‘Tis the Season

It’s that time of year. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and it’s time to dust off the bike lights and charge the batteries.

I’ve used many different lighting set-ups over the years, and I think what I’ve finally learned is that there is no one perfect lighting set-up; as long as basic safety requirements are met, it doesn’t really matter what lights you use. The important thing is to see, and be seen.

With that in mind, listed below are a few of my old (and not so old) articles on bike lights. Take them for what they’re worth, and keep in mind that I don’t currently agree with everything I’ve written in the past. Please take note of the dates; some of the older reviews are no longer valid, but I thought they should be included because they may provide a few kernels of pertinent information.

I’m currently running a pair of Fenix L2D headlights and a pair of Planet Bike Superflash tail lights, all powered by rechargeable NiMH batteries. Inquiring minds want to know; what are you using for lights this season? (leave a comment below)

11 Responses to “‘Tis the Season”

  • Greg says:

    Technically, the days start getting shorter after June 21st. Nitpicks aside, looking forward to your usual excellent barrage of bike lighting posts and reviews.

  • Roland Smith says:

    Busch & Müller LUMOTEC oval senso plus headlight driven by a SON XS hub generator. Battery fed rear red LED light.

    The sensor function is a definite plus, since this light is fixed at the front of my recumbent where I can’t reach it while cycling.

  • Iain says:

    I run one Superflash rear light. an Ultrafazer 5.0 running in flash mode and a Cateye HL-EL320 Opticube as the “to see” headlight.

  • Michael says:

    I like the Planet Bike Superflash rear and a Planet Bike 1 watt front. Plan to add Nite Rider LED spotlight on my helmet. Main problem is I really don’t like anything using AA or AAA batteries. AAs last 4 times as long as AAAs, but D cells last at least 64 times as long as AAs. So, I’m adding a plastic battery tube under my top tube with 3 D cell batteries inside and wires with plugs to my lights. Also, I use reflector leg bands and reflector tape on the back of my trunk bag when commuting.

  • Steve Fuller says:

    Planet bike superflash taillight on some bikes. Dinotte Taillight on serious night rides. Dinotte 200L headlight for all night rides no matter what the bike. Lithium ion batteries on the Dinoitte lights.

  • Eddie says:

    I’d like to hear your opinion or experience with the Monkeylectric spokes lights. Yes, similar products have been out for a few years but this one seems over-the-top in capability. It might be more fun that necessary but I can’t imagine a rider at night being more noticeable by motorists (or everyone else) with these LEDs spinning out glaring psychedelic patterns.

  • beth says:

    I use the Planet Bike Superflash in the rear and a Planet Bike 1-watt Blaze in front. The Blaze is a really bright light for the money, though I find that rechargable batteries don’t nearly as long as they did in my old 5-led Beamer-5.

    I am considering going to a generator hub, but because of night-blindness issues I try not to spend a lot of time on the road after it’s fully dark; so I’m still weighing the expense versus actual/potential usage.

  • MitchK says:

    SON hub with Supernova E3 headlight/taillight combo.

    Plus a Planet Bike Blaze in the front and a Superflash in the rear (both set on flash).

    About to add on a Fenix L2D for enhanced “to see” capabilities. It should make an excellent supplement/backup to the E3 headlight, especially on dark, rainy Pacific Northwest roads.

  • Clayton says:

    Just put on a Lumotec IQ Fly a few days ago, paired with a Shimano Nexus generator hub. I love the freedom it gives me — I don’t have to worry about batteries being charged or whether I’m going to stay someplace past dark; it is remarkably bright (fills the lane with light out to several hundred feet); and I don’t really notice the drag on the wheel. I looked at the percent drag over the course of my commute, and it might cost me something like 30-60 seconds on the 15 minute commute (depending on whether I’m going uphill or downhill), far less time than I would spend futzing with batteries.

  • DG says:

    I’ve got a SON dyno with a Lumotec primary and Schmitt E6 secodary on the cross bike. This combo is OK for road riding and throws a nice long beam. Up close there are alot of stray beams and there isn’t much flood, so it can tend to feel like you’re riding in a tunnel of light.

    On my longtail I’m using a DIY triple CREE LED light (design can be found here: http://www.bikeled.org/) running at 1amp on a 14.8 V battery. This light has flood similar to a car headlight covering the whole road and throw good enough for 30mph, even lights up the street signs, no night blindness to worry about here.

    I use Planet Bike Superflashes on constant with liberal use of reflective tape and clothing on every bike I own. I’ve found sometimes the flash mode can be a bit blinding/distracting to passing motorists, the Superflash is plenty bright on constant to catch their eye, then the reflective material defines me as an object when they get close enough for their headlight to catch me. The SMV sign is hard not to notice as well.

    I also carry a 3watt Brinkmann LED headlamp as backup. Brighter than most bar mount lights I’ve seen, and cheaper too.

  • MR says:

    Just started using a Marwi Nightpro Elite helmet mounted 12 watt halogen for my morning commutes. I’m not sure if I haven’t charged the NiMH battery pack sufficiently but I’m not even getting 1 hour out of an advertised 2 hour run time. It charges overnight for 12 hours so I’ll be keeping my eye on it to see if I need to contact the mfr. Planet Bike superflash on the tail.

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