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mack_turtle

Night-riding lights

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Whatcha using? It is that time of year.

Currently, I have a MiNewt750 and Lumina 550, both Nightrider products. The MiNewt has two big li-ion batteries in a pack attached by a cable that strap on my frame, the big light on the handlebar. The smaller light has the battery inside and gets strapped onto my helmet with a rubber strap. These are the first and only lights I have ever used.

Am I missing out on something or is that a solid setup? Seems like it would be nice to have something with two lights on the handlebar and something not so heavy on the helmet.

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Not sure that there is a perfect set up.  I've been playing with my lighting for a couple of years now but I'm still not set on the helmet light.  Currently I'm running a Niterider 2800 enduro on the handlebars it's a great light but the battery pack is heavy and takes a couple of minutes to put on so if I'm being lazy I'll just throw my Lumina 1100 on. As far a helmet lights I usually alternate between a Lumina 950 but it's a bit heavy and a Sigma Buster 200.  The Buster 200 is nice and light but light output on the Lumina is way better. 

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I started off with a niterider 750 mounted on my helmet and I felt it on my head with every bump.  Now I ride with an upgraded niterider 950 on my handlebar and a Serfas light (1000 lumens I think) on the helmet with the battery on the frame.  The niterider 750 stays in my camelback as a  backup.  

There was a light discussion on the old Mojo forum and that may have been where I got my 1,500 total lumens rule from.  A second handlebar light would help you get closer to 1,500 lumens.  But if your helmet\handlebar lights combine for 1,500 then I don't think you need a second handlebar light.   A backup light isn't a bad idea, but I wouldn't ride with an extra light that is mounted and turned off, because you won't have munch luck finding if it falls off while riding in the dark.  

I try to make an overlapping 'figure 8' light beams with the 2 lights which seems to work better for me.  

 

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I have abs old glowworm light that I have been using for 4-5 years+ at this point still works well. Handlebar only, nothing on the helmet, so I guess my eyes are better than most. I only ride WC at night and know the trails like the back of my hand, so light is not as critical. On the greenbelt I'd want more light.

To me the biggest deal is the battery mounting. I keep the battery mounted to the bars but it has velcro and bangs around throughout the ride. I wish I had one that had the rubber straps as they seem to hold it in place better.

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I have had Glow worm lights for the last 3 or 4 years.
X2 dual lens on my bars. And I have the X1 on the helmet. It's a single beam
I dont see the X1 on their web site anymore, just the duals.
I cut a old water bottle in half and I put the battery in a glove inside the cut water bottle and they are in the water bottle cage on the downtube.
The light on my helmet doesnt weigh much and the battery I keep inside my pack

I also ride with a third light in the bag. It is just for the worse case scenario situation. I have not had to use it but I was riding with someone who only had one light and theirs died.
Rode BC last night , real fun at night

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

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I use four Niterider lights. Two on my handlebars, two on my helmet. I initially rigged one light's handlebar strap to the side of my helmet with some zip ties. I did this because I hit the top of my helmet all the time on rides. I didn't want a light on top catching and ripping my head backwards. But the weight on one side made my helmet slide to one side. "If I can only come up with some counter weight..." Duh, it finally dawned on my dumbass...another light! So here's my rig. With my four lights blazing I joke that I could film a movie!

I use to think that people that rode at night were crazy. But when I finally did it I felt the same way I did after I finally got lasik  surgery; why did I wait so friggin long?

helmetlights.jpg

helmetlights2.jpg

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I want to try something like @The Tip has. Something about binocular lights makes sense to me, although I am not sure it matters. Thoughts on single vs dual lights?

I have a strap-on NiteRider mount for my helmet, but it puts the light up quite high and I can feel the weight perched up there. I place the light directly on the helmet and secure it with a fat rubber Livestrong bracelet. (Ha!)

I might try acquiring a second identical light, or find a way to attach my Solarforce "tactical" flashlights on the sides instead.

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3 minutes ago, mack_turtle said:

I might try acquiring a second identical light, or find a way to attach my Solarforce "tactical" flashlights on the sides instead.

I rode with a guy once who had 2 cheapo LED flashlights ziptied to his helmet alot like the Tip's setup. It wasn't until I complimented how clean the setup looked that he revealed that he picked them up in the checkout aisle of Home Depot. I think a lot of times as mountain bikers, we totally overthink/overpay for MTB specific shite. 

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24 minutes ago, Cafeend said:

@TIP. I tried something similar yrs ago on the helmet but having lights to the side jacked up my perephial vision too much. That obviously does not mess with you?

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

On the first helmet that I did this on (now cracked and retired) I put the lights too far forward. So they did indeed block some peripheral vision. On this current helmet I set them further back and it's not a problem. I thought maybe the light would be a distraction, but it's far enough back that I don't see the light on the side of my eye either. And the straps are attached in such a way that the lights still swivel for adjusting the aim. 

The only downside is I look like an alien or at least someone that battles aliens. But I am definitely a function over form kind of guy. As demonstrated by the florescent tee shirts I wear. lol

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True. LED lights and li-ion batteries are cheaper all the time. I just avoid lights that take standard batteries because they don't pack a punch like li-ions. My bike-specific lights have 18650 cells and chargers built-in, so they are hard to replace. Some flashlights with replaceable, rechargable 18650 cells and a plug-in charger is a cheaper and more serviceable setup, just not as sleek-looking.

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11 minutes ago, notyal said:

 I think a lot of times as mountain bikers, we totally overthink/overpay for MTB specific shite. 

True dat! And speaking of Home Depot, I feel like a genius wearing my $3.50/pair gloves ($9.88 per 3 pack):

multi-firm-grip-work-gloves-3101-96-64_1

Edited by The Tip
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19 minutes ago, The Tip said:

True dat! And speaking of Home Depot, I feel like a genius wearing my $3.50/pair gloves ($9.88 per 3 pack):

multi-firm-grip-work-gloves-3101-96-64_1

I have dozens of these floating around for yard work, etc., but they don't fit nearly as nice as my MTB gloves. However, the first pair of gloves I ever bought were a pair of Mechanix gloves (expensed to my job at the time because they were "work" gloves 😁). They were the kind with a little impact protection around the knuckles. They were great gloves for riding and lasted forever. My only complaint about them was they were hotter than the MTB specific gloves I've had since. 

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Depends.

  • Dusk/Dawn riding or night H&B trail? Just a NiteRider Lumina 950 on the handlebars. 
  • Full on Night Riding on Single Track? Same Lumina 950 on the bars and a Fenix BT20 with remote battery on the helmet.

The addition of a helmet mounted light is a must in real night riding. 

 

Note: The Fenix looks like it's gone out of production but its' similar to Magic Shine Products (except the battery doesn't blow up) A shame since it's been solid for 4+ years so far. 

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37 minutes ago, RedRider3141 said:

The addition of a helmet mounted light is a must in real night riding. 

Absolute truth.

Also wanted to comment that I think that any backup lights would be better served on your handlebar rather than in your pack. ALL your lights will not fail at the same time. Why not use that "backup?"

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Not that I'm doing this now, but my ideal setup was one light on the helmet, and another light attached to the frame. I hated having a light on the bars, maybe I'm more wiggly on the trail than others, but I liked how the frame-mounted light averaged out my bike's direction. My helmet light illuminated where I was looking, which replaces the bar light in my experience. It's a bit harder to attach a light to the head "tube" on many modern frames since they are just shaped differently now, so I don't have a current setup like this.

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19 minutes ago, brentb said:

 another light attached to the frame. 

I am trying to picture this, but failing. Where and how was the light attached? What kind of light?

This makes a lot of sense though. Motorcycle headlights are fixed to the frame and don't sweep with the steering, or do they? Why should mountain bike headlights do that, other than the convenience of mounting lights to the handlebar? It appears that some car manufacturers are making "adaptive" headlights that move with steering, but cars don't allow you to strap a useful light on your head either.

Edited by mack_turtle
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15 minutes ago, mack_turtle said:

I am trying to picture this, but failing. Where and how was the light attached? What kind of light?

This makes a lot of sense though. Motorcycle headlights are fixed to the frame and don't sweep with the steering, or do they? Why should mountain bike headlights do that, other than the convenience of mounting lights to the handlebar? It appears that some car manufacturers are making "adaptive" headlights that move with steering, but cars don't allow you to strap a useful light on your head either.

Depends on the bike. Dirt bikes (if equipped with headlights) are on the forks. However, anyone serious about off road night racing attaches to the head tube AND likely has a headlamp. Even when I rode dirt bikes at night, headlights are designed for roads, not trails so we rode with lights on our helmets. The problem always "shined" when you were making a hairpin on a switch back. Headlight is looking 30-45 degrees off of where you want to be looking. Without a helmet light, you're in the dark. I don't have a problem mounting to the handlebars for my secondary light, it does wiggle a bit but my helmet light minimizes the effect. 

 

Hows this for lighting? 

image.thumb.png.58cb364609b3b641f0ad53689b22f9ca.png

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Amazon specials on both the helmet and bar. Cost anywhere from $16-20. Perfect for walnut until the batteries go bad then I just buy a new amazon battery. I’m not doing any 24hr races. I’ve found that I can usually get 2 seasons out of them before the battery craps out. The lights have been great.


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I've never ridden in the dark much at all, but in 2010 while doing the Enchilada Buffet I had a true light FAIL.  As they were lining us out at the beginning of the ride in the dark, my cheap light fell out of the camel back and fell into multiple pieces.  When we got back to Walnut at dusk and started our lap I grabbed a cheap borrowed handlebar-light out the car but it wouldn't stay in place and pointed straight down almost immediately before it quit working altogether.  I had to get between two riders who had lights and just hope for the best.  By that point I was hallucinating a bit from exhaustion and the spotty lighting just enhanced the delirium.  I only pegged one tree and at that point in the day it was just a minor inconvenience. 

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1 hour ago, hurronnicane said:

I've never ridden in the dark much at all, but in 2010 while doing the Enchilada Buffet I had a true light FAIL.  As they were lining us out at the beginning of the ride in the dark, my cheap light fell out of the camel back and fell into multiple pieces.  When we got back to Walnut at dusk and started our lap I grabbed a cheap borrowed handlebar-light out the car but it wouldn't stay in place and pointed straight down almost immediately before it quit working altogether.  I had to get between two riders who had lights and just hope for the best.  By that point I was hallucinating a bit from exhaustion and the spotty lighting just enhanced the delirium.  I only pegged one tree and at that point in the day it was just a minor inconvenience. 

I had been using a cheap LED light from amazon. Worked pretty well (maybe still does? Not used recently so not sure), but talk about complete fail: was riding lower log loop (the now swoopy, bermed section, just after the sharp left near start section) and light just went OUT.  Instant pitch black...with resulting crash. Learned you could dislocate a rib that night.

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