Rear light for daylight use

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Rear light for daylight use

Postby AndyRevill » Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:54 am

Hi All,

After my little incident and what more and more seems like a great escape (http://www.bicycles.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=58033&hilit=turn+left) I've been thinking that when I get a new bike I'll also upgrade my rear light to something more visible during the day. So far I've come up with the following possibles for a daylight visible red light:

1. Design Shine DS-500 ( http://www.designshinelighting.com/cont ... ?2-Welcome ) 500 lumens but seems hard to get (one man operation?)
2. Dinnote 400R (http://store.dinottelighting.com/400r-red-taillight---seat-post-seat-stay-chain-stay-or-rack-mount-p91.aspx) 240 Lumens
3. Ayups with red caps and flasher battery ( http://www.ayup-lights.com/ ) >500 Lumens

All these options seem to be around the $220 mark, which 2 weeks ago I would have thought was crazy for a rear light, now I'm not so sure - remembering I want to raise awareness of my presence in daylight.

Anyone got any thoughts or experiences good or bad on these options or others?

cheers, Andy
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by BNA » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:30 am

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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby Ozkaban » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:30 am

These (and several variants) are pretty serious rear lights. Too bright for group riding - people need to let the batteries run down a bit first!

I use a PDW Radbot 1000 which is also very bright - 1 Watt if I remember.

These aren't in the league of the Ayups and others you have mentioned but even if you put 2 of them on the back you'd be lit up like a christmas tree and it would still cost you less than $100.

EDIT: I have a friend who uses a helmet mounted Ayup - one light facing forwards and one facing back with the saxon cap. It's pretty effective in addition to the other lights...
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby ningnangnong » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:11 am

Cygolite Hotshot!

Ridiculously bright, USB rechargeable and great value at $30-35.
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby Ross » Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:21 pm

I rode behind someone who had the AYUPs with the red caps and wasn't really impressed by the brightness. And even less impressed when you consider the cost - cheapest kit on special at the moment from AYUP is $250.

The Dinotte is pretty good, a guy I know has one of these and it's pretty bright, but nearly as pricey. There is a AA version which is a lot cheaper and similar brightness - http://store.dinottelighting.com/new-di ... -p184.aspx ?

The Tioga Dual Eyes* that Ozkaban linked to are only 1/2 watt each section (2 sections flashing so 2 x 1/2 watt) but are surprisingly bright and have decentish side visabilty as well. On my commute home I regularly see a girl with two mounted on her rear pannier rack flashing alternatively (the lights, not the girl... :twisted: ) and they are quite visible and attention grabbing during the day. Very good value for money even if there are brighter lights available at 10 or 20 times the price. You would really need to ask yourself are the brighter more expensive lights worth it.

The Cygolite Hotshot* is pretty bright at 2 watts, more so than Tioga Dual Eyes but probably not as bright as Dinotte. You really need to have the Cygolite mounted and aimed properly as it seems to lose a lot of it's effect if pointed down too much and doesn't seem to have as much side visability as the Tioga Dual Eyes. The Cygolite Hotshot is very convenient in having a built in battery with USB charging, saves frigging around replacing batteries, just plug it into your computer while you are at work.

*I have both a Tioga Dual Eyes and a Cygolite Hotshot, usually clip Dual Eyes onto saddle bag and hotshot in jersey pocket

Here's a test of some popular lights (not the Dinotte though) - http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-te ... ights.aspx

Surprisingly the Hotshot didn't score very well in the visability but the Dual Eyes was one of the best - above AYUPs.
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby Mulger bill » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:36 pm

Niteflux Redzone4 creates a healthy glow around my bum. A pair of Radbots on the stays for backup.
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby kb » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:45 am

My redzone's on holiday and I miss it (Switch repair under warranty). :-(
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby JohnJoyner » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:42 pm

Mulger bill wrote:Niteflux Redzone4 creates a healthy glow around my bum. A pair of Radbots on the stays for backup.


+1 for the Niteflux... Dodgy velcro strap, but very good light.
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby InTheWoods » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:53 pm

Zebralight H51r or H51Fr. I often get comments on it - during the daytime. Even had a driver at some lights complement it.

Single AA, about 1.5-2 hours of runtime in 4 hertz blink mode without any fading in brightness unlike most rear lights which fade in parallel with the battery's charge state (due to dropping voltage and no/poor regulation). Waterproof to 2 meters.

Be wary of lights that promote how many Watts they are, as they are sometimes "marketing" watts. Compare the claimed runtime vs watts and the battery capacity. Eg. 2 x AAA batts is about 2 x ~1.2v x ~0.8Ah = 1.92 Watt hours. So a real 2 watt light should last less than 1 hour with 2 x AAA batts.

(Plus watts aren't what's important - the amount of light coming out is - which apart from watts depends on driver efficiency, led efficiency, and heat sinking quality).
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby Byke » Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:31 pm

AndyRevill wrote:I've been thinking that when I get a new bike I'll also upgrade my rear light to something more visible during the day.


"my rear light" suggest that you only use one. I reckon there's a better way.

A cheap (but well made) light like the [edit] 1 watt Smart Lunar R1 is pretty visible during the day. For around $70 you could buy four of them.

Mount two of them on the back of your helmet, and two of them of your seat stem, and my gut feel is that you're much more likely to be seen than with a single bright light costing three or four times as much. (But not having come across many exceptionally bright rear lights I'm happy to be told I'm wrong).

I'm seeing more and more cyclists mounting matching flashing rear lights next to each other. They typically move in and out of phase with each other over a period of about ten seconds, and at some subconscious level it's just incredibly frustrating, and you can't look away!

No doubt you'll also need a new helmet. One of my criteria for a helmet is how easy it is to mount lights to the back of the retention system. The R1 just clips straight onto my MET and points exactly where I want it to without any adjustment. Once again it's only gut feel, but I think a light at head height is far more likely to be noticed by car drivers than one at waist height. (But again, at under $20 a pop you can stick the R1 in lots of spots.)
Last edited by Byke on Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby InTheWoods » Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:40 pm

Byke wrote:A cheap (but well made) light like the 1/2 watt Smart Lunar R1 is pretty visible during the day. For around $70 you could buy four of them.

Mount two of them on the back of your helmet, and two of them of your seat stem, and my gut feel is that you're much more likely to be seen than with a single bright light costing three or four times as much. (But not having come across many exceptionally bright rear lights I'm happy to be told I'm wrong).


I don't really agree that 4 dim lights is better than a single bright light for daytime use. Why not have 8 really dim lights? Or 16 even dimmer ones? Ok there may be a trade off point, but for daylight you really do need a huge amount of lumens for the light to properly add to your visibility. Remember, the purpose of the light is to catch attention, and its not going to do that if it doesn't have high enough contrast with its surrounds which means a standard light isn't going to work in daylight. Sure it might be visible when you look at it, but it doesn't draw your attention to it. My test of whether its doing its job or not, is if you see the light first or the cyclist. ie. "whats that blinking oh its a cyclist" vs "there is a cyclist, hey look he has his light on during the daytime".

Eg. the h51r I mentioned before is 100 lumens of red light from a cree xp-e red led (not a white led with a red filter that would chop out 80% of the light, like putting a red filter on an ayup). On constant high, a 2000mAh battery lasts about 45 minutes in it, which is ~3.2 watts through an efficient and fully regulated driver to a very efficient red led, which is well heat-sinked.

Edit: Having said that, the maximum rated current for an xp-e red is about 1.6W so a fair bit is being wasted by the driver and perhaps the led is over-driven, I don't know.
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby AndyRevill » Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:56 pm

InTheWoods wrote:My test of whether its doing its job or not, is if you see the light first or the cyclist. ie. "whats that blinking oh its a cyclist" vs "there is a cyclist, hey look he has his light on during the daytime".


I think this sums it up for me.

Hypothesis: driver is texting - they have to look up every few seconds? If in one of those upward glances they see a red flashing light and start to pay attention then the earlier that happens the better?

My understanding is, to do that, lumens are what's important so I'm working on the principle that one bright light is going to work better that multiple dimmer ones, mounting height is something that needs to be considered. At night, things are obviously different in that lower intensity lights will be visible from much further away.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far.

Cheers, Andy
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:39 pm

JohnJoyner wrote:
Mulger bill wrote:Niteflux Redzone4 creates a healthy glow around my bum. A pair of Radbots on the stays for backup.


+1 for the Niteflux... Dodgy velcro strap, but very good light.

Yeah, it didn't work for me so I MacGyvered up an adaptor out of sheet metal, it now hangs off a superflash type seatpost bracket.

I put some pics up in a thread somewhere :?
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby Byke » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:42 pm

AndyRevill wrote:I've been thinking that when I get a new bike I'll also upgrade my rear light to something more visible during the day.


What light did you have before?
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby Byke » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:45 pm

InTheWoods wrote:My test of whether its doing its job or not, is if you see the light first or the cyclist. ie. "whats that blinking oh its a cyclist" vs "there is a cyclist, hey look he has his light on during the daytime".


Spot on.

The other consideration is what else can be done to increase visibility. I wonder whether a $20 flouro vest over the OP's predominantly red cycling jersey might have potentially helped him every bit as much as (better?) daytime lights.

Eg. the h51r I mentioned before is 100 lumens of red light from a cree xp-e red led.


This light sounds really interesting. I recently replaced my DealExtreme MagicShine front light with a Lezyne Super Drive, because having a slighter dimmer compact all-in-one light on my bike was much safer than a brighter light-with-bulky-and-fiddly-separate-battery-pack on the shelf at home. So I've little interest in the lights the OP linked to (other than anticipating all-in-one lights with similar brightness will surely follow).

I don't really agree that 4 dim lights is better than a single bright light for daytime use. Why not have 8 really dim lights? Or 16 even dimmer ones? Ok there may be a trade off point, but for daylight you really do need a huge amount of lumens for the light to properly add to your visibility.


The H51R clearly blows my Smart Lunar 1's out of the water, but I'm still not convinced relying on a single light is necessarily the answer. If you're riding on straight country roads then a bright tightly-focussed beam might be the best approach. But in urban commuting situations, being visible other then directly behind is pretty important too, and multiple lights can definitely help in this regard.

Although the Nite Flux Red Zone 4 might address this in a single light…
Last edited by Byke on Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby Byke » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:44 pm

All the love for the NiteFlux Red Zone 4 peaked my interest, so I thought I'd quickly share a few things I discovered:

1) The NiteFlux 4 is currently out of stock. However in early October in the comments of an Adelaide Cyclist review David Bastians of NiteFlux said a new version "is 95% finished and … will be out soon."

2) There is a detailed thread on the Candle Power Forums about daytime visibility generally, and and the Red Zone 4 in particular. It includes a number of posts with videos of day- and night-time riding using the NiteFlux and a couple of other lights including the Planet Bike Super Turbo (which I'm pretty sure is exactly the same light as the Smart Lunar R1 which I linked to), a Danger Zone (which looks awfully like a rebadged Smart Lunar R2) and a Radbot 1000. Here's a post in that thread with quite a few relevant videos, but for those with an hour or two on their hands the whole thread is pretty interesting.
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby AndyRevill » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:30 am

Byke wrote:
The other consideration is what else can be done to increase visibility. I wonder whether a $20 flouro vest over the OP's predominantly red cycling jersey might have potentially helped him every bit as much as (better?) daytime lights.


I have been wondering that and I haven't discounted it, though it is just another solid colour (albeit a bright one). I'm leaning towards a red flashing light being more of an attention grabber, though may end up with both :D

Byke wrote: What light did you have before?


It was/is a Serfas red led. It's bright and fine for at night but not in daylight. Will check out the NiteFlux and read through the Candle Power forums - I had come across those but haven't had time to go through them yet.

cheers, Andy
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby InTheWoods » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:08 am

AndyRevill wrote:
Byke wrote:
The other consideration is what else can be done to increase visibility. I wonder whether a $20 flouro vest over the OP's predominantly red cycling jersey might have potentially helped him every bit as much as (better?) daytime lights.


I have been wondering that and I haven't discounted it, though it is just another solid colour (albeit a bright one). I'm leaning towards a red flashing light being more of an attention grabber, though may end up with both :D

Byke wrote: What light did you have before?


It was/is a Serfas red led. It's bright and fine for at night but not in daylight. Will check out the NiteFlux and read through the Candle Power forums - I had come across those but haven't had time to go through them yet.

cheers, Andy


I think it depends on the exact moment & situation but I find fluoro riders really grab my attention much faster and earlier, and from a longer distance, compared to camoflaged (or even just red) ones :) I'd say fluoro plus a very bright light are better than either on their own.

CPF is an excellent resource, I've made a few posts on there myself :)
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby JohnJoyner » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:26 am

Mulger bill wrote:
JohnJoyner wrote:
Mulger bill wrote:Niteflux Redzone4 creates a healthy glow around my bum. A pair of Radbots on the stays for backup.


+1 for the Niteflux... Dodgy velcro strap, but very good light.

Yeah, it didn't work for me so I MacGyvered up an adaptor out of sheet metal, it now hangs off a superflash type seatpost bracket.

I put some pics up in a thread somewhere :?


Well MacGyvered... Wish I could see the photos... I have resorted to good old duct tape, although I obviously have to replace it often..
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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby AndyRevill » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:47 pm

This is an interesting video comparison between the NiteFlux RZ4 and Hotshot

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f38KP1qa8E

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Re: Rear light for daylight use

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:19 pm

JohnJoyner wrote:Well MacGyvered... Wish I could see the photos... I have resorted to good old duct tape, although I obviously have to replace it often..

Googlefu's working tonight :mrgreen: , pics...
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