Night lights

Discussion in 'Lights' started by verdugist, Oct 3, 2015.



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  1. GregMiester

    GregMiester Member

    Location:
    La Verne
    Name:
    Greg
    Current Bike:
    2014 Giant XTC Advanced 2
    Climbing lightless is nice too sometimes if it's non technical fire road or trail. The moon can light things up quite nicely if you give your eyes a couple minutes to adjust. I too run mine on low and occasionally off for climbs
     
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  2. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    Yup...your eyes acclimate pretty quick. I am amazed at how much you can really see without the lights.
     
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  3. Varaxis

    Varaxis Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Perris
    Name:
    Dan Vu
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB5c ('16 Yellow v1)
    Verduga has the right idea. LEDs are more efficient at certain power levels, typically low levels. 1000 lumens at 6 hrs is one of the biggest reasons why some people get the bright lights, even if they rarely use the high setting. The sand out here reflects a lot of the light, but in other places of the world with actual dense forests, it's like a portable sun, lighting things up brighter than they were during the peak of day.

    The dust thing happens with every light if you're following others out here. Not really sure how to prevent that besides to just ride solo.

    The battery pack is the worst part of cheap lights. A battery pack can cost anywhere from $10-100. A quality pack will have 4-6 high capacity cells, likely from Sanyo, Panasonic (supposedly made by Sanyo), or BAK, a protection and *balance* circuit, waterproofing, and be secured solidly together and not by some cheap method like some contacts soldered together and shrinkwrapped, before being stuffed into a housing. They will also become unbalanced in a short amount of time... a telltale sign of an unbalanced pack is when you take a freshly charged battery out, but when you hook it up to your light, the light reports the voltage on the battery is already under 60% or so in a very short amount of time. This typically only results in lower run time, but can lead to overcharging if the protection circuit isn't that great or is damaged due to cheap construction failing under normal (sometimes careless) handling, leading to some of the disasters you've heard of.

    Also with cheap lights, the factories seem to think soldering is like welding, and often those will break and you will be left learning how to resolder or tossing things in the trash. People find themselves modding such lights just to make them work more reliably, but they probably consider their spare time to be "free".

    The Nitefighter models come with name brand battery packs (BAK or better). People consider these packs to be worth about $50 by themselves (or more), but shops like Gearbest sell the light + pack (and charger) for $70, and the light is not cheaply made and the beam pattern is useful (due to the optics and reflector used), and has a more neutral white tint (instead of an eyestraining blue), so it has impressed those that have tried to find value in affordable lights that aren't marked up over 2x the cost. Heck, there are vendors that are trying to con people on Amazon to buy the lighthead only (no battery pack nor charger) for $65. Can see there's already returns on them...

    http://www.gearbest.com/bicycling-gear/pp_180805.html BT40 (handlebar)
    http://www.gearbest.com/led-flashlights/pp_180344.html BT21s (helmet)
     
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  4. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    Whereas I'm more than willing to plunk down the cash at the bike shop for my NR Lumina 750.

    99.9% of the time I'm using it on the road. The flash setting is annoying as hell and is as good a guarantee as anything drivers will at least know I'm there as they run me down. :)
     
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  5. verdugist

    verdugist Member

    Location:
    glendale, ca
    Name:
    Akhmani Boon eleh Ak
    Current Bike:
    Diamondback Overdrive Comp
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  6. verdugist

    verdugist Member

    Location:
    glendale, ca
    Name:
    Akhmani Boon eleh Ak
    Current Bike:
    Diamondback Overdrive Comp
    seems that the battery packs are not included?

    Just purchased Lumina 750 (spent way too much time researching this but I guess it's important). Thanks for all the input, I may try one of the cheaper ones for helmet mount later.
     
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  7. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    Yeah, never really bought anything with the thought of how it may or may not work outside of the trails that I usually ride. Since I rarely if ever night ride anywhere else in the world, it's good to know that I may have to adapt. :thumbsup:
     
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  8. Varaxis

    Varaxis Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Perris
    Name:
    Dan Vu
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB5c ('16 Yellow v1)
    Good to be open minded. The people who did 24 hours of Adrenaline probably would've liked a light like that, especially solo riders.

    Well, if you do buy something for night riding, and not consider something that would be versatile enough to provide a good experience in other circumstances, are you simply going to avoid such opportunities to ride, reasoning that you're not prepared?

    Not sure if the implications of message got through, but to emphasize the point of efficiency, if a multi-LED light is rated 2000+ lumens, running at 200 lumens would most likely draw much less current than a single LED based light that's rated for 800 lumens, running at 200 lumens, leading to significantly longer battery life. Lumens per Watt is a figure that LED makers have been striving to push, able to reach 300 Lumens per Watt. A typical XM-L2 is rated for 1000 lumens @ 10W. Its total light output has diminishing returns as the current goes up, so if you give it 2W instead of 10, you can expect much better efficiency than 100 lumens per W.
     
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  9. Danmtchl

    Danmtchl Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bakersfield
    Name:
    Dan
    Current Bike:
    2020 Trek Fuel EX 9.7
    Mikie and verdugist like this.
  10. verdugist

    verdugist Member

    Location:
    glendale, ca
    Name:
    Akhmani Boon eleh Ak
    Current Bike:
    Diamondback Overdrive Comp
    DangerDirtyD and Mikie like this.
  11. verdugist

    verdugist Member

    Location:
    glendale, ca
    Name:
    Akhmani Boon eleh Ak
    Current Bike:
    Diamondback Overdrive Comp
    So I just bought this: http://cygolite.com/product/expilion-850-usb/

    Based on this review: http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Best-Bike-Light/ratings

    http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Bike-Light-Reviews/NiteRider-Lumina-700

    And some Slime 29er presta tubes (never tried those before, I thought why not, let's give it a shot).
     
    Mikie likes this.
  12. Varaxis

    Varaxis Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Perris
    Name:
    Dan Vu
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB5c ('16 Yellow v1)
    Dang those tests setups are pretty cool. Love shoot-outs like that.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  13. jaime

    jaime Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Corona, ca
    Name:
    jaime
    Current Bike:
    '15 Giant reign advanced 1
    Mikie likes this.
  14. verdugist

    verdugist Member

    Location:
    glendale, ca
    Name:
    Akhmani Boon eleh Ak
    Current Bike:
    Diamondback Overdrive Comp
    Mikie and jaime like this.
  15. verdugist

    verdugist Member

    Location:
    glendale, ca
    Name:
    Akhmani Boon eleh Ak
    Current Bike:
    Diamondback Overdrive Comp
    I saw a biker this morning pre-dawn (it was quite dark w/o a light) climbing with me basically w/o a helmet (he had the helmet on the handle-bar???!!!) and no lights.

    Strange days.
     
  16. verdugist

    verdugist Member

    Location:
    glendale, ca
    Name:
    Akhmani Boon eleh Ak
    Current Bike:
    Diamondback Overdrive Comp
    So here's an update to the night light situation. I was riding in the dark (DH's) for the first time Sat nite. I'm not sure 850 lumens is good enough at high speed. You could easily not see enough detail and hit a ditch/rut/rock. I've also noticed that the worst visibility seems to be dawn or dusk as the head lights don't help much.
     
  17. Rob S.

    Rob S. Member

    Location:
    La Habra, CA
    Name:
    Rob Skinner
    Yup. I'm only rockin' about 1800 lumens, and can't ride as fast as I can during good light conditions.

    Here's a tip. Get right up on someone's ass. The addition of your light will help them ride faster and you'll be able to follow their line. The downside, of course, is if one of you is an unpredictable bozo, and you both end up crashing at high speed. Or just learn to enjoy a modest-paced night ride.
     
    ridinrox, Mikie, verdugist and 2 others like this.
  18. verdugist

    verdugist Member

    Location:
    glendale, ca
    Name:
    Akhmani Boon eleh Ak
    Current Bike:
    Diamondback Overdrive Comp
    No thx.

    Better idea.
     
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  19. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    So I've been running the Chinese knockoff lights for a while now and they have been great so far. Hard to beat for the price.

    On a ride yesterday I threw a light set in the pack in case we were out past dark. Getting ready to leave I smelled campfire/marshmellows and commented to my friend its a little early in the day for a campfire, nevermind we were not near a campground. Look down and there is smoke coming out of my pack. I pulled the contents out and found the wire coming out of the battery glowing orange and smoking. It was charged but not plugged into the light.

    4DB7D72B-EB24-4D8A-BD72-609CA8B96981_zpsywdqx807.jpg

    In this case it was not a big deal but I will have to be more careful with storing batteries. Often I keep them in a rubbermaid tub of camping gear that includes TP and stove fuel. Will not be doing that anymore! Given the cheap price I still don't see myself buying anything other than the chinese knockoffs. But maybe I will just order the light heads and use my non-flammable replacement magicshine batteries.
     
  20. verdugist

    verdugist Member

    Location:
    glendale, ca
    Name:
    Akhmani Boon eleh Ak
    Current Bike:
    Diamondback Overdrive Comp
    That's disturbing. I have two Cygolite 850 lumens (one handlebar, one helmet) and one extra Li-ion battery in my pack. No issues yet.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  21. Rob S.

    Rob S. Member

    Location:
    La Habra, CA
    Name:
    Rob Skinner
    Y'know, boys and girls, this problem isn't unique to Chinese bike lights, nor is it necessarily a result of defective hardware. Check out the link below for a news report of 9v batteries starting fires and burning down houses. People have been burned by carrying those batteries in their pockets.

    The picture makes me think that your problem, Evan, is one of wires, not batteries. A possible scenario is that through repeated use and abuse on the trail and bouncing around in your pack, the wire insulation became degraded, the conductors shorted, and created an overcurrent condition. Just this afternoon a buddy stopped by with a battery pack where the wire broke at the connector. Rather than breaking, the wires could just as easily had shorted. I told him where to go for a new connector, and I'll fix it up for him.

    http://www.kctv5.com/story/24594124/kctv5-exposes-the-9-volt-battery-fire-danger
     
    evdog and Mikie like this.
  22. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    HOLY ASSAULT BY BATTERY BATMAN!
    That is just not bueno!
    We keep all our batteries in the service porch fridge. I have read to never just throw a battery in the trash for this very reason. Especially 9 volts...
    They say to wrap the connect points with electrical tape for loose storage and travel.
    Probably would not be fun to see your way down the trail in flames...
    flamin.mtb.png
     
    ridinrox, Luis and Runs with Scissors like this.
  23. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Thanks for the info Rob I had not considered how rough use could trigger an issue with batteries. Mine certainly have been jostled around inside my pack, inside my bin of camping gear, etc. While I agree such a problem may not be specific to Chinese lights I would expect their construction to be less refined/robust than premium brands leaving them more susceptible to failure. I also was not aware of issues with 9V batteries. Good to know, thanks!
     
    Mikie likes this.
  24. siata94

    siata94 Member

    Location:
    lake forest
    Name:
    siata
    Current Bike:
    lazy goat
    I use custom modded flashlights, powered by 1x18650 battery, no external battery packs. Handlebar light is a quad XP-L at 2800 lumens,
    super wide beam but relatively little throw. Helmet light is triple XP-L at 4000 lumens, decent beam and throw. My night rides are 1.5 hours or
    less and I have not needed to swap batteries (altho I carry 2 spares). I've been testing different lights on the helmet to find the nice balance between
    flood and throw, with and without diffusion film. The bar light is easier, just about any decent output flashlight w/ diffusion film can give a nice
    wide smooth beam but throw is reduced to about 1/3.
     
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  25. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    The NR has internal, USB chargeable batteries. Nothing needs to be strapped anywhere. Sure they're more expensive, but I think that is more than made up for by the fact that they do not tend to burn down the rider/bike/garage.
     
    Mikie, Danmtchl and mtnbikej like this.
  26. Danmtchl

    Danmtchl Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bakersfield
    Name:
    Dan
    Current Bike:
    2020 Trek Fuel EX 9.7
    With anything you get what you pay for (most of the time). I buy NR products because they are a great product, not because we sell them. I was already using their for a long time and have great customer service. As for the service, I mentioned they did not make a 35mm bar mount. Well they sent me one, for free, from an email sent months ago inquiring about a 35mm mount. How about that for service??
     
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  27. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    That's part of the higher price you pay...better customer service, and paying attention to customer needs.
     
  28. Varaxis

    Varaxis Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Perris
    Name:
    Dan Vu
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB5c ('16 Yellow v1)
    I'm planning on doing some off-road night riding due to my new holiday schedule, more for the fitness, than any skill building. I already have good lights for the handlebar, but would like a lighter weight one for the helmet (under 100g). I also browsed around for info to see if technology has advanced, and see that copies are a fraction of the price, using the same core components (ex. XM-L2 U2 LEDs), but no real advancements yet. A few caught my eye:

    Battery pack, quality protected 4-cell (Panasonic NCR18650B) for $30:
    http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S024442

    Handlebar light, powerful with hopefully a broad non-spotty beam pattern (MS MJ-880 clone) $25:
    http://www.kaidomain.com/product/Details.S023818

    Headlight, lightweight but good enough to kill shadows that the handlebar light casts (Gemini Duo clone) $16:
    http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S023808

    I'd be happily surprised if they live up to the claims, such as being waterproof. If you need a spare battery or want to upgrade a no-name one, beware that lithium batteries have a lot of shipping restrictions internationally, so don't expect fast SH from these guys (~1 month), since they warehouse their stuff in the EU and use Sweden post. The battery pack is the real deal. The lightheads you can find anywhere in a variety of forms and can't make any conjecture on how they perform, without seeing quality beam shot pics and experienced user reviews. Could be better to spend a little more to get a more reputable well reviewed one in the $30-50 range. I already have a MJ-880--just shocked to see it copied and made so cheap.

    I like the beamshots on the Fenix BT series lights. They were blowing them out for $70 (no battery), but that stock seemingly ran out. I also like their battery case, which can avoid the problem of unbalanced cells, since you're individually recharging each cell, rather than the entire pack. I also like the neutral white tint, which is warmer/more earthy colored, than the more pure white/bluish light that lights normally have that tend to bleach out colors.
     
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  29. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    I may have missed this one, but has anyone tried this type of bike light?
    http://www.ibexsports.com

    Exposure Lights Revo
    image.jpegimage.jpeg
    Product Details
    The Revo is an all new concept for Exposure Lights. For the first time Exposure Lights is doing away with batteries and embracing the latest in dynamo developments. New super-efficient dynamo hubs enable the Revo to be used both on and off road.This compact dynamo powered light offers an 800 lumen output with the burntime only limited by rider endurance. If you keep pedalling the light keeps shining bright.With Stand Light Technology, when you stop riding the light dims slightly but remains lit for 10 minutes. It ensures you will still be seen when stopped at junctions. It bounces straight back to full output after a couple of peddle revolutions. There is up to an hour of light produced after this to help with all post ride activities.The Revo features Smart Port technology allowing an Exposure Red Eye rear light to be used for a complete battery free lighting solution.The Revo is available as an individual light or as a pack with the choice of a road or MTB specific hubs.Warning, do not attempt to power any other Exposure Lights directly from the hub as the unregulated current will cause damage to the circuitry.

    Update: Apparently you hav to buy a wheel hub that produces the power. I guess if you lace up a winter wheel for night riding it would not be a bad idea... I would do that for endless power!

    image.jpeg
     
    Danmtchl and Voodoo Tom like this.
  30. doublewide

    doublewide iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Mark
    Current Bike:
    Ride Life Ride Giant
    Nice find Mikie but I think I'll just stick with this set up. No need to buy a hub! :thumbsup:

    dynamo.jpg
     
    Danmtchl, Mikie, pperrelle and 3 others like this.
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