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  1. #1
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    Looking for commuter light advice

    I hate to drop the catch all advice thread, but ive fallen out of the loop on light technology and don't know what the best options at the moment are.

    I am going to start bike commuting and I am looking for light options. I have a short 20 minute commute, but it will be completely in the dark in one direction. I am still exploring routes, but it will likely be a mix of city/rural street and relatively tame dirt trails.

    Im hoping for option at or under the $100 mark, though will stretch that if needed.

    What do you guys think?

  2. #2
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    There is about 1000 options truly. Especially for commutes that short.

    Do you have any other specifics on what youd like out of a light.

    You will need a front light AND tail light. Tail light isnt optional if you ride on the road at all.

    Also uour budget is no problem to stay under for commuting purposes. Just need more info.

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  3. #3
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    Considering the shortness of your commute almost anything will work. To keep it simple I think you should go with something self-contained ( battery built into the lamp ). I was going to recommend taking a look at the Raveman series of lamps. I own three of those, the CR-500, the CR900 and the PR-1200. I was going to recommend the CR-500 because of your budget but looking over the other Raveman options almost all are on sale and within your budget requirements.

    I've been using the Raveman lamps for several months now. Since the CR-900 is just so much better than the 500 and still below your budget it wouldn't be right not to recommend that over the 500 ( which is still an excellent lamp ). The CR-900 right now is my main "go to" lamp of choice when riding on the road. With their unique optical lens ( low beam on the PR series ) the Raveman lamps take the available light and spread it in a nice wide even pattern that almost lights up the width of an entire road while providing a very road compliant "cut off beam pattern" ( so as not to blind on-coming traffic ). All Raveman lamps utilize a removable wired remote for easy changing of modes....anyway, enough kudos to the Raveman lights. I've done reviews of the lamps if you want to read on.

    To whom it may concern; In doing my reviews of the Raveman lamps I have received two of the lamps for free for review purposes from Raveman International. The CR500 I bought with my own money. My provided link to RAKC is because RAKC advertises on MTBR and sells the Raveman series of lamps. No reason not to give him a plug once in a while.

  4. #4
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    To be honest I think that the rear light is far more important to the safety of a rider than the front light. You can see what is in front of you and react to protect yourself against idiot drivers. But you can't easily see to the rear.

    There have been plenty of studies and demonstrations that prove that a rear reflector is next to useless, because an automobile needs to be at just the right angle to see the reflections and there is not sufficient advance warning for the driver.

    You can buy a flashing red light that will allow you to be seen at night for as little as $10.

    But the rear flasher is sometimes even more important during the day. On a bright sunny day if you ride underneath the filtered light of trees you can become nearly invisible to a driver wearing sunglasses. A bright flashing red rear light can help keep you from becoming a red spot on the road. On an overcast grey day, a red flasher will make you really stand out. 30 lumens of light is about the least that you need for daytime use. Although ANY red flasher is better than nothing.

    That said, a front light is also important. Even a cheap front light will allow you to be seen by drivers. Once you get to the 300+ lumen range you can begin to actually see the road and road hazards such as potholes. You also want a light that isn't going to blind oncoming drivers or riders.

    A flashing white front light can help you be seen by drivers during the day. But in my opinion it's VERY rude to use a flashing front light at night.

    It's true that many lights will be good for a 20 minute ride. But riding can be addicting and before you know it you may be doing much longer rides and need longer run time. That's where a light head with a separate battery pack has the advantage. You can choose between 2 cell, 4 cell, and 6 cell battery packs for the run time that you need, as well as carrying a spare battery pack for even longer rides.

    Also, if you ride in cold weather, the internal resistance of the batteries increases dramatically and reduces the effective capacity of the batteries. Using a larger battery pack really helps in cold weather. Again, with a separate battery pack you can take it inside with you and keep it warm so that you have a longer run time on your way home.

    Be sure to carry a spare light and some electrical tape or duct tape. A bright flashlight taped onto your handlebars will get you home in a pinch.

    Buy as much light as you can possibly afford, even if it's painful to your budget. It may be the best money that you have spent on your bicycle.

    Scott Novak

  5. #5
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    I'm going to agree with almost everything Scott just said. I highly recommend a good rear flashing light. The cheap Chinese versions will work in a pinch but something capable of at least a 50 lumen output is much more desirable.

    Where me and Scott differ is in use of a front flashing light. We agree on day use but not night...but....no one would want to use a really bright flashing light at night anyway. Not only would it be annoying but it would reflect off the road, off reflective signs and really mess with what you see while riding. What I use is a small white flasher mounted to my lower fork. At night rather than set to flash I set it to "flicker" mode. Since it only outputs about 60 lumen it doesn't interfere with what I see with my main light and it provides on-lookers with an additional point of reference when viewing my bike from the front. Believe me, my main light would be more intrusive to on-comers on a MUP than that little flicker/flasher.

    Lastly I'll recommend the use of the reflective spoke straws or the use of some reflective tape used on the sides of the bike to make you more conspicuous when being viewed from the sides. Personally I use wheel lights ( and the spoke straws ). Nothing makes a bike more conspicuous than wheel lights ( think little LED lights going around in a circle as you ride ). Wheel lights not really needed though if you have the spoke straws.

  6. #6
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    Night Rider Solas 100 or 150 rear

    Night Rider Micro 550 or 750 front

    Great bang for the buck. Easy to use, reliable, durable, I love mine. Plenty of light front and rear.
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  7. #7
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    If you really want to get the best, the Outbound Road Edition would work great. Pricier at $210 (before pre-order ends) but would be a fantastic light that would work great for commutes. Long battery life meaning you'd really only have to charge up once a week probably. Sharp cutoff and wider spread of light gives you more usable light than a smaller flashlight spot-like style beam pattern.

    Can order online, shipping in 4-6 weeks we hope.

  8. #8
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    Aren't the Light and Motion Urban lights less than $100? I would think it'd be hard to beat that for a reliable, decent output, self contained light. My wife needs longer runtime, so I've got an Outbound Lighting road version on order for her, but if she only used it for her short commute, I'd have probably gone with one of the L&M urban flavors.

    -Jeremy

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outbound View Post
    If you really want to get the best...
    Some of us are really hoping that they'll be the best light available for the money, but until we have them in hand and use for some time, this claim is just theory.

    "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is."

    Once they have been released and in use for some time, the "press" of this forum will reflect experience, and that's what review searchers will care about, not pre-release claims.

    As I've said elsewhere on this forum and others, I'm really excited about your product and company and I hope and expect that the lights will meet the performance claims. I've told friends/family about your lights, but always in the context of it being a new/as yet unproven product.

    IMO the label of "best" is most appropriate when communicated from satisfied customers.

    -Jeremy

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    ...but....no one would want to use a really bright flashing light at night anyway. Not only would it be annoying but it would reflect off the road, off reflective signs and really mess with what you see while riding.
    Tell that to the riders on the bike paths at night with their bright strobes blinding you! I want to clothesline those Bozos.

    Part of the problem is that our bike laws have not kept up with our technology. It wasn't until recently that most people could afford to buy high output LED lights that are blindingly bright, so we never had to worry about it before.

    Taillights should also be mandatory for night riding.

    As lights are safety devices on bicycles, there ought to be quality and reliability standards for them.

    Getting off the soapbox now.

    Scott Novak

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by uclamatt2007 View Post
    I hate to drop the catch all advice thread, but ive fallen out of the loop on light technology and don't know what the best options at the moment are.

    I am going to start bike commuting and I am looking for light options. I have a short 20 minute commute, but it will be completely in the dark in one direction. I am still exploring routes, but it will likely be a mix of city/rural street and relatively tame dirt trails.

    Im hoping for option at or under the $100 mark, though will stretch that if needed.

    What do you guys think?
    Like RAKC I think a little more feedback from you would be beneficial for any recommendations on what might be the best light for you. One of the main things I'm wondering is if your commute is the only usage this light will see. Just going off your initial post with consideration to your budget and commute only I think you should look at the Ravemen PR600 ($55) and spend the rest on a good tail light. I'm not a fan of single emitter self-contained lights because they usually have shorter runtimes + dim (quickly) with usage as battery power is depleted. PR600 has 2 hr. runtime at its max. setting and will maintain consistent light output much longer. For your short commute would probably only require charging weekly where as a Niterider Lumina or L&M Urban would need daily charging to give anywhere close to there rated output. Ravemen has a much better (IMO) beam pattern too!
    Mole

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by uclamatt2007 View Post
    I have a short 20 minute commute, but it will be completely in the dark in one direction.
    I am still exploring routes, but it will likely be a mix of city/rural street and relatively tame dirt trails.
    Im hoping for option at or under the $100 mark, though will stretch that if needed.
    What do you guys think?
    Should it be an integrated battery?
    If so, then the Outbound Lighting Focal Series already hass been suggested.
    http://forums.mtbr.com/lights-night-...n-1055278.html


    Other options:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/lights-night-...ts-947630.html
    http://forums.mtbr.com/lights-night-...l#post13538349
    http://forums.mtbr.com/lights-night-...l#post13538332
    http://forums.mtbr.com/lights-night-...l#post13544100
    http://forums.mtbr.com/lights-night-...l-1024407.html

  13. #13
    RAKC Industries
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    Outbound is NOT integrated battery, separate battery pack

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    I'm going to agree with almost everything Scott just said. I highly recommend a good rear flashing light. The cheap Chinese versions will work in a pinch but something capable of at least a 50 lumen output is much more desirable.

    Where me and Scott differ is in use of a front flashing light. We agree on day use but not night...but....no one would want to use a really bright flashing light at night anyway. Not only would it be annoying but it would reflect off the road, off reflective signs and really mess with what you see while riding. What I use is a small white flasher mounted to my lower fork. At night rather than set to flash I set it to "flicker" mode. Since it only outputs about 60 lumen it doesn't interfere with what I see with my main light and it provides on-lookers with an additional point of reference when viewing my bike from the front. Believe me, my main light would be more intrusive to on-comers on a MUP than that little flicker/flasher.

    Lastly I'll recommend the use of the reflective spoke straws or the use of some reflective tape used on the sides of the bike to make you more conspicuous when being viewed from the sides. Personally I use wheel lights ( and the spoke straws ). Nothing makes a bike more conspicuous than wheel lights ( think little LED lights going around in a circle as you ride ). Wheel lights not really needed though if you have the spoke straws.
    I use a bright flashing light 24/7. Just not on the bike path. They also make ones that keep the steady light but also pulse, sort of like a flicker. Steady on the helmet, blink and steady on the bars.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    I use a bright flashing light 24/7. Just not on the bike path. They also make ones that keep the steady light but also pulse, sort of like a flicker. Steady on the helmet, blink and steady on the bars.
    Well, if it's more than 50 lumen ( night ) or 100 lumen ( day ) and you use it on a MUP, you likely aren't going to see too many smiles from the people you approach head on.
    On the road is completely different though. I see no reason not to use a flashing light on the road as long as you aren't aiming it directly at anyone's mirror while waiting at traffic lights. The light from flashing white LED's carries very far. As such I see no need to run more than 100-150 lumen on the bars during the day. On occasion I do use a super bright flashing light ( ~ 600 lumen ) off my helmet but when I do it's only for a few seconds and only in a high traffic areas where vehicles are merging or at a busy intersection ( while I am moving ). When I make it safely though these intersections I turn it off. I also have a Gemini Duo on my bars which I only use for high beam purposes but it too has the ability to produce an excessively bright flash. Once again if I were to use it that way it would be only for seconds at a time while passing through those heavily trafficked areas where cars are merging on and off access ramps.

    Yes, there are lamps that incorporate a pulse along with a steady mode. The Raveman CR-900 I have has one of those modes and it is outstanding. I use it mostly when riding on roads that are already illuminated with bright street lamps or when it is not quite dark enough yet to need a brighter full steady-on light.

    About the flashing of front white LED lamps; I should of mentioned this before. When I talk about "flashing front lights" I'm not referring to a lamp that is strobing. Those kind of lamps should be outlawed. A good flashing lamp flashing should only flash once every 0.5-2 sec. The mini lamp I use that flickers is only about 50 lumens. If you had a lamp that flickered at 600 lumen it would drive people nuts. The ratio of flash rate to intensity makes all the difference in the world when it comes to flashing white lights. If you use the typical strobe settings on the typical cheap Chinese lamp and use it full time you are going to annoy people.
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 02-22-2018 at 06:55 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    Outbound is NOT integrated battery, separate battery pack
    That's not a specification by the TO.
    What do you mean by this statement?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by angerdan View Post
    That's not a specification by the TO.
    What do you mean by this statement?
    He means the battery is a separate unit from the light head on the Outbound light

    Integrated battery would mean the battery is built into the light head.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by angerdan View Post
    That's not a specification by the TO.
    What do you mean by this statement?
    I think there is perhaps a misunderstanding due to translation from German to English. I believe RAKC thought that you believed the Outbound lamp was a lamp designed with a built-in ( or integrated ) battery because that is how your statement translated to those of us who speak English. The Outbound lamp does indeed plan to use an external battery. If you are just suggesting that the OP use a lamp with a separate battery than it all begins to make sense.

    My suggestion to the OP ( Opening Post ) was that it would be simpler to use a lamp with a built in battery due to his short commute and the fact that most of those types of lamps are well within his planned expenditures. Like the Raveman lamps I recommended before I also like the Fenix BC30 which also uses internal batteries but unlike the Raveman lamps the BC30 allows easy user replacement of batteries. Sadly the BC30 is much more expensive. That being so If I wanted longer run times I'd be inclined to recommend one of the PR series from Raveman.

    @MrMole; The single emitter CR-900 will give at least 2.5-3hrs run time if used on the second highest mode. For those of us who plan to ride longer than 3 hours at night a lamp using at least two cells would be more appropriate ( as you suggested ).

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post

    @MrMole; The single emitter CR-900 will give at least 2.5-3hrs run time if used on the second highest mode. For those of us who plan to ride longer than 3 hours at night a lamp using at least two cells would be more appropriate ( as you suggested ).
    The point of my diss of (most) single emitter self-contained lights is not just their overall runtime but the fact that they commonly start out at or above their rated lumens but are producing far less by as little as 30 min. of their typical 90 min. range. If I bought one of these...

    We Test Lights | Lumina Micro 750 Test and Review

    I'd be pretty disappointed in its performance even if it was charged for every 30 min. ride! This was probably the worst example but most still had a significant drop in power by 30 min. Looking at other lights on this site I noticed the L&M Taz series and Fenix BC30 maintain a pretty stable output through their range and have tested my PR900 and Wiz20 with similar results. CR series Ravemen lights may perform consistently but without actual testing I remain skeptical.
    Mole

  20. #20
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    Well I may not be able to add much to this discussions. But good choice in asking your questions here as I have certainly learned a lot from the folks that routinely post here.
    I strongly recommend having at least two tail lights. I don't think you need two of the most expensive and brightest lights, but two with a decent output. Two lights just help you to be seen better than one. also, I have twice experienced a taillight going out midway through my commute, and did not notice until I got home. Having a second light becomes the backup light if one fails en route. I currently use an old Planet Bike Superflash as well as a Hotshot 50. Since budget is an issue, you could get one light for now, and add on a second when funds get more available.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    I think there is perhaps a misunderstanding due to translation from German to English. I believe RAKC thought that you believed the Outbound lamp was a lamp designed with a built-in ( or integrated ) battery because that is how your statement translated to those of us who speak English. The Outbound lamp does indeed plan to use an external battery. If you are just suggesting that the OP use a lamp with a separate battery than it all begins to make sense.
    Well, maybe i'd think about the Specialized Flux Expert while writing about the Outbound Lighing.
    But still the TO didn't say anything about battery position or budget. Integrated battery was first mentioned by RAKC.

  22. #22
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    Another good reason for a separate battery pack, or at least being able to easily replace the batteries in the light is if your FORGET TO CHARGE YOUR BATTERIES! Always having spare batteries with you covers your butt in case your forget.

    Scott Novak

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRMOLE View Post
    The point of my diss of (most) single emitter self-contained lights is not just their overall runtime but the fact that they commonly start out at or above their rated lumens but are producing far less by as little as 30 min. of their typical 90 min. range. If I bought one of these...

    We Test Lights | Lumina Micro 750 Test and Review

    I'd be pretty disappointed in its performance even if it was charged for every 30 min. ride! This was probably the worst example but most still had a significant drop in power by 30 min. Looking at other lights on this site I noticed the L&M Taz series and Fenix BC30 maintain a pretty stable output through their range and have tested my PR900 and Wiz20 with similar results. CR series Ravemen lights may perform consistently but without actual testing I remain skeptical.
    Mole
    I don't know about that test. I've owned a few Night Rider lights and have been very happy with all of them. I've never noticed a diminished output late in a ride.

    This bring up another thought though. Never buy an under powered light then plan on running it on high/max the entire time. If you want a steady 3-400 lumen output, buy a 700-1000 lumen light and run it on low or medium. If you need to run your lights on max all the time, you need a more powerful light. Period.

    The advantage here is that the battery will last 3-4 times longer, and you will never have to worry about the light fading 6% or whatever.

    I much prefer self contained units to running external batteries which are bulky and heavy. And I sure wouldn't want to carry two of them! I'm also very good about charging my lights frequently, or every ride, and whenever I ride off road (which is 95% of the time) I run a 500-750 on the handlebars and a 750-1000 lumen on my helmet.

    Commuting doesn't demand a ton of light, or super big batteries. A moderate light on the handlebar is all that's needed.
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  24. #24
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    All self contained single cell lights when ran on high will diminish output all throughout a ride. As you said though using lower settings makes a big difference.

    One thing which is why we dont notice diminished output, its gradual. So our eyes adjust. Dont really notice until its a big change. And some lights are better than others. Better cell used, more efficient system overall and the effect is even slower. When your running a 1000 lumen light at half power though, you wont see the diminishing output (even in a test) for quite some time.

    For commuting purposes I never have a battery pack based light either. When I can commute by bike. Sometimes the extra time to ride isnt happening or once snows fly bridge is plowed in so going by bike isnt and option. I run a Bigger light. Was WIZ20 but that thing just pissed people off once I went from bike path to bike lanes and especially coming over the bridge. Moved to PR1200 which works really well with just the cut off side on high unless its wet out Now im on CR900 which is perfect even in wet conditions. Hit high mode and good to go. 900 lumens that arent getting me cussed at lol.

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    All self contained single cell lights when ran on high will diminish output all throughout a ride. As you said though using lower settings makes a big difference.

    One thing which is why we dont notice diminished output, its gradual. So our eyes adjust. Dont really notice until its a big change. And some lights are better than others. Better cell used, more efficient system overall and the effect is even slower. When your running a 1000 lumen light at half power though, you wont see the diminishing output (even in a test) for quite some time.

    For commuting purposes I never have a battery pack based light either. When I can commute by bike. Sometimes the extra time to ride isnt happening or once snows fly bridge is plowed in so going by bike isnt and option. I run a Bigger light. Was WIZ20 but that thing just pissed people off once I went from bike path to bike lanes and especially coming over the bridge. Moved to PR1200 which works really well with just the cut off side on high unless its wet out Now im on CR900 which is perfect even in wet conditions. Hit high mode and good to go. 900 lumens that arent getting me cussed at lol.

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    So CR series Ravemen lights gradually dim with use? I tested (with light-meter) my PR900 (Wiz20 too) and didn't have any significant drop in output till about 2 hr. I did notice that some of the single emitter self-contained lights on this site performed better than most so hopefully the Ravemen CR's are some of the better ones.
    Mole

  26. #26
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    I havent ran a test but did notice it towards the end of the CR500 battery life. Its not something immediate, but left on high long enough it becomes noticeable. I know when I tested the 300 it was steady for a good bit before starting to slow decrease on lux meter.

    The 900 I have ran long enough without charging to see it happen since I dont use full power all that much. About 1.5hrs of mixed modes, mostly mid range and looks just as bright as fully charged.

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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    I havent ran a test but did notice it towards the end of the CR500 battery life. Its not something immediate, but left on high long enough it becomes noticeable. I know when I tested the 300 it was steady for a good bit before starting to slow decrease on lux meter.

    The 900 I have ran long enough without charging to see it happen since I dont use full power all that much. About 1.5hrs of mixed modes, mostly mid range and looks just as bright as fully charged.

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    I had to look up my own review of the CR-500 and yes output diminishes more noticeably towards the last 20 minutes. Output on all lights will diminish once the batteries near depletion. The more Amp hrs. you have the longer the light will stay bright. That said the output from the CR-500 remained quite useful until the moment the lamp cut off. Since the battery on the CR-900 has a larger capacity you end up getting almost twice the run time provided you are running the same output. Regardless I'm sure the CR-900 will likely fade a bit during the last 20 minutes of run time just as the CR-500 did. Personally I'm not likely going to see that happen while on a ride since most of my night road rides are no more than two hours. I always carry more than one light anyway so very unlikely I'd ever be left in the dark.

  28. #28
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    With all lights (except BT21) I expect to see a small dip in output as the emitters heat up and a dip at the end as the last of the usable battery capacity is used up. In between those two points of usage lights like my Ravemen PR900/Ituo Wiz20 which I tested and L&M Taz series and Fenix BC30 (tested on the "We test lights" site) seem to have consistent output which I assume is regulated by their drivers. With the single emitter/cell lights it doesn't seem like they are regulated at all. Not a big deal for me with some of the better ones like the Bontrager Ion but performance of some of the others wouldn't be acceptable for me. Also IMO, important information for those considering buying or who already own this type of light (single cell/single emitter self-contained).
    Mole

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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Output on all lights will diminish once the batteries near depletion.
    That is not true for many lights. It all depends on the LED driver circuit whether or not the battery's low voltage protection circuit will trip before the driver circuit stops regulating.

    The POS 1200 Faux lumen Bright Eyes light that I have has an initial drop in light output in the first 5 minutes as everything warms up, and then the output remains constant until the battery's LVP circuit trips.

    We Test Lights | Bright Eyes 1200 Lumen Test and Review

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Novak View Post
    That is not true for many lights. It all depends on the LED driver circuit whether or not the battery's low voltage protection circuit will trip before the driver circuit stops regulating.
    For most lights this has more to do with the Vf of the LED(s) versus the battery voltage at or near the low voltage cutoff. The Bright Eyes being a single emitter will have a Vf of ~3.2. The low voltage protection of the battery will be somewhere in the 5V to 6V range depending on the circuit design. With the battery voltage always being substantially higher than the LED Vf the driver will remain in current regulation until the battery quits. Use that same battery on a dual LED light where the emitters are in series you now have an LED Vf of ~6.4V. In that case, the driver can no longer maintain current regulation once the battery voltage drops to the Vf of the LEDs. Now the light output starts to decline as the battery voltage continues to fall.
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    @Vancbiker,

    It is possible to make a buck-boost driver for a single Li-Ion cell that would keep the LED output constant, but doubtful that any light manufacturers are going to do it. It's just not worth the cost and effort.

    Achieving higher light output can also be done with multiple emitters using lower currents resulting in a lower Vf that would allow a buck driver to regulate to a lower battery output voltage.

    Using series Li-Ion cells will also allow you to drive series LEDs more effectively with a buck regulator because you can reduce some power MOSFET resistive losses with higher gate drive voltages. But it's tricker than using a boost driver.

    A single Li-Ion cell is just difficult to design around. There are just too many design compromises with a light using a single Li-Ion cell. I would never buy one.

    Scott Novak

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Novak View Post
    @Vancbiker,

    It is possible to make a buck-boost driver for a single Li-Ion cell that would keep the LED output constant, but doubtful that any light manufacturers are going to do it. It's just not worth the cost and effort.
    That is why I said "For most lights...". There are probably a few higher end lights that use a buck/boost design. The down side to a boost topology is that to boost voltage the driver needs to increase the current draw from the battery. In this application, the driver needs increased current at the point in the battery discharge curve where it is least able to provide that current.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Novak View Post
    A single Li-Ion cell is just difficult to design around. There are just too many design compromises with a light using a single Li-Ion cell. I would never buy one.
    It is getting easier though as advances in LED technology have resulted in lower Vf at high current. When I started building LED lights the Vf of the popular LEDs at the time was 3.8-4.2. You pretty much had to have a battery that was 1 cell more than the number of emitters in series to make it stay regulated.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Novak View Post
    That is not true for many lights. It all depends on the LED driver circuit whether or not the battery's low voltage protection circuit will trip before the driver circuit stops regulating.

    The POS 1200 Faux lumen Bright Eyes light that I have has an initial drop in light output in the first 5 minutes as everything warms up, and then the output remains constant until the battery's LVP circuit trips.

    We Test Lights | Bright Eyes 1200 Lumen Test and Review

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    Scott Novak
    In this world not all things are equal, nor are all batteries, lamps, LED's, or driver circuits that control the output of the lamp. If you wanted you could design a driver circuit that could cut-off the output just before the battery reached a voltage low enough to effect the output....But what would that get you? Assuming you are using a lamp with just a single cell battery...It's just going to get you a lamp with a shorter over all run time. If that's what you want then fine. Personally I'd rather have that additional 10-20 minutes depending on what output is being provided ( even if it is diminished slightly ).

    Like Vancbiker said, as long as the LED is being provided with the needed Vf and the driver is able to boost efficiently at lower voltages, there should be no drastic loss in output as the battery loses it's charge. That said some drivers are likely using better parts, designed better and therefore better at controlling output.

    From my personal view point ( opinion ) I never was a big fan of single cell lamps except for short trips or for back up purposes. That said I now see there are single cell lamps capable of supplying decent output and decent beam patterns with enough run time to run more than two hours. Part of that is due to advancements in emitter technology and advancement in battery tech. Of course if you start to add additional pluses like "on board LED battery life digital timers", better optics, replaceable batteries; You then start to reach the point where it begins easy to see how useful a single cell / single LED bike lamp can be.

    Now just wait till the 20700 cells begin to used with the better single cell lamps. Not to mention we already have lamps like the Wiz-1 which can use 26650 cells. Those cells are now in the 5000mAh range.

    Now about this "Bright eyes" lamp you linked to. I looked at the linked you provided and that lamp looks like your typical Chinese POS. Output dropped immediately to 250 lumen and maintained that throughout the runtime...wippy-do-da-ding. The Raveman CR-900 is suppose to run 9hrs at 200 lm and I'm sure at that output it is going to stay in regulation one hell of a long time. Of course I have no idea what battery the Bright eyes lamp is using but likely not a single cell. Not sure why you used this lamp as an example of a lamp that stays in regulation.

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    Lighting lightweight here. I certainly don't pretend to understand all that has been discussed in this thread, or even much of it. That said, and getting back to the OP's question, for $67.50 CDN, the Nite Rider Lumina 750 is a commuter's dream. I own two of them. They way over perform commuting, and they are perfect to throw in my pack for when my daughter and I find ourselves in the mountains on the trail after the sun goes down. Light, reasonably powerful, reliable, great fit and finish and inexpensive. Highly impressed. And unlike other commuter quality lighting, they fit 35 mm bars with ease.

    I have owned other commuter-quality lights (Cygolite, etc.) but nothing of this quality. I am so stoked in fact, that I just had a talk with my daughter today about buying some even better quality lights so that we can venture into some night time mountain riding.

    But for commuting...the Nite Rider 750 Lumina, to me, is WAY more than adequate and really hard to fault. I am looking forward to discovering the world of night lighting, given some of the comments above that appear to suggest that there are much better offerings than the Nite Rider 750. If so, I can't wait.

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    Cat-man-do,

    My point is that with 2 Li-Ion cells in series you have to really try to screw up the driver design in order for it NOT to regulate the LED output down to 5 VDC input. Even the Bright Eyes 1200 Faux lumen light can do it down to 5 VDC input voltage.

    What takes more effort and skill is to make the driver at least 95% efficient and having a good thermal design so the light doesn't overheat without airflow.

    Lumina 750: Lumen Test

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Novak View Post
    Cat-man-do,

    My point is that with 2 Li-Ion cells in series you have to really try to screw up the driver design in order for it NOT to regulate the LED output down to 5 VDC input. Even the Bright Eyes 1200 Faux lumen light can do it down to 5 VDC input voltage.

    What takes more effort and skill is to make the driver at least 95% efficient and having a good thermal design so the light doesn't overheat without airflow.

    Lumina 750: Lumen Test

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    We Test Lights | Lumina 750 Test and Review

    Scott Novak
    Yes, well of course a two cell in series will regulate better. Nothing new about that seeing you have more voltage to work with. What really takes more effort in designing lamp circuitry is figuring out the thermal regulation, heat sinking abilities of the lamp head and how you want the lamp to perform when being used on it's highest level. That said all lamps using LED's powered to their maximum levels are going to get real hot. Without air moving over the lamp the electronics within the lamp will at some point either directly drop or slowly taper the output of the current to the emitter. They do this because if they don't some dummy will leave their lamp on high when stopped and end up either damaging the LED's or burning them out all together. As we already know some lamps handle heat better than others. That said with current LED technology active cooling is always going to be needed if you are driving the LED's either near or at their designed maximums. For most of us using these types of lights this is not a major problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    That said all lamps using LED's powered to their maximum levels are going to get real hot. Without air moving over the lamp the electronics within the lamp will at some point either directly drop or slowly taper the output of the current to the emitter. They do this because if they don't some dummy will leave their lamp on high when stopped and end up either damaging the LED's or burning them out all together.
    I have to take exception to this statement. No airflow is a common occurrence while you are riding at the speed of the wind with a tailwind. THIS IS A NORMAL CONDITION! If a light overheats while you are riding, it's a design failure NOT operator error! Many, if not most bike lights, are NOT designed to operate in the real world. Yes, the light will need to be a little larger and a little heavier. Boo hoo. The bicycle world needs to get over it.

    A statement like that is equivalent to blaming a rider because their super extra light bike frame with super skinny tires filled to a thousand PSI, crumbled when it hit a pothole. Bicycles and bicycle products should be designed to operate in the real world.

    Having a thermal protection circuit is a good thing. But it shouldn't be actuating under normal conditions. The purpose of a protection circuit to to keep things from failing under ABNORMAL conditions, such as someone forgetting to turn off their light and tossing their jacket over the handlebars.

    Scott Novak

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    Very fond of Cygolite's Metro 800. Cygolites are consistently among the better-regulated lights, and this one is no exception.

    We Test Lights | Metro Plus 800 Test and Review

    It bounces between $40 and $50 on the 'bay. The 950 model is $50 with a bit more pep in the early part of the ride. The 1100 is only $70; if you don't mind a slow decline after the first half-hour, that could be your huckleberry.

    We Test Lights | Metro Pro 1100 Test and Review

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexdi View Post
    Very fond of Cygolite's Metro 800. Cygolites are consistently among the better-regulated lights, and this one is no exception.

    We Test Lights | Metro Plus 800 Test and Review

    It bounces between $40 and $50 on the 'bay. The 950 model is $50 with a bit more pep in the early part of the ride. The 1100 is only $70; if you don't mind a slow decline after the first half-hour, that could be your huckleberry.

    We Test Lights | Metro Pro 1100 Test and Review
    I had the exact same light. I returned it after 3 months use. It did not fit my 35mm SixC bar when I tried to double duty it for mountain use, and it was next to impossible to remove from the bar mount when I had to charge it. I am surprised I did not break it trying to get it to slide off that mount. Ridiculous.

    IMHO, the Nite Rider 750 Lumina is superior in every imaginable way. It fits all bar sizes including a 35mm bar, and there is a go pro attachment available to mount it to my Bell Super 2R helmet if I wish. $69.50 CDN.

    Having owned both, they are in 2 different leagues entirely.

    Not trying to be argumentative. Just offering a counterpoint.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    IMHO, the Nite Rider 750 Lumina is superior in every imaginable way. It fits all bar sizes including a 35mm bar, and there is a go pro attachment available to mount it to my Bell Super 2R helmet if I wish. $69.50 CDN.

    Having owned both, they are in 2 different leagues entirely.
    You're right. With the Nite Rider, you get rated lumens for three minutes. By the hour mark, it's down to 500. It's not in the same league, it shouldn't have the rating it does, and it costs twice as much.

    We Test Lights | Lumina 750 Test and Review

    The Cygolite mount isn't designed for a 35mm bar, though it should fit one with the rubber pads removed. Dismounting the light requires careful force in the right direction. It absolutely will refuse to budge if the force isn't aligned with the mount axis. The Amazon reviews suggest this isn't a problem for many people.

    I'm not fond of the mount and I too prefer the GoPro style, but for a commuter bike, I don't think this is a dealbreaker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexdi View Post
    You're right. With the Nite Rider, you get rated lumens for three minutes. By the hour mark, it's down to 500. It's not in the same league, it shouldn't have the rating it does, and it costs twice as much.

    We Test Lights | Lumina 750 Test and Review

    The Cygolite mount isn't designed for a 35mm bar, though it should fit one with the rubber pads removed. Dismounting the light requires careful force in the right direction. It absolutely will refuse to budge if the force isn't aligned with the mount axis. The Amazon reviews suggest this isn't a problem for many people.

    I'm not fond of the mount and I too prefer the GoPro style, but for a commuter bike, I don't think this is a dealbreaker.
    To be clear, the Cygolite will NOT fit a 35mm bar, at least not with the included mounting hardware. It does not matter whether you remove the rubber pads.

    And it was not just me who had issues with its removal from the mount. The gentleman where I bought it had a worse time than me when I returned it. I had it for 3 months and used it 5 times a week. I removed it daily from the mount. NOT EVEN ONCE was it not a major struggle removing it. Like I said, I am shocked I did not break it.

    Degradation in lumens? I have not noticed any difference between the two. In fairness, however, I don't think I have ever run either light on its highest setting, at least not for any extended time. On the bike paths in my neck of the woods, you would be liable to getting your ass kicked by someone you blinded if you ran either light at full intensity. Perhaps that is why I have not noticed any degradation.

    As for cost, where I live, the Cygolite is $80. The Nite Rider is $89 (I checked the receipt and although I paid $66.75, that was after a team discount).

    And like I said - I have owned both. I couldn't care which one I liked more. It makes no difference to me. They each cost less than a nice lunch.

    You apparently have not owned both. I was offering a different opinion from yours based on ownership of both, and real world use. I stand by what I said.

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    I think it is quite disingenuous of Nightrider to rate the Luminas output like they do. Particularly the Lumina Micros.

    We all know the Chinese list whatever output they think will nab a sale. IMO, Nightrider is kind of teetering along the lip of that slope.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Novak View Post
    .....A statement like that is equivalent to blaming a rider because their super extra light bike frame with super skinny tires filled to a thousand PSI, crumbled when it hit a pothole. Bicycles and bicycle products should be designed to operate in the real world.
    In product design, everything is a compromise. As users we get to choose what compromises we can live with. Your selection of tolerable compromises will be different than others.

    For my road riding, I'll choose the light frame, skinny tires, etc. over my heavier bikes. If I hit a road hazard and break something, it is my fault cause I chose the light gear and I did not avoid the hazard.

    For lights, I'm fine with small and light. I'm fine with a design that can not run at max output with no airflow without activating a thermal stepdown feature. That it is not OK for you just means we shop for different products.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    I think it is quite disingenuous of Nightrider to rate the Luminas output like they do. Particularly the Lumina Micros.

    We all know the Chinese list whatever output they think will nab a sale. IMO, Nightrider is kind of teetering along the lip of that slope.
    I greatly respect your opinion. Among other things, being an accessory supplier to the industry, including for Nite Rider lights, would seem to lend significant credibility to your comments. You actually do have some
    skin in the the game.

    As I posted earlier, I have been thinking of throwing down for some more expensive lights for dedicated mountain use. I will need to think about how I spend my money on them (although they all seem reasonably priced to me, apart from maybe the top 5-10%). Any comments for Western CDN Rockies riding (Calgary) would be appreciated. I wouldn’t mind sticking to $350 or so for new lights per bike (mine and my daugter’s). If I can salvage my lowly 750 Lumina Micros for helmet mounted use, all the better :-) At minimum I will throw them in my pack as backups.

    As for commuting, the 750s will remain my go to. Lumen bull$hitting or not, they are absolute overkill for my commuting on the Calgary pathways. Fit and finish are excellent, as is day to day functionability. Zero issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    To be clear, the Cygolite will NOT fit a 35mm bar, at least not with the included mounting hardware. It does not matter whether you remove the rubber pads.
    Good to know. Interestingly, the older mount revision (stock with the 550 model) may well have worked. More rubber to take off, longer screw. Removing the mount from the bar is very quick and skips the slider entirely.

    On the 'bay and on Amazon, the Lumina 750 is $100 new. The Cygolite 800 is $40-$50 on the 'bay. The output charts speak for themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    I greatly respect your opinion. Among other things, being an accessory supplier to the industry, including for Nite Rider lights, would seem to lend significant credibility to your comments. You actually do have some
    skin in the the game.

    As I posted earlier, I have been thinking of throwing down for some more expensive lights for dedicated mountain use. I will need to think about how I spend my money on them (although they all seem reasonably priced to me, apart from maybe the top 5-10%). Any comments for Western CDN Rockies riding (Calgary) would be appreciated. I wouldn’t mind sticking to $350 or so for new lights per bike (mine and my daugter’s). If I can salvage my lowly 750 Lumina Micros for helmet mounted use, all the better :-) At minimum I will throw them in my pack as backups.

    As for commuting, the 750s will remain my go to. Lumen bull$hitting or not, they are absolute overkill for my commuting on the Calgary pathways. Fit and finish are excellent, as is day to day functionability. Zero issues.
    I'm the first to admit that I'm no big fan of NR despite making aftermarket parts for them. My distaste comes from things mostly unrelated to the performance and Lumen ratings on some of their lights though.

    I'm not trying to say that their product is bad or unsuitable for the task. What bothers me is the initial peak output that the light can not sustain. A consumer looking at specs and possibly an initial hands on test turns it on and yes it's bright and "I'll take it". Then reality steps in and they find it's output down ~30% in the first 15 minutes and almost 50% down at 30 minutes and after an hour is down 70%. It may be OK for some, particularly for someone that doesn't know any different. For me, it's getting too close to being deceptive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    In product design, everything is a compromise. As users we get to choose what compromises we can live with. Your selection of tolerable compromises will be different than others.

    For my road riding, I'll choose the light frame, skinny tires, etc. over my heavier bikes. If I hit a road hazard and break something, it is my fault cause I chose the light gear and I did not avoid the hazard.

    For lights, I'm fine with small and light. I'm fine with a design that can not run at max output with no airflow without activating a thermal stepdown feature. That it is not OK for you just means we shop for different products.
    Adding to what you said it was an interesting statement made by Scott to say that if one is riding with a tail wind and matching the speed of the wind, that that would be considered a "normal condition" that would surround the lamp with "dead air" ( or zero wind speed ). Personally I can count on one hand the number of times when that might have happened on any road rides that I ever did. Still we are talking the perfect storm and I highly doubt such conditions could occur on a regular basis for anyone riding the road. If you ever watched a weather vane ( or the newer wind generators ) wind fluctuates almost constantly. Wind is not completely linear, either in direction or in intensity. It may at times come from a general direction but even when it does there is still variation, eddies and occasional cross winds. Not to mention few roads I've ever ridden are completely straight / level or happen to coincide with exact wind direction for more than a few minutes or seconds ( depending on all the variables I mentioned before ).

    Summing up I think you'd be hard pressed to find your self matching exact wind speed / direction for more than a few seconds at a time and having a lamp over-heat because of it. Personal I don't carry a wind meter on my handlebars nor would I consciously try to match wind speed. As such I personally wouldn't consider such a unlikely confluence of conditions and variable factors to occur to even begin to refer to it as normal but that's just me. When or if my lamp over-heats it's usually because I'm moving too slow and using too much output. For me that's something that only happens when I'm testing a lamp and just trying to see how well the lamp handles the heat.

    As far as things normal...Lightning is normal too. If my bike is parked outside with a lamp on and it got hit by lightning, I'd be completely astounded if the lamp wasn't fried to a crisp. Point I'm making is that while such things could be considered quite normal that doesn't make them something that has to be designed around if indeed such things tend not to happen on a regular basis. Jet aircraft...absolutely, bike lights...not that important.

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    This has been an interesting thread for me. Have been aware of this characteristic in single cell self-contained lights for awhile but thanks (really THANKS!) to some of the more technically enlightened members now understand why. Some of these lights do better at maintaining their output levels than others and it's important if your considering this type of light to be aware they all do it to a certain extent and if this won't work for your needs it may be better to consider a 2 cell alternative. Improvements in battery technology should improve output consistency in the smaller high output single cell self-contained lights in the near future but until then I recommend you look at the PR series Ravemen lights as an alternative (similar price/output and consistent output for almost all of its runtime).

    https://www.rakclighting.com/collect...emen-pr-series


    In regards to the much maligned Lumina 750 micro. I spent about an hour reading every review I could find and virtually every one was positive. Results from the "we test lights" site are pretty bad but considering the reviews and the fact the Lumina micro 550, Lumina 750, and especially the Lumina 750 boost performed much better giving Niterider the benefit of the doubt that the tested unit was faulty is only fair IMO. Would be nice if someone who owns a 750 micro could get a hold of a light meter and do a output consistency test for us.

    Inspired by this thread I tested my Amazon Rokkes (250 real lumens, good 18650 battery, $6.19 currently) to see how it fared. It dropped about 2 lux initially but remained consistent (varied less than 1 lux) till it shut off a couple of minutes past 4 hrs. A commuter on a budget could run 2 of these and get a consistent 500 lumens for 4 hrs. for $12.38 + shipping, not bad!

    https://www.amazon.com/ROKKES-USB-Bi...861180&sr=1-17

    Mole

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRMOLE View Post
    ......In regards to the much maligned Lumina 750 micro. I spent about an hour reading every review I could find and virtually every one was positive. Results from the "we test lights" site are pretty bad but considering the reviews and the fact the Lumina micro 550, Lumina 750, and especially the Lumina 750 boost performed much better giving Niterider the benefit of the doubt that the tested unit was faulty is only fair IMO. Would be nice if someone who owns a 750 micro could get a hold of a light meter and do a output consistency test for us.
    I'd be surprised if there was much difference in testing a different Micro 750. All the Lumina series suffer from this "overachiever" syndrome to some degree. Trying to get too big a number from too small a power source. The battery just can't maintain the current needed to push the big initial number for very long. IMO, that's why the 750 Micro and 1100 Boost drop more rapidly than the others in the family. The 750 Micro has to pull an additional .5A+ from the battery to get the extra 200 Lumen over the 550 Micro at startup.

    NR knows how to drive an LED light. Look at the flat output curves on the Pro series. You get the initial, mostly heat related, output drop then a long flat constant output until the battery is flat. IMO that's what one should expect from a light.
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    Not enough information on the light for me to reach a conclusion one way or the other. Assuming they have the same battery and emitter (which they may not) I would think when the output levels of each light (750 micro vs. 550 micro) intersected from that point they would pretty much match each other (which they don't) since they are regulated by battery current by that point + that great an overall lumen drop would surely be noticeable yet was not mentioned in any of the reviews. Lots of thing about this light smell of "POS" but not to a "beyond a reasonable doubt" point yet for me.
    Mole

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    ...
    Last edited by Scott Novak; 02-28-2018 at 10:25 PM. Reason: Posted in wrong discussion.

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    I feel so let down now by my Nite Rider Lumina Micro 750s (LOL) that I am going to jump on the Outbound train. Two Trail Editions soon to be coming my way...

    Let me know if that purchase decision sucks too. LOL!

    Just kidding! This place is great. A gold mine of information.

    I bet the Outbounds will slay the darkness.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    ........I am going to jump on the Outbound train. Two Trail Editions soon to be coming my way...

    Let me know if that purchase decision sucks too. LOL!
    Don't think that's gonna be possible .

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    I bet the Outbounds will slay the darkness.
    There is so much thought and engineering expertise going into that design. Outbound is the first commercial LED light that I would consider buying.
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    Having now been educated somewhat on the topic, and after some initial belligerence, I concede defeat on the Nite Rider 750 Lumina Micro, at least in terms of (sustained) output.

    So...what are the TOP picks for a self contained (battery integrated) light to rule the pathways, which will fit on a 35mm bar so it can serve double duty as a backup on the trails? Are there any obvious choices?

    Ravemen PR1200 looks awesome except that it will not work on a 35mm bar, which is a dealbreaker for me as I want to be able to throw them in our packs as backups on the trails with our Race Face bars.

    Are there any definitive battery integrated top contenders that will fit a 35mm bar?

    Thanks, and happy Friday.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post

    Are there any definitive battery integrated top contenders that will fit a 35mm bar?

    Thanks, and happy Friday.
    Gloworm CX series will work for 35mm bars (have to specify when ordering). All their lights are top quality but not necessarily inexpensive. Changeable optics, excellent runtimes and mounts. If you like the Ravemen PR1200 it would probably be cheaper to have a custom mount made for it. Both lights are also usable as a power bank which is an excellent feature for a backup. Changeable optics make the Gloworm a better choice if your planning on using it for a helmet light. Or you could just use you Lumina as a backup. The output inconsistency would be an important consideration when looking for a new light but since you already own the Lumina and seem to be happy with it why spend the money? That is unless you want to in which case I'm sure you'd be happy with either the Gloworm or Ravemen.
    Mole

    https://www.action-led-lights.com/co...nt=10434715781

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