Lightweight light solution for touring?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Lightweight light solution for touring?

    I'm looking for a light setup for my road/gravel bike that i'm using on some trips that will likely include quite a bit of night riding, as well as just going out for night road rides. so i'm looking for something a bit more permanent on the bike, but also pretty lightweight since i throw 25c's on it quite a bit for fast road rides, and it'd be nice to not need to keep removing the setup.

    I'd consider a dynamo setup like the supernova, but i want to see what other options i have. a dynamo would be nice not having to worry about battery life. But I really dont want to have to build/rebuild a wheel for it.

    I feel like a nice, non bike specific light would be a nice solution. i've seen some really nice compact, light lights from EDC and light nerd forums. I could get crafty with my metalwork and make a nice mount for it. how hard of a time would i have running a regular light with an external battery? could you eventually run one with a dynamo? I'm a complete noob when it comes to this stuff so just looking for some direction!

  2. #2
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    Price range? Run time needed?

  3. #3
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    Nowadays there is no point in making something. The prices and performance of lights like the magicshine mean it's just not cost or time effective.

    Bear in mind road and off-road lighting requirements are very different. Plus there is the consideration of bar/fork or helmet mounted

    Off-road tends to suit a bar mounted light lots of lumens with a floody beam plus a helmet mounted light with a spot.

    On road the floody beam would blind on coming motorists so a shaped beam mounted on the fork is politer and safer.

    For what you describe I would certainly look very closely at a dynamo set up suitable for the road supplemented with a helmet mounted light for off road

    For helmet mounted I have used a fenix L2D mounted with a 2 fish lockblock. It uses rechargeable AAs

    I'm just building dynamos onto our urban bikes. Using the SP PD8 hub. I'm really surprised how small it is

    Also worth considering for touring you can run a USB charger of a dynamo hub too



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Yeah for this setup it'll be just for road/gravel. maybe a little bit of mellow trails, but i'll be cruising at a slow on anything even somewhat technical since its just a big tire road bike. so a narrower road oriented beam would be fine.

    Id be willing to spend around 500 for a super solid setup if needed, but if i can do it for less, great.

    as for run time, 90% of the time i'll only need it for 2-3 hours max. but need the option for going quite a bit longer, think 5+

    I am getting a separate MTB setup, which will be a bar mounted light and a helmet light, so i can always use that helmet light if I need.

  5. #5
    Laramie, Wyoming
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    The dyno hub makes it easy to always have light.

  6. #6
    Light freak
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    I have been making lights for over 7 years now The one pictured is my standard model (single mode, on/off. ~800 lumens with a 3.5 hour run time off a 2 cell Li-Ion pack). The size of the light head is 1 1/2" long x 1 1/2" wide x 3/4" tall and weighs in at ~45grams. Light head and battery together weigh in at 160 grams.



    I also do a AA battery holder for when power for charging is not available.



    I also do some multi mode versions with TaskLED drivers that allow for more max lumens as well as dimming ad strobing capabilities.





    These are some of the reasons some people purchase my lights -
    - Size
    - Weight
    - Customer service
    - Made by someone who uses his lights on an almost daily basis and knows the importance of reliability and has the same passion for biking.
    - Each light is made with lots of "personal pride". Something that is missing from most products today!

    Please send me an email (my email is in my signature below) I will forward you some info, pics, and a price sheet. Check out my blog link in my signature also.

  7. #7
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    You might get away with just a flashlight in a mount. Numerous mounts available everywhere, with the "twofish" lockblock mount being one of the favorite cheap ones (and there are many "clones" of the twofish). Not suited for rough off-road (I just tried it), but should be decent on smoother roads. With a flashlight I would go 18650 Li-Ion with spare cells (unless you need to go days between recharging opportunities). Medium levels should get you around +/- 3 hour runtime. Here is a link to a BLF thread where I show off the helmet lights I built up including beamshots.

    Here's my ultra-cheap though super solid mounting I did for a tour (C&O canal very rough gravel trail) in 2011 made from conduit clamps & heatshrink (size as needed for your bars/fork & light):



    (Note sure why photo won't display, so here is a direct link. )

    Mounted on the bars with two cheap lights (prior to my "flashaholic" days) and a cheap camera (which was expendable if necessary):



    (Direct link)

    -Garry
    "My Bike Lights" Thread on BLF teardowns, measurements, and beamshots. Moving my photos, PM or post up if you can't see them.

  8. #8
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    Regarding genertor lights, the Supernova is great if your are staying on lightly used trails. If you expect to encounter other riders, hikers you will regret getting that light. It is so bright and has such a broad beam, people will be more than mad. And if you encounter cars, you will daze the drivers increasing the xhance they wull crash and hit you. Everyone I know that got one has put it away and got a more normal light from Peter White.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    Thie is what I would do in your situation, or try to do if the money was there.

    1) b&m iq-x with schmidt hub. If it is better than my edelux II then it must be pretty good.

    2) Design shine tail light with big battery. 2 if you can afford it.

    3) gloworm helemt light with jet lite breakaway mount. Or maybe lupine if you can afford it or gemini if you can't. Or maybe a design shine head lamp when they do another run. Good dynamo light really are nice.

  10. #10
    Action LED Lights
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    Some of you with Dynamo experience correct me if I'm wrong, but even the best hub puts out 3 watts of power. That's enough to run a 300 lumen light straight off the hub and then only when your moving 12-15mph minimum. If you trying to run something brighter like a 950 lumen light that's USB chargeable (like the Gloworm CX) you would have to ride all day to charge the battery enough to get 2-3 hours of runtime.
    Jim Harger
    Action LED Lights
    www.action-led-lights.com

  11. #11
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    The edelux II is a very well directed, I think I read somewhere, 280 lumens. 280 looks accurate to me. It is very bright in rural areas but you still need a helmet like to see signs and stuff. Wish it had a littile upward spill. It is adequate, and if you are riding all night it is great. I think over the next few year dynamo lights will really start to take off. The edelux II is the first adequate dynamo light IMO. And I have had much better reliability with my dynamo than any other light. Specially better in cold I think. The IQx must be great, but I will be waiting for a big leap instead of a marginal improvement. Need 200 foot long beam really. I think beam is full brightness above 5mph. Not 15.

  12. #12
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    What is up with those 3.4v batteries? Why lower voltage?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsa101 View Post
    Yeah for this setup it'll be just for road/gravel. maybe a little bit of mellow trails, but i'll be cruising at a slow on anything even somewhat technical since its just a big tire road bike. so a narrower road oriented beam would be fine.

    Id be willing to spend around 500 for a super solid setup if needed, but if i can do it for less, great.

    as for run time, 90% of the time i'll only need it for 2-3 hours max. but need the option for going quite a bit longer, think 5+

    I am getting a separate MTB setup, which will be a bar mounted light and a helmet light, so i can always use that helmet light if I need.
    It really takes very little effort to mount and remove a bike light. IMO I think your option to use your dedicated helmet MTB light is the way to go. If you go for a single or duel emitter set up you could get a smaller battery for your MTB and a larger capacity battery for your other bike which will give you the six hours of run time your looking for.

    A glowworm X-2 with two spot optics if there are any refurbished ones left would do the trick and with two Gemini or xeccon battery's would be way under your budget.

    Or Gemini Duo with spot optics and same battery options also well under your budget and uses wireless remote so your hands never need to leave your grips to change outputs.

    Scar also makes the (Amoeba) not sure on pricing as you would need to discuss with him on specs. But high quality stuff!!

  14. #14
    Action LED Lights
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    Quote Originally Posted by lighty View Post
    What is up with those 3.4v batteries? Why lower voltage?
    A 3.4V battery pack (4.2V fully charged) is easiest to charge with the 5.2V output of a USB port. The circuitry to boost the voltage to 8.4V is not very efficient.
    Jim Harger
    Action LED Lights
    www.action-led-lights.com

  15. #15
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    Any reason why your not considering one of the newer more powerful self-contained lights for your bar lamp? Lights like the new Gloworm CX and Ituo wiz20 make 900-1500 lumens and have over 2 hr. runtimes on high plus have field changeable batteries so all you need to do is carry spares for extended use. Sounds like you weren't looking at using all the power these lights have (it's always nice to have extra in case you need it) which would extend the runtimes operated at lower levels (10-100% power programmable on both these lights). Beam patterns would be much better than using a flashlight and they are also adjustable with different optional optics. Both have good solid mounts and are moderately priced (Gloworm: $139 - $179, Ituo $100 on sale at the moment). I think these lights are worth looking into for the usage you described.
    Mole
    Last edited by MRMOLE; 04-01-2016 at 03:37 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Action LED Lights View Post
    Some of you with Dynamo experience correct me if I'm wrong, but even the best hub puts out 3 watts of power. That's enough to run a 300 lumen light straight off the hub and then only when your moving 12-15mph minimum. If you trying to run something brighter like a 950 lumen light that's USB chargeable (like the Gloworm CX) you would have to ride all day to charge the battery enough to get 2-3 hours of runtime.
    The best dyno chargers will put out 800mA USB.
    M172N Bicycle Power Charge Controller USB

    The 3w is a misnomer these days, it referred to the power delivered to a filament bulb. You can easily pull over 10W out of a shimano hub.
    Dynamo LED Light Systems for Bicycles (electronic circuits)

    It is kinda silly to charge a USB light to use as your main light for bike (dedicated dynamo lights are brighter and more efficient) but they're handy for charging electronics if you're off the grid. If I was camping I'd carry a small USB light that I could charge on the bike (lezyne do some nice ones).

    Klite is a good resource for bikepacking dynamo solutions.
    kLite.com.au Dynamo Lighting Systems

    Heres a rundown on dynamo light beams...
    headlight beams from Peter White Cycles

    If you're going to be near a motel every few days you can use a large battery pack and just use that. This will allow you a few nights riding at moderate power...
    http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S024616

  17. #17
    Action LED Lights
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    The dyno USB charger you reference states 800mA @ 5V max with 500mA more typical.
    .8A x 5V = 4Watts .5A @ 5V = 2.5W
    Jim Harger
    Action LED Lights
    www.action-led-lights.com

  18. #18
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    How do you get 10w out of a 7watt hub?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    ......You can easily pull over 10W out of a shimano hub.
    While the hub may be able to output 10W, the rider input to get that 10W is somewhat higher, maybe ~12W. That is likely equivalent to something in the range of 5-10% of the sustainable power output of many riders. I'd prefer to use that power to move than for lighting. There is no free lunch.
    Last edited by Vancbiker; 04-02-2016 at 10:37 AM. Reason: fix typo
    GoPro adapters for bike lights http://www.pacifier.com/~kevinb/index.html

  20. #20
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    The schmidt tops out at 7 watts of drag.

  21. #21
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    USB lights are actually quite efficient if they are ones that use USB for charging, not for power to run the light. They are simply charged via USB, nothing more. Still run just like any other light that doesnt have the USB charging port.

    One thing to note is lights that run on 4.2V (3.7v same thing) are fine for single emitter and USB. Dual emitter you have something far more to worry about:

    Either the system runs at 4.2v max, which means to achieve a respectable output you have to pull almost double the current to run in parallel. Otherwise your using a boost driver. Not all bad but thats why 8.4v systems reign supreme for dual emitter lights. Overall better performance. Only gain here is simplicity in the USB charging circuit.

    Run a dual emitter on 8.4v and leds in series things smooth out a bit and run more efficiently. So you have a boost for the USB charger circuit. Charge time is increased a bit but thats about it.

    Either systems works good these days. Matter of debate which but never rule out a light cause it has USB charging. Doesnt mean what it used to.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymo853 View Post
    Regarding genertor lights, the Supernova is great if your are staying on lightly used trails. If you expect to encounter other riders, hikers you will regret getting that light. It is so bright and has such a broad beam, people will be more than mad. And if you encounter cars, you will daze the drivers increasing the xhance they wull crash and hit you. Everyone I know that got one has put it away and got a more normal light from Peter White.
    Supernova makes a couple of lights. The one you're talking about is the E3 Triple 2 which is meant for MTB.

    The regular Supernova models do not output that amount of light! LOL

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsa101 View Post
    ( the original OP > )..I'm looking for a light setup for my road/gravel bike that i'm using on some trips that will likely include quite a bit of night riding, as well as just going out for night road rides. so i'm looking for something a bit more permanent on the bike, but also pretty lightweight since i throw 25c's on it quite a bit for fast road rides, and it'd be nice to not need to keep removing the setup.

    I'd consider a dynamo setup like the supernova, but i want to see what other options i have. a dynamo would be nice not having to worry about battery life. But I really dont want to have to build/rebuild a wheel for it.

    I feel like a nice, non bike specific light would be a nice solution. i've seen some really nice compact, light lights from EDC and light nerd forums. I could get crafty with my metalwork and make a nice mount for it. how hard of a time would i have running a regular light with an external battery? could you eventually run one with a dynamo? I'm a complete noob when it comes to this stuff so just looking for some direction!
    Looks like you got a lot of good recommendations from what I'm reading. If you are talking about "unsupported touring" ( no access to line power most of the time ) I think your best bet is either a Dynamo set-up or a set-up using something like what Scar has ( with AA battery set-up... AA batteries being available in almost any road side store ).

    I can't speak for you of course but if it were me I'd be more concerned about how I was going to keep my smart phone charged while on a tour since I'd likely be using that almost all day for navigation purposes. That said I'd like to know in advance where I might be able to "Plug-in" a USB type charger for the phone so I could keep it going. Sure, you can navigate by maps but having phone navigation apps make the trip so much more care free.

    For me, I like what the Gloworm CX has to offer ( for touring options ). As long as I have access to line power at some point I can bring 4-6 18650 cells for the commutes, use the USB hook-up in the CX to help keep my phone going all day and then hopefully be able to charge the batteries where ever I'm staying with a dedicated ( plug-in ) phone/USB charger.

    Anyway, if it were going to be "unsupported" I'd have to think more about dyno/AA/ Solar-power set-ups.

  24. #24
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    As someone with lots of touring experience - self supported solo and otherwise - I'll throw in my two cents.

    First, is it possible to simply not go off-road and ride only during the day time? It sounds like you're actually bike packing rather than self supported touring.

    Second, your budget of $500 is too low for anything fancy. Even if you were to go with SP or Shimano dynos. You can forget about that new B&M light that lighty mentioned. 100 lux!!!

    Before I forget, Scar, I love your battery setup for your light. It's really clean looking!

    So...assuming that it's bike packing with little or no easy access to mains or regular electrical outlets; I'd say dyno hub with a light that has a wider beam but be very careful about the light's mount. My Supernova mount couldn't handle rough roads for more than a couple of days without loosening on its first and only tour so far.

    If you go with a rechargeable handlebar or helmet light you're going to be worrying about when and where you can recharge next. And let's not forget about leaving behind bits and bobs, the weight, and safe recharging. Ugh.

    So, dyno set up...if still within your budget, see if you can get a recharger hooked up to it that you can then use to recharge your phone.

    So, all of the above should hit the $500 mark or so.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronMac View Post
    Second, your budget of $500 is too low for anything fancy. Even if you were to go with SP or Shimano dynos. You can forget about that new B&M light that lighty mentioned. 100 lux!!!
    I just priced some kit up at rosebikes.
    Shimano 3n80 wheel with CXP rims, + B&M Luxos with USB charging + secula taillight. Including delivery (to NZ) for 300US$ (once you take off the 19% VAT).

    I'd add a small helmet light too, maybe an AA powered zebralight ~ 60$.
    Plenty of change for a USB battery bank.

    https://www.rosebikes.com/article/ro...n80/aid:716428
    https://www.rosebikes.com/article/b-...ion/aid:620049
    https://www.rosebikes.com/article/b-...sts/aid:709311

    H52w AA Headlamp Neutral White

  26. #26
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    Wow..Rosebikes has some really good pricing! At that rate, might even be able to get the new IQ-X!

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronMac View Post
    Wow..Rosebikes has some really good pricing! At that rate, might even be able to get the new IQ-X!
    Yeah, people just assume the dyno stuff is quite expensive. The IQ-X is 90€ at xxcycle.
    XXcycle - Busch & Müller IQ-X 100 Lux Front light [Black] - 164RTSNDI-01 - Busch & Muller - en

  28. #28
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    Won't Rosebikes charge extra, though, for the bulkiness of a wheel rim?

    I got all of my dyno stuff through Peter White so prices were a tad high. I now buy most of my bike stuff through Bike24 if I can swing a big enough purchase to make it worthwhile.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronMac View Post
    Won't Rosebikes charge extra, though, for the bulkiness of a wheel rim?

    I got all of my dyno stuff through Peter White so prices were a tad high. I now buy most of my bike stuff through Bike24 if I can swing a big enough purchase to make it worthwhile.
    It was 13€ shipping for my wheel in 2012.

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