At Last A Front LED Light that performs for speed riding at night

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by Irish John, Apr 6, 2011.

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  1. Irish John

    Irish John Guest






    Those of you who ride in the countryside at night will know how expensive good Halogen or HID lights are and also how hard it is to get replacement components when the makers discontinue the models every couple of years. There is even a British HID front light that costs Aus $3000 last time I looked. I’m sure it’s a great light but at that price I can’t justify it.
    Well I have good news for you - despite my having said some years ago on this Forum that LED technology just didn't cut it for decent front lighting on a motorised bicycle I can now tell you that I have found an Australian company making LED bike lights that are indeed good enough for high speed riding on the darkest of nights. I bought a pair of front LEDs with ultra high-powered battery that gives 6 hours of continuous use at full blast and double that if you switch onto half power in areas where it isn't so dark. I have one narrow beam and one intermediate beam and on a moonless night I find I can travel safely at speed on totally unlit roads and the lights shine ahead for a long way yet light up the foreground enough for me to see and avoid potholes at 30 mph.
    The ultra-high-powered battery is very small and fits nicely on the handlebar stem. The twin lights are smaller than Halogens and fit on the handlebars over the stem which is actually a perfect location for a light. They have a full beam, half beam and flashing mode. The whole thing comes in a nice zipped case with smart charger. The lights are independently adjustable on swivels. I paid Aus $231.00 for the kit including the extra powered battery and light set and they delivered for free as a special offer current at the time. These lights can only be bought direct from the suppliers on line. I don't think they can be bought in bike shops.
    I personally haven't ever seen lights as good as these and although my halogens and HIDs are also very good, they soon start to need replacement parts and I then find that the brand has been discontinued and I cannot get replacements for any parts despite the light being priced at $440.00 only a year before (which I probably paid about $260.00 for on sale). Just because the lights have the brand name Planet Bike or Tioga or Topeak (I’ve tried them all) doesn't mean that spare parts are going to be available in a year’s time.
    I usually buy lights when they are on sale because the full price is astronomical and I suppose they are on sale because they are old stock.
    Ay-Up are here for the long term and they have full back-up on parts and accessories. I also notice that the lights and fittings are exceedingly well made and totally waterproof.
    I now know that LEDs can cut it if the technology is really good.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2011

  2. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    John, do you happen to know how many Lumins they are rated at. I think Lumin rating is the best way to compare lights. It doesn't tell you anything about light pattern, but it's at least some way to compare products.
  3. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    Hi Alaskavan, There are some specs on their website but although I know Lumen levels are important I can tell you there is no substitite for actually using them. I find them better than the best HID & halogens I've ever tried. They work fantastically for me and I ride between towns here on unlit roads where, on a moonless night, you couldn't see your hand in the dark. I'm told that the lights are about 600 Lumens but I have seen a light advertsied as 900 Lumens and I can tell you it isn't nearly as bright. As a landscape architect I am familiar with Lumen and Lux levels - Lux being the level measured off a reflective surface - but I also don't trust technical data on matters pertaining to lighting and I always insist on eyeballing the product performing at night for myself before I specify it in any project.
    The colour of light off these LEDs are very close to daylight which I think helps a lot. I also wrote that the battery lasts 3 hrs on full blast when in fact it lasts 6 hrs and double on half power. These lights absolutely supercede all my troublesome halogens that get very hot, blow bulbs and have a habit of loosing their brightness quite quickly after purchase. I've had it with not being able to replace batteries and connections because the big brand name has discontinued supplies after only 12 months. I was being ripped off by the unethical practices of the major brand names.
    I'm afraid Alaskavan you'll have to take it from me that I reckon these lights are a great thing. I ride in pitch black conditions and I am suitably impressed enough to go about turn on my previous rather derogatory statements about LED technology. I suggest checking their website and reading reviews by bike magizines etc on Ay-Up.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2011
  4. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    wow you paid how much for those lights? did i read your post right...$231.00?? is that in U.S. dollars?
    if so, i have less than that in my entire bike
  5. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    That's right Motor, Aus $231 which at present is worth about $US 242.30 although a year ago that would have been about $US 145 but our dollar is strong at present. That is not a great price for a good light if you compare it to say a good heavy duty digital camera battery pack. The technology is also state of the art.
    Given the many hundreds of dollars I have shelled out buying HID & Halogen lights only to have to abandon them when I can't get new batteries or switches for them. Like I said there is that British light that was Aus $3000 in 2008 and there are US made lights that are a lot more expensive than Aus $231
    The market for top quality lights seems to be aimed at the mountain biking community and you can spend $10,000 on a top quality MTB.
    Neither halogen, HID or high-tec LED are cheap - they are made to a much higher quality standard than those HT engines. I use my bike as my main means of transport and I absolutely need good lights that can burn for the length of a 80 km round trip. I use to run all sorts of lights of HID & halogen type and none were good enough although the Planet Bike one was the best until Planet Bike got out of the halogen light business.
    The Ay-Up is much better than everything I've tried and being LED it lasts a lot longer in terms of burn time, doesn't need bulbs replacing and doesn't require a battery the size of a beer bottle that has to be mounted on the rear rack with a flex too short to reach the light on the handlebar.
    Ay-Up are the light of choice for most Australian MTB off-road riders who cycle through National Parks at night for the fun of it. I just use it because for $231 you get 2 lights with a choice of beam type. I chose a narrow beam to shine into the distance with a broader beam to light the immediate foreground so I can see potholes or big brown snakes both of which could cause me serious injury. I did go to a MTB enthusiast's house one night to see how good his were but his were on his helmet which isn't quite the same. Since trying out my own set I was so impressed that I bought a second set for my other bike. I'd like a narrow beam one for my helmet because that would be great as well but I can't afford it. I posted this thread because I know that the issue of good front lights is important to a lot of motored bikers.
    I wish I could have tried the $3000 British one just to see how good it really is. It's probably a bit cheaper now because our dollar is strong.
    Ay-Up lights would cost more if there were middle men involved but direct selling on the web lowers the price considerably.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2011
  6. wbuttry

    wbuttry Member

    no offense irish dude u got jipped im like motor pscho i didnt pay that much for the entire motor and bike i found if i need to ride at nite for some ungodly reason a maglite works awesomely and it is also a dam good weapon also and i use my bike for primary transportation also . i just cant justify the cost 50 american dollars for a lite is un heard of to me anyway.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  7. Ypedal

    Ypedal Member

    For a bright budget light, google " Magic Shine " ..

    I personally use 2 Cycle Lumenators from, 1000 lumens each !! They are a bit on the expensive side but since i ride electric bikes i can power the lights from the bike battery pack for unlimited run time ( 10w per light vs 1000w going to the motor lol.. )

    You can also get P7 LED flashlights from dealextreme for 20 to 40$ each with single 18650 cells that run 1hr per cell..

    see :
  8. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    I have about $15.00 in my headlight. It's made from a chrome bullet headlight that i bought off e-bay with an incandesent light. I removed the incadesent light, and made a small chrome plastic filler to cover the hole where the incadesent light used to be. In that filler peice, i drilled 3 small holes in a triangular pattern(one on top, 2 on the bottom). I put 3 l.e.d. lights in the holes from a $5.00 flashlight.
    I wired the l.e.d.s together and used the small circuit board from the flashlight. It's powered by 6 volts (2 flat batteries like you find in your remote door unlocker for your car). the batteries are hidden inside the headlight housing, and I hid a small black on/off switch on the outside of the light housing, through a small hole that was there for the original wiring. this makes for a clean, retro styled headlight without any visible wiring or switches.
    oh yeah, it's bright enough for me to see where i'm going at night if i have to, but i rarely ever ride at night anyway.
    headlight itself-$10.00...and it came with a little bullet tail light and a wheel driven generator.
    l.e.d. flashlight - $5.00 from the hardware store.
    Batteries - stolen out of the spare remote unlocker from my wife's van :)
  9. Gene

    Gene Member

    Why are there always guys who have to tell someone what they purchased was a mistake because they can't afford to purchase it themselves. These lights are extreme high tech , water proof and light weight. But all that is besides the point. If I dude wants the best there is available there is no need to tell him he got Jipped. Personally I think that anyone who rides a bike for primary transportation needs to spend a lot more than the cost of these lights in order to achieve reliability and safety. Nothing wrong with wanting the best. Peter White Cycles has an extraordinary collection of lighting some at more reasonable prices. His site is worth a look ,a lot to learn there. I particularly love the hub dynamo setups with "standlights" that stay lit for 7 minutes even when the bike has stopped, all without batteries involved. I installed that on my Spoiler.
  10. Ypedal

    Ypedal Member

    Also, since June or so last year i've been riding in daytime with a headlight lit, i commute to work 5 days a week, 8am to 4pm shift, early morning, tin can drivers roll into the street from their driveways with fogged out windows, lighting cigarettes and drinking their coffee while talking on their cell phones.. a BRIGHT headlight has saved my *** a few times now..
  11. gothicguy64

    gothicguy64 Member

    i h8 to be a kill joy but have u eva looked in

    they sell a 4aaa .1 led 1watt headlights at 14 bux an the top sellin headlight is 199
    ohh an the are in stamore nsw

    nsw :bowdown:
  12. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    it's not I can't afford that light, it's the fact that I like to build ny own stuff and i can not justify paying that much money for a headlight.
    if you want the best there is, why did you buy a h.t. motor for a bicycle?
    if you want the best there is, you should have bought a real motorcycle.
  13. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Maybe he paid a lot, but he needs it.

    He needs the best, as a matter of fact.

    The rest of us, mostly, ride in places where there are streetlights and such. Even when they aren't very good, they supply more light than it might seem.
    We can get away with cheap stuff. And trying something new when what we've got doesn't work out.

    Away from electric lighting you literally can not see your hand in front of your face, like he said.

    If the OP has the light that he needs under those circumstances and if he's confident that he'll be able to keep it working for a while, then he made a good buy. Even at $250 (or so).
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  14. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    I know what you mean ypedal. i owe my life to my rear lights and to my luminous vest. I worry more about what's behind me although your description of the fugged up car etc is a classic!
  15. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    Brad, I have bought from that website and paid a lot of money for lights like I described - brand names that will have no back-up in 12 or 24 months time.
    I've had bad experiences with CygoLite products with switches failing on expensive halogen twinsets and the lights dimming quickly over a short time span and batteries the size of beer bottles. What some of you guys can't seem to understand is that after riding over 40,000 kms, and quite a bit of that was in the dark, that I just may know what I'm talking about. That $199 light by CygoLite that Brad mentions is not a light I would ever have bought because it is way overpriced for what, in design terms, is basically a small hand torch (250 lumens) clipped onto a handlebar. 250 lumens just doesn't cut it Brad. I’m talking about seeing and being seen – not just being seen. There is a light at Cellbikes that might be OK and it is $315 reduced from $375 and is exactly the sort of technology I have been using these last 6 years with all the headaches I’ve already described. Good lights aren’t cheap although some people on this thread seem to think otherwise and I resent paying good money for technology that is unsupported in terms of parts and especially when it has unique elec connections that are irreplaceable when it becomes discontinued in the very near future. Also I am experienced enough to know that lumen levels in a spec are not great indicators of how good the light is. It is important to eyeball it and to try it at night. I went to try out a Ay-Up before I bought one albeit a helmet mounted one but it gave me a fair indication of its power when I shone it out over a darkened paddock on a moonless night.
    If anyone has experience of a relatively new German LED torch called LED LENSER, well they are pretty amazing how they can focus a very bright beam from broad to narrow. The LedLenser will probably make the US made Maglite redundant. I wrote to the Australian agent to say that if they put that technology on a bike light they would have a winner. A guy from HQ in Germany phoned me to discuss bike lights and he asked me to send him what I thought were the main criteria for a bike light. Maybe they'll come up with something one day but I think they will have difficulty getting the technology to a smaller scale for bikes. I sent him links to websites showing MTB lights that cost a fortune so he could see just what the market is like at present. Personally I reckon Ay-Up have already arrived at the place that LedLenser are aiming for.
    One of the above members (wbuttry I think) tells me I was duped (jipped?) and that he is also a person relying on a motorised bike as a principle means of transport and that if, 'for some unGodly reason', he needs to ride at night what is wrong with a Maglite. Well nothing except Maglites are old technology and expensive for what they are and prone to suddenly lose connection between battery and bulb as well as being battery hungry. The little maglites would be no use at all for night riding and big ones would have to be strapped to the handlebar (I think they might sell a special holder that breaks from the oscillation forces) so your bike looks like something out of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang but I have visions of the maglite being held between wbuttry's clenched teeth. If you used your bike for primary transportation as you say then you should know what I am talking about. If you live in a brightly lit neighbourhood or a city you will probably not know what I am talking about. Riding at night on Australian country back roads is not the same as riding in a big town or city. Not even remotely similar.
    Gene writes about the hub dynamo lights and I too am interested in them. Some of the top end ones really do kick out a lot of light and I think I looked at a Dutch set-up that might well have fulfilled my needs but it was very expensive and I have had trouble with dynamos because of the speed my bike cruises at. Sometimes the bulbs blow and sometimes the thingy that rubs against the tyre flies off into the bush. Those were both Chinese dynamos though and pretty much rubbish and I know the high-end stuff has current regulators and also holds the charge when you slow down and are stationary. I think the Germans and Dutch seem to have the best dynamo hub lighting systems which is what I’d expect given their heavy use of bicycles.
    As for Motorpsycho’s comments I just can’t respond because I don’t understand where he’s coming from. I sort of went off this Forum about mid 2009 when the whole mood of the site changed but it was here that I learnt most of what I know about motored bikes.
    Everything I have said about the Ay-Up stands up to all I’ve read on the thread since I wrote the first posting. If you live in the open countryside and you need to travel long distances at relatively high speed on difficult roads then these lights are the absolute best thing I’ve yet come across. I would, however, be very interested to hear about any of the high-tec European dynamo lights if anyone has experience of any.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2011
  16. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    Thanks for your review John. The reason I usually would go with judging lights by Lumens, is that I would have to fly to Seattle to check them out myself. I'll take your word for the performance of these lights.
  17. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    Thanks Alaskavan, I think I've read about Haines in 'Passage to Juneaux' but at 59 degres north you wouldn't need lights in Summer and you'd need them a lot in winter. It looks terribly hilly around Haines. Hilly and chilly I'll bet. There would probably be a lengthy spell of snow and ice when you couldn't ride at all. You would be so busy looking out over the water for whales blowing that you mightn't notice the grisly bear standing 10 foot tall on the road right in front of you!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2011
  18. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    It's hilly around here, but the roads don't go over the hills, they follow the rivers. It's snowing lightly right now, but it's too warm for it to stick (36f). And we don't call them Grizzlys, we call them Brown Bears.
  19. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    I see - brown bears as opposed to black bears which are smaller. Maybe we should call our Brown Snakes Grizzly Snakes!:grin5:
    Like with Brown Bears you just never know when you'll come across one.
  20. gothicguy64

    gothicguy64 Member

    point taken

    i cant personally to change my motor from my shaft biike to my 7spd mtn bike so i can change it to a 8spd 11-32 an fit my sbp shiftkit 2 an black expanson
    pipe on my rse hp2 48cc joy
    i hit a pot hole an bent my shaft doin 60kph on parra rd