The search for a decent commuting front light- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    The search for a decent commuting front light

    First of all, I'm aware of the night riding forum section - but it seems to be focused on 200000 lumen lights for forest night riding (which is totally fine).


    I'm looking for a decent commuter front light, and I'm always troubles finding any light that doesn't blind any rider or car to death.
    For some reason most commuter think it's okay to blind people (its very dangerous - hence why car lights are regulated). If you do that, .

    My main issue is that its really hard to find any flashlight or bike light that is both decently powerful (2-300 lumens is fine), waterproof, etc and with a non-blinding lens (similar to how car lens work). In fact there seems to be none.

    Anyone else thinking the same, or having found a solution to that?

    Some references, since I'm unsure everyone's aware of how their car works: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headlamp
    Sample "easy" 1980's design:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped..._schematic.png

  2. #2
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    You'll want to look for lights that meet the German StVZO standard. It basically dictates that the beam pattern must have a sharp cutoff. Busch and Mueller, more or less, is that entire market, though occasionally someone designs one or two lights that work similarly (Specialized, can't remember the name; Phillips Saferide).

    If you can spare the extra money for them, the B&M products are quite good, even if you don't want to spring for a dynamo system.

  3. #3
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    The Philips Saferide has a beam cutoff like you are describing, it's on the expensive side at Amazon, might be worth looking around for.

    I know some Fenix bike lights have a "dual distance beam" which might accomplish something similar, but I've not tried one yet.

  4. #4
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    I reviewed a pre-production Flux Expert headlight here:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/commuting/spe...ts-947630.html

    The Phillips is great, but no longer in production and hard to find. Check out B&M at PeterWhiteCycles.com as he has nice beam shots.

  5. #5
    jrm
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    Light & Motion taz1200. brightness adjustability & solid/blinking and pulsing modes. Helmet or bar mount and usb charging.

  6. #6
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    I don't want to blind oncoming drivers either, but I do want to be seen by traffic. I currently am using a Cygolite Metro 400 and am very happy with the light output, battery life, and different modes. I simply aim it a little low so that I am not blinding people. The mount is the only thing that disappoints me.
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  7. #7
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    The lumens matter less than how you aim the light. I use about 500 lumens from an old Magicshine (whose switch has gone bad after almost 10 years, and I need to rebuild) with good results. Nobody flashes their own brights at me, either. I have the Magicshine taillight, too, and I really like its brightness (prob about 200 lumens).

    I really want to go full hub dynamo on my commuter eventually, though. Spent too much on a drivetrain upgrade this year to do it soon, though.

  8. #8
    CB of the East
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    I'm still pretty happy with the Niterider cordless lights. I've had some of mine for 3 years now and bounced them off the asphalt (human error) and they still work great. Still going on the original batteries.

    Luckily, with the time change they can go away for the summer.

  9. #9
    Bedwards Of The West
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    I have a Planet Bike Blaze 2 watt emergency backup light that lets me follow the side of the road home in the rural darkness... definitely not blinding anyone with that, but it's been exceptionally durable/waterproof, etc. Survived a couple pretty good mountain bike crashes that forced me to crawl around until I found the batteries that flew out. Still ticking.

    My 'big light' is a Magicshine... very similar Cree LED/remote battery pack as several other companies. It's very capable of blinding drivers, but when I'm on the road with it I use the low power setting and aim it down. You can create a very decent beam pattern doing this without shooting light in anyone's windshield. And it lights the heck out of your front tire as an added bonus . The 'hot spot' winds up right down at the front of your front tire, and you're using the extreme upper part of the beam to light up the road ahead. I haven't had any complaints.
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  10. #10
    Ride Everything
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    Bontrager, Cat-Eye, and Knog have good, affordable lights that don't use completely circular optics (my review can be found here).
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  11. #11
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    @ lumen comment - yeah thats mainly to say i want a decently powerful light but lumens dont matter too much to me (beside being usually incorrectly rated by a factor or 100 by vendors ;-)

    Also.. i pass a lot of commuters here in SF, CA - and have seen some of the lights mentioned pointed down.. they blind people. just stand 50 feet from your bike when its upright in the dark. the problem is that they have a very wide pattern so no matter how you aim it, unless you only light up your front tire, its blinding. its specially annoying on share pedestrian/bike path as bikes are close to one another in both directions, and theres plenty of pedestrians and other bikes without lights wandering in the bike lane (probably trying to die or something, but.... ;-)

    Anyhow thats .. a lot more info that I thought i'd get, thanks a lot! Its going to take a me a bit of time to go through all this

    edit: went through, only the bush and mueller seem to actually be non-blinding (seriously, check your lights!). I think im going to go with these, pricing is also decent it turns out
    Last edited by boubla; 03-14-2016 at 09:54 PM.

  12. #12
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    After reading this thread now I want a Busch & Müller headlight. I already have lights from Cygolite, Cateye, Gloworm, Dinotte and Serfas, but I totally need another one for some reason.

  13. #13
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    I use a Vis 360 which is 120 lumens up front and about 4 lumens on the back. I usually take the same bike everyday which is my commuter but sometimes I will take my road bike or my fat bike depending on weather and what I am doing after work. So having a helmet mounted light is real nice for this

    I have thought about the 360+ at 250 lumens but I do not think I really need it, the beam is quite nice on the 360, it has a focused spot in the middle with light bleed all around to reflect off of different surfaces to be seen and it also had side lights for hence the name 360 view.

    I also have a LNM 550, Vis 180 Micro and a Serfas 250(AA). These lights hardly get used but I keep them around more for others and the Serfas is AA battery powered so I keep in my bag as a backup.

    Keep in mind non of these lights are high powered 20000000 lumen lights except maybe the 550 can get a little bright for some while in traffic. But if a helmet light is not your thing I would look at their Urban 350 combo kit with a vis 180 micro for $100, it will not burn retina's but you will be seen.
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  14. #14
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    I am currently testing a light named PR900 from Ravemen. They are guys new to the market and the PR900 is labeled "simulation design of automotive headlight". pretty an innovated light beam design and the low light does have a cutoff line, though might not as strict as the Stvzo. It is not available in the market yet but you could check their website ravemen.com firstly if interested.

  15. #15
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    1 you're not gonna be blinding people with anything less than 7-800 or so lumens!

    I have the gloworm xs as my main commuter light. It has a max outputof 2400 lumens. Selectable battery capacity with panasonic cells.
    Selectable light level on all stages in 10% jumps (and an ultra long, be seen level too). Selectable optics. Metal quick release mount that stays put.
    Flashing mode 30% solid, 70% flash (it jumps between these 2 levels). Beacon mode to really piss people off (off 3 secs then a short max juice impulse).

    I usually run mine on 30-40% or so and it lasts a whole lot of hours then. And if there is snow/unexpectedthings in the road or I'm on unfamiliar roads or I'm simply going really fast in complete darkness I just turn it up to 100% and bam! 2400lm. And now everything turns highly undramatic and safe again.

    I wouldn't be using anything less than 700 lumens personally. Preferably with the option to pump out twice that sometimes when needed. This is for lit roads. If the roads were unlit here I would get a 2400lm for the throw and another 1000-1500lm up close.

    I actually ran that for a while with a gemini olympia pointed close infront of the bike. Its a very good floody 1500lm or so light (old version that is).

    The lupines are supposedly very good too, with good batteries. But supposedly they have quite narrow beams, I'd like something more floody for a single light setup on the bars myself. Maybe they can take other lenses?? I would get the dual emitter one at least.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  16. #16
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    lumen seems to be a moving target..

    what happened to good ole "candlepower"?

    anyways thanks for this thread. i'm in the market as well. it's still dark when i leave in the AM.
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  17. #17
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    Lumen is the total output of the light in all directions. Lux and candela are intensity. that is light intensity measured on like a 1x1m square infront of the light at a certain distance. Some lights can have very high intensity but has very narrow beams. The lumen rating/measurement is not affected by the narrowness of the beam. Its simply a measurement of how much photons per time unit does the light put out in total with a weighing in the spectrum to account for human sight limitations. (we cant see red or blue light as good as green for example, and if we go far enough we get to ultraviolet and infra red that we can't see at all.)
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  18. #18
    Trail Ninja
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    If your light has a cut-off, does that increase the risk of getting smacked by branches? Or getting jumped by ninjas?
    "The challenge is not in developing new ideas, but in escaping old ideas."

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    If your light has a cut-off, does that increase the risk of getting smacked by branches? Or getting jumped by ninjas?
    it certainly will.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    If your light has a cut-off, does that increase the risk of getting smacked by branches? Or getting jumped by ninjas?

    unless you got two leds, one with cutoff one with full beam

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    If your light has a cut-off, does that increase the risk of getting smacked by branches? Or getting jumped by ninjas?
    Get a helmet light, as well. STVzo assumes riding on a road, not off-road (where there are no restrictions on beam pattern, car or bike...).

    On road, it's never been an issue with me (but I only ride well known roads when I'm rolling one light, for whatever reason), but off road or on extended rides, I will use a light, narrow beam headlamp. You generally don't need a very 'bright' (lumen-wise) headlamp for a spot, as 300 or so lumens in a 10x10 spot is still pretty bright far enough out to avoid whacking anything.

    It's easier to slightly tip your head with a headlamp than it is to move it down/block it on a handlebar to avoid flashing someone. On that note...sometimes you want to flash someone (who is rolling their high beams, for example) and a helmet-mounted light is perfect for that.

  22. #22
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    I've been very pleased with my sigmasport Buster 600. Three full on settings, three blinking settings, bombproof and waterproof housing. In my experience it lasts longer than its rating--two hours full on, 13 hours econo mode--and it holds that power even well below 0F. Good German product. I've not had complaints about it blinding motorists or other cyclists.

    SIGMA SPORT

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    If your light has a cut-off, does that increase the risk of getting smacked by branches?[COLOR=#fafafa] Or getting jumped by ninjas?
    Yes you have to watch out for the ninjas and branches or even worse, ninjas with branches lol. It is always a good idea to have a second light anyways for backup so a fairly decent helmet light or flashlight would work great for the second light.

  24. #24
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    I tell u what. get an xs and the good 4cell panasonic battery, and dont look back. 2400lm is fukn awesome. and money well spent. I can go daytime speed at full darkness. I wish i had 2 of them. forget all this jazz about 300lm and so light these are pure sh1t if you ask me. and even 700 is shit unless its your 50% mode. but yeah 700-800 or so lm will get you where youre going. and thats about it really. 1500 will get you there quite a lot faster and 2500 will get you there in daylight tempo.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  25. #25
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    Over 1500 lumens is highbeams on a car territory, which sounds like the opposite of what the OP wants.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by formula4speed View Post
    Over 1500 lumens is highbeams on a car territory, which sounds like the opposite of what the OP wants.
    Highbeams on a car is about 6000lm and its not more than that legally. I'd say at least 5000lm. its not even close.
    1500lm is not if you go fast. i casn tell you that. even 2500 isn't enough to be honest. I'd like about 10000lm.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  27. #27
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    the sun puts out about 800-1000w of light on every square meter on earth all the fukn time. and about 80% of that is visible light, at least. thats daylight.
    thats about 100000 lumens per square meter.... just saying.... there is no too much here. not even the baddest growlights on earth will grow w33d as good as in the mountains, out in nature, and why is that? because they are weaker than our nuclear bomb star that powers out planet. because its a fukn thermonuclear bomb in slow burn mode... So while you may think that 1500lm is "too much" I simply piss on that. and even 15000 too I want fu*king 150000000000 lumens. then it starts to matter. and then were probably powering these with nuclear, maybe fusion plants on our bikes??

    not gonna happen any time soon though so you can safely smoke your weed until you die.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  28. #28
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    I've read car headlights run 700-800 lumens per headlight on regular and around 1500 per in high beams. I'm not sure lumens are really a perfect measure for lights anyway since I don't believe they take area into effect, I'm obviously not an expert.

    My point was mostly that the OP doesn't seem to want that kind of light. I've got a Dinotte XML-3 which is 1600 lumens, it's a really nice light, and I almost never use it on high. Maybe you ride a lot faster than I do.

  29. #29
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    Not sure if you've settled on anything yet, but I just received the Busch and Muller Ixon Pure from Peter White Cycles along with the fork crown mount and will update with some information on that after I get some usage from it.

    Initial impressions, it's quite large, notably bigger than any of my self contained lights. It's rated at 30 Lux, I don't know how this compares to the lumen ratings of my other lights but it's definitely closer to the 255 lumens Serfas light I have than any of the 900+ lumen lights I have.

    USB rechargeable with rechargeable AA batteries is cool. Will be able to recharge at work and can carry spare AAs if needed.

    Beam pattern is definitely square, compared to the usual round beam from my other lights. I'm hopeful the cutoff beam pattern will work as advertised.

  30. #30
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    I love my Knog lights. I have a Knog Blinder 3 and a Knog Blinder rear light too. Check them out. They're pretty good.
    KTM ULTRA 1964 - Strava

  31. #31
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    This is working fine




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  32. #32
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    i run H9 bulbs for my low beams. They are rated at 1760-2240lm, per bulb...for comparison.

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