Lights Advice for Commuting- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Lights Advice for Commuting

    Hi All,

    I'm going to begin commuting to work next week. Figure its going to be about 45 mins each way on mainly bike paths with some intersections on heavily travelled roads. Interested in a light setup, preferably bike mount. Want to spend about $150. Not going to be roosting singletrack or anything, I'm just looking to light up the path fairly well and be seen by drivers. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    The Princeton Tech Switchback Series works great. I think the Switchback 1 is in your price range and it comes with everything you need. Plus it charges quickly and if you have any problems the folks at P.T. are great about helping out. Mine have been awesome for racing and commuting.

  3. #3

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    I don't know what your commute it like. Mine is 7 miles and it ranges from heavy traffic to pretty remote areas.

    I have a very inexpensive setup for commuting on my bike. I use a 3 LED CatEye on the front and a couple of flashers in the back (One CatEye...and a ViewwPort Flashback 5 which is considerably brighter than the CatEye...FYI.) I have the cateye on my seat post, and the viewport clips onto my pannier, both set to blink...I'm surprised I haven't given anyone behind me a seizure yet!

    This setup has worked fairly well for me. It doesn't light up the path much, but it does get me seen..also wear light clothes .. stuff made for jogging with reflective areas works well...target had some stuff on closeout. I picked up a lot of great commuting clothes for what a jersey would have cost me!

    Good luck! Happy biking!
    Jared

  4. #4
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    I would suggest the Light and Motion Stella 180N. The light has ridiculous run times. When I ride to the trail head I have 9 miles of commute type riding before I get there. The Stella on flash mode actually causes a lot of confusion for drivers. I can kind of tell that I'm seen as a "not sure if it is but I should stop just in case" emergency vehicle. Usually when I have the light off of flashing for dark stretches like a bike path (non road) I don't even use the full power mode. Most times I'm at the 80 or 40 lumen setting. On these settings the light has ridiculous run times. I also have two red blinkers on the back - one on my seat post and one on my bag.

  5. #5

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    Assuming that you don't want to go DIY: I would get two Fenix L2D units, one on the bar and one on the helmet. And I would put three Planet Bike Superflashes on the rear. You can get them here for $15: http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/165...Tail-Light.htm

  6. #6
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    I commute with a DiNotte 200L. The Li-Ion version is more than your budget, but has gone on sale for ~$150, the AA version is within budget. It's a decent light for both road and trails.

  7. #7
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    Also check the product review here on MBTR. It gives you prices and reviews. If you are handy with circuitry and a soldering iron you can build a light pack that will blind anything on the production market at half the price.
    The wood is being bent! Let me know what you need!

  8. #8
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    Get a couple of blinky red LEDs lights for the rear. I usually have one on my seat post and one and my bag. The redundancy is nice for that. On the front I only use a blinking single white LED. I only ride in the city so it's lit well enough for me. If you ride with a helmet a light on there would be better as you can direct it to where you want it. Then having a cheap blinky on the front would help grab motorists attention.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsdoable
    I commute with a DiNotte 200L. The Li-Ion version is more than your budget, but has gone on sale for ~$150, the AA version is within budget. It's a decent light for both road and trails.
    I agree with that recommendation. Bright light and solid set-up.

  10. #10
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    Hi,

    Another vote for the DiNotte, but based on colleagues who love theirs. Their rear light is unbelievable and there is a lot of flexibility in the battery set up. I have AyUps that I'm equally impressed with. Slightly over your stated budget but if the exchange rate goes your way then very recommended, great light and with multiple batteries.

    I saw these Blackburn X6 things on special - hope the link works for you. Looks like enough light, the battery will charge overnight which is a biggie for daily commuting.

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...Front%20Lights

    And from left field, for being seen from the side / rear (in addition to a half decent rear light), I'm very pleased with my HiViz, Respro Hump backpack cover. Waterproof, reflective and has 2 battery driven electo-luminescent strips. Very impressive in the flesh.

    Hope this helps

  11. #11
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    I highly recommend the CygoLite Dualcross Li-Ion lights. I've been using for the past six months and it has functioned flawlessly.

    Super bright, 8 different light modes, easy to use and very lightweight. The battery pack is tiny and mounts to the stem and has short cord running to the handlebar, very clean looking set-up. It has smart charger that re-charges battery quickly and the charge last longer than any light I've ever owned.

    I use it all the time in flash mode, plenty of light to be able to see the trail or road, but makes you a lot more obvious to other trails users and motorist. And as others have recommended...use one or two red flashers to the rear.

    WARNING: Beware of all the non-cyclists on the recreation trails that are walking, running, etc. with absolutely NO lights or reflective clothing. Amazing how pissed off they get at cyclists for not having lights, but it's OK for them to have nothing...

  12. #12

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    I'd recommend some down low glow. Cars often give me the entire lane at night because they just don't know what they are coming up on. Highly recommended for the night rider


  13. #13
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    Update

    Those Blackburn X6 lights are on Jenson for $99 now

  14. #14
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    ...oops
    Do people think you are strange??

    Do you??

    ....Then you may be on the right track.
    (Rev. J.R. Bob Dodds)

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    As much as I agree with everyone talking about Li-ion powered lights Schmucker made the point of LED's that draw attention to you a lot better than just high powered units. I use both HID and a flashing LED on the front and two flashing LED units on the back and sometimes one on my pack. It is more about being seen than being able to see the terrain unless the bike paths that you will be using are not very well illuminated. I would try and get the brightest flashing units you can and make sure they are visible from the sides too, then see how much is left in your budget for something like Dinotte etc.
    Do people think you are strange??

    Do you??

    ....Then you may be on the right track.
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  16. #16
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    i love the Blackburn System X6 Light Set. for mt bikeing i put both lights on my bars but, for commuting i put the narrow beam light on my helmet and the battery pack in my backpack.
    That way i have nothing on my road bike and i can quickly lock it to the light poll.

  17. #17
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    Don't forget that if you are locking your bike up outside while at work you will need to be able to remove some of the lights (battery, head unit) to stop them being stolen so look for something that will be easy to take off and put back in the same place so you don't have to faff around every time.
    Do people think you are strange??

    Do you??

    ....Then you may be on the right track.
    (Rev. J.R. Bob Dodds)

  18. #18
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    I use a Topeak Whitelight HP 3W on the front...high, low and blink modes. I also have the rechargable stem mount battery for it. Super bright, slide and click mount/unmounts, etc. Got the combo unit on e-bay for under $100. I use a Planet Bike Multi-directional blinky for the rear. Used this setup for over a year and have been very happy with it.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sic_nick
    Don't forget that if you are locking your bike up outside while at work you will need to be able to remove some of the lights (battery, head unit) to stop them being stolen so look for something that will be easy to take off and put back in the same place so you don't have to faff around every time.
    If you live far enough away that you need a lot of lighting, you may want to consider this idea: use a cheap mtn bike bar and attach it to your bar-ends and put all your lighting, speedometer, etc on it so you don't have to keep clipping and unclipping the items. An example can be found here: http://www.bikewhenever.com/accessory_bars.html

    My bike setup works pretty good considering the distance I need to commute (~20 miles each way). I have a cheap Schwin bike/tailight combo I got from walmart (~$15) and a minimag flashlight attached to the front fork at the axle using two zip-ties. This combo, while not ideal, puts out more than enough light to safely travel on the street at 10-15mph and allows cars to see me both front and rear. The Schwin tailight works pretty good with five different settings from solid to "christmas tree" style and it's pretty bright. The Schwin headlight is only useful for cars to see you, but when used in concert with my minimag it helps throw out a little extra lighting.

    Some cheap lights you might want to try are:

    Cygolite HiFlux 100 LED light (~25hrs run time) ($55) http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Lights/product_129592.shtml

    Princeton Tec Yukon Extreme (~$50) http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Lights/product_125748.shtml

    TurboCat S10 (~2-4hrs run time) (~$100-150) http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Lights/product_22229.shtml
    http://www.turbocatusa.com/config.html

    Cygolite Night Rover NiMH (3-5hrs run time) (~$80) http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Lights/product_124425.shtml

    The Yukon extreme and Hiflux 100 LED should put out decent light, but aren't nearly as good as the Turbocat or Night rover. If I didn't need a lot of run time, I would probably get the Turbocat, but since I do I will most likely get the Hiflux 100 when I save up enough pennies.

    Good luck and ride safe

  20. #20
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    derek2, that is an awesome bike


    Quote Originally Posted by ameybrook
    I'm just looking to light up the path fairly well and be seen by drivers.
    Well if being seen comes first and actually having lots of light isn't as important, then check out Planet Bike. I have the Beamer 3 for the front, and the Superflash rear, and they are awesome.

    My Beamer 3 does an ok job lighting up the pathways, but I use my lights mainly to be seen, not to see.

  21. #21
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    Those Superflash are the same as the Smart lights in the UK that I am running on the commuter and I reckon are about the best ones on the market for being seen, especially that rear light. I like having a more expensive light at the rear as I cannot see what to expect from traffic behind me but at least they 'should' see me.
    Do people think you are strange??

    Do you??

    ....Then you may be on the right track.
    (Rev. J.R. Bob Dodds)

  22. #22
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    I put cheap blinkies and a big blinkie on my helmet. White in front, big red on top, and little red in the back. The lights on helemts thing is b/c regardless of how good your lights are, if they're lost in all the other car lights b/c they're on the same plane, they're no good atall. But on your head, that's up higher and easier for a car drivewr to see.

    Also the downlow glow is is way cool and everyone sees you. One is enough (though I totally dug the pic) and runs alittle over $100. I'm still saving up for mine.

    commutergirl

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by commutergrl
    I put cheap blinkies and a big blinkie on my helmet. White in front, big red on top, and little red in the back. The lights on helemts thing is b/c regardless of how good your lights are, if they're lost in all the other car lights b/c they're on the same plane, they're no good atall. But on your head, that's up higher and easier for a car drivewr to see.

    Also the downlow glow is is way cool and everyone sees you. One is enough (though I totally dug the pic) and runs alittle over $100. I'm still saving up for mine.

    commutergirl
    Yep, one is definitely enough, however you can never have enough light at night


  24. #24
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    And I thought I was a rolling christmas tree

    Great bikes on your page

    c

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by derek2
    Yep, one is definitely enough, however you can never have enough light at night

    Too CL !!!!

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