Thoughts on elliptical optics- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Thoughts on elliptical optics

    OK the big thing with elipticals has been "not wasting light upwards". BUt thats actually IMO a failed idea.

    First heres where my ideas come from: My modded 880 clone. I had ordered 2 of each type of carclo triple optics so I had options to play around with. Upon installing 1 elliptical so the "lines" are horizontal by mistake, I stumbled upon something awesome. It reminded me of the BC30R beam pattern. that narrow patch of light that extended backward to the front tire.

    Now most dont point their bar light perfectly straight ahead anyway, the spot of the light ends up far out in front and barely illuminating the ground, so we tilt out lights down a bit. So I put my 880 clone on my bike to see how the beam pattern looked. Ill admit at the furthest are in the front the beam may have been a bit high, but I have this bright strip of light from my front tire all the way out. On single track its plenty wide (its a narrow elliptical, guessing around 10deg) to lay down a strip of light that all the light is concentrated down the trail itself, NOT spread 20 ft + each side of the trail where, lets be honest here, WE DON'T NEED IT.

    I coupled this with a frosted wide spot optic (think something similar to BT21 stock optic) and now i have the spot from it out where I usually set my light, but where the strip of light makes the area there a bit brighter while having a brighter strip from my front tire out past the round spot. My eyes dont focus so much on the spot and I can see the trail surface itself more like it was day time. Then the spill from the frosted spot puts enough light to the sides that I can see whats in my peripheral vision.

    Not wasting light on creating glare from illuminating undergrowth, trail surface itself is better illuminated from my front tire out to where my helmet light takes over.

    Thats my thought on them, but for everywhere I ride (you've seen my videos) the light thats wider than a few feet either side of the trail is entirely wasted anyway.

    On pavement, thats a whole different thing there, the big plus there is beam NOT going up as to avoid blinding oncoming cars. But this is MTBR, so trail related, not pavement

    What is everyone elses thoughts on them?

  2. #2
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    I've kicked around about trying an elliptical on one of my DIY lights. The only way I'd consider it is to put the wide axis of light parallel to the bike. I don't like light spread out to the sides of the bike. That's not where I am going.

    The reason I have not bothered with an elliptical yet is because I don't really want light right at the front tire. Lots of folks want a flood on the bars. Why? Maybe it's just me, but I rarely, if ever, look at the ground near the front tire.
    GoPro adapters for bike lights http://www.pacifier.com/~kevinb/index.html

  3. #3
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    I understand the desire for it, you dont realize it but your peripheral vision can still see down there. Not right at the tire but still can see that low when looking ahead. You long time night riders have adapted but ones like me if I get I to tech I like to be able to glance down and see where my tire is going to hit at lower speed climbs. I dont do it often but once or twice a ride, figure more well lit dirt is better chances of me seeing what I need to make a last second adjustment to my line.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    I understand the desire for it, you dont realize it but your peripheral vision can still see down there. Not right at the tire but still can see that low when looking ahead. You long time night riders have adapted but ones like me if I get I to tech I like to be able to glance down and see where my tire is going to hit at lower speed climbs. I dont do it often but once or twice a ride, figure more well lit dirt is better chances of me seeing what I need to make a last second adjustment to my line.
    Been night riding for 25+ years problem is if you get to much light out directly in front of your bike it can washout all the ruts and dips and make you lose depth perception. I like to keep my bar light floody and diffused to highlight the variances in the trail. and a lazerbeam helmet to pinpoint targets coming down the trail.
    I always type in bold cuz I'm blind as a bat
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  5. #5
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    Ya I have had that problem too, too tight of a beam pattern and it washes everything out including the helmet light. NW tint has done wonders, too many people think more lumens mean more light and equals seeing better. Like you guys im learning quickly that ita not the lumens, its how they are used, let ur eyes do some of the work.

    Im yet to try it but have the optics to do it, try something along the lines of 20 or 30 by 60 ellipticals to diffuse better but keep the light on the trail. Not the weeds.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    ...You long time night riders have adapted
    It is something you can work on if you get the chance to night ride with someone else. When I get the chance to night ride with my son, I lead and sometimes turn off my lights. I see the trail as his light sweeps across it from behind me. I have to see and remember/visualize how the trail goes and what my line needs to be until the next time his light hits the trail ahead of me again.
    GoPro adapters for bike lights http://www.pacifier.com/~kevinb/index.html

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