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Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 12:46pm
I've been searching for the battery light Holy Grail for some time.

I started off with a B&M Ixon IQ. I bought one for my son who had a 15 mile each way country lane commute. He was well impressed with it and is still using it 6 years later. I bought one for myself, used it for about 4 years and it's now on my wife's commuting bike. I found that I could get 4-5 hours on high beam and 10 hours on low. Beam good enough to see by on a dark lane, though it doesn't turn night into day.

I replaced it with a Phillips Saferide. Probably brighter than the Ixon but i've been disappointed by the run times and it's a weight old beast and also a bit of a lump, stuck on the bars and takes up quite a bit of space. I've also lost one of the brackets in a recent house move. I only have the oversized bracket, so it can only be used on my audax bike. I mainly commute on my tourer with 26mm bars.

I bought a Cateye Volt 400 and was impressed with it. Not as bright as the Saferide but very light, small and doesn't take up much room on the bars. It's just about bright enough for dark country lane riding. I've now bought a Volt 1200 (£105 in the Evans Warehouse sale). This has all of the advantages of the 400 but it's much brighter, similar run time - in fact it lasts longer as I can run it in a lower mode, with equal brightness. I use this as my main light with the 400 as back up. I also have an extra back up of a cheap "be seen" led light from Halfords.

For rear lights, I use a Cateye Rapid 3. Bright enough, has several modes, it runs off a single AA and I find it last for about 50 hours before the battery needs changing. Back up is a Halfords cheap LED.

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 12:45pm
[XAP]Bob wrote:Every time I go into a bike shop I look through the lights to see if I can see *any* than are UK road legal (i.e. that satisfy the requirements for a main light under the existing RVLR). I am yet to find one.
As far as I know, the only UK chain shop selling one isn't a bike shop: it's Clas Ohlson. I have no idea if the light is any good, though. I think it might be http://www.clasohlson.com/uk/Asaklitt-L ... ht/34-7815 which they're now selling off at £10 (with another £1 off if bought today) but the online description doesn't claim British Standards compliance and I think the box of the one I saw did.

I have dynamo lights on one bike and old-but-good battery lights get used on the rest. The difference is sufficient that the dynamo-equipped roadster gets used for rides in total or partial darkness even when another bike would be slightly better, as long as there's no compelling reason not to use the roadster.

I do keep trying (and occasionally buying) new battery lights in the hope that I'll find something better than my old-but-good ones. I think I've got to bite the bullet, accept that I'm never going to win that lottery and equip the rest with dynamos of some sort, probably the folding bike next. Battery lights sold in this country seem to be aimed at MTBers and scofflaws, not commuters and tourers.

I carry small get-me-home lights in my tool bag but that's mainly because I've needed them several times while using battery lights and I don't often add/remove things from the tool bag as it moves between bikes. They're not sufficient to be legal, but you're allowed to complete your journey if a legal light fails (RVLR section 23(3)(c) ) so it's only to give me a rear light or help me see through the totally-unlit bits, albeit at reduced speed.

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 12:38pm
on6702 wrote:Brucey
Have you had any experience with the B&M Dynamo lights?
In particular the newish cyo premium 80 lux front model and the topline rear models?
This is what I'm thinking of converting my current battery set up to via a Rose Bikes wheel built with the shimano 3n31 hub.
Seems like a pretty solid and cost effective set up.

not personally with those lamp models. B&M have occasionally sold lamps that are duffers, but if/when that happens they usually sort themselves (and their customers) out reasonably quickly. I quite like the beam pattern on most cyo models I've used.

The 3N31 hub is a cost-effective choice; just be sure that the bearings are adjusted/greased correctly. With any 'bought wheel' of that sort I'd take the precaution of stress-relieving it and retruing it before use. This may not always be necessary but it won't do any harm and it might do some good, so if you can do so, do so.

cheers

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 12:30pm
One or two people have claimed 'good reliability over many years' from battery systems; I'd argue that this is

a) very much the exception rather than the rule and
b) total failure has only ever been avoided by carrying backup lights of some kind.

By contrast with a hub generator reliability is the expectation rather than the exception.

If you spend good money on high quality lights then they are very reliable. I've been using exposure lights every day through the winter for five years. I have never once had to rely on a backup. Not once. That's about 1000 rides and 10,000 miles. "Total failure" is really of the fall off and suffer damage kind, and I don't see why dynamo lights are any better in that regard. I can completely see the advantage in avoiding the need to recharge and the good reliability. I can also see why not everyone would want a hub dynamo.

I do usually carry a battery light with me, but that is mainly so that I can find my bike, and in case of punctures etc

So yes, even if you do use your preferred option, you *still* need a backup of precisely the sort the OP asked for advice about in the first place...

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 12:21pm
Tangled Metal wrote:Road legal? I think you are making too much of this. I'd be very surprised if you can find one case of someone getting "done" for cycling with a light that works for visibility but does not conform to the rvlr in the U.K.
I'd be very surprised too. Once a collision has occured which involves either death or serious injury I'm happy to speculate that the insurance company will look for every possible opportunity to lower their liability with accusations of improper lighting.

I'm confident that a set of approved lights would not have prevented the death of Michael Mason. It's not that hard to speculate that the driver did not get "done" for causing his death because his cycle's lights did not conform to the RVLR.

YMMV.

Tangled Metal wrote:Ask a forum about how to change a light bulb and you'll get 3 pages ....
This is an above average forum, it was nine pages last time I checked .

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 11:29am
BTW I agree that in a commuting context the loss of speed from a hub generator is negligible. The world's slowest and most feeble cyclist would take less than 30s longer to do three miles or something. If you ride at nearer 15-20mph then it might be five seconds (or less) difference.

This basically doesn't matter; there are plenty of other things that will slow you much more than that, like a few psi too little in your tyres. Choosing draggy tyres could cost you 20W per wheel so a fraction of that on having reliable lighting is a no-brainer really.

BTW if you want a hub dynamo system that swaps from bike to bike easily (same wheel size) then you can have one; some folk use a front light only, mounted on a bracket that is clamped to the front axle. This lot comes off in seconds and can be fitted to another bike equally quickly. It does leave you running battery rear lights though.

cheers

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 10:13am
beardy wrote:I have both systems and think that both systems have their merits.

The dynamo set up needs greater initial outlay, weighs more and adds drag but it is almost "Fit and Forget".

The battery lights are cheaper upfront (especially if one set for multiple bikes) but require battery money through their life. They are notably less reliable, normally due to the batteries especially in the cold and wet when you really need them.

My dynamo is only on the bike during the winter months when it is regularly needed, during the summer a battery light will easily last for all the night riding that I do, including riding the whole night.

There is a difference between "Fit and Forget" and "it is no big deal to charge the batteries regularly in anticipation of any ride and remember to move the lights on to the bike from the other bike". Pick which end of the scale you want to be on. At least for six months of the year I have one bike in the stable that is always ready to go, at the drop of a hat. For the other six months I see no point in carrying around a "heavy" dynamo dragging (even if undetectable) my precious energy.

I think this all comes down to what works for you. If you choose reliable battery lights and are the sort of person who finds it no effort to recharge them at the weekend, they will provide you with a reliable system. And having two lights front and rear, the unlikely failure of one light (assuming you have chosen well) will not leave you without lighting. If you are forgetful and are likely to get to bedtime on Sunday night without having put batteries on charge, a dynamo system would serve you better. Personally, in nearly 20 years of commuting with good battery lights I never had complete light failure, front or rear.

(I avoid and mistrust tiny rear lights with AAA batteries. They do have a high failure rate. And the only B&M light I ever bought, a battery light designed for racks, was a poorly made piece of rubbish that I binned after a couple of weeks of trying to get it to stay on reliably.)

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 9:50am
I have both systems and think that both systems have their merits.

The dynamo set up needs greater initial outlay, weighs more and adds drag but it is almost "Fit and Forget".

The battery lights are cheaper upfront (especially if one set for multiple bikes) but require battery money through their life. They are notably less reliable, normally due to the batteries especially in the cold and wet when you really need them.

My dynamo is only on the bike during the winter months when it is regularly needed, during the summer a battery light will easily last for all the night riding that I do, including riding the whole night.

There is a difference between "Fit and Forget" and "it is no big deal to charge the batteries regularly in anticipation of any ride and remember to move the lights on to the bike from the other bike". Pick which end of the scale you want to be on. At least for six months of the year I have one bike in the stable that is always ready to go, at the drop of a hat. For the other six months I see no point in carrying around a "heavy" dynamo dragging (even if undetectable) my precious energy.

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 9:42am
[XAP]Bob wrote:Transferability is about the only thing a battery light gains. And that only really applies if you have different wheel sizes between bikes.
Lights that can easily be removed and taken with are an advantage if you ever park a bike in places where anything attached to a bike is likely to be pinched or sabotaged. Some of the items I've had go missing from bikes parked parked in city centres have included things that required tools for removal.

My light also has a headband mounting, so it's easy to use for camping or dealing with a puncture or mechanical in the dark.

I have 6 bikes with 3 different wheel sizes (two different wheel sizes get used for commuting), and I have loaned my light a couple of times to Mini V, who has yet another wheel size. Even if I do eventually convert one or two of my bikes to using a dynohub, I will carry on using lights with rechargeable batteries.

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 9:37am
Bicycler wrote:The idea of fitting a seatpost light to a luggage carrier with an additional bracket always seemed a bit weird when there are so many lights specifically designed to bolt on directly. I hear what is being said about use on different bikes but I think there is a strong case for having a rear light/reflector permanently attached to each. It looks neater, it fulfils the legal requirement to have a reflector, is less likely to fall off and will be there to get you home when you find yourself out without having brought your lights or in times of low daytime visibility.

Rechargeable lights on the rear are not the clear win they appear to be. There is a tendency for them to be very bright but with relatively short run times. They are, after all, expected to be regularly recharged. Conversely, lights taking normal aa/aaa batteries would be a right nuisance if they died once a week. They tend to have much longer run times measured in the several tens of hours (or way more if flashing). My current commuter has an old Cateye AU100 on the seatpost and one of the Busch and Muller Toplight series of lights/reflectors on the carrier light plate. I usually choose to charge the batteries roughly monthly just to be safe but it isn't something I'm particularly diligent about.

I find TL-LD1100s screw directly on to the rear of any rack with a light plate. I prefer my rear lights to be fixed semi-permanently, not easily removed. TL-LD1100s run a whole week of commuting (10 hours) of full brightness, with a recharge at the weekend. I bet they would go for 2 weeks with little dimming if the effort of putting the batteries into the charger on the garage wall seemed too much to contemplate. It takes about a minute to do.

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 9:24am
The idea of fitting a seatpost light to a luggage carrier with an additional bracket always seemed a bit weird when there are so many lights specifically designed to bolt on directly. I hear what is being said about use on different bikes but I think there is a strong case for having a rear light/reflector permanently attached to each. It looks neater, it fulfils the legal requirement to have a reflector, is less likely to fall off and will be there to get you home when you find yourself out without having brought your lights or in times of low daytime visibility.

Rechargeable lights on the rear are not the clear win they appear to be. There is a tendency for them to be very bright but with relatively short run times. They are, after all, expected to be regularly recharged. Conversely, lights taking normal aa/aaa batteries would be a right nuisance if they died once a week. They tend to have much longer run times measured in the several tens of hours (or way more if flashing). My current commuter has an old Cateye AU100 on the seatpost and one of the Busch and Muller Toplight series of lights/reflectors on the carrier light plate. I usually choose to charge the batteries roughly monthly just to be safe but it isn't something I'm particularly diligent about.

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 9:22am
Fascinating thread.

Modern battery lights are brilliant, miles better than what was available a couple of decades ago, and more than adequate for any reasonable commute. I'm sure hub dynamos are even more awsome, but the OP only asked for advice on backup lights. Even if I was using a hub dynamo, I'd still have a pair of backups, personally.

Transferability is about the only thing a battery light gains. And that only really applies if you have different wheel sizes between bikes.

I have four bikes: Commuter/tourer, MTB, road racer, tandem. Wheel transferring isn't even possible between any of them, let alone convenient. Having a light bracket on each, however, is perfect, meaning paying for for one good quality light I get three for free.

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 9:21am
Quite possibly - but that's one reason I can't recommend any. I never got any that were of a suitable quality, but then I haven't really looked for 5 years on the dynamo or the 2 years before that on my home built lights...

Every time I go into a bike shop I look through the lights to see if I can see *any* than are UK road legal (i.e. that satisfy the requirements for a main light under the existing RVLR). I am yet to find one.

I'm looking for something from a bike shop ideally in the UK.

That is where I really struggle to find anything to recommend. UK shops basically don't sell UK road legal lights.
Go abroad (probably to Germany) and you find many more (due to EU regulations, and the fact that other countries have maintained their RVLR) - and you'll also find many more dynamos than anything else. Partly this is due to regulation, although that is due to the treatment of the cycle as a vehicle, not an item of sporting kit.



BTW - from another post above..
At 75 watt the implication for speed of losing 5W will be ~3% (and that is a very tootling cyclist)
At 150 watt it is more like 1.5% (I can maintain 150W pretty much indefinitely)

Frankly you lose more by dropping a few PSI from your tyres than from a dynamo

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 9:00am
We differ a lot in our experiences with battery lights I think Bob. I've never.had a problem. Even the minor annoyance I have with the cheap ALDI lights does not stop them being effective lights. In fact my ideal would be the same lights with just a few tweaks to improve charging and the low charge indication. I suspect the moon comet lights which these are copies of may offer these tweaks I wish they had. Does anyone know if moon comet lights show if they're still charging and do they show when they are running low or even switch to a lower usage lighting option as the batteries run out?

Re: oldies riding in the cold

21 January 2016 - 8:26am
I suffer with cold knees, I wear ankle warmers (my wife knitted them) over my knees.

Its +1 this morning but we are not going out on the tandem as I suspect there will be lingering ice patches.

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 8:20am
Only solution? Probably not.
But it makes the cycle a practical vehicle - you don't have to separately charge your car lights after all.

It allows for the unexpected, it saves pretty much all future lighting concerns/maintenance - which are both important considerations for a commuter.

I spent several years going through battery lights, and eventually built my own - but run time was always on my mind. I'd not want to go back now. Any gradually all my bikes are becoming correctly equipped. I have a small Dynamo to put on the Rapto, which has the lights, currently fed from a PP3 battery...

Re: oldies riding in the cold

21 January 2016 - 8:08am
squeaker wrote:cold tyres (higher rolling resistance) and cold grease in the bearings all takes its toll
At 61 I'm finding the cold "grease" in the knees presents a bit of a challenge!
But why the knees? Other parts of the body get cold, uncomfortable, lose some sensation and can become less flexible, but it seems to be the special privilege of the knees to be painful accompanied by the sensation of being close to snapping pointUnpleasant even if you aren't cycling.

Re: oldies riding in the cold

21 January 2016 - 8:03am
As a matter of interest to some of you north and east of here ....................... the weather is changing.

It was frosty all day yesterday, and when I went to bed last night, it was still frosty ............... but I awoke this morning to find it's +7degC out there! Yes, it's damp and grey, but at least it's mild again.

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 7:58am
I have felt drawn to hub dynamos from time to time, and I may invest in one in the future. But the idea that it is the only way to reliable commuter lights is false. I proved that over about 20 years of year-round commuting on routes that included mud spattered country lanes and some more urban roads. I ran battery lights that used rechargeable AA batteries and ran them on settings that meant I only had to recharge them once a week, at the weekend. I invested in the most reliable models I could find and had two lights on the front and two on the rear.

My current favourites would include the Lancashire-made Hope Vision 1 at the front. I have one of the original versions which I have been using for years, and it is a gem. After a few years the robust bracket cracked, but Hope are really good at spare parts so I got the new part for it. I use it on the second lowest setting, which lights up dark lanes pretty well and gives at least 7 hours of run time. I combine that with a cheaper light from Cateye or Smart, though I trust those less.

At the rear I have yet to find a light to beat the Cateye TL-LD1100, a barrel of real brightness that shines in all directions and has a huge run time. And it is the most solid, weather proof rear light I know. Cateye's later rear lights are less robust, so I must buy a few TL-LD1100s before they become unavailable. It usess AA batteries, which mean a brighter light for longer, compared to AAA lights.

My lights get used on various bikes belonging to myself and other family members, something that you can only do with battery lights.

None of this is aimed at rubbishing dynamo systems, which I fully accept as viable and reliable options.

Re: Commuting lights

21 January 2016 - 7:49am
Tangled Metal wrote:So the weight difference between your own dynamo hub and normal hub wheels is 397g (about 2/3 of a pound). Then add the weight of your lights and wires to the total package. Well my whole rechargeable light package is only just over half a pound. Even without considering your actual light weight it's heavier.
The actual lights and wires weigh virtually nothing, but yes - depending on how much you spend on the batteries the Dynamo is heavier. Of course if you carried enough battery to last you through the night the weight of batteries would soon mount up.
The real question is therefore whether you have titanium bolt everywhere, and stick to a regimented diet. And I really hope you don't carry any water (and make sure you visit the toilet before you set off)

This is not even the main point I have for choosing rechargeable battery lights, and it is a choice we make based on what our own priorities are, is for me they're simpler. Simple mount, different modes (which I use a lot), ability to use on other bikes, reliable (apart from the cheapest ALDI lights I own) and just simple. Go to shop, buy it then simple mount to use it.
Simpler - what can be simpler than 'get on bike and ride with light'. No battery maintenance, no worries about lights being pinched....

The description of battery lights Vantage has given doesn't agree with my experience of them. I've no experience of dynamo light systems other than some very old and poor systems like bottle dynamo systems and an old hub system on a Dutch bike in.Holland years ago. I can't really comment on modern dynamo lighting system other to know that it doesn't suit my needs. I don't want a light system that's fixed solely to one bike. I'm looking for transferability. I like my Cateye lights because they work the way I like and expect from good, modern rechargeable lights. I'm just looking for something that behaves similar but with a different front light strength and beam pattern. It needs to charge in a way that shows it charging and when it's fully charged. I'd like it to indicate when the charge is low and to switch to a lower setting that gets me home if I have misjudged the amount of charge left.
Transferability is about the only thing a battery light gains. And that only really applies if you have different wheel sizes between bikes.
When looking at old dynamos, remember to look at old battery lights as well. Else I'll suggest that your toga needs tucking up

Now to all those who have obsessed about dynamo lighting systems please answer the question. What recommendations do you have to match my needs. Clue, if it involves dynamo it's the wrong answer. I need a rechargeable ideally but have good experiences of my old Cateye el130 aa battery light.
I don't have any recommendations, but neither could I recommend a species of glow worm to put in a jam jar...
http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/products/bik ... eadlights/

http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/b--m ... aid:243312
http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/trel ... aid:470889
Are both on offer, and look like they satisfy your brief.

No idea if you can get any road legal battery light in a UK bike shop - I look whenever I am in a shop and have yet to find one.

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