Recommended light / tail light
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  1. #1
    Xao
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    Recommended light / tail light

    My new Synapse will be here this week, I'll be doing most of my rides early mornings (i.e.: 4-5am) before anyone wakes up.

    Since it will be dark, what recommendations do you have for the best (brightest) light / tail light combo?

    I'm ok spending some extra on this since it will still be pitch black outside.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Road Warrior
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    I like the night rider solas but any that are extremely bright, rechargeable with a USB plug and bright will work. Most important is location and alignment!!! After installing the light, step back and verify that it's visible and not covered by the bag or your seat.

  3. #3
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    for a taillight, the planet bike superflash is really popular. some use two of them. they're $20 on ebay.
    Yossarian: don't worry. nothing's going to happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.

  4. #4
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    Since you are riding in the dark... I would choose any 700+ lumen front light. If I had to do it over again, I would choose the Bontrager 700/800 RT since it matches to my Garmin in regards to daylight flashing versus constant on during the dark. And, the Bontrager Flare fits the bill for daylight riding for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtiClydesdale View Post
    Since you are riding in the dark... I would choose any 700+ lumen front light. If I had to do it over again, I would choose the Bontrager 700/800 RT since it matches to my Garmin in regards to daylight flashing versus constant on during the dark. And, the Bontrager Flare fits the bill for daylight riding for me.
    I second bontrager

  6. #6
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    3rd on Bontrager. Solid head and tall lights for the money.

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  8. #8
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    Nightrider Lumina 800 and a Knog Blinder tailight.

  9. #9
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    Nightrider Lumina 800 and a Knog Blinder tai-light.

  10. #10
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    I like Cygolite for durability. The beam should be bright enough that you can't outride it, and no brighter. Very bright lights annoy oncoming traffic.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrac View Post
    I like Cygolite for durability. The beam should be bright enough that you can't outride it, and no brighter. Very bright lights annoy oncoming traffic.
    I have a Cygolte - two actually - 650 and 800. They have hot swappable batteries and sometimes I'll stick the battery from one in my jersey so that I can ride twice as far.

    Definitely 700+ lumens (don't see much diff between the 800 and 650 though). I have a hotshot mini 2 for the rear.
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

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  12. #12
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    I'm running the Exposure Strada 1200 for headlight. It has a road specific beam, and great runtimes (depending on program). It also has a few other nice features.

    For tail, I have the older Ofros Flare, with the new "Flare Pro" on order. New version has (10) brightness levels, 360 degree visibility, and allows for external battery (you pick run times). Helpful for using light for long day rides.

    http://www.orfos.us

    https://youtu.be/SH7ZFoBZGnA?t=173

    velodrome2_flarepro-970x647-c.jpg

  13. #13
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    I use a Dinotte 300R on the rear, 200 lumens and a Light and Motion Urban 300 (300 lumens) up front. I started using this combo in 2012 for early morning/daytime riding when I lived in Singapore and have continued since moving back to the States where I now ride mainly during the daytime.

    I recently bought a Bontrager Ion 100 for the front, 100 lumens and use it on a second bike having extra mounts on my rides for the Dinotte.

    They all have USB recharging and blinking modes.
    i've got limited minutes left in life, don't waste my time

  14. #14
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    I'm usually not very picky about stuff like this, but I have formed a pretty solid opinion on bike lights. I used to always run a Planet Bike Superflash, as they are very bright. However, I frequently put my bike in a stand (using the seatpost to secure the bike). Many of these lights attach with a mount that has to be screwed on. Many allow you to easily remove the light but the mount has to stay. The best position on my seatpost is fairly low. This means I have to either unscrew the mount or remove the saddle bag to get the bike on the stand. Until recently, the easily removable mounts came with really weak lights.

    I now use the Bontrager Ion 100R front and rear lights. They are plenty bright, easy to mount, and rechargeable.

    https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/e...olorCode=black

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    Cateye Volt 600 up front and Bontrager Flare R out back.

  16. #16
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    I recommend you absolutely cover yourself and your bike in reflective gear.

    Buy reflective vinyl and stick it all over your bike. Pedals, cranks, stays, frame, fork, seatpost, helmet, everything. Only wear reflective clothing, don't wear anything that doesn't have reflective elements at least. Mix up red and white reflection too, all rearward facing stuff should be red.

    Having a little blinky light is nice and all but be real. Do some research on what time of day cyclists are hit and killed most.
    use a torque wrench

  17. #17
    pmf
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    I've been bike commuting for over 20 years. The first light system I owned was from Bike Nashbar. It had a lead-acid battery that strapped over the top tube, and two lamps that must have pumped out 75 lumens each strapped to either side of the bars next to the stem. If the system were fully charged (that took over night), it ran for maybe an hour. I think I paid $150 for it, and this was in the early 1990's.

    Lighting systems these day are SO MUCH BETTER. The LED lights are bright, the lithium battery holds a charge for hours and recharges really quick, and they've gotten so cheap that I have a light for all of my bikes. Used to be whatever bike I installed a light on got ridden all winter. I like Magic Shine, but there's a ton of other brands. You don't need to spend $100+, or buy a branded light like Niterider or Cygolite. Look for one that's advertised at 900 or more lumens. One of my cheapo Magic Shine systems is on it's fourth year. I never had a Niterider system last that long.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9W9W View Post
    I have a Cygolte - two actually - 650 and 800. They have hot swappable batteries and sometimes I'll stick the battery from one in my jersey so that I can ride twice as far.

    Definitely 700+ lumens (don't see much diff between the 800 and 650 though). I have a hotshot mini 2 for the rear.
    I have same ones and they are both great lights:

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

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

    These lights are their brightest ones that don't require an external battery. Keep in mind that lumen ratings on lights are the maximum they are capable of. If you run them in the brightest mode, battery life will be short, so you may want to carry a spare battery just in case. You can always choose to run your headlight a little dimmer or in flash mode in order to save battery.
    "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
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    Here is a very good article worth reading:

    http://www.slobc.org/safety/document...ival-guide.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



  20. #20
    Adorable Furry Hombre
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    I've been bike commuting for over 20 years. The first light system I owned was from Bike Nashbar. It had a lead-acid battery that strapped over the top tube, and two lamps that must have pumped out 75 lumens each strapped to either side of the bars next to the stem. If the system were fully charged (that took over night), it ran for maybe an hour. I think I paid $150 for it, and this was in the early 1990's.

    Lighting systems these day are SO MUCH BETTER. The LED lights are bright, the lithium battery holds a charge for hours and recharges really quick, and they've gotten so cheap that I have a light for all of my bikes. Used to be whatever bike I installed a light on got ridden all winter. I like Magic Shine, but there's a ton of other brands. You don't need to spend $100+, or buy a branded light like Niterider or Cygolite. Look for one that's advertised at 900 or more lumens. One of my cheapo Magic Shine systems is on it's fourth year. I never had a Niterider system last that long.

    The problem with El Cheapo advertised at 900 Lumens (or any "bright" "sounding" number)...oodles and gobs of those claims are simply outright lies, added to underperforming products to sell them to the easily fooled. Result your "1200 Lumen" El Cheapo is not as bright at 20ft as an old 300 lumen branded light. and sorting out the BS claims must be a retailer-listing-product-specific basis. You see it on many of the unbranded LED (flashlight and bike-light) light reviews on Amazon, where a consumer with a known spec'd light that was supposed to be outperformed with an "upgrade" is not at all outperformed if not the opposite.

    Most of the engineering in a good light is not the LED, it is the reflector element around it....even if the light-element actually performs up to claimed spec.
    Last edited by Marc; 05-13-2017 at 06:38 AM.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    The problem with El Cheapo advertised at 900 Lumens (or any "bright" "sounding" number)...oodles and gobs of those claims are simply outright lies, added to underperforming products to sell them to the easily fooled. Result your "1200 Lumen" El Cheapo is not as bright at 20ft as an old 300 lumen branded light. and sorting out the BS claims must be a retailer-listing-product-specific basis. You see it on many of the unbranded LED (flashlight and bike-light) light reviews on Amazon, where a consumer with a known spec'd light that was supposed to be outperformed with an "upgrade" is not at all outperformed if not the opposite.

    Most of the engineering in a good light is not the LED, it is the reflector element around it....even if the light-element actually performs up to claimed spec.
    As the saying goes - buy cheap, buy twice.
    "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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    Buy it nice, or buy it twice.

  23. #23
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    I really like my See Sense ICON https://seesense.cc/

  24. #24
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    If you ride solo, a very bright taillight is great. If any of those oh-dark-thirty rides are with a group, something in the 20-40 lumen range is ideal.

  25. #25
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    All this light stuff is personal opinions of course, so to eliminated "some" of the personal opinions you should compare various lights side by side and there are websites who have actually done that for you! Do note, when you look at these photos keep in mind they are photos, your eyes and brain will perceive how the light will actually look, but the photos do what they are suppose to do and that is compare.

    https://road.cc/content/buyers-guide...rison-plus-how If you go through the lights on this site and compare what you can afford to everything there is at that price and below you'll find the light you want; you will notice that even comparing two 800 (for example only) lumen lights side by side one will be brighter than the other.

    https://www.bikelightdatabase.com/be...ght%5D=blaze2w

    https://reviews.mtbr.com/2014-mtbr-b...-beam-patterns This site did a good job till they shot some pics with lights in a tunnel and others in a back yard which makes it impossible to compare the ones shot in the tunnel to ones shot in the back yard.

    https://www.tredz.co.uk/lights-comparison-test This site is mostly UK lights so don't bother unless that's where you live.

    For the price and light output it appears that at this time that the Cateye Volt series seems to edge out the others, but you look and you decide.

    I have two front lights, one on the helmet which is a Cygolite MityCross 480osp, and the other on the bar is a Philips Saferide. Unfortunately the Philips is no longer made, with a minor improvement in it's battery set up this would have been the best light for the money today and I got this light about 7 or 8 years ago! I think it's still among the best for light output, the minor downfall was how long the 4 AA rechargeable batteries ran the light for, I've had to replace the batteries and got higher output bats that have extended the runtime but only by about 20 minutes; I think Philips could have redesigned the light to have either a cylinder shaped, or a 3x3 flat cartridge to hold 6 AA bats then that would have been the answer for their short battery life. I like the idea of the AA bats because I can replace them cheaply vs either having to send it in for new batteries or buying an expensive proprietary battery.

    Unfortunately with tail lights there is no such comparison site yet, so you'll have to take the word of others. I had an earlier version of a Light & Motion Vis 180 that put out 50 lumens unfortunately it refused to light up for more than a few seconds a couple of weeks ago after it showed it was fully charged, so I bought a NiteRider Sentry Aero 260 because of its fantastic side lighting panel. NR I feel lied about the 260 lumen rating, while I really like the light because that side panel lighting is very noticable, the best of any tail light on the market, but the rear light output is probably closer to 100 lumens, why I say that is because while my L&M works for a few seconds I was able to compare the two, and from directly behind there's not that much of a difference. However because the L&M is more of a spot beam and the NR is more of a wider flood beam the further away I get the larger the light profile looks with the NR. But the biggest thing about the NR is as I walk around the bike from a distance of about 50 yards starting at the rear and going to the side of the bike, the side lighting it produces is remarkable! So while NR overplayed the 260 lumens thing I'm not going to send it back because there is no other light on the market with that type of side lighting. The other thing is that the L&M is built more solidly than the NR, there is a weight difference and that's all in the ruggedness of the body, but I don't plan on dropping the light so not a real big deal. The NR claims 4:30 hours of run time on high, I haven't tested till the light died, I have ran it for 2:30 hours on high and it was still running, so for me the run time is fine. Reason I won't run the light to I kill the battery is because the Li-Po bats don't like to be ran till dead, it will shorten the number of years you'll get out of the bat, Li-Po bats need to be recharged after EVERY time you use it no matter how little you used it if you want the battery to last more years; this is true of all newer types of rechargeable bats.

    I plan on buying another tail light for the helmet, not sure yet what I'll get, I have it narrowed down to either a Lezyne Zecto Drive Max, NiteRider Sentinel 150 or the newest Light & Motion Vis 180, but the NR is the most expensive by almost twice as much as the other two. So I'm still thinking about it, no rush till fall anyways.

    I need to say this, someone mentioned the Planet Bike Superlight, I had one of those, it lasted about 2 years before the rubberized button cover fell during a ride, so it became difficult to press the button, then it rained and water got in through the button, I dried it out and worked...but water got into a second time on another ride and that time drying the thing out didn't bring it back to life. It's not a well built light, and it's not as bright as newer lights have evolved into that the PB has not, so it's a dated design.

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