Helmet, or bar light?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    I throw poo
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    Helmet, or bar light?

    So, I am about to enter the exiting world of night riding. I can afford to buy one light, 10W+20W handlebar light, or a 20W helmet light. I've tried to search the forums, but the info is pretty skimpy (or the search function sucks). I figured you guys were the ones to ask.
    Dang it, now I'm running a coolness deficit for sure.

  2. #2
    TEAM TOPEAK - ERGON
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    If you only have one choice I say go helmet mount. The reasoning behind this is because you go where you look. Plus, your head motion is greater than your h-bar motion.

  3. #3
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    Good job!

    Thanks, that's what I wanted to know. The second question is, flood or spot type beam? I'm just trying to figure out what I need to start.
    Dang it, now I'm running a coolness deficit for sure.

  4. #4
    TEAM TOPEAK - ERGON
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovemonkey
    Thanks, that's what I wanted to know. The second question is, flood or spot type beam? I'm just trying to figure out what I need to start.
    I use the Cateye Double Shot which is a helmet mount. It's more of a spot type light, but throws out enough light to the sides to get the job done. Also note, that the Double shot from Cateye is LED. If you were to go to HID, it might give you a wider beam.
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  5. #5
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    You might want to see if your model of choice can be used on a handlebar as well. If it's raining, dusty, or foggy it may be better with the light on the bars. Otherwise on the helmet for sure. I use the L&M HID which comes with both mounts.

  6. #6
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    My first light went on the handlebars, but it was terrible. I ride trails with a lot of rocks and therefore require a lot of steering, so I only got brief glances of the trail with the bar mount as I picked my line. I replaced it with a helmet mount and have been very happy.

    Spot vs flood depends on how fast you go. I go slow, so I use a flood. Typically, spots are for road riders.

    A tip for the cord to the battery - run it from the light down through a vent into your helmet and then out a vent in the back. Helps keep the cord from flopping around.

    Definitely start out on very easy trails. Everything looks different at night. A trail you've ridden a hundred times will look different.

    Enjoy!

  7. #7
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    I second that for the L&M HID - opinion not based on sponsorship.

  8. #8
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    Something to consider...

    I have been asking a similar question. Helmet or bar, best battery life for the wattage, etc. Price is also a considerable concern as I am gearing up in several areas at one time. I came to the conclusion that LED lighting offered the best wattage to battery life for my needs. HID is off the table for my budget, especially when you consider I will need several backup batteries. I like the cateye, but price for multiple backup batts is out of range, and there is no low setting on the tripple shot to get extra life. Double and tripple shot together is our of my budget. I found a smaller LED that I will be testing in early Jan. Basically it is the Cygolite Hi-Flux 100, or rather two of them. This kit consist of a LED single beam run by four C sized batteries. It comes with the bar mount standard, and I will have to pick up the helmet mount from Cygolite direct for about $25. On 4x C off the shelf alkalines, it is supposed to run 25hrs high, and something rediculous on low which will likely only be used in trailside repairs. Their comparisons are supposedly the equivelent of 2w/10w Lo/High. Having tested one light (hi-flux 200) against a bar mounted 10w, it was whiter overall, brighter in the center, with a reduction at the sides in comparison. Subsequent testing with the clip on fresnel lense (supposed to widen the beam) yielded something more consistant with the 10w halogen in terms of coverage and brightness. SO, I guess their claims that the light is the equivilent to a 10w halogen are close enough to say they are correct. Now the plan is to run one system on the bar with the "wide" lense, and a second on the helmet in "spot" pattern. Again, the testing will commence soon, with a brief post to follow. For now this is how I came to that possible solution...

    Need:
    12+ hours of continuous light output, no charging time available.
    Provides:
    Claimed 25 hours on 4 alkaline cells on high.

    Need:
    Reasonable kit that is price as price conscious as possible.
    Provedes:
    2x hi-flux 100 kits @ $60ea through Bluesky Cycling $120
    1x helmet mount kit $25
    1x bar mount adaptor (special requirements due to assinine dual control setup) $25
    Batteries @ 2x 4 per light plus 4 as backup (12 total). Ni-cad $30
    Wall charger so that I am not filling the landfill w/ dead cells $25
    Total $225

    Need:
    Race requirements of backup lighting w/ you at all times
    Provides:
    Two systems used at same time, redundancy built in as one can get you home.

    Other benefits:
    Helmet mount for technical courses, looking around corners, down steeps, etc.
    Helmet mount for trailside repair.
    Bar mount for showing terrain detail and general illumination.
    Off the shelf batteries or rechargible batts work in this system.
    No winter battery conditioning, buying additional backup batts
    Keeps water bottle cage free.
    Origional bar mounts can be used for SS, and road bike...no switching required.

    If this system proves adequate in testing, or inadequate, I will post it here. Opinions welcomed, but remember the constraints that I am operating under when you post that nothing buy a 13w HID on both bar and helmet will do...

  9. #9
    rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by schwing_ding
    I have been asking a similar question. Helmet or bar, best battery life for the wattage, etc. Price is also a considerable concern as I am gearing up in several areas at one time. I came to the conclusion that LED lighting offered the best wattage to battery life for my needs. HID is off the table for my budget, especially when you consider I will need several backup batteries. I like the cateye, but price for multiple backup batts is out of range, and there is no low setting on the tripple shot to get extra life. Double and tripple shot together is our of my budget. I found a smaller LED that I will be testing in early Jan. Basically it is the Cygolite Hi-Flux 100, or rather two of them. This kit consist of a LED single beam run by four C sized batteries. It comes with the bar mount standard, and I will have to pick up the helmet mount from Cygolite direct for about $25. On 4x C off the shelf alkalines, it is supposed to run 25hrs high, and something rediculous on low which will likely only be used in trailside repairs. Their comparisons are supposedly the equivelent of 2w/10w Lo/High. Having tested one light (hi-flux 200) against a bar mounted 10w, it was whiter overall, brighter in the center, with a reduction at the sides in comparison. Subsequent testing with the clip on fresnel lense (supposed to widen the beam) yielded something more consistant with the 10w halogen in terms of coverage and brightness. SO, I guess their claims that the light is the equivilent to a 10w halogen are close enough to say they are correct. Now the plan is to run one system on the bar with the "wide" lense, and a second on the helmet in "spot" pattern. Again, the testing will commence soon, with a brief post to follow. For now this is how I came to that possible solution...

    Need:
    12+ hours of continuous light output, no charging time available.
    Provides:
    Claimed 25 hours on 4 alkaline cells on high.

    Need:
    Reasonable kit that is price as price conscious as possible.
    Provedes:
    2x hi-flux 100 kits @ $60ea through Bluesky Cycling $120
    1x helmet mount kit $25
    1x bar mount adaptor (special requirements due to assinine dual control setup) $25
    Batteries @ 2x 4 per light plus 4 as backup (12 total). Ni-cad $30
    Wall charger so that I am not filling the landfill w/ dead cells $25
    Total $225

    Need:
    Race requirements of backup lighting w/ you at all times
    Provides:
    Two systems used at same time, redundancy built in as one can get you home.

    Other benefits:
    Helmet mount for technical courses, looking around corners, down steeps, etc.
    Helmet mount for trailside repair.
    Bar mount for showing terrain detail and general illumination.
    Off the shelf batteries or rechargible batts work in this system.
    No winter battery conditioning, buying additional backup batts
    Keeps water bottle cage free.
    Origional bar mounts can be used for SS, and road bike...no switching required.

    If this system proves adequate in testing, or inadequate, I will post it here. Opinions welcomed, but remember the constraints that I am operating under when you post that nothing buy a 13w HID on both bar and helmet will do...


    A quick surf over to batteryspace.com showed 3.5Ah NICAD Cells going for $2.99 ea. and the NIMH C cells had a whopping 5.0Ah and only sold for $.50 more. techlib.com shows good quality alky C cells having 6.0Ah capacity. So, if you don't want to loose too much runtime by going with the rechargeables, the hi-cap NIMH is the only way to go.

    Batteryspace also sells 4.8v-7.2v NIMH/NICAD smart chargers with a 1.2A max output for $29.95. It should take about 6 hours to bring one of those battery packs filled with fully discharged 5Ah NIMH cells to full charge. How long will that wall charger take to bring four 5Ah capacity cells to full charge? I'll bet a whole lot longer as it would have to have 4.8A of output to equal the output of the smart charger onto the 4.8v pack.

    One other thing to consider: a battery carrier such as serves as the battery pack on this system has the rather large inherent disadvantage of not having soldered connectons to and between the cells, A surprising amount of power can be lost at these points due to the much higher resistance of less than ideal connections. You may be able to minimize this problem by regularly cleaning all contact points (carrier to cell and cell to cell) with a green scrub pad followed by a wipe with a q-tip dipped in denatured alcohol (not rubbing alcohol as it contains too much H2O). Or just order the NIMH cells tabbed and solder up your own packs & save much of the weight of the battery carrier itself.

    Have fun,

    29erchico

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by iridefar
    opinion not based on sponsorship.
    My opinion is not based on sponsorship. I have only used 2 different types of helmet lights...Vistalite and Cateye. Between those 2, the Cateye LED is the way to go based on cost, light output, and current technology.

    Products from L&M and Niterider are good also. I have just never used them to give you an honest opinion on them.

  11. #11
    jrm
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    Bar..

    Quote Originally Posted by lovemonkey
    So, I am about to enter the exiting world of night riding. I can afford to buy one light, 10W+20W handlebar light, or a 20W helmet light. I've tried to search the forums, but the info is pretty skimpy (or the search function sucks). I figured you guys were the ones to ask.
    that way your not looking through the dust coming off your front wheel. i use a single L&M ARC HID...

  12. #12
    Hup, Hup
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinl19
    You might want to see if your model of choice can be used on a handlebar as well. If it's raining, dusty, or foggy it may be better with the light on the bars. Otherwise on the helmet for sure.
    I agree with this statement. I prefer to run a helmet light all the time due to light going where I am looking but it is always good to have options. Buy a light that has both and experiment with them.
    '06 Cannondale Cross
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  13. #13
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    29erchico

    Thanks for that info. I was wondering how they could get that much run time out of alkalyne cells vs the 6 hours on hi for thier NiMH water bottle style. What do you think of using a small bit of dialectric grease on the tabs? I used to have to use this in an old Volkswagen I had as the electronics were very sensitive to resistance at the connections with some success.

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