Commuting in the Dark

open topic, for anything cycling related.

Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby boss » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:36 am

I have a Lezyne Power Drive XL. 400 lumens, $75 from CELL a few months back.

I find it to be adequate for my riding - lots of hills, early in the morning, no streetlights. It lasts a couple of hours on the brightest setting, which is fine - earliest I'm out is 5am and it's light by 6-7am depending on time of year. Flick it onto the flashing mode to save battery after it's light enough to see.

Strictly for commuting I think the suggestion of Ayups or lights that require a separate battery pack may be overkill, both in terms of cost and complications setting up. Plenty of other bright lights that are cheaper and are all-in-one.

But personally I can see the benefit for Ayups or similar if you do riding like what I do - you can never have enough light when you're descending (or even climbing) unlit roads in the dark.
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by BNA » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:28 pm

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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby warthog1 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:28 pm

MattyK wrote:Will add my 2c on the subject (again): If you ride anywhere near a road, bike path, or people, get a proper (cut off) beam shaped bike light. Anything else (eg round beam / flashlight) is a glaring, dazzling PITA and people will hate you. It's the equivalent of driving around in your car with your high beams on.

Philips
B&M
Supernova

etc



Yep, I am guilty of this too being a magic shine owner.
I have bought a Philips safe ride 80 from bike24 that I think you also have Matty?
Doesn't have the hot spot of the magicshine but has a beautiful broad spread beam that is well controlled and doesn't spray light everywhere. Better to see with and MUCH better for people coming the other way.
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby g-boaf » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:51 pm

kunalraiker wrote:Thanks g-boaf, please update this thread once you get yours.


Blackburn Flea:

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Second impressions, it is bright for the small size and throws a fairly wide beam of light. But it's not as bright as some others, which are obviously much bigger. You can see it in comparison with the Garmin Edge 800. The button to operate it is annoying - you really have to firmly press it to make it work - and the charger mechanism from USB has a magnetic latching and appears like it might not last, on early impressions.

It is brighter than my old Bontrager Ion2 light however.
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby MattyK » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:53 pm

warthog1 wrote:Yep, I am guilty of this too being a magic shine owner.
I have bought a Philips safe ride 80 from bike24 that I think you also have Matty?
Doesn't have the hot spot of the magicshine but has a beautiful broad spread beam that is well controlled and doesn't spray light everywhere. Better to see with and MUCH better for people coming the other way.

Yes, that's what I have and also what I came from...
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby vander » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:17 pm

I will start by saying a weight limit is ridiculous you are commuting not racing what does an extra few hundred grams mean........

However if you would rather not die then save a few 100grams, I have this light (well the 2.0 for $80) last year and I would recommend it. Biggest problem is stopping the battery from jumping around.

http://www.cellbikes.com.au/BRC-NiteSta ... ront-Light

If you want to ride safetly and be able to see properly I would recommend something similar it is over your budget and probably over your weight limit but it is worth it and really its not that expensive in the grand scheme of things.

I also have a set of the Flea lights, they are great for well lit places (for being seen) however they are not good enough in not so well lit areas. I have had them for about a year and (after <1month) needed a set replacing as they lost their charge in minutes but CRC just sent me out a new set which havent missed a beat.
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby Michael A » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:21 pm

I just received my lezyne macro drive from Wiggle. 300L. Awesome.

http://www.lezyne.com/en/products/led-l ... rive-front
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby kunalraiker » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:39 pm

Michael A wrote:I just received my lezyne macro drive from Wiggle. 300L. Awesome.

http://www.lezyne.com/en/products/led-l ... rive-front



Great to hear, and bl**dy light too, I wonder how this compares to ebay ones with extra battery packs promising over 1000 lumens.

The Lezyne is 300 lumens, any other ones with similar lumens but lower price ?
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby 98octane » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:41 pm

I use a 900 lumen Nitelight for commuting. It's incredibly bright. People often ask what light I use when riding. One guy even thought I was a motorbike!

And now they make a 1100 lumen version...

http://www.nitelights.com.au/index.php? ... t&Itemid=1

Highly recommended.
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby Xenon » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:45 pm

MattyK wrote:Will add my 2c on the subject (again): If you ride anywhere near a road, bike path, or people, get a proper (cut off) beam shaped bike light. Anything else (eg round beam / flashlight) is a glaring, dazzling PITA and people will hate you. It's the equivalent of driving around in your car with your high beams on.


Because I'm a nerd (in case anyone missed the recumbent reference earlier), I decided to see how 'other road user friendly' I could make my magicshine clone.

Start with a reference shot with the wide angle diffuser fitted (the light is about 500mm from the wall)
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The spill light just about reaches the power board.

Add a simple cowl over the top (made from a spray can lid)
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Definitely better, down to the centre punches.

What happens if I add a little electrical tape over the front?
Image
That's more like it.

So I head outside and hold the light sideways:
Image
There is very little other light out there, 99% of what you see is from the magicshine, nice clean cutoff a little above the hot spot.

Image
Cheap, simple and effective
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby warthog1 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:46 pm

MattyK wrote:Yes, that's what I have and also what I came from...


I reckon you gave me some advice in another light thread. Very happy, thanks :)
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby Nobody » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:27 pm

warthog1 wrote:
MattyK wrote:Yes, that's what I have and also what I came from...


I reckon you gave me some advice in another light thread. Very happy, thanks :)

http://www.philipsbikelight.com/

http://www.bike24.com/1.php?content=8;n ... duct=40657



Interesting. I might get one of these if I do a lot of night riding in the future.
For daytime being-seen use, I still believe the Ay Up lights would be preferable
as I actually want a non-cutoff light in flashing mode.
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby warthog1 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:11 am

Pretty comprehensive test of the philips light here.

I think the Philips LED bike light is at least as good as any symmetric beam lamp that produces 1000 lumen (real lumen, not marketing lumen), for use on the road.

Conclusion

Best bike lamp I've ever seen. Almost a car headlamp. Better than any motorcycle headlamp I've seen so far. Much more light than an Edelux, much more light on the road than the Magicshine or Ktronik's dynamo powered triple XP-G.

The biggest downside of the light is the run time on high which is only ~ 2hrs. Good thing is that the light is usb rechargeable and being self contained with no ext battery, it is easily removed from the bike. I'll charge it at work if needed. The instructions say it runs for ~8hrs on low and takes ~5hrs to recharge, can't confirm any of that though.

I haven't had to run it on high yet, as it is pretty good on low and I haven't ridden in fully dark conditions. It is better on low than the photos on that test appear to indicate IME. Dont know if that is something to do with night shots on camera and our eyes perceiving light differently :? , I know next to nothing about photography.

I agree it would be nice to have a flashing mode, but I dont think they allow that in Germany. This light is built to comply with German laws I believe. Just run it on low during the day, but not as visible as a symetric beamed flashing light, true.

The price on bike24 includes VAT which we dont pay. It cost me ~ 92 Euro. Allow 3-4 weeks for it to arrive.
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby kunalraiker » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:16 am

The phillips light is good but expensive
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby warthog1 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:24 am

Yes it is just over twice what you wanted to spend :oops: but I would argue it is not expensive for what you get.

-Our weekly grocery bill is 2-3 times that :cry:
-My car costs more to fill the tank than that.
-It's 2-3 quality bicycle tyres (GP4000s,Durano), and they wear out.
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby Nobody » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:31 am

vander wrote:I will start by saying a weight limit is ridiculous you are commuting not racing what does an extra few hundred grams mean........

However if you would rather not die then save a few 100grams...

Agree. To me, the main things that matter on the road/paths is how visible you are, how well you can see and how fast you can stop. Aero, weight and bling means nothing if you're invisible, miss seeing something important, or can't brake fast enough.
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby MattyK » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:56 am

Expensive is a relative term, you can spend way more on lights. I rate it as very good value, and it has features you only appreciate after using it:

There is little in that prices range that has a beam cutoff.

It has very solid construction (downside = heavy). No cables/plugs to damage.

It uses its lumens very efficiently. It's a genuine (tested, proven, not theoretical) 270 lm output. Magicshines etc are in reality about 500-600, not 900-1000, and much of that is wasted by shining up where you don't need it. (I'll grant that offroad conditions are excepted, you want to see overhead branches and you aren't often on level ground.)

It doesn't blow out the foreground illumination. Making the foreground brighter makes a light appear brighter but it reduces the relative intensity of distant illumination making it harder for you to observe things at a distance.

The front lens has a "shape" which means it can be perceived with size and distance, which helps observers judge your position and movement better than an intense point source.

The run time is timer limited, but the LED readout gives you great confidence in your remaining run time; you never fear that the battery will suddenly empty, because it is timer based not voltage based. And once you go past 90 minutes (120 on the 2013 model) it goes into low power mode for another 2? hours.

When charging the LEDs on top track the charging progress (progressively "filling up" in a pulsing pattern) so you can estimate how much charging time is remaining. The LEDs will also blink if there is a charging problem. (none of this is documented in the manual)

It has an illuminated outer ring that can be seen from all angles (even behind)

It has a simple quick release clamp.

Despite the cutoff beam there is still more than adequate spilled light to be seen from all angles. It's just that this spill light isn't blinding. So don't fear that you won't be seen (you can see cars with headlights on low beam can't you?)
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby kunalraiker » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:57 am

Lets attempt this another way, can someone who travels my route advise what lumens will be sufficient ?

http://api.viglink.com/api/click?format ... 0959353724
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby MattyK » Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:52 am

214.6

Seriously though, that's not a meaningful question, it can't be given a straight answer. Firstly you have to appreciate that most makers (Chinese cheapies are the worst) are regularly guilty of inaccurately speccing their lumen outputs. They take the spec sheet for the emitter they use, take the number at the top of the bin range, and quote that. In the real world, the LED will likely be lower in the bin, and it will never be driven at the theoretical conditions (particularly junction temperature) that will achieve that output. Then it emits through an optics system that will further reduce the intensity. Few of these guys would use an integrating sphere to properly determine output.

And that only describes the total output, not what you do with it. If you scatter it with poor or no optics then the intensity that falls where you want it will be low, and many of the lumens will be wasted.

That's not beginning to touch on other issues such as colour rendering, or glare, or human perception issues.

Anyway, to get you back in the ballpark, I'd typically say for road and unlit bike path use that 200-300 (real) lumens, directed through efficient optics, would be adequate. More may be better, but not if it encroaches on other users.
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby InTheWoods » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:03 pm

MattyK wrote:Anyway, to get you back in the ballpark, I'd typically say for road and unlit bike path use that 200-300 (real) lumens, directed through efficient optics, would be adequate. More may be better, but not if it encroaches on other users.


I survived on about 180 real lumens for a while, but was much happier when I upgraded to about 400 real lumens. One thing is, if you are commuting at night in the rain, the lumens disappear and you want double or triple!

I agree some of the lumen claims are ridiculous. Aside from what you said, some manufacturers don't even pick the top theoretical output of the led, they will pick a number even way higher than that - I've seen single XM-L lights advertised as 1600 lumens!

As a general guide, a Cree XM-L T6 will do 910 lumens *max* - if the junction temp is 25 degrees celcius. Once you put in a more realistic, say, 120 degrees, you get 720 lumens. Then you will lose maybe 10% from the reflector and glass.

An XM-L2 T6 bin has the same ratings, however they are rated at a junction temp of 85 degrees. At 120 degrees they are only reduced to 820 lumens, so the XM-L2 T6 will have higher output than a XM-L T6.

An XM-L2 U2 bin will be ~880 lumens at 120 degrees celcius.

Edit: The junction temperature will depend on the design and build quality of the heatsinking and thermal paths in the light, and obviously ambient temperature and airflow.
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby kunalraiker » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:08 am

I've decided to get the Lezyne Macro Drive 300 but no one seems to stock them especially a Black one, can someone please advise where I can buy one at the cheapest price.
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby gabrielle260 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:14 am

Using Frugal, Chain Reaction seem to be your best bet!
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby MattyP » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:45 pm

Bought one of these ebay Cree lights a few weeks ago, to replace a Nitelights series II set I bought in 2010. Have used them a few times over the last couple of fews & they've been a ideal replacement. Haven't used them in the wet, though the ebay ad claims '100% waterproof design'.

I ride Altona Meadows to Melb cbd & back. These lights at low beam are adequate for my commuting which involves riding before/after dawn/sunset. My commute is 30% bike path. I also use them for road rides in the dark & high beam is extraordinarily bright when needed.

The flashing mode is so fast it's fit-inducing, and I rarely use it. I use these lights to see, rather than be seen.

Only issue I have with the new lights is the cords on the light & battery are very long & have to be bunched up, somewhere. Still working on best set up.

Matt
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby kunalraiker » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:21 pm

MattyP wrote:Bought one of these ebay Cree lights a few weeks ago, to replace a Nitelights series II set I bought in 2010. Have used them a few times over the last couple of fews & they've been a ideal replacement. Haven't used them in the wet, though the ebay ad claims '100% waterproof design'.

I ride Altona Meadows to Melb cbd & back. These lights at low beam are adequate for my commuting which involves riding before/after dawn/sunset. My commute is 30% bike path. I also use them for road rides in the dark & high beam is extraordinarily bright when needed.

The flashing mode is so fast it's fit-inducing, and I rarely use it. I use these lights to see, rather than be seen.

Only issue I have with the new lights is the cords on the light & battery are very long & have to be bunched up, somewhere. Still working on best set up.

Matt


Matt, What does it weigh?
ebay says 118 grams which I highly doubt.
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby drnick79 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:01 pm

Brought a 1200 lumen Cree like in the last post a bit back that I run as my main light, also got a 900 lumen version of it that I got from Cell Bikes a couple of years back. Just invested in a set of Light & Motion 2013 Vis 360 Plus for helmet mount duties for my weekend early morning hacks and also for the ride to the train station that I am about to start to do.

S
Rides
2013 Giant Defy Advanced 0
2013 Giant Trance X00
2012 Masi Soulville SS
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Re: Commuting in the Dark

Postby Xenon » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:12 pm

kunalraiker wrote:Matt, What does it weigh?
ebay says 118 grams which I highly doubt.


Quoting myself from earlier in this thread:

Image

Image

The weight of the light is about right, but the battery weighs a bit more.
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