most of the trails are marked with lath or reflectors so at times you just need enough of a headlamp to bounce off the next reflector. Also bright lights kill your night vision. I find that just having a little light lets me see more, because my eyes are better adjusted to the dark, so I can see outside the beam of my lights.
    I use a cateye opticube on the bars and Princeton tec headlamp. The headlamp has a center bright LED and four regular LEDs (two on each side of the center lamp) 90% of the time I use only the princeton tec on its lowest setting. Every once in a while I pop on the high beam to find a trail marker or two. A lot of times I wonít even turn on the cateye.
    I like lights that run on AA batteries. The AA Nickel Metal Hydride batteries work great in the cold. And it is easy to carry spares for long tips. The spares can serve dual duty as spares for your GPS or camera too so one set of spare batteries takes care of all your electronic needs.
    Hope this input helps, it seems to be a different direction from where you are headed but its cheaper and I really donít think you need much light at all for winter riding.
    Adam
    I forgot about the snow factor and how bright snow covered nights can be- makes sense. I guess I was thinking along the lines of snowless periods. If things go right this years there won't be many.

    I have this Planet Bike 15 watt that was more than enough for the few rides I used it on, but it doesn't seem to want to hold a charge anymore even with smart charging.

  9. #9
    Caveman
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    Like adam said, less is more.
    The bike light market is aimed at either commuters or real technical night riding.
    neither of which is exactally alaska winter biking.

    I like using mountain based headlamps like the Petzl myo 5 belt (the new one is the called the SB5 and there is the myobelt xp) or the Black diamond polar star.
    Both have seperate battery packs to keep near your body, run on normal batteries and are pleanty bright for snow. The big xenon bulb on the SB5 is good for dark snow free days and almost good enough for technical summer night trail riding (johnsons pass at 2:00 am.. dont do it)

    My old myo 5 had 4 x C-cells and burning the 5-leds lasted me pretty much an entire season.

    Some people get away just using tikkas but I like a little more power.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearbait
    (johnsons pass at 2:00 am.. dont do it)
    Is it ok on Resurrection?

    I am running a home made brew flood on my handle bars with a back up Nite Rider spot on my helmet. In the winter time I found that I do not need a whole lot of light, the snow amplifies what light I have almost ten fold.

  11. #11
    Caveman
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    Quote Originally Posted by aka bubba
    Is it ok on Resurrection?
    only if you like scaring bears.
    Adam and Pete know what I'm talking about.

  12. #12
    rio
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    Hmmmmmmmm

    Bears that enjoy 200 miles of Sweet Rolls ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Bearbait
    only if you like scaring bears.
    Adam and Pete know what I'm talking about.
    Last edited by rio; 10-10-2007 at 07:06 AM.

  13. #13
    Fatback
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    winter lights

    I used the NiteRider MiNewt LED last year and couldn't have been happier. On high it would run 3 to 4 hours, on low 7 hours. I found that low was enough for most rides. It is very small and light and uses a li-ion battery. Perfect in the cold. The battery can be mounted to your stem or your top tube, so you're not tethered to it. I own an HID Blowtorch and never used it after trying the MiNewt. This years' X2 model is even brighter and the price is much better than HID's. I have not had good luck with rechargeable AA/s for whatever reason.
    Speedway Cycles owner http://fatbackbikes.com

  14. #14
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    Thanks you guys!

    Just the info I needed. It looks now like I can save a bunch of money this season by sticking w/ my REI candle lantern suspended off the handlebars by my Ronco Pocket Fisherman.

    See you on the trails. I won't be hard to miss.

    Kevin

  15. #15

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    I use the Eon headlamp from REI, it's got a 3w LED and the battery pack sticks to the back of your head under the hat. It has a nice spot and gives plenty of winter light for the bicentennial park trails.

    Correction: it's the ICON headlight, by Petzl ... nice spot!
    Last edited by Nanuq; 10-12-2007 at 03:00 PM.

  16. #16

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    get some pictures of the candle lantern in use Tarnac... I was thinking of that setup for bike tours.

  17. #17

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    Might seem like an odd question but have you had your eyes tested? I had to go out and get a pair of prescription glasses just for night riding (although I also wear them while driving at night - a HUGE help). I just have really poor night vision (stigmatism) and with my glasses (clear lenses, antiglare) I can see great! Now my nighter on my helmet and my LED Cateye on the handlebars are plenty of light.

  18. #18
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    D Cell Mag Light + Duct....

    :-P
    Why R+
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    Why Big Iron
    Cervelo R2
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  19. #19

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    Gosh was that you that dropped the flashlight a few months ago on the Chester Creek trails?

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