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Best Bike Lights

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Best Bike Lights

Postby KidCapitol » Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:54 pm

Over the years I've had trouble with bike lights. They don't seem to be made to last for doing a lot of night riding.
Is that just the nature of the beast?
Or does someone have a really good light that has lasted them a long time?
And if so, what is it?
I'd like to find a good inexpensive handlebar mounted one. Any suggestions?
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Re: Best Bike Lights

Postby Galoot » Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:05 pm

This light is a bestseller, and I'm sure you've tried it:

Image

That's the light I've used for the last 3 years of commuting, including riding all winter 8.5 miles each way. I like it fine, and I especially like that it doesn't blind other riders. I really hate when I'm riding home on the SW bike path and someone is coming at me with a spotlight shining in my eyes, and it turns out to be some idiot with an overpowered front light.
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Re: Best Bike Lights

Postby KidCapitol » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:09 pm

Thanx for the response.

Yes your right.
I have tried it and I liked it when it worked.
The problem was that the top button stoped working. It was tempermental with going on and off.
One feature that's nice is that it has the option of flash vs a steady beam.

Willy St. Bikes is having a sale, so I might go back to the one pictured since I still have the handlebar mounts for PB lights.

Any other responses?
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Re: Best Bike Lights

Postby squeaker » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:36 pm

Image

I've had good luck with this one, but it's not a mounted light--it's a snap-on/snap off variety. I've been using mine as a commuter (non-winter) for the past 4 years and it's held up pretty well; no problems with corrosion as I bring it inside with me, usually, and a little cloth tape or coban on the handle bars where you like to place it keeps it from swinging or sliding around. Batteries last for about 3 months or longer, depending on how heavily you use it, and there's a flash or steady option with the beam. Beam is pretty darn bright, too, but it's easy to adjust so it doesn't shine into oncoming traffic's eyes. Usually runs around $20.
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Re: Best Bike Lights

Postby fennel » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:47 pm

Galoot wrote:I really hate when I'm riding home on the SW bike path and someone is coming at me with a spotlight shining in my eyes, and it turns out to be some idiot with an overpowered front light.
I'd say this isn't an issue of an overpowered light so much as an issue of an improperly aimed light. If you're riding in an unlighted area where you need to see hazards in time to react to them, you're going to need something more substantial than a light powered by disposable batteries.
But since you mention it, I haven't come across any lights (or dog forbid, "lighting systems") that have a convenient built-in dimming or sheilding option so that one need not incinerate the corneas of oncoming riders (or low-flying airling pilots). But you can always aim 'em at the road rather than into the troposphere.
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Re: Best Bike Lights

Postby Brainraid » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:10 pm

I'd like to pick up a NiteRider MiNewt. Nice bright LED, long run-time, easy attach battery pack & lamp, and rechargeable via standard plug-in or via your computer's USB port. Last I checked the east side Trek store had it in stock.

http://niterider.com/prod_minmini.shtml
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Re: Best Bike Lights

Postby roadkill bill » Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:21 pm

"Inexpensive" and "long lasting/reliable" are often not found in the same bike light, although others have pointed out that you will have better luck if the light doesn't sit outdoors all the time. That mean you need to be able to remove the light itself from the handlebars easily. But I have had a number of good, solid Cateye and Planet Bike lights that have given me no trouble.

But I am of the opinion that you should use the best light you can possibly afford. My bike is my primary transportation system, and a $150 light beats medical bills from a collision or fall every time. It's not just cars that are a problem. Animals, branches in my path, other bicyclists, rocks, potholes, etc. also need to be seen. That means a big, honking, bright beam shining in front of me. I also want a wide beam pattern to see if an animal (or person) is about to run out in front of me. It help drivers see you from side streets as well.

So, it's a NiteRider for me as well, although mine is ancient. I've probably been using the same light for at least 6-8 years of year-round commuting in all weather. One new light bulb, and one new battery pack in all that time.

As to blinding on-coming traffic, my light mount is just loose enough to be able to tilt it down and then back up again. Sort of the bike equivalent of "dimming the brights." Or you can just shield it with your hand for a few seconds.
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