Night Riders! What are you running for lights?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by burrus, Jul 24, 2016.

  1. burrus

    burrus New Member

    I occasionally ride at night and I'm interested in the best options for lighting. Right now I have 2 lights on the handlebars. One is a cheapie from Wallyworld, which has a wider beam which lets me see any oncoming potholes etc..., but the other is a 1000 lumen beast which I use as more like a headlight. I have that mounted in a great holder http://www.ebay.com/itm/281808762841 (which I can't believe I only paid $2.84 incl. shipping) On the back, I have just a red solid/strobe light which is pretty bright but I'd like to upgrade to a turn signal/tail light set-up. Any suggestions on either the front or back set-ups? Thanks lights.jpg lights.jpg light1.jpg
     

  2. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Active Member

    I have a custom turn signal set up, with a constant on rear light, and a headlamp that's not super bright, and a brake light, all made from led strip lights, the kind you cut up in bits of 3 leds.

    It's a Harbour freight 18 volt ni-cd drill, I cut the drill bit part off so I can use the end that holds the battery as a battery connector. That 18v runs to a 12v drok power converter, and that 12 drives the turn signal relay, and other lights, headlamp runs from the handlebar controls with a switch, and so do the turns, and brake lever has a momentary switch for the brakes.

    Power and relay stuff is in a plastic ammo box from Harbour freight.

    Works great and very reliable, as long as I keep it charged, I'm honestly trying to find a good system for power to use on my bike that's not easily broken, but has better amperage since I want to run a very powerful headlamp, and would like to add more accent lighting. Thinking of going to lead acid, sealed,and charge it now and then, if I could put a generator that charges it then that would be my unobtainium.
     
  3. CrazyDan

    CrazyDan Member

    I normally head to work at night and run a Blackburn central 300 I bought from a buddy for $20. Has 3 brightness settings, a pulse and a strobe. USB charging so no more buying batteries. Has great range and battery life. Only issue is hard bumps makes it aim down a little, gotta fix it on the fly, that's with it's rubber strap as tight as I dare...
     
  4. bakaneko

    bakaneko Active Member

    I don't ride at night but the problems I encountered with the lights is that the cheap plastic breaks off with road bumps (mine currently held together by black electric tape) and the ones with the lithium battery pack died on me because water got into the connection I think. My current light houses the battery inside the light itself.

    I think if you can assure that the light wont rip from the mounting plastic with normal road use either with black electric tape or something you will be saving yourself an expletive tirade when your light falls off into the road at 30-40 mph. :D
     
  5. CrazyDan

    CrazyDan Member

    My light is held on by a rubber strap, so no plastic breaking, but I know this will eventually tear over time.
     
  6. burrus

    burrus New Member

    The slippage thing happened to me with the cheapie that has the rubber band mount. Easy fix was friction tape. Increases the diameter of the handlebar and totally stops any slipping instantly. That tape is part of my essentials that I always carry in my little "bike bag"
     
  7. Guest Noob

    Guest Noob Guest

    IDK, but this looks cool for the rear
     
    Chris Duke likes this.
  8. RavenTBK

    RavenTBK New Member

    I have a cheap-o schwinn branded wally-world flashing headlight...maybe 15 lumens max. Mainly for folk to see me and not pull out of a driveway/cross street. It consists of four 1st gen 3mm white LEDs. Nothing spectacular.

    On the rear, I run a Cygolite 80lumen flasher set to slow flash during the day, and steady on with burst at night. Basically, a 1W 3rd gen LED, similar to emergency vehicles, but only one LED instead of a crapload. Hurts your eyes if it fires in your hand. ;) My LBS sells them for $80, but its $44 on Amazon.
    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B013FIVU0C/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I prefer to have my lighting power concentrated to the rear, as I ride according to local laws in the same direction as traffic. Since I cant actively watch what they're doing behind me, I want to have the greatest effect possible to get their attention off of their phones.
     
  9. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Active Member

    My main rear light is about a foot of bright red led strip light, that alone in the dark makes you wonder wtf is on the side of the road, usually wear bright yellow with very bright white reflective tape on it, seriously I can be seen from the moon with it all together.
     
  10. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Active Member

    Should you like a visual, since this is a thread about a visual topic, here's a photo of my bike from the rear, about 50 feet away, the vest (above red stripe) and helmet (to the left of the stripe) have reflective accents on them, both are being reflected back solely by my phones camera flash, a vehicle has many times more powerful lights, so it would effectively be much more vibrant.

    No way you can't see me, the front of the vest and helmet are just as brightly reflective, and the front headlight is even more obnoxious than the rear. The turn signals (not pictured) are a bright yellow and flash about twice a second, making them impossible to not see as well.
     

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  11. gary55

    gary55 Active Member

    Cree 15000 lumen with rechargable battery pack 31 bucks on ebay. 4 settings blinding, not as blinding, acceptable, and flash.
     
  12. bikejock

    bikejock Member

    I use the Topeak Aura head & tail lights for the front & back of my friction drive bike. They are pretty bright at night & double as reflectors during the day. Plus they mount on like reflectors so unlike those clip on lights you can leave them on your bike when you lock up somewhere. They can mount to virtually any bicycle. I had to drill a hole & get a little creative to mount the tail light since the friction drive mount doesn't have a place for a light bracket. They also use lithium watch style batteries & LEDs so they last a long time.
     
  13. lazylightning@mail.r

    lazylightning@mail.r Active Member

    I live in the city and it's quite bright here at night. I can see well in the dark so I have enjoyed alot of driving at night with no lights at all. I have put on some lighting systems I made myself, but nothing holds up to the hard shocks and vibration. Batteries go bad pretty fast from the shock and shaking of a bicycle at high speeds on rough roads. Factory made systems arent much better and are very expensive. I like having lights because then I can drive like a motorcyle and be assertive at intersections at night. With no lights, the only given is that they do not see you and dont know you are they until you creep up behind them from the right side and they hear the engine.
    For my next build I want to put a pretty strong laser and widen the beam to about 5 to 7 inches wide and have it aiming at the road about 20 - 30 feet in front of me. This way, when I am on the right side of and behind a car, they will understand I am passing them on the right near the curb. I saw a picture of a laser that projects a grid onto the road in front of the bicycle so that any uneven surfaces show up immediately. The product was never completed, but I would like to try to modify a laser to project such a grid.
    As far as riding in the dark goes with no lights, the only time I had a problem was when a motorcyclist going really fast with no headlights almost ran me over. I could hear something coming from behind me, and only thanks to his tail light reflecting off of the ground, I saw him coming and quickly moved across the double line into the oncoming lane which was empty. Still yet he brushed my overloaded backpack with tools and a huge grinder as he passed. I didnt even lose control and went up on the sidewalk and was going another way when he circled back to see who he had hit. He didn't find anything, let him have bad dreams about it at night. ;-)
     
  14. bikejock

    bikejock Member

    A motorcyclist with no headlight driving at night?! thats just asking for trouble & a bad accident. Its practically suicide if you ask me. I would never get on a motorcycle with a broken or lack of a headlight even durring the day. Motorcycles are actually required by law in pretty much all US states to have a headlight & taillight on night or day so they are more visible to other traffic. With motorized bikes lights are required at night but aren't entirely required during the day but front & back reflectors are a good idea if your lights arent bright enough for daytime use.

    I've been getting by with my Topeak Aura light set for nigt time & since they double as reflectors I don't feel guilty about leaving them off during the day. Oh & there are laser lights you can get that project two lines of red on the ground of both sides of the bike about the width of a bike lane to show where cars behind you should pass. I thought about getting those since I ride to the side of the road to let faster traffic pass me.
     
  15. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Active Member

    Those lasers are just very underpowered for the use they are meant for, a former friend bought one, and I thought hey cool, but looking at it in real life had me second guessing it, on pavement it was relatively bright, but on black top it's just very dark, and while I haven't seen it from a cars point of view, but I'd assume it will be even less noticeable. And really... Nobody looks at the ground around the object for strange bike Lane markings, they are glancing at the bike animal person and steering either away or towards the bike animal and completes the task as intended.

    I just don't see such an object being an investment anymore, unless it's pitch black outside, and the ground is white concrete, and the driver doesn't use headlights that overcome what light is actually being put on the ground by the laser.

    Don't get me wrong, could have been a super cheap China house special, oh wait that's all of them...
     
  16. lazylightning@mail.r

    lazylightning@mail.r Active Member

    Very powerful lasers are quite cheap now. The one I want to get would be dangerous in a concentrated beam, that's why I want to make it into a wide diameter beam of about 5 inches, or at least 3 inches. Such a beam will be quite noticeable even at twilight-dusk times. Even though it will be aimed at the ground about 20 feet in front of the bike, it will be quite noticeable while approaching the bike from behind, or above by helicopter =-)
     
  17. lazylightning@mail.r

    lazylightning@mail.r Active Member

    I actually passed that motorcyclist while he was parked and fiddling with his bike about two miles before that. I remember that the headlight wasn't working while the rest of his lights were on. I guess he just decided to head on home or something. Like I said, I heard something coming, though I had already looked and didnt see anyone behind me as I changed into the left side of the lane to cross over and up onto the sidewalk on the left side. But with the approaching sound I turned my head to see while I was already changing positions and saw the reflection on the ground behind the motorcyccle aproaching fast. So I gave it gas and swerved on into the oncoming lane. He was wearing bikers armour and I had about 50 pounds of tools in my backpack that he brushed. It seemed like it was an effective blow and a good whack sound, but it didnt even push me since my backpack was kind of hanging freely with all that weight in it. Despite the situation, he made a big circle back the way the road would allow him to and I doubt he could notice me still truckin along down the sidewalk in the trees. I bet he was sheeting breeks))) The police have video cameras every 100 feet or so looking in all directions here and if something happens they can track any vehicle from its starting point to destination and all that video stay in the databases for years. I think that's pretty much the way it is everywhere or will be everywhere soon.
     
  18. CrazyDan

    CrazyDan Member

    My small town has cameras like that for the top half with all the businesses on the street, spaced out every 100 feet or so on either side. It's the beginning of skynet lol.
     
  19. burrus

    burrus New Member

    Hey Gary,
    15,000 lumens? I'm a flashlight junkie, but 15k lumen sounds like a "re-donkulous" light. And for $31? Can you get me a link for the one you purchased? Thanks.
     
  20. gary55

    gary55 Active Member

    If you go to ebay and type in 15000lm9xcree securitystore. Its the second one down. they have them up to 20000 lu, but believe me 15000 is crazy bright
     
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