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  1. #1
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    Best front and rear lights on the market?

    I'm in the middle of purchasing my first road bike a Roubaix Expert. Can anyone tell me the very best front and rear lights to use on a road bike that can be seen during daylight. We have drivers around here that can't drive and could care less about bikes.




  2. #2
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    You're going to get all opinions here, but these are what I use:

    Cygolite Expilion 850 headlight. It's their most powerful USB headlight that doesn't require an external battery:

    https://cygolite.com/product/expilion-850-usb/

    Cygolite Hotrod 50 USB taillight:

    https://cygolite.com/product/hotrod-50-usb/

    The taillights will give me at least 5 or 6 rides before I need to recharge them, the headlight a little longer. The taillight has a nice little feature that it warns you of needing a recharge soon by strobing when you shut it off. The headlight doesn't have this feature, so when the taillight warns me, I recharge all of them.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  3. #3
    pmf
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    I don't see much benefit to running lights in the daytime versus a loud neon yellow jersey. I commute to work year round and use a light once it gets dark at night. I've had good luck with Magic Shine lights. They're cheap, pretty bright -- some of them are really bright.

    Lights these days are so much better than they were in the past. I must have gone through half a dozen Niterider crappy lights in the past. With the huge water bottle battery -- actually the first one I had was a lead/acid battery that strapped onto the top tube. LED bulbs are so much brighter and lithium ion batteries are tiny, have more power capacity and charge up in a few hours. There's no need to spend more than $100 on a head light. You can spend a lot more than that if you want, but there's no need to.

  4. #4
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    To add more controversy: I am "against" blinking red light in the rear.
    The logic seems to be: if a driver does not notice a red tail light, they will if it blinks.
    Maybe.
    But there is a problem. If the red tail light is steady, then the driver can get a "fix" on where the light is, in time and space. If it blinks, the driver cannot. Think of tracking a firefly.

    Also, when a light is blinking, there is something about it that draws a driver's attention directly to it, instead of allowing the driver to just catalog it and keeps tabs on it, along with other things. For fatigued or drunk drivers, this pull of attraction can cause them to drive to the light.

    ]And now, controversy ensues]

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJay View Post
    If the red tail light is steady, then the driver can get a "fix" on where the light is, in time and space. If it blinks, the driver cannot. Think of tracking a firefly.
    Not a great analogy. Let's think about how often a flashing red taillight blinks (about 3x per second) compared to how often a firefly blinks (1x per 15-20 seconds) and this argument doesn't fly.

    I think blinking is more of an advantage in the daytime or at dawn/dusk. At night, I think it's pretty much a wash, except that setting the light to blink mode will give you much longer battery life before a recharge is necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by PJay View Post
    Also, when a light is blinking, there is something about it that draws a driver's attention directly to it, instead of allowing the driver to just catalog it and keeps tabs on it, along with other things. For fatigued or drunk drivers, this pull of attraction can cause them to drive to the light.
    I've heard this argument and I really don't think this holds water either. Are you more likely to drive into a blinking light? I know I'm not even if I'm fatigued.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    You're going to get all opinions here, but these are what I use:

    Cygolite Expilion 850 headlight. It's their most powerful USB headlight that doesn't require an external battery:

    https://cygolite.com/product/expilion-850-usb/

    Cygolite Hotrod 50 USB taillight:

    https://cygolite.com/product/hotrod-50-usb/

    The taillights will give me at least 5 or 6 rides before I need to recharge them, the headlight a little longer. The taillight has a nice little feature that it warns you of needing a recharge soon by strobing when you shut it off. The headlight doesn't have this feature, so when the taillight warns me, I recharge all of them.
    These are great choices - for daylight you can get by with a much lower power headlight though in my opinion, as long as it blinks. Cygolite makes several versions of this head light with different power and cost.

    Another good option is the Garmin Varia tail light if you have a garmin computer that is compatible with the Varia - it will let you know when cars are approaching from the rear, they are very effective.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Not a great analogy. Let's think about how often a flashing red taillight blinks (about 3x per second) compared to how often a firefly blinks (1x per 15-20 seconds) and this argument doesn't fly.

    I think blinking is more of an advantage in the daytime or at dawn/dusk. At night, I think it's pretty much a wash, except that setting the light to blink mode will give you much longer battery life before a recharge is necessary.



    I've heard this argument and I really don't think this holds water either. Are you more likely to drive into a blinking light? I know I'm not even if I'm fatigued.
    Well, I've been passed by cars and notably SUVs, hardly ever busses or semis, that veer over quite close as they're passing, not on purpose to screw with me, but focusing on me and not the road ahead. I see them partially on the shoulder after they pass and move back into the road. This has happened to me more times than I can count. The "firefly" theory explains the phenomenon perfectly.

    A visually disorienting flashing light could induce this effect on the mentally challenged on a road at night with low ambient lighting. Driver sees the flashing light but doesn't immediately calculate how far away it is. As he's figuring that out, he veers off onto the shoulder. . One may argue a solid red light would not be any different, which may be true on roads with lots of ambient lighting, but not true if that's the only light ahead.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJay View Post
    To add more controversy: I am "against" blinking red light in the rear.
    The logic seems to be: if a driver does not notice a red tail light, they will if it blinks.
    Maybe.
    But there is a problem. If the red tail light is steady, then the driver can get a "fix" on where the light is, in time and space. If it blinks, the driver cannot. Think of tracking a firefly.

    Also, when a light is blinking, there is something about it that draws a driver's attention directly to it, instead of allowing the driver to just catalog it and keeps tabs on it, along with other things. For fatigued or drunk drivers, this pull of attraction can cause them to drive to the light.

    ]And now, controversy ensues]

    I think a fast blink would serve both purposes. A slow fading/pulsing blink doesn't help much, and may hurt.

    For me, the best option is movement. Putting a bright red light on the back of both feet/ankles would attract attention, and make it pretty easy to identify you as a cyclist from the rear

  9. #9
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    I remember somebody did a study years ago, and found that drivers are ATTRACTED to a flashing red blinker in the dark, but not a steady red light.....
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJay View Post
    To add more controversy: I am "against" blinking red light in the rear.
    The logic seems to be: if a driver does not notice a red tail light, they will if it blinks.
    Maybe.
    But there is a problem. If the red tail light is steady, then the driver can get a "fix" on where the light is, in time and space. If it blinks, the driver cannot. Think of tracking a firefly.

    Also, when a light is blinking, there is something about it that draws a driver's attention directly to it, instead of allowing the driver to just catalog it and keeps tabs on it, along with other things. For fatigued or drunk drivers, this pull of attraction can cause them to drive to the light.

    ]And now, controversy ensues]
    This. 'Specially the 1st part. I've read it somewhere else also, a study of some sort that supported the can't get a fix on it thing. Also flashing lights are illegal in some countries, Germany comes to mind.
    Too old to ride plastic

  11. #11
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    When I am out on the road I see a cyclist long before I see their lights. Maybe because I cycle I’m more in tune to my surroundings but I see the lights well after.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    I don't see much benefit to running lights in the daytime versus a loud neon yellow jersey.
    Neither the research nor simple observation supports this claim. A flashing front or rear LED light is FAR more visible than a neon yellow jersey, especially across a broad range of daylight conditions.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    Neither the research nor simple observation supports this claim. A flashing front or rear LED light is FAR more visible than a neon yellow jersey, especially across a broad range of daylight conditions.
    Very good article about why it's a good idea to have lights on all the time. It's written by a fighter pilot:

    https://vrdriversim.com.au/wp-conten...uide-Final.pdf
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  14. #14
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    Thank you all for the help. Bought bike today and will have it here tomorrow. I'll start buying accessories now! Excited to start riding and thanks to everyone for all of the help it is much appreciated.

  15. #15
    pmf
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    So you bought the Roubaix Expert? Now onto buying accessories ...

    1. get a seat bag big enough to hold 2 inner tubes, a small set of hex wrenches and a couple CO2 cartridges --- this is the minimum to carry -- flat tires are the most common on-road breakdown.

    2. I'd recommend a CO2 dispenser rather than a pump. Get one that uses unthreaded 12 gram cartridges. They're cheap and they're enough to inflate your tire to get home (~ 80 lbs). Practice changing a tube at home so you know what to do when you're out riding and get a flat.

    3. Shoes and clipless pedals -- you need them. Do you get road pedals or mountain bike pedals? I commute a lot. It involves walking on a marble floor to my office. Mountain bike pedals are easy to walk in, road pedals not so much. Don't be afraid to spend money on a good pair of shoes. They last a long time.

    4. Bike shorts/jersey -- yeah, a lot of guys feel weird about skin tight lycra shorts, but I can't imagine riding in anything else. They don't chafe and the pad helps. If you stick with cycling, you'll most likely find yourself wearing bib shorts sooner or later. A lot of beginners wear t-shirts. If you can afford it, get one jersey -- they wick off sweat so much better than a t-shirt.

    5. A helmet --- yes, you need one.

    Have fun with the new bike.

  16. #16
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    Check, check and check! . I'm working on ordering the helmet. I have picked out a few different helmets

    https://www.giro.com/us_en/products/...ther-mips.html

    https://www.brandscycle.com/product/...lmet-55786.htm

    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/s-...=256086-159449

    I've ordered a front and a rear light I'll post links later. Yes, there is much more than just buying a bike. I also need a computer to track the miles. I'l take your advice to heart and plan to purchase everything you mentioned. Thanks so much for the response! Bike arrived this afternoon!


    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    So you bought the Roubaix Expert? Now onto buying accessories ...

    1. get a seat bag big enough to hold 2 inner tubes, a small set of hex wrenches and a couple CO2 cartridges --- this is the minimum to carry -- flat tires are the most common on-road breakdown.

    2. I'd recommend a CO2 dispenser rather than a pump. Get one that uses unthreaded 12 gram cartridges. They're cheap and they're enough to inflate your tire to get home (~ 80 lbs). Practice changing a tube at home so you know what to do when you're out riding and get a flat.

    3. Shoes and clipless pedals -- you need them. Do you get road pedals or mountain bike pedals? I commute a lot. It involves walking on a marble floor to my office. Mountain bike pedals are easy to walk in, road pedals not so much. Don't be afraid to spend money on a good pair of shoes. They last a long time.

    4. Bike shorts/jersey -- yeah, a lot of guys feel weird about skin tight lycra shorts, but I can't imagine riding in anything else. They don't chafe and the pad helps. If you stick with cycling, you'll most likely find yourself wearing bib shorts sooner or later. A lot of beginners wear t-shirts. If you can afford it, get one jersey -- they wick off sweat so much better than a t-shirt.

    5. A helmet --- yes, you need one.

    Have fun with the new bike.

  17. #17
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    Enjoy the new bike but get yourself a mini pump to put in your bag also. There will be a time that you mess up the co2 so you will need it. I also use mine to pump the tire up about half way then I finish filling it with the co2 and my tire is fully inflated and not under inflated.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by calidreaming View Post
    Check, check and check! . I'm working on ordering the helmet. I have picked out a few different helmets

    https://www.giro.com/us_en/products/...ther-mips.html

    https://www.brandscycle.com/product/...lmet-55786.htm

    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/s-...=256086-159449
    You may want to also look at Cannondale's helmets. I know everyone's head is different, but I find their Quick helmets more comfortable than any helmets I've ever tried:

    https://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/Pr...7-d4f00cb5fbb9

    Quote Originally Posted by calidreaming View Post
    I also need a computer to track the miles.
    This is the one I recommend:

    CatEye Padrone (with Stopwatch) Black CC-PA100W

    Wireless, easy to set up and nice large display.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  19. #19
    pmf
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    Yep ... you definitely want a computer. I go with the fairly simple ones. No cadence, GPS, etc.

    Try helmets on before you buy one. Every helmet manufacturer seems to have a theory on the shape of a human head -- they don't vary. Heads differ so the Giro helmet that fits me great might suck for you.

    I'd put lights at the bottom of the list unless you plan on riding in the dark. I commute in and out of DC on a MUT and see a number of people with flashing white lights on their handle bars coming the other way in broad daylight. I've never quite fathomed why on earth they do this unless they're trying to give the riders coming in the other direction epileptic fits.

    Mini pump? Have fun with that. All it takes is a flat tire out in August in 100 degree heat when you're fixing that flat in full sunlight and you have to pump that silly mini pump 300 times to get air in your tire to make you get good using that CO2 dispenser and carry a couple extra cartridges in your seat bag. A frame pump is a whole different thing, but bikes don't come with pump pegs anymore. I rode bikes with frame pumps for years. Then I carried a mini pump for a while until I realized how worthless they are.

  20. #20
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    pmf try reading what I wrote. The pump is to help inflate the tire fuller than co2 alone and as a backup to co2. As far worthless, na not at all.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmach View Post
    pmf try reading what I wrote. The pump is to help inflate the tire fuller than co2 alone and as a backup to co2. As far worthless, na not at all.
    Personally, I have always preferred a mini pump to a CO2 cartridge. The small cartridge won't fill the tire enough and the large cartridge can blow your tire off the rim if you're not careful. I saw someone do that once!

    I use the Topeak Mini Morph:

    https://www.rei.com/product/735866/t...iABEgK4CvD_BwE

    This one has a little lever to hold down with your foot to keep the pump still. The handle comes out too to give you good grip. You can easily pump 90PSI with this.

    As far as the argument about pumping 300 times, an exaggeration for sure. Yes, you will be doing some pumping, but if you're already riding 50 miles, how much extra effort is it to pump a freaken tire?? A little upper body exercise to go with all the lower body exercise from biking.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  22. #22
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    Some thoughts on this thread from a year-round commuter.

    Unless you're on a heavily trafficked bicycle route, you're invisible without lights. I learned this by having someone turn left in front of me in broad daylight and noticing his startled expression. I run lights day and night, with the front flashing during the day. I have the Cygolite 850 mentioned above and can recommend it based on performance, durability, and its easily replaced battery.

    I used to have Cateye rear lights and ran them flashing, which let the charge last months. In terms of performance, last winter I had motorist pull alongside and ask what brand they were. He said he was a rider and had noticed the lights from far away. I've since replaced the Cateye with a Fly6 that runs solid red and most overtaking motorists still give me a wide berth. It's mounted on my rack and gives a nice light wash on the ground around the rear of the bike. Unfortunately, battery life is poor, but my Garmin warns me when it needs to be charged.

    High-vis clothing is useless, IMHO, especially when encountering pedestrians, who don't hear a bicycle approaching and aren't looking for one.

    Learn to fix a flat and carry adequate tools and spares. I've never used CO2 cartridges.

  23. #23
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    Flashing lights front and year at all times. I like the Cateye Volt models. Go to your shop and by there. Try on a bunch of helmets. Head shapes vary like helmets. You'll find a good fit there. Probably get some discount as well if you buy all you want at the same time.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJay View Post
    To add more controversy: I am "against" blinking red light in the rear.
    The logic seems to be: if a driver does not notice a red tail light, they will if it blinks.
    Maybe.
    But there is a problem. If the red tail light is steady, then the driver can get a "fix" on where the light is, in time and space. If it blinks, the driver cannot. Think of tracking a firefly.

    Also, when a light is blinking, there is something about it that draws a driver's attention directly to it, instead of allowing the driver to just catalog it and keeps tabs on it, along with other things. For fatigued or drunk drivers, this pull of attraction can cause them to drive to the light.

    ]And now, controversy ensues]

    Wear a blinker and a solid red light too. FIFY.

  25. #25
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    An interesting read on beam pattern.

    https://janheine.wordpress.com/2018/...-better-light/
    Too old to ride plastic

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