Front light for unlit commute

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freefall_junkie
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Front light for unlit commute

Postby freefall_junkie » Fri Oct 25, 2013 08:27 am

Looking for some advice on a front light for my 15 mile commute, about 10 miles of which is on unlit rural roads with plenty of potholes to dodge. Sorry if this has been asked before but I couln't find anything in recent threads. The last couple of winters I have been using an old Light and Motion Stella, not sure of the model at it isn't marked on the light, but I think it was the 300 lumen. It is barely bright enough and the battery is now not holding the charge for long. Some good options would appear to be:

- Cateye Volt 1200. Massive output for circa £130 online and battery life looks good.

- Leyzene Mega Drive - About £150, similar massive output.

- Exposure Strada 5 - About £250. Look like a quality item, but seems very expensive for what if offers compared to the other 2

Then again, lights seem to have come a long way in the last couple of years, and do I need something as bright as these? Maybe a much cheaper 600 lumen cateye nanoshot at £90 would suffice? Your experience and views most welcome!

Mark

MichaelW
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby MichaelW » Fri Oct 25, 2013 08:55 am

I would use 2 lighting systems, a dynamo hub with a B&M lamp such as the CYO on the fork crown and a battery lamp on the handlebar.

trek_dan
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby trek_dan » Fri Oct 25, 2013 08:56 am

£18 Cree one off Ebay, best front light I've ever had. Why spend more?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Cree-XML-XM-L ... 2ec3e8dc59

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craker
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby craker » Fri Oct 25, 2013 09:07 am

£18? Jeez I paid 50+ for mine 3 years ago (still using it albeit I've replaced everything bar the internals). May as well get two. That battery casing doesn't look waterproof though.

alan sherman
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby alan sherman » Fri Oct 25, 2013 09:07 am

15 miles each way? Get a dynamo hub wheel and decent LED light (Phillips/ B&M cyo / Edelux etc). You'll be forever charging batteries otherwise. I use a Cyo in unlit Richmond Park and it is great.

Shimano hubbed front wheel is about a ton, the light about 70 quid. Never need pay green subsidies on the electricity ever again.

e.g:
http://www.spacycles.co.uk/products.php?plid=m2b0s170p0

freefall_junkie
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby freefall_junkie » Fri Oct 25, 2013 09:21 am

Not entirely convinced by the dynamo idea - looks expensive and unnecessary for what I will be using it for. The Cateye Volt and Leyzene Mega look like they will have more than enough battery for a 1 hr each way commute. The Volt is pretty new I believe. Anyone here tried one?

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Gunnsie
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby Gunnsie » Fri Oct 25, 2013 09:48 am


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jordan_217
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby jordan_217 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:04 am

Gunnsie wrote:This is quite informative: -

http://www.torchythebatteryboy.com/p/bi ... abase.html


I got a Fluxient XML U2 from Torchy, via Amazon. It's a brilliant light. I've been using it on a 80 mile round trip commute and it's been faultless. I've yet to use a full charge when using the light on the middle setting, which is plenty bright enough for unlit, rural roads. The brightest setting is overkill and would be better suited to MTB/offroad duties. Which is handy as I ride my CX bike offroad, at night over Winter.

A colleague got one of those £16 Cree lights from Amazon, on paper they appear to be the same spec as the Fluxient. The quality is nowhere near the same though. I wouldn't have one, despite the low price.
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oxoman
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby oxoman » Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:15 am

I use a cheap 1600 lumen cree thing of ebay lasted last winter no issues get 3 return journeys of 10 mile each way with no problems. For £18 what do we expect, when the battery goes i might get a decent battery or just buy a complete new light. Saved more than it cost in replacing batteries. Moon X500 is well worth looking at colleague at work uses one and plenty of light for him on a 5 mile partially lit commute. Torchyboy link worth looking at as well.
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Cndl
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby Cndl » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:43 am

I've got the Cateye EL530, bright, long battery life and cheap at the moment.
Great light for £19

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unixnerd
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby unixnerd » Fri Oct 25, 2013 14:06 pm

I used to have a Cateye EL530, nicely made and I'm aware it's since been upgraded. But it's nothing like as bright as the 10-15 quid Cree XML-T6 or U6 torches you can get on ebay. If you shop around you can get a pair with mounts, batteries and charger for just over 50 quid. Brighter than a car headlight and with redundancy in case one fails. Look for the 501b model, not the zoom units.
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Kajjal
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby Kajjal » Fri Oct 25, 2013 15:17 pm

For a 15 mile commute in the dark you need reliable lights. The cheap Chinese lights vary greatly in quality even the same model from the same supplier. If you go that route make sure you buy at least two lights so you have a backup.

For riding about 5 miles at night on pitch Black Country lanes I use a lezyne super drive xl. It has a handy race mode which switches from low power in street lights to full power when needed at the press of a button. That is as well as going through the normal power settings if you prefer. Full power is 575 lumen which is bright enough to see pretty much anything unless you are travelling round very sharp corners or going around 20mph or faster.

The main thing you need is reliability and a battery life well in excess of your journey time. For me 575 lumen or more is bright enough but don't be put off spending a bit more to get what you need as safety is more important than saving a few pounds.

Camcycle1974
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby Camcycle1974 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 15:33 pm

The fluxient u2 mini is not a cheap light. Very solid and well made. Excellent illumination on unlit roads. Not as cheap as the Chinese Ebay lights but much better quality.

jockywilson
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby jockywilson » Fri Oct 25, 2013 16:08 pm

Wouldn't discount the dynamo hub option just yet.

Been running a hub dynamo and light for the past three years, initially on the commuter and now also on my road bike - it's a great fit and forget option without worrying about batteries or charging, especially useful if you want to extend your night riding (I've got a young family so riding time is limited).

At rose bikes you can get a shimano DH-3N80 (the lightest shimano dynamo hub, it think) and the Busch and Muller for about £115 posted (it's much cheaper buying from Germany than the UK):

http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/b--m ... aid:457434
http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/atb- ... aid:581967

northpole
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby northpole » Fri Oct 25, 2013 17:23 pm

I've no hesitation in recommending a Hope Vision 2 or (better still) 4 with District rear light. They are built to last and have fantastic factory support if you ever need replacement parts (so I'm told - nothing has ever failed on mine). They aren't cheap but provide great illumination and make you visible front and rear to motorists.

It may just be me, but I find with normal battery lights, especially the rear, I run them down until there is barely a candle's worth of light coming from them. No logic to it, but I repeatedly found myself doing this and ultimately putting myself in potential danger.

Peter

KINGGARY
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby KINGGARY » Fri Oct 25, 2013 17:34 pm

I have recently bought the new lezyne deca drive, a bit smaller and cheaper then the mega drive but still puts out 800 lumens.
Great light, worth considering.

dwanes
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby dwanes » Fri Oct 25, 2013 20:26 pm

I bought this and very happy with the quality. Very good burn times at the highest setting which is bright 900 lumen and has a good spread.

http://www.bike-discount.de/shop/k993/a ... tml?mfid=8

They are around £200 in the UK so a big saving to be had and delivery was fast. The handlebar mount can be found for less than 5 Euro.

ViperS15
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby ViperS15 » Mon Oct 28, 2013 09:31 am

freefall_junkie wrote:Looking for some advice on a front light for my 15 mile commute, about 10 miles of which is on unlit rural roads with plenty of potholes to dodge. Sorry if this has been asked before but I couln't find anything in recent threads. The last couple of winters I have been using an old Light and Motion Stella, not sure of the model at it isn't marked on the light, but I think it was the 300 lumen. It is barely bright enough and the battery is now not holding the charge for long. Some good options would appear to be:

- Cateye Volt 1200. Massive output for circa £130 online and battery life looks good.

- Leyzene Mega Drive - About £150, similar massive output.

- Exposure Strada 5 - About £250. Look like a quality item, but seems very expensive for what if offers compared to the other 2

Then again, lights seem to have come a long way in the last couple of years, and do I need something as bright as these? Maybe a much cheaper 600 lumen cateye nanoshot at £90 would suffice? Your experience and views most welcome!

Mark


The Volt 1200 is a complete beast of a light and the Nano Shot is really powerful too. You should really be OK with a Volt 300 as well if you want to keep the money down.

It's definitely worth having a look on road.cc's light comparison to see how your 3 listed about perform against each other: http://road.cc/content/news/97193-big-r ... -test-2013

Slowbike
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby Slowbike » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:07 am

Kajjal wrote:For a 15 mile commute in the dark you need reliable lights. The cheap Chinese lights vary greatly in quality even the same model from the same supplier. If you go that route make sure you buy at least two lights so you have a backup.

+1


The Cateye Volt 1200 looks excellent - I have the Nanoshot plus bought last year for a winter commute - USB rechargable and lasted the expected time. It (along with some other top branded lights) has a low battery warning so it doesn't just turn off.
I've also bought a cheap chinese jobbie - the Ultrafire torch - excellent little torch, but not proven reliable enough yet - no indication of battery state either - plus it's not USB rechargable so can't charge at work. It'll do as a backup /second light - useful for those days when its really dark and yucky and I just want more light... usually on the country lanes ..

freefall_junkie
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Re: Front light for unlit commute

Postby freefall_junkie » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:09 am

Thanks for all the info so far everyone! The latest road cc test is very useful. Tending towards either a moon x power 780 or the cateye volt at the moment. The convenience of an all in one light unit and reliability are just as important to me as light performance, so I am not convinced by the cheap ebay offerings, although they do look amazing value. The Exposure Strada does indeed look very expensive for what it offers based on the road cc test.

Mark


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