Wednesday, September 26, 2007

You light up my life? (bicycle lights, that is).

Its getting to be the time of year when commuter cyclists need to dig out their lighting systems. Mine is a decade old, so I am thinking of upgrading or replacing.

My pet peeve right now is that many bike catalogs do not clearly compare all their lighting products with useful units. Some lights are only listed with power consumed (watts) while others list lumens or candlepower. What we clearly need are good data. Illumination, such as in lumens. Power available, i.e. lighting duration in watt hours or whatever. And, beam pattern and useability.

I am looking for good reviews with this information and will post what I find. If you find a good source, please add to the discussion under the comments section. I also emailed Consumer Reports and suggested they test and rate high-zoot bicycle lights. Scott has a great HID light. Not sure the multi-LEDs have caught up in light quality.

here are a few sources of info, not sure all are up to date.
http://www.mtbr.com/spotlight/lightshootout/
http://www.nordicgroup.us/s78/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_lighting


By all means, make sure you are visible out there. While many riders use taillights or reflectors and bright clothing, you need to make sure you have actual forward illumination, not just reflection. A car turning across your path will not illuminate your front reflector or clothing until it is too late, since their headlights have to be pointed at you to reflect light back to the driver.

9 comments:

ALBERT said...

http://tinyurl.com/2huehh

Neale said...

I use a CygoLite Night Rover. When I went in to my favorite bike shop in Seattle this was the only light they carried. "It's the only one you'll need", they said.

In a comparison between headlights last year mine tied with Scott's LED thingy. I think mine may light up the road just an eensy bit better since it's got a little less blue in it (blue is harder to see at night). After 7 years of use the switches are getting a little worn, it's probably time to open the thing up and clean the contacts. Worn switches was the #1 complaint I heard from Seattle.

REI sells my light with a bigger battery than I have for $94.

Khal said...

Hi Khal,

Only since our 2008 LEDs come out did we start publishing light outputs in lumens. Traditionally, we stuck with watts because A) they were a more simple measure for most people, and B) there is currently no uniform testing method for halogen and HID lights in the biking industry. However, our HIDs do put out about 350 lumens or about the equivalent of about 40 watts of light. Up until this year, the HIDs were our brightest lights, but with the release of the 500 lumen TriNewt, our top dog has passed the torch down. I hope this information is helpful!

Best regards,

Richie


-----Original Message-----

Name: Khal Spencer

It would be extremely useful if you would compare the light output on each of your models. You do this for many of your LED lights, but not for HID, etc. Its hard to decide on what I need as a commuter if I have to compare apples to oranges, or have no comparison at all.

Thank you.

Khal said...

Note. That last post was a back and forth with Niterider.com, regarding its web site.
http://www.niterider.com/bike.shtml

Khal said...

Here is a nice comparison of the NiteRider TriNewt vs. the Dinotte 600L. Both look formidable.

http://acidinmylegs.blogspot.com/2007/09/trinewt-and-600l-beam-shots.html

Never heard of Dinotte before. Here they are.
http://www.dinottelighting.com/LED_bike_lights/600l--taillight-combo.htm

Khal said...

Well, Blogger cut those off. TinyURL to the rescue.

"acidinmylegs" URL:
http://tinyurl.com/3xnxfl

Dinotte URL:
http://tinyurl.com/2aj3jc

Khal said...

some technical stuff on LEDs
http://www.theledlight.com/technical1.html

Khal said...

Something on High Intensity Discharge lights.

http://www.halcyon.net/lights/hid-faq.shtml

Bicycle.HID.Light said...

Please check this page http://bicycle.hid.light.googlepages.com/ describing my home build HID (front) / LED (back) light

Thanks
Arthur