Bicycle lights

Bicycle lights

Postby TonyS » Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:23 am

Bikewest is currently investigating the functionality of bicycle lights sold locally. Whilst our preliminary research indicates that they all meet the minimum Australian standard with regard to visibility to other road/path users (200 metres), we have some concerns that they do not provide sufficient forward illumination for the rider, particularly if that person is in an area without street lighting. Does anyone out there use front lights that they feel illuminate the road/path ahead sufficiently well for them to ride safely at say 30 km/h? If so, do you know what their power output is?
Many thanks.
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by BNA » Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:30 pm

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Postby Boognoss » Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:30 pm

I use Ayup lights at night/pre-dawn and they are good enough for 50+ kph for me (only short bursts down hills). I have only one set mounted on my handlebars, with the intermediate lens.

Wattage figures aren't published on the website, but the Cree LED lights I have consume 500mA and are powered by a 7.4V battery. Using my tiny leftover bit of electrical knowledge from TAFE some years ago that's about 3.7W (waiting for someone to correct me on that ;-)).
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Postby Aushiker » Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:29 pm

G'day

See hereand here. The first page provides links to discussions in this forum.

Regards
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Postby Kalgrm » Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:06 pm

G'day Tony,

I was using a pair of VistaLite halogen lights for about a year. I was happy enough to ride at 30km/h on the unlit bike paths I was familiar with, but I guess I would have been reluctant on new paths. They were over-volted, so I'm not quite sure if that counts for you.

I had one 5w and one 10w globe, running at 7.4v instead of the rated 6v. I believe that makes them 6w and 13w respectively, for a total of 19w. Used, it cost me $95, including $70 for a Li-ion battery. I later bought a charger for another $80. I won't be using the halogen lights again

I also have a helmet mounted 10w HID light. It was much brighter than the halogens and I'd happily use it at +30km/h on any unlit path. New, it cost me $350, including charger. I'll be selling my HID light as soon as I've made a helmet light system from another couple of torches.

I've since converted to using the LED torches linked to by Andrew. One of these mounted to my bike is MUCH brighter than my HID light, and I use two of them for blinding results. I'd happily ride at 50km/h on unlit roads with these torches (assuming the engine was up to it .... ;)). My total outlay for three of these torches, mounts, batteries and charger was $130. I believe they are rated at 1w each.

I've ridden side-by-side with riders who own Ay-up lights. My torches are brighter, probably because they are newer LED systems. I'd say the maker of Ay-ups will be upgrading his LED systems as he sells his remaining stock of LEDs, so the next generation of lights will be as good as these torches.

As you can see from this list of lighting, watts are no longer a good measure of output. My lowest wattage lights are my most powerful. That means I can carry smaller batteries for a long ride than I ever could before. The problem is that these aren't specifically sold as bike lights, but a bike mount can be easily obtained.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby heavymetal » Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:23 pm

G'day Tony

I use Night Flux Vision Sticks. I have two headlight units both using halogen globes. One is a 15W spotlight, and the other is a 10W flood. With both on (they each have their own battery) I can safely see the road in front of me.

I've descended Armadale Hill (reaching 50 km/h) and found that they lit the road up quite well. However the lights need to be adjusted to point at the correct part of the road to get the right lighting area. This is easy as they are mounted on my aero bars.

They were expensive however, but the head units clip to the batteries to make torches, for use off of the bike.

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Postby PathPusher » Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:21 am

Hi Tony

Is the investigation looking into other aspects of the light?

I was blinded on two occasions last night while commuting along the path near the Burswood Golf Course. It was between 5.30 and 6pm and the Golf Course lights weren't on. Both bikes used dual lamp handlebar set ups. They didn't appear to be creating a beam on the path (like LEDs traditionally do) so I'll assume they were aimed incorrectly. In the second case, I was forced to the edge of the path because the cyclist was passing a jogger I couldn't see because of the spill of the light (and because the jogger, like almost all the pedestrians I passed last night, was wearing dark clothing).

There are guides on how to set up headlights on motor cars - does this information exist for bikes? I know the only real long-term solution is for proper lighting along the paths, but is there an upper limit on how bright the lights should be? Do we need a High beam/Low beam regime similar to that of cars? On a bike path, you come much closer to the light source than you would on most roads.

I currently have a 1 Watt led unit that's more a to-be-seen light but provides enough throw for 20-25kmh riding. I also have it pointed to the path, not to the tree tops. I want to upgrade to something that lights up the whole path but this means a lot more than how many lumens the light source puts out.

Victor
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Postby TonyS » Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:30 am

Yes Victor, we will be looking at the best aim angle for a front light so that it illuminates far enough ahead without blinding other people.
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Postby Pushy » Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:17 pm

PathPusher wrote:Hi Tony

Is the investigation looking into other aspects of the light?

I was blinded on two occasions last night while commuting along the path near the Burswood Golf Course. It was between 5.30 and 6pm and the Golf Course lights weren't on. Both bikes used dual lamp handlebar set ups. They didn't appear to be creating a beam on the path (like LEDs traditionally do) so I'll assume they were aimed incorrectly. In the second case, I was forced to the edge of the path because the cyclist was passing a jogger I couldn't see because of the spill of the light (and because the jogger, like almost all the pedestrians I passed last night, was wearing dark clothing).

There are guides on how to set up headlights on motor cars - does this information exist for bikes? I know the only real long-term solution is for proper lighting along the paths, but is there an upper limit on how bright the lights should be? Do we need a High beam/Low beam regime similar to that of cars? On a bike path, you come much closer to the light source than you would on most roads.

Victor


Don't think it was me. I wasn't out till about 7.30pm. I think with the growing popularity of these hi-output leds it may be appropriate to politely call "light!". I for one would certainly prefer to know if I'm causing a problem for other riders.
I use modified led torches on bars and helmet and they tend to have a fair amount of spill and definitely enough light to ride at 30-40kmh.

Les
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Lights

Postby Longinthetooth » Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:14 pm

BicVic did a test of lights, its on their bikes n bits section, their test methodology looks good, but I couldn't find their recommended light in Freo shops

Front lights

Best all-round visibility and best buy: Bike Essentials 4 LED light
Dollars and all-round visibility make this light the stand-out. At $25, it outperformed lights costing twice as much (although, as mentioned earlier, the testers did find the flash rate too slow).
Pic: [PIC TO BE TAKEN]
Best front visibility: S-Sun SS-L 130W
Five LEDs make this light the brightest front on, although it is a little more battery-hungry than others.
[pic: SSL130W]

Rear lights

Best all-round visibility and best buy: Smart RL307 7 LED
A tried and tested design that is very popular. Two different bracket sizes included with the light make mounting easier.
[Pic: RL307R.jpg]
Best rear visibility: Cateye TL-LD600 and S-Sun EagleFly 310RL
The well-spaced vertical array and high-quality electronics make the Cateye a bright light. The S-Sun Eaglefly’s 9 LEDs are a little power-hungry.
Pic: LD600 and Pic: SSL 310R
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Postby nimm » Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:20 pm

I have a 1W Luxeon LED based bike light (PrincetonTec EOS) and I can say it's _not_ bright enough to really light up the path such that I'd feel confident riding 30kph+ I still do though =) It's certainly enough to be seen and spot the path but really you want something bright enough to really light the path and see potential issues (e.g. glass, objects, holes, etc...).

Also a side point. (Bright) Headlights should be constantly lit, not blinking. I find bright blinking headlights (and you come across this far too often) disorienting and irritating to my eyes. AFAIK i don't suffer from any light sensitivity or low light issues so I'm sure other people would experience the same. Believe me when you're on a dark path and you've got a bright headlight coming towards you it doesn't need to be blinking to notice it.

The same applies with ridiculously bright constantly lit headlights too =) No one wants to be looking into flood lights.

With the rear lights it's another story, they're usually no where near as intense and I'm not sure but the red doesn't seem to bother me.
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Postby rolandp » Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:50 pm

DPI site indicates:
By law you must have an unbroken white light at the front and an unbroken or flashing red light at the rear, both of which must be visible for at least 200 metres.
A flashing white light can be used as an addition on the front, but the main light must be unbroken.


I have tried several AAA-power lights, but haven't found one that cuts the dark patches including north of Karrinyup Rd and Princeton Estate etc.

I'm looking at upgrading in the future, as I have had several near misses with pedestrians and bollards (both should be legally made to be lit up as well or in the case of the bollards, get rid of them).
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Postby PathPusher » Thu Jun 26, 2008 3:31 pm

+1 re the bollards - especially since some seem to appear and disappear overnight.
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Postby moosterbounce » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:42 pm

+ 2 on the bollards...and make sure the area where they were is mended properly, not with sticky tape shiny slippy metal.
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