Reliable, long term night driving solution?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Reliable, long term night driving solution?

    http://www.amazon.com/GLW-White-Wate.../dp/B008XZAPV8

    Amazon.com: ExpertPowerŽ 12 Volt 18 Ah Rechargeable Battery With Nuts & Bolts Included || EXP12180: Electronics

    Is this a good alternative to Cygolite? Could mount the battery on a rear rack and wire it along the frame to the light at the front. A breaker switch at the front would control the flow of power.

  2. #2
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    It seems like you could make it work, however:

    The setup above would be very, very different from the Cygolite Metro 400 and similar commuter lights. I don't usually worry much about weight, but, if Amazon shipping weights are anywhere near right, this combo would weigh 15 pounds without wires, switches or a tail light. Lead Acid batteries don't like to be fully discharged, and have fewer recharge cycles than the better Li- Ion cells. The weight of this system would be about the same as two full gallon milk jugs.

    Charging the battery will require a larger charger than the typical cell phone type charger used for USB lights like the Cygolite or Light and Motion lights. 18 Amp hour is big enough that that shouldn't be a daily problem, but it could present a headache down the road.

    It can be done. I suspect that the weight penalty will quickly outweigh the cash savings and make the bike a lot less fun to ride, unless you really need light for 11 hours at a time.

    How many hours do you plan to ride in the dark between charges? L&M and Cygolite among other reputable brands make MTB lights setups with external batteries designed for longer duration rides and higher light output.

  3. #3
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    If price is the main concern, take a look at this:

    Amazon.com : Cygolite Streak 310/Hotshot SL USB Light Combo : Sports & Outdoors

    This is a slightly better headlight, without the tailight for direct comparison to the cost of the lead acid battery and light combo:

    Amazon.com : Cygolite Metro 360 USB Bicycle Headlight : Bike Headlights : Sports & Outdoors

    $40 can go a long way in lights. Please speak up if I am misunderstanding your question.

  4. #4
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    That 10 w car light sounds like a lot of light, but in effect, it is not much light on the road. Half will be in the sky, half of what is left will be too far to each side, and too much will be in oncoming drivers' and cyclists' eyes. It is a bit like using a bonfire when what you need is a match. Small sources with good reflectors or lenses are needed to focus light on the road. Then there's the weight.

    When halogen lights and NiMH batteries were cutting edge, 360 lumens was a bright lighting system costing well over $100, so the Metro 360 is a very decent light compared to what we once had as options.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    That 10 w car light sounds like a lot of light, but in effect, it is not much light on the road. Half will be in the sky, half of what is left will be too far to each side, and too much will be in oncoming drivers' and cyclists' eyes. It is a bit like using a bonfire when what you need is a match. Small sources with good reflectors or lenses are needed to focus light on the road. Then there's the weight.

    When halogen lights and NiMH batteries were cutting edge, 360 lumens was a bright lighting system costing well over $100, so the Metro 360 is a very decent light compared to what we once had as options.
    Yes you're right it is a lot of weight. Are Li batteries of the same storage capacity similarly priced?

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    IMHO what you are proposing is ridiculous. Few people need such an overblown, heavy DIY solution with huge, cumbersome batteries mounted on the rear rack.

    In 2013 I bought an 800 lumen TAZ 800 for $134 on sale from the normal $220+ from the TheClymb. Without wires or an external battery it lasts 2 hours on 800 lumens, and 4 hours on 400 lumens. Now you can get it on Amazon for $100. Most people don't need more than that. For even cheaper you can get something like an 1000 lumen Olight flashlight that is not specific to bikes, and a handlebar mount and that will also probably meet your needs better. Plus you can use it as a normal flashlight more conveniently than my TAZ.

  8. #8
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    For night road riding, I have been impressed with the busch and mueller ixon iq. Well-focused light that gets a solid chunk run time, especially on the lower setting. Aa batteries, so those can be changed as you ride. It is about $65 from bike 24 (without shipping, so it only makes sense if you have other stuff to buy...I did).

  9. #9
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    @Vassock You're gonna get 5 billion different recommendations for lights, just so you know. We can better help you by knowing what the lighting conditions are on your commute, ergo, what you would be best served by.

    What everyone else is saying is true, though. The price of a quality light system has dropped dramatically in the past few years, even, and there are pluses to bicycle specific (or, at least, torch-form) lights that you wouldn't get from a flood lamp. The biggest one will be putting light where it's usable. The B&M mentioned above does very well with that, even having a good cutoff so it doesn't blind oncoming traffic.

  10. #10
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    OP - long term per use or long term between charges? What kind of lighting conditions are you riding in currently? What do you think you need? How long is your commute? What is your budget?
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeed View Post
    OP - long term per use or long term between charges? What kind of lighting conditions are you riding in currently? What do you think you need? How long is your commute? What is your budget?
    After reading the responses perhaps the current solution (bike-specific lights that I have) is the most practical. The reason I need lights is because the area is very poorly lit (some parts have no light at all) and the roads are utterly destroyed. It's the NYC area and if you live here you know what I'm talking about. The potholes are bad enough to destroy car wheels and it seems the local governments around here have taken the stance that the roads don't ever need to be repaired, except in the few rare cases where the holes are so bad that the road is impassable. It's been like this for years and it's only getting worse. At night an unexpected pothole could prove deadly. If they actually cared about having roads suitable for human travel, then I'd need the bare minimum: to be visible from the front and the rear. But as it stands I need a lot of lighting in front to see the roads.

    I don't often ride more than 2 hours in the dark.

  12. #12
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    vassock,
    I have been building high performance LED bike lights for over 7 years now. Shoot me an email (address is in my signature) and I can send you some info on what I can do.

    Reliable, long term night driving solution?-amoeba-night.jpg




    ****

  13. #13
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    Vassock,

    I ride through a semi-rural area, and deal with many of the same issues that you do. Basically, my approach is to use a skewer light mount (or mid-blade, doesn't matter, I guess) with a fairly tight beam light on it, and another on the handlebar. Since the AoA is so shallow with the lower light, potholes pop out of the road surface--any debris, really-- and are much easier to avoid.

    I'll refrain from light suggestions, except to say that if budget is a concern, the market is flooded with magicshine clones.

  14. #14
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    What doesn't work with your current light setup? Is the light too dim, or does it project too widely? Can you see everything but potholes?

    On our Michigan roads, 250- 350 lumens has been plenty in lights that aim directly at the path of travel. Wschruba's approach (one light on the bars, another light mounted low) will make objects stand out better. As both wschruba and Brianmc pointed out, the focus and angle of the light are as important as its candlepower/ lumen output.

    The more specific you can be, the better we can help.

  15. #15
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    ^ 320 lumens is pretty good for the garbage Michigan roads. I have a Niterider 350 and a 700 and either of those solo is more than enough light for the dark roads. I travel down a pitch black MUP at night and even set on low, they provide enough light. There should be something readily available on the market for you to use that will provide ample lighting for your travels.
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeed View Post
    ^ 320 lumens is pretty good for the garbage Michigan roads. I have a Niterider 350 and a 700 and either of those solo is more than enough light for the dark roads. I travel down a pitch black MUP at night and even set on low, they provide enough light. There should be something readily available on the market for you to use that will provide ample lighting for your travels.
    I suppose what I have now is more or less enough. Perhaps I should just leave it alone.

  17. #17
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    The darker somewhere is the less light you actually need in my opinion . I ride through pitch black woods quite comfortably with my lights on a low setting. 120 lumens . That said I do have a couple fenix bike lights 750 lumens and a small fenix torch on my helmet with 850 for when the need arises . So many different lights aroind right now . My advice is don't buy cheap ebay lights if you want reliability .

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